This one certainly needs no fanfare, and little introduction.
I love this game...but I don't have near enough time to invest to keep up with the Joneses. Between work, music, and other things, I've found the game wonderfully wistful in affording me a leisurely stroll through combat, harvesting, and my new found love, crafting. Of course, the game has a number of holes, some glaring, some not so much, but I've just worked around most things with relative ease. I did have to submit a bug report regarding leve targets that are summoned by fleeing enemies. It's happened to me on a couple of occasions where if I die killing the remaining summoned enemies, by the time I'm unweakened, they've either left the highlighted area, or just vanished. Other than that, I'm having a blast. The game has a sort of self-reliance factor to it that is oddly unprecedented in MMOs, and I've embraced it.
Some might have thought me stating, "SE should make a game called Chocobo's Mysterious Coal Mine, make it 40-60 hours of the mining mini-game, and I'd buy it for $59.99." was funny...but honestly, it's not far from the truth. Something as simple as a hot/cold game with a football video game kickoff meter has a hypnotoad sort of captivation.
All this bouncing from harvesting to crafting has left my DoW pugilist at almost Rank 14 for a couple of days. I've heard a lot of awesomeness regarding the Rank 15 Main quests and beyond, so leading through this weekend, I hope to hunker down with some warm, toasty leves and getting that done for Ul'dah. The story is all sorts of awesome, especially the Ul'dah line. I'm glad the drama has ramped up so smoothly. The one thing I didn't care too much about the story in XI, is that it didn't get really compelling until CoP, or the latter portions of RotZ.
Somewhere between Mario Kart and Jet Set Radio is the 'parkour racing' game FreeJack.
You heard that right, 'parkour racing.'
Borrowing heavily from the dense-outline, hard-edged, cel-shaded styles of Sega's Jet Set Radio, FreeJack mixes a combination of complex courses, free-running maneuvers, hipster character customization, and pretty decent music together for a surprisingly fun experience. The concept may seem overly complex, which it does ramp up considerably from easy to more difficult courses, but it's actually very easy to get the hang of.
Hitting triggers at the right time when faced with passable obstacles (marked with a green outline) will initiate tricks that help your free runner progress through the stage, rack up points, receive usable items, and with the right timing, build your combos. Get a high enough combo, and you can get bonus speed boosts and special attack items. The game itself is comprised of an in-depth tutorial curriculum, Story Mission mode, Versus Mode, and a time trial-esque "Laptime" mode. The music, while not of Hideki Naganuma caliber, is still a solid mesh of sample heavy hip hop, dance, house, and techno. Everything, from selectable characters to tracks available and the like, is truncated since the game is still in Beta phase, however there's still plenty there, and I would definitely recommend this game as a clever diversion.
白騎士物語 -光と闇の覚醒- (White Knight Chronicles: The Awakening of Light and Darkness)
Let me tell you a sad tale, children. A tale of a failing PS3 HDD that was locking up games occasionally during attempts to write or access it. About one man's struggle to back up the drive via conventional means, and in the end, about loss. Yes, I had put about 45-50 hours into this game, had made it deep into the second story, when the unthinkable event occurred. Undeterred, I have started this up once again as primary off-game to FFXIV.
I kind of find it funny, playing this made a near perfect prelude to XIV, as the two aren't all too dissimilar from a combat aspect. The thing that kept me coming back was the online multiplayer Sin-Knight extravaganza. Just too much fun. The problem is that you have to get a good deal into the second story and complete an epic long quest to get it...so I have my work cut out for me. I'm only 5 hours into it once again, and as my off-game, it won't get dedicated playtime, but I will get back there...oh yes, I will get back there.
Phantasy Star Portable 2
Continuing the tradition of purchasing imported and domestic version of modern era Phantasy Star games, I've played the localized, and laregly un-voiceover'd PSP2 as well, mostly with friends. It's almost the only game I play that someone else I know here in Atlanta plays. Good times, once again. One thing I've noticed in PSP2 is that the addition of the Type Extend system (being able to spend points earned doing missions to add weapon type and tier functionality) more or less renders type changing obsolete.
Also happy that I interpreted the story fairly accurately between playing the JP edition and the NA one. Anyways, once we cool off on playing the NA version online, I may jump back to the JP one in preparation for next year's release of Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity. They've kept up a good habit of allowing the porting of character data from one to another, so hopefully this will be no different.
I've been really impressed with the Phantasy Star Portable series as of recent. Heck, even PS0 was pretty cool, but PSP2 really does take a lot of the best elements from PSU, PS0, and PSO and meshes it together well. The series has progressed incredibly well over the past 4 years since PSU's release, and this gives me incredible hope for Phantasy Star Online 2.
Honorable Mention: Angry Birds.
Holy crap, this game is so addicting.
If you have an android or iPhone, get it now.
You'll play for at least an hour your first time.