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Mistatee
12-07-2005, 12:51 PM
Ok, i have decided to be a part of the crowd and start a review thread like everyone else. But mine will be entirely devoted to old games. What I define as old is Psx/Sat/N64 and older. So i guess its not really old, but who gives a damn, close enough.

My rating system is weird though. For it to work I have to write the scaling guide for two genres of games: RPGs, and Not RPGs.

RPGs with their focus on character and story actually get scores for character and story. Their scores will be determined as follows:

Story : 100pts x40%-60% or 40-60pts for non-math wizards
Characters 100pts x15%-30% or 15-30 pts
Gameplay 100pts x20%-35% or 20-35 pts
Bonus tilt any number added to score for innovation/cinematics/music etc.


Non-Rpgs are rated differently:
Infact, its basically random.. Though i wont review too many. Though i will touch on areas such as Gameplay and Bonus and Sound and Replay.

Then after reviews i will list reviews for similar titles, time to beat, difficulty level, and if it is better then Super Mario 64. In case you don't know, if the game is in any form good, then too me its better then SM64, and thus recommended to give it a shot.

Games I will be reviewing sometime in the near future:

Lunar:Silver Star Story Complete (Psx)
Lunar:Eternal Blue (Psx)
Valkyrie Profile (Psx)
Silhouette Mirage (Psx)
Grandia (Psx)
Panzer Dragoon (Sat)
Panzer Dragoon Saga (Sat)
Radiant Silvergun (Sat/I guess i have too, though i dont have a copy yet...)
Dragon Force (Sat)
General Chaos (Gen)
Mic and Mac's Global Gladiators (Gen)
The 7th Saga (SNES)
Lufia II (SNES)


Short list for now, expect a detailed review once a week, starting probably tonight around midnight.

And before you ask, heres why i hate SM64:
3-d platformers suck, SM64 spawned the whole breed of them
Gameplay while innovative, felt extremely repetitive, and in a lot of areas uninspired
Bossfights were lame, though i guess SM never really had good boss fights.
Collecting multiple items i was never fond of. Coins in stages as points worked fine, as a requirement, worked poorly. Best star collection was in SM:GB2 Legend of the 8 stars.

And another questioned answered: No i dont care about graphics in my game unless i cant tell whats going on (ET). Therefor all points gained from "good" graphics or lost by "bad" graphics is handled in the Bonus section.

Mistatee
12-09-2005, 03:22 PM
Ok finally got around to writing my reviews.

And what a Suprise! The first one will be LUNAR: Silver Star Story Complete.

Normally originals of games are better to review then re-makes, but Lunar for the ps1 actually improves in many ways over the Sega CD version. Instead of focusing on graphics (becuase Game-Arts/Working Designs aren't whores) they updated the soundtrack (which was brilliant to begin with) added a new form of dodging battles (and thus eliminated the randomness) and updated the cinematics (which where an integral part of portraying the story on the Sega CD).

First I will touch upon story:
Most people will call the story "cliche". These people are dumbasses who think Lunar originated on the Ps1, and thus every square game before it did what was done in Lunar. WRONG! The flying city in CT...Lunar didit first. Anyways my take on the story is shear brilliance. The way it flows through the game, and ultimately through Lunar 2 as well is genious. There are books scattered throughout the two games that hint towards the back story which basically goes as follows.

Machines were created in the past on the planet earth. Among them a beast emerged named Zophar. Althena, 4 dragons, and a dragon master battled back their forces and eventually conquered Zophar and hes aprentice Amalak. (By Quark himself) They were imprisoned inside the earth, but the power nearly destroyed the planet nad made it inhabitable. Althena used her power to transport all the remaining earthlings onto the moon and made it habitable. Later on Lunar, a tribe known simply as the vile tribe was banished to the portion of Lunar that hasnt yet become fully habitable. Thoousands of years pass and Amalak is freed by Zophar's growing power and attacks Lunar. 4 Heroes (What they are acalled in Lunar 1) defeat him

Ontop of that the voice and writing that goes into the game itself is brilliant. THe twist in the middle was classic (Though later proven to me by my roomate who talks to everyone, everywhere twice, alittle predictable) Basically I am only able to find subtle flaws in the overall mythology of the game, and the story kept me inclined the whole way through, all 5 times I have beaten it.

My one problem wth the story is this:
How did Ghaleon defeat Quark when Quark is a tetrark?? It should have been atleast a challenge
Over all the story gets 97 points (for being best story in an RPG ever) and is multiplied by %55 becuase it is an incredibly large portion of the game.

Characters:
All the characters are basiaclly standard. You have the silent hero, the vain hero (who is from vane...) the meager and modest hero, the mother figure, the brawny and barbaric hero, and the loud mouth hero. But their personality and especially their relationship with the other character is top notch. Bonus points are handed out to Ramus who in the end sells you stuff before the final fight FOR FREE!!!!!!!! Genious, i mean really! WHo sells stuff to the people that will save the world and charges them for it? Also bonuses go to Mia for her awesome video at the end, and to jessica for being a healer that actually does incredible melee damage, which fits her personallity and race. Then theres the subtle stuff. Alex, i used to think was a lame random translated name, but is actually named alex becuase it means "Protector of Mankind". Knowing that i checked the meaning of everyone elses name (Since all of them are bland, yet realistic) and most of them fit with their personality exactly!!!! Again Genious

Over all the characters get 91 points (for being alittle cliche in short term, but having extreme personality and relationships, and for having a deep meaning in their name) and is multiplied by %25 becuase it is pretty important but overshadowed by the epic story.

And finally gameplay. Its pretty simple. No random battles (thank god. In sega CD there was a fight ever 5 seconds or so) so you dodge enemies on screen, and in fights its almost gridlike. Everycharacter has range and Aoe spells target monsters in certain areas. Basically it is the begining system of another Game-Arts classic Grandia. I love the battle system alot, and value it more then most RPGs, but the problem i have with it is the spellsets are so short for characters. Also it is really slow when compared to other games at the time FF7, or Lunar2. Its mostly animation based, and is like that to make the game feel more like the Sega CD version, but im not a fan of it.

Over all the gameplay get 85 points (for being short-sided in the skills department, but at the sametime being completely revolutionary, fun, and removing random battles) and is multiplied by %20 becuase its all thats left of 100%.

Overall score: 97x.55 = 53.35pts + 91x.25=22.75pts + 85x.2=17pts.= 93.1

Bonus: Points will be added for an amazing and redigiatalized soundtrack, plus amazing opening and boat song lyrics/video. Slight amount of points are subtracted for lack of sidequest (aside from talking to people after completing what was thought to be meaning list tasks) and an overall short title.(Total of +5pts)

Final Score 98.1 (Rank 1 of 12)

Mistatee
12-09-2005, 03:26 PM
Bouns Review!!!!!!
Lunar for Sega CD.

Story is alittle weaker then the Ps1 version with
Dyne being killed by the Black dragon driving Ghaleon insane, rather then having Dyne become Laike after making Althena into a child driving Ghaleon insane
and among some other features like
Luna not taking the boat -8Pts.

Overall combat is only worse in the fact that there are random battles, but makes up for it with a much larger skill list then the Ps1 version. Also this game is much harder.
+4pts

Overall estimated score of 4pts less then Lunar:Silver Star Story Complete
Recomended play any version if able. It rocks, and adds more to the story of the Lunar universe.

Mistatee
12-09-2005, 03:35 PM
Bonus Review 2!!!!!!!!!!!
Lunar Dragon Song

First off i realize this game isnt old, but its related to Lunar so i dont care.

Story: Take Lunar 1, copy it, remove all the rules from Lunar 1, then ship it to the past (1,000 years) then dilute it by making it understandable for little kids.
2 Dragonmasters, not ever. White dragon not quark, Umm hes in the First1, and he lived over 10,000 years, he should be there. Umm Vile tribe leader being a DM? He has redeyes, no. Black eyed DM? NO!!! Pink Haired Althena????? NOOOOOOOO
Nice to see some areas redone, and atleast some of the lore there to hold true with the time, but not enough to save the catastrophy.
-30pts.

Characters are about the same, but with no meaning to their name (aside from main villian) There relationships are also bumbed down alittle for a younger audience. -8pts.

Gameplay: No targeting on enemies. No real skills aside from heals. Main character cant use spells until about 10 hours into game. They have slow animations. But they do still ahve dodgable battles, and a fast forward button. -7pts.

Overall:
I thought this game rocked at first, but then I got to the actual story and the game died. My recomendation is to play Lunar 1, and never waste your time here, unless you havent. This game might also ruin Lunar 1 for some people if they ahvent played it yet.

Estimated score 45 points less then Lunar Silver Star Story Complete



Lunar 2: Eternal Blue is next weeks project guys.

Paper exe
01-08-2006, 03:33 AM
Better then SM64? HELL YES
I don't follow. What with SM64!? Is it something about being overrated or underrated or you like it or hate it!?

Mistatee
01-08-2006, 04:17 AM
Its a game i would rate along the lines of a 50%. So yes I hate the game ALOT. It was easily the worst SM game until Sunshine showed its ugly head. And I was excited by a response to my review page.

FinalSolace2
01-08-2006, 04:53 AM
i gotta check out those games- i read the pitydafool reviews like two weeks ago- but i cant locate the game around where i live-

Icarus4578
01-08-2006, 06:08 AM
Holy underpants Batman! Wow, so you actually consider the storyline in Lunar inferior on the Sega CD? Most people, including myself, prefer the Sega CD version. However, I do prefer the remake of Eternal Blue to the hack job WD did with the Sega CD version.

Nindalf
01-08-2006, 06:25 AM
The content of this thread makes me furious.

Icarus4578
01-08-2006, 06:36 AM
Yeah, where's your Mario 3 review?

Alexander
02-11-2006, 01:03 PM
Alex, i used to think was a lame random translated name, but is actually named alex becuase it means "Protector of Mankind". Knowing that i checked the meaning of everyone elses name (Since all of them are bland, yet realistic) and most of them fit with their personality exactly!!!! Again Genious
First of all, my name is Alex. Second of all, there are many interpretations of the name "Alex." In Latin, it literally translates as "lawless." Like you said, it also means protector of mankind. I don't see how it's a lame translated name at all. I hate the way Final Fantasy translates names mainly because they are so unrealistic and sound really sappy. Cloud? Squall? Zidane? Ugh! Nobody would name their kids that. Nobody. Alex, however, is a relatively common name with an interesting background. Points to Lunar for actually getting a good name for once.

Interesting fact! My name is William Alexander J. Both William and Alexander mean Protector of Mankind. My parents never knew that. Weird!

Mistatee
02-11-2006, 02:46 PM
Holy underpants Batman! Wow, so you actually consider the storyline in Lunar inferior on the Sega CD? Most people, including myself, prefer the Sega CD version. However, I do prefer the remake of Eternal Blue to the hack job WD did with the Sega CD version.


Yeah Im weird, but I prefer the direction WD took the story on the second iteration. Plus I am really not a fan fo random battles. If only Lunar for Ps1 had the spell system of Lunar for Sega CD... And I wouldn't say the story is inferior to Ps1, I said alittle weaker, but I really should have just said I prefered the way the story went in the Ps1 version, becuase weak and inferior are bad words, and Lunar for Sega CD doesnt need those things attacjed to its story.

As An apology:

Review 2:
Dragon Force (SAT)

Dragon Force is an odd title to review. If you haven't been fortunate enough to play it, it is a Real-Time strategy-esque RPG game that actually works on a console.

The Story:

The story is a little weak in the world of RPGs. Basically The whole continent is at war, with 8 kingdoms fighting in the free for all. You start the game with the option to choose one of 7 characters which forms the head of 7 of the 8 kingdoms. The backstory is, Harsgalt, Dragon God of Light fought the God of Destruction Madruk (ala Record of the Lodoss war basically) and at the end was to weak to kill Madruk, so he sealed him away instead. During this war there are people trying to revive Madruk, and there are 8 destined heroes (heads of the kingdom strangely) chosen to defeat him. Throught the game you get visits from gods or disciples. You meet with other leaders, and there are some interesting world events. Character's backstorys (of either the leader or his 4 sub-heroes) add more depth to the seemingly simple story. Overall it is done pretty well.

Overall the story gets 82 points and is multiplied by 40% becuase it is just there for support and continuity

The Characters:

All kingdoms leaders and subheroes are pretty different, though they really aren't anything special. On top of that, most of them will have a lot of the same abilities and stats becuase there isn't much difference in those areas. However most have a backstory that is touched upon during the game(only if you are the main kingdom for that character though), and secret events (kingdom dependent) happen becuase of these. As for the other recruits you get, most of them are 1 sided idiots. They say stupid stuff, have stupid names, but you need them. They do nothing for the story asides from helping you get to the end.

Overall the characters get a 76 points and is multiplied by 25% becuase it amplifies the story and the gameplay, but still isn't all that important.

The Gameplay:

It's huge selling point, Dragon force has at least an original combat system, which is generally good in most areas. This game is no Grandia though...

On the world map there are 34 castles ( if i remember correctly) each with armies in them. You take your army from your castles, and move across the world map (in realtime) to fight. Winning makes that castle yours, and the goal is the rule the world. This is hard to explain...

Every person in your army has troops of a certain class (Soldier, Calvary, Mage, Archer, Samurai, Harpy, Dragon, Zombie) and over the course of the game you can give them items and medals so they can get more (up to 100) of 1 class into their army. This is pretty staright forward, get them 10 (which = 100 troops) medals in one area and forget about them.

In Combat each generals army would go up (1 at a time to be fair I guess) against another generals. Generals can unleash completely overpowered (at the end) specials to try to kill as many troops or damage the enemy general during the fight. If one teams army is destroyed, the remaining forced from the other team would then surround and attack the enemy general (getting completely destroyed in the process) until the general:

Dies
Kills them all
Retreats

When all the troopps are dead, if there is time left, the generals get to duel (which the AI declines about half the time). It is then a duel to the death between the two, which is basically take turns attacking (with a random chance to get 1-4 extra attacks) and so who is left at the end.

There are bosses (Random events, enemy generals leaders) but most of them are either overlly hard, or extremely easy. It doesn't help that the game has to have completely crappy AI to make it possible for you to win at the begining, so at the end its basically a suck fest for them. It also doesn't help that for the last part of the game, you can only use the leaders of the kingdoms (when you conquer there kingdom they join you, forgot to mention that), which makes everyone else worthless.

Overall Gameplay gets 78 points and is multiplied by 35% becuase thats what you play the game for...

Overall score: 82x.40 = 32.8pts + 76x.25=19pts + 78x.35=27.3pts.= 79.1

Bonus:
You could want to play it again becuase you unlock a new Kingdom, and every one starts out different, though I'm sure you wont finish it becuase it becomes the same game about halfway through. +2points

Music isn't all that great, and doesn't fit in some areas, -1 points.

Final Score 80.1 (Rank 9 of 12)

Mistatee
02-11-2006, 03:08 PM
First of all, my name is Alex. Second of all, there are many interpretations of the name "Alex." In Latin, it literally translates as "lawless." Like you said, it also means protector of mankind. I don't see how it's a lame translated name at all. I hate the way Final Fantasy translates names mainly because they are so unrealistic and sound really sappy. Cloud? Squall? Zidane? Ugh! Nobody would name their kids that. Nobody. Alex, however, is a relatively common name with an interesting background. Points to Lunar for actually getting a good name for once.

Interesting fact! My name is William Alexander J. Both William and Alexander mean Protector of Mankind. My parents never knew that. Weird!

I dunno, Alex sounded so...normal, which I guess also fits the character. I guess your right though...

Guess I owe a second apology:

General Chaos (NON-RPG WARNING)

Heres a tough beast. First this isnt an RPG, so my format is pretty bad for it. Ill grade this game based on:

Balance
Gameplay
Enjoyment

First an overview of the game:
There are 2 armies at war. You choose combat on a dartboard, winner picks of course (aside from the first battle which begins at the beginning) You can only pick places that havent been fought at yet, and they must be touch boundaries of a previous engagement. The goal is to get to the enemies HQ, and win there. HQs are also the only place that can be fought at more than once. After the battleground is decided, you need to select an army unit to use. There are 5 or 6 options, and they aren't there for a couple of fights afterwards, so you have to choose wiselly. They are pretty balanced, though you will most likely have a favorite, and one you hate alot. Then you fight.....

Balance:

The game is pretty balanced, which is good. The rocket Launcher character is super good, while the flamethrower (with its craoopy AI) sucks. Commandos (2 people instead of 5) are balanced as well. Maps are balanced, aside from capitals (HQs) which males sense, becuase if you loose there, you loose. Nothing to big to complain about.

Gameplay:

Its pretty straightforward. Holding A makes all you units attack. B cycles through units, c makes them move to where ever your cursor is. Terrain can be hid behind, and there are bonus items (for points which give you more medics at the end f the fight) so moving helps alot. There are also objectives for bonuses you can complete that would require moving. Plus grenader, Flamethrower and TnT man(Chuck Norris, and I am Serious, beard and all), are all very short ranged an need to move as well.

Your guys sort of auto aim when you tell them to shoot. The rocket luancher has certain angles he can shoot at, so moving him to adjust is required. The flamethrower however, is retarded, and probally wont hit...stupid AI. Other then that, if they are in range, the charcaters will hit eventually.

Terrain also matters in the game. You can trip over barbed wire, or swim through water, only to find you gun jammed or your flamethrower shooting bubbles. Sometimes people evn drown. You can also run into trees, or take cover behind them.

Running into enemies can also trigger a hand to hand fight which you can control. You can kick punch and block, aiming up middle or down for each. Usually you will win, but too many low-blows and the enemy falls down and shoots you with a pistol. Also CHuck Norris never looses really in Hand to Hand, further proving it is him.

Commandos with 2 player (each controls 1 guy) is too much fun.

Enjoyment:

You can turn people into sjeletons with rocket luanchers, you can play as chuck norris, and you can play 4 player FFA. This is one Genesis game that was looked over by too many people. If you don't mind a good mindless game, play it.


Final Score 86 (Rank 6 of 12, tie with FFXII)

RaeOfSun22
02-23-2006, 08:38 PM
First of all, my name is Alex. Second of all, there are many interpretations of the name "Alex." In Latin, it literally translates as "lawless." Like you said, it also means protector of mankind. I don't see how it's a lame translated name at all. I hate the way Final Fantasy translates names mainly because they are so unrealistic and sound really sappy. Cloud? Squall? Zidane? Ugh! Nobody would name their kids that. Nobody. Alex, however, is a relatively common name with an interesting background. Points to Lunar for actually getting a good name for once.

Interesting fact! My name is William Alexander J. Both William and Alexander mean Protector of Mankind. My parents never knew that. Weird!

I met a person who was named Cloud once, but then again... she was female? heh

Alexander
02-23-2006, 08:56 PM
Oh. Cool. I know a guy named Virgil and a girl named Aphrodite. :sweat:

Mistatee
03-05-2006, 02:40 PM
Next one is up...

Panzer Dragoon Saga (SAT)

This game, as you know, is often hailed as one of the best games ever, and especially the best game for Saturn. Lets see how it holds up.

The Story:

The game starts of very well, in about the same world as the first 2 Panzer Dragoons. But then it begins to move very slowly for awhile, probally the whole first disc (of 4). You meet seem characters along the way (though they never really join your party) that describe te way the worls works, and help you get out of some dungeons. This is also done quite well. The basics of the story is this:

You are edge, a hunter, who is trying to get revenge on a man for killing your party and stealing an artifact woman. You mysteriously (explained later) have control of a dragon with the power to allow for your revenge

It seems pretty simple, and actually is until the end of the 3rd Disk.

Where you learn that the man who you want revenge against is actually a good guy saving the world from technology placed there in the past. It is here that your bond to the dragon is explained

Basically the story is slow until the last 5-6 hours or so, which then it is pretty well done. In my book this is forgivable, though it will cost them points. As for the overall world of the game:

It flows without problems, but you are really limited to who you can interact with. There are actually only 3 towns in the game, but this will be covered in Gameplay.

Overall the Story gets 84 points times 50% becuase while not the main focus, it was important.

The Characters:

There weren't many. You had 2 villians, a love interest, an explorer, and mechanic, a corrupt politician, a tribe leader, and a bartender. Seems like alot, but this list is every person TOTAL with something to do with the game. Even though this game is a 1 person group game, this is in-excusable. The characters weren't even fleshed out to well. Only your love interest, 1 villian, and the explorer actually have a past, and these are basically the only real characters in the game. There is a pretty interesting twist with your story after the final boss fight. All the characters had really good japanese voice acting as well.

Overall the Characters gets 60 points times 15% becuase they were only there to move the story along, nothing more.

The Gameplay:

Obviously the main focus of the game. Its real-time, such as your three bar fill (and can move faster which I will describe later) You gain access to higher teirs of attacks. You can also move around you enemies (on a rail, so there are only 4 positions in combat) to dodge harmful attacks, and to find areas where they take more damage. Intop of that you can customize your gun with 1 upgrade, and are able to customize your dragon at anytime (even fights) selecting if it has more defesne, attack, spirit(magic power), or agility(faster bars and position changing).
When you level up (which happens alot. I made it to level 51 in the 18 hours the game takes) you gain stats based on what dragon you had out when you leveled. Changing stats also alters the way your dragon looks. Also how you treat your dragon out of battle can give him a new special. There is also a secret where you collect 12 "D-Units" to unlock the Dragons final form (which sadly removes all the before mentioned customization, but in return, you get a badass ride). Unfortunetly, a lot of these awesome ideas aren't fleshed out enough. Theres only 7 upgrades (including the secret one) for your handgun, which really is lame, even though some of them are helpful depending on the way you level your dragon. Also "how you treat your dragon" is simply everyday pick from 3 different options at your camp: Smile, Ignore, and Pet, thats it. Another problem I had with the game is the idea that the more you use a form the better spells you get with it. IE you use attack form alot, you get more attack magic... Well I never used attack form in the game, except at a few parts, and I still got all of it's magic...LAME. Also the limit on BP (basically MP) kinda killed my plan of going all spell-caster, but this was in the last hour so it wasn't too bad.

More problems would arise from the complete lack of towns. You end up going to one town over and over again, then moving on to the next, and repeat.

And my Final issue is: TOO EASY. I dunno if it is becuase I went spell caster, but it was way too easy. I died 3 times total, the first 2 were at the first boss. And when I didn't die, I didn't come close. This is partially becuase there are too many items. And without gun-upgrades to buy (i bought the beest one in 6 hours) i spent all my money on potion, ecetera.

But don't get me wrong, these flaws don't make the game "bad" just worse then it should have been. There is still the best exploration ever (3d-flying always rocks), really fun combat, really good customization, great voice-acting, and a decent soundtrack. Also the better you do in a fight (take no damage, did it fast) the more experience you get, and a chance for an item increases. Plus it gives you a rank and records that in your monster log (which is HUGE).

Overall the GamePlay gets 87 points times 35% becuase it was original and combat was easilly the main focus.

Overall Score: 84 x 50% + 60 x 15% + 87 x 35% = 81.5

Bonus:
Well Japanese credits and voice-acting is always a plus.
Good amount of secrets
Decent CG for the time
And hefty list of monsterlogs and a nice percentage break-down at end game which every game needs.
(Total of +5)


Final Score: 86.5 (Rank 5 of 12)

Mistatee
09-16-2006, 07:45 PM
Ive decided to make my Review Thread Rise from it's grave...

Also, ive decided to remove that whole speel about thing being better then SM64... SInce I realeased, that everything I would waste my time reviewing would most likely be better then SM64

Valkyrie Profile (PS1, and now PSP, but I dont have a PSP, so Ive never played it)

Prety Rare game, until the PSP version was released, and a sequel is on the way too.

The Story:

Valkyrie Profile is an interesting beast. Shortly after starting the game, you will soon relase that they game is very unique from the genre. Even ignoring the combat, and dungeon crawling uniqueness, the story is presented in a different way from the norm. Since you can do whatever you want in the game (As in pick what missions to do and not to do, and the whole idea that you couldjust skip right to the end.. and loose) the story is presented primarrily in the back stories of the characters you recruit (about 40 or so) These are all really impressive, original, and some can be quite long, at about 30 mins or more. The better of the stories link with others, and even the Valkyrie herself, while the weakers ones are short, and unmoving.

Aside from these character mments, there are some story elemnts imbedded in some of the dungeons. These tend to stray far from the norm, and are kinda wierd, but enjoyable one-the-less. Some of these dungeon moments start after doing certain things (like go here during this chapter, with this guy in your party, etc.) These moments are crucial to the main story, which is only completed if you unlock the best ending (impossible to do without a guide, but well worth it)

Overall the Story recieves a 80 points times 40% as it wasnt really the main focus of the game, but was there, and for most of it, executed extremely well.

The Characters:
Probally the shining point of the story was the backstories of all the characters. The uniqueness of their stories flows into their finishers as well (explained in Gameplay) and their overall Sprite animations were glorious. ALso every character is voice acted which really brings them to life in combat, but outside of combat, some characters just sound... off.

The Characters get 96 points times 30% as they are all unique and well done, voiced, and animated. Their finishers are usually cool too, and fun using them just to see.

Gameplay:

The other strong point of VP:

When you think of an RG you quickly imagine random battles and the same combat formula you've experienced since the early 90's with a few changes. But when you play VP, you move around dungeons like it is a Castlevania game, and any enemy you see, runing into them iniates combat. You can freeze these enemies (sometimes you need to for puzzles) to avoid combat. Attacking enemies before fighting them (which you do 99% of the time) ensures that you attack first.

Once in combat, you get a face button for each character. Pressing triangle makes the person assigned to that button attack. Later you unlock specials (by picking up items that unlock them for everyone, and you put points into skills when you level up to be able to use them) This combat system is all about juggling the enemy until you fill the bar at the bottom to 100% to unlock finishers on them. THese finishers add a lot to your hit meter (1 hit for each hit...duh, but this meter multiplies your damage, and allows for better item drops when it's higher) to make the fights more worthwhile.

Exploring the dungeons is almost as exciting though. There are many tough puzzles (some so tough its annoying at the end though) that keep the game fresh. completing these puzzles gives you event experience (which is good for leveling up new characters you just got since you gain and lose characters every chapter)

The world map is also amazing, and feels great. But they dont list any of the locations you have to go to in the chapter, which makes the game real frusturating if you stop playing for a week, and have to restart the game completely.

Overall the Gameplay in VP is excellent. It scoes 92 Points times 30% becuase of its fun, originality in combat and dungeon crawling, and great puzzles. Infact it would ahve gotten 100% if its world map was more forgiving, some of the final puzzles weren't frusterating, andtowards then end, the combat was a little harder.

Overall Score: 80 x .4 + 96 x .3 + 92 x .3 = 88.4

Bonus:

Extremely awesome soundtrack +2 Points
Great VA work for its time and impressive Sprite animations +2 Points

Final Score = 94.4 (Rank 2 out of 12)

Icarus4578
09-17-2006, 07:17 AM
My brother is letting me borrow his PSP with seven games (I didn't ask to borrow it; he just lent it to me). One of those is Valkyrie Profile, but I have yet to try it. So far I've played Mega Man Powered Up, Hot Shots Open Tee, Gradius Collection, and Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins. The others are that Mega Man X remake and Loco Roco.

EDIT: Oh yeah ...and Tekken.

Mistatee
09-17-2006, 10:40 PM
Try VP, but be warned, it took me about 50 hours to beat on the hardest difficulty!
Worth every second though

Alexander
09-17-2006, 11:01 PM
I like your reviews, but I need pictures = (

Mistatee
09-18-2006, 12:13 AM
Allright... ill see if I can jazz up my posts allittle bit.
I know its hard on the eyes to see a block of text.

As for my next review... It might just be Valkyrie Profile 2... Or ALbets Odyssey

Arnold
09-18-2006, 12:46 AM
Me like your VP review. I also found the game quite unique, with excellent gameplay and inventory. The story, the way it was told, was certainly not your usual stuff, but it all tied rather well especially when you get the "true" path--I still get tingly when I remember the events heralding the Ragnarok and the final battle.

Try VP, but be warned, it took me about 50 hours to beat on the hardest difficulty!
Worth every second though

The hard difficulty is the best; my repeats of the games are always on hard difficulty. Aside from the extra dungeons/stuff, the hard difficulty allows you to develop characters from scratch, and you could put more extra HP points via an accessory during levelling up since the characters always start at the lowest level (unlike the other modes where they start at a predetermined level).

Mistatee
09-20-2006, 02:09 AM
I actually have only played Hard mode in VP, aside from maybe an hour on Normal.

Arnold
09-20-2006, 09:30 PM
You played Hard mode on your first play? *whistle* That is just something I would'nt do, in any game. I am ashamed to admit that I tinkered with VP on Easy mode before going to the Normal mode, and I only played the Hard mode because a FAQ told me it had extra dungeons and it is the best, to which I agree.

Paper exe
09-21-2006, 04:56 AM
I did the same thing Mistatee did; only difference is that I screw up on the first chapter. :sweat:
There are two things I don't understand about the game, for one I could only find three dungeons on the first chapter the first and second were normal, but the third had extremely strong, impossible to beat enemies. At that point I didn't know what to do, I just keep replaying the second dungeon to level up, but I can barley level up one level for only the newer characters, so it seems like I am wasting time and the chapter is very close to an end as well.
The second issue I had was with the blue crystals, I don't know how to get them in the same time I want to collect them all, I only get one when I stop trying or lose hope.
The manual says something and the tutorial in the other hand says another thing and none worked even after dozen of battles and with trying a lot of others ways and even practicing it. I am surly doing something wrong; I would truly appreciate your help Mistatee.
By the way good review, I liked how your reviews doesn't look like plan text like mines, I guess it is the use of colors, or maybe better writing.

Mistatee
11-18-2006, 03:12 AM
OK the Third dungeon should have been called the Cave of Obilivion, which spawns random leveled monsters. SO you can be level 20 and fight level 60s, which is probally around what happened to you. The benefit of this is the idea of using Tomes of ALchemy, which instant kill all the enemies you are fighting, and turns them into 10 BLue gems each. So you get the battle experience (enough for 1 or 2 levels) and then a lot of blue gems which should double that (another level or so).

As for blue gems, i believe they are dropped from enemies depending on how many times you hit them (see the Hits meter) when they died. However using more Purify SOul attacks (finishers) after they are dead can get you a few more, but will most likely drop purple spheres (CT crystals) that make it so you can use Purify SOul attacks or magic sooner.

As for collecting all the blue crystals, there really isnt a set number of them, they are just dropped randomly from enemies (like money in most games) so you cant technically collect all of them. Hope this helps paper!



Once I get some Free time (probally around mid december) I'll write up my review for Valkyrie Profile 2, and maybe Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy 12, and Wild Arms 2 by the end of the year!

Long live the Review Page!

Mistatee
01-03-2007, 02:34 PM
Its past the end of the year, and I finally finished Final Fanatsy 12. Im not sure its really worth my time to review this game, as I am pretty sure I am the last one to finish it on this forum, but who cares.

The Story:

A world isnt doomed, just a country trying to get back on its feet. Thats an interesting change for the FF series. But thats not all. Its also about destiny, devotion, and an old king's legacy. The best way I can desribe the game is in direct comparison to Final Fantasy Tactics. It feels almost more like a Shakespear play then a FF plotline which is a good change in pace. Infact, I hold nothing wrong with the story, besides for the fact that it is overshadowed a lot of the time by characters and gameplay. It is easy to loose track on what the purpose is.

Overall I'd give FFXII 88 points multiplied by 50% for its story becuase of Its well-wrtitten-ness, change in pace, and overall good form.

The Characters:

The characters in this game were a good set, though some a little cliche, ala Vann who acts just like the main character in Grandia 3. Balthier is a smooth talking SKy Pirate who has his own, and well-justified, reasons to join the party. Fran, balthier's viera sidekick just kind of tags along though. Wish they explained their relationship alittle better. Penelo is Vaan's friend who tags along as well. She is completely worthless and annoying. Basche is a loyal servant, who was framed to be a traitor. His fight for trust is a good premise, and he, like Balthier, has a very good set of lines throughout the game. This really exemplifies him as a "bad ass". Ashe is a princess, who had everything taken from her. She fights her feelings, her past, and the empire throughout the game. Her character is also well structured. All the characters have pretty deep backstories, even the enemies, which further increases the games immersion

Overall FFXII earns a strong 92 points multiplied by 25% for its well developed and spoken characters. Infact, it might have some of the best spoken dialogue in any game, period.

The Gameplay:

Here is yet another grand change to the FF forula. Except this one isn't as well founded as the story. If something isn't commented on here, then it is awesome. I dont want this to be too long, so I will list only my flaws in their system.

Buffs need to last longer. Having people stop to recast buffs every 2 minutes is very tedious. Also, the fact that they have to stop to cast is even worse.

Techniks need to have more value in combat. Here are all the Techniks I ever used:

Charge, Steal, Libra, Shear, Expose, Wither, Thousand Needles. Thats not even a fourth of them.

White Magic is too powerful, and is also, somehow, the easiest magic for everyone to learn. Magic power does not effect White magic enough, and some of the healsare too cheap.

Ethers should drain whole bars, but rather drain them over time. Summoning them is almost worthless (infact, only the water one was really usefull ever, and I got a lot of the secret ones) and if you use them, then dismiss them, there goes a whole bar. I like how they changed the system from how it usually was, but it was not a change for the better. Alos the overall DPS of my group, and survivability dropped whn I summoned things. It should have left all my party on screen, and just added a new ally.

Mist attacks are too random. Sometimes you can easilly pull off a 14 hit combo, other times, 4 is all you can do. Hard to relly on something random that drained your whole parties MP.

Accessories were usually worthless. Infact once bubble belt was available, nothing was ever really better.

You couldn't see all the stats when you were purchasing armor, which got annoying.

The bazaar system is not as good as Valkyrie Profile 2's crafting system.

So despite all of these minor flaws, the game is still fun to play. It just should have been a lot better, and felt untested in a lot of areas.

Overall FFXII scrapes by with 68 points multiplied by 25% for its flawed but fun gameplay.

Overall, FFXII scores: 88 x .5 + 92 x .25 + 68 x .25 = 84

Bonus:

+2 points for awesome voice acting and CG videos.

Final Score: 86

Overall Rank: 6 of 12 (Tie with General Chaos)

Northeastmonk
01-04-2007, 01:30 AM
This review justifies my own personal feelings for the game. I thought Penelo's shorts were way too revealing for a teenage girl. And I agree 100% about the lines spoken by Basche and Judge Gabranth were some of the most well spoken lines in any Video Game history. The part where he said "Do you protect your empire or your own blood(something like that)'' made myself goosebump until the fight began. And when Gabranth also said, "I am your king slayer..etc..etc.." I almost got up from where I was sitting and started to do some religeous jig.

I feel the depression after the ending. The song at the end, Kiss Me goodbye wasn't important to me as much as Final Fantasy VIII's Eyes On Me was. Probably because they played the song throughout the whole game. Good review none the less.

Mistatee
01-05-2007, 05:40 PM
Thanks, later tonight will come Valkyrie Profile 2, and coming soon, Enchanted Arms

Arnold
01-08-2007, 08:50 PM
I generally only know of the bard's work in motion picture or in bastardized versions, still, "almost like a Shakespeare" does sound right for FFXII.

If you're a completionist, the Thief's Cuffs and the Golden Amulet are also topnotch accessories. And yup, I like better the crafting system from Valkyrie Profile 2, but I think that is only because the VP stores had a list of ingredients onscreen, whereas FFXII's Bazaar did not.


And I agree 100% about the lines spoken by Basche and Judge Gabranth were some of the most well spoken lines in any Video Game history.

Lots of good, very good lines in the game. I especially like Basch's dialogue prior to entering Golmore Jungle, which goes like "wearing shame proudly if that would mean avoiding somebody the horrors of war."

Mistatee
01-09-2007, 01:12 AM
Valkyrie Profile 2:

This game is a prequel/sequel to the first game, and in my heart, is one of the few sequels to do the original justice.

The Story:

The story begins with the introduction of the main character and her split personality. From here you proceed on the typical RPG adventure in search of an epic item that would save your kingdom. Very roughly, thats the first half of the game, though I am leaving a lot out for spoiler sake. Its definetly not the most creative story, but there are a decent amount of twist and turns to keep it interesting.

The betrayal of Leone was easilly called, especially with all the forshadowing of Alicia and here feeling like sisters: Read Silmeria and Hrist are like sisters, etc. etc. However the main motives of Lezard, and the way he reached the past was truly shocking and well played throughout the game. Also Dylan holding Brahms was extremely unforseen on my part.

Overall the story was very strong, though alittle troubled by the begining half's eternal quest for the Dragon Orb. I gladly Hand VP2 a well earned 78 Points x 40%.

The Characters:

A strong main cast marred by off and on English Voice Acting. My brief synopsis of characters is as follows:


Alicia: Good character cought between the hardship of 2 personalities. Very modest in her own actions. The love story forced between her and Rufus was weak though.

Rufus: Good character punish by a horrible voice actor and iffy lines. His love for Alicia also comes off as forced in the end, and his coming back to life is retarded. Otherwise good though.

Dylan: Lame until transformed back to Brahms.

Lezard: Baddass as always, with great lines and voice acting to go with it

Arngrimm: Kinda wierd why he is there, but still acts like Arngrim none-the-less. Can't complain with that.

Leone: Eventually her role as Hrist can be called by even an infant, but manages to delude you for awhile. Alright I guess.


The only problem with this game's characters, especially in direct relation to the first games is the einheriar. While their backstories are written out in text, it just isnt as cool as the videos from the first. Also, they have less of an impact it seems on the world as compaired to the first. Sending them up does have better rewards this tme around though.

Becuase of this, I feel that VP2 deserves 88 Points times 25%

The Gameplay:

I have to say:
Keeping it side scrolling was genius. The puzzles are easier then the first, which isnt cool, but it is less frusturating in some areas so its not all too bad. The teleport system is great. The Stone system was cool, but nothing to impressive I guess. The real story of this game though is the great (though exploitable) combat system, and wonderful character customization/item crafting.
Plus the new Purify Soul Attack animations were amazing, though lost on einjeriar who only used stock animations. The inclusion of increased difficulty for each play through, and another grueling Seraphic gate is also appreciated. This area is where the competition between 1 and 2 becomes close.

Overall, VP2 earns a respectable 98 x 35%

Which brings its final score to:
78 x .4 + 88 x .25 + 98 x .35 = 87.5 points.

Unfortunetly the only bonus points the game gets for soundtrack is the inclusion of the original combat music onlocked after beating the game. The rest of the soundtrack is average, with one song, the desert song (Vagrancy) being great, and also probally the best desert music ever made... +1 Points

Final Score: 88.5 (Rank 3 of 12)

Sinful Sam
01-09-2007, 04:26 AM
I forgot I bought this game...

Keep up the reviews. :thumb-up:

Arnold
01-09-2007, 04:31 AM
Solid review. I'd like to add some comments:

- Just finished sometime ago the second play, and of the story and much like Suikoden, I’m quite impressed as to its intricacy and depth when connected to the first one and when you further read the profiles which contain interesting, sometimes juicy, information and you talk to the resurrected einjerhars, so, personally, I have somewhat a higher score in that area. Or, maybe I’m just being biased because I like Norse Mythology, or at least the memory of it. :D

- Gameplay-wise, the Dragon Orb quest was long all right, but story-wise, I think it was rational as it showed that humans transferred the Orb from one place to another to hide it from Odin who was actively searching for it, and Silmeria was merely following the trail through her object reading.

- I didn’t think it was weird to see that blade-wielding bloke since I remember him being there when Lenneth got thrown back in time in VP1. Also, the Valkyries appear to transmigrate the same souls over and over again, so it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the one in the past and in the future are one and the same.

- You're right about “exploitable” which appears to be a Tri-Ace tradition together with the secret dungeons populated with hard enemies and the two celestials. In the second play, with some patience and the aid of an FAQ, I was able to get very powerful weapons early in the game.

Mistatee
01-09-2007, 03:43 PM
Yeah I can agree with your thoughts on the einjeriar, but I still feel it was done better in the original, primarilly becuase they seemed to have more impact on the player the just reading that phyress was a queen, yadda yadda yadda. Im content in my review of this section becuase I really didn't subtract too much from them. 88 is a pretty strong score when there are characters plagued by poor voice acting and scripting as well.

My only wish, aside from the people who did the voice work on FFXII, would be the techo audio style from the first instead of the norse audio style in the second. It fit the time better, but at the same time, felt like less of a VP game, if that makes sense.

Arnold
01-09-2007, 08:10 PM
It’s somehow different all right, but I think it can’t be helped since I suppose developers always have to strive for something new in each sequel to keep the series fresh. And woe to those who criticized Suikoden 3 simply because it wasn’t like Suikoden 2—I can’t help but say that since it always amuses me when I remember it. :)

The einjerhar system from the first was great, but I don't think it would fit or work well with VP2. The narrative is different for one thing, and so is the objective. Whereas the Valkyrie in the first one recruited souls of the recently dead for Odin, Simeria already had the souls within her from her previous awakened state, and she was simply transferring souls to certain objects as necessary, and apparently with the einherjars' consent as can be gleaned from the Prologue; she must be one truly compassionate goddess.

Regarding the music/audio style, VP1 indeed excelled in that area, but as I listen to music/audio style in VP 2 over and over again, I think it gets better. It’s subdued as you mentioned in another thread, but there is delicacy.

Mistatee
01-09-2007, 09:44 PM
I didnt like Suikoden 3 as much as I should have, simply becuase replaying the game from multiple viewpoints wasn't that great, simply becuase the game never concluded on the first 3 play thoughs until you finished all of them...

Arnold
01-10-2007, 03:17 AM
Nah, I was only poking fun, not seriously, on those die-hard Suiko fans.

Anyway, the multiple viewpoints, i.e., the Trinity System, can be taxing, but in my opinion, it is that coupled with the subtleties that make S3 special. I have yet to see a game story as fully fleshed out and as intricately executed as that game on a canvass some would think quite limited. Always a pleasure to witness skillful storytelling in whatever medium.

Actually completed the three (3) endings over the years, so at roughly 80+ hours per game, that would mean I spent at least 240 hours on S3. And they say I have ADHD.

Mistatee
01-15-2007, 02:55 AM
80 hours per game.
If my memory serves me correct, i Didnt play 80 hours total and I beat it with 2 characters. The game is by no means Xenogears length anyway.

Arnold
01-15-2007, 04:44 AM
I suppose you can finish it fast if you want to complete it immediately, but that is not how I play Suikoden 3. I've played more than 80 hours actually per game--and that's not even completing everything. I can attribute my longer play to the following:

- Completed all scenarios including the optional ones. There is basically 5, including the one you get as a special reward for completing 108 stars.
- Obtained the 108 stars of destiny. No other choice for me in this area, because the game isn't complete without the special scenario which was laced with pathos/atonement, not to mention something quite maternal
- Tried to obtain as much profiles from the detective
- Completed the physical collectibles, particularly books, which usually require you to beat dungeon bosses outside of the main storyline
- Talked to everybody in the town
- Read everything

The detective work actually takes time. From what I can remember, it takes about 10 minutes (or was it 5?) per entry, and each character has, I think, 3 entries. So, let's say, it is 5 minutes, the detective part alone could reach 27 hours for 108 stars. Of course, much as I would like to, I have not been able to finish the investigation reports, but I usually do it since reading in the game is different from reading in a FAQ. I just wish that, someday, Konami would enable investigation reports all in an instant after a certain point; the game can just, for example, increase the potch you pay.

Aside from the above, there is also the batch scenes, the lottery, the newspaper, the dungeon bosses which seem to regenerate per chapter, and the theater which is totally hilarious.

So, if you want to obtain/experience and read all, Suikoden 3 could easily be one of the longest games.

Mistatee
03-07-2007, 12:32 AM
Probably going to get flamed by Alucard for this radical review. So heres my Disclaimer. I haven't played Suikoden II in say 5 years...

SUIKODEN V

Personally, I fell this is the best Suikoden game in the series, though keep in mind my disclaimer above. My memory could be off a little when it comes to Suikoden II.

The Story:
The story begins slow, but during this period, you are described one of the most lush worlds I've seen displayed in awhile. Characters are also really fleshed out here as well, and for the most part, executed properly. Back to the world however. The "Queendom" of Felena is a matriarchal society, that seems skewed in many ways because it still follows many patriarchal traditions, such as tournaments where the winner claims his bride, etc. I found this quite intriguing, and glad it was followed up throughout the game's entirety. As the game progresses, things switch from being predicted easily, and being surprises, which overall creates a pretty realistic feeling. Most of these predictions are based on the foundations characters have laid out before them, which further increases the cohesion between the characters and the story. A complaint that I bring up however, would be the repetition of events that kind of make the Suikoden V feel mission based, especially if you neglect on doing the infinite sidequests in between events.

Suikoden V has a very strong story with some minor flaws, but excellent variety and pacing to try and make up for it. I fell it deserves an 88 x 45%, as it makes up a large portion of the game.

The Characters:
One of the defining features of Suikoden games are the 108 characters. Not only are most of them unique, fun, and helpful in their own way, collecting them is fun in its own right. Kinda like Poke'mon in a way I guess, you gotta get them all to get the best ending. Of course with 108 characters, there are going to be a lot that you dislike, such as Sialeeds for me, but for the most part you like a lot more than you hate. You can't just pick 6 characters (or 10, which is the maximum amount you can carry with you) due to the influx of new characters (with better abilities, or you like better, etc.) and the sparse, but there none-the-less, events where you must form multiple parties. The system works well, like always. You also get the option to fully customize your party in this game as well. There are 15 stats you can upgrade, armor/accessories to equip. Weapons to upgrade. And plenty of formations to choose from. Another good feature is that the enemies in the game aren't entirely crazy/demonic/emo/retarded like a lot of games, and seem to have their own agendas and personalities, which again adds to story/character cohesion.

Great/dynamic character list to choose from. However, somethings like Upgrading stats, and picking new Formations could have been improved upon. They seemed way too sidequest dependent then they should have been. Anyways, Suikoden V still manages to grab a 80 x 30%

Gameplay:
The other features Suikoden games are known for are here as well. These are the one-on-one duels, strategy campaigns, and the marvelous 6 man combat system. Ill start with the one-on-one duel system. In all the Suikodens before V this was an entirely easy, but enjoyable game. Its rock paper scissors at its finest, except the AI basically tells you what they are going to do. (Read simplistically easy). Well in Suikoden V, its still easy, but some fights were almost a challenge, so it is a step forward. The animations in the fight sequences, while repeated a lot, were enjoyable to watch. This is an upgrade, though slightly, from the previous versions.

The strategy campaign is where you control an army on the field of battle. This gametype has changed a lot with the series. In Suikoden V, its almost a psuedo-realtime Fire emblem. It also follows a rock-paper-scissors formula, but there are a lot of specials you can perform to break these molds. Personally, I found it to be a great system, though with its flaws. It can be really hard sometimes to select the right unit, and its even harder when your going towards a unit and another action occurs on the otherside of the map, moving your cursor there. But thats about all. In terms of the other Suikoden games, this system destroys the boring Suikoden 2 chess-like system, but falls alittle short to the side-scrolling Suikoden 1 system.

The 6-man combat system isn't really too special in this version. In suikoden 1 and 2, which also had this sytem, you would input all 6 commands, and most of them would play out simultaneously. In V, you still input all 6 commands at the same time, but they seem delayed, and usually go one after each-other. The magic system however, seemed to get a huge upgrade, with the ability to "Unite Magic" which is basically a co-op attack (also in the game) between 2 spell casters. But the upgrades can't entirely make up for the slowdwon in combat, but the system still ended up being enjoyable overall, even if a little simple.

The real strength in the gameplay comes in the package of Sidequests. From farming orb shards to recruiting 100 characters, to getting rare items, books, and money to afford new armor, this area of the game is as expansive as you want it to be. The beauty of Suikoden V is that they usually dont tell you to go and get someone, you have to stumble upon it yourself, and some of the conditions to meet are pretty radical as well.

Simply put, the gameplay in Suikoden V rocks, and lives up to the high bar set by its story. Suikoden V earns a 92 x 25%


Which brings its score to:
88 x .45 + 80 x .30 + 92 x .25 = 86.6 points.

Bonus Comments:
+1 for a well composed Soundtrack and for a character that changes combat music if he is in your party
-2 for the decision to list every character leaving you party for custsceens, and then making the player re-orginze afterwards.
+2 For killing of a lot of main characters. It always makes me happy

FINAL SCORE 87.6 (Rank 4 of 12)

Mistatee
03-07-2007, 01:09 AM
Review #2 of the day:

Forgot to post my Enchanted Arms review...

For all who don't really know, Enchanted arms is a rushed RPG for the 360 (and even more rushed now for the Ps3 apparently), but in my eye, was actually fun to play.

The story:
Hahahaha... It fails on a lot of levels. Its predictable, its goofy. Its unbelievable. BUt it does go somewhere, and it is actually a story. Most of it is played out in speech bubbles with anime sideshots of the character, and VOICE ACTING IN 2 LANGUAGES!!!!!!, so its not the most awesome-rock-your-shorts-off-experience (infact its kind-of dull, especially when Rygar Speaks) but its better than nothing. Basiclly you run around the land stopping the resurrections of the Super magic beasts while trying to save your best friend from being possessed. Thats it, sorry to ruin half the game for you...

Enchanted Arms has almost no story, and falls on its face when it tries most of the time. But somehow, it manages to stay engaging and enjoyable through a good part of the ride. I felt it deserves an 58 x 40%.

The Characters:
Retarded
Smart-Ass
SERIOUSLY, THEY GAYEST CHARACTER EVER
Bitch
Boring
Annoying as Fuck
Thats the party that saves the world. Not looking too good huh. Luckily, it saves itself with above average customization, and once again POKe'MON style, collect them all, gameplay!!!!!!!! Could have been a lot worse. They sound pretty nice in Japanese, which is good, because hearing the main character whine about his dog in English was horrible.

The character development itself was there in a slightly stronger sense than the story, but there were plenty of back story scenes, which made the game 1000000 times more in-depth, which still wasn't too much.

Ill be generous and hand them a 69 x 25%, as I have seen worse...

The Gameplay:
Could the gameplay actually save Enchanted arms from a poor performance in my review thread. Well it helps, but isn't enough. Combat is basically 4 vs 1-6 monsters on a grid like Megaman Battle Network. Each character can move a certain range, and attack, but characters and enemies cant occupy the same square, so things have to be planned out a bit. Overall, it works out pretty good. The monsters you can use (instead of teamates) are pretty different,
and each have a strong set of attacks to use. Further customizing their strengths is also good practice.

Every fight you botch, all your characters VP drains. When the VP reaches 0, then they start each fight with 0 hp and ep (energy you have to keep full to do attacks) This maes the player require to have multiple strong party members for a dungeon, which is also good, as you try to save the stronger guys for the boss, the game makes itself harder. Another strong point of this system is the fact that at the end of every fight, if you have VP, then your Hp and Ep get reset to max. Thats stops a lot of tedium in the gameplay, and also serves to make the game less item based. With this, the team designed the items in Enchanted Arms to be way powerful, and thus way expensive, thus way good to use in tough situations, and thus way fun at times.

But WTF is up with random battles, linear paths, and no Sidequests in this game... Next gen... only in looks.

Gameplay is definitely the strong suit of Enchanted arms. How about a 87 x 35%

Overall Score: 58 x .4 + 69 x .25 + 87 x .35 = 70.9

Bonus Comments:

Seriously, Mikoto was so turbo gay it warrants a +1 point handout....

FINAL SCORE 71.9 (12 out of 12)

Northeastmonk
03-07-2007, 01:14 AM
I had a hard time at first getting a copy. It seems like only 1 store in town had one. I am going to start playing it this summer. Great review by the way! I like how your point system works.

Arnold
03-07-2007, 04:55 AM
Probably going to get flamed by Alucard for this radical review. So heres my Disclaimer. I haven't played Suikoden II in say 5 years...



That was a good AND positive review. Alucard seems to only go on berserk mode if you flay Konami. I'm pretty sure he's got a Konami switch somewhere in his amygdala.

Quite astute observation on the Queendom being matriarchal, but still having patriarchal traditions. Still, I would think a tournament is still a better way of picking a husband for your daughter; it’s democratic. I’d prefer it to, say, arranged marriages or giving her hand to someone with the biggest d-, eh, dowry.

Definitely would make a good drinking partner, that Sialeeds. Liked her.

Mistatee
03-07-2007, 02:28 PM
I suppose it was a good way to pick a candidate, but it certainly wasn't democratic. First off, they stopped hundreds of applicants because of their origins. Second off, they could have someone battle for them, and they reap the benefits.
Im sure in a true Matriarchal society that wasn't bent on war (sorry amazons) they would go about finding a person that was compatible with the current princess to aid her at the throne.

And I have realized I was probably way too lenient on Enchanted Arms. It scored within 8 points of the wonderful Dragon Force. But thats how It ended up and I probably wont ever change it. I also need to apologize for my atrocious spelling mistakes in my previous reviews. Ill actually proof-read my work now...

Arnold
03-07-2007, 08:12 PM
I suppose it was a good way to pick a candidate, but it certainly wasn't democratic. First off, they stopped hundreds of applicants because of their origins. Second off, they could have someone battle for them, and they reap the benefits.
Im sure in a true Matriarchal society that wasn't bent on war (sorry amazons) they would go about finding a person that was compatible with the current princess to aid her at the throne.


I think you have to fault the nobles for that—if I were one myself, I’d certainly cut the contenders before they even reach the actual race; should raise the chance of me actually winning. I would deduce that, in the original Sacred Games, the winner gets to be the husband, but the nobles got selfish and ornery as in the way of things, and soon, had gladiators fight for them. Such a change can easily be effected by amending the law; the Queendom has a Senate after all, and I suppose the Senate, which should be made up of nobles, makes the laws.

Absent of manipulation by nobles or by some xenophobic bigots, every male, from whatever country or nation, can fight in the Sacred Games. Ferid was not a noble and was a foreigner as well, yet he became king.

In a matriarchal society, I believe men would be nothing more than breeders. The Amazons of Greek myth were like that, and the Bene Gesserit of Frank Herbert’s "Dune" certainly behaved that way. That being the case, I think it is only natural to seek the qualities that would make/guaranty good progeny, and I would posit that physical prowess and virility are considered desirable qualities. What better way to select the best breeder than in a physical contest?

Incidentally, one thing I like about Suikoden, it doesn’t think its appreciators are an un-resourceful and un-imaginative bunch, and the fifth installment, as always, has quite jucy and non-apparent information, such as follows:

- Did you discover who Ferid’s father is? You can get this information by connecting quite a few dots in the game.

- Sialeeds is quite an interesting character. Her significance and motives can only be known by doing some thinking. Much can be gleaned/said about her history with Ashtart and the Oracle of Lunas, and her doing a Benedict Arnold, isn't that simple.

- That irresistible cooking mini-game in Suikoden 2 has a connection in 5.

Mistatee
03-07-2007, 10:29 PM
Hence why I say the story is awesome.
The world alone warrants the score, but you have intricate character interaction and hidden motives thrown in there!

Northeastmonk
03-08-2007, 01:26 AM
I would absolutly love it. Could you please review a couple games that I myself have question time and time again if they are worth the status I have onced praised on them. Vandal Hearts, Star Ocean (I'd love to see your rating system), and the very innovative Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare. I need more emphasis on these titles because I ask the Gaming God's for patience and I never receive any. lol. I have faith you'd understand.

Mistatee
03-08-2007, 06:05 AM
Going to be tough for me to do that.
Havent played Nightmare Creatures 3, and beat Vandal Hearts and Star Ocean 2 years ago. Kindof tough to review things from years past and be accurate.

I can tell you this much however. Vandal Hearts would probably score slightly above Enchanted Arms, and Star Ocean 2 slightly above FFXII.

B.B. Gambini
03-08-2007, 10:15 AM
great point system

Mistatee
10-18-2007, 05:31 AM
Persona 3

It beat this RPG about a month ago, but I really let this one sink in before I could do a review of it. If you have played any of the SMT series, you should already know what to expect in this review.

The story:
Person 3 isn't the most story driven game out there. Much like Valkyrie Profile, the story doesn't even begin to really take shape until the half way point of the game. Unlike Valkyrie profile however, the story isn't amazingly deep, and the halfway point of this game is near the same length as Valkyrie Profile in general. That being said, it was still pretty enjoyable, though long winded in this regard. The ending sequence however is nothing short of mind-numbingly retarded. If you are going to forget all your friends, I highly doubt you would make a pact to meet after graduation. Somehow it didn't dawn on them to leave themselves a fucking note...

Persona 3 isn't the most story driven RPG out there, but what it has is deep enough to explain whats going on in the game, and keep you happy through most of it. Thusly, I fell it deserves a 72 x 40%.

The Characters:
The Characters of Persona 3 really give the game its flavor. Since its technically half dating sim, it fits the game for all the characters to have their own radical personalities. Junpei is one of the more realistic characters in an RPG, while Aegis is literally a robot. Aside from the typical dating development, there exists character development in all the main characters. Back stories were lightly fleshed out, but was seriously all that was needed in that department.

Easily the best aspect of this game. Characters are fun and interesting, and pull you into a mess of trouble sometimes. Plus they were all WELL voice acted, which is pretty surprising. 90 x 30% should suffice

The Gameplay:
It would seem from a design standpoint that Persona 3 should fail miserably. The only dungeon in the game is a tower with 200+ RANDOMLY generated floors. You can only control the main character during combat, and you spend more than half your play time in Dating Sim land. Somehow this actually came off as a feasible game though.

Ill start with the Dating first. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I was really interested in seeing what would happen on every date. On the other hand, the game was retarded easy. Not once did I give a girl the right present (ok maybe not retarded easy) but they still gave themselves to me without much challenge SLUTS The dating system essentially turned out to be keep going out with them and you will eventually win their virginity...unless they were guys, then you'd just get weird presents. From a dating sim stand point (though I haven't played any >.>) this was ultimately lame. You dont decide where to date, and aren't penalized for acting like a complete douche. I threw most of the good aspects of this system into the character score.

Now to the dungeon crawl...
Exploring the tower was pretty enjoyable. Random floors weren't a bad idea somehow, and the addition of the "attack first" on all the enemies on the floor kept things from getting too stale. There were also plenty of different items scattered everywhere to make exploring worth while.

The combat however is a mixed bag. Its based around hitting people with what they are weak against. Do this, and you get to attack again. Unlimited amount of times. This was pretty cool, especially with the ability to choose which monster to use. However, when control shifted over to the AI people all hell would break loose. They dont grasp the idea of exploiting weaknesses to well. And when they do, they decide it is necessary to waste extra amounts of mana to do so. But what is worse is when you are say poisoned, and anyone with healing magic will continually heal you, instead of attacking. Also, they randomly use items (which are useless) instead of healing you to full, even though they have 1/2 mana still...
Bosses are also either WAY too easy, or just incredibly gay. And AoE insta-death spells are still retarded SMT...

Now onto Monsters (Yeah this game has a lot going on)
You can craft monsters by combining others...COOL! And what monsters you have open to you is based directly off of dating...COOL! And you can choose what abilities they get... wait they are chosen randomly? And you have to keep selecting all the monsters (up to 5 in the end) to get a new spread of spells? For sometimes thirty plus minutes? Luckily this usually took only a few tries, but it was still incredibly annoying a lot of the time. And like all SMT games, when monsters level up, they can suddenly get the urge to change their best skill into something useless, so you better bitch-slap them anytime they try that.

And Finally Quests
Ill keep this short. 90% of them were retarded. The rewards you get for doing them were too meager. This really needed help.

Persona 3 had a mixed bag of gameplay, but it seemed like it would have been a lot worse. 68 x 30%

Overall Score: 72 x .4 + 90 x .3 + 68 x .3 = 76.2

Bonus Comments:

Epic Style throughout this game. Seriously, it was pretty amazing art direction. The soundtrack was equally as funky. +3 points

FINAL SCORE 79.2 (10 out of 12)

artraider
10-18-2007, 02:49 PM
I thought the story was pretty much the best story I have seen in a rpg for a long time it made me reflect on my own life and how I live it and made me want to enjoy each individual day that much more. I disagree with your comment on the ending but dont want to spoil things for peoples. As far as the dating goes yes you can be penalized for being a complete jerk but overall it has to be right next to etrian odyssey my fave rpg of the year.

Mistatee
10-18-2007, 03:51 PM
I'm glad the story really affected you, thats pretty cool.

For me, however, it seemed like the story was kind of thrown in there after a lot of the game was done. Could just be my personal opinion, but heh thats what makes it my review.

Some of the best story moments came with Chidori and Junpei, but a found the end of that "arc" to be sort of, well, cliche. Also to note, I called the dorm manager to be evil from the start....

Dunno why I left those tidbits out of the story review....

Northeastmonk
12-14-2007, 12:54 AM
What did you think of Legend of Dragoon?

Mistatee
12-14-2007, 08:25 PM
I only rented that game, got through the first disc.
Pretty much coined it as mediocre, but I've also heard the game is really slow, which means that it could have gotten better...

Im about to review Ys VI, probably in about 2 hours.

Kiryu1985
12-14-2007, 09:11 PM
Legend of Dragoon had a neat battle system, but.... the damage each person makes is not determined by stats, what I mean if you fight against a worm, you will always hit it for 12 damage, every round, every battle, thats the only thing that I didn't like, it made fighting boring, the game probably gets better, I didn't make it far.

later in the game I hear you have to change disks each time you want to travel to different places.... I hope its not like Riven or Myst, where you had to change disks every 4 minutes.



______________
Check out my blog please: http://nipponjapan.blogspot.com/

Nem
12-18-2007, 01:49 AM
Legend of Dragoon had a neat battle system, but.... the damage each person makes is not determined by stats, what I mean if you fight against a worm, you will always hit it for 12 damage, every round, every battle, thats the only thing that I didn't like, it made fighting boring, the game probably gets better, I didn't make it far.

later in the game I hear you have to change disks each time you want to travel to different places.... I hope its not like Riven or Myst, where you had to change disks every 4 minutes.



I dont remember changing discs often at all, so im betting that isnt true. Game was OK, but nothing insane.

Mistatee
01-11-2008, 10:37 PM
YS VI: Ark of Naphestim (Ps2)

So this is the sixth Ys (pronounced eece) game. I haven't played any of them, and rarely heard of them to boot. So why did I buy this game? Probably had to do with it being cheap and some anime people on front of it. But it was worth it.

Story:
The games story definetly wasn't the high point, but that doesn't mean it was horrible. Infact, it had all the makings of a great (or at least decent) story, but just wasn't the game's focus, due to obvious gameplay reasons.

Heres a synopsis:

Man gets knocked off a ship.
Gets picked up by random anime fox people.
Awakes to find himself on an island surrounded by impassable current.
Finds out that the island holds an ancient device of the gods.
Finds the device.
Greedy people activate it.
A whole bunch of backstory.
Hero stops the device, saves the world.

Pretty classic, but presented pretty well, and not overly focused on.

Since it was never a burden, had few loopholes, and was pretty well developed, I feel Ys VI deserves an 80 x 40% for story.

Character:
Ys VI is one of those silent protagonist games, which is probably a good thing seeing as Ys VI might sport the worst voice acting ever. This isn't an understatement, and to make matters worse, every single village idiot is voice acted. Some people are voiced so bad (like Terra, the girl on the boat in the beginning) i experienced some minor chestpain during story sequences.

All Voice acting aside, I usually dislike silent characters, but Ys VI managed to make me laugh a few times during its dialog (again voice acting aside). Infact the characterization on some people were excellent, but the majority of the humans and humanoids in this game are very stereotypical, which negates the few enjoyable characters.

Still, like the story, the characters never seem to get in the way of the gameplay, and manage to keep things somewhat engaging, bringing it around a 76 x 20%.

Gameplay:
Ys VI is what 3D Zeldas should be. There I said it. And I specifically bring up Zelda, because it is that same top-down view we all grew to love on the NES and SNES. Well except certain scenes that tastefully change the view to a side-scroll esque view, which still manages to keep the gameplay 100% intact.

So what you do in Ys is essentially hit stuff with a sword. You have a 3 (to about 8) swing combo to do this with. But you also have a jump (which given the view is a lot like Diablo 2's jump with the barbarian) which gives you another set of attacks, a rising swing and a falling stab. You also have a button to map an item type to. Ontop of this, you get 3 different swords, all with different speeds, and each having a special attack to unleash. Then throw in enemies that can only be damaged by one of those swords and you have combat in a nutshell.

To keep this short, combat is fun, infact its a blast. Collecting gems, and grinding exp feels even better than Diablo 2 at times, which is a huge compliment from me. Exploring dungeons for items, as the game sports a decent amount of customization, only improves the experience. Then you have the bosses. These were awesome. I played on the Hard difficulty, which is what kept the game so engaging. While normal enemies weren't ridiculous on this difficulty, the bosses were crazy hard. And since each one was amazingly unique, this keep the game at a near addictive level.

The game also sported a decent amount of quests. However the rewards for these felt really unbalanced. And unbalanced in a bad way, as they were nearly useless...

As for level design, the dungeons were also pretty unique. Some sported open areas, others a lot of platforming. The one thing that made a lot of them semi-alike was the repetition of enemies, which every RPG sees.

So in general, the Gameplay felt really tight, the levels fairly good, the bosses amazing, and the customization pretty strong. Therefore I present Ys VI with a 90 x 30% for gameplay.

Overall score of:
80 x .4 + 76 x .2 + 90 x .3 = 74.2

Bonus Comments:
The soundtrack was far superior to the voice acting. In fact it was one of the better soundtracks I have heard for a Ps2 game. + 2 points.

Final Score: 76.2 (11 out of 12)

Mistatee
01-11-2008, 11:14 PM
Review #2: Blue Dragon (XBOX360)



Story:
Wow...
This was supposed to be bad. Infact, a lot of people ragged on it for being shallow. And for the most part it was. But they managed to tie in a ton of back story, and really interesting backstory at that, and tied everything together by the end of the game.
Wow...
Im actually lost for words at that point. I mean aside from backstory there really wasn't much to talk about. The rest of the story was pretty ridiculous, to the extent that I really couldn't guess what would happen next, and generally stayed curious about it. Again I state that this wasn't due to it being deep, but completely random, which I guess may prove to be an effective tactic, atleast if done right.

Anyways, how about a 84 x 40% for keeping me interested.

Character:
Another confusing aspect of this game. I hate Naruto. I hate One Piece. And guess who the main character reminds me of in this game? Both of those shows main characters. They are annoying, and they try way too hard. And guess what? Somehow I didn't hate this guy. I mean sure he wasn't the best character ever, and there was an annoying dog thing named Marumaro next to him making him look good, but overall I guess he just fit the ridiculous story too well to hate.
As for the rest of the characters, they seemed to fall into this same void, except for Marumaro who can be likened to Jar Jar Binks in a way.But atleast the voice acting was good, and fit the characters well.

Overall, this area could have been improved, but seemed to fit the random story well enough. 78 x 15.

Gameplay:

There was a ton of things to do in this game, and rightfully so as the game clocked in at 65 hours.

Collection:
There were so many things to collect in this game. From books hidden in all bookshelves that told a continuous story (which you had to remember since they were never logged...), to medals to buy items, to hundreds of treasure chests in dungeons, to hundreds of chests behind barriers you cant unlock until later, to pressing A in front of every object in the game for a chance to find something.

That last part, well, was pretty gay. Most of what you found was worthless, but sometimes there was that random experience or class experience that made searching every other item worth while again. Since there was never a required item hidden there, I guess it was all optional, and therefore isn't really worth complaining about.

Combat:
Combat would be like most JRPGs, except that you can charge how long you want to take with most actions. This actually made the gameplay require more strategy, which in turn required more thinking, which makes the game better. Like Ys VI, I also played this game on hard. And again like Ys VI, this made the bosses rough, which kept the game from being a bore. Hard difficulty had me switching out accessories to make me resist damage from some attacks allowing me to survive. This sort of gameplay, combined with checkpoints infront of bosses to promote guess and check made things fun for me. However, once I started killing things near instantly (like in most RPGs) the load times to get into battle started to get the better of me. Luckilly they invented a skill that makes you resolve battles without even entering combat. GENIUS!

Field:
The world Map in this game is huge, and guess what? It has chests scattered all over it. SUPRISE! Once you finally get an airship, you can fly around the world like Valkyrie Profile and land anywhere which is pretty cool.

As far as what you can do on the field, there are plenty abilities at your disposal. Standardly, you can hit the right trigger to pause the game and display a ring around the player. Any monsters in this ring can be fought all at once. Sometimes these monsters hate each other and fight amongst themselves instead of against you. Other times you just fight one party at a time, getting buffs in between and setting up attacks for the next party before they spawn. This was pretty sweet. Also on the field, you can use abilities, like making everyone flee, or stunning the enemy. These allowed you to get back or first attacks (using the attack button) making your job easier and quicker. Again, really engaging.

All of these elements somehow combined very well, to make a really good game.

SO like most of my recent reviews, this is where the game triumphed. With the best customization I have scene in recent years, engaging combat, engaging field gameplay (Monster fights, multiple fights), and mini-games scattered perfectly across the board, this game was plain fun. 96 x 35

Overall score:
84 x .4 + 78 x .15 + 96 x .35 = 78.9


Bonus Comments
Again like Ys VI, the soundtrack was amazing. + 2 pts
The achievements for this game were rough. You know, actually feeling like achievements. + 1 pt.
The flying mini-game somehow plays better than Project Sylpheed, a full fledged game. + 1pt.

Final Score: 82 (8 out of 12)

Reko8
01-12-2008, 09:51 AM
Hey nice review of Blue Dragon Mistatee. That is actually one of my next reviewed games in my 360 thread. I'm playing through it right now because I was holding it off till I beat enchanted arms. It's an awesome game and yeah, the story isn't bad at all. I can't predict anything that's going to happen next. For the characters, I feel the same way. Before I played the game, I hated the look of a few characters, but they're actually not too bad. Awesome Mistatee :thumb-up:

Mistatee
01-12-2008, 01:13 PM
Are you playing on normal or hard?
Most people I know are (or have) playing on normal and complain that the game is too easy.

Reko8
01-12-2008, 08:06 PM
yeah I'm playing on normal. It is pretty easy compared to a lot of RPGs Ive played in the past. What difficulty did you play on and what level were you when you beat it? I'm lvl 41 right now and a lot of people recommended that I didnt do Nene's flying fortress until I was lvl 40 and I did that at 38 and I didnt even break a sweat. I have a couple of RPGs lined up (Eternal Sonata, Mass Effect and Oblivion) so I dont think I'll go and play it on a harder difficulty.

Mistatee
01-13-2008, 03:21 AM
As stated in my review, I played it on hard.
I beat the game at around lvl 65. I got each character one job to lvl 99 (to do side quests) but didn't feel up to getting my levels to 99. At the 60s, the end of the game was cake even on hard.

Reko8
01-13-2008, 08:22 PM
yeah, the achievements I got were all of the dexterity ones (like rapidly press this button fast enough) and all of the perfect ones except mechat shooting stages 2 and 3. Oh and all of the encounter ones were easy. My friend beat the game and only got 30 achievement points, which sucks, but most of the achievements take time in Blue Dragon.

Mistatee
04-25-2008, 01:21 AM
Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core (PSP)
A highly anticipated prequel (unlike Dirge of Cerebus) to Final Fantasy 7.

First and foremost, there are a few things I need to make evident before you read my review:
(1) I like Final Fantasy 7. It was a great game. However, I DO NOT consider it the best RPG of all time, nor the best Final Fantasy game of all time, nor even the best Ps1 RPG of all time; unlike a lot of fans.

(2) I haven't experienced FF7 since about 2001, so my knowledge of it is a bit iffy, at least in comparison to the aforementioned fanboys in item (1).

(3) I love Action RPGs!

So onto the review:
Story:
As I made clear above, my knowledge of Final Fantasy 7's lore isn't pristine, and boy did Crisis Core's story drill that notion into a lot. Sure I knew what Shinra and Soldier were (a lot moreso than even the main character, Zack Fair) and have a decent understanding of what Mako (apparently pronounced Mach-'O' thanks to this game's VA) is and all that wonderful jazz.

And I am sure most of you do as well. Doesn't matter folks. This game's story is about as piece-meal as they get. Pretty much the idea was to stretch something they covered in a 30 minute OVA (quite accurately for 30 mins too I might add) into a 10+ hour game. Sure they went into more detail which helped to an extent, but most of this felt tacked on and personally, poorly executed. What they got right was pretty much the 30 mins I previously mentioned. These sequences were entertaining (well some of them, I will get to more on that in Gameplay) and well thought out.

The real problem was: The game didn't really add any new insight to what happened in FF7, when there were definitely some loose ends that could have been tied up, but instead just added a few new faces and tried to sell the game on the interaction between these and the old classics like Zack, Cloud, Aerith, and good old Sephiroth.

Furthermore, the scripting in the game was jarring. Not to say it was bad, becuase there were definitely some good lines, it was the lack of consistency that hurt it so much. The constant flux between good scripting and bad scripting pretty much did as much, if not more, harm than just bad scripting by itself. On top of this, there were characters that insisted on reciting lines from a play. Now this could be really cool if the play were a famous work of art, such as "MacBeth," or "Oedipus Rex" but no, we get quotes from a made-up play, and than berated for not understanding the meanings of each line (which may even be poorly translated for all I know.) This part of the game was the many that felt worthless and tacked on, trying to emulate a unique characteristic and failing miserably.

Overall, Crisis Core feels like a 70 * 40% for its story.

Characters:
I know I will probably catch a lot of slack for this, but the characters in Crsis Core seem very scripted. Their scripting is spotty, and a lot of the interaction is forced and rushed at the same time. Another weird quark (covered more extensively in Gameplay) is the cutscenes that play during combat that add more to the interactions. Why did they cut these out. Sure the effect in combat would be lost somewhat due to the repetition, but frankly I don't care that Zack asked Cissnei on a date some 4 hours after she was introduced...

And while most of the character development falls under this "I don't care, keep moving along" policy (much like the story), Zack's development was actually handled fairly well, at least in comparison. He undergoes the same "emo-trip" most Final Fantasy characters face, but what makes this transformation more satisfying is the sheer fact that Zack was annoyingly happy beforehand. So when he mellows out into a a more serious character, he is actually tolerable, thus make it a positive turn, and an underhanded complement to the game at the same time.

All in all, Crisis Core runs about a 72 * 20% for its attempt at good characterization. Still not falling for the fanboy bait Square Enix...

Gameplay:
Finally, the focus of this game, and un-arguably the best part as well.

The gameplay is broken up into distinct stages that I will cover separately:

(1) Exploring
(2) Combat
(3) Customization
(4) Cutscenes
(5) Missions
(6) Shitty Mini-games

Exploring
This is classic RPG exploring. Run around, talk to people, open chests. For the most part, only one path takes you to the exit, the rest give you more loot. Nothing new here, which is not a problem in my book. While the paths were linear, things generally looked nice, making this aspect of the game fairly enjoyable. However, towards the end of the game it fell into the "battle-every-step" syndrome.... eww.

Combat
Probably half the game right here. Select an action by scrolling left or right (clicking L or R respectively), hitting X to activate said action, auto-run to the opponent, execute, repeat. Pretty simple, but still pretty fun. Throw in the dodge button which auto-cancels any action and doges everything (if timed right) and you have yourself a pretty good system. Anytime you, or the enemy, takes damage, the queued command is usually canceled, which adds a bit of strategy, but really trivializes most 1 on 1 fights. Thats all for combat, that you can control.

Then you have the DMV, some random slot machine that randomly hands out buffs, and also handles Limit Breaks and Summons. Im sure you have heard a lot about this so I will merely cover what I like and don't like about this system. The only two things I liked about it was: It changed your strategy slightly at times keeping things fresh, and the cutscenes that get played sometimes. (Especially since these can be skipped!!!) But here is what I don't like.

(1) Limit Breaks are no longer epic: I was never once impressed by either a limit break's animation or damage. Furthermore, half of them left me wondering why they even existed. One thing is for certain, I can't name one that did more damage in the time it took to play out than I could have done alone. Basically these are only good for boosting stats (called breaking) over their normal limit, a pretty cool feature I might add.

(2) Can't control them: Sure, its lame that its a random attack, but hey they are all equally worthless so why would I complain about them not being able to be chosen. Well I don't give a damn about the limit breaks, I just wanted to see all of the summons openings. Took me 6 hours after unlocking Odin to finally see his, and I only saw it once total. Fucking lame. Also a good time to mention: Where the fuck was Shiva... 2 Bahamuts, 0 Shivas... seriously?

(3) Can't skip the DMV: Sure you can skip the little scenes, but you can't skip the 10 second long reel spin everytime, nor the FAKE luck that happens. One limit break makes you get more limit breaks. It effectively kills the pacing of combat. WHY CAN"T I SKIP THESE????

I should also mention that the DMV sequence in the ending of the game was pretty cool though... You'll have to see it for yourself.

I guess I'll stop talking about the DMV now. Onto how easy this game was. I destroyed this game. The AI was pretty decent to, and it actually was really fun despite being so easy. Its ease really stemmed from the next session.


Customization
You have 2 forms of customization, equipping accessories, and equipping Materia. Equipping Accessories was really trivial. Since there was pretty much no shops in the game, accessories were pretty much all gained from Missions (described below) meaning, I didn't really ever change my accessories after awhile...

Materia on the other hand could be fused together. Pretty much this was try every combination (as it tells you the result before committing to it) and take what you want. It was pretty rewarding to any player that really spent the time (certainly not any skill here). Another bonus, was the effect of the materia increased when ever it leveled up (through the DMV) which made combining those materias together even more potent. Like accessories, I stopped fusing about 2/3rds through the game. I have Quake with +200% health, so I was happy. (Quake was hit all 9999 damage at lvl Master... and when combined with Osmose Blade I never worried about mana)

The problem with customization, was it felt like the enemies damage scaled on your health. All the bosses had unavoidable attacks, and they seemed to always almost kill me even though I had 9000 health at the end (and usually breaked to 9999) and I doubt the game allows bosses to one-shot people who were more casual. So thats adds to the feeling that customization became fruitless.

Cutscenes
I am not one to usually comment on graphics in a game for a review, but Crisis Core rocked. These cutscenes (while mostly fanboy bait) looked amazing. I have to give them props, especially with the minimal to no load times between these (including the CG Summon sequences in battle)

Missions
Pieces of shit. These were one of two scenarios: Explore a constrained dungeon and fight boss, or fight boss. All un-imaginative. Most tedious. There were hundreds of them. And they never end, read poor pacing...

Shitty Mini-games
Oh god.
Missile splitting
WTF.
Sniping
Jesus Christ...
Splinter Cell
Worst mini-game ever....

All of these sucked.
They felt out of placed.
They felt tacked on.
AND THEY COULDN'T BE SKIPPED!!!!!!

Ok now that I have gone over the basic parts of the gameplay, I would like to make a little synopsis. Crisis Core is a downward spiral. I loved the game at the beginning. By the end, I didn't care and wanted it over. And this was 13 hours of gameplay. Pretty impressive, in a bad way... But it wasn't all bad. The combat is fun, though aside from the cutscenes thats about all the enjoyment there is, and the shear volume of that even begins to weigh down on its value.

Like I said Combat is the best part of Crisis Core at a 74*40%, which doesn't say much...

Overall, Crisis Core is a 72. An average game, but not an abomination. There is some fun here, but not enough to warrant the purchase of a PsP to play. Its not the second coming of chri... I mean FF7...

Like most games, I'll comment that the soundtrack was great. But it really doesn't deserve props for remixing FF7. Especially when the best music was only used in the credits...

FINAL SCORE: 72


EDIT:: I would like to mention without altering my review, that the main issue with Crisis Core is that nothing really feels worthwhile. I didn't feel like I needed to ever do missions, or fuse materia, or change accessories, or buy anything, etc. This gets daunting fast in a game, and probably explains why I started off loving the title, and quickly grew tired of it.

Zachalmighty
04-25-2008, 01:31 AM
I agree that the game is not worth buying a PSP for but it is good nevertheless for wasting some time doing mindless crap.

Mistatee
04-25-2008, 01:47 AM
It certainly wasn't bad...
I probably over criticized it in my review.

But looking back on it, it really is no better than Enchanted Arms, except for the overall polish that the game emits. My reviews reflect that.

Zachalmighty
04-25-2008, 02:02 AM
It certainly wasn't bad...
I probably over criticized it in my review.

But looking back on it, it really is no better than Enchanted Arms, except for the overall polish that the game emits. My reviews reflect that.

They sure did alot to stretch the story out. Those story mission took no more than 30 minutes each.

Seraph
04-25-2008, 03:40 AM
Great review, it was pretty helpful.

I've been eyeing this game for a while, but now im less inclined to get it. It's dissapointing to hear it dosent have much to do with the storyline of FF7, and more about a side story of Zach (who I hardly knew since his FMV in FF7 was optional).

Mistatee
04-25-2008, 05:08 AM
If you didn't see Zack's stuff in FF7, then this game could be more worthwhile than I make it out to be. Didn't know Zack's story arc was optional.... Its been so long.

Diavle
04-25-2008, 09:39 AM
Gotta say, I very much disagree with your review of CC.

Its the only rpg I bothered finishing since 2006 (when I played FF12 and Xenosaga 3).

Not only did I love it but I had an instant urge to replay it after finishing it (this rarely happens to me with a game, never with an rpg).

Definitely in the top 2 of my psp games all time list, best ending in an rpg.


EDIT: How the heck was Zack's story optional in FF7? He was a huge part of who Cloud was.

Northeastmonk
04-25-2008, 01:16 PM
I have the official soundtrack from Play-Asia. Will you review Wild-Arms?

-IMO Xenosaga 3 is garbage.

Seraph
04-25-2008, 02:14 PM
EDIT: How the heck was Zack's story optional in FF7? He was a huge part of who Cloud was.Well its been a few years so my memory is a little vauge.

I remember the whole story arc about how Clouds memories werent really his the whole time, and he was just dreaming about being Zach. But thats all I remember hearing of Zach, he was just a name to me.

The optional thing I'm thinking of was something I later read in a magazine. It was something like "see Zach's hidden FMV!" and it had a picture of him sitting in the back of a pickup truck. I figured that explained alot more about it, but I havent played it since.

Diavle
04-25-2008, 03:30 PM
I remember the whole story arc about how Clouds memories werent really his the whole time, and he was just dreaming about being Zach. But thats all I remember hearing of Zach, he was just a name to me.

***ORIGINAL FF7 SPOILER ALERT***

They were both experimented upon with Mako energy, Cloud's case was pretty severe and it messed with his memories. His own ended up mixing and matching with Zack's (he was sort of Cloud's idol you could say). By the end of the ordeal he actually thought he was Zack, a 1st Class Soldier.

Think of CC as sort of MGS3, in the sense that instead of just expanding upon what was already in the MGS universe it added new arcs and characters while clarifying quite a few already known things along the way. You find out a lot about Zack (who is a great character in his own right, and not in the least just another emo bitch) and you get to see Cloud when he was younger and his real personality. Not to mention a different side of Sephiroth as all. Definitely a boat load of fan service so having at least a vague memory of FF7 helps (I played it about 8 years ago so thought I was screwed, ended up remembering quite a bit actually).

memory to zack
04-25-2008, 04:39 PM
Zack (or Zax in Japan) is not optional in FFVII. Cloud has mixed his personality with Zackīs in the begining of the game. And in the 3rd disc, itīs made pretty clear that Zack was the 1st class Soldier, they even showed the true picture with Zack, Sephiroth and Cloud as a normal grunt taken outside the mansion in Nibelheim. What was optional, was Zackīs escape and death.

Mistatee
04-25-2008, 04:48 PM
Sorry, wont be reviewing Wild Arms, got a plethora of other games ahead.
Parasite Eve is one I am almost done with.


And glad to hear people disagreeing with my review. If someone liked it (especially with about as vague a memory as mine) then its probably a good game that just didn't fit my tastes.

Mistatee
04-25-2008, 09:03 PM
Parasite Eve
Classic Squaresoft Action on Ps1.

Note: For this review, I replayed this classic to see how it held up. I only completed the story this time through, and did not play through EX Mode to do the Chrysler Building. But that extra content does rock!

Story
Parasite Eve has a pretty interesting story for an RPG. It takes place in New York, and has to do with mitochondria rebelling against humans. Yeah weird. Anyways, I was surprised to find out when watching the credits that this is based off of an actual book. But back on topic.

The story is pretty intriguing, and is paced really well. There some weirdness going on, but thats not too surprising given the initial nature of the tale and thus is pretty acceptable. The story is also depicted often with CG movies (typical of Squaresoft now, but back in the day it was still new) and these tend to throwback (like most elements of this game) to Resident Evils: very morbid and gruesome. Extra jack that violence rating up 10 fold, these can get pretty vivid in their obliteration of the objects they once were.

Looking back, these CG sequences still hold up today, and are still a blast to watch.

The Story in Parasite Eve gets a 86 * 40% mainly for its uniqueness and excellent delivery.

Characters
There is a slim cast of characters in this game, but each are surprisingly distinguished and fleshed out. Everybody has at least one past event that gets thrown around to explain why they act like they do which is enough to get the job done here. No body is extremely quirky or annoying which adds to the realistic motif the game is aiming for, and their bickering between each other further reflects this.

However, I wouldn't say the characters are amazing either. I probably wont remember Daniels name a few months from now, but being a short Action-RPG, characters were obviously not the primary focus. Still good to see life thrown into these characters during the short time they are on screen, as it really makes the game more well-rounded.

The Characters in Parasite Eve gets a 83 * 20% for their surprising depth for the amount of screen-time they have

Gameplay
Like most Action-RPGs, here is the main focus of Parasite Eve. Before I explain combat, it would probably be a good idea to explain the exploring part of the game.

First and foremost, the camera-work and environments of this game are VERY reminiscent of Resident Evil. Furthermore, your tank movement speed reflects this. Also, the primary focus is to run around, solve problems, and collect things from chests (and the classic Resident Evil Sparkles), and handle inventory management. Pretty much Resident Evil right there.

Okay... not really. First and foremost, the inventory management is more like an MMO than resident evil. You have limited slots, and once they are full you need to drop/use items. I'm not really sure it was necessary for the game, but since there was some extra customization choices/more thought becuase of it, I guess its alright. But not perfect. When your inventory is full and you open a chest, it asks you to select an item to replace it with with out showing you the item your replacing. Since the item you replaced it with goes back into the chest, I guess its only a minor peeve, but that pretty much is how it is for the rest of the mechanics in the game: just minor peeves.

Continuing my description of the exploration, I will now look at the puzzles. Most of these were simple, but at least realistic (I hate Resident Evil's classic find this gem to open this door puzzle scheme. Who locks doors with gems?). Some complaints I have are the fact that they do not promote enough backtracking (another comparison to Resident Evil) and some of them are really vague and pretty-much frustratingly guide requiring. I guess this is a good time to bring up the final puzzle. Your running from *something* and die if it catches you. Except your in a maze, and there is no save point, and when you die you have to redo a boss fight all over again... Pretty gay...

Speaking of save points, they are phones. Pretty clever...

So onto customization. You get a plethora of weapons and armor during the game, each of which have different effects and bonuses. Using tools found throughout the game, you can move these bonuses from one to the other at the cost of the tool and the item itself. The catch is, you can only move stat bonuses, or 1 (of 4) effects, making the choice kind of hard. What this promotes is holding onto 1 weapon and graphing everything onto it, and likewise for armor, but there comes a time when you need to move on, and will. Overall the system works out well, but not as good as another Squaresoft game, Vagrant Story. Also customizable are your stats...kinda. Your stats are Attack, Defense, Status Recovery, AT, and Inventory (yes thats a stat.) However, with bonus points (you get for leveling) you can only upgrade AT and Inventory (or stats on weapons/armor). This makes displaying the other stats 100% pointless, and very confusing the first time you try to use your Bonus Points. So your options are between smaller gap of time between attacks, more inventory space, or improving a weapon. Pretty much improving the weapon or armor is best, but when space is tight you seem to always put it into inventory...

And now: Combat.
So there are a mix of random encounters and scripted encounters in Parasite Eve, both utilizing the same fade into combat sequence which kind of makes bosses more ominous. (except when there is actually a boss model in the level beforehand.) I kind of like this method, becuase it makes the new, really big, enemies scarier than they need to be, and you usually use bigger attacks on them needlessly.

Continuing, you fight these encounters on the same environment as exploration. This can create interesting fights on tight corridors or over weird terrain features. You have full control over the character's movement allowing you to doge enemy attacks while waiting for your AT bar to charge. One its charged, you can attack anytime or use spells. Attacking brings up a half-sphere indicating your range, using spells brings up the spell menu. Attacking is handled really well. measuring range, arming time, and enemy movement to determine if the enemy will still be in range when you can fire keeps the combat from getting tedious. The spells are all mostly unique (though some seem useless) and generally add a good amount of choice to combat. These spells are governed by a regenerating PE bar under your AT bar. Most spells require a set amount of energy and you have to wait until your PE bar has enough to use them. Furthermore, the more spells you cast, the slower it regenerates making boss fights get pretty frantic towards the end. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the game actually can be hard at times.

Hopefully I made the combat sound pretty cool, since it is, but it isn't without problems. First, since it uses the same quirky camera angles as exploring, some fights can be really hard to do anything. This is a huge problem for some fights, especially those involving status ailments. Another issue is, some attacks are ridiculously hard to dodge, but the game kind of expects you to. Its nothing game-breaking, but it kind of makes the combat less enjoyable at times. Also, the final spell in the game transforms you and you unleash super destruction onto your foes. This would have been so awesome to control yourself, but alas they missed that opportunity.

More or less, Parasite Eve is fun and new (well old now) deserving an 86 * 40%. It should be higher, but a lot of the problems mentioned above drop it a bit.

Overall Parasite Eve earns an old-school 85%!

Bonus:
The EX Mode (which is basically replay the game but harder, keeping only your items and your Bonus Points, and the ability to do an extra dungeon at the end) is always a good addition to add a bit of replay value. (+1 point)

The soundtrack, as usually mentioned, is pretty catchy (+1 point)

Final Score: 87%

Seraph
04-25-2008, 10:12 PM
Man I love Parasite Eve. Thats one of my all time favorite RPG's. In the sea of chosen young boys on missions to save the world, it was a great breath of fresh air.

Good review of it. I never fully understood the combination system and ended up with some not so great guns :(

I also love when RPG's have the newgame+ feature.

eastx
04-26-2008, 07:56 AM
That's your best review yet, Mistatee. Very well-written. I wish I had played this game back in the day... Oh, and since Parasite Eve is based on a book, there's also a Japanese live-action movie that got released on DVD here in America.

darren
04-26-2008, 08:08 PM
i LOVED this game when it came out .. one of my fav ps1 games .. great cross of rpg and survival horror IMO .. such a shame the sequal was bollox ..

Diavle
04-26-2008, 09:33 PM
I've been meaning to play PE for a while now, your review put me over the edge.

I'll give it a whirl later today.

darren
04-26-2008, 09:36 PM
don't bother with the 2nd .. it takes everything good about the 1st and removes it .. leaving you with some half baked res evil wanna be .. what the fuck square were thinking i have no idea .

Diavle
04-26-2008, 09:50 PM
^Good to know, thanks.

Mistatee
04-26-2008, 11:01 PM
Never played the second one, but I have always been curious as to how Square made everyone hate it so much...

Currently Playing Jeane D'Arc and Xenosaga II/III at the moment. Probably have Xenosaga II done by the weekend.

Northeastmonk
04-28-2008, 01:17 PM
Parasite Eve is one of my favorite games. The story, gameplay, and scenario are simply amazing. So much better then PE2. PE2 sent you on a wild goose chase in the middle of nowhere, then stopped.

And if you didn't get the rocket launcher for the last battle, Eve's second form is a work out.

Steve Blum plays the voice of Cain and thats probably the only thing I enjoyed. Other then that, those games are terrible.

Mistatee
05-08-2008, 08:23 PM
Jeanne D'Arc (PsP)
I claim this to be the second best game on PsP (Behind Monster Hunter Freedom 2) despite the massive amounts of SRPGs to choose from on the console.

Story

Jeanne D'Arc's story is easiest to describe as:

"What Joan of Arc would be as an Anime."

They took a classic story. Made some twists to it (King Henry is possessed by a great demon, Joan hears the voice of an armlet, not God). And then to top it off they take fantasy staples (5 armlets forged to defeat this one evil) to add cohesiveness.

Now I am not going to say this would be the best anime storyline ever, but it wasn't bad. In fact it was more than average. While I can stomach a great deal of anime, it is still a feat to say I would have watched this all the way through if it were a 24 episode series. This is becuase the story was paced well, and there were many times where I had to keep playing to see the next cut-scene (animated of course). I won't go into specific events, but there are a lot of trying times that really bring out the characters that are with you on your journey. Furthermore, there are times when you get a bit of backstory for this interesting take on France.

Overall, Jeanne D'Arc's story is a good driving force for the gameplay of the game, earning it a 91 * 45%.

Characters

As mentioned above, following a pretty good Anime means you have a good assortment of characters. Everyone, including the few minor characters of the game, have different speech patterns, moods, interests, etc. Most have at least some backstory and some relation to another person in the game. But for an SRPG, characters also mean differences in the combat portion of the game. Without going into any detail about the gameplay, its a shame the characters aren't as diverse stat wise as they are in their characterization. True, its mostly about how you customize them, but aside from armlets (explained below) there is almost no difference between most characters (exception being Liane) except minor stat tweaks.

Actually that isn't all true. Whenever things happen on the battlefield, custom speech bubbles will appear over some of the character's heads to show their reaction to the event. Not only do they help serve to keep the player on track by reminding him of objectives (very tactfully I might add), but it also adds another layer of depth and immersion to the game.

Overall, for its wonderful cast of diverse characters, Jeanne D'Arc earns a 93 * 25%

GamePlay

This will be split into three sections: Customization, Combat, and Extras.

Customization

In Jeanne D'Arc each character begins with 3 slots to add skills to. These skills range from new attacks, passive abilities, spells, and stat bonuses (including an almost required element stat). Three slots had me worried that the customization here was going to be slim, but luckily these upgrade to 6 slots, gaining one slot at a time every 5 levels or so. Still six slots had me skeptical that this game could reach the depth that say Final Fantasy Tactics had. And I am not really sure it ever did, but I will say the customization was still pretty high. This came mostly in part from there being a lot of diverse passive and stat bonus skills, and your ability to combine things together to make new skills.

While combining skills together (2 at a time to get 1) isn't the most excitingly new system, this was handled with a lot of care. First off, it had the standard highlight possible matches and list the result if you know it. But it also had a 100% success rate, and the combination options were both intuitive and surprisingly limited for each item. That may sound bad, but it actually makes things a lot easier for the player, and you are almost always guaranteed something useful out of it this way.

It would be fair for me to mention, with the Element Skills being so necessary, they should have had their own extra slot where only that could be placed.

And what is an SRPG without Equipment? Jeanne D'Arc doesn't really have the most options for equipment, but like combining skills this actually helps the game rather than hurt it. With limited armor, you don't find yourself with the next town, next piece of armor mechanic. Instead you find yourself rarely getting upgrades unless you "liberate" a city as an extra stage or as a reward for an extra stage. This makes these side quests rewarding without adding any extra layers to confuse players or convolute gameplay.

Combat

Jeanne D'Arc doesn't necessarily do anything radically new in this department either. More so, what it managed to accomplish was an amazingly polished and balanced progression of battles, and a few interesting mechanics that make it somewhat original. While its UI is very reminiscent of Final Fantasy Tactics (up to the height meter in the top right corner and everything) it still has a few tricks up its sleeve. The first being Armlets. Certain characters get these mystical armlets that let them temporarily transform into super warriors, unlocking a new attack, healing them fully, and improving their stats considerably for 2-3 turns. Furthermore, these armlets grant them the power to make additional turns if they land a killing blow to an enemy. This "Godspeed" effect thus makes you try to line up as many injured foes as you can so your armlet wielders can play clean-up. While this tends to be a lot of fun, it also makes your armlet wielders gain a lot more levels than the rest of your party.

Another mechanic it adds (at least I think no other SRPG did this) is Burning Auras. Whenever a character regularly attacks (or counter-attacks) the square directly behind the enemy gains a Burning Aura (which can be stacked, btw.). If you make an attack from this aura, you get a considerable damage boost. Pretty simple, but again, a lot of fun. Also included is Guard stacking. This means if you have people no more than 1 diagonal square away, for every person in that chain they all gain extra defense. Effectively, if your whole party is close by, you can cut damage received in half or more. This makes positioning and order of attacks even more relevant than what burning auras alone would have required.

Each character will also most likely have an element skill in one of his skill slots as well. This adds a bit of strategy in deciding who attacks who, using a rock-paper-scissors system like that found in fire emblem.

Extras
As mentioned above in the customization section, there are extra stages unlocked throughout the progression of the game. Usually when these are unlocked you aren't quite ready to tackle them, but you always find yourself going back to them from time to time to see if you are ready. What makes this less enjoyable than it should be, failing an extra stage means game over (even in the Colosseum which is really annoying since you lose a lot of cool skills you gained).

Furthermore, some stages can be replayed, but instead of having the same scenario, they are usually filled with different monsters that drop new skills for you to use or combine, making these even more worthwhile. Another bonus to this is when you find yourself needing to power-level a character (only happened twice for me) and all your party gets more powerful becuase of this.

Once you beat the main story of the game, all previous stages are revamped again to allow for an even greater challenge and some bonus content. You get a lot of cool weapons and armor from this, but I haven't really put a lot of time into as of yet.

Overall, for its well-paced and fun combat and suprisingly good customization, Jeanne D'Arc earns a 92*30%

OVERALL SCORE: 91.8

Bonuses:

Extremely polished voice acting/ animated cut-scenes, +2 points.

Final Score: 93.8

Kiryu1985
05-08-2008, 10:50 PM
Great review of Joan d' ark, I played it for the first few hours, good combat system, except when doing an attack and it immediately ends your turn, and that in alot of the battles you are outnumbered by a huge margin like 5 vs 10 enemies

don't bother with the 2nd .. it takes everything good about the 1st and removes it .. leaving you with some half baked res evil wanna be .. what the fuck square were thinking i have no idea .

wow... but here is my opinion on the game:
its a real gem, in the original PE, you beat the game, and the second game+ becomes real easy, not so in PE2, it has alot of difficulty settings and game modes, where the monster and their placement change.

it also has good weapons and monster design, the Gunblade is pretty awesome, I think you can even get an extra hit like in FF8.

I wish I hadn't sold this game some 6-7 years ago.

Alexander
05-08-2008, 11:48 PM
Ooh I loved Jeanne D'arc. It changed my life!

darren
05-09-2008, 03:23 AM
A video game changed your life?

that's tragic, you need to get out more..

artraider
05-11-2008, 02:50 AM
so a video game like a book or movie can not change your life,what is it that is diffrent than those two mediums that keeps you from having said event?

Mistatee
05-12-2008, 02:40 AM
Grandia III (Ps2)

I am a long-time fan of Game Arts and the Grandia series. I played this game the day it came out, and took a year break from it with about 5 hours to go. I'll get into why later.

Story

Grandia III, like most Game Art RPGs (and most RPGs in general), can have its story separated into two parts: Before discovering the villain, and after. Now in most RPGs with this clear split, the beginning part is all about learning the game, the characters, and the world. Game Arts always takes clear advantage of this split and fleshes this part out as well as the rest of the game's plot. For Grandia III, this is more or less continued, with the beginning part actually being the more interesting part of the game in my opinion. This is partially why I had to take such a long break on the game. The beginning section deals so much with the characters (and more specifically more interesting characters) that it is really fun to play. It is only in this beginning half that we enjoy the Grandia story staple; campfire scenes. Once we enter the second half of the game, things take a steep turn to the cliche', and we are more or less left with just the combat system to hold the game above average, which it thankfully does. Due to my long break, and not wanting to really spoil some of the plot points, thats all I can really go into for the story. It would be worth mentioning that the world map is actually the part of the game that tries to flesh out the world the most here. More or less it is brushed over instead of fleshed out in comparison to the first two games in the series.

Overall, the first half of the story deserves about an 85, while the second half falls to a 60. Taking the average of that, we get 72.5 * 40%

Characters
Much like the story, things take a significant drop off about the halfway point of the game. But at the beginning, Yuki's dream to fly was kind of fun, and your mom and Allonso's "quarrels" remind me much of Justin and Feena from the first game. Even Alfina (Althena?????) was somewhat interesting before she transformed into a bland heroine at the halfway point. Ulf and Dahna were NOT good characters, and until the very ending all the villains were as cliche' as could be. Of course, cliche' is fun to destroy, and destroy is what you do with Grandia's combat system.

Overall, taking into account the beginning's amazing characterization (further emphasized with the campfire scenes), it makes it easy to look over the fallings of the latter half. Anyways, Grandia III earns an 80 * 25%

Gameplay
For this section of my review, I am going to assume you know what Grandia's Combat system is about. And if you don't know, well it can summed up with one word: Awesome. So knowing this, this section should prove to be pretty short. Whats new here is just more customization. You now get skills and Magic slots sometimes when you level, and these equipped skills and magics are then effected by equipping skill books and magic eggs. Furthermore, you learn magic and skills from destroying these said books and eggs making you have to think before you equip, and in the case of magic, can even combine them together to make better spells and of course better equip slots. This works with Grandia really well. Your character specific SP skills also improve randomly upon use, which also kind of enhances customization a bit.

That combined with the original combat system makes for near perfect gameplay, at least for the combat side of things. However, there are some minute problems elsewhere. While the world map is amazingly fresh, it doesn't detract from the game's extreme linearity (surprise Game Arts RPG...). The dungeons aren't monotonous, but they still aren't perfect. And finally, there are some balance issues with some of the normal enemies (some combinations are harder than the bosses for there respective area). But alas, these are mostly canceled out by the amazing combat system and the fact that this game is actually difficult in the end.

Overall, Grandia III improves upon the first two's combat system to give the player the best combat experience in an RPG to date, its too bad the rest of the game doesn't live up to that quality. How about a 96 * 35%!

Final Score: 82.6