Thursday, May 30, 2024

BYD DM-i full tank 2400km mileage

What kind of technology is this? 2400KM is that possible? by BYD DM-i

ICQ Is Officially Shutting Down After 28 Years


ICQ, the instant messaging program of the 90s and early 2000s, is officially and finally shutting down after close to 30 years of service. The app, known for its iconic “Uh-Oh” prompt whenever messages were received, will be shutting its doors to the world on 26 June.

The announcement, if you could even call it that, was posted on the app’s main page, with the simple message “ICQ will stop working from 26 June”, along with a reminder that users to migrate over to the Russia-based social media platform, VK. Yes, the same VK created by Pavel Durov, who is also responsible for the creation of the messenger app, Telegram.

ICQ was initially owned by US telco AOL, who acquired the messaging platform back in 1998 to the tune of US$400 million (~RM1.88 billion). Durov, under VK, purchased the platform in 2010.

It can be argued that the decline in ICQ’s popularity began with the rise of smartphones and other messaging apps like WhatsApp. Naturally, VK tried to keep the spark alive by modernising it, redesigning and adding different features to it but sadly, it didn’t help.

At its peak, ICQ had over 100 million registered users. While that pales in comparison to the over two billion users WhatsApp boasts today, it was an achievement for many users back in the day, especially at a time when smartphones weren’t available.

Adult film legend Amy Yip talks about her career

It has been 30 years since Amy Yip Chi-mei last appeared in a movie, and for much of that time the star of Hong Kong films such as Erotic Ghost Story and Sex and Zen has kept herself out of the public eye.

By all reasoning, hers would already be a name long forgotten by a fickle industry and certainly one that young millennial and Gen Z movie-goers would not recognise.

But Yip is no ordinary Hong Kong actress. During the most prolific era of Hong Kong films – when actresses like Dodo Cheng were making nine movies simultaneously and directors were churning out triad action, cheap comedies and exploitative porn like there was no tomorrow – Yip managed to establish herself as the first star of category III soft porn, without even baring a nipple.

It is to Yip’s credit that even after her long absence, the increasing public sightings of her of late have generated buzz and excitement over the possibility of a comeback.

Now 57, Yip is still stunning. Her smooth, tanned skin shows little of the ravages of age. Her diminutive 1.6-metre (5ft 3in) frame is clad in tight trousers and a form-sitting midriff top that shows she is still bestowed with that famous bosom and notoriously small waistline. She is happy, she tells me, that she can still fit into her clothes from her heyday.

She hesitates to call her reappearance in the public eye a comeback.

“My sister has told me not to say I am on a comeback,” she explains. “She says people will start gossiping and say I am poor or need to make money to survive!”

Still, she is not against dipping her toes into the movie world again – under the right conditions. One thing she knows she is not interested in doing is baring her assets again in sexploitation films – she’ll leave that to the younger stars.

“I’ve already done that. It’s not something I’m interested in repeating. It’d be too boring for the audience,” she says.

“If I find a script I really like, a script that would allow me to really show my acting skills, I would really consider it. I’m not a young girl any more so even the role of a mother would be interesting. I want something that I can get my teeth into and show people, oh this is what Amy Yip is like.”

While Yip’s biggest successes were in the category III arena, the other 30-plus films she appeared in during her brief six-year career (1988 to 1994) ran the gamut from a Stephen Chow comedy (The Magnificent Scoundrels, 1991) to the triad drama Queen of the Underworld (1991), where she plays the titular character from her teenage years till late in life.

She is particularly proud of the latter, with reviewers calling it her breakthrough role. Sadly, her acting was eclipsed by her famous physical attributes and the lusty success of the erotic romp Sex and Zen. She never got the chance to get her teeth into a similarly meaty role before she announced her sudden retirement in 1997.

Yip arrived on the Hong Kong film scene as the government was introducing a rating system in 1988, giving directors the freedom to explore more lascivious offerings under the category III (adults only) banner.

She had been a trainee at ATV before signing a two-year contract with the television broadcaster in 1985, but with the new rating system under discussion at the time, it did not take trained eyes long to see her potential in the category III arena.

Before she even finished her training she caught the eye of Raymond Chow, founder of film production company Golden Harvest, who discovered talents such as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.

“He asked to meet me and asked if I was interested in making movies,” Yip says. “Of course I wanted to, but I told him I couldn’t because I had a two-year contract with the television station.”

Chow did not give up, telling the then 20-year-old that he would wait out her contract. Yip signed on the dotted line a year later.

One could almost say she knew what she was earmarked for: even at her young age, she was savvy enough to insist that her contract included the clause that she would not “bare three points” (appear fully naked or show her nipples) under any circumstance.

Yip then spent two years appearing in small roles in films such as the Jackie Chan-Anita Mui vehicle Miracles (1989) and female actioner The Inspector Wears Skirts 2 (1989). Then came Erotic Ghost Story (1990), which cast Yip as one of three fox spirits out to seduce a young scholar.

Yip wasn’t exactly eager to launch into the world of soft porn.

“I’d already signed with the company and they had already agreed to my condition of not baring all. I couldn’t not do it. They honoured my conditions and they found a very good cinematographer [Simon Nam] who shot me beautifully.”

While her other female co-stars had to bare their tops, Yip managed to preserve her assets with clever camera angles, nipple covers and body doubles.

It was something she would continue doing for all her category III films, in what would be referred to as the “Yip tease” – something that both titillated and frustrated her fans.

“I was OK with appearing very sexy but where would the mystery be if I showed everything? If I bared all so easily, people wouldn’t appreciate it after a while. That would be quite short-lived,” she says.

While her less modest co-stars faded into oblivion, Yip enjoyed the popularity her sexy image afforded her. Erotic Ghost Story was followed by more sexploitation titles, including a sequel and films such as Ghostly Vixen (1990), before the cult hit Sex and Zen (1991) firmly cemented her as Hong Kong’s biggest sex bomb.

While she enjoyed the rewards, she was less enthused by some of the mean attention that came with it: the less-than-tastefully designed magazine covers, the pointing fingers and whispers, and even the nicknames.

One of her nicknames, “boba” (“champion of breasts”), is said to have inspired the name for the popular Taiwanese bubble tea, while a Singaporean restaurant offers a large steamed bun, called the “Amy Yip Big Pau”, to this day.

“[My figure] was mostly all people talked about at interviews or when talking about movies. It got a little tiring and there were times I just wanted to just hide myself away.

“That’s the business, not everyone will like you. There will always be haters but you just have to accept these things,” she says with a shrug.

But then in 1992, Yip met orthopaedic surgeon Sammy Lui Sek-chiu and it was not long before, at his behest, she disappeared from show business as quickly as she had exploded onto it.

She also could not ignore the fact that younger – and hungrier – actresses were nipping at her heels, willing to do and bare more.

So determined was Yip to start her new life that she changed her phone numbers and quickly settled into the quiet life of a homebody, exercising, cooking, and looking after her partner and two dogs. Other than a few glimpses of her walking her dogs in Repulse Bay, she remained reclusive.

Yip and Lui were together for 26 years but never married. In 2018, Lui – who had a heart problem – died on a flight to the United States.

“We’d known for more than a decade that he had a heart problem and that it was very dangerous. But he didn’t want to do the surgery that would require removing one of his ribs, so we agreed to just keep monitoring his condition,” Yip says.

“On the day, I knew something was wrong when his brother and sister arrived at my home and asked to come up to talk to me.”

Even after his death, Yip was content with her quiet life and only met up with her old showbiz friends, at a birthday party for producer-director Raymond Wong Pak-ming, in 2023.

Old friends such as Philip Chan Yan-kin and Michael Hui Koon-man welcomed her reappearance with open arms and made her realise how much she missed the industry.

“I was quite happy with my solitary life but it was also such great fun to meet up with these old friends again. Everyone started asking me if I was interested in getting back into the movies. I realised I have missed acting. I really love acting.”

She teases that she has already been given a script that has been written especially for her, but acknowledges that the movie business is a lot harder now than before.

“There’s really a downturn in the industry so people have to be really careful. Not many movies make money nowadays,” she says.

So for now, she will bide her time. As we know from the past three decades, being patient is something she is very good at.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

The 'Fatty' Chinese Zodiac Forecast in 2024 (Iverson Lee)

Interesting topic for 2024 years that you have on your bazi chart that you have it you will be surprised that you will become the fatty animals signs in 2024. “Will I get fatty in 2024?”.

You will learn how to detect this probability from your BaZi, how it could happen likely, and more importantly, the way to address it :) 

Early marriage in Singapore? (Stories)

Before any of you shitting on me, I have to emphasize that I knew I screwed up big time and already want to box myself in the face. Still a poly student, currently serving internship. I met this one malaysian chinese girl same age as me, but was one of the many workers in the manufacturing side. i was in the IT department, and yes I admit I found her extremely attractive so I became friends with her despite knowing she has a bf ar that time

It started with some teasing, which I got abit overboard and started flirting. Eventually she also caught feelings and broke it off with her boyfriend, which made me felt somewhat distanced as I felt she could do the same to me. (As I'm more good looking, higher education, more financially well-off individually and family wise than her ex)This "office drama" eventually got big and my manager as well as the chairman knew of it. Instead of reprimanding me, they advised me to handle it responsibly and not be so 任性. So I broke the situationship off with her and began to focus fully on my work.

However, due to much stress knowing my mother getting cancer and overwhelming expectations I have for myself, I got increasingly more irritable and anger-prone these months where I did not think nor process many of my actions of what consequences they may have. With my mom getting ovarian cancer stage 4 stressing me out, and the girl in my workplace being there for me, eventually we continued talking and stated we should stay as friends. Or so we thought.

2 weeks ago, she needed help in getting some RFID reader down from the cabinet placed above which I glady helped. We found our eyes locking with each other, and she initiated the first kiss. Afterwards she began to pull me out of the FAB and close to the toilet (a secluded area where our company does not own, shared building), I got carried away and did not think much. Ended up smashing without protection in one of the toilet cabin. I got so guilty afterwards where I repeatedly apologize to her the next few days, which she assured was fine as it was mutual and that it was a mistake on both our part.

Fastforward to today, she told me that she missed her period and took a pregnancy test kit. Turns out she was pregnant. I still have two more weeks towards the end of the internship, and will be graduating in May. I know I have to take responsibility, but I have NS coming up this year as well which I do not know the dates yet, and furthermore I am not sure if I have the financial capability to do so. Despite my family being financially above average, they are worried about my mother's condition and will be furious if they knew about my mistake. My friends all said she babytrapped me, and right now IDK if my savings of 15K will be enough to help us over the tide.

To those who have shotgun marriage or early marriage in SG, please share your experiences and what I should do in this period of time.... Feeling super stressed out. Im not sure of BTO process, ROM, if she's okay without a ceremony etc....

Emotionally wise I'm even more fucked but Idk what to feel at this rate

Edit: Some of the commenters called me to do a paternity test, but I searched up online and it can only be done after about 7 weeks into pregnancy? Which I will do so but as of now I thinking of telling my parents about this first... I don't think my mom will be upset but my dad certainly will be furious-

Edit: I have asked if she really wanted to keep the baby. She does and wants me to be there for her. And I called my mother about this issue, so she will talk to my dad about it. My mom does not seem angry or upset, in fact she sounded more happy about it? And I have talked to the girl in my workplace to not tell anybody about this for now as I'm still on my internship.... Although a lot of my guy friends are advising me to abort the baby while all my female friends (2 of them) whom I told advised me to be there for her. Im in a dilemma

Edit: As I requested to do a test to see if the kid is mine, she agreed to do so when the time comes as she claimed she is a virgin. Also my dad knew what happened... He doesn't seem so angry? He is encouraging us to tie the knot and I'm thinking if I should ask her what she's gonna do on her part...

I also asked if she's okay without a wedding ceremony n she says its fine although she seems rather upset... I feel so fucking guilty but the direction just seems to be heading towards marriage for now and I honestly don't expect myself to be a dad so quickly if the kid is really mine (which most likely it is since she agreed to do the test)

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Apple May Be Scrapping Its In-House 5G Modem Efforts

We’ve seen reports from as early as 2019 that Apple was working on making its own 5G modems, and that it will be part of its own SoC. It would also later be decided that long-term chipmaker for the fruit company, TSMC, would be handing the production side of things. The iPhone maker has added other items to its list of things it wants to make in-house, but it looks like the 5G modem may get removed instead.

A post on South Korean online platform Naver claims that Apple is “reorganising its continued investments in its own 5G modem development department”, and has been doing so over the past few years. The post goes on to say that the project appears to have failed, and is expected to be “completely eliminated”.

The post does appear dubious on its own, but the claim has been corroborated by industry leakster @Tech_Reve via their own sources. This does somewhat reinforces the claim that the 5G modem integration into Apple silicon as quite thoroughly fallen through.

That being said though, there are currently more elements pointing to the opposite of these recent claims. For one, Apple has already signed a pretty expensive deal with Broadcom to make 5G components. Then there’s the initial deal of buying out the entire smartphone modem business from Intel back in 201

At any rate, considering the nature of this new claim’s source, it should be taken with a massive pinch of salt. Apple is stuck using 5G hardware from Qualcomm for at least another two years, and quite a lot can change in the meantime. Speaking of which, it would take more reports from more reputable sources corroborating these claims for them to be more likely.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Samsung Internet Browser Now Available On PC Via Microsoft Store

If you have a Samsung smartphone of any kind, chances are you’ve at least noticed the default, preinstalled browser, if not used it straight up. On the flip side, you probably have not hoped that there’s a PC equivalent. But if you have, then it looks like your prayers have been answered. Samsung Internet is now available on PC, and you can get it via the Microsoft Store.

For the most part, the PC version of the Samsung Internet browser behaves just as you’d expect from most other browsers. The basics like dark mode and an incognito mode equivalent are all there, plus some extras like a built-in ad blocker, which seems to work reasonably well from limited testing.

That being said, some quirks from the mobile version does carry over. One example is when changing video resolution on YouTube for instance. This sees the video stop abruptly as the browser buffers the video in the new quality rather than gradually changing.

One reason someone would use the Samsung Internet browser is probably so that they can sync their bookmarks and browsing history from the mobile version. Though it’s worth noting that this is not the only way to do it, as you can already to this with an extension for both Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.

Ultimately, the addition of the PC version of Samsung Internet is another browser alternative that has been made available. Competition is, as they say, good. Though it remains to be seen if this can make anyone move from their mainstay browsers. If you want to give it a try, you can hit the link below, as it may not appear when you search for it on the store itself.

Google Drive Files Gone Missing Due To a Bug In The Desktop App

Google Drive is one of the best cloud storage options available and is open to the public. However, according to a trending support thread on Google’s support forums, users have reported that some of their files have started to disappear from the service in recent months. Furthermore, since none of these files were deleted manually, they don’t appear in the platform’s recycling bin feature and thus cannot be recovered (so far).

Early on in the investigation, many speculated that the files vanished due to a hacker attack, but this isn’t the case. According to a thorough investigation, it has been concluded that the issue stems from the Google Drive app for desktop, which affects users regardless of whether their system is Windows or Mac. With that said, users on the browser variation of the service can rest easy.

It was also discovered that the bug would eliminate the data from the account, almost reverting the account back to a state before that data was made. Unfortunately, there’s no explanation for it so far, but Google has confirmed that this problem is related to a syncing issue seen in the recently rolled-out v84.0.0.0 through of Drive.

Although this issue affects – as Google puts it – a “limited subset of Drive for desktop users,” it is recommended to backup all important files and documentation. Furthermore, the company has warned users to avoid disconnecting their Google account from the Drive on desktop, and that they should not tamper with the “DriveFS” folder that’s locally found on their machines in any way, shape, or form.

Ayaneo’s New Tiny Macintosh Tribute Is Actually An AMD Ryzen-powered Windows Machine

Ayaneo, a brand mostly known for producing handheld gaming devices, has announced a new product that pays tribute to Apple’s classic Macintosh computer from the 1980s, officially known as AM01. Much like several throwback devices prior to this, such as the Atari 2600+ and Sega Megadrive Mini 2, the company’s latest release is presented as a miniature version of the machine that it’s based on. Just don’t expect it to run any iteration of Apple’s macOS, though.

According to Ayaneo, its new AM01 machine is actually a mini PC that’s running on AMD Ryzen processors and, depending on configuration, also comes with Windows 11 Home preinstalled. It measures at just over 5 inches in width and height, 2.5 inches thick, and weighs slightly over 486g. The company adds that you can also personalize it with magnetic-based decorations, where you’ll be able to swap out the not-Macintosh badge on the bottom left for something else. Oh, it’s also worth noting that the miniature display on the AIO tribute product is non-functional, but you can decorate it with a bunch of stickers that are included in the package.

Specifications-wise, Ayaneo is offering the compact PC in multiple configurations which either features just an AMD Ryzen processor, or together with RAM and storage. The AMD Ryzen 3 3200U option will come with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, while the Ryzen 7 5700U APU variant is available on its own or with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD. The company notes that the AM01 is expandable up to 64GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM and 2TB of M.2 solid state storage.

In terms of connectivity, the Ryzen 3 3200U model will feature WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 support, while the Ryzen 7 5700U version has WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. Regardless of model, the AM01 also comes with a SATA 3.0 interface that supports 2.5-inch SDD or HDD, one USB-C 3.2 Gen1 port, three USB 3.2 Gen2 ports, one USB 2, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a gigabit Ethernet port, DisplayPort 1.4, and HDMI 2.0 ports.

While it does appear to be portable, the machine actually runs on DC power and does not feature an internal battery. Ayaneo adds that the AM01 can output video in 4k at 60fps and it’s compatible with dual-screen setups.

The mini PC starts at US$149 (~RM692) for the AMD Ryzen 3 3200U option, but will retail at US$199 (~RM924) once it officially debuts next month. On the other hand, the Ryzen 7 5700U configuration starts at an early bird price of US$219 (~RM1,017) for processor only, and up to US$379 (~RM1,760) together with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD. Those interested can pre-order the device now via Ayaneo’s official Indiegogo store page, while shipping is available worldwide.

Chinese Companies Are Dismantling RTX 4090 Cards To Circumvent US Ban

Ever since the US ban that prohibits China from receiving anymore of NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 4090 GPU, among other things, went into effect earlier this month, many Chinese companies have had no choice but get creative in the way they can sell the card. One such method involves them removing manufacturers’ cooler from the card and slapping on a blower-style cooler on it.

Of course, the dismantling process of these RTX 4090 is obviously a little more complicated than that; these companies are reportedly dismantling the GPU at scale, meaning that they are disassembling the GPU core from the PCB en masse, attaching them to different cards, and then slapped with blower-style coolers. Once completed, the new cards are then labelled as “AI Cards” to suggest that they are designed to be used in AI language model training.

As a quick reminder, the US export bans specifically forbids the distribution and sale of the AD102 GPU, which is part and parcel of the RTX 4090. Prior to the ban, NVIDIA had actually managed to rush a large-scale order of GPUs to its AIB partners in China. In anticipation of the ban, Chinese companies had also made a somewhat smart decision to stockpile as many GPUs as physically possible.

Several of the photographs that were taken in one of this “AI Cards” disassembly lines include RTX 4090s procured from brands such as ASUS, PNY, Colorful, Palit, and Zotac. This is undoubtedly an infuriating scenario for gamers that may have been looking forward to procuring said card in China.

Even after stripping the precious RTX 4090’s AD102 GPU from their original PCBs, these Chinese companies don’t appear to waste anything either. Supposedly, they resell the leftover components and naked PCBs as spare parts, which would be beneficial to individuals looking to just upgrade their coolers. For others, they serve as a morbid reminder of where said components originated from.

The unfortunate reality to this hoarding of the RTX 4090 is that, as it stands right now, what these Chinese companies are doing isn’t “technically” against the law in their own country. Further, it has become evident that virtually none of NVIDIA’s board partners actually put fail safes in place to prevent incidents such as this to take place. Worst, NVIDIA itself has a share of the blame for this, by virtue of the GPU brand having created the environment in which these unscrupulous characters are allowed to exist.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

“Scary Fast” Apple Event Shot On iPhone Included Lots Of Expensive Gear

Earlier yesterday morning, Apple held its “Scary Fast” event where it announced its new M3 family of processors, and MacBook Pros and iMacs powered by said chip. In true Apple fashion, the event also had the disclaimer that the entire event was “Shot on iPhone” which sounds amazing, until it was (unsurprisingly) revealed that the entirety of it was done with a ton of really, really expensive camera equipment.

If you’re wondering what iPhone Apple used to shoot the entire “Scary Fast” event, it’s the iPhone 15 Pro Max. It goes without saying that the end result of that shoot definitely looks impressive but again, a camera inside a phone is only as good as the resources thrown at it.

In Apple’s official behind-the-scenes video, the crew behind the entire process shows off a great deal of professional equipment that includes industrial-set studio lighting, high-end gimbals, dollies, as well as the drone because how else do you get that long, fast-moving close up shot of your CEO.

Needless to say, a lot of blood, sweat, and probably tears of virgins that went into the production process, but more importantly, it can also interpreted that the behind-the-scenes look of Apple’s “Scary Fast” event also sends an indirect message that, the iPhone 15 Pro Max used here is only one of several cogs in the machine and that, once again, a camera is only as good as the equipment it’s paired with.

For comparison’s sake, here’s another video shot with the iPhone 15 Pro, featuring Olivia Rodrigo albeit on a smaller scale because, as The Verge puts it: she’s no Tim Apple.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Final Fantasy XVI Review: Brand New World, Brand New Identity Crisis

Final Fantasy is perhaps one of the most revered and celebrated JRPG series to date, filled with a colourful history that is fondly remembered even by those who aren’t hardcore fans of the franchise, a fact I can attest to. One of the first Final Fantasy games I got to play and fondly remember was Final Fantasy XIII, unfortunately.

It was not until years later that I realised what was wrong with it and why many fans hated it. Despite this, I still remember the adventures and issues I encountered when I first fired up the game. And, as unfortunate as it is to say, Final Fantasy XVI shares a lot of those similarities with its predecessor.

A Title That Is Both Overhauled and Clunky

Since its controversial transition away from a turn-based combat system to a much more active one, Final Fantasy has been dipping its toes into all sorts of mechanics that would finally stick. Early on in the game’s run, it’s not hard to see that it borrows a lot of mechanics and ideas from other popular titles, which we will get to in a bit. However, as I played through the game, something was lacking that made the game so alienating.

But before we pour salt into the game’s gaping wound, let’s first discuss the positives of the game, the first of which is the graphics. It pushes the boundaries in terms of details that its predecessor set years before, both in gameplay and in cutscenes. Though we take it for granted, it is an absolute must when it comes to exploring an entirely new world. Something Square Enix has mastered at this point, with a few key twists that make it stand out.

Final Fantasy Magic, With A Touch Of Game Of Thrones

The first thing that stood out to me in Final Fantasy XVI was its unapologetically violent narrative, which doesn’t shy away from spraying torrents of blood. It is actually a very welcome change as the franchise reverts back to its high fantasy aesthetic and focuses on the world of Valisthea, a rich world that is slowly being consumed by a sickness called the ‘Blight’. This serves as the perfect setting for bloody wars as the kingdoms that dominate the land fight for untainted resources.

However, with new worlds come new words and jargon to memorise, not to mention centuries-long histories to keep track of. Instead of spending 30 minutes info-dumping mid-cutscene, Square Enix has created something amazing that I wish to see in future instalments. ‘Active Time Lore’ is definitely one of the best additions to the game, a feature where you can pause a cutscene and check out any information relevant to it, teaching you all you need to know about characters, empires, and other jargon.

These entries constantly update in accordance with the protagonist’s knowledge as it happens. In case you missed an entry, you can always refer to it at the central hub of the game and check it there, both old and updated ones alike.

Same Ol’ Revenge Plot With Minute But Welcomed Twists

In the world of ceaseless wars, each faction relies on a trump card called ‘Dominants’ and their respective ‘Eikons’. Eikons replace the standard summons that have been a staple of the franchise and take on a more direct and active role in terms of the plot, serving as a sort of nuclear deterrent that can only be summoned by a Dominant.

You explore this expansive world through the eyes of Clive Rosfield, the eldest born prince of the Archduke of Rosaria and bodyguard for the nation’s Dominant who possesses the power of Fire. However, after a tragedy, Clive’s ward was murdered, and the young prince was captured and turned into an enslaved soldier. This brutal introduction to the plot and the story at large is a fitting entry point to present the world of Valisthea.

Though it falls back on a simplistic revenge plot, the execution and the set-up leading up to the tragedy were masterfully executed and got the ball rolling, giving him a goal to pursue for the first quarter of the game. Though constantly seeking blood and vengeance, Clive is actually a sensible male protagonist; he may be headstrong, but he isn’t reckless and can easily be talked out of his bloodlust and be reasonable, which is a nice change of pace.

The Most Linear Final Fantasy Title, To Date

From the taste of the open road in Final Fantasy XV to walking all over the place again, Final Fantasy XVI dropped all aspects of the open world and stuck to a much more linear format of gameplay. Here, you have to run through an expansive but still limited map, mostly because exploration takes a back seat in this game in favour of combat. With all these beautiful details, it would be a sin not to explore them all; unfortunately, the game doesn’t incentivise that as there isn’t much in the way of loot or collectibles in the overworld.

Exploration, if you can call it that, has you running around the map, killing monsters, before moving on to the next area to kill that batch of monsters. Due to the fast-paced nature of the game’s combat, everything else feels slow. You get this feeling even more as the game doesn’t have a dedicated sprint button. Clive would have to run in a straight line for a few seconds, then breakout into a sprint, which is equally annoying and inconsistent.

As you progress through the map, you’ll encounter segments where you’ll have to hop and crawl. There is nothing wrong with these parts per se, but I need to address how off-putting the animation for these scenes can be. Animations in cinematics have a great spectacle element to them, making them quite enticing, but models outside of cinematics are extremely jarring, becoming stiff as a board. Examples of this are the hopping animation for Clive when he bounds over a small gap or when he kicks down a boarded-up doorway; both are prime examples of disjointed animation that looks and sounds weak, to say the least. Obviously, animations in and out of cinematics can’t be the same, but it’s something you need to know before going in.

Side Quests Are Absolute Chores, Literally

The title of this segment is no exaggeration. From passing on bowls of soup to literally collecting dirt, these tasks are, for lack of a better word, boring. Among all the comments I have made with the game so far, this one was perhaps the most shocking, as the Final Fantasy franchise is known to have the best side quests in the gaming world, but you’re going to have to endure doing these menial tasks for the larger half of your playthrough. Other reports state the same, but they do get better and more impactful as you progress more and more into the story.

One thing that is neat about side quests is that NPCs take note of Clive’s deeds and become more welcoming of the fallen prince in the hideaway. NPCs in Final Fantasy XVI are very chatty and will react accordingly to what and how many side quests you have completed. This nice touch gives the game more life, which could have been overlooked by other developers, so it’s a plus.

Overhauled Combat System Feels Spotty At Best

Now, on to the part of the game that has received the most attention: combat. As mentioned earlier, the combat system has received massive amounts of love as it continues to move away from the turn-based system the earlier entries in the franchise are known for. Battles are fast and explosive because of Ryota Suzuki’s work as the combat director for Final Fantasy XVI, who also worked on Dragon’s Dogma and Devil May Cry.

Combat places a big emphasis on combos and alternating between spells and techniques. Final Fantasy 16 has a ‘Will System’ that, once depleted, will cause enemies to stagger, letting you unload massive amounts of damage while they are still weak, a feature that was introduced in Final Fantasy 13 and has been improved upon since. You are given a four-move basic attack chain and nothing more, but this decision is deliberate as it forces you to explore and experiment with using different abilities and skills; doing so rewards you as the enemies will stagger faster.

Despite the high praise the combat system has received, I actually have mixed feelings about it. The combat is reactive-based, and you are expected to look out for enemy tells in order to dodge and parry, giving you all sorts of bonuses for doing so. This would be alright if only stringing combos, like the magic bursts, wasn’t so problematic, as combos outright fail to register. Though it might feel like a skill issue, combat is not as fluid compared to, say, the first Bayonetta game, a game that perfectly balanced fast-paced combat, combo-stringing, and exploration over 10 years ago.

I thought that it was only a fluke, but after the first Eikon battle (a detail that I will get through shortly), I noticed Final Fantasy XVI’s most glaring problem: it feels as though it’s trying to replicate everything other games have done before and falls short with each of them. This led me to feel like the franchise is still in the middle of its identity crisis, as the best part of the game only felt okay at best. Though there were key moments, they were few and far between.

This high-octane fighting sequence is nice compared to Final Fantasy XV’s hybrid approach, but because of this, you can easily see compromises made in other aspects of the game once you’ve moved past it. Combat is simple when you break it down, but mastering it is another thing, and it is all that more rewarding when you do. That being said, it does become stale, and it doesn’t help that there is only a limited pool of monsters to fight against.

Eikon battles are one of the coolest parts of Final Fantasy XVI, and I say that with absolute conviction. However, the first proper Eikon battle is the slowest fight in the game, as I alternated between dodging, hitting those four hit combos, and getting past the overwhelming amount of QTEs. Not all is lost, as the subsequent fights have better controls and manoeuvrability with the Eikons as the story progresses.

Combat in Final Fantasy XVI is still satisfying, but there are times when it just feels like a drag. Since other aspects of the game have taken a reduced role, once the charm of combat is gone, it feels as though you’ve already explored everything.

Should you still try Final Fantasy XVI? Yes, as there are unique aspects of the game that previous entries didn’t offer, and if you are interested in or a fan of the combat system, you are welcome to try it. However, if you are here for anything else, then it’s best to lower your expectations.

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