Saturday, 31 July 2010

Final Fantasy XIV Beta: Making a Character

I finally managed to get a chance to play the Final Fantasy XIV beta after much trouble, unfortunately my experience with it was less than perfect as I found out whilst playing that I need a new graphics card to run the game from. Nevertheless I did play enough to get a fairly good idea of what gameplay is like, including creating a character which has got more advanced than previously! (Sorry for the poor quality pictures prtscrn didn;t seem to want to work)

Much like it's predessor, Final Fantasy XIV allows players to create their own unique character, this time thought the systems is a little different and allows for more customisation. To start off you choose your race, you can select from 4 different types; Hyur (Humans), Elezen (Elves), Lalafell (children like dwarfs), Roegadyn (Big kinda...things) and finally Miqo'te (Cat girl). Whilst most classes have the option to choose gender Roegadyn and Miqo'te only come in Male and female respectively.

After choosing your race you can choose a sub race such as Highland Hyur which look more like you Western style characters or for Miqo'te Keepers of the Moon who have much more darker look to them. From their you choose a template and can begin modifying hair styles, eye colour, eye shape and a hope host of other things such as a selection of features. It's a shame that the level of customisation isn't on the same level as other rpgs such as Mass Effect or A.P.B. but it is an improvement from the first online attempt by Square.

Next you get to choose a class for your character, this time things have really expanded. This time allowing players to choose from 2 distinct paths for their character, the path of war where you can select a character to follow the disciplines of war or magic character or the path of craft where you choose the disciplines of Land or the crafting. It's good to see such a wide range of options that will surely cater to everyone's pallet but with the craft options as a class it's hard to see many players choosing this. In the end I choose to follow the Discipline of War as it was what was most familiar to me.

From there you choose one of 5 even more specialised versions of that class; Pugilist (hand to hand), Marauder (Axes), Gladiator (Swords), Archer (Bow and arrows) or Lancer (Polearms). Hopefully when it comes to playing the game characters won't always have to battle with their respective specialised weapons as part of the fun in the previous installment was trying new types of weapons.

After you can choose a guardian deity, I haven't found out what this will do yet but I have a theory that it may have something to do with a character's special abilities, and don't worry about choosing one in fear of everyone having the same, there are 12 different deities to choose from.

Next you name you character, then you can select your server from the several currently availible so that if you have a friend who wants to play too you can tell them which one you're on and you can easily play together. You then choose your starting town and from there you'll be ready to play!

Overall this new character systems is a bit lacking in customisation considering other RPG but it does have a fair indepth class slection system, if this is a good thing or will limited players is yet to be known, considering Final Fantasy XI this character creation process has taken a leap including a nice layout that's easy to understand with gamepad friendly navigation. The graphics are a huge improvement (they had better be considering the min. requirements) and are a real treat for the eyes. This game is more than likely going to pull in fans from XI but hopefully it'll bring in more players from outside of Square's fan base.

To find more information on Final Fantasy XIV, check out the official website!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Blog moves on to the hit count 1,000! (Just 280 hits late)

Well here we are, one thousand (two hundred and eighty) hits later and I'm still going strong, thank you so much to every one who has come here by accident think they were going to get something interesting and an even bigger thank you to those who came, liked what they saw and came back again!

Even though over the last month or so I haven't been that active for personal reasons, I've been trying to complete all the things that I want to do this summer, whilst also keeping this up, but other predicaments have come up unfortunately. Hopefully for now the drama is over and I can get back to telling you things that you don't care about but you still come here to read.

It's really humbling to think that one thousand people have taken an interest in my little articles, features and ramblings, so as promised here is that 1,000 hits thank you image! (Sorry it took a while).

Thank you everyone!

Ken Recommends: How To Destroy Angels EP Review

Trent Reznor is back making music after his announcement of "putting Nine Inch Nails away for a while". His new band named "How To Destroy Angels" with his lovely wife Mariqueen Maandig and cohort Atticus Ross (Previously worked with Reznor of Ghosts I-IV) is set to hopefully give some music to long time fans but hopefully bring in a whole new audience with this new sound, so how does the EP stand up to Reznor's already impressive back log?

To start off the EP consists of 6 Tracks which all have the polish that would normally be found on the finally product, so at this stage who knows how the final album will sound like. Any one familiar with Reznor's later works such as "Ghosts" or "The Slip" will find the sound of the album to be like an old friend who has recently had a bit of a make over.

Full of electronic beats and interesting sounds that could only be describe as the communication of electrical devices will always keep the listener interested, the mix of guitar drones and slick bass lines help create a hypnotic atmosphere that is only re-enforced by it's driving drums beats. What truly makes this EP stand out are the vocals provided by Maandig, her voice creates a mixture of both alluring and beautiful meoldies. Accompanied by the electronic beats and cutting drum riffs makes this singer sound like a morden day Siren.

The first single "The Spaces Inbetween" sets the tone nicely for this band as it shows the type of music they want to present. With an opening and verse that sucks you with it's strict drums and large drones, Maandigs voice floats in almost as if in a dream. What really makes this a great track is the chorus, opening into a cresendo of sounds like stars falling from the sky. So much detail has been put in to keep the listener interested, you may not notice it the first time but it really does seperate this band from other Electronic based bands out there.

Another noticble track is "Fur lined" with it's faster pace and it's more traditional song structure makes this a song thats just begging to be played in a club. With a Bass that really fills out the track and Guitar parts that are so simple they're ingenius it shows that Reznor and Ross can still create a song that can appeal to winder audiences.

When listening to this EP NIN fans will instantly recognise this as a cousin of sorts to albums like "With Teeth" and "The Slip", but with a more experimental sound and Maandig's voice creating a whole new identity for the band How To Destroy Angels should be a lot more accessible to a wider audience, especially considering you can download it for free from the band's website.

Overall a great album especially for those into more experimental or electronic music, with some really interesting highlights this is one that you're going to have to keep you're eye on.

Downloand the EP for free below:

Got something to say? leave a comment!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Ken Recommends: Inception

Release: 16/07/10
Running Time: 148 mins.
Studio: Syncopy (in association with Legendary Pictures)
Genre: Action/Adventure
Rating: 12+
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page and Ken Watanabe.

Inception. This is a hard one to review without giving away many details as once again writer/director Christoper Nolan has created an excellent blockbuster movie that breaksaway and stands out from the rest.

The basic concept of Inception is that people's dreams can be places of imaginable potential but also a place where people can be at their weakest. Enter a group of people who enter dreams to steal information for whom ever has employed them. With it's tricky conpect to pull of as a summer blockbuster Nolan does a great job of this creating amazing scenes and tense moments for viewers to enjoy, if you liked last seasons's Shutter Island you'll more than probably like Inception. Unfortunaelty I could talk more about this movie's plot but it'll ruin it for you, part of the enjoyment of this film is watching the plot unfold like a piece of origami.

The writing is on a top quality level which if it hadn't could have made the whole concept seem ridiculous, the characters all seem thought out but do fall into character achetypes which makes them fairly interchangable but none the less convincing achetypes. The music fits the mood of the film and helps it flow adding more tension where needed leading to edge of your seat moments.

What really carrys this movie though is DiCaprio, since his role in "The Departed" it seems this once teen heart throbe has cast off that identity and emerged a hard boiled and engaging actor but it's also good to see that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has found a great pair of acting chops considering his roots in TV (Tommy in 3rd Rock From The Sun).

Overall this is a great film and definetly worth atleast one watch unfortunately it does run around 2 and a half hours long, suffering from the same problems as both Nolan's previous blockbusters; Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. You may find yourself just 10 minuetes from the end thinking "come on, wrap up already". When you include cinema ads you'll have been sat down for 3 hours once you come out so I suggest arriving 5-10 mins after the start time to help soften this blow.

An excellent action/thriller for the summer with a good strong cast and concept, try catch this one whilst it's still on the big screen.

Liked this review? Leave a comment!

Final Fantasy XIV Beta: Player's Site

So I've been trying to get onto this beta for over a week now after being given the invitation to join it, luckily I finally managed to get the download client to get to work (through means probably not appricieated by Square Enix). Unfortunately I've not be able to play the game at all due to server errors and a whole host of other problems. Apparently scheduled tests have even had to be cancelled due to technical errors, as far as betas go this one has seen some terrible problems which reflects badly on Square Enix, especially if they're expecting to get this out by september and have people pay a month fee for it.

Overall the beta test seems like a terrible waste of time both for the people behind it and the selected testers but I am able to bring you some news about what will be coming out to accompany new and old mmo players for Final Fantasy XIV. Square have created a "Players Site" which will alows players to connect more easily after reading the features (See below) it seems like a myspace/facebook type of site for FF XIV.

Site Features

- Home
View your character's profile, write a blog, and follow other users.
The most recent posts to the Players' Site—as well as comments to your blog—are displayed on your top page.
  • Character Profile
    View your character's data.
    -Displayed information
    Character name (World name) / Race / Class / Nameday / Guardian / Starting City / Physical Level / Experience / Points / HP / MP / TP / Attributes (STR, INT, etc.) / Elements / Skill List
  • Blog
    Maintain a blog with entries of your adventures and escapades.
  • Follow
    See what other users on the Players' Site have been writing about in their blogs.
    *A log of the posts by players you are following will be displayed under "Posts" in the Follow section of your page.

- Account Settings
Select the character you wish to use the site with, upload images, and more.

- Search
Use this helpful feature to find characters and blogs on the Players' Site.

- Character Pages
View other player's character profiles and blogs, and see who they're following.

This seems like a great idea for people keeping in touch with each other outside of the game, as a play of Square's previous online effort; Final Fantasy XI. I can say that it was extremely hard to keep in touch and plan things, now if they add a feature messaging feature that'll also notify players in-game such as "Hey you playing today? want to go raid that huge dungeon we saw last time?" that would be pretty cool, but for now who knows how this will turn out as the beta has seem to have fallen flat on it's face.

If you're not on the beta and want me to try forward something on, an idea or feature you'd like to see just leave me a comment below!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Final Fantasy XIV Beta

For those interested in video games it's no surprise that Final Fantasy XIV was announced last year, but it was a shock when Square Enix announced that it will be a online MMORPG in the same style as Final Fantasy XI. News around the next installment has been fairly quiet with tid bits of information being released every now and then to wet excited players' taste buds.

Recently Square Enix have announced that release dates for the PC and Playstation 3 version of the game (20/09/10 for PC and ??/03/11 for PS3 ) but no announce ment of an X-Box 360 version (for now). Along with release dates Square have also revealed that there will be two editions, a standard and a Limited Edition (that's released a week earlier on the 22 september 2010) that comes with a collection of goodies!

Before the game hits retail Square have allowed people to apply to become a beta tester for the game to report on bugs and the genre style of the game to help on improving it before it hits retail. For those who played Square's previous online it was far from perfect but did deliver an enjoyable game, with an exciting world and a great community. It's only failings were the leveling and questing system which proved to be lengthy and often dull.

Now I have been lucky enough to have been selected to be apart of the beta unfortunately I have had to agree to confidentiality on information about the game it's self but with online games there is usually an asking price to play per month and FFXIV's will be a cheeky £8.99. So I will be giving little updates here and there to help my readers decide if the new game will be worth the admission cost.

Unfortunately I can't give much of a scoop right now as I can't get even the download client to work at the moment, but I am working furiously to try fix it. I do hope it's not my archaic Graphics Card...

Stay Posted for more Final Fantasy XIV News!
Check out the website for more info on the game, screenshots, trailers and more!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Ken Recommends: How To Destroy Angels

After last year's announcement of Trent Reznor putting Nine Inch Nails away for a while and even completely retiring the concept of Nine Inch Nails touring many fans were most likely shocked and are bewildered about what this could mean for the future of one of modern music's most inventive musicians.

Fortunately for last month Reznor announced a new project with Atticus Ross and his wife; Mariqueen Maandig, with this announcement also came a release of a 6 track digital EP that is either free to download or by paying a small amount of $2 you can get a hi-def version that includes a HD download of the Music Video for "The Spaces Inbetween" from the EP. The physical copy of this EP will be released in the UK on 19/7/10.

The music is in a very similar to later Nine Inch Nails albums, most notable 2008's "The Slip", but with some driving beats and Maandig's vocals giving it a much different spin to the usual formula that may make it more accessible to new listeners.

In other news it's been revealed via that Reznor and Ross have scored and are beginning to record the music to David Fincher's upcoming movie "The Social Network". It seems that Reznor is more than pleased with the outcome so far and reports on the movie; "It's really fucking good. And dark!"

All this news is sure to bring some faith back to fans that Reznor hasn't given up on music and is more busy than ever. To download the new EP click on the link below, and also check out the website for Fincher's new film "The Social Network"!

Keep coming back for more updates including a review of the new EP!