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Old 04-25-2008, 09:03 PM   #76
Mistatee
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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%
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Old 04-25-2008, 10:12 PM   #77
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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.
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Old 04-26-2008, 07:56 AM   #78
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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.
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Old 04-26-2008, 08:08 PM   #79
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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 ..
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:33 PM   #80
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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.
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:36 PM   #81
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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 .
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:50 PM   #82
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^Good to know, thanks.
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Old 04-26-2008, 11:01 PM   #83
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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.
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:17 PM   #84
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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.
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Old 05-08-2008, 08:23 PM   #85
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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
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Old 05-08-2008, 10:50 PM   #86
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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

Quote:
Originally Posted by darren316 View Post
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.
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:48 PM   #87
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Ooh I loved Jeanne D'arc. It changed my life!
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:23 AM   #88
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A video game changed your life?

that's tragic, you need to get out more..
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:50 AM   #89
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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?
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:40 AM   #90
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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
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