What Entertainment Product(s) Have I Been Consuming This Week – 3rd June 2016

In the first of what may be a regular feature but, in all likelihood, will be something I do for a couple of weeks and then mostly forget about apart from a small kernel of intellectual guilt that remains deep in my soul, here is the badly-titled post where I tell you – the people – what I – the person – have been playing/watching/reading/listening to this week.

Final Fantasy XIII: Six years after my first abandoned playthrough, spurred on by the fact that (for reasons probably best ignored) I’ve recently acquired the other two games in the trilogy, I have been attempting to make it through Square-Enix’s much-maligned last big single-player, single-numeral entry in the series. In the past I’ve been quite adamant that I didn’t like XIII, mainly due to the battle system that I just couldn’t get along with. Having started the game afresh, though, I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. True, the combat mechanics mean that many fights can devolve into wars of attrition, but there’s a tactical element to it that I hadn’t really tuned into before.

It does, however, have possibly the worst opening of any game I’ve ever played. Certainly of any big title. There are some stunning CGI sequences, but the first few hours (hours!) of the game are just exercises in tedium. Walk down a corridor, enter a battle that is so simple it really is just a matter of selecting ‘Auto-Battle’ four times in a row, walk down another corridor, watch a cutscene, rinse, repeat. The mechanics of the game are introduced so slowly but not really explained in great detail unless you read the in-game codex. Just get on with it! Thankfully, now some 30+ hours in, I’ve got to the world of Gran Pulse and can actually walk around a bit and do sub-questy type things. Hurrah! This really is a game that rewards invested time, because it does get a lot better both in terms of gameplay and storyline, I just wish it didn’t take so damned long.

Also, Vanille is incredibly annoying.

The Witcher 3: Well, technically what I’ve done this week is bought and downloaded the Heart of Stone and Blood and Wine DLC and spent hours re-installing the game on my PS4. I played it for a few minutes, picking up where I left off with my post-end-game save, though seem to have stumbled immediately upon an XP bug where my character seems stuck at 2000/2000 points on level 35. There’s a few things the Internet suggests to try that I might have a go at, but haven’t got around to it yet. Looking forward to spending some more time in Geralt’s world, though.

The Flash season two: There’s a current void in my life that will remain unfilled until The Flash comes back later this year. I think I’ll do a separate post on the whole season at some point, but suffice to say this has been a great season. Perhaps not quite as good as the first, it’s still managed to be consistently entertaining for twenty-three episodes. And that ending. Holy-shit-pants.

What makes the show so great is the cast. Grant Gustin is fantastic as the eponymous hero, and it seems such a shame that the DC movies won’t feature him. Also Tom Cavanagh has rapidly become one of my favourite actors. More of him, please.

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