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Roundtable - September 13, 2003 - Part 2

Googleshng: Moving along, two recent TRPGs (Disgaea and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance) have hit the market, and it seems to me that everyone is tearing into them. What does everyone think of these thus far?

Brian: Disgaea is bloody amazing at what it does, and I personally believe that Zach committed a grave crime against all of humanity when he gave the game's localization a 6 in his staff review.

David: Disgaea is like a cool wind breeze on a hot summer day, when experiencing a drought. It is everything I have wanted in a TRPG and never knew I did!

James: I'm enjoying FFTA, and, although it is a little Pokémon-esque, it's perfect for on-the-go play.

David: I haven't played that much of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance yet, though its plot seems non-existant; the actual gameplay and class system seems to be top notch.

Kugutsu: FFTA is the most advanced Quest TRPG released so far, and probably one of the best TRPGs.

Adoru: Let me just start by saying I beat Disgaea in 10 days, and not because it is short, but because it's such a great game that combines great gameplay, witty humor, and enough sidequests to keep you hooked for more than one playthrough.

Googleshng: I haven't yet had the pleasure of playing Disgaea myself, thanks to shipping delays, but I'm glad to see Atlus has finally hit on a winner from someone other than Quest.

Brian: Afterall, Atlus has provided one of the most amazing translations, kept the Japanese language track and got new English voice actors, and made the entire game as amusing as possible. Except for maybe one typo so far, I can think of no problems in the localization.

Kugutsu: FFTA does have a plot, but it is definately nothing compared to FFT.

Adoru: I just started FFTA, and while it looks fun, I don't think it will ever compare to FFT.

Googleshng: As for FFTA, I'm enjoying it immensely, but while it's great at what it does, the game is actually horrifically shallow.

Kugutsu: It's rather difficult to maintain such a complex story when what order missions will come in is defined by randomness and the player's decisions.

Adoru: Google, I will have to agree with you. Gone is the great intrigue from its PSone counterpart

Googleshng: Essentially, you keep repeating the same simple battle hundreds of times over, with no real changes besides your new abilities.

David: Disgaea is interesting, in that, even though it isn't that deep a game for the most part, it surprised me with how poignant and deep it can be, without warning.

Brian: Sadly, I am a gimp who is still playing FFXI and Disgaea like a madman, so I haven't had the chance to buy and try FFTA yet.

David: I don't know Goog, the new abilities, to me, changed how I played. I played much different with an Illusionist then I did with a Black Mage.

Adoru: Perhaps we should warn players that the English voice acting is quite horrible, although it almost seems on purpose for some characters, namely Gordon

James: I enjoyed FFT, hell I still play it. I was a little hurt when I saw what Square Enix did to it (I put it down for a few days). However, when I got over that, I found an interestingly fun, and light-hearted game.

Googleshng: David: Oh, indeed.

Kugutsu: The system is definitely superior to FFT, but it was a lot better when you could actually care about the characters.

Googleshng: I don't mean to slight the appeal of the new class system, but both of these games we're discussing, at least in terms of level design, strike me as being somewhat fluffy. What would everyone think are the odds of us getting another game like, say, Vandal Hearts?

Adoru: But how do you compare FFTA to the other GBA Tactical RPG, Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis?

David: I have to say, whoever made the FFTA interface, need to be dragged into the street and forced to play Beyond the Beyond

Brian: I might be able to compare them if I had played the former.

Googleshng: David: Amen. I have serious issues not being able to see the defense of the armor I'm equipping.

Kugutsu: FFTA goes much faster than TO:KoL, but the earlier game seemed a bit deeper.

David: I doubt we will ever see a another Vandal Hearts, though I do agree the interactivity of the levels was a great thing and needs to be copied more.

Adoru: But Disgaea is much faster than FFTA.

Kugutsu: I haven't had the chance to play Disgaea yet, so I can't comment on it.

David: Disgaea does move faster than FFTA, but also, because the interface isn't as slow, it just seems to move faster. The FFTA interface is just slow moving for some reason. It seems to take a long time.

Brian: Most of us seem to have only played one or the other, not both. Besides David. He's crazy.

Kugutsu: One thing that I liked about FFTA is that it's easier to start than FFT, but the difficulty builds rather rapidly. It never really gets to Langrisser's level, but they've definitely done better than FFT did in the challenge department.

David: In FFTA, it forces you to do plot battles for a while before it lets you do everything. Unlike FFT, which allows you to do whatever you want after the prologue. Excepting the jobs.

Googleshng: FFT had to my recollection, two difficult fights, maybe three, which were quite the contrast to the rest.

Brian: Those being the execution site battle and the battle with Velius, correct, Goog?

Googleshng: Brian: Yes, and the rooftop was rather nasty.

Brian: Against the assassin girls?

Googleshng: yes

Kugutsu: Those were probably the two hardest battles in FFT actually. Odd that they were put one right after another.

Adoru: I'll have to wait until Langrisser II and III comes out here to comment on those. Hurry up Working Designs.

David: On Disgaea, I really love it, the level system is interesting, the monster system, the Geo panels. Atlus made up for Hoshigami to me.

Googleshng: FFTA does a better job of restricting your ability growth than the original, but the actual difficulty of battles is a joke.

David: How far are you google?

Googleshng: About 24 hours in.

David: If you aren't paying attention you can get smacked with a bad rule and that can suck. I think the judgement system is interesting. I'd like it put more fully to use though.

Googleshng: And after maybe two hours, I've been winning every battle with only one character doing damage. Everyone else is just running about stealing accessories and casting haste. Heck, earlier tonight I beat a fight by having my Assassin just walk up to each enemy in turn and hit'em with a Nightmare. Everyone else just followed along robbing people.

Kugutsu: Well, by the time the really bad laws start, you have enough options to avoid them all.

David: A friend of mine just summed up my feelings on FFTA and Disgaea: "I'm considering playing FFTA. But it's so hard to go to after playing Disgaea. Disgaea plays smooth like butter and FFT makes you mash the A button like a lunatic just to hit something with a sharp thing."

Adoru: David, I feel the same way, and I'm in the same situation.

David: The thing is, FFTA has some damn good ideas. I think the judgement system needs to be used again, but for a better effect. The difference is Disgaea has good ideas and good excution. Disgaea is just a total package good deal. Despite what Zac may say about the Disgaea's localization. In summary, FFTA has Assassin. Disgaea has Prism Rangers. Nuff said.

Brian: Now, if only EB or Gamestop marketed some preorder goodies to go with it...

Googleshng: Any other thoughts on this matter before we move on?

Brian: BLUUUUUUUEEEE! YELLOOOOOOOOOOOOW!

Kugutsu: I still think that the improved system in FFTA is incredible given that the GBA is a handheld. Most companies don't take those seriously enough.

Googleshng: Kug: Since the GBA was released they do.

Adoru: We all agree that Disgaea is great, and so is FFTA even though it is different than the previous one. And while tactical gamers everywhere will be busy for a while with those two games, they will be even more when Onimusha Tactics come out this November.

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