Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dissidia: Final Fantasy [Review]

I remember back when Final Fantasy X first came out, I thought it would be amazing if they could make a fighting game where characters from the entire Final Fantasy series could be mashed together as playable characters. Then, as fate would have it, Square Enix announced Dissidia: Final Fantasy, a fighting game featuring characters from all the Final Fantasy's. I was preparing to sue the shit out of them, but, realizing I did not have a copyright on the idea anyway, I just basked in the glorious win of the concept.

Dissidia features 22 playable characters. A hero and a villain each represent Final Fantasy I - X. A hero from Final Fantasy XI and a villain from XII also appear as hidden characters. The story is incredibly basic, surprisingly. It is about a war between Cosmos, the Goddess of Harmony, and Chaos, the God of Discord. Each God chooses 10 champions to wage war against each other, and the war starts to tip towards Chaos' favor. Yeah, they didn't try too hard but it doesn't really matter anyway. The story mode features 10 separate stories, each focusing on a hero from a Final Fantasy and each slightly interlinking with each other through cut scenes.

To be totally honest, the story mode is quite boring. I've always hated story modes in fighting games where the main gameplay involved a freaking board game (Dragonball Z Budokai series). That is exactly what its like in Dissidia. You have a player piece, and you move your piece around regularly engaging enemy pieces, initiating battles. The goal is to engage a piece at the other end of the board. In between these board games, you'll see a cutscene or two. I don't know what they could have done to make an interesting story mode, but this certainly doesn't appeal to me at all.

Fortunately, this is a fighting game, and the fun of this game is in the action. It is not a traditional 2 dimensional fighter; instead you have a third person view and take full advantage of the large, free form arena. The players have two vital numbers: Health Points and Brave Points. HP is basically their life, but BP is like a damage and defense meter. Because of this, each character has two different sets of moves: HP moves and BP moves, each affecting HP and BP respectively. Say you have 1500 BP and the enemy has 200 BP. When you use an HP attack, it will hit for 1200 HP. Simple as that. So your goal in battle will be to lower your enemies' BP with BP moves until it breaks, then strike him down with HP moves.

They wanted to replicate the intense wuxia style battles seen in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and I think they did an incredible job with it. Physics is basically your play thing, and you can defy it anyway you like. You can walk on walls, slide on rails, do mid-air flips and mid-air dashes, and fight fast-paced melee battles in the air. The key is to be as nimble as possible, dodging or blocking enemy attacks and catching them off guard. Characters have a variety of skills they can learn, so gameplay is significantly different between character to character.

I love the soundtrack, mainly because its a nostalgia trip. The game features 2-3 battle themes from the original Final Fantasy games, arranged for Dissidia. You will get to hear old favorites like Clash on the Big Bridge from Final Fantasy V and One Winged Angel from Final Fantasy VII. The story mode also features the main themes from each Final Fantasy game. There are plenty of Dissidia originals, but the key point is definitely the remixes of original battle themes.

And finally, the graphics. Dissidia features some of the best graphics seen in a PSP game. The characters are incredibly detailed and colorful. The battle arenas are reminiscent of familiar Final Fantasy areas like Kefka's tower to the inside of Sin, and all structured in their own unique ways. While the characters do look very good, their faces are always stuck with an emotionless expression, and makes for sort of a dull experience. The voice acting doesn't really help either, so personality is left to familiar dialogue. The problem with the characters and their individual stories is that there is no development, it just seems like a repeat of the troubles they faced in their original games. So while the cut scenes are nice to look at, it usually just consists of the characters standing in one of the battle arenas, exchanging predictable dialogue, complete with their expressionless faces. Still, battles look pretty.

If the story modes got you yawning, there's always arcade mode. It has you selecting your character and playing through a series of battles, just like any fighting game arcade mode. It's great when you don't have any friends to compete against. A notable thing about Dissidia is its extensive customization options. Just like any Final Fantasy game, there is a leveling system. There is a shop where you can buy all sorts of equipment for gil. There are tons of accessories to alter your character's stats, and summons with special abilities that activate during battle. Besides character customization, there are also tons of unlockables you can obtain with points you get from battles. Unlockables include more characters, alternate costumes, music, icons, and much more.

Despite its obvious flaws, Dissidia does a terrific job of making a fun, fast paced fighting game faithfully featuring Final Fantasy characters. Music will fill you with nostalgia, and the graphics are some of the best seen on the PSP. There are tons of stuff to unlock, and hundreds of thousands of ways to customize your characters. All in all, you have to give it up for the gameplay. It takes time to get used to and involves a decent amount of skill to master. When you do, it'll give you hours of fun if you can find a buddy to compete against. Dissidia is recommended to fans and newcomers alike.
Screenshots courtesy of

C.Jin's Overall Score: 8.8


Friday, August 28, 2009


Well, summers over and classes are about to start in just a few days. I won't be able to update as frequently as I did during the summer, and I don't know when the next time I'll get a plamo kit is. I might be able to get the Unicorn or something on my wish list by winter break, but I'll probably spend all money on other stuff like clothes. Anyway, yeah this is just a heads up for the status of this blog. Keep checking back though, I'll have to see how the work load is, I might even have more time to myself than I did in high school.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Top 5 Gundam Girls

No, I'm not talking about those creepy half girl/half Gundam artworks. This is the list for the top 5 female characters in the Gundam universe. Females usually vary greatly between Gundam series in terms of plot importance, so each girl will get their place for various reasons. One of the most important factors is how well they escape their tokenism. By that I mean, are they more than just eye candy? Each entry shines in a certain way, to make their character both attractive as a woman and competent as a person. Of course, having a high level of eye-candy also puts them higher on the list!

*Disclaimer: This list no longer reflects my views. It is very old and I do not plan on updating it any time soon.*

5.  Lacus Clyne

Sure, Lacus Clyne was a fairly annoying character at first, but as it turns out, she grows into a strong, capable leader that even exhibits the ability to go into Seed Mode. Though, her real attribute is of course the fact that she is uber-cute. Who doesn't love a pink-haired girl? Love her or hate her, Lacus is immensely popular Gundam girl and an ample addition to this list.

4. Sayla Mass

As a member of the original White Base crew, Sayla Mass can be considered the first Gundam girl. There are many other females aboard the White Base, but Sayla immediately stands out with her attractive, cute-blonde appearance and no-nonsense attitude. It takes a fair amount of time for her character to develop, but it turns out that she is actually the sister of legendary Char Aznable. Thus, she serves as a conflicted bridge between the heroes and antagonists. She also ends up piloting the Gundam a few times, and becomes the permanent pilot of the G-Fighter, proving she's more than just a token female. Sayla is definitely a top Gundam girl, and one of my favorites.

3. Haman Karn

In terms of character significance and power, Haman Karn can't be beat. She's a major villain in two Gundam storylines, and one of the only female villains at that. Haman Karn is a cold and ruthless leader who uses manipulation and charisma to get her way. Basically, she is a woman who knows how to get what she wants. She's also a powerful Newtype, and pilot of the Qubeley. While she seems to be nothing more than evil at first, side-stories based on her past reveal that she is simply a product of suffering and abuse at the hands of the Federation. Underneath her exterior is a woman who once had a deep compassion for people. With such a tragic and fleshed out story, it's hard not to respect the epic Gundam girl that is Haman Karn.

2. Sumeragi Lee Noriega

Don't let Sumeragi Lee Noriega's sexy businesswoman look fool you; as commander of Celestial Being, she is definitely no push-over. Sumeragi is a master strategist, and defies the normal limits of human thinking by planning complete mind-fucks in the middle of battle. It seems crazy at first, but it somehow always works. She is proof that intelligence is sexy. Oh, and she never seems to be appropriately dressed for combat. Her...assets are always in full view no matter what the situation. A big brain and an even bigger chest? That's a perfect 10 in my book. 

1. Rain Mikamura


While plenty of other Gundam girls have more character depth, Rain is what defines the Gundam girl. She has a sincere personality and a traditional feminine beauty that has men all over the world becoming attracted to her. But she's not just all looks either. Rain is a scientist and an engineer, so like Sumeragi Lee Noriega, she has the looks and the brain. Though unlike most female characters, she also pilots a Gundam, and is a fighter in the tournament. How often do hot girls have this many qualities? Finally, her love story with Domon is one of the only romances in Gundam that actually drives the plot. With all this in mind, it's hard not to acknowledge Rain Mikamura as the poster-girl for Gundam.

Check out my other Gundam Top 5 lists~


Friday, August 21, 2009

HGUC 1/144 Hi-nu Gundam for Sale!

Through some complicated events, I ended up with a brand new HGUC 1/144 Hi-nu Gundam model kit. I already have this kit, so I intend on selling it on ebay.

Read my review to see if you want it: Review

And buy it directly from me! It is a brand new, authentic Bandai product. I will only ship within the U.S. Here's the item:


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

MG 1/100 Wing Gundam Ver.Ka [Review]

Finally, its the Wing Gundam Version Katoki, which means its a re-design of the original Wing Gundam by Hajime Katoki, the designer. My original plan was to get the Wing Zero Custom, but this version really caught my eye. It's nearly the exact same build, the only differences between the two kits are the color scheme, the wings, and the accessories.

This thing is VERY colorful. It's got quite a wide variety of colors combining on each part, but everything mixes and matches quite well. It comes molded in white, red, an orangey yellow, blue, gray, and a darker gray. There are clear pieces for parts of the face and the green orb on its chest. There are foil stickers for two of the small green cameras on its head, a round green one for the chest orb, a green one for the buster rifle, two green ones for the wrists, and the eyes. There's really no need for coloring this kit, its molded in all the right colors.

Alright, here's the first thing you'll notice about this kit. The decal sheet is fucking large. There's at least 100 puny clear sticker decals that go on all over the model. I've used half of the decals in the picture above but look at it just to get an idea of how many there were. It must've taken me longer to stick the decals on than to actually construct the model, and I didn't even put all of them on. It's rather excessive and you can probably do without all of them. In fact, excessive decals and thick panel lining sort of ruin its pure colorful image, so I recommend that you avoid that.

That's not the end of it either. There is also a sheet of dry transfer decals. There's a bunch of really small decals that look just like the clear stickers, but for some reason they're here in dry transfer form too. Most of them go on the buster rifle, and I think this is because the stickers really stick out on a dark surface so dry transfers are preferred. Then, there are the huge logos and markings. This was a big problem because most of them go on really uneven surfaces and if you're not careful, the decal will be ruined. I destroyed two of them trying to rub it on such rough terrain like the multi-tiered wings. You have to cut the decal out as small as possible, possibly even cut it out in the shape of the letters, and tape it down firmly so there is no part of the decal that is not flat on the surface. I have no idea why they want you to put the decals on such an uneven surface; clearly someone just wanted to mess with us (Katoki >_>)

Construction is not as sophisticated as more recent models, so it is a pretty basic build. Its a simple inner frame with several plates of armor going over it. The wings are rather impressive because they are huge and constructed with four differently colored pieces. One thing to note is that the face piece is not secure and can move around if you hit it accidentally. This shouldn't be too much of a problem though. The hand has separate pieces for the thumb and pointer finger, and the other fingers are one piece. It is very firm so no worries there. One small thing that this kit has that the Zero Custom doesn't is the bird claws on the wrists. These are very fragile so be careful.

Articulation is also pretty standard. It doesn't really allow for very dynamic posing, but its feminine legs are good for aerial poses. The thigh joint doesn't allow for very far splitting, but the knee joint is very flexible and along with the folding foot, allows for nice leg poses in aerial shots. The elbow joints seem kind of soft compared to newer kits (which have extremely tough joints) but they hold weapons just find so its not a problem. The wings are particularly steady, as they are inserted through really tough pegs on the backpack and require a ton of force to move around. That means absolutely no sagging of the wings during posing. Note that the wings are pretty heavy and unless you pose it right, the model might fall back due to the weight.

The weapons are the most impressive part of this model. The buster rifle is loooong, about as long as the Gundam itself. Its construction is not just a two half construction either. A part goes in for the barrel, and there are three energy tanks that can spin around and are inserted into the weapon. The end has a small blue shield like extension; I'm not sure what it's for. The handle is not a traditional gun handle, but rather a door handle like closed handle. This is actually a bit of a problem because the weight of this gun makes it sag even though the hands have a firm grip. There are ways to remedy that, like balancing the gun on top of the shield for posing.

It comes with one beam saber and two curved green beams. It also comes with two energy tank containers that each contain three energy reserve tanks for the rifle (looks kind of like a pea pod). These containers fit into the wrists. The most impressive accessory, in my opinion, is the shield. It's simple but it just looks so nice. I think this shield is really what makes the Wing Gundam the Wing Gundam. You can plug the beam saber on the inside of the shield. And finally, there are the gatling cannons on its shoulders. These slide out and aren't really noticeable considering how small they are.

Finally, the trademark of the Wing Gundam: Neo Bird Mode. That's the transformation into the plane. Transformation is really simple: You slide the shoulder armor out and point it downward. The wrists are turned so the "claws" are pointing down, and the reserve tank containers are attached. The feet fold up with the ankle armor and the knee joint is bent back, then down to make a sort of S shape. The wings must be spread and the backpack is pulled out and clipped further down the body. The gun attaches to the shield, and the shield attaches to the backpack. There you have it. I mean, its a hell of a lot simpler than the transformation for the 1/72 VF-25...

The bird mode looks fantastic. It doesn't look tacked on at all and is rather sleek. It's even worth posing in this mode, but I prefer leaving it in mobile suit mode.

Overall, this is a beautiful and incredibly stylish model. When it comes to pure style, the Wing Ver.Ka can't be beat. It's slightly older so you won't find intricate master grade engineering like what you see in, say, the MG Rx-78-2 Gundam ver.2.0, but it holds up just fine and makes up for it with its aesthetic glory. I highly recommend this model, but just be prepared for some back-aching decal applying.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Congressman Who Likes Gundam

I was checking my visitor stats on my statcounter account (I was bored damn it) and I noticed some very interesting things.

For those of you who do not know what statcounter is, it is a website that records and logs your website or blog's hits and # of unique visitors and the like. It has many features, like showing you where the visitor came from, what pages they were on, how long they were on them, and what city and country they reside in. Try it for yourself at (your welcome).

First of all, I've noticed a very high percentage of my visitors are some south east Asia. I've noticed that southern Asian countries are quite into Gundam modeling, but I didn't expect to see them visiting my blog. Amazingly, only about 35% of my visitors are American. About 10 percent is from Europe and Canada, and another 10 percent is spread around the globe, but the rest of the percentages are owed to south east Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. The Philippines are a whopping 16.80%. I'm aware that most of these countries are english speaking countries, so I guess it shouldn't be a surprise to me. Everyday, several hundred of my pageviews are owed solely to these south east Asian countries. Well then, let me take this time to say...


And now a specific discovery. I shouldn't disclose too much information, but I won't be revealing anything private so whatever. One of my visitors got to my website from...THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. The incredible library located in Washington D.C. that has a collection of over 30,000,000 books and contains unfathomable amounts of important American government history. Considering how important this library is, only members of the United States Congress, their staff, Supreme Court Justices, and certain government officials are allowed to access the entirety of the library and check out books. Members of the public can only look around.

Library of Congress reading room

Regular people need a special ID card to access the parts of the library that matter (like the one above), so I'm guessing computers with internet access are located in special resource rooms as well. I highly doubt someone would take a lengthy trip to the Library of Congress and obtain permission to access the computers just to nonchalantly search for Gunpla reviews. So am I to assume that its a member of the United States Congress? Is there a Supreme Court Justice that's secretly interested in Master Grade Gundam models? How peculiar, and somewhat flattering to be honest.

It's probably Congressman Tom Cole. It has to be.

There's plenty more to report, but I'd rather not bore you with the details. All I know is, a high ranking government official scoped through my site and extensively read my MG Nu Gundam review. That is just precious.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gunpla Wishlist 2

A new and updated Gunpla wish list. I've pretty much fulfilled my previous gunpla wish-list (MG Wing Zero Custom was replaced with the Wing Ver.Ka, and the RX-78 OYW was taken off the list) so I've only got one being carried over from the old list and several new ones that are probably subject to change at any moment. I do hope to get them eventually though.

MG 1/100 Unicorn Gundam

Carried over from the old list, I still have my eyes on the Unicorn Gundam. It'll probably be first on my list the next time I buy a model.

MG 1/100 Hi-nu Gundam

After building the HGUC version and reading up and watching reviews of the master grade, this kit really looks quite good. Its got to be one of the best gundam model kits out right now, and worth its high price tag. Its price was what was scaring me away for awhile, but now I think I'll get it if I can save enough money for it.

MG 1/100 RX-78-2 Gundam Ver. 2.0

I'm still wanting the original Gundam in my collection, and my original plans were to get the OYW version of it, but as soon as the 2.0 came out, I fell in love with its simple retro design and amazing articulation. Reviews show that this is one of the most sophisticated models yet, so I definitely have my eyes set on this one.

1/100 Heavy Arms Custom

Huh? Really? Yeah, for nostalgic purposes. The Heavy Arms Custom has always been one of my favorite Gundam designs, and it was just recently that I really wanted a model of it in my collection. The 1/100 model is old and has been out of production for quite some time now, so it'll be really hard to find, but I definitely want it. It's quite a primitive model but I don't care, I just want it.