rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I finished Oxenfree last night! Twenty-four hours later, here I am, posting fanfiction. Incredibly spoilery fanfiction. I'm not sure I can even write a summary for this one.


Title: Rebuild
Fandom: Oxenfree
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 2,600
Summary: Spoilers! I'd recommend not reading this unless you have at least an idea of the major possible ending differences. But it's about (step)sibling relationships.


Rebuild )
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
Played another hour or two of Oxenfree! I've just opened the gate to Adler's house.

I keep thinking about the dialogue choices in this game. When I play, Alex is a peacemaker. She worries about people and tries to see things from their point of view, even if she doesn't necessarily like them. She tries to get along with everyone, although she doesn't always succeed. She's inquisitive; she's interested in history; she can get excited about little things. She makes jokes to deflect serious conversations. She avoids talking about Michael if she can. She feels like such a complete, established character to me, and it's strange to think back on dialogue choices I turned down and realise I could have been playing her as apathetic and hostile the entire time.

The game's excellent voice acting helps. Whatever responses I choose for her seem to flow so naturally that it's hard to imagine she could have said anything else.

I'm also interested in 'Scrödinger's backstory' moments. Several hours into the game, Jonas asked whether I was religious. I said no. Up until that point, Alex's beliefs could have been anything, but the moment I picked 'no' she'd been an atheist all along. My Alex is a non-smoker because of a bad experience the last time she tried smoking. That's something that happened in the past, but it didn't become true until I declined Jonas's offer of a light. My decision in the present altered Alex's past.

Videogames are weird.

Another aspect of Oxenfree that's been playing on my mind is the moment where your reflection gives you advice for a later point in the game. Because it's not just the game giving you advice; it's an actual person. A PSN username shows up alongside your reflection. You see the dialogue options - 'do A', 'do B' - that the reflection is choosing from. The game makes it as clear as possible that the person giving you advice is a real person who's also playing this game, and that they're choosing to say what they do.

It's such an effective way of inducing paranoia. If my reflection had just given me advice, without the indication that there's a real person behind it, I'd have gone 'well, I suppose I'll take its advice!' But introducing a real person changes things. I don't know this person! Can I trust this person? Is this a helpful person trying to give me good advice, or is it a troll trying to lead me into disaster for their own amusement?

The possibilities I can think of:

- The other player knows that A is the right thing to do, and in saying 'do A' they're trying to help me. I should do A!
- The other player knows that A is a bad idea, and in saying 'do A' they're trying to screw up my playthrough. I shouldn't do A.
- The other player did B on their own playthrough, and something bad happened. They don't know whether A is good or bad, but they know that B is bad, so they're trying to give the best advice they can with limited knowledge. I should probably do A.
- The important question isn't whether I do A or B; it's whether I take the reflection's advice. The moment the reflection said 'do A', A became either the right or the wrong decision. The other player could be trying to give me good advice, but giving good advice isn't necessarily possible. I... either should or shouldn't do A, but I suspect I probably shouldn't.

I'm so fascinated by this game!
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
I played a couple of hours of Oxenfree last night! It's very pretty and colourful, which is an interesting design choice for a horror game. All the landscapes sort of look like they've been made out of coloured paper.

You have to make decisions within a few seconds in Oxenfree, which I find very stressful, even when most of the decisions are just 'what do you want to say now?' (I feel a bit spoiled by Life Is Strange, which not only gives you as much time as you like to choose your response but allows you to rewind and redo things if you change your mind.)

At the very beginning of the game, just after you get off the boat, I refused to speak alone with Jonas because my mind was working by Until Dawn rules: DON'T SEPARATE, BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN. [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus pointed out that this was very early in the game, nothing bad had happened yet, and a brief conversation with my stepbrother was unlikely to get anyone killed. I felt so bad for turning Jonas down that I restarted.

At this point I set the first and most important of several goals that would help me make decisions in the future: I want to get along with my stepbrother.

Later, after panicking during the 'who do you meet up with first?' decision at the radio tower, I came up with my second goal: I want to improve my relationship with Clarissa.

My third goal, after telling Ren there were other fish in the sea and TOO LATE realising that the game might think I want to be his fish: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES can I end up in a romantic relationship with Ren.

('The game won't let you romance your stepbrother,' [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus said, with deeply felt sadness. I laughed at her.)

I feel a lot more comfortable making quick decisions now that I know what I'm aiming for. Even if I still miss Life Is Strange. (The soft colours and loading-screen Polaroids really remind me of Life Is Strange, actually. Although I'm puzzled by the fact that Jonas took a picture on his phone and it appeared on the loading screen as a Polaroid.)

I'm playing this game at [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus's flat, so I don't know exactly when I'll be able to pick it up again, but I hope it'll be soon! There's a lot of intriguing mystery. And I like Alex, which is unusual; I usually have trouble warming to characters who communicate entirely through dialogue choices, because they can end up feeling like an empty vessel for the player rather than a character in their own right, but a lot of personality comes through in everything she says.


Here are a handful of things I experienced in 2016 but didn't post full entries on:

- I watched the anime ERASED (it's available legally on Crunchyroll here), which is about a man who goes back to his childhood and tries to prevent the abduction and murder of a classmate. It was very good and very gripping, but I don't know whether I'll ever watch it again; it might be a bit too bleak and serious without the 'but what happens next??' drive to keep going. Still, I loved that it told a very compact, intense story in just twelve episodes. It also has one of the coolest opening sequences I've ever seen. The shots of the empty school give me chills.

- I saw Your Name in the cinema and loved it. The basic concept (two strangers keep swapping bodies across a great distance and can only communicate with each other by leaving notes) is exactly the sort of idea I find irresistible: people being drawn together by weird experiences, unable to talk about them with anyone but each other! Inevitably, I'm now wondering whether it could be employed in fanfiction for other works.

- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a much, much better show than you'd think from the title. A couple of my favourite songs:

I've kind of got a girl crush on you, by which I mean I wanna kill you and wear your skin like a dress.
FACE YOUR FEARS. RUN WITH SCISSORS.

- The second series of How to Get Away with Murder is, I'm delighted to report, just as stupid as the first. The scene in 'Meet Bonnie' where the students were going 'pfft, we've screwed up our lives, might as well have an orgy' inevitably delighted me. Has anyone written the fic where they follow through? I'm going to be so disappointed in fandom if nobody's written that fic.


Inevitably, the combination of fandoms in this entry is making me ponder a How to Get Away with Murder scenario in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, in which Rebecca somehow ends up killing someone and has to try not to get caught. It's actually a worryingly plausible scenario.
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
I FINISHED THE ALPHABET FICSNIPPETS.

Recent followers will not be aware of how these alphabet ficsnippets have plagued me for the last half-decade. In 2010, I wrote twenty-six little snippets of fanfiction: the first contained one character whose name started with A and one whose name started with B, the second a B and a C, and so on (A to M, N to Z). It was fun! It was relatively quick! It seemed like a good idea to attempt it again, this time with characters that shared an initial!

It has taken a thousand years. I said in the second instalment, back in 2013, that I probably wouldn't be finished until 2015. It was supposed to be a humorous exaggeration.

But here we are at last! If any of the previous character combinations listed strike your fancy, here are links to the other instalments.

First Edition: A, L, M, O, P, X
Obscure Japanese Fandom Edition: D, I, K, R, T, U
'Four Letters? This Took You a Year?' Edition: E, F, H, J(x2)
Disproportionately Dudes Edition: C, N, V(x2), W, Y


A: Blaine Anderson (Glee)/fal'Cie Anima (Final Fantasy XIII)


B: Ffamran ‘Balthier’ Bunansa (Final Fantasy XII)/Joffrey Baratheon (A Song of Ice and Fire)

'You're the smugglers?' Joffrey demands. )


C: Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII)/Cissnei (Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII)
D: Daisuke Niwa (DN Angel)/Duck (Princess Tutu)
E: Elena Fisher (Uncharted)/Eugene Fitzherbert (Tangled)
F: Lightning Farron (Final Fantasy XIII)/Ffamran ‘Balthier’ Bunansa (Final Fantasy XII)


G: Greg House (House MD)/Will Graham (Hannibal)

'Uh,' Chase says. )


H: Hajime Hinata (Super Dangan Ronpa 2)/Haruka Nanase (Free!)
I: Iroh (Avatar: The Last Airbender)/Hanako Ikezawa (Katawa Shoujo)
J: John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)/Patrick Jane (The Mentalist) and Patrick Jane (The Mentalist)/Jeff Winger (Community)
K: Kyouko Kirigiri (Dangan Ronpa)/Sazh Katzroy (Final Fantasy XIII)
L: Teresa Lisbon (The Mentalist)/Light Yagami (Death Note)
M: Fa Mulan (Mulan)/Bonnie MacFarlane (Red Dead Redemption)
N: Makoto Naegi (Dangan Ronpa)/Nagito Komaeda (Super Dangan Ronpa 2)
O: Oerba Yun Fang (Final Fantasy XIII)/Mondo Oowada (Dangan Ronpa)
P: Patrick Jane (The Mentalist)/Perry the Platypus (Phineas and Ferb)


Q: Quistis Trepe (Final Fantasy VIII)/Quina Quen (Final Fantasy IX)

'Quina,' Quistis says, folding her arms on the desk in front of her. 'We need to talk about your conduct in the field exam.' )


R: Rinoa Heartilly (Final Fantasy VIII)/Rumplestiltskin (Once Upon a Time)


S: Sayaka Miki (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)/Sayaka Maizono (Dangan Ronpa)

'What did you wish for?' )


T: Byakuya Togami (Dangan Ronpa)/Takuto Kira (Full Moon wo Sagashite)
U: Utena Tenjou (Revolutionary Girl Utena)/Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter)
V: Snow Villiers (Final Fantasy XIII)/Vincent Valentine (Final Fantasy VII) and Snow Villiers (Final Fantasy XIII)/Karkat Vantas (Homestuck)
W: Dean Winchester (Supernatural)/Bigby Wolf (The Wolf Among Us)
X: Charles Xavier (X-Men: First Class)/Xion (Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days)
Y: Yoshiya 'Joshua' Kiryu (The World Ends With You)/Light Yagami (Death Note)


Z: Zell Dincht (Final Fantasy VIII)/Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

'Remember your stance,' Squall says. )


FINISHED AT LAST. This has been an enjoyable exercise, even though it took much, much longer than planned.

Why do I have so many fandoms? Nobody needs this many fandoms.
rionaleonhart: ffxv: prompto is trying to listen but actually thinking about his giant crush on you (prompto has a crush on everyone) (i can be serious)
Written for [community profile] ffxv_kinkmeme! I'm not sure it perfectly fulfils the prompt ('Prompto gets the shovel talk from everyone' - in the end, only one of the talks was actually threatening), but it was a lot of fun to write.

Consequence of being in this fandom: when I tried to write 'prompt' up there, I automatically wrote 'prompto' instead.

Being in a fandom of this size is a little intimidating, to be honest. When I posted my previous Final Fantasy XV fic to AO3, I was going 'well, this is just silly fluff, but I don't have to be embarrassed about that because I'm posting it on Christmas Eve and nobody will actually read it'. It got over a thousand hits.


Title: Life Imitates
Fandom: Final Fantasy XV
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Noctis/Prompto
Wordcount: 3,200
Summary: Everyone keeps trying to lecture Prompto on dating Noctis. Which would be fine if he and Noctis were actually dating.


Life Imitates )
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
For some reason, all the fanfiction I want to write for this game is cute and silly. I suppose it makes for a change from all the psychological trauma, but it's also a bit disconcerting. There's kissing in this! This isn't my comfort zone!


Title: Scattershot
Fandom: Final Fantasy XV
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Noctis/Prompto, Prompto/multiple
Wordcount: 1,700
Summary: The longer Noctis spends travelling with him, the clearer it becomes that Prompto can get a crush on anyone.


Scattershot )
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
Merry Christmas, if you're celebrating!

Tradition demands that I post a stupid Christmas-themed manip on Christmas Eve, so here you go. Let's hope this works; I haven't used this image hoster before.




You're all shocked by the subject matter, I'm sure. I don't imagine Christmas exists on Eos, but I bet Prompto would get really excited about it if it did. I suspect he begged all the others until they finally agreed to put on those outfits.

(The reporter in Lestallum asked for photographs of imperial bases for an article, so off I trotted. When the time came to present them, Prompto handed him three photographs of imperial bases and one beautiful monochrome shot of Gladio's bottom. Nobody commented on this. I'm so confused.)

I posted an entry of tips for playing Final Fantasy XV a few days ago, and now I have one more to add. Once you've finished the game, you may want to reload your save and do some of the sidequests, dungeons etc. you missed. When you eventually feel you've done everything you're going to do and you want some closure, roll the credits from the title screen. These aren't the same as the credits that roll when you finish the game - they don't offer extra cutscenes or anything, but they have different visuals and music - and I think they're a really nice way of saying goodbye to this world.

It's entirely possible I'll be tempted back to attempt the last few dungeons, though. On the one hand, I'm concerned that they might get frustrating. On the other, Prompto complains the entire time when you're in a dungeon, and it is my favourite thing. I don't want to miss a second of it.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
Here are some non-spoilery notes on things Final Fantasy XV does right and wrong, in case anyone's dithering on whether to get it. (I'm not sure anyone reading this is actually dithering on whether to get it, but I just wanted an excuse to talk more about this game.)


Positives:

- Both the visuals and the soundtrack are beautiful. No surprises there.

- The four main characters are really well portrayed. I absolutely believed in their friendship and cared about them. Prompto is the best.

- It might actually have the best villain in the series. And I say that reluctantly, because I loathe the villain. I absolutely hate him. I can't remember the last time I so intensely wanted to punch a character in the face. But he's good.

- I played from beginning to end without once feeling the need to grind for experience. You'll pick up plenty of experience points from doing sidequests, so you're unlikely to ever find yourself going 'sigh, better kill a bunch of wildlife before moving on'.

- Although you wouldn't necessarily be inclined to sigh in that situation, because combat is fun! I particularly enjoy warping all over the place.

- Emotional investment is obviously a very personal thing, but I got so emotionally invested in this game.


Negatives:

- The story is interesting but clumsily told. The early developments seem to assume you've seen Kingsglaive. There are thrilling revelations that are never explored further or brought up again. There are characters who never really get a chance to shine. I can see that there was a conscious effort to cut down on cutscenes, and I can understand why, but I do feel the game could perhaps have done with a few more.

- Also on the subject of story issues: the pacing is a bit odd. The leisurely pace of the first half of the game makes sense, given the roadtrip theme, but once you get into the second half events will whip past at lightning speed. Final Fantasy XII still wins the Worst Pacing in a Final Fantasy award, but not by much.

- The 'go to this place and hunt for this thing while thousands of robots parachute onto you' sidequests can become very tedious.

- There are some really bad puns (this is also a positive).

- Not enough hugs. So few things I watch or play seem to have enough hugs. I don't think my hugging expectations are that unreasonable.


Tips for playing:

- You don't have healing spells, so healing items are your best friends. Stay stocked up. Ignis can learn a couple of abilities that let him heal teammates; they're useful and I recommend teaching them to him, but you'll need items on top of that. If an ally's in danger and you need to bring them out quickly or you can't physically reach them to rescue them, you can use a Potion (although you'll miss out on the cute rescuing dialogue, alas).

- Whenever you visit a new shop, press R1 to cycle through item categories to Auto Parts (if it sells auto parts) and see whether it's selling any Final Fantasy soundtracks for your car's CD player. This is very important.

- Remember that you don't have to do everything. If you've spent ages hunting for a sidequest objective and you're getting frustrated, go off and do something else instead.

- If you ever stray inconveniently far from the Regalia, check the options on the map screen; you can return to wherever you parked the car, or, if you're near a road, you can call the car to you.

- Go to the Chocobo Post and unlock chocobo rentals at the first opportunity. Do sidequests for Wiz if you want to be able to dye your chocobo stupid colours (and who doesn't?).

- You're on a roadtrip, and focusing on the destination will rob you of the journey. Don't feel obliged to do every sidequest available, but don't charge constantly towards the next objective either; relax, explore, enjoy spending time with your friends. These are the important moments.


Final Fantasy XV is flawed and messy and beautiful. It has issues, but it makes me feel like nothing else. It's a game I'd never be able to review on Amazon, because my head says 'give it four stars' and my heart says 'give it five'. As with Final Fantasy VIII, I can recognise its problems, but XV has slipped past my rational mind and gone straight to the heart for its verdict.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
Finished Final Fantasy XV!

For a while I've been trying to pin down my five favourite Final Fantasy games: VIII, IX, X, XIII and... what? VI? VII? XII? Many thanks to XV for coming out and making the decision easy. I haven't been this emotionally invested in a game since The Last of Us.

(I've always said that, although VIII means a lot to me, it isn't my favourite game in the series. But I'm not fooling anyone, am I? It's my favourite. Obviously it's my favourite. It's flawed in many, many respects, but I think it'll always be the Final Fantasy I love the most. Although XV has given it a run for its money.)

Prompto has shot awfully quickly up into my five favourite Final Fantasy characters, too. I love that he's enthusiastic and friendly and insecure and endlessly well-meaning. I love that he develops a crush on anyone he spends five minutes around. I love his really transparent efforts to make people like each other again when they've had a falling-out.

Things Prompto has broken at least three times over the course of this game:

- into song
- the fourth wall
- my heart


Spoilers up to the ending of Final Fantasy XV. )


In conclusion: I love this game, blazingly, passionately, but also I hate it. And I love these stupid boys.
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
I haven't loved a game this fiercely in a very long time. It's not perfect; traversing long distances can be a bit of a pain (until you unlock the ability to zoom around on a hot pink chocobo), and I'm having trouble following the plot (not that I expected a comprehensible plot from a Final Fantasy game), and I spent a full fifteen minutes hunting for the last yellow frog and cursing the game designers. But it seems ridiculous to complain when Final Fantasy XV gives me so much wholehearted joy.

There's an almost unprecedented lack of cutscenes in this Final Fantasy game. There's plenty of dialogue, but most of it takes place during gameplay; the actual cutscenes tend to be very short. It's an interesting approach, and for the most part it works.

Here are some notes on the game! Spoilers up to the end of chapter 7, but only for which characters join your party as a guest. I notice that all of these notes are about Prompto.


Final Fantasy XV, up to the end of chapter 7. )


I'm sorry to say that I named my chocobo 'Chocobro'.
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
THE BOOKENING TITLE #10: A Storm of Swords, George RR Martin. (I know I said A Song of Ice and Fire wasn't part of THE BOOKENING, but I suppose it makes sense to keep all of my book reaction posts under one tag.)

As much as I'm enjoying this series (I am enjoying it enormously): George RR Martin, you don't have to keep coming up with character names. You can just tell us there were a lot of men trying to hold the fort. We don't have to know that Two-Leg Jerrit was there, and Rykk Crowbeak, and Devyd the Unkind, who kept ducks in his youth and had always found humans disappointing in comparison. You'll never mention these characters again. You don't have to name them. It's okay.

A Song of Ice and Fire is constantly throwing characters together in different ways and then dragging them apart. And in some respects that's great! We'd never have seen Arya and the Hound grumpily travelling together otherwise. And in others it's terrible, because it keeps creating character combinations that I love, or that I find fascinating, and then going 'AND NOW THEY'RE DIVIDED AND MAY NEVER SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN.'

My favourite character combinations so far:

- Arya and Gendry
- Sansa and the Hound
- Jaime and Brienne
- Sansa and Tyrion
- Arya and the Hound

Do you know how many of these combinations are still within speaking distance by the end of A Storm of Swords? Exactly none of them. I'm so annoyed.

But A Storm of Swords introduced three of them, so overall this book gets a thumbs-up from me. (Well, it introduced two, but Sansa and Tyrion's relationship abruptly became a lot more interesting to me in A Storm of Swords.)

I like Jaime a lot more than I was expecting to! When I first saw a chapter from his perspective, I rolled my eyes and thought, Oh, good, another character whose chapters I'm not going to care about. I was so wrong. How much I will care about his chapters when he's not in the company of Brienne, though, remains to be seen.

(I was so, so happy when he went back to rescue her.)

Finally: Lord Frey, that is not at all a proportionate response to someone snubbing your daughter.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
First impressions of Final Fantasy XV! I've played for six hours but have barely made any progress on account of being constantly distracted by all the optional things to do (I've only just completed the first chapter), so there are no plot details in here; you can read this without being spoiled.


First impressions of Final Fantasy XV. )


Finally: there's an NPC called Dave! That's not very Final Fantasy!
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
We're on the verge of a new main-series Final Fantasy release! It's been a while.

One of the things that fascinates me about the Final Fantasy series is the way it reinvents itself with every new game. Every entry in the series tries new things; every entry has its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

Here, for no particular reason, is my list of pros and cons of the main-series games I've played extensively (I haven't played the online entries, and VI is the only 2D release I've played for a substantial amount of time). Direct sequels and spin-offs aren't included. I've tried to avoid very subjective judgements, which is why 'the characters are the beeeeest' doesn't appear under VIII and XIII. Please imagine that 'music' appears on the 'pros' list for all of these games except XII (sorry, XII).


Final Fantasy VI:
Pros: Still looks good twenty years later. Characters all have distinct battle abilities. You can suplex a train.
Cons: Feels a bit unfocused on account of having too many characters and a non-linear second half.

Final Fantasy VII:
Pros: Materia system allows for interesting setups. Midgar is a great setting. Fascinating storyline.
Cons: Graphics have aged badly. Awkward translation. These two things, combined with oddly out-of-the-way backstory cutscenes, make the fascinating storyline very difficult to grasp. It's sometimes hard to tell how you're supposed to progress. (The upcoming remake may well resolve some or all of these issues.)

Final Fantasy VIII:
Pros: Actively rewards not getting experience, so it's great if you prefer exploring and progressing the storyline to fighting random encounters. Triple Triad!
Cons: Confusing stat system, making it easy to screw up your playthrough if you don't know what you're doing. Revolves very, very strongly around Squall, which is great news if you like Squall but may make things tricky if you don't. Story falls apart at disc 3.

Final Fantasy IX:
Pros: Fun and cute! Doesn't take itself too seriously, on the whole, despite dealing with some bleak themes. Contains Chocobo Hot & Cold, the greatest minigame ever made.
Cons: Slow battle system. You will eventually finish the Chocobo Hot & Cold sidequest and be sad that there are no more Chocographs to find.

Final Fantasy X:
Pros: Nicely strategic battle system. Excellent levelling system; the Sphere Grid defines initial roles for the party members but allows for customisation. Strong, reasonably coherent storyline (this is very rare in a Final Fantasy game), although things get weird as you approach the end (this, by contrast, is very common). Probably the most accessible game in the series for newcomers.
Cons: Very linear. Awkward voice acting. A bit too cutscene-heavy. The European release likes to drop murderous superbosses in your face when you're innocently trying to revisit previous locations.

Final Fantasy XII:
Pros: Great translation; a lot of thought has gone into the way different characters would speak. Intricate world. No random encounters.
Cons: Poorly paced; long segments without any story advancement make it hard to follow the plot. Although the voice acting is good, the sound quality (on the PS2 version, at least) is poor. Boss battles tend to be a bit of a slog.

Final Fantasy XIII:
Pros: Good pacing, great battle system, gorgeous. Extensively explores the relationships between the party members. Rarely demands grinding.
Cons: Very linear; no sense of exploration. Writing occasionally lacks subtlety. No gameplay variety; there are battles and there are cutscenes, but that's your lot.


I've no doubt that Final Fantasy XV will also get some things right and some things very wrong, and I'm looking forward to seeing what those things are. Going by this lovely piano-and-violin piece from the Episode Duscae demo (and the fact that the composer is Yoko Shimomura), 'music' seems likely to be one of its successes.

If you'd offer different upsides or downsides for any of these games, I'd be interested to hear about them!
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
Look, yes, I know I told you to stop me if I wrote Final Fantasy XV fanfiction before the game was released. This doesn't count. It's fanfiction for the prequel film. Completely different.

I just really, really wanted to see these characters meet.


Title: Another Level
Fandom: Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV
Rating: PG
Pairing: possibly a hint of Crowe/Lunafreya
Wordcount: 1,100
Summary: Crowe arrives to escort the princess to her wedding, and finds herself unprepared.


Another Level )
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
Everything I hear about Final Fantasy XV just makes it seem weirder. Did you know that Prompto gains the ability to take selfies if you level him up enough? That Jamie Oliver's restaurant is offering an official Final Fantasy XV set menu? That Nomura had to be talked out of making the game into a musical after seeing Les Misérables?

Peru started selling the game two weeks early, and it's making things very difficult because now I'm terrified of running into spoilers. How on Earth did I cope during the PS2 era, when games routinely came out in Europe six months after their North American release?

I suppose fandom was mainly Livejournal-based during the PS2 era, though, and spoiler cuts aren't diligently used on the fandom platforms of the present day.


I saw Kingsglaive, the prequel film to Final Fantasy XV, a couple of nights ago! Verdict: it was better than I expected. Although, to be honest, what I expected was 'pretty and incomprehensible', so it managed to exceed expectations just by being pretty and mostly comprehensible. It wasn't the best film ever made, but it held my interest all the way through and definitely deserves more than the 13% score it currently holds on Rotten Tomatoes. (And it really was so pretty.)


Spoilery notes on Kingsglaive. )


I'm looking forward to seeing more of Luna in the full game!

I really want to see Princess Lunafreya meet Sansa Stark, actually. Sansa would be so awed. (I originally just wrote 'Princess Luna' and then realised it sounded like I was talking about My Little Pony. Sansa would probably also be impressed by that Princess Luna, if confused.)
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them yesterday!


Thoughts on 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' )


In conclusion, there were some things that worked better than others for me, but this was good fun! I enjoyed it, and I'm happy to accept it as Harry Potter canon, whereas I had reservations about accepting Cursed Child.

(Although there was no mention of Phineas Nigellus, and I am deeply disappointed by this.)
rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
This is not at all the fic I meant to write. Honestly, I was planning to write about Hinata and Kuzuryuu making out. But then the making out caused canon to diverge, and Komaeda somehow seized the focus, and I ended up having to cut out the Hinata/Kuzuryuu entirely because it just felt like an awkward plot device in a fic that had become more about the relationship between Hinata and Komaeda.

Which is a shame, because Hinata/Kuzuryuu is a great pairing. (I've been replaying Super Dangan Ronpa 2, and their relationship has really struck me this time around.) Maybe I'll manage a real Hinata/Kuzuryuu piece eventually.


Title: (Mis)fortune
Fandom: Super Dangan Ronpa 2
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 3,700
Summary: In which Komaeda's best-laid plans are thwarted by his own luck.


(Mis)fortune )
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
I haven't officially participated in National Novel Writing Month since 2004, but I've tried to write at least a little every day of every November since 2009. It's an interesting exercise, and it sometimes means I write things I might never have considered otherwise. For example, here's an unexpected second part to Worth Something, which was really supposed to be a one-shot. The first part was Hinata and Koizumi; this part is Hinata and Kuzuryuu. I'm half-tempted to write about Hinata meeting the entire class, but I think I'll probably resist the urge.


Title: Worth Something, Part Two
Fandom: Danganronpa 3 (Despair Arc)
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 1,300 (this part; 2,700 cumulative)
Summary: Against all advice, Hinata approaches Natsumi Kuzuryuu's brother.

Part One


Worth Something, Part Two )
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
I wrote this entire fic today. I'm not doing National Novel Writing Month, but if I were I'd be on track on wordcount!

My Until Dawn fanfiction consistently gets low hit counts on AO3; all five of my Until Dawn fics are in the bottom seven when you sort my works by hits. I think there's some strange, stubborn part of me going 'I'M NOT GOING TO STOP WRITING FOR THIS FANDOM UNTIL I COME UP WITH SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE WILL ACTUALLY READ.'


Title: Wrong Road Home
Fandom: Until Dawn
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 2,300
Summary: Mike thinks the others just don't want to talk about that night. Maybe the truth is stranger than that.


Wrong Road Home )
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
Still thinking about Until Dawn. Still really, really invested in Mike/Sam. I haven't fallen this hard for a pairing in a while.

I was surprised to find it's a relatively unpopular pairing in the fandom - not nonexistent and not actively disliked, but nowhere near as big as I'd expected it to be. I suppose the problem is that each half is in a more popular het pairing: Sam/Josh is the second-most-written pairing in the fandom, and Mike/Jess is fourth. Mike and Sam don't really start interacting until halfway through the game, by which point people might already be invested in Mike/Jess or Sam/Josh, and it's going to be difficult to shift those preferences.

In my desperate quest for fanart, I came across one artist who said they didn't usually 'ship het but had fallen for Mike/Sam anyway. It's just occurred to me that this fits with my theory of its unpopularity. If you're not a het fan, you probably won't be 'shipping Mike or Sam with anyone by the time they team up, and therefore you'll be better able to appreciate that, objectively speaking, Mike/Sam is the best pairing ever and anyone who disagrees is a poo.

At the ending, if they both survive, he grabs her arm and just doesn't let go, just stays holding on to her as if it's the only way he can be sure they're still alive, and I can't get over it.

The thing that fascinates me about Mike/Sam is that I get the impression they would only end up with each other after the events of the game. Prior to that night, Sam would never have considered it. But they've been through hell and lost friends and almost died together, and something in their relationship has changed irreversibly. They've seen new sides of each other. They're closer now. Maybe too close, in a highly dependent 'you're the only person who knows what I've been through and I'm not sure I'd be able to function without you' way, depending on how many of their friends were killed. Maybe they're helping each other process things. Maybe they're stifling each other, unable to move on from that night as long as they're together and reminding each other of it. It's a pairing I love either way.

Unfortunately, my 'they'd only get together after their horrible experiences' view restricts what I can read or write for this pairing. I can understand why people would want to write about them getting together in a lovely AU where nobody dies or is permanently traumatised, but I just can't care about scenarios where they aren't miserable PTSD-ridden wrecks.

This is why I'm unlikely to write an Until Dawn/Pokémon crossover.