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Old 01-09-2007, 02:12 AM   #31
Mistatee
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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)
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Old 01-09-2007, 05:26 AM   #32
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I forgot I bought this game...

Keep up the reviews.
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Old 01-09-2007, 05:31 AM   #33
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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.

- 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.

Last edited by Arnold; 01-09-2007 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 01-09-2007, 04:43 PM   #34
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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.
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Old 01-09-2007, 09:10 PM   #35
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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.
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Old 01-09-2007, 10:44 PM   #36
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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...
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Old 01-10-2007, 04:17 AM   #37
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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.
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Old 01-15-2007, 03:55 AM   #38
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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.
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Old 01-15-2007, 05:44 AM   #39
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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.
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Old 03-07-2007, 01:32 AM   #40
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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)
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Old 03-07-2007, 02:09 AM   #41
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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)
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Old 03-07-2007, 02:14 AM   #42
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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.
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Old 03-07-2007, 05:55 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistatee
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.
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Old 03-07-2007, 03:28 PM   #44
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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...
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Old 03-07-2007, 09:12 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistatee
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.
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