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Old 03-05-2006, 03:40 PM   #16
Mistatee
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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)
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Old 09-16-2006, 07:45 PM   #17
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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)
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Old 09-17-2006, 07:17 AM   #18
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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.
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Old 09-17-2006, 10:40 PM   #19
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Try VP, but be warned, it took me about 50 hours to beat on the hardest difficulty!
Worth every second though
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Old 09-17-2006, 11:01 PM   #20
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I like your reviews, but I need pictures = (
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Old 09-18-2006, 12:13 AM   #21
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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
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Old 09-18-2006, 12:46 AM   #22
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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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistatee
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).
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Old 09-20-2006, 02:09 AM   #23
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I actually have only played Hard mode in VP, aside from maybe an hour on Normal.
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Old 09-20-2006, 09:30 PM   #24
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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.
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Old 09-21-2006, 04:56 AM   #25
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I did the same thing Mistatee did; only difference is that I screw up on the first chapter.
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.
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Old 11-18-2006, 04:12 AM   #26
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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!
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Old 01-03-2007, 03:34 PM   #27
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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)
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Old 01-04-2007, 02:30 AM   #28
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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.

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Old 01-05-2007, 06:40 PM   #29
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Thanks, later tonight will come Valkyrie Profile 2, and coming soon, Enchanted Arms
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Old 01-08-2007, 09:50 PM   #30
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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.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Northeastmonk
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."
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