Final Fantasy XIII came out a couple months ago already, of course, but I didn't have money to buy it at the time. Which was probably for the best, as I got it now for half the price. With 35 hours on the clock, I'm still working out how I feel about it. It is quite pretty, of course. The brand new battle mechanic is surprisingly functional and fun. The world and story are reasonably interesting as well. However, it is, thus far at least, probably the most linear Final Fantasy game to date, and the focus is almost entirely on battles. There's practically no exploration or NPC interaction. It's lots of fun to play at its best, but it can get a little monotonous at times, and I find myself longing for the wide worlds of PS One era, and earlier, titles.
I received Rhapsody of Fire's brand new album, The Frozen Tears of Angels, in the mail this morning. It hasn't perhaps been the mind blowing experience it could have been (as was to be expected), but I'm not disappointed either. I got the digibook version, of course. The booklet looks pretty good, as usual. The story, of course, carries on the Dark Secret Saga from the previous two albums. It doesn't really progress much, which is probably the most disappointing aspect of the album. Basically, our heroes just move from point A to point B, doing rather little in between. But it does paint a pretty nice and coherent landscape, both visual and emotional, which I guess is the purpose of the album, storywise. Musically the album is not uninteresting. There is a more aggressive feel to it this time, a more straightforward metal approach, with less orchestral elements, which is refreshing, at least.
There's also a new album out from Swedish glam rock act, The Ark. I enjoyed listening to In Full Regalia, but it didn't make as big an impression as the previous album, Prayer for the Weekend, did a few years ago. Many of the songs have a delightfully retro feel. But of course my listening habits of late have been leaning more to the metal side, and new efforts of a more traditional rock style might have a more difficult time getting through to me as they once did.
We'll just have to see how I'll feel about the new Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers album due out this summer, Tom Petty being, after all, possibly the number one favourite of my teen years.