Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ode to the Strategy Guide - Part II

Last week we took a look at various Nintendo and Prima players guides in Ode to the Strategy Guide - Part I. If you missed it or need a refresher, you can check it out here. That said, this week we're going to take a look at various BradyGames strategy guides in my collection, and I'll share my insight regarding them. Let's start turning some pages, shall we?

We begin with the series of Final Fantasy guides for the mainline titles. All were terrific, spoiler-free unlike a certain Tips & Tricks issue, and had all the in-depth tips and tricks (har har) that you'd expect from the leaders in the strategy guide business. The only bad one of the bunch rests in the middle of this pile. It's Final Fantasy IX. The game was fine, but the strategy guide was a ripoff. Constantly they'd refer you to go online to, type in the keyword, and then you'd get the answers you were looking for. I'm sorry, but isn't that why we bought the darn guide in the first place? I remember ogling the Final Fantasy VIII guide wanting to find all the Triple Triad cards possible. Man, that game was addicting, was it not? Then there's the Final Fantasy VII book that was one of the first BradyGames guides my older brother and I ever purchased. Unlike certain Prima guides, this one hasn't fallen apart yet (knocks on metaphorical wood).

Even more Final Fantasy guides for your viewing pleasure! Starting from the left and going to the right, Final Fantasy (PSP), Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates, Final Fantasy IV (DS), Final Fantasy Tactics A2, and Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions. Phew! I love guides with plenty of maps and that are well-designed, and these guides fit that description perfectly. I especially love the Final Fantasy Tactics: WotL one as it replaced my Prima guide that, yep, you guessed it, fell apart on me.

RPGs seem to be the most popular BradyGames strategy guides, and for good reason: they're extremely in-depth with plenty of content, maps, strategies, art to ogle, and secrets you'd have to spend hours circling the net for. I also like how maps are much clearer than some 15 year-old kid's instructions of "turn left at here. Turn right at second intersection that is perpendicular to the first intersection. Then run past third clock that faces south." ...What? Anyway, the Kingdom Hearts guides are pretty thick with content, and that's why I love these.

More RPGs, I say! More! I recently picked up the Till the End of Time guide of Amazon for a pretty low price. No highlighting, no penciled-in notes of any sort. Just a good condition guide. What can be said about these guides other than that, yet again, they're well-designed. It's easy to find the information you want to know whether it's item synthesis, the bestiary, or how to make your way through that particularly puzzling puzzle or dungeon.

Finally, we have two LittleBigPlanet guides for the price of one. Actually, they cost me for the price of two, but for you, the price of one! The first is just the original LittleBigPlanet while the second is the PS3 and the PSP editions. Two games covered for the price of one. The maps in these guides are extremely helpful in identifying, finding, and collecting all of the games' prize bubbles to be used to in creation of levels. More importantly, I've selected these two guides as they are the ones that weigh the most and easily have the most pages. Both books round out at around 500 pages apiece. That's a lot of writing!!!

Stay tuned next week as Ode to the Strategy Guide concludes with a look at Versus and Piggyback. We'll see you then. Have a favorite strategy guide or insight you'd like to share? Let everyone know in the comments sections. I do read every comment posted.

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