Site Updates

I’m currently undertaking the task of trying to make the site a bit more uniform. The next week or two will be slow as I am pouring through the archive of posts and making formatting corrections, etc.

Many of the original posts on this site were migrated from my old blog and there were still some nagging layout problems that I’ve always wanting to correct. I’m finally taking the time to do it.

Once this is complete, I have a several reviews to post. The GameCube/PS2 era is just around the corner!

FFXIV: Version 4.2 Update

I’m little late getting this post in, but I’ve finally had time to dive into the latest update for Final Fantasy XIV. Like most point releases, this patch adds several new things to the game. But sadly, one of the biggest pieces of content will have to wait a little while longer. The addition of the Eureka battle system has been pushed back to 4.25. I won’t be reviewing that update separately, but I will throw a little sidebar discussion into my 4.3 post at a later date.

So, what is included here?  Well, the BIG focus on this patch are some new main scenario quests. (Including the introduction of a new character). These are very story-focused. And, I LOVE where the story is headed! This new storyline sucked me right in and really got me excited to see what’s coming down the pike. I hope SE can maintain this momentum. Of course, there is more packed into this update. So let’s take a look in detail:

  • New main scenario and side quests
  • A new Aetheryte
  • New Dungeons
  • New Raid content
  • New Omega content
  • A new trial (The Jade Stoa)
  • An update to the glamour system and the addition of a glamour-related minigame
  • New beast tribe quests
  • New Treasure Hunt content
  • A new Submarine option for Free Companies
  • New PVP content
  • Various refinements, balancing changes, items, and Q.O.L tweaks.

I was really bummed to see the Eureka content and the new Hildibrand quests pushed back for a future update, but I was quite pleased with many of the surprise changes that were included. By far, one of the most welcome is the revamp to the glamour system. Glamours have been redesigned from the ground up. As a result, the system is much more useful and also helps alleviate inventory woes by converting a large chunk of vanity gear into “glamour plates” that are stored outside your character’s inventory. This change has also resulted in SE again making an update the inventory UI. Many people are complaining about this, but personally – I’ve have no issues with the change. What inventory space is seemingly “lost” by the update, is regained in the form of a saddlebag.

Another interesting new feature is the ability to now record duties for later playback. This is an interesting concept. The idea here is to be able to playback battles and other group content for review and learning purposes. You can switch between the perspective of various players, pause, and slow down/speed up playback, etc. A very handy feature!

In a nutshell, 4.2 is a pretty typical but solid update. Final Fantasy XIV continues to grow and expand, and this patch really gives a glimpse into what type of changes might lie in store. This game has come extremely far since the rough days of 1.0. I can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon.

I give this patch a rating of:  A

 

New Year 2018 – Update

Well, 2018 is finally here. My last full “update” post was in Spring of 2017. Prior to that, I posted one in Fall of 2016 where I outlined my plans for the next year. I’m happy to say that I pretty much managed to keep my promises as far as progress on my backlog. I had hoped to be finished with the PS1/N64 era by the end of 2017.  I fell short of this goal by just two games, Parasite Eve 2 and Xenogears.  I’m playing Parasite Eve 2 now and I expect to be finished within a week or two. Hopefully, Xeno will be complete by the end of February and I can start the next gen in time for Spring! (But knowing my track record, that probably won’t be the case…)

So where does that put us? Well, allow me a moment to explain how exactly I choose which games to play. First of all, I make a list of popular or important titles by system. Then, I break them down by year. Games that I want to play or games that tie-in to other reviews on this blog take priority. After that, I finish up the remaining titles on my list. Before moving on to the next generation, I check to see if there is anything that I may have overlooked. If a certain title catches my eye, I’ll play it

To date, I’ve covered, NES, SNES, Gameboy, N64, PS1 and 80’s-90’s PC titles. Of course, I occasionally throw in new game review or go off on tangents that take me to more modern systems (my Final Fantasy and Castlevania reviews for example).

Occasionally, I get emails from people to the effect of “How can you not play [your favorite game here]?? It was only one of the best games for the [your favorite system here]!!!” – Well, as much as I’d like to, it’s simply impossible to play EVERY game for every system. So, I pick the ones that I feel are important and go from there. Once I’m all caught up, I do plan to go back and fill in some gaps. Heck, I might even do so before I conquer the backlog. It’s my blog after all… But I have to set some type of limitation. If not, I’d be stuck on the PS1 era forever. There were SO MANY truly fantastic games released for that system alone.  Plus, skipping a few titles has actually worked out very well for me. For example, one classic SNES game that I did not review was Street Fighter II. A game loved by many gamers my age. I too have very fond memories of sitting on the living room floor with friends, playing that game until all hours of the night. But I just didn’t have time to fit it in with all my other reviews. Well, in a few months we will be treated to a special Street Fighter Collection by Capcom. This release is the perfect time to revisit that game, as well as other titles in the series!

So what lies ahead. Well, for the immediate future I do plan to post my reviews for Parasite Eve 2 and Xenogears. These will be my final Sony PlayStation reviews from the backlog list.  I’ll end the era with a look at Tomb Raider 4 and 5 for PC. Then it’s on to a very brief catch-up on some Game Boy Color games (Pokemon Silver/Gold/Crystal, and The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Ages/Seasons).  Once those are out of the way, we move on to the next generational phase, which consists of: Nintendo GameCube, Playstation 2, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, and various PC titles from 2000-2005. I expect this phase to take me into late 2019 to mid 2020. Some of these systems have very few games worthy of mention (looking at you, GameCube and Xbox), plus the time gap between eras is getting much shorter and some of the key titles from that era have already been covered.

I do have a couple of planned side-treks. First, at the end of this month a new game in the Final Fantasy series is being released, Final Fantasy Dissidia NT – a brawler that features Final Fantasy characters. I want to dive into this this game as soon as it comes out. But before doing so, I want to catch up on the Dissidia series. So I’ll be reviewing the first two Dissidia titles in the next few weeks.

Second, I have a VERY strong suspicion that 2018 will see a remastered version of Shenmue. This is a rare and beloved Dreamcast title that I never had the pleasure of experiencing. I fully intend to check that out at release as well, assuming of course that the rumors of it’s release are actually true.

Finally, I want to play and review a few classic PC titles from the Ultima and Elder Scrolls series that I neglected to play through. Not to mention, I have a brand new Nintendo Switch to explore…

I may try to fit many of these side-treks into the space between my generational playthroughs.

Oh! And let’s not forget the seasonal reviews! Something flirty and cute for Valentines Day and something spooky for October.

So yeah, welcome to the confusing world that is my mind.

Blah… backlog. May I live to see the end.

Games aside, my blog will continue to host reviews and discussions on other subjects of interest. D&D, music, Star Wars, coffee, and film. Yes! 2018 will see the debut of television/film reviews. Again, these will most be nostalgia trips. But most of my traffic comes from retro-related reviews and discussions.

So there we are. If all goes according to plan, we will be ready to start Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 sometime around 2020! How’s that for long-term goals?

Brief Update

I would like to apologize for the lack of updates in the last month. In a nutshell, I’ve been away dealing with some real life issues. Some things came up that required my full attention. For the last thirty days or so I’ve been focused solely on dealing with these issues that I’ve not spent a moment thinking about games or other subjects that I frequently cover on this site.  Things are slowly starting to normalize, and I expect that within a month’s time I should be posting regularly again. I appreciate some of the kind words I’ve received and your support.

Spring Cleaning 2017

So, I feel it’s time for a little update.

My game playthroughs are still on track. I actually hope to have the N64/PS1 era finished with the end of this year, we’ll see. Next up in my queue are Planescape Torment for the PC,  Resident Evil 3 and Final Fantasy Tactics for PS1, and Majora’s Mask for N64.  These are my current “Must Plays”. Once these are out of the way, I’ll be taking a look over my library to see if there are any other iconic games from the era before moving on.  Next up will be a handful of portable games (ie: The Zelda Oracle titles, 2nd Generation Pokemon, etc). When this blog first went live, I talked about the history of video games as experienced through my eyes. I discussed coin-op games like Centipede and Asteroids. This carried over to the Atari 2600, then the NES. I’ve covered a lot of ground in the years that I’ve been writing here. At this point, we’ve reached the half-way mark to catching up to the present day of gaming. Once this occurs, I’ll be playing and reviewing games as they are released, with the occasional retro-review thrown in.

Since the inception of this blog, I’ve slowly expanded the content from being just about video games to other forms of Nerdery.  Sometimes I write about comic books, Dungeons & Dragons, and of course Star Wars. Last year saw the introduction of my “Nerd Fuel” coffee reviews. During my New Year’s update, I also teased that I’d be expanding the subject matter even further. RetroSensei has always been a site about things that interest me. Nerd Culture, Video Games, etc. So, in keeping with that tradition, this year will see the introduction of a few other of my passions: Film and Music.

Film has always been a centerpiece of nerd culture. From B-Movies to blockbuster Super Hero flicks, nerds have taken over the world. In the coming weeks, I’m going to start discussing and reviewing some of my favorite nerd-friendly films. Sci Fi, Fantasy, Horror, etc. If you’re reading this site, you likely share my interests in a number of these subjects. So perhaps you’ll enjoy seeing my perspective, or better yet, maybe you’ll be introduced to a movie or show that you never knew about.

The same applies to my love for music. I don’t write about this often, but during my teenage and early adult years, I played in a punk rock band. My love for music knows no bounds. I enjoy everything from jazz to folk, r&b to metal. You name it. – But, rock music in particular is a passion of mine. It’s a passion that many nerds over the years have shared. If you conjure a mental image in your mind of nerdy grognards from the 80’s huddled over a table, rolling dice in a D&D game – what are they wearing? Most people will answer “rock t-shirts”. Grateful Dead, Metallica, Jimi Hendrix, the list goes on and on.  Starting soon, I’m going to begin sharing my passion for rock music. I’m going to be diving into my archive and discussing albums that have inspired and touched me over the years. Again, I hope some of you enjoy revisiting these with me, or better yet, if you’re a young reader – perhaps I can introduce you to a new world that you’ll love as much as I do.

So, there’s a lot of good stuff coming soon. I also have a few other plans for the site that I’m not ready to reveal yet. So stay tuned.

Happy New Year! (2017)

With 2016 behind us, let me take a moment to share my plans for the new year.

In terms of this site, I got a lot done last year. For RetroSensei, 2016 was the year of Final Fantasy.  That being said, 2017 is going to be the year of the backlog. It is my intention to make great headway in playing-through many of the more iconic games of yesteryear. So far on this site, I’ve touched on the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. Currently, I’m mixing things up between the N64, PS1 and late-90’s PC games. This will continue.

On the agenda for the comings months are classics like; Ocarina of Time & Majora’s Mask, Final Fantasy Tactics, Resident Evil 2 &3, Baldur’s Gate 2, etc.

I’ll continue to provide updates for FFXIV as well as occasionally touching on some other modern titles. Also, this year I plan to post more general articles, something I have not done in a while.

I have a few other ideas for 2017 that I’m not really ready to announce yet… but rest assured – I have some plans that will lay the groundwork for some big changes to the site.

Retrosensei.net has always been a very personal project of mine.  I write here mostly for my own amusement, it is a journal of my own interests. But, since the inception of this site I’ve watched the daily pageviews grow. In the age of YouTube and drive-by content delivery, I’ve been proud to present a site that focuses largely on the written word. I’ll continue to do that, but I may also open myself up to other mediums of content as well.

As always, follow me on Twitter for the most up-to-date gaming news. Twitter is my live playground.

Fall 2016 – Update

It’s been a while since I gave a site update, so here we are!

My main focus is still the same: burning through my backlog and sharing my thoughts and reviews. I am still currently in the PS1/N64 era of gaming, but the end is sight. To give you an idea on what I have planned for the coming months, I have a list of games that include classics like: Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, Resident Evil 2 and 3, and Baldur’s Gate II.

Currently, this campaign is in a bit of a holding pattern. I’m clearing my gaming calendar for the upcoming Final Fantasy XV release. I’ll be picking the game up at midnight tonight and once I do, I’ll be dedicating all of game time to finishing it so that I can provide you with a review as soon as possible.  Once this title has been filed away, I’ll be pursuing my playthrough campaign full steam ahead.

Of course, I’ll still make the occasional exception. For example, in the coming days I have some interesting articles planned to hold everyone over until the XV review is posted. These include an update on the current status of No Man’s Sky and FFXIV, a plethora of Star Wars content, as well as a few other surprises. So stay tuned as I wrap up 2016 and look forward to the future. I have some big plans on the horizon and 2017 is going to be a good year for this blog.

FFXIV: Version 3.3 Update

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Since completing my post on Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, Square Enix has released the anticipated 3.3 patch. For many players, 3.3 was expected to be a much needed shot in the arm for a game that has slowly been slipping into a lull. So, what all is included in the 3.3 patch? Let’s take a brief look:

*This patch adds new content that continues the main scenario (Heavensward) story line, and makes a adjustments to previous main scenario quests.

*New misc quests added and adjustments to existing quests (Including a new category of daily Beast Tribe quests)

*New Raid added: The Weeping City

*Two new Dungeons, and new trials added.

*Adds a new tier to the Anima Weapon progression

*A new “treasure hunt dungeon” the Aquapolis.

*More Player Housing zones added, new furniture items added and a new “Flower Pot” system introduced.

*New items and mini-game adjustments, new player hairstyles and emotes.

*New “RaidFinder” system added.

*New PVP System “Shatter”

*Misc fixes, balance adjustments, and UI updates

Wow! That’s quite a lot of content. Sadly, one of the announced features that I was most looking forward to, was not included in this update (The Undead Dungeon), so I supposed I’ll have to wait a little long for 3.35 before I can sink my teeth into that one. But aside from that, this was my experience with the 3.3 update:

I played through all of the new main scenario and misc quests in about three days. This includes the new dungeons and trials. By the 5th day I had completed the new raid. Despite having cleared a majority of the new content already, the rewards provided by these new additions certainly make the very re-playable. It’s easy to see that the Heavensward story is quickly coming to a close. I expect soon that SE will make an announcement regarding the next expansion. Once that occurs, I only expect a couple more major patches for 3.x.

All in all, I give this patch a rating of:   B

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Updates: Looking ahead to 2016

Happy New Year! I hope this new year finds you all in good health and good spirits! As per tradition, I wanted to take a moment to give everyone an update on the status of the blog.  2015 saw this site dominated mostly by two things, my Final Fantasy playthrough initiative and Star Wars. Yes, it has taken me a whole year to play through and discuss Final Fantasy IX-XIII, which doesn’t sound like much progress, but in reality that’s a total of eight games, one of which is an MMO with multiple expansions. Plus…. it’s MY blog so I can do what I want, according to my own timetable   😛

This year will see my big Final Fantasy push come to a close within the first few months. I’m currently playing through Lightning Returns. Once that’s finished, I’ll provide some thoughts on XIV (I game I play nearly every day). The backlog will finish out with Dissidia and Type-0. So once I’m all caught up with the series, it will be about time for XV to drop. I am looking very forward to being able to play and review XV while it’s still fresh.

Gamewise, once the Final Fantasy stuff is out of the way, I’ll resuming my regular schedule by playing through a number of PS1 titles. This will be followed by Gameboy Color, N64, the onward to some of the PC games from the turn of the century, etc. Believe it or not, I really do have a plan… it’s just as twisted an convoluted as my cluttered mind.  Essentially, this site serves and both a trip down memory lane for me (in terms of gaming), as well as a great project to help me plow through the endless backlog that many of us gamers find ourselves with. At the rate I’m going, I can foresee me clearing the out the cobwebs on nearly everything I want to play within the next three to four years.

I hope those of you that read this blog regularly enjoy this journey with me. I do see site analytics and while this site is not a traffic hog, it does see a lot of regular activity. There’s a handful of what seem like steady readers. I don’t know if they are silent friends or strangers interested in what I’m doing, but they are there and I hope they like what they see. The rest of the traffic on this site is often driven from search engine results. People looking for reviews on certain games, etc.

2015 saw both the birth and hiatus of the RetroSensei Podcast. I’d really like to be able to give a return date, but that’s still up in the air. Running a podcast is pricier than you may think. It’s not break-the-bank expensive, but if you want to do it right, there are costs involved. For me, this ended up being close to $20 a month. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but as I mentioned before, due to unforeseen home repairs I found myself in a position to save every dollar I could manage.  For those interested, the repairs are going well. The kitchen floor has been repaired/replaced. This leaves me with some remaining plumbing work, and the installation of a new septic system. This is a several thousand dollar job, but one I hope to complete within the coming months. My biggest obstacle right now is the weather. It has rained here for what seems like two months straight. So at this point we are waiting for the ground to dry out and toughen back up before we start digging. — In a nutshell, once the time is right to relaunch the podcast, I will make sure everyone knows.

Christmas was good in terms of gaming this year. My kids are both full-fledged gamers now. My oldest son has actually discovered the world of Steam. He’s spent the last few weeks enjoying games like Quake and Half-Life. The two of us have even played a few Deathmatch rounds together. My youngest, is still very much a junior gamer. He’s Lego and Minecraft obsessed.

That’s the status of things currently. As typical for me, I have a weeks vacation that I take every January. During that time, I plan to finish up the last FFXIII game. So I hope to have all my Final Fantasy posts out of the way by the beginning of March. Once this is done, things will begin to be a lot more diverse. So stay tuned and have a happy new year!

 

Updates: Fall 2015

Hello readers. I wanted to take a few moments to provide some updates regarding that status of this little blog of mine.

First, I’m sad to announce a temporary hiatus in regards to the RetroSensei Podcast. Recently, I experienced some plumbing problems in my home that did great damage to a large part of my kitchen floor. As a result, I now face what will likely be a pretty expensive repair bill. Luckily, insurance will cover a big part of it, but I do expect to have some out-of-pocket expenses. As a result, I’m tightening up the household budget and eliminating any extra expenses. As some of you probably know, to host a podcast there are fees involved. My monthly host currently charges about $17 a month for the plan I needed. While I know that $17 doesn’t sound like a lot of money, every bit counts. So the decision was made to put the podcast on hold until this whole fiasco is sorted out.

That being said, the monthly cost of running this site is considerably less, and that will go untouched. So have no fear, the blog is not going anywhere! Plus, the podcast will return at some point. In the meantime, I’ll be posting an archive of the old episodes in the very near future.

So, what else is going on? Well, as far as game reviews go, I’m continuing with my Final Fantasy playthrough. I plan to be caught up on my reviews just in time for the release of XV. Also, it’s now October… that means it’s also time for some scary games. I don’t intend on a month-long extravaganza like I had last year. But stay tuned, I promise to deliver some spooky game reviews as always.