Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Final Fantasy XIII

So. I'm done with the game. Well, not done with the game as a whole yet, but I've finished the main storyline.


I am about 100 dollars poorer. (Got a fantastic deal at Toys R us for the game. Got a 13 dollar gift card + Prototype (game) for extra 20. I also got the Official Game Guide for another 13)

The graphics is really, really good. Square hit home with the design of the game world. I've played other 1080P games before, but nothing even remotely comes close to this.

And when I think back on what I was playing before Final Fantasy XIII, I drew a blank. I recall that I'm not done with Valkyria Chronicles, or Madden, or Assassin's Creed. Those felt like a lifetime ago. Nostalgia sets in.

Gameplay was okay. I loathe the fact that I can't control the other party members directly, that affected some of the strategy up to a point. But I guess that's what the game wants you to do. I can't make a super high powered offense + ultra high HP and expect to win the game like that.

I recall the hours I spent grinding away at the training room in Balamb garden to make an invincible team. But in FFXIII, no matter how well trained your party is, you still need to master the art of Paradigm Shift to win. But once you get the gist of it, you can take on monsters waaay too tough for your crystarium levels, saving you the hours grinding at the Ruby Dragons. But not being able to control the party members directly cut away some of the satisfaction.

Story was, well, it was deep, with backstory of most characters. There are some parts that you kinda cringe at, but there are some that really hit the spot. Cheesy dialogues are part of the series, so don't expect it to go away in this installment.

Chocobos are back. So are the summons. Odin was fine, but he's a horse, or is he a man? Brynhildr is a car with hot wheels. Hecatoncheir (He-Kah-To-uhn-Keir) is a Magitek Armor, Alexander is a castle and Bahamut is a Bahamut.

After listening to the final cutscene with Leona Lewis's song, My Hands, it felt weird, it felt out of place. It's a good song, don't get me wrong, but it felt like it was forced into the scene, and it just didn't belong. I think Square made a bad call getting her song there, it just didn't have the right vibe. Kimi Ga Iru Kara by Sugiwara Sayuri provides a much better mood for the story.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Despite Toyota's stock price dropping $20 per stock from a bit above 90 to a little above $70 several weeks back, it has not seen as much of a selling craze as I'd expect. So here's why we cannot buy Toyota right now.

1) We have no real clue how much money they're losing.
8.5 million vehicles recalled. How much are they spending per vehicle? 3000 dollars? That translates into 24 billion. Plus litigation fees, and a lot of other potential losses, we could only expect the worst.

2) Sharp equity losses for the next few quarters.
Taking losses is a given, but what is the stock valuation is currently at? As of March 2009, stockholder's equity totals 113 billion. That translates to approximately 64 $/share. Taking a multi-billion dollar hit, is going to push the value down even further.

Considering that everyone expects the company to take losses, the price per book should realistically be less than 1, but we have not seen the case. That means some people still thinks that Toyota could be making money in the short term.

3) Bleak outlook for the next few years.
Would you drive a new Toyota Camry next year?

4) Competition
Why buy Toyota, when you could get other troubled automakers for cheap. GM is coming out of bankruptcy, Ford is gaining momentum every day.

5) Non adjusted expectation
No matter how mild the financial hit is going to be, Toyota is bound to lose money, and when the results come out, you could almost guarantee a drop in stock prices due to adjusted outlook. For some reason this has never ceased to amaze that the stock price didn't adjust to the expectations as far as its fundamentals indicate.

It might take years before Toyota gets back to its current foothold on the auto industry. But don't short it on my account. People might be willing to forgive the world largest automaker overnight, but I don't see it happening.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Status Report: Project 2010

Between work, play and hanging out with people over CNY, I really hasn't made much progress in my goals.

1) Finish my artwork
- Don't even have a mouse. 1 thing at a time. Need to buy tablet.

2) Learn a new song on guitar
- Blah. Obviously.

3) Play FFXIII
- in 1 week, I won't be updating my blog.

4) Learn how to use game engines
- Wow, nothing I've ever done loses so much steam over such a small amount of time.

5) Blog makeover
- Blah

6) Buy a house.
The objective of buying a house drifts further away as I look at the stock market going up. Property tax is 1.125% of property value. Loans are 5% APR. 6.125% of 400000 is more than double of what I pay for a year worth of rent. Unless I have like 200k down payment, the interest rate is going to hold at 5% and 5% of 400k isn't fun to pay every year.

7) Go camping at least 2 times

- Blah

8) Play Football for at least 15 weekends
- Current Progress 1/15. Something I'd really like to do, but sometimes it's not up to me. Probably will gain traction when summer comes in town.

9) Go hiking
Looking at trails near SF city.

10) Build my own computer
Got to at least wait for a good DX11 card to market.

About this blog

A lot of stuff about what I think, and not what I am about. Which is good, because I would be able to make fun of Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Penn State, and discuss on our futility against Ohio State. (But Woo Shoelace!)

I still think the word "god" should not be capitalized, because like oxygen or air or universe, it's an entity, and is not specific or special in its meaning.