Monday, March 16, 2015

Jess and the Too Many RPGs

I have a habit of being very stupid with my money. Take the last three months, for instance. I've picked up a dozen role-playing games for the Vita, PSP, and even the 3DS, thinking that these lengthy adventures would offer more bang for the buck than ordinary action titles. Or they would, if I bothered to play them. Let's look at the stats, shall we?

PSone Classic

Time Spent: 2h 38m
That would explain the barely any clothes
you're wearing.
Will I Return? I ought to! I bought this because I played through the original on the Sega Saturn when I first lived in Arizona at the turn of the century. It's a bit slow and the translation lacks the zest that the game deserves, but it holds up pretty well for its age, and the candy-colored graphics are a delight on the Vita screen.

PSOne Classic
Time Spent: 5m
Will I Return? As you can probably guess from the whopping five minutes I spent with it, probably not. I loved the first two Suiko games to pieces... their cast of 108 heroes scratched that "gotta catch 'em all" itch in a way the more juvenile Pokemon series never could. However, I'm starting to think that the season has passed for this franchise... I can't even get into the good Suikoden games anymore. (Not that there's been many of those lately.)

PS One Classic
Time Spent: 38m
Yes, this is the game where you body slam
an oncoming train. If only it looked as cool as
this drawing by DeviantArtist Porcodotranstorno!
Will I Return? Abso-freaking-lutely not. Maybe on another system, but the five second pauses between battles in the PSOne port kill the game's momentum like you wouldn't believe. Beyond that (and I risk the wrath of Square fans for saying this), I find the combat animation off-puttingly primitive, even by the modest standards of the Super NES. It might actually be charmingly quaint on the Game Boy Advance, but not so much on an uber-handheld like the Vita.

PS One Classic
Time Spent: not one damn second
Will I Return? I'd have to play it for the first time to return to it! Anyway, this purchase seemed like a good idea at the time, as it brings back the more whimsical atmosphere that the previous two Final Fantasy games abandoned. Despite this, I haven't been inclined to download it, and unless someone can make a strong case for the game, I probably never will.

PS One Classic
Time Spent: again, not even a second
Sorry, you want the other RPG down the street.
Will I Return? I actually DID download this to my Vita, but haven't fired it up yet. I've always liked the Seiken Densetsu series, and Legend of Mana's more straightforward beat 'em up action (described by critics as a fantasy-based River City Ransom) is a tempting prospect. Don't be surprised if this one gets featured in a future post.

Time Spent: 9h 23m
Will I Return? Of all the games mentioned in this entry, this one and Valkyrie Profile have soaked up the most of my free time. Trails in the Sky in particular strikes me as the second coming of Grandia, with similar combat and an inviting, lighthearted atmosphere. I'm confident that I'll be coming back for a second helping of this one.

Time Spent: 36m
Will I Return? Possibly! This is Falcom's attempt to rehabilitate the third Ys game, which received an unenthusiastic response from fans and critics alike when it was first released for the Super NES and Genesis. Wanderers from Ys made the mistake of switching to a side-view perspective, but the Oath in Felghana offers polygonal playfields that are closer to a traditional Ys game and give the player more space to dodge the attacks of hungry wolves. Which, uh, explode into meaty chunks when they've been killed. That's as good a reason as any to give this one a chance, I guess!

Time Spent: 27h 13m (!!!)
Will I Return? Are you kidding me? I've made too much progress in this game to quit now! I gave Valkyrie Profile a glowing review last December, and I'm still a fan three months later... even if the storyline has taken a detour into Looney-ville with creepy boy wizard Lezard Valeth and gods cloned from elves. Okay, really, isn't Nordic mythology weird enough without all this extra baggage?

Time Spent: 1h (too many)
They've been a big help to me, too!
As a sleep aid!
Will I Return? Ahem. HEEEEEEEELL NO! This game is so boring it could drill a hole to the center of the Earth. Dig Dug and Mr. Driller look at it and go, "Dayum." 

Seriously, I fired this one up on a trip from Tucson, thinking that it would keep me entertained. Heh, nope. I would have been better off just watching the cacti zip by for that hour. It's designed by Tri-Ace and it's got a tantalizing science fiction setting, but it's ALSO got lots of idiot non-player characters who have nothing interesting to say but love the sound of their own voice. After about an hour I was ready to pop the UMD out of my system and fling it out the window. Let the coyotes have this one.

Time Spent: 52m
Will I Return? I was warned that I probably wouldn't enjoy this much, given my well documented contempt for Final Fantasy VII. However, despite borrowing much of its setting and mythology from that, ahem, game, Crisis Core is an entirely different animal, with combat that strikes an intriguing middle ground between turn-based strategy and real-time action. It also looks gorgeous by PSP standards, a trait it shares with...

Time Spent: 1h 4m
Cower in fear at my mighty, uh,
Cinderella powers.
Will I Return? Disney and Square are a combination of flavors so bizarre that it should only appeal to pregnant women, but you know, I think I could choke this one down. It looks terrific, the combat is nimble and action-packed, and the gameplay is pretty meaty, with a variety of Disney-themed worlds to visit and three different heroes to explore them. Best of all, the late, great Leonard Nimoy lent his voice to the lead villain, which was ultimately the deciding factor in my purchase. Oh yes, this will be going back into my PSP... count on it.

Time Spent: 10m?
Will I Return? Bryan Ochalla was right... this IS a whole lot different from the demo that was released last year. I feel a little disoriented starting this one and being dropped in a completely different city. I'm also pretty damn annoyed that it has no apparent support for Miiverse, unlike practically everything else that was released for the 3DS and Wii U in the past twelve months. Come on, Nintendo, get with the program! If it weren't for Miiverse (and Smash Bros.) I probably wouldn't even turn on my 3DS! Anyway. I might come back to this, but it's not high on my list of priorities, especially now that I know the game turns into a train wreck about three quarters of the way through.

EDIT: Scratch that... there IS a Miiverse community for Bravely Default! A search didn't bring it up, but that tends to happen when you use one too many spaces. Thanks to MetManMas for the catch.

So there you have it. I've got too many damn RPGs, and not enough motivation to play them all. Let this be a lesson to you... lengthy adventures aren't a cost-effective way to play video games if you don't spend any time with them.


  1. Wow. Consider me impressed, Jess! Some of these I've played, and some of them I haven't. Of the ones I haven't played, I really want to get the first two Suikoden games soon. (For my new Vita, of course.) It'll be interesting to see if I enjoy them or if they come into my life just a little too late for that. As for Bravely Default: yeah, it's very much more of a "traditional RPG" than the demo lets on, if you ask me. I liked that, but I know not everyone will. Also, for me, the main problem with Bravely Default is that it's waaaaaaay too chatty. Text everywhere. The, uh, event that happens about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through the game sucks, too, but not as much as the overt amounts of text, in my opinion. (Also, just know that you can mostly skip through the bad portion of the game, if you want to. Most people, like me, try to "stick it out," and that's a very bad/dumb decision.)

    1. Oh maaaan. That was the same problem with Star Ocean 2. I'm hoping that they've got more interesting things to say than those dopes, at least.

    2. It's definitely way too talky (and a certain character you interact with on a semi-regular basis is a real creep), but I would be a little more forgiving of that if the towns weren't so streamlined and the dungeons had more substance. I mean, Golden Sun didn't know how to shut up either but it at least had some neat places to poke around to make up for that.

      Really, the towns were the most disappointing thing for me. With the shops streamlined to the point where they just go straight to a shopping UI FF1 style and there only being a couple of buildings you can actually enter they feel like they're one step away from being an Etrian Odyssey menu.

      A big part of the fun in the PSone Final Fantasies and Squaresoft RPGs was busting into people's houses to see the unique pre-rendered and drawn sights, but you don't really get to indulge in that in Bravely Default.

  2. Grandia always felt better, but on a portable it's tempting. PS ports of 16-bit FF on the other hand? I'd rather eat life buoy. Blecch!

    1. Better on Saturn that is, dang if I'm not tired.

    2. I guess I had to learn that hard lesson first-hand. I think Grandia is fine on the PSOne, but admittedly I haven't played the Saturn version in a long, loooong time.

    3. I'm really surprised Game Arts never tried to milk the hell out of Grandia like they did with the first Lunar game. If they had ever made a remake I definitely would've been interested in buying it...assuming it was done well.

  3. I warned you about the PSone version of Final Fantasy VI man, I warned you. Anyway, if you do play the game again I recommend picking up the SNES version (labeled Final Fantasy III) via the Wii's Virtual Console.

    RE: Bravely Default: I don't know what the hell you're talking about when you say it doesn't have a Miiverse community. Not only does it have one (, you can even post photos there if you suspend out of the game to the home menu and click on the Miiverse icon. Maybe the site was having issues when you tried before?

    Speaking of BD, while I'll admit it has a good battle system and the various options for tweaking encounters are great, the game has serious problems with not knowing how to shut the fuck up and as somebody who likes exploration in his RPGs the town and dungeon designs are extremely lacking and I wanna throttle somebody every time I find a place I can't go to yet because my party said so.

    1. Huh, there it is! I did a search and nothin' came up. My apologies.

      I wonder if FF3 will ever be available on the Wii U. That'd be convenient!

    2. Well it's been available in Japan since June 2013, along with a bunch of other games they had released on Wii before. Wish S-E or whoever's responsible for releasing the ports internationally would get off their asses for two seconds to release their 3DS and Wii U VC games over here already.

      Between that and Square-Enix USA covering their ears and going "Alalala" whenever the numerous 3DS Dragon Quest games are mentioned I'm starting to think they don't want my money. =/