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Thread: Best Final Fantasy to start on?

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    Default Best Final Fantasy to start on?

    So, as a fan of RPG games I thought I should play some Final Fantasy games, as I have never actually beaten any. Thing is, I don't know which one to start with, since there are so many choices. In the past I've started playing IV and VI, but I didn't get too far in neither of them. Any suggestions?

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    Kinda hard to say. None of the games really tie into each other unless it's the second (or third part) for a couple like FFX and XIII. Really depends on how far back a system you're willing to go. FFVI (I think V too actually) have pc releases ported over from ios which look a little better and, at least I think so - a better interface too.

    If you're looking to go a little more modern I would say start with FFX HD (It's pretty easy barring the conclusion to a couple of sidequests) and then go on to XII (they just released an HD version too!!!) XI is online only. And so on.

    If you want to go back a little farther I would say start with the mentioned VI or VII on the psx and work your way from there. And if you like PSX era also check out FF Tactics.

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    I would say that either the original or 3 (especially the DS rerelease) would be a great starting point - but if you're only interested in the story-driven Final Fantasy games, 8. As Zaladane said, very few of the games tie into each other, except in references. The thing is though, I would actively avoid 12 as a starting point because without playing Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Advance, and Tactics A2, 12 doesn't actually make as much sense storywise (and of course there's also 12: Revenant Wings to consider). That's my 2 cents. 1, 3, 8. And then play 6 as soon as you can.

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    If you dont mind the graphics, i would personally start with 4 then just move on upward through them
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    My favorite is FFIX. When you first start it can be a little annoying because the ATB guage goes pretty slow, but it will speed up as your progress a bit. The graphics, music, characters, and story are all good. If you want to start on SNES, I would start with 4 or 5. 4 has better story, 5 has better battles because of the job system.

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    If you have a PSP (or emulate it/have custom firmware), you could try the remake of the very first game. If you have a GBA (or emulate it) you could try Dawn of Souls, which is the first two games remade.

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    I would say start at the beginning. FF1 was a fantastic game for its time and the job system has held up very well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaladane View Post
    Kinda hard to say. None of the games really tie into each other unless it's the second (or third part) for a couple like FFX and XIII. Really depends on how far back a system you're willing to go. FFVI (I think V too actually) have pc releases ported over from ios which look a little better and, at least I think so - a better interface too.

    If you're looking to go a little more modern I would say start with FFX HD (It's pretty easy barring the conclusion to a couple of sidequests) and then go on to XII (they just released an HD version too!!!) XI is online only. And so on.

    If you want to go back a little farther I would say start with the mentioned VI or VII on the psx and work your way from there. And if you like PSX era also check out FF Tactics.
    I basically agree with this but I should clarify that I haven't played 1-5, nor the online games. Although it really depends on how retro a game can be before you don't enjoy it based on the old tech to begin with. If I'm honest, I like retro games but I just prefer some of the newer graphics and whatnot, it's just personal preference really. They have done graphical remakes of older games though like ff4 and such, so maybe someone that has played both versions can comment on that.

    Still I started with 7 and I wouldn't have it any other way, but nostalgia goggles are real lol. Even graphically I loved 7 which I guess is weird because most people think it has aged horribly.

    I think the main thing about choosing a starter game is that the first one might set the tone for how you feel about the franchise. I'll forever picture a final fantasy game as being something FF7 like, and if I play an FF title that deviates, I'll feel like they should just go back to their FF7 roots lmao. It's not logical but yeah, and for that reason alone you might want to pick a game you think you'll enjoy a lot as your first, since it might stick with you in that way. If you loved SNES games, I might suggest 6, if you like PS1 games, I would suggest 7 or 9, and if you want something with voice acting etc I'd go with 10.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostwolf View Post
    I basically agree with this but I should clarify that I haven't played 1-5, nor the online games. Although it really depends on how retro a game can be before you don't enjoy it based on the old tech to begin with. If I'm honest, I like retro games but I just prefer some of the newer graphics and whatnot, it's just personal preference really. They have done graphical remakes of older games though like ff4 and such, so maybe someone that has played both versions can comment on that.

    Still I started with 7 and I wouldn't have it any other way, but nostalgia goggles are real lol. Even graphically I loved 7 which I guess is weird because most people think it has aged horribly.

    I think the main thing about choosing a starter game is that the first one might set the tone for how you feel about the franchise. I'll forever picture a final fantasy game as being something FF7 like, and if I play an FF title that deviates, I'll feel like they should just go back to their FF7 roots lmao. It's not logical but yeah, and for that reason alone you might want to pick a game you think you'll enjoy a lot as your first, since it might stick with you in that way. If you loved SNES games, I might suggest 6, if you like PS1 games, I would suggest 7 or 9, and if you want something with voice acting etc I'd go with 10.
    Totally agree.

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    I don't know that I actually qualify as a fan of the series. I really like some of them, but I've not been a big fan of most so take my input for what it's worth knowing that.

    I'd start with 4 skip 5 but play 6, 7, and 8 then skip 9-14 and play 15.

    As far as picking a favorite, or listing 4,6,7,8, and 15 in any kind of favorite ranking, I liked them all about equally and a whole lot. Some of the best games ever made.

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    I made an account just to answer this question because all of these people are insane and unhelpful (except for ghostwolf, who is mostly right). Your enjoyment of a Final Fantasy game is going to depend on two things (aside from the general bitter pill you need to swallow to enjoy any JRPG without feeling embarrassed for playing a JRPG), and that's 1. the story, and 2. the mechanics. Although, the people telling you to start at 4 are definitely onto something--even the remakes of the first three can't hide that their mechanics are complete garbage, to the point where they don't outweigh whatever story is happening around them (though to an extent the story is always "Good vs. Evil, and if it wasn't evil enough the first time there's some God-tier evil behind everything, and more than a few of these are about crystals and malevolent gods). Here's my rundown for you:

    FFIV
    STORY: I once was bad, but then was good.
    MECHANICS: Uncustomizable characters, turn-based menu battles w/ ATB. Expect a lot of change-ups in your party for plot reasons, so don't get too attached to anyone who doesn't hold a lance.

    There's not too much that's mind-blowing about FFIV these days, but there's a bit of a Game of Thrones vibe with how much, and how dramatically, characters will enter and leave your party. FFIV also has the distinction of being whackadoo batsh*t, to the point where you (spoilers) go to the moon. If you're really looking to run the series, I would call this the boiler-plate experience, but not without its charms. The 3d versions are the way to go here.

    FFV
    STORY: SAVE THE CRYSTALS
    MECHANICS: Job system (i.e. you can make a character an archer, a ninja, a beastmaster, a white mage, etc. etc. etc.), 4 party members only, although (spoilers) one of them might not make it all the way to the end. ATB turn-based menu system

    A severely underrated Final Fantasy, for reasons that are unclear but I will describe my theory in pig latin (asway evernay anslatedtray intoay Englishay untilay the GBAay). About as droolingly rock-bottom dumb as Final Fantasy plots can go, it's the first really good foray into the job system (WE DON'T TALK ABOUT FF3), and if you're into it mechanically, you're good to go. If you're not, it's going to be a slog, and not a fun one. GBA version is good here, or later if you don't mind the new sprites.

    FFVI
    STORY: Kind of Star Wars-y
    MECHANICS: Somewhat-customizable characters, but highly specialized and there's a lot of them; there are plenty of gimmicks to use all of them, and most teams are viable. ATB turn-based menu system

    My personal favorite of the series, so take whatever I say here with however many grains of salt you need, but FFVI is about as close to JRPG perfection as one can get (at least in the 16-bit era). It might be a bit of a ballache as you grind your way through the first hours, but the Esper system is pretty easy to get into and satisfying to use, and the plot is, in my opinion, second to none for Final Fantasies, if only for the number of JRPG tropes it eventually upends (but there's still essentially good vs. evil, I mean these guys weren't totally nuts). The characters are generally well drawn (narrative-wise at least, YMMV when it comes to the latest remasters' graphics) and it's fun to experiment with different team combinations when the game really opens up to you. Try the GBA version or later.

    FFVII
    STORY: CORPORATIONS ARE EVILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
    MECHANICS: Tiny magical stones go into your weapons and armor and give you big magical powers, ATB turn-based menu system

    My first in the series, but I have a hard time replaying it these days. The characters are great (sans Cloud "Procedurally-Generated Angsty JRPG Protagonist" Strife) and there are enough of them to pick your favorites, and they're all essentially the same depending on how you train them during the game, so you can choose who you like and run with it. The story is appropriately epic, taking you across a whole wide world and giving one of the series' most memorable and relentless antagonists. There's some fun to be had; I think anyone saying "FFVII IS TEH BEZZZZZT" in 2018 is looking at it through some rose-colored glasses, but definite points for an interesting and fully-realized setting. The Limit Break system is scarce, but that makes it all the more satisfying to get a clutch Limit Break and push some uppity boss's sh*t in. I didn't understand Materia when I was 13, but things worked out anyway. All-in-all, the quintessential PSX JRPG.

    FFVIII
    STORY: Orphans and witches and time-rifts and a-whaaaAAAAAAAAT?
    MECHANICS: Vampiring spells from enemies, playing a dumb card game to get good, SQUALL MUST DIE, ATB turn-based menu system

    An extremely controversial Final Fantasy, some people will tell you that the Draw system (in which you don't work on an MP basis, you steal spells from enemies) and Junction system (in which you draw a pentagram on your living room floor and sacrifice the family pet to Pazuzu to get the Bahamut summon to make you better at swinging your "gunblade") are really neat, while others will tell you they're arcane and idiotic. Also, the game essentially scales itself to your protagonist's levels, which is good to know because I ended up at the endgame with a level 30 character the first time I played, but everyone else in the party was ten levels lower because I hated everyone and never kept a consistent team and I got dunked on. The first in the series in which every single character is dumber than a box of used diapers (Squall in particular makes Cloud look like he was played by Orson Welles), this is much more of a "love it or hate it" affair. Although, when it comes to batsh*t insanity, 8 is the first to really get guano since 4. If you end up getting into this, Google "Squall is Dead". It's a very interesting deep reading of all the nonsense that goes into this plot.

    FFIX
    STORY: A troupe of Shakespearean actors kidnaps a princess and there are too many moons
    MECHANICS: ATB turn-based menus, somewhat-customizable characters, learn abilities through equipment

    Another contender for my personal favorite in the series, FFIX is meant to be, and largely plays out as, a celebration of the series up to this point. It's a boiler-plate JRPG fantasy story, with broad characters and nothing you really haven't seen before. But I always found it extremely charming, and I love the way it distills the series' formula into something fast enough to keep you switching gear and specializing your characters, but it's streamlined enough to keep you moving. It's also notable because, with its more chibi art-style, this is where Final Fantasy will start actively embarrassing you if other people are watching you play. Although, Chocobo Hot-and-Cold may be the most addictive mini-game ever to appear in a Final Fantasy (bite me, Triple Triad players).

    FFX
    STORY: WHAT STRANGE NEW WORLD THAT HAS SUCH PEOPLE IN IT
    MECHANICS: Turn-based menus, no ATB but rather a set battle order; Sphere Grid system for customizing characters

    Speaking of embarrassing, FFX, a game in which my dad walked in the room when I was a teenager and said "Why's that ugly computer broad sound like she's having an orgasm?" A Japanese-boy-band version of Messi wakes up on crappy Hawaii, far away from the horrific cyberpunk dystopia he calls home in which people are impressed by his dumbass clothes, and then he goes on an adventure just because. The battle system is fun because it allows your entire team to get in on the action in every battle, should you want that; the Sphere Grid is immensely satisfying and, on a long enough timeline of human history, will allow all your characters to have all the skills forever and ever, amen. If you're a completionist this one will piss you off to no end--Google Lulu's ultimate weapon, Chocobo Racing, or any of the monster breeder bosses to get an idea. Also, this is the first, but not the last, Final Fantasy to put you directly on the rails of its plot and then pretty much never let you do things the way you want to. Also, did I mention that this, the first fully voice-acted Final Fantasy, is absolutely embarrassing to witness?

    FFXI: An MMO, I have no idea, I never played it. Pretty sure it's dead though.

    FFXII
    STORY: All of the Star Wars trade federation stuff, but with halter tops and worse haircuts
    MECHANICS: OH, sorry, did you want to play?

    Another controversial Final Fantasy, FFXII is meant to mimic the MMO experience. It does this through the Gambit system, which some people liken to coding, in so much as you're going to stack up a bunch of "If/Then" statements for each character, and then you run your characters into the middle of things and watch to see if your coding prowess lands you victorious or gets you curb-stomped into an, admittedly, beautiful landscape. I've played this one for dozens of hours but have never finished it because, and this is a hot take, the story is meandering and pointless. It's a very sideways take on the JRPG formula that will either leave you hot or cold, and nowhere in between.

    FFXIII
    STORY: WE ARE THE CHOSEN, WE ARE DOOMED-or-THE WORLD'S MOST TEDIOUS J-POP MUSIC VIDEO
    MECHANICS: If you thought FFXII gave you too much control, this one's for you

    FFXIII is the last of the truly controversial Final Fantasy games, and not for no reason. It combines all the controversial parts of FFXII and X and then dumbs them down to the point of almost meaninglessness. It's basically the JRPG version of a rail shooter, and battling is so chaotic that trying to do anything but Auto-Battle is going to get you porked by anything attacking you. The story makes FFV look like Shakespeare, and has all the internal logic of Tommy Wiseau's magnum opus, "The Room." However, if you like watching numbers go up, FFXIII has a lot of that and does try to shake up the formula in its own way, and if you end up liking it at all, stop playing and move straight on to its direct sequel FFXIII-2, which is way better than it has any right to be, if only for its Angry Chocobo theme.

    FFXIV is an MMO, haven't played, supposed to be pretty alright though

    FFXV I haven't played in earnest, but is supposed to be pretty alright if you want to simulate being NSYNC on a road trip.

    I hope this helped.

    Hugs and kisses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marchegiano View Post
    I don't know that I actually qualify as a fan of the series. I really like some of them, but I've not been a big fan of most so take my input for what it's worth knowing that.

    I'd start with 4 skip 5 but play 6, 7, and 8 then skip 9-14 and play 15.

    As far as picking a favorite, or listing 4,6,7,8, and 15 in any kind of favorite ranking, I liked them all about equally and a whole lot. Some of the best games ever made.
    You can't just skip 5, its the best one!!

    Just play the latest mainline one and go back if it even peaks your interest for more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brickwallviews View Post
    I made an account just to answer this question because all of these people are insane and unhelpful (except for ghostwolf, who is mostly right). Your enjoyment of a Final Fantasy game is going to depend on two things (aside from the general bitter pill you need to swallow to enjoy any JRPG without feeling embarrassed for playing a JRPG), and that's 1. the story, and 2. the mechanics. Although, the people telling you to start at 4 are definitely onto something--even the remakes of the first three can't hide that their mechanics are complete garbage, to the point where they don't outweigh whatever story is happening around them (though to an extent the story is always "Good vs. Evil, and if it wasn't evil enough the first time there's some God-tier evil behind everything, and more than a few of these are about crystals and malevolent gods). Here's my rundown for you:

    FFIV
    STORY: I once was bad, but then was good.
    MECHANICS: Uncustomizable characters, turn-based menu battles w/ ATB. Expect a lot of change-ups in your party for plot reasons, so don't get too attached to anyone who doesn't hold a lance.

    There's not too much that's mind-blowing about FFIV these days, but there's a bit of a Game of Thrones vibe with how much, and how dramatically, characters will enter and leave your party. FFIV also has the distinction of being whackadoo batsh*t, to the point where you (spoilers) go to the moon. If you're really looking to run the series, I would call this the boiler-plate experience, but not without its charms. The 3d versions are the way to go here.

    FFV
    STORY: SAVE THE CRYSTALS
    MECHANICS: Job system (i.e. you can make a character an archer, a ninja, a beastmaster, a white mage, etc. etc. etc.), 4 party members only, although (spoilers) one of them might not make it all the way to the end. ATB turn-based menu system

    A severely underrated Final Fantasy, for reasons that are unclear but I will describe my theory in pig latin (asway evernay anslatedtray intoay Englishay untilay the GBAay). About as droolingly rock-bottom dumb as Final Fantasy plots can go, it's the first really good foray into the job system (WE DON'T TALK ABOUT FF3), and if you're into it mechanically, you're good to go. If you're not, it's going to be a slog, and not a fun one. GBA version is good here, or later if you don't mind the new sprites.

    FFVI
    STORY: Kind of Star Wars-y
    MECHANICS: Somewhat-customizable characters, but highly specialized and there's a lot of them; there are plenty of gimmicks to use all of them, and most teams are viable. ATB turn-based menu system

    My personal favorite of the series, so take whatever I say here with however many grains of salt you need, but FFVI is about as close to JRPG perfection as one can get (at least in the 16-bit era). It might be a bit of a ballache as you grind your way through the first hours, but the Esper system is pretty easy to get into and satisfying to use, and the plot is, in my opinion, second to none for Final Fantasies, if only for the number of JRPG tropes it eventually upends (but there's still essentially good vs. evil, I mean these guys weren't totally nuts). The characters are generally well drawn (narrative-wise at least, YMMV when it comes to the latest remasters' graphics) and it's fun to experiment with different team combinations when the game really opens up to you. Try the GBA version or later.

    FFVII
    STORY: CORPORATIONS ARE EVILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
    MECHANICS: Tiny magical stones go into your weapons and armor and give you big magical powers, ATB turn-based menu system

    My first in the series, but I have a hard time replaying it these days. The characters are great (sans Cloud "Procedurally-Generated Angsty JRPG Protagonist" Strife) and there are enough of them to pick your favorites, and they're all essentially the same depending on how you train them during the game, so you can choose who you like and run with it. The story is appropriately epic, taking you across a whole wide world and giving one of the series' most memorable and relentless antagonists. There's some fun to be had; I think anyone saying "FFVII IS TEH BEZZZZZT" in 2018 is looking at it through some rose-colored glasses, but definite points for an interesting and fully-realized setting. The Limit Break system is scarce, but that makes it all the more satisfying to get a clutch Limit Break and push some uppity boss's sh*t in. I didn't understand Materia when I was 13, but things worked out anyway. All-in-all, the quintessential PSX JRPG.

    FFVIII
    STORY: Orphans and witches and time-rifts and a-whaaaAAAAAAAAT?
    MECHANICS: Vampiring spells from enemies, playing a dumb card game to get good, SQUALL MUST DIE, ATB turn-based menu system

    An extremely controversial Final Fantasy, some people will tell you that the Draw system (in which you don't work on an MP basis, you steal spells from enemies) and Junction system (in which you draw a pentagram on your living room floor and sacrifice the family pet to Pazuzu to get the Bahamut summon to make you better at swinging your "gunblade") are really neat, while others will tell you they're arcane and idiotic. Also, the game essentially scales itself to your protagonist's levels, which is good to know because I ended up at the endgame with a level 30 character the first time I played, but everyone else in the party was ten levels lower because I hated everyone and never kept a consistent team and I got dunked on. The first in the series in which every single character is dumber than a box of used diapers (Squall in particular makes Cloud look like he was played by Orson Welles), this is much more of a "love it or hate it" affair. Although, when it comes to batsh*t insanity, 8 is the first to really get guano since 4. If you end up getting into this, Google "Squall is Dead". It's a very interesting deep reading of all the nonsense that goes into this plot.

    FFIX
    STORY: A troupe of Shakespearean actors kidnaps a princess and there are too many moons
    MECHANICS: ATB turn-based menus, somewhat-customizable characters, learn abilities through equipment

    Another contender for my personal favorite in the series, FFIX is meant to be, and largely plays out as, a celebration of the series up to this point. It's a boiler-plate JRPG fantasy story, with broad characters and nothing you really haven't seen before. But I always found it extremely charming, and I love the way it distills the series' formula into something fast enough to keep you switching gear and specializing your characters, but it's streamlined enough to keep you moving. It's also notable because, with its more chibi art-style, this is where Final Fantasy will start actively embarrassing you if other people are watching you play. Although, Chocobo Hot-and-Cold may be the most addictive mini-game ever to appear in a Final Fantasy (bite me, Triple Triad players).

    FFX
    STORY: WHAT STRANGE NEW WORLD THAT HAS SUCH PEOPLE IN IT
    MECHANICS: Turn-based menus, no ATB but rather a set battle order; Sphere Grid system for customizing characters

    Speaking of embarrassing, FFX, a game in which my dad walked in the room when I was a teenager and said "Why's that ugly computer broad sound like she's having an orgasm?" A Japanese-boy-band version of Messi wakes up on crappy Hawaii, far away from the horrific cyberpunk dystopia he calls home in which people are impressed by his dumbass clothes, and then he goes on an adventure just because. The battle system is fun because it allows your entire team to get in on the action in every battle, should you want that; the Sphere Grid is immensely satisfying and, on a long enough timeline of human history, will allow all your characters to have all the skills forever and ever, amen. If you're a completionist this one will piss you off to no end--Google Lulu's ultimate weapon, Chocobo Racing, or any of the monster breeder bosses to get an idea. Also, this is the first, but not the last, Final Fantasy to put you directly on the rails of its plot and then pretty much never let you do things the way you want to. Also, did I mention that this, the first fully voice-acted Final Fantasy, is absolutely embarrassing to witness?

    FFXI: An MMO, I have no idea, I never played it. Pretty sure it's dead though.

    FFXII
    STORY: All of the Star Wars trade federation stuff, but with halter tops and worse haircuts
    MECHANICS: OH, sorry, did you want to play?

    Another controversial Final Fantasy, FFXII is meant to mimic the MMO experience. It does this through the Gambit system, which some people liken to coding, in so much as you're going to stack up a bunch of "If/Then" statements for each character, and then you run your characters into the middle of things and watch to see if your coding prowess lands you victorious or gets you curb-stomped into an, admittedly, beautiful landscape. I've played this one for dozens of hours but have never finished it because, and this is a hot take, the story is meandering and pointless. It's a very sideways take on the JRPG formula that will either leave you hot or cold, and nowhere in between.

    FFXIII
    STORY: WE ARE THE CHOSEN, WE ARE DOOMED-or-THE WORLD'S MOST TEDIOUS J-POP MUSIC VIDEO
    MECHANICS: If you thought FFXII gave you too much control, this one's for you

    FFXIII is the last of the truly controversial Final Fantasy games, and not for no reason. It combines all the controversial parts of FFXII and X and then dumbs them down to the point of almost meaninglessness. It's basically the JRPG version of a rail shooter, and battling is so chaotic that trying to do anything but Auto-Battle is going to get you porked by anything attacking you. The story makes FFV look like Shakespeare, and has all the internal logic of Tommy Wiseau's magnum opus, "The Room." However, if you like watching numbers go up, FFXIII has a lot of that and does try to shake up the formula in its own way, and if you end up liking it at all, stop playing and move straight on to its direct sequel FFXIII-2, which is way better than it has any right to be, if only for its Angry Chocobo theme.

    FFXIV is an MMO, haven't played, supposed to be pretty alright though

    FFXV I haven't played in earnest, but is supposed to be pretty alright if you want to simulate being NSYNC on a road trip.

    I hope this helped.

    Hugs and kisses.
    Now that's a lot of info about the series, and you managed to keep it entertaining as well. I can't thank you enough for writing these summaries, they'll definately come in handy when I choose what game I will play first (I still haven't gotten around to play any of the games yet). Thank you once again.

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