Grand Space Emperor of Content Part 3
(Continued Agarest War talk from the previous week)
I'm going to be slightly constructive with my criticisms
here by trying to highlight what it does wrong. Here's
the first thing: in an ostensibly tactical game, to just
have your characters move to a spot the computer chooses for
you when making a move is a stupid, boneheaded, asinine
decision. Why does this matter? Oh, I don't
know, maybe because it can disrupt the formation I had built
(because your characters need to stay in their zones of
effect in order to do things as you would like) without a
hope of putting it back before the next turn? Maybe
because some moves affect an area, and not being able to
choose something like the square which is the epicenter of
an attack on a gigantic thing that takes up 9 whole squares
is a dumb idea? Maybe because once you've found a
stratagem that works there is no reason to change it ever,
unless the enemies get faster (which they of course do) so
you might want to act with a character sooner to avoid
taking a beating? Naw, it couldn't be things like
that. Maybe because every environment is exactly the
same with no geographical effects or terrain conditions to
take into account, so things get boring way too fast?
Nah! That's value for your money!
So sounds like Agarest
is your game of the year?
Maybe I can slam the inventory requirements. Now, I
don't remember if I addressed this topic with you, so a
little explanation is required. The starting inventory
of the shops is pathetic. How to get more?
Easy! Kill every enemy and make sure you get its
special drops, often by means of overkilling things because
they drop something different that way (and isn't it great
to have to try doing that on every enemy? If you said
no, you're obviously not on Idea Factory's QA team!).
Take this stuff to the blacksmith. If you've got the
right stuff, he'll be able to craft new things. Some
of those (the less-useful as the game progresses, naturally)
get added into the shop inventory for additional
purchase. And you'd better get more, because just
about all of them serve as component parts for more
equipment that's yet to be created! What, you don't
like holding onto some of every item in the game? Ha
ha ha ha, what's the matter with you?
This sounds like
the best game ever! I mean think of all that
grinding. That's what I call replay value!
Oh, but here's the great part! Guess what happens if
you forgot to overkill every enemy enough times to be sure
you got enough parts? Certain items become
inaccessible! These items are, naturally, components
for further things along the chain! Isn't that
great? Knowing that because you didn't feel like
spending twice the turns in the early game making sure
things were really really dead, you can't even come close to
filling out the equipment roster? It's awesome, isn't
it??? Especially since the generational system means
there's no going back!
Man whatever, the
later generations sound like moochers, they
should be able to get their own components!
I think i dumped on the story
enough last time, but in the very late going the writers
hilariously try to have Dyshana (the blank-faced inhuman
female of some kind who got the whole thing started)
suddenly get a personality. This equates to her
interviewing all the characters about why they've stuck
around this long. Not that the characters have
anything more substantive than the more tired statements on
'it's the right thing to do' or 'I feel good with these
people' to say in response, but Dyshana never said anything
on this subject until the fifth generation takes
place. Good writers understand that subjects cannot be
left fallow until the very end of the game. Idea
Factory's writers may have many things said about them, but
the adjectives I would employ do not include 'good.'
Idea Factory has
Subject change again! A few weeks ago my friend had
the idea that I could watch him play some Dark Souls II.
Turned out to be quite an informative evening, and I even
helped out a few times by pointing out some things in the
area that he hadn't yet seen. I got to see the game in
action, and now I understand a fair amount more regarding
this series. It was the day after the game had come
out so his progress wasn't too great, but he managed to
accrue enough souls to go up several levels. I learned
that the wild pigs hiding behind a house in those dwellings
near the exposition-spouting woman take a lot of effort to
kill. I learned that lots of people playing the game
had tried to jump off cliffs successfully. I learned
there's a big monster spitting fire in some cave that my
friend didn't feel up to tackling yet. So now your
forthcoming review interests me a bit.
I have now experienced a great deal of what Fallout 2
has to offer. It's a whole lot of fun, frankly.
The opening does suck, and I have to tell you that in case
you try it (which you should). Once I started to learn
the joys of targeting enemies in battle it got to be a big
gas though. See, by expending one more action point
than normal, you can hit with a targeted shot at a certain
part of the anatomy. Best thing is to go for the eyes,
as criticals happen a lot there and do massive damage if
they don't just make the enemy's head blow up and kill it
Then there's getting experience from things other than
fighting, like getting the part to repair a nuclear reactor
or revealing that the thing a guy is charging people to see
isn't a mummy but a ghoul who takes VERY heavy naps.
This game is worth experiencing, although Steam doesn't have
it anymore. Too bad.
I haven't played Fallout 3 or New Vegas,
though I have heard mostly good things about them.
What say you?
Fallout 2 is
an absolute classic which I haven't played
nearly enough of. I think I should fix that.
Doesn't take long playing it to realize why many
still love it. That combat is a lot of fun.
The newer Fallout games are fantastic,
and I've found them to be far better than other
Bethesda releases like Skyrim. I highly
recommend starting with New Vegas, which
is developed by Obsidian (which has some of the
staff of the original two games). That one is a
lot better as far as story and world go.
Let's try another association... link Third Finger, Left
Hand (1940) with Albert Odyssey on SFC!
Another Agarest is coming to Steam, meaning
people bought the first one in large quantities. Mugen
Souls Z is crossing the ocean imminently (or it
already did, I forget right now). Idea Factory's
stockholders must be happy people. How does this make
HEY! No more connection challenges. I can take
any more digging through IMBD!
Not very good actually. I think I've heard their
visual novels are decent (maybe since less
programming is required?) but absolutely every
game developed by Idea Factory that I've tried
has been an utter mess. Mugen Souls had
all sorts of loading issues and game mechanics
that just didn't seem to make much sense.
Meanwhile we're missing out on lots of much
better JRPGs. I can only hope that their
apparent increased popularity leads to hiring
some more developers. I will say that Sorcery
Saga is a pretty decent roguelike,
hindered by way too much terrible story.
Extensive experience with the first and second Arc the
Lad games has made me unhappy that save points were so
scarce in many games of the mid 90s. I also find the
inventory system horribly constraining - with 11 human
characters not counting monsters, having 99 items for a
limit is really bothersome. It's a fun game though
(speaking of the second in particular, as the first feels
like a launch RPG in many respects), and I'm glad Working
Designs brought it over. Oddly, item descriptions in
the text are often so sparse as to be nearly useless, though
I suspect that stems from the original game. WD could
be weird when it came to keeping annoying aspects in titles
Yeah, on the whole
another great little gem for them to bring over.
I am glad the various games in the collection
are available on PSN. Working Designs games are
way too expensive as I'm sure you know. I hope
the Lunar games end up on PSN as well at
I don't think I mentioned One Piece: Romance Dawn to
you, did I? Since my review of it produced almost no
interest, I think it's warranted.
Now. Understand that this is a licensed game in the
respect that if you aren't familiar with the source
material, I really can't see it becoming a new
favorite. Certainly not based on this game's
presentation. The art of One Piece is goofy
and kinetic, so of course this game doles out static images
with character portraits that don't have many variants, then
dumps exposition in huge text piles that make things appear
boring. Told this way, the story is indeed
boring. If you had any interest in the series, I
recommend the manga. I've enjoyed it for years and
continue to do so. Go for the anime if you want, but I
just prefer manga these days because I can control the pace
with which I read and don't have to put up with blatant
filler to stretch the budget.
As for the game sans story, it has a fun combat
system. Its environments are dull and feel randomly
generated even when they aren't, the thing actually crashed
multiple times on me and forced me to reload from the 3DS
main menu, the inventory system is awful, and it skips huge
chunks of the extant story just because... um... I'm sure
there was a reason. Too damn bad, isn't it? The
appeal of playing characters I know well would be lost on
you also, so I can't recommend it for many people.
I have no One
Piece experience despite having the anime
recommended to me. Shame that licensed games are
so often mediocre. I know it's easy to get
people to just buy these things, but they do
often sell better when they're actually really
good. Just look a Goldeneye, and Kingdom
Hearts. Come on developers!
Um - Bravely Default! Job
system rocks! Game takes too long to finish! It
does something awesome though - if you get impatient and
decide to go for the worse ending (as anyone who's gone
through chapters 5-8 probably understands), the game allows
you to go back to before you embarked upon that path while
keeping all the proceeds you got along the way! Isn't
that a good thing?
That is a nice
touch, which more games should do to make it
easier to enjoy all endings. As much as I enjoy
Bravely Default I'm not sure I'll care
too much about getting the best ending as I
don't care at all about the story. Then again I
suppose more of that combat wouldn't be bad?
Man, A Link Between Worlds deserves to be
experienced by everyone who enjoyed A Link to the Past
I hadn't seriously taken the plunge into this series for
years, but it managed to remind me of how much I enjoyed the
one SNES game without being a carbon copy.
Do you have enough content for a huge column? I think
you do by now! Enjoy!
A Link Between
Worlds is an absolute masterpiece. I was
shocked! At first glace it just looks like a Link
to the Past rehash, but once you did in to
it you find all the clever and smart ways it
reworks the classic. Absolutely one of the best
2D Zelda games in the whole series.
Can't recommend it enough to people.
Anyway, thank you for three mailbags worth of
I'm sure you'll change your mind after playing the first 50
hours of Mugen Souls Z. Have fun :P
Mr. Cunningham has
taught us all a valuable lesson folks: always be
sure to confirm what game a PSN code is actually
for before finishing redemption.
Jim, you couldn't have picked a better time to
jump into the Shin Megami Tensei series.
The majority of the series is now easy to get
and quite affordable. Heck, you can even
experience the original in English on iOS now.
Enjoy Nocturne and enjoy digging into
the rest of the series!
Here are some hot topics I've seen around
- JRPGs don't seem to be having much trouble selling
decently in the West, so where has Dragon Quest
- Atlus has announced localizations for the upcoming
bananza of Persona games, but what of Devil
Survivor 2: Break Record
- If Child of Light is a success, will we see
more RPGs with the UbiArt engine?
- WHACHA GONNA DO BROTHA
See you next week!
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