Gratification

It’s been a long time since the last original Final Fantasy graced the Playstation 2. Too long in my opinion, but the wait is finally over. Final Fantasy XII is now upon us to absorb our free time and whisk us away from our everyday lives. Months prior to release I secured my Collector’s Edition by completely prepaying at the nearest EB Games. Fortunate was I that this store planned on participating in a midnight release of the title. To say that I was enthusiastic about picking up my copy at midnight on All Hallow’s Eve would be a monumental understatement.

As midnight approached I naturally began to have difficulty in containing my excitement; it was exuding from my pores. You have to understand how many years of anticipation I’ve endured when I learned that Yasumi Matsuno was heading up XII. Matsuno being responsible for some of my favorite titles: Final Fantasy Tatics, Tactics Ogre, and Vagrant Story. His methodologies are synonymous for their intricate complexities ranging from gameplay to plotlines. His visions harmonize with my own on how I would create my own video game.

Every delay inflicted emotional pain and when the news of Matsuno stepping away from the project almost caused me to lose hope completely. All that melted away as I stood outside chatting of shared sentiments and anticipation with the only other soul to brave the wait outside the store in the cold. There were others, although not many, but they chose to remain in their cozy vehicles and hide from their geekiness in solitude. Not I, I fully embraced my geekdom. Final Fantasy although not my first console RPG (that honor belongs to Dragon Warrior) was the first to truly hook me into console RPGs.

It may be difficult for some to understand the mentality of those who show up at midnight to satiate their eagerness to be amongst the first to experience a game; I got my fair share of strange looks while explaining my plans for the night. It’s not something easily understood. It’s a comforting feeling knowning that you’re not alone in your geekiness; that you’re not the only one going directly home to pop it in. That being exactly what I did upon my arrival home.


Of course I’d get the Collector’s Edition.

I can safely say that after all these years it’s been well worth the wait. From the opening movie alone I would absolve Square of their sin of allowing so much time to pass since Final Fantasy X. X being the only title in the series to hook me from the get-go until now. XII’s introduction thoroughly engrossed me, I knew I was about to partake in something epic.

Epic is a great word to describe how I feel about my first hour with the game. Every inch of the game so far drips with polish, familiarity, and freshness. Matusno’s influence is evident in everything from the story to the menus, any fears caused by his departure from the game can safely be allayed. Although these are early impressions I have faith that Matsuno’s vision has been held throughout the game and will become yet another masterfully crafted experience.

Covetous

Combine the void of waiting for FFXII and the now confirmed slippage of TBC into ’07 I’ve come to realize how busy this quarter is for gaming. I haven’t even really paid attention to the release dates and already I have a growing list of must-haves or really-wants. If I had a large disposable income I could top 5 bills not including any new systems, easily. Toss in my continuing desire to pick up a 360 (finally) and I’d just be wrecked, both financially and time-wise.

It’s just impossible to work in that many games into my busy schedule and that’s not even bringing in my back-log of games that I continue to neglect, but still would like to finish. Thank god Blizzard pulled another Blizzard and delayed the expansion. If TBC were to have come out this quarter … At least now I’ll have some time to work on that back-log as well as add to it.

Obviously FFXII will take precedence over everything else for my gaming time. However it might still be a good idea to plan out in what order I’ll try to tackle things. Grandia III is high on my list of must-plays, but there’s also .Hack//G.U. vol.1/Rebirth that looks incredibly intriguing. My love for the Shin Megami Tensei series (even though to this day I’ve never completed a single title) compels me to pick up Devil Summoner, especially since it’ll more than likely be a limited run.

Then there’s this little game called Ookami that I’d love to dig into. The artistic visuals appeal to me and I’ve heard countless comparisons to Zelda which happens to be my all-time favorite Nintendo franchise. Which also reminds me that the Twilight Princess is on the horizon and although I’m opting for the ‘Cube version, I suppose the temptation might become too great and I’ll end up purchasing a Wii just so I don’t have to wait for the GC version.

And who can forget about PSU? This title could single-handedly keep me occupied completely until TBC. It’s going to be difficult to fight the urge to pick it up this week, but I must stay strong. Forcing myself to get it on PC along with a 360 USB controller should help considering my current financial limitations.

A look at my back-log places things into an even grimmer light; Dragon Quest VIII unfinished, Radiata Stories unfinished, Drakengard 2 unfinished, Shadow of the Colossus Hard/Time modes not even started, Fable TLC only an hour in, Advent Rising unfinished, Indigo Prophecy still interested, Ratchet and Clank: Deadlocked not even started.

I suppose I have no choice but to pace myself, ugh.

Anticipation

Waiting sucks, horribly. A week until Phantasy Star Universe, two until Final Fantasy XII. Then there’s the unknown amount of time until the Burning Crusade hits. At least I don’t have a 360 to add to the mess, nor plans for picking up a PS3 and/or Wii.

I tried to bide my time with MGS3, but that was a complete failure. I’m not sure why either. Oh wait I know … ALWAYS getting spotted at an inoppurtune time and then frantically running around trying to wait out the alert timer. The camera really really frustrates me in MGS3 even though I never really had a problem in MGS or MGS2. *shrug*

So alas I haven’t really gamed since finishing up KH2. At least not having something to soak up my freetime has given me oppurtunities to work on my portfolio. The fruits of which should be forthcoming by the end-of-the-week, I hope. It’s just a weird feeling, almost like an emptiness. Then just as Murphy’s law would have it, I’ll have TOO much gaming to do and not enough time to do it in. Time to start drinking coffee 24/7 and running off of 2 or 3 hrs of sleep …”jay slash kay el oh el”

At least working monday through friday makes the weeks go by quickly. Before I know it, I’ll be heading over to Best Buy to pick up PSU (PC) and EB to pick up my Collector’s Edition of FFXII. Although there is the possibility I may hold off on PSU until after I finish FFXII. If only because I’ll want to pick up a USB 360 controller for console control godliness; I just can’t picture trying to play PSU on a keyboard.

Outside of the gaming world I seemingly live in I’m really looking forward to the next NIN album. Oh, and the new Incubus might be worthwhile as well considering the single sounds more like their older funkier stuff. I’ve found myself listening to a lot more NIN recently as it really sparks my creative juices. There’s just something about Trent Reznor that strikes a chord within me … not quite kindred spirits, but y’know … there’s something.

Anyways, it’s getting late and as usual, have a big day at work tomorrow. Adios!