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Wolf Kanno
07-07-2017, 08:54 PM
So a few years back, a couple members of this forum started their own top 100 lists and posted them on the forum. I was also working on a list but a combination of laziness, foggy memory, and being too busy at the time, cause me to never finish it. :wcanoe:

Well all the stars aligned and I was finally able to get this list done more or less. As per usual for these sort of things, this is just my opinion so don't get too bent out of shape if a game you loved is ranked lower than you feel like it should be, and I'm sure I'm going to have several non-surprising omissions of super popular games most of you consider to be the best thing ever.

On the other hand, I think my list has a couple surprise entries and may even mention a game or two no one has heard of, or at least completely forgot about up until now. With all this said, I will say right now that my list is pretty fluid and simply based on my mood at the time. Something I may ranks as #75 could easily be jumped into the Top 20 if I'm in the throes of playing the game. In fact, it's probably safe to say that only the top ten is mostly set in stone and even then, I've got a few recent entries that may worm their way up there.

I'll get the first entry up later tonight, and I basically plan to put at least one entry up a day. :wcanoe:

P.S. My only goal for this list is to get it done in half the time it took BoB to finish his list. ;)


100. Galaga (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3669668&viewfull=1#post3669668)
99. Assassin's Creed: Revelations (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3669674&viewfull=1#post3669674)
98. Empire (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3669747&viewfull=1#post3669747)
97. Mass Effect (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3669766&viewfull=1#post3669766)
96. Cyber Troopers: Virtual On (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3669861&viewfull=1#post3669861)
95. Star Ocean: The Second Story (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3669918&viewfull=1#post3669918)
94. Pokemon Red and Blue (Gen 1) (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3669965&viewfull=1#post3669965)
93. Contra III: The Alien Wars (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3669992&viewfull=1#post3669992)
92. Pac-Man (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670038&viewfull=1#post3670038)
91. Legend of Mana (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670040&viewfull=1#post3670040)
90. Amplitude (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670080&viewfull=1#post3670080)


89. The Last Story (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670103&viewfull=1#post3670103)
88. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670208&viewfull=1#post3670208)
87. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670238&viewfull=1#post3670238)
86. Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670305&viewfull=1#post3670305)
85. Chrono Cross (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670389&viewfull=1#post3670389)
84. Wild Arms 2nd Ignition (https://youtu.be/dNeFpTks9uE)
83. Xenoblade Chronicles (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670517&viewfull=1#post3670517)
82. Sid Meier's Colonization (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670565&viewfull=1#post3670565)
81. No More Heroes (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670622&viewfull=1#post3670622)
80. Robotech: Battlecry (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670698#post3670698)


79. Um Jammer Lammy (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670755&viewfull=1#post3670755)
78. Mega Man X4 (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670835&viewfull=1#post3670835)
77. Super Mario Bros. 2 (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670864&viewfull=1#post3670864)
76. Battletech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670941&viewfull=1#post3670941)
75. Mystic Warriors: Wrath of the Ninjas (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3670983&viewfull=1#post3670983)
74. The World Ends With You (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3671026&viewfull=1#post3671026)
73. Sly Cooper and Theivius Racconus (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3671145&viewfull=1#post3671145)
72. Tetris (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3671167&viewfull=1#post3671167)
71 Sonic the Hedgehog (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3671293&viewfull=1#post3671293)
70. Aliens (Arcade) (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3671306&viewfull=1#post3671306)


69. Gauntlet (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3671309&viewfull=1#post3671309)
68. Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3671392&viewfull=1#post3671392)
67. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3671566&viewfull=1#post3671566)
66. Final Fantasy V (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3671677&viewfull=1#post3671677)
65. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3671746&viewfull=1#post3671746)
64. Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3671991&viewfull=1#post3671991)
63. Shin Megami Tensei IV (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3672143&viewfull=1#post3672143)
62. Catherine (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3672295&viewfull=1#post3672295)
61. Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3672478&viewfull=1#post3672478)
60. Brave Fencer Musashi (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3672711&viewfull=1#post3672711)


59. Journey (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3672810&viewfull=1#post3672810)
58. Dark Souls (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3673096&viewfull=1#post3673096)
57. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3673271&viewfull=1#post3673271)
56. Front Mission 3 (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3673585&viewfull=1#post3673585)
55. Breath of Fire IV (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3673784&viewfull=1#post3673784)
54. Super Mario Bros. 3 (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3673988&viewfull=1#post3673988)
53. Final Fantasy XII (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3674660&viewfull=1#post3674660)
52. Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3674695&viewfull=1#post3674695)
51. Xenosaga Episode 1: Der Wille Zur Macht (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3674881&viewfull=1#post3674881)
50. Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3674964&viewfull=1#post3674964)


49. The Legend of Zelda (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3675085&viewfull=1#post3675085)
48. MechCommander (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3675247&viewfull=1#post3675247)
47. Armored Core 2 (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3675264&viewfull=1#post3675264)
46. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3675327&viewfull=1#post3675327)
45. Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3675433&viewfull=1#post3675433)
44. Bloodborne (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3675593&viewfull=1#post3675593)
43. Dragon Quest III (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3675658&viewfull=1#post3675658)
42. Lunar: The Silver Star Story Complete (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3675710&viewfull=1#post3675710)
41. Super Mario World (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3675874&viewfull=1#post3675874)
40. Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3675936&viewfull=1#post3675936)


39. X-Men Arcade (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3675983&viewfull=1#post3675983)
38. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3676259&viewfull=1#post3676259)
37. Castlevania (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3676317&viewfull=1#post3676317)
36. Breath of Fire II (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3676605&viewfull=1#post3676605)
35. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3676912&viewfull=1#post3676912)
34. Wild ARMS (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3677038&viewfull=1#post3677038)
33. Final Fantasy IX (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3677185&viewfull=1#post3677185)
32. Secret of Mana (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3677395&viewfull=1#post3677395)
31. DuckTales (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3677634&viewfull=1#post3677634)
30. Dance Dance Revolution series (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3677694&viewfull=1#post3677694)


29. Street Fighter II: Turbo (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3677792&viewfull=1#post3677792)
28. Suikoden III (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3677880&viewfull=1#post3677880)
27. Final Fantasy IV (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678100&viewfull=1#post3678100)
26. Super Metroid (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678129&viewfull=1#post3678129)
25. Civilization II (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678181&viewfull=1#post3678181)
24. Persona 5 (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678263&viewfull=1#post3678263)
23. Street Fighter Alpha series (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678361&viewfull=1#post3678361)
22. Mega Man X (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678463&viewfull=1#post3678463)
21. Gitaroo Man (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678491&viewfull=1#post3678491)
20. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678544#post3678544)


19. Ico (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678570&viewfull=1#post3678570)
18. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678608&viewfull=1#post3678608)
17. Silent Hill 2 (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678652&viewfull=1#post3678652)
16. Vagrant Story (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678717&viewfull=1#post3678717)
15. Breath of Fire III (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678749&viewfull=1#post3678749)
14. Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678817&viewfull=1#post3678817)
13. Suikoden V (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678892&viewfull=1#post3678892)
12. Shadow of the Colossus (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3678930&viewfull=1#post3678930)
11. Metal Gear Solid (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3679029&viewfull=1#post3679029)


10. Final Fantasy Tactics (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3679117&viewfull=1#post3679117)
9. Suikoden & Suikoden II (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3679181#post3679181)
8. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/170194-WK-s-Top-something-or-other-let-s-just-say-quot-games-quot-and-call-it-good-list?p=3679306&viewfull=1#post3679306)
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Pumpkin
07-07-2017, 09:09 PM
:omghey:

Karifean
07-07-2017, 10:24 PM
What an original idea.

Looking forward to it =P

Vyk
07-08-2017, 02:20 AM
I'll be paying attention intently

Slothy
07-08-2017, 02:27 AM
Half the time it took bob? I look forward to seeing this finished by mid 2025.

Wolf Kanno
07-08-2017, 05:51 AM
Let's just get started then.

#100
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There are maybe two or three old school arcade titles I will always drop everything to play if I find them in some dusty old bar or retro arcade. Galaga is one of those games, easily my favorite top down shooter in the arcade scene, I would spend my youth in old arcades and bowling alleys pumping quarters into this machine for another shot at the Hi-Score.

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I love the fact that enemy ships can steal your own fighter and if you had the lives to spare you could let them and rescue them for double or even triple fire. It gave a real nice high rick, high reward payoff that I love in games. Its a game I grew up with and even as I write this entry, I can still hear the sound effects playing in my head. If I ever achieve my dream of building my own private arcade, you can bet your ass this game will be there.

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Wolf Kanno
07-08-2017, 07:11 AM
W~POST!

Okay so the first post was a little light on commentary but let's be honest, there isn't much to say about Galaga, it wears its little heart (and gameplay) on its sleeves. So let's try a meatier entry.

#99

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Oh Assassin's Creed, in the midway point of my cold relationship with the PS3, I picked up the original Assassin's Creed which turned out to be an interesting if a bit overly tedious game about secret societies battling things out throughout history. The ending was such a tease, I took advantage of the fact that Brotherhood had released not long ago to pick up ACII and that game was pretty phenomenal. Fast forward a few years and we have Revelations, the final game in the main Ezio trilogy which also happens to be Altair's swan song as well.

AC has always been a series I felt had great potential but seemed to always shoot itself in the foot one way or the other. While ACII was a better game all around, the plot was a bit by the book and the story was told in a very jarring way thanks to all these historical moments happening years apart and the creators being a little too thick to figure out a way to tell you what Ezio did in the meantime. Brotherhood was a typical sequel with a very similar plot to ACII and mostly feeling like a like a lost chapter that got pulled from ACII due to running out of time and simply adding a few vehicle missions and the assassins guild to cover up its weak story and absolutely buggy gameplay. Revelations for me was that rare moment when the stars aligned and I felt that Ubisoft actually got their trout together and made a game that was as fun as ACII but had the more gripping story of AC1.


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The main point of praise I feel the game has is finally nailing the narrative. Revelations deals with four very different plot threads. For Desmond, he's in a coma thanks to his not girlfriend and we finally get to meet Subject 16, an enigmatic former test subject for Abstergo Industries whose past lives dives led him to the truth about the world and kind of drove him mad thanks to spending too much time in his ancestors memories. Having built a digital copy of his sane self before dropping off the deep end, he meets up with Desmond and finally fills him in on all of the conspiracy nonsense. These sections are also filled with a very clever first person platforming dungeon where Ubisoft, after three games with him no less, decide to finally go into Desmond's backstory beyond a few words here and there and its honestly pretty good. This is probably the only game that made me actually care for the doofus though I would be lying if I said I didn't love Subject 16 more.


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As typical of the series, to get back to the real world, Desmond needs to once again dive into Ezio's memories and we're brought to Ezio's final days as an Assassin, as he comes to Constantinople to retrieve Altair's treasure and gain access to his Apple of Eden. By this point, Constantinople has been conquered by the Turks and is in the midst of a transitional period from its Eastern European owners. Ezio quickly finds himself embroiled in court politics as the two ruling brothers plot against each other with the Assassin's and Templars picking sides. I love the fact this story brings us back to AC1's narrative concerning the shadow war and the idea that the Assassin's and Templars both have their faults. Ezio's previous plots had been with obviously evil villains so to jump into a narrative where you find yourself being suspicious of everyone was much appreciative. Course this being Ezio, he has another plot involving him charming a local woman who runs a bookstore which Ezio uses to help him decipher the clues left by the Polo brothers regarding Altair's treasure. The story is generally sweet and helps to add levity between Desmond's introspective journey of the mind and the Real Politck stuff going on among the Turks and Janissary.


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Finally we have Altair, Ezio pulls a Desmond and finds special discs that Altair left behind so his ancestors could relive his memories. Ezio watches as Altair loses his family and the Assassin's themselves from his poor management skills and being too busy studying the Apple of Eden to realize how jealous his fellow brothers were becoming of him. The story is pretty tragic and has some of the most clever gameplay moments in these sequences. Ultimately all the story threads wind up in a pretty satisfactory way. The feuding brothers of the palace end up double crossing him and Ezio ends up leaving the city in a more chaotic state than he hoped, making him question if the brotherhoods methods are always the right course. He gets the girl and goes off to marry her and retire to have a family. We learn how Altair met his end, and Desmond wakes up and learns what he needs to do to save the world from a silly prophecy made by a precursor, possibly alien race, whom all the old gods of myth and antiquity were apparently based on and named after. Overall, it has been the only AC game I've played where I didn't have any serious plot grievances with.

The game side of things was pretty cool as well, not much has changed from previous entries but the game is noticeably less buggy than Brotherhood and ACIII. I loved the fact that a lot more went into the Brotherhood aspect of the game. In addition to recruiting people, these people have their own mini-stories when you assign them to take charge of sections of the Assassin's controlled parts of the city, so it really felt like a part of the world instead of a poorly implemented manager game. With that said, the Tower defense mini-games are terrible and the only saving grace for them is that you only have to do it once and afterwards you can let your A.I. companions deal with the rest.


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Bombs were the new gimmick added to the game, and while they don't add a lot, I missed them around the time ACIII came around because they did have some cool uses. The more useful tool was the hookblade you could use to slide down various lines throughout the city for quick tavel and high speed ambushes. The game also vastly improved the A.I. with the Jannissary being serious threats who couldn't be easily instantly killed. While the game wasn't a major change from its predecessors, the little touches helped take a series I always felt was a bit rough around the edges, and finally polish it into something really accessible. So yeah, story and gameplay together help rank this game as my favorite in the series and the one I would most likely replay in the future.

Wolf Kanno
07-08-2017, 06:38 PM
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Let me introduce you to what is most likely the first computer game I ever played that wasn't some lame educational game from school. Before Sid Meier created the Civilization series, we had Empire. It kind of plays like a very early form of Civ, minus the cultural city building and pacifist options of winning the game. Instead, you start with a base and build up your army to conquer the damn world. Like Civilization the world is unknown but you can build submarines and airplanes to explore and uncover enemy empires to do battle with.


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It's not the most complex game as you can see from the screenshots but I loved that I could name everything and as you gain more bases, you can build more types of units than simple tanks and infantry. Eventually you'll carve out your own empire and I think this may have actually been one of the first non-multiplayer games I ever won. I still have fond memories of playing this over at my Dad's place when I was growing up. There isn't much to else to say about the game as it was pretty simple and you can only find it now on retro sites, but if you ever do find it, give it a shot because it's a fun little diversion.



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Wolf Kanno
07-08-2017, 09:42 PM
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Mass Effect


Something that I always found odd about the RPG genre is the lack of Sci-Fi titles. Yes, you have your Fallout's and your Star Wars titles about, but its rare to find a Sci-Fi RPG that can mimic the same scope and world building like classic works such as Star Trek, Babylon 5, and even the Alien franchise. So I was pretty happy to hear about Mass Effect.

I have never played many BioWare titles, I had jumped to console exclusivity with my gaming during the companies Golden Era of the late 90s early 00s; so ME proved to be my first real foray with the company and I was pleasantly surprised. While this spanned a pretty popular trilogy, only the first game made it to my list. The sequels simply lacked what I was looking for in a good sci-fi RPG. In the major fan spectrum, I'm more of a Star Wars fan than a Trekkie, but I can get down with the Trekkies when I need to and sometimes I'm just in the mood for the slower more political drama they offer over Star Wars High Fantasy in Space shlick.That's what ME1 offered and I lapped it up.


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I wonder sometimes what it was about the first game I loved so much that the sequels lacked and I think it was the world building and big picture elements of the story. ME1 paints a world that is kind of bigger than any one person, and by the time ME3 rolls around, the story is more about Shepard being some Space Messiah and fighting a war with Chthulu Spawn. I was more invested in the Quarian Conflict, the Genophage and Krogan issue, humanity trying to find their place in a galactic empire that was both indignant of humans and leery of their accomplishments. It was just a really cool setting and I loved exploring the world to discover more. This was what set the game apart for me was that I honestly wanted to learn more about the world and the greater political dramas, and sadly, I never felt the same in the sequels.

My issue is the sequels kind of made these issues take a backseat to the more boring Reaper story, which was initially interesting when they were basically Chthulu, but quickly lost their luster as the sequels kept expanding on them until they didn't feel quite as threatening as they did in the original. It took the entire Citadel fleet sacrificing their lives for a Pyrrhic victory in ME1 to beat Soveriegn, and then you kill one directory with a handful of squadmates in ME2, and then you're killing them left and right by ME3.


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I appreciate the Shepard of ME1 a bit more as well. Shepard was simply unique for both being the first human Spectre and the Prothean Beacon giving them visions of an apocalypse that everyone thinks is too silly to be true. Watching them fight through centuries of alien political drama, shady corporations, the prejudice between humans and the Citadel races, and a two-faced council that was fine with you seeking Saren but kept ignoring your pleas about the Reaper threat; was a bit more engaging from a story standpoint than dealing with the Space KKK in ME2 and watching everyone, and their mother worship the ground you walk on while you hastily resolve all of the subplots before the disappointing ending. ME1 simply told a better story, and did a better job slowly bringing you into a world that felt very real. It helps the gameplay also showed this with the level design being built around the idea of the setting and not what would be convenient for the shoot outs. I couldn't even tell you much about combat in ME2 cause all the battles blurred together after awhile but I can still tell you about being jumped in the Citadel by Saren's forces, the nice shoot out at the shady bar in the same place, the cool Aliens knockoff in Noveria and the pod people stuff going on Feros, frankly the planets you visit were just more memorable to me in this game than the sequels, barring the home worlds for the Krogran and Quarians.

I also appreciate the fact the game at least attempts to be a more even handed RPG/Third Person shooter hybrid whereas the sequels lean a bit more on the shooting than the RPG customization. I could never even find decent armor for Tali in ME1 but at least I had the option, and that's saying something cause ME1 inventory system was terrible. The less said about the Mako the better. The sequels played better but I felt your customization options took you further in this game than the later entries. Also I prefer the overheat mechanic over the "scrounge for ammo/heat sinks" of the later installments.


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Overall, I appreciate the fact that ME1 felt like a really good Sci-Fi novel which built an interesting and engaging world with several possibilities and different Sci-Fi type stories sprinkled throughout. I also simply found the game a bit more fun, if a lot more clunky than its sequels.

Pumpkin
07-08-2017, 09:43 PM
I havent played ME1, just 2

Wolf Kanno
07-09-2017, 07:57 PM
I havent played ME1, just 2

It's a bit clunkier than the more streamlined ME2 and 3, but it feels more like an RPG to me than they did since it has traditional armor and weapon customization for the whole party. You haven't lived until you send Garrus into battle with a white and hot pink armor set. ;)

You also get to experience Wrex in his full glory and a less mopey Ashley.

Wolf Kanno
07-09-2017, 08:15 PM
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Oh Virtual On, one of my all time favorite Sega Arcade games. This game was a favorite of mine and a friend back in high school and we would both always take the time to play a few rounds whenever we found the machine. We're both big mecha fans so the awesome mecha designs and quirky battle mechanics made the game really stand out for the two of us. It also taps into my love for fighting games.

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This is also the first of the arcade games on my list where I will frankly say that the game has to be played with the original arcade controls and set-up to get the real experience. The magic just always seems to be missing when I play any of the console adaptions for it.

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Part of this is because the arcade game used two joysticks for all of the movement controls which made it a very awkward at first but incredibly fluid control scheme once you got the hang of it. Where you had the controls positioned when you pressed the trigger buttons dictated which of the mecha's three attacks you used. The graphics vary from entry and look kind of cartoonish and almost Xenogearsy in comparison to games like Armored Core, but I appreciate Sega's great visual and audio designs that kept the game being very colorful and upbeat when most Mecha games feel grim dark for reasons never really explained.

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Like a lot of Japanese arcade games, there is a plot, but oddly enough I've never cared enough to really learn it since I only ever spent serious time on the arcade version. Funny enough, I was pretty excited when Xenosaga Eps. 1 had a mecha battle mode that played surprisingly similar to VO. Even talking about it now, perhaps I should look into giving the console versions another chance since I can't really play the version I like anymore. With that said, if I ever achieve my bucket list dream of building a private arcade for myself, this game will be there for sure. ;)

Wolf Kanno
07-10-2017, 07:13 PM
95.

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Oh Star Ocean 2, you have the distinction of being the only entry in the series I really liked. SO1 is kind of dull and the plot is a bit dumber than usual. SO3 started off promising, but a lukewarm cast, copying the same framing device as the second game, and one of the most unintentionally funny plot twists in gaming makes it very difficult to love you. SO4... kind of has the X-2 and Valkyria Chronicles issue where I can't get through ten minutes of the plot without wanting to choke the life out of the cast. I gave up by the time SO5 came out.


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So what makes this game so damn special then? It's certainly not the gameplay, I'm not a huge fan of Action-RPGs like SO and the Tales of series as I find combat gets a bit duller for me even quicker than turn base for some reason and even updating SO1's combat to SO2 couldn't save that game for me. The other features are cool, but certainly not something I feel every game needs. Of anything, I'll give SO2 props for having one of the more straightforward crafting systems, but even I feel half the options are kind of useless. Course I love the Private Action mechanics and I really love the favt that game retains the whole "who joins you affects who joins you later" mechanic. While the whole series has this mechanic on some level, I feel SO2 is a bit different because frankly the cast is pretty superb.


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I think that's what sets this game apart from the others. SO2 hits that nice niche of coming up with amusing characters that can draw you in and keep you invested. Claude is such a lovable goofball compared to typical hot-blooded Roddick and boring Shinji Ikari expy Fayt. Rena is more quirky than the more traditional main heroines from the series as well, though Ilia might still be the best in the series.


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The supporting cast is also great with can't find a date Celine, drunk and flirtatious Opera, badass loner swordsman Dias, quirky science chick Precis, alien reporter Chisato, and Ashton oh freaking Ashton whom the game could have been all about him and I would have stayed forever you lovable and unfortunate soul.


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SO2 also has my favorite set of mini-games in the series, with its Gold Saucer knockoff, but it has a much more challenging battle arena, the Bunny Races, freaking Iron Chef, and more hilarious Private Actions than you can shake a stick at. The best part is the goofy announcers and commentary for all of the mini-games. The game also handles optional challenges better than any game I've ever played. It has its traditional super dungeon with its traditional super bosses but what's really cool is that you can undertake a sidequest in the PA system that transforms the final boss into the de facto hardest boss in the game and I really appreciate this after playing FF titles where I can curbstomp the final bosses with little effort. I still wish more games did this.


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While the game still has its quirks, I feel the cast and some of the cool gameplay features make it worth checking out.

Pumpkin
07-10-2017, 07:26 PM
I've played a good chunk of the remake on the PSP. Need to finish it up one day!

Karifean
07-10-2017, 07:28 PM
Curious to see how long it'll take before we get to a game I've played ^^

Wolf Kanno
07-11-2017, 07:38 AM
Curious to see how long it'll take before we get to a game I've played ^^

While I don't know what you have played over the years, I can verify that you have played #76 on my list. ;)

I'll have the next entry up in a little bit. :wcanoe:

Wolf Kanno
07-11-2017, 09:38 AM
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Gotta Catch em All... Pokemon!

Oh man this game always takes me back. I was too old to be playing it when it originally came out but I still loved playing this with my high school buddies and chatting about the latest episodes of the anime. Looking back now, the anime was kind of garbage barring the bumbling Team Rocket but this game is still pretty fun to go through, which I learned last summer when I started up an old file last Summer during the Pokemon GO craze.


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I've tried to play later installments, but none of them really grab me as much as the Gen 1 games did. I still remember choosing Charmander and getting to Brock and being like "well that sucked" and then reaching Misty and openly cursing about it. You always remember your first time I guess. ;)


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I think this game holds a special place for me less because of its design as much as its a game that takes me back to a period of my life that makes me smile a bit despite being a bit embarrassing in hindsight. Even then, I still like the core game and this entry still has my favorite collection of Mons in the series as well as the only entry where I feel all three starters are genuinely awesome. Mewtwo is still one of my favorite super Pokemon and I've liked the Psychic and Fire Types since this entry.


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I think my only real shame has been the fact I've never acquired all 150 Pokemon, largely because its hard to ind anyone anymore that has both a working copy of the game and the GameBoy to play it on. Course I own both Red and Blue, so perhaps I just need to find a GameBoy...

fat_moogle
07-11-2017, 11:06 AM
Pokémon Blue and Yellow were the only mainline Pokémon games that I played. Fond memories of taking my Gameboy to school and whipping out those link cables for some battles :D

I need to get back around to Mass Effect at some point because I'm only at the beginning. Feels a bit slow but I guess it takes time to get in to.

Bubba
07-11-2017, 12:36 PM
Just caught up with this and wanted to say that I agree entirely that Mass Effect's gun overheat mechanic was far more interesting than the sequels. In fact I remember commenting on it on my Mass Effect Adventures thread when I started ME2...


I'm not sure I care for the new ammo system. I suppose it makes sense but I actually really liked the overheat system on the original. I'd not seen that in any other game and I thought it was quite unique. I mean, there seems to be loads of ammo but it's still something I need to stress about, along with remembering to reload. I DON'T LIKE CHANGE.

Wolf Kanno
07-11-2017, 07:01 PM
93.

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If you're like me and grew up in the late 80s and early 90s, you probably watched a lot of cheesy action films, and I'm sure most of us watched Aliens, Terminator, and Predator at least once before our parents realized the type of bloody horror those films entailed on our precious little minds. Well Konami must have banked on it because they seem to have built an awesome side-scrolling action game that capitalizes on this possibility.


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I was a fan of the original Contra on the NES, and even vaguely remember Contra 2, but my heart goes out to Contra III, the closest thing we ever got to an actual Aliens game on the SNES. I sadly never owned the title as my parents knew better, but luckily my friends had neglectful parents who bought them anything they wanted to shut them off so I had lots of great sleepovers growing up trying to conquer this blistering shooter.


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It controls better than the original, had better bosses, and was one of the first games to really show off the cinematic potential of gaming to me outside of the arcade scene. While there have been a lot of games that pull the whole "final boss chases you up a shaft and will murder you if you don't reach safety first" concept, Contra III was the game I will always remember when I see that trope. In hindsight, I'm surprised Konami wasn't sued for all the blatant rips off from Aliens and Terminator.


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This is still one of those games I'm looking for to add to my collection. Sad to say that when I was making this list, it only showed that despite my love for the SNES, I don't actually own as many of the games I love for it as I wanted since it kind of fell out of fashion by the time I was old enough to buy my own shit. Still, it gives me a fun hobby to try and find all of these treasures at used and retro game stores.

Spuuky
07-11-2017, 07:35 PM
Contra 3 is an awesome game (which I own).

Wolf Kanno
07-12-2017, 06:15 AM
92.

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Remember how I said back at the Galaga entry that I had two retro arcade games that I will almost always stop and play if I find them? Yeah, well this is the other one. Pac-Man has always been a favorite of mine ever since my father introduced it to me as a wee lad, and this is simply one of those games where despite how much time has come and technology has changed I can't help but feel the gameplay is timeless.


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Seriously, I've debated about putting this on my phone or computer but no damn well I would never stop playing it if I did so. It';s the same reason why Tetris is restricted to just my GameBoy copy. It's just an addicting game and I totally understand when historians point out how it helped start the arcade craze of the late 70s and early 80s.


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That's probably the other reason why this game is here as well because it just has a really cool history and I always find out something cool about it whenever I do research for it. Besides, what other games can you think of that had a top 40 hit in the 80s and is also the subject of one of my favorite running gags in Penny Arcade.


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Wolf Kanno
07-12-2017, 06:56 AM
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Released in the final years of Square's Golden Age. Legend of Mana has the distinction of being the second Mana game I ever played, seeing how I missed out on Final Fantasy Adventure due to getting a GameBoy late in the systems life and I only vaguely knew about Seiken Densetsu 3. To say it was a jarring experience coming into it from Secret of Mana is an understatement.


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Still I ended up really liking this hidden gem of a title and I'm always a bit sad that it seems to be passed over by Square-Enix and the fanbase when discussing the franchise. It was a really trippy title that surprisingly influenced several later titles SE made so I feel its a real important part of the Square's history.


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Legend of Mana is the very definition of Crapssachirine World (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CrapsaccharineWorld) in that behind the games absolutely gorgeous background art and sprite work that makes you feel like you stepped into a children's cartoon, you'll quickly discover this world is kind of a crappy place an even scarier, it used to be worse. The game doesn't make it obvious but you're basically a silent protagonist charged with restoring the world of Fa'Diel which lost the Mana Tree nine hundred years prior to the story and resulted in a terrible war over the power of Mana that ended up destroying the world and reducing former civilizations and peoples to be trapped in magic artifacts in order to survive.


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You find these artifacts and plant them on the map to restore the world piece by piece, and the "main plot" so to speak is rather three major stories that take place over several lands in addition to dozens of other smaller stories you can participate in. Basically Square made a modern open world game before it was actually a thing as you basically jump from one location you unlock after another ad follow behind the stories of other characters. The three main scenarios involve a colorful cast of people including: two members of the Jumi Tribe, humanoid beings whose life force is attached to a precious gem that grows on their body, trying to track down a Jewel Thief/Serial Killer who is murdering members of the tribe for their gems; an incredibly complicated love story involving a half demon, a holy woman, a smug knight, and the mutual friend trying to stop everyone from killing each other; and finally two sibling Dragoons serving their dragonmasters and their various plots to rule the world.


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Yeah, as I said, the game's looks don't match the rather dark stories, but its not all doom and gloom and there are some really fun and colorful vistas to explore and people to meet that make this game feel really distinct from the rest of the franchise. Even better is the game's various shout outs to the rest of the franchise like the save statues being the Sprite from SoM2 and the Dark Dragon being implied to be the Dragon Emperor from SD3. The game is also scored by the always impressive Yoko Shimomura whom as you can tell from the oening I linked, composed a great score with a very world music vibe to it. The game also has co-op, though not as cool as SoM2s, though the game unlocks new difficulty modes once its been beaten.


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Overall, if you see this game for cheap, I highly recommend checking it out as its really one of many lost gems from one of the most creative eras is Square's history and frankly its considered by many fans to be the last good entry in the series, though it still has a bit of a black sheep stigma to it.

Pumpkin
07-12-2017, 07:01 AM
Oh I love that game! So creative

Some of the maps though...

*shivers*

Del Murder
07-12-2017, 04:46 PM
I love the mix of old school and new school in here. I really like half the games you've already mentioned and have been meaning to play SO2 and LoM (they are both loaded on my PSP somewhere).

Wolf Kanno
07-12-2017, 08:17 PM
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Now to gush about my love affair with Rhythm Games. Amplitude is the sequel to another PS2 game called Frequency (get the title joke yet?) but I love Amplitude a little more because it has the way better song selection. I could bore you with explaining how the game works but I feel it will be easier if I simply show it to you.


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So yeah, each track represents a different instrument/vocal piece and the point of the game is to keep the song going until its complete. Its a super fun game which reintroduced me to some great music from artists I like such as Garbage and David Bowie, as well as introducing me to bands like Quarashi and Freezepop.


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If the gameplay looks a bit familiar to any of you, its because this game was done by Harmonix and serves as the predecessor for the companies bigger gaming hits like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. They made a new version of the game on PS4 which I just discovered from doing an image search so I know what game is going to be in my future.


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While the controls a re a bit murder on your hands, I recommend the games for its fun gameplay and pretty great music selection.

Karifean
07-12-2017, 09:48 PM
Nothing I've played yet, besides Pacman of course.

Del Murder
07-12-2017, 10:54 PM
Not even Galaga?

fat_moogle
07-12-2017, 11:02 PM
Wolf, have you played Thumper on PS4 yet? I haven't got around to it myself yet, but it's something that I've been wanting to try for a while. If you like Amplitude then I'm sure you'll like it (I haven't played Amplitude either but Thumper looks like it's taken inspiration from it with it's own twist).

Wolf Kanno
07-13-2017, 04:52 AM
Wolf, have you played Thumper on PS4 yet? I haven't got around to it myself yet, but it's something that I've been wanting to try for a while. If you like Amplitude then I'm sure you'll like it (I haven't played Amplitude either but Thumper looks like it's taken inspiration from it with it's own twist).

No I haven't tried it or even heard of it, but color me intrigued. I actually pulled out Amplitude this afternoon and did a few rounds for nostalgia's sake. I'll definitely check it out the next time I boot up the PS4.

@Karifean - I don't know how much you've ventured into RPGs outside of the FF franchise and Visual Novels, but I know that I have roughly seven to eight game on this list I know for certain you've played and I believe liked.

I'll say right now that there are only about seven Final Fantasy titles on this list, and two of them are spin-offs. So have fun guessing which ones they are though it shouldn't be terribly hard. ;)

Pumpkin
07-13-2017, 05:00 AM
I wonder how many games on your list I've played :3

Wolf Kanno
07-13-2017, 06:56 AM
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Man, Fynn's blood is going to be boiling. :)


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So yes, let's discuss one of the high profile titles from Operation Rainfall, Mistwalker's The Last Story. This was a very interesting game, hell I can say that about all three titles from that whole Nintendo debacle, but let's just say it was probably one of the most refreshing and forward thinking JRPGs I've played in a long time. Even after all these years since playing it, I can't help but think back to some of the stuff it was trying to do and be amazed.


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So you play as Zael, a hopelessly optimistic and genuinely naive mercenary (yeah doesn't make sense to me either) who travels with his childhood friend and their fellow mercenaries to Lazulis Island, which is a major political power player for the empire on the main land, in order to gain work on the front lines of the war between humanity and the Gurack and hopefully become full fledged knights. While undergoing a mission to investigate some ancient ruins belonging to the royal family, Zael stumbles... well we all know where this is going, Zael stumbles on some ancient power and suddenly becomes a major focus of the royal court. There is also a princess who wants to escape her royal duties and not everything is as it seems...


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Okay I'm not going to sugar coat the fact that The Last Story's plot is by the book. in terms of JRPG Cliches and tropes. It does try to add its own twists as Zael kind of has this really bad habit of trusting the wrong people and Calista breaks standard heroine traditions by learning the hard way that acting out on her own interests despite her social obligations is a very bad idea. So I appreciate the fact the game kind of deconstructs a few of the usual tired cliches within the genre, but it never goes as far as better games that pull this off like Disgaea or NieR. With that said, the supporting cast is amazing and one of the best parts of the plot. The first time you're wandering through a cave and listening to the party banter, you quickly learn how everyone feels about everyone else and get a real sense of the team dynamics. I honestly felt this was a more endearing way of getting the player to like the cast than simply giving each party member a moment to relay their tragic backstory. Hell, for a bunch of mercenaries, no one really has a tragic backstory except Zael and his best friend Dagran. The politics of the world feel more like Suikoden than typical FF fare which was also nice, but none of this can quite save how absolutely cringe worthy Zael and Calista are. The scene where they meet is so cringe inducing it makes the Laughing scene from FFX look like Oscar bait for best performance of an on screen couple.


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"So if the plot is hit and miss, why the hell is this here?" you may be asking. It's largely due to the game design to be honest. The Last Story is an Action RPG with elements of a third person shooter and stealth, but what sets it apart is the game core mechanics which deals with Zael's power to basically control enemy aggro. He literally casts a spell that makes everything target him, but it offers other abilities like a wind slash that can be combined with elemental circles to cause massive AoE spells with various affects on the environment. Battles typically deal with balancing enemy aggro but also keeping Zael alive. What's actually really cool the battle system is its total immersion with the environment that sets this apart from other Action-RPGs. Zael not only has the power to take cover and ambush enemies for bonus damage, but you can order your allies to use their magic spells to damage the environment like a tower holding archers and set up traps (combined with Zael's ability to lead all the enemies to it) for the massive mobs that come after you. Its a sight to behold when you really get the flow of battle going, though the game is challenging enough to where you can easily lose momentum and find yourself getting overwhelmed.


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The boss battles are also not typical of the Action RPG genre, but feel right at home with Zelda or even MGS. Most of the bosses are puzzle bosses as opposed to straight up fights and so you have to find the right strategy to beat them such as having Zael transform an ice magic circle into a slippery floor so the boss will lose their footing during their powerful charge move and stun themselves long enough for the party to get some hits in, or a duel with a powerful knight that can own your ass so you have to basically use stealth to sneak around the garden your having the duel in and ambush them before retreating and finding a new opening. Its pretty refreshing but sadly falls into the same issues Zelda bosses have where once you figure out the strategy to beating them, the battle is essentially won.


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The Last Story is not exactly a big game, more than half of it takes place on Lazulis Island. There is only one city but its pretty big, about twice the size of Rabanaste from XII and at least three times more dense in content. What's kind of neat about the game is that barring a few quests, most of the sidequest content is not blatantly obvious and you'll actually need to explore and talk to everyone to uncover all the things you can do in the city. I was near the end of the game before I discovered that there was a minigame a la Breath of Fire 1 at the market place where I can set up my own stall and make money off my unused items.


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Hell two of the most notable sidequests are chapter long story missions involving an archeologist, except the quests themselves fall so seamlessly within the story that you won't even realize they were optional until you finish them. Several of the scenario designs for the chapter are also well constructed and feel like something out of the SNES/PS1 era FFs, especially the ghost house. I also appreciate the fact the game never takes itself too seriously during the downtime parts and there is even a challenge to see how many times you can have Zael slam his head into a low hanging door sign.


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The game also has a cool weapon upgrade system where you evolve the weapons you gain into stronger weapons before they transform into new weapons. If that sounds familiar, its because its something FFXIII tried to do but The Last Story makes it a much less tedious experience and the majority of the upgrades are actually useful. The real gem of the customization is that while your limited to only a handful of armor sets, you're given the ability to customize their looks in a variety of ways like removing bulkier parts and changing the color of the outfits as I see fit, which was a huge bonus for me coming off Xenoblade and sometimes having to deal with the ugliest outfits for my party.


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With all this said though, I will admit the game always has a knack for falling short with its ambitions. The gameplay offers a very deep experience but sadly, it just doesn't seem to utilize it to its full potential. The level design and bosses are clever but the game has an incredible bad habit of recycling areas and bosses which makes you realize the limitations the Wii placed on this game. Like anything I've played by Mistwalker, the game is brimming with cool concepts and ideas but is hampered by always being on a too small of a canvas piece to make the most of it. Its why I want this game to get a sequel on a better console because I feel a little more development and some better writers could turn this into a surefire franchise if given the chance but alas its probably not going to happen. If you have the chance to play this game I recommend it. Its not as fully developed as it should be, but I love its raw potential in design.

Did I mention Nobuo Uematsu does the soundtrack?


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Pumpkin
07-13-2017, 07:16 AM
I played a few minutes of it but didn't get far because I haaaaateee stealth stuff in games. I do eventually want to try it again though!

Bubba
07-13-2017, 07:46 AM
Amazing to see Contra III pop up on your list :)

I had the UK version called Super Probotector which replaced the men with army robots. Despite this upgrade they still died when hit by just a single bullet :|

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Wolf Kanno
07-13-2017, 09:06 AM
Oh man, that's neat, I didn't realize they modified it when they brought it to Europe, I'm used to us getting the weirdly translated stuff.

Del Murder
07-13-2017, 04:30 PM
Well I am surprised Last Story cracked your top 100. It was a nice little game, but ultimately the flatness of the two main characters turned me off. They are about as flat as any I can remember. I actually rather liked the rest of the cast and the battles though.

Wolf Kanno
07-13-2017, 05:16 PM
Well I am surprised Last Story cracked your top 100. It was a nice little game, but ultimately the flatness of the two main characters turned me off. They are about as flat as any I can remember. I actually rather liked the rest of the cast and the battles though.

As I said, its the game design that keeps me thinking about it. Even though its been ages since I've played, it left quite an impression. It's a damn shame Zael and Calista make the story quite unbearable, but I feel the game design outweighs the cons. Its the same reason why FFII and VIII are still well liked by me, because despite their flaws, I love the potential they had for the medium.

Wolf Kanno
07-14-2017, 02:30 AM
Okay, so I kind of made a mistake with my list that I just noticed, and I somehow ended up placing Amplitude on here twice, which while I like the game, its not good enough to deserve to be here twice. I'm not going to fix the list, partly because I'm too lazy and partly because I've mentioned before that the rankings are kind of tentative and based on my mood. On the brightside, this helped me correct a terrible wrong, because on reflection I did forget a game I really enjoyed that I finished for the first time last year. I'll have it written up a bit later this evening and thank you for your patience. ^^;

Wolf Kanno
07-14-2017, 08:21 AM
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How the hell did I forget this gem? Especially since it really is one of the creepiest entries in the series.


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So last year, I was catching up on all of my Zelda games I had been collecting and finally got around to playing this beloved black sheep of the franchise. It was a very intriguing experience to me as are many of the Non-Ganon Zelda titles. So for a quick recap for those who never played, Majora's Mask is a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time. Link is on a journey to find Navi for reasons I and most Zelda fans can't quite fathom. He stumbles a mischievous Skull Kid wearing an ominous mask and his two fairy buddies who love to play tricks and rob people. Things quickly go south for Link and he loses both Epona and gets turned into a Deku Shrub. He follows the Masked Kid to a parallel world called Termina which is guarded by four great giants of legend. Hoping to get his stuff back, Link ends up irritating the Masked Kid who reveals the Mask has demonic powers that allow him to control the moon in Termina and has it on a three day course to crush it flat. Thus begins Link's three day journey to save Termina.


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This game breaks a lot of conventions and bears a striking resemblance to Link's Awakening in terms of playing with the series formula. The two biggest changes is the obviously the Three Day time limit which sets you off on a marathon to get things done quickly before you have to use the Song of Time and reset the cycle. What makes this mechanic so intriguing is that Termina is a living town whose inhabitants stick to a pretty strict schedule. I would honestly say the best part of the game is playing Groundhog's Day with the townsfolk and exploring all of their stories. From the carnival performers trying to prepare for a show they don't realize is cancelled, to the brat pack neighborhood kids who spend their free time helping the local residents, and the love story between a man cursed to be a child and his bride-to-be who helps run the inn. It's difficult not to get attached to the game's large and colorful cast of supporting characters and it can be a fun challenge to figure out how to complete each of their story arcs.


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The second major mechanics are the Masks, which give Link various abilities or privileges. Many of them are one-note wonders needed to complete a quest with one of the towns folks but the three key masks allow Link to transform into one of the various races of the new Zelda mythos such as a Goron, Deku, and Zora. What most people don't mention is that all three of these masks are essentially haunted by the spirit of some character who died tragically before the story begins and usually plays a large role in the villages of their respective race. These forms give Link some cool abilities and expand his repertoire of abilities in addition to the usual Zelda tools. Barring the various masks and the swords, most of Link's tools are pulled straight from Ocarina of Time. Overall, the Mask concept was really neat and I'm surprised it never resurfaced in some new fashion in later titles.


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The dungeons feel a bit rougher around the edges than OoT but that's probably due to them having a much heavier focus on puzzle solving, and having a few more things to do in them like collect fairies. In fact MM probably has more mini-games than any other entry and like any game overloaded with them, the quality varies from game to game. The bosses are a mixed bag as well with three of the four main dungeon bosses being surprisingly straightforward and easy to deal with and one boss and a few of the side bosses being more trouble than they are worth due to either dealing with the N64's funky control scheme or the A.I. just being an outright ass to you. The biggest stress factor for all of this is the three day timer, especially if you don't figure out or look up the Inverted Song of Time which effectively doubles how much in-game time you have to complete things. The dungeons and areas are surprisingly simple once you get a grasp of what needs to be done, but their designed in a way to eat up valuable time, so its not uncommon to take two cycles to complete a dungeon with the first run collecting all the items and the second run taking down the boss. This is pretty stressful in the beginning but eventually upgrades to annoyance as you get further in and simply screwing up a scenario like the stealth mission into the Pirates Den chewing up all of your time and forcing you to have to restart the whole scenario all over again.


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I spent a lot of my time playing this game debating on whether I loved or hated the time loop mechanic. On the one hand, I love what it does for the narrative and exploring the world and its inhabitants; and on the other hand, it made dungeon crawling more stressful and tedious than it really needed to be. There are also a few townspeople missions that you'll likely start and soon learn you can't actually finish them until you find the right item. Majora's Mask hits pretty hard and heavy with the chain of deals and over-reliance on plot coupons to advance the story and keep you from sequence breaking. Still, I feel the good outweighs the bad and I've never really played a game quite like Majora's Mask.


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What really caught me off guard, though several friend who had played it before me always mentioned was just how "off" the game feels. There is a general creepiness to the game that is difficult to describe and partly stems from a subtle but prevalent theme of death that permeates a lot of the stories within the game as well as the creepy models the N64 makes. The Happy Mask Salesman is a wonderful example because outside of a few bobbing motions here and there, he has a tendency to just kind of teleport into position like he's moving in a strobe light half his animations are missing to give it a fluid movement. I don;'t know if it was intentional or something due to memory limits but it works for the game and there's a bunch of other things that make Termina feel weird and unsettling despite the goofy inhabitants. After playing through it, I understand why this game is the subject of so many weird rumors and how the whole BenDrowned creepypasta came about.


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Overall, this is a pretty weird ride but one I recommend that most people should check out, even if you're not a fan of Zelda titles.

fat_moogle
07-14-2017, 10:41 AM
Confession: The only Zelda game I've ever played is Twilight Princess on the Wii, but I didn't really get in to it. Only played for a couple hours maybe at most? I've been toying with the idea of getting a New Nintendo 2DS at some point in the future so that I can give these titles a go but I'm afraid that I'll buy it and hardly touch it.

Pumpkin
07-14-2017, 05:31 PM
MM is second best game ever <3

I agree that the NPCs are the best part

Also did you make sure to use the song to slow time?

Wolf Kanno
07-14-2017, 05:41 PM
Confession: The only Zelda game I've ever played is Twilight Princess on the Wii, but I didn't really get in to it. Only played for a couple hours maybe at most? I've been toying with the idea of getting a New Nintendo 2DS at some point in the future so that I can give these titles a go but I'm afraid that I'll buy it and hardly touch it.

To be fair, Twilight Princess is kind of well known for being a slow burn at the beginning and finally getting you into the thick of things. Majora's Mask is guilty of this as well but perhaps it was something else that made you disinterested.


MM is second best game ever <3

I agree that the NPCs are the best part

Also did you make sure to use the song to slow time?

Oh I did, it just took me until I was almost halfway through the game before I figured it out.

Wolf Kanno
07-14-2017, 06:44 PM
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Let me start off by saying that between the remake and the original, I liked the original a lot better. In a twitchy platformer type game like Mega Man and Castlevania, sometimes having smooth full 3D movements is more of a curse than a blessing despite being easier on the eye. With that said, let's move on.


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Most casual fans will probably notice that this game stars Richter Belmont, a character anyone who has played Symphony of the Night will know well since he's featured prominently within the story. The plot centers around on a doomsday cult controlled by High Priest Shaft (not that one) who is sacrificing maidens to resurrect Dracula and return his strength. This means they have to scour the local villages to find these girls and just so happen to kidnap a girl who is shacking up with Richter Belmont, considered to be one of the strongest members of the family within the series. Richter returns home to find his village under siege and clears out the vermin before heading to Dracual's infamous castle. Within the castle, you'll rescue various women that were kidnapped by Dracula's minions, including Maria, a young girl descended from witches with the power to summon powerful (and adorable) familiars to aid her in the battle. The ending to this game is technically the beginning of Symphony of the Night. I say technically because the original dialogue sequence was done a little differently and the hammy dialogue was just a little bit less hammy.


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Rondo of Blood was the last traditional Castlevania title before Symphony of the Night and the questionable N64 3D titles ended up taking over what people expected from the franchise. It's also considered to be the best of the traditional Castlevania titles, and to my surprise, the game actually kind of lives up to the hype for once. This game truly served as a bridge between the old school titles and the Metroidvania style games that come after as this game introduced a heavier emphasis on exploration than previous titles except maybe Simon's Quest. Basically, in addition to several important story NPCs you need to find in the game that unlocks a second character to play as and also determines which of the game multiple endings you get; you can also find alternate boss battles in each stage that ultimately determines which level you will go to. You need to complete eight different stages to meet Dracula and beat him, but there are actually sixteen stages in total with different bosses at the end of each of them and you'll need to complete a certain set to get the game's true ending.


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The addition of Maria is also interesting, while Castlevania has had games featuring more than one player to choose from before, Maria kind of feels like Konami's attempt at an easy mode since she is overpowered as hell due to having way better mobility than poor Richter like double jump, but also her familiars are straight up overpowered and will make short work of the most of the games challenging bosses. Playing as her has its own story mode, but it's far more lighthearted and feels more like a gag plot than Richter's. People familiar with how badass Richter was in SotN will be a bit disappointed to find that he has more in common with Simon and Trevor than his 32-bit version. In fact the only new feature Richter has in his repertoire is the Item Crash ability which thankfully was his best ability in SotN.


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The level design of the game is quite challenging and in fact, this is probably not a game I would recommend to anyone who get frustrated easily. I'm actually surprised my PSP survived my time with the game. The stages are sadistic, but well balanced surprisingly enough barring one stage that was kind of a "bonus" stage. The Bosses are all memorable and I've got give the game credit with breaking from tradition (though this happens more than people think) and Death isn't the boss of the Clocktower, but is instead battled on a ghost ship. The challenge of the game can be frustrating but incredibly rewarding when victory is achieved, and I always appreciate that in my games. The soundtrack is also pretty grooving as well. The anime cutscenes were cute, but I wasn't a fan of Dracula's anime redesign and preferred the remakes version instead.


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The joy of playing Dracula X Chronicles is that you can play the remake but also unlock the original Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night, so check it out if you never bothered picking up SotN.


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Edge7
07-14-2017, 07:35 PM
Mad props for doing this undertaking WK. I can barely decide what my top 5 games are, let alone 100.

Wolf Kanno
07-15-2017, 08:22 PM
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We've now reached the first of several Yasumi Matsuno games on this list, and this one is actually his first major title for Quest that involves all the staff we know and love who us FF fans know as the Tactics Staff. With all that said, this is a pretty weird game if you go in with no preconception of what it is.


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During the Age of Zeteginia, the Kingdom of Zenobia stood in splendor against the rest of the world, until King Gran was assassinated by the Sage Rashidi, who has conspired with Empress Endora to take over the lands. Now in exile, the Knights of Zenobia have gathered around a promising lord (that's you) who will either liberate the kingdom from the imperial scum of simply conquer the land to become it's new despot.


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Suffice to say the premise isn't terribly original, but Matsuno, in his typical way, makes it very obvious that this isn't your cookie cutter rebels vs. empire shenanigans. As you begin to liberate the lands from the Empress, you'll quickly discover that the change in management has had some mixed results for the inhabitants of Zenobia, and that as idealistic as people talk about King Gran and his kingdom, it wasn't exactly as fairy tale nice for everyone involved.


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This all ties into a central mechanic in the game, which is your reputation and alignment. Your actions in the game will change how the people view you, which will ultimately change what classes you can unlock and which of the game endings you're going to actually get. Will they see you as the Liberation Army, freeing them from the tyranny of the empire, or are you simply the nefarious Rebel Army that is cutting a swath of destruction across the land for your own benefit? This all plays out based on factors like the type of decisions you make when presented int battle. Do you spare the enemy general since their motives were actually pure? Do you hunt down retreating enemy units to squash their resistance? Does the RNG hate your guts and you keep drawing bad karma Tarot Cards when you liberate a city or temple? Its a very intriguing concept that is only hampered by the limitations of the 16-bit format and how green the development team was at the time. Still, its kind of fun to play something with so much ambition. I also give them props because they do subvert some expectations as well. There is a mad scientist character experimenting on the populace that you have the ability to spare when you defeat her. Unlike most games, sparing her is considered an evil act cause she's not a very nice person, well at least in this entry...


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The game is an RTS where you build units with between three to five recruits in each that help you fight off the enemy forces and until you can take the enemy stronghold held by the boss. While you personally direct the units across the map so they can liberate cities, find treasures, and battle enemy units trying to retake their lost territory; battles are completely automated and work like classic Fire Emblem in some ways. When you engage a unit, you're taken to a battle screen that plays in auto-battle. You have no direct control of the units, but their attacks are based completely on how you set up their formation. This obviously makes formations incredibly important as some units have unique abilities depending on if they are on the front lines or back row. Most of it is logical such as mages only cast spell in the back row and fight with their staffs on the front, while knights get and extra turn to attack on the front lines but one one in the back row. It gets a bit more complicated when you start unlocking Samurai who can do two attacks on the front line, but gain an ability that sacrifices their health to do a very powerful attack that can hit any enemy regardless of row.


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So battles ultimately come down to how well you built the team as opposed to on the spot turn based shenanigans like a traditional JRPG, and I couldn't help notice the similarities to FFXII's Gambit system which works on the same premise. With that said, it's not all just staring at auto-battles because you can bring up a menu to give you a few other option such as retreating and changing the party A.I. to take advantage of the flow of battle. For instance, every unit has a designated leader, and killing them in battle will force the unit to retreat back to their home base to have them revived so they can be redeployed. The unit can still be attacked while its retreating, but this will affect your reputation and change your alignment. On the other hand, failing to destroy the whole unit means they'll be back after licking their wounds,so battles quickly transform into conflicts of holding territory and battling attrition. If your own unit loses its leader, they retreat back to the home base and are removed from battle until you spend money to redeploy them or use a revival item on them before they reach home. That's unless its your character, if he dies, regardless how the battle is going, its game over.


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Classes are determine by an overly complex set of conditions involving levels, stats, alignment, reputation and whether you have certain transformation items. You start off mostly with Soldiers, Wizards, and Amazons as starting units, but each one evolves into unique classes that follow a specific class tree much like the FFTactics series and Tactics Ogre. Monsters and unique races like Mermaids and Hawkmen just add more depth and things to keep track of. Unfortunately, we've now reached some of my gripes with the game. Like many early SNES RPG style games, the U.I. could be a hell of a lot better. Moving units feels sluggish due to poor delay from moving the cursor on the map with the d-pad, and is still noticeable with an analog stick if you're playing this through Wii-ware and a classic controller. The game does a poor job with showing all the information concerning a units stats so unless your on a specific screen which involves a bit too much menu searching for a game that has you micromanage up to 50 individual characters. Also, if you were like me and simply picked this game up on virtual console or chose to emulate it, I hope you found a great internet guide to explain what items do what and the conditions needed for the various class changes cause nothing within the game is ever going to explain any of this to you and as you can rightfully tell from the previous four paragraphs, there is a trout ton of stuff to keep tabs on.


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Its still incredibly charming if very rough around the edges but the spite work in battles is excellent, Sakimoto, Iwata, and Musuo made a pretty killer soundtrack. The gameplay is a bit more hands off than I would care for but the preparation and management of all of it makes this a very cerebral endeavor, so I've never actually been bored playing it, despite the large scale wars usually taking forever to complete. It might not be the best RTS, or Matsuno's best work, but the game is still super addictive and surprisingly ahead of its time.


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Wolf Kanno
07-16-2017, 08:14 PM
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You know, despite the initial blowout from Chrono Trigger fans concerning this game, I honestly not only really liked Chrono Cross, but I feel this is how you should make a sequel to a super popular game/film/series. You set it in a different time and place, starring a new cast, and you let people think it has nothing to do with the original until it all comes together, and only then, do you discover you've been tricked into enjoying a sequel. Cross is written in such a way that if feels like its own thing, and there are some Cross fans who are adamant about that fact and try to distance this game from being a real sequel to the SNES darling.


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It's not hard to see how this is possible, Trigger involved a rag tag bunch of kids jumping across their planet's timeline to prevent a bad future in a high adventure setting. Cross deals with a young boy named Serge who almost died when he was a child, but has otherwise had a very uneventful life in his small fishing village of Arni. He then "crosses" (more like stumbles) dimensions and finds himself in an alternate timeline where the biggest change for Serge is that he's not alive in it, he actually died as a child. Trapped in this alternate world where no one knows him, Serge seeks a means to return home, and in the course of his journey, meets up with Kid, a thief who is out to get revenge on Lynx. At this point, the plot gets more and more complicated as major, and not so major, characters flood the story as Serge explores this alternate world. The game then has a really great twist that is as worthy as Crono's death from CT as a nice change up to the story. At which point, you're finally allowed to return home and discover just how radically different events unfolded in Serge's home world. Enemies in one world are friendly in this one and vice versa. this makes it super fun to talk to everyone to notice the subtle and not so subtle changes between worlds.


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The game does an excellent job of conveying the concept of two alternate timelines that are similar, but still radically different. It is here the major messages of the game come to play, and it becomes obvious that Kato's time working on FFVII and more importantly, Xenogears, had a dramatic impact on his writing. Despite the games fanciful characters and colorful world, CC's story is rather heavy and somber, with a few anvilicious moments of getting a moral across, and characters stopping to wax philosophy on the subject of the ethics of time travel and the impact it has on the histories changed. Not only is this in direct opposition to the more kid-friendly and whimsical Trigger, but some fans argue its a direct criticism to its predecessor. I can't say one way or the other what Kato was thinking when he wrote the story, he was one of the writer's for CT as well, but he did seem a bit annoyed with how certain aspects came about with that title. In many ways, CC feels like a game that not only tries to address an obvious time paradox left in the original, but really sit down and discuss the ramifications of Trigger's plot. Whether you feel this is a slap to the face of a light-hearted adventure tale or a bold direction for the story targeted to fans who were young enough to enjoy the original, but old enough now to need a more mature story, really comes down to one's own opinion. I personally appreciated it, and I don't even mind the fact the game kind of opens up a major can of worms of loose story threads as it has kept me invested in the idea of an actual sequel to this series.


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Though I am fine with the more controversial elements in the story and major tonal shift the game made from its predecessor, I do have my fair share of grievances and praises for the game. As a story, I mostly enjoy it, but I have always been a bit sad by how lacking the cast is. The game has over forty characters to collect, and maybe eight of them in total are relevant to the plot. Several characters could have remained as simple NPCs for how much they bring to the story after they join. The cast also kind of clashes with the game's tone. It sometimes weakened a really powerful moment like going to the Dead Sea, or finding the Masemune and learning its bloody history on the island, when some of your party members can be: a Luchador masked wrestler, a talking pink dog, a literal mushroom man, a turnip knight, a 50s retro space alien, or a talking skeleton that wanted to be a clown. The wacky fantasy/sci-fi kitchen sink approach to making characters often clash with not only the setting, but also the more somber and serious tone of the game. I get that many of them are here to add levity to a story that can sometimes get too serious for its own good, and I appreciate the fact the game has easily the most diverse cast of any Square title; but I really feel the cast could have been edited down and more could have gone towards building up the actual important cast members.


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The battle system is also something I've never cared for. It looks complicated on paper, but really isn't in practice. Like many of Square's RPGs at this time, magic seems to be here for obligation, but ultimately falls second fiddle to good old melee. The customization mechanics are like a weird streamlined materia system, and the battle mechanics feel like an overbalanced version of Xenogears combat system, except it still greatly favors melee abilities over magic. Due to the large cast, the playable characters are largely standardized like Suikoden's cast are, with characters being divided into three to five types (Heavy, Medium, Light, Mage, Unique), and mostly being interchangeable among their types outside of element affinity and the rare useful tech ability. This kind of hurts the colorful cast a bit more because it reduces party builds to novelty factors, and its really easy to build a party to your liking and never touch anyone else. There is the element system which does help differentiate party members, but it's only really useful in an initial playthrough and a few select battles towards the end that are surprisingly tough.


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The game has dual and triple techs but, it almost feels like they are in here as obligation rather than being a central mechanic like they were in CT. This is an absolute shame, because having this as more of a central mechanic would have made the large cast more alluring from a gameplay standpoint, but as it stands, most people don't bother outside of Serge and Glenn's X-Slash dual tech. The element field gauge is an intriguing idea and about the only thing that keeps magic relevant, but since you're usually outnumbered, it makes it difficult for your own party to use it for your own benefit, and often times, you only deal with it to make sure the enemy doesn't gain any additional advantages. Especially grueling as some bosses in this game can be brutal, and don't need the extra bonuses. There are summons in the game as well, but most of them are a pain in the ass to obtain, and require the element field to be their full color before they can be used. So even the extra damage they offer, they don't quite balance out with the amount of effort needed to make it happen.


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So the battle system is kind of a mess for my taste, being overly complicated in description, but largely easy to ignore; but where Cross shines as a game is the amount of choices you can make that have an impact on the story. In the beginning of the game, you have to sneak into Viper Manor and need to enlist the aid of someone to help get this done. You have three choices: Guile, a powerful magician/thief who wants to sneak in to fulfill a bet; Pierre, a goofy disgraced noble who swears he's good friends with Lord Viper when it's obvious he's not; and Nikki, a glam rock musician who wants to learn about the connection between his father and the lord. What makes this a bit different from a lot of other games of its time is that not only do you alter the plot a bit depending on who you go with, but all three of them make you take a different route into the manor instead of just having everyone use the same method. So I appreciate the fact the developers took the extra time to make this sequence very unique. Another factor that proves my point, is that despite Kid being a central figure in the plot, it's actually possible to never have her in your party for the first half of the game. You can keep rejecting her offers to join forces, and this will actually affect who will join you in the game. In fact one choice leads you down two radically different story paths that only later converge back together into the main story. This impact of choice was something I really appreciated in Trigger and CC certainly took it to the next level. You have to play the game no less than three times in order to see every scenario.


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Its also safe to say that Cross is one of the most gorgeous games Square has ever made. I really mean that. Hunting down all the images for this game, I was bit taken back by how well they have held up over the years, and how striking they still are compared to Square-Enix's more recent titles. The vibrant colors and wonderful art direction make this game stand out and to have it topped off with Mitsuda's best musical score just adds to the gorgeous atmosphere the game creates for the player. While it's not my favorite OST by him, and I do feel the work is a bit too ambient for my taste, I can't deny it is some gorgeous work. I'm actually listening to it right now as I type this.


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Overall Chrono Cross is an odd duck for me. From a story standpoint, I really enjoy it, and I feel it was a bold direction for a game that had some pretty unreasonable expectations to fulfill. The greater emphasis on player agency in the story, which helps tie back into the games central plot element of different timelines and how choices make them, was neatly done. Yet, the ho-hum battle system, poorly executed ideas, and the large, gimmicky cast knock it down for me. I will say that, as I began writing this piece, one of my biggest fears about this list has kind of come true, and that's the fact that really delving back into some of these games would change where I feel I should have placed them. On further retrospection, I really feel I would rank this game a bit higher, but perhaps that will change when I move onto the next piece.


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Wolf Kanno
07-17-2017, 09:13 PM
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You know, even if you game a lot, there are some games that just stick with you long after you've finished playing. Wild Arms 2ND Ignition, or simply Wild Arms 2 was such a game for me. Released during a major deluge of RPG goodness on the PS1 between 98-2000, this game was a sequel to the original Wild Arms, which was considered to be one of the best RPGs on the PlayStation before FFVII came and dethroned it. Still, due to being released around the major RPG fad of the late 90s, it has been a bit disheartening for me to see and hear how few people actually heard about this game, let alone play.


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WA2 takes place on Filgaia, a planet that seems to be cursed to faced total annihilation every couple of centuries since the creative have revealed all the games do in fact take place on the same world despite all of them being barely connected. In the past, Filgaia was ravaged by a terrible demon known as Lord Blazer who had scorched the world o badly that even a millennium later, the planet is barely recovering from the devastation, he was defeated by a woman known as the Sword Magess, whose desire to save the world was so strong that Lucied, the Guardian of Desire itself, sided with her in the final conflict. She disappeared in the conflict, but a sanctuary was built in her honor and enshrined her holy sword, the Guardian Blade Argetlahm.


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In Wild Arms tradition, we are introduced to the game three main protagonists: Ashley, a hot-blooded young man who idolizes the Sword Magess and wants to be a hero just she was; Lilka, a klutzy spellcaster who lives in the shadow of her superior sister; and Brad, an ex-revolutionary, now criminal, who was once hailed as the hero of his countries rebellion. Each game begins with a prologue chapter for each character to set you up on their character arcs and to give you a taste of how they play. Ashley is tasked with some other men to stop a hostage situation in a local mine. Ashley's desire to prove himself kind of makes the whole ordeal get deadlier than it should have, but Ashley is able to save the hostages in the end. He's hailed as a hero, but ends up being put under suspension from the local militia due to his recklessness. Here we meet Ashley's girlfriend who runs the local inn and lets him live there. She wants Ashley to settle down but he still wishes to prove himself and become the next Sword Maiden. Lilka's story is actually two. Her main plot involves her accidentally screwing up a spell and landing in a small village that is being ravaged by monsters who keep eating their crops. The elders were thinking of hiring someone when she literally teleports into their meeting. While she helps the villagers tackle the monster problem, Lilka tries to encourage herself by remembering the time she was trapped in the Millennium Puzzle (not that one, though surprisingly similar) and how her sister helped her make it through the puzzle to return to the real world. Brad's plot takes place several years before the main story and involves the night he tried to run from the authorities after his rebellion. In the end, he is caught and imprisoned.


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When the story begins proper, Ashley is summoned to the Sword Magess cathedral because he was chosen along with his unit to work for a certain organization. Things become trippy when a weird noise is heard and everyone, including Ashley, are transformed into demons. Fighting his way through the cathedral, before his sanity is gone, Ashley is drawn to the Sword Maidens Holy Sword, and once he takes it, the demons and are banished and Ashley regains his human form, but the sword is now gone. After a few days recouping, Ashley is contacted by the man who summoned him originally, Irving Valeria. He is an eccentric and serious man who is descended from the Sword Maiden herself. Crippled at birth, he decided to use his family's fortune and prestige to build an organization called Wild Arms to deal with global threats due to the rise in monsters and other terrorist threats. It's here Lilka comes in as she was summoned by Irving as well, which was where she was trying to go in her own chapter. The two make up two-thirds of the strike unit for the organization and are sent on their first mission to rescue their third member: Brad.


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From here the plot takes several twists and turns. The team investigate small disturbances across the globe and soon encounter Odessa, a major terrorist organization with ambitions to conquer the world. The rest of the first disc centers around the battle between Wild Arms and Odessa, which involves the party having to unite the various nations of the world to stop them. While this all sounds like your standard fluff, the game completely subverts your expectations in the second half with some serious plot twists that jump into Metal Gear and Lovecraft territory. For people who played the first Wild Arms, this is kind of par the course as that game also started off with a fairly by the book JRPG plot before the second half really changed things around.


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One of the reasons why this game is on this list is due to the central theme: What is a hero? Why do we need heroes? And can change only be made through the sacrifices of heroes? Each of the games six playable characters struggle with the theme. Ashley wants to be a hero, but doesn't really understand what it really entails; Lilka has to deal with living in the shadow of her talented sister who sacrificed her own life to save Lilka from the Millennium Puzzle; Brad deals with the struggle of what does a hero do when their wars are over; Kanon, another descendant of the the Sword Magess, deals with living up to that legacy and whether its something she really wants to do; Tim, the shaman of the Guardians deals with being fated to cast away his life to "save the world" as a sacrifice to the Guardians; and Marivel, the last of the Crimson Nobles (vampires), who is well aware of Filgaia's centuries of selfish sacrifices of heroes to save it from one disaster after another. Even the NPCs often tackle the theme in surprising ways. I love the fact the game deals with the theme in a rather philosophical manner as opposed to the more kid friendly "guts and true companions" spiel you get from anime.


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The gameplay is no slouch either and mostly builds on the cool ideas from the first game. Each character fulfills a certain "role" in the game and have their own unique play styles. Ashley and Brad utilize guns, which can be taken into shops and upgraded for better accuracy, firepower, and ammo capacity. Lilka uses elemental crests to create spells and unlike most RPGs, you're free to pick and choose from the avilable list meaning you can start her off with Revive and powerful offensive spells if you want. Tim learns new spells based on the Guardians you acquire and he uses (think VI's esper system) Kanon uses her special attacks during her Force ability to randomly learn her higher abilities, and Marivel is a goddamn Blue Mage in everything but name. This makes party builds really fun and interesting... or I would say that if the game had some proper balance. Ashley acquires an early game breaker Force ability due to the story that not only makes him the most overpowered character, but many of the game's bosses are designed with the idea that you will be abusing it. Lilka gets royally screwed over by having her ability ability to group target her magic be placed with the situational force skills, and to make matters worse, Tim doesn't have this issue with his magic and he is required to be in your party to even use summons; so if you want to take advantage of the parties second force skill, Tim has to be in the playable party to do so. So ultimately, you kind of wind up using Ashley, Tim, and most likely Brad or Kanon for most of the game once their available and the rest kind of just become bench-warmers.


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With that complaint out of the way, I still appreciate the rest of the cast feeling distinct and you will utilize everyone in the dungeons regardless due to the games Tool system. Each party member gets a special set of tools unique to them that can be used to solve the puzzles in all of the dungeons. For instance, Ashley gets throwing knives that can be used to hit far away switches or occasionally cut an item. Lilka gets elemental rods to deal with ice and fire puzzles, and Brad gets bombs to deal with cracked walls. There is an almost Zelda/Lufia vibe to the dungeons with most of them requiring some brainpower to get through. The puzzles range from being fairly simple to "oh my goodness, what are you even asking me to do?" but in a genre that likes to relegate everything to forty hours of just talking and battling, I absolutely appreciate the fact the game goes to great lengths to make the dungeons much more versatile in their challenge. The game also introduced a mechanic where you're pre-warned about an enemy encounter. If the enmy is higher level than you, the exclamation point appears red and you have to fight, but if its green due to be higher leveled, you can hit a button and ignore the fight altogether. This mechanic is especially useful during the segments where you have to backtrack through earlier areas.

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WA2 is also just filled to the brim with secrets and cool optional dungeons and bosses, just like its predecessor. In fact Marivel is an optional character and her tools are required to complete all of the games optional dungeons. The optional bosses stem more from the FFV approach as opposed to later games and thus you need to learn how to deal with them with the meager resources you have as opposed to having special skills and damage breaking gear to stand on even ground and bork the rest of the game difficulty. Hell, many of these bosses are actually designed around punishing players who try to abuse Ashley's game breaking power. Some of them are also interesting conclusions to minor story arcs within the game as well, so they're not all just some randomly powerful monster that simply hangs out in a secluded place.


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Also, while the translation is considered to be the worse in the series, they did get one thing right: The game has opening and ending themes that play whenever you start up your game file or choose to end it at a save point, giving the game a TV feel as your playtime is framed around these cool opening and ending themes that change when you get to the second disc. Well the music originally had lyrics to all of them and I guess the translation team and Sony decided to not bother hiring new singers to re-record the songs, but they already chopped the singing segments from the pieces. They did add some awesome horn sections to the opening themes to compensate for the lack of vocals and after listening to both, I feel the Western versions are superior and help emphasize the spaghetti western element that seperates this series from its peers.


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If you want to play a game that still heralds to the fun adventuring of 90s JRPGs that also tackles a dificult theme in a mature way, then I highly recommend this gem.

fat_moogle
07-17-2017, 09:57 PM
If Chrono Cross was available on PSN in the UK I would have bought it by now because everyone seems to love it, but it's not. Never played it. Or Trigger. Haven't played Wild Arms either - how's 3? Have you played it? The PS2 classic is a fiver on PS4 for a couple more days.

Wolf Kanno
07-17-2017, 10:22 PM
If Chrono Cross was available on PSN in the UK I would have bought it by now because everyone seems to love it, but it's not. Never played it. Or Trigger. Haven't played Wild Arms either - how's 3? Have you played it? The PS2 classic is a fiver on PS4 for a couple more days.

Its not as good as WA1 and 2, but it has its charm. Course, if you've never played the originals, you won't notice the issues I had with it which was how they streamlined a lot of elements I liked about the earlier entries. The plot is a bit more out there than WA2, which is saying something, but I never had any issues with it. It still has some cool elements to it.

It's customization system is like an odd combination of VI's esper system, VII's materia System, and VIII's junction system. Guardians are physical manifestations of Filgaia that represent nature and are powered by human belief. You equip them to gain abilities associated with them. So if you want your character to use fire magic, you equip the fire themed Guardian. You level them up to gain additional skills but your character can only equip a certain amount of the guardians, and you also have to spread their skills evenly across the party since you use all four in battle. They also grant stat bonuses as long as they are equipped. The main issue I have with the mechanic is that the Light Guardian, who is acquired criminally early in the game, grants an ability that works like Locke's Valiant Knife from VI. This kind of trivializes a lot of the game's bosses.

The game also has a lot of references to the original WA1 and a minor one to WA2, to the point it feels almost like a distant sequel to the first game as several important people from that game pop back up, though different enough to make you question if they're really the same person. Again, you won't notice since you've never played the early games but its a nice bonus you kind of miss out on.

I've heard WA4 has one of the best battle systems in the series, but I have yet to get around to it as it's in my backlog. ^^;

fat_moogle
07-17-2017, 10:53 PM
Thanks for the reply! Maybe I'll give the first Wild Arms a go instead. It's Ł1 cheaper (tight) and because it's a PS One game I'll be able to play it on my Vita in bed and I'll get to see how it all started. If I enjoy it then I might get around to the third in the future if it's ever on sale again.

Del Murder
07-17-2017, 11:49 PM
I was too spoiled by the 'Metroidvania' Castlevania games to get into Dracula X later on, though it is well put together.

CC is awesome, especially the music. I actually bought Ogre Battle looking for the next great RPG after Final Fantasy III (as it was called back then). The game put me to sleep after ten minutes.

Never played the Wild Arms games though I have the first one on my PSP. Should I start with that or should I jump into number 2 if it is better?

Wolf Kanno
07-18-2017, 12:25 AM
Thanks for the reply! Maybe I'll give the first Wild Arms a go instead. It's Ł1 cheaper (tight) and because it's a PS One game I'll be able to play it on my Vita in bed and I'll get to see how it all started. If I enjoy it then I might get around to the third in the future if it's ever on sale again.

The third entry isn't bad, I just didn't care for it as much as the first two, but I'm honestly overdue for a replay.


I was too spoiled by the 'Metroidvania' Castlevania games to get into Dracula X later on, though it is well put together. I prefer the Metroidvania titles but I love the franchise overall except for maybe the 3D entries.


CC is awesome, especially the music. I actually bought Ogre Battle looking for the next great RPG after Final Fantasy III (as it was called back then). The game put me to sleep after ten minutes. It is definitely an acquired taste, but I like the novelty of the mechanics and layout of the game. After reading up on the franchise, I may have to add Ogre Battle 64 to my list of games in the future cause it seems to be considered a very well done sequel and proof the franchise was strong without Matsuno's influence.


Never played the Wild Arms games though I have the first one on my PSP. Should I start with that or should I jump into number 2 if it is better? Minor spoiler for my list, but I actually like WA1 better than WA2, though they are both fantastic games. The first game feels initially, a bit cliche heavy compared to the sequel, so it has that going against it, but I feel you can't really go wrong with either title. Of anything, watching a sword&sorcery game with a Wild West aesthetic is trippy enough to make the series stand out. The music is also fantastic.

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Man, I'm going to get some heat from Fynn on the next one. Even worse because much like WA2, it was a challenge to find some decent screenshots for this one.

Wolf Kanno
07-18-2017, 03:49 AM
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If you were tired of listening to people talk about Operation Rainfall for the Wii, and decided to finally play one of the entries, I feel its safe to say that this game was the crown jewel of the whole endeavor. The Last Story had some nice ideas but never took them as far as it should have and its story was blander than saltine crackers. Pandora's Tower was intriguing but was way too dungeon crawler for most people's tastes and overly relied on the motion controls for its gameplay. Xenoblade Chronicles biggest problem was that it was a game that probably should have been made on a high spec console, but considering Tetsuya Takahashi's track record of finishing games, it may been marred with the same issues as his past titles if he didn't have Nintendo pushing him along to finish the title to a satisfactory level.
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Here's an interesting history lesson for people who care. Xenoblade's life began shortly after Xenosaga Episode 2 was released. After fighting internally with his company for so long, and finally realizing he had lost creative control over his series, Takahashi kind of just washed his hands from the project and started brainstorming ideas for a new game. He came up with the idea of a game taking place on the bodies of two dead giants and he quickly had the art team build a small model to visualize his idea. From there, the project gained interest within the staff of his company, but the project sat in a standstill for a while due partly to finishing the Xenosaga series for Namco. In this time frame, Monolith Soft had been sold to Nintendo and the development team worked ona few projects for their new company. When Nintendo decided to try and win back the hardcore crowd for the Wii, after the high of casual gaming and the novelty of motion controls wore off in the industry, Nintendo asked three different companies to make an RPG for them. Mistwalker, Monolith Soft, and Ganbarion. With the opportunity brought up to them to make a new game, Takahashi brought back the idea of his two gods and the projects quickly went under way. Hoping to make amends for his past mistakes, Takahashi made the focus of the title be playing something gamers would find fun, and so he made sure to free this game up from his usual cutscene hell of previous Xeno titles. The game came to be called Monado: Beginning of the World but once the game became close to completion, Nintendo asked him to change the title to contain his trademark Xeno title, as an ode to Monolith Soft's past titles. At this point, we get into the Operation Rainfall details, but its nice to note that the game did well enough for Nintendo that the game has spun off into its own franchise now, with a spiritual successor in Xenoblade Chronicles X and the upcoming sequel.

So what the hell is this game you may ask and why is it on this list?

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Xenoblade begins in the distant past, when two giant gods: one made of flesh known as Bionis, and one made of machines, known as Mechonic; waged a bloody battle against each other for control of the endless ocean world they resided in. Their battle ended in a stalemate as both gods killed each other in the last strike. Thousands upon thousands of years later, life emerged on both worlds in the shape of their respective gods, and while they each built up their own civilizations, they foolishly continued the war their creators had started. Flash forward to a few years before the beginning of the plot and the Homs of Bionis are setting up a last stand against a military surge of Mechon. There ace in the hole was a man named Dunban, who had been chosen by the Monado, a sword that belonged to the Bionis itself and shrunk down to human size which had the power to defeat the Mechon. Despite taking a heavy toll on him, Dunban led the charge against the enemy forces and won the war, but at the cost of the use of his dominant arm. Years later, in the peaceful Colony 9, which resides on the foot of the Bionis, Shulk is an engineer who builds weapons for the colony and studies the Monado. His life is pretty peaceful until the Mechon inevitably attack the Colony, led by the sinister Metal Face, a large Mechon immuned to the powers of the Monado. During the raid, Shulk awakens the power of the Monado and becomes its bearer. He vows revenge against Metal Face and his Mechon brethren and goes on a journey to kill him, but soon learns of a terrible power the Monado has, the ability to see the future. When he gains a vision that shows his closest friend dying, Shulk is troubled by the prospect and doesn't know what to do. Eventually Shulk uses the visions as a guide to fix bad futures and the plot begins to take on a more interesting direction.
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For a game made by the infamous Xeno team, Xenoblade is surprisingly straightforward. You'll feel the teams influence towards the end, but that can be anywhere from 40 to 120 hours later. What really sets this game apart from others for me is the world design. Takahashi has a knack for creating some of my favorite gaming worlds and he does a pretty good job trying to make them well thought and consistent, which I always appreciate. The very premise of the game is exciting and the game has some of the most gorgeous locations I've ever traversed through in a game. Combine this with a stellar soundtrack and you have a game worthy of standing side by side with Chrono Cross in terms of artistic beauty in a game. The tech snobs may snub the title for not looking as good as it could due to the Wii's low graphical power but I'm frankly impressed that something this gorgeous came out of the Wii. With that said, I will criticize the devs for really screwed up priorities of where to put their effort. So in most, non-major dialogue sequences, you're stuck looking at a really neutral looking face which comes across really weird when you listen to the VA cast do their best to be expressive. Okay fine, the team ran out of money and couldn't add more expressive faces for minor dialogue sequences. So um... is there a particular reason why all the girls have jiggle physics regardless if they are the low endgame models or the ones used in cutscenes? I mean you've got Shulk spilling his heart out in this one scene with a face that says "dull surprise" and yet anytime Sharla so much as turns her heads, the "girls" bounce around a little which is very noticeable.
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Combat is pretty interesting, the game drops any pretense of items and MP, instead utilizing a cool down system popular in MMOs. This frees the player up to use whatever skill they want with reckless abandon and form more concise party tactics. The A.I. in the game is pretty good considering and escapes a lot of the issues I usually have with such companions. While combat looks pretty dull when you're watching it, its a surprisingly involved process as you watch the rhythm of the battle and take advantage of specific party techniques to utilize the follow up moves. For instance, Shulk has a move that can stun and enemy mechon, while Reyn has a move that will topple any enemy with this stun effect in place. Being toppled allows for regular weapons to hurt the mechon without the aid of the Monado's abilities. There are several other move-sets like this and one character in particular has their whole combat style based around inflicting different types of status effects and damage based on how you chain his skills together. Speaking of which, unlike a lot of other RPGs, you can actually build any party combination you want and are not required to keep Shulk in your party, this is pretty cool because it opens up more interesting party combinations but also because it introduces you to the fun fact that all the characters play differently from each other.
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Shulk is a jack of all trades type character with a heavier focus on doing direct damage and setting up chain attacks. Reyn can be set up to be a tanking character who controls enemy aggro or a direct damage dealer if need be. Sharla is the team medic but her skills cause her medic gun to overheat, so her whole shlick involves carefully balancing healing with negating heat from her weapon so as not to stall it. Dunban is the guy whose abilities have different secondary effects depending on which order you chain them together and he works as an agility based tank who dodges enemy attacks while controlling aggro with his high damage output. Melia is the team mage and her skills begin by casting a party buff but can then be transformed into a powerful damaging spell, so she's all about balancing the right party buffs and knowing when to sacrifice them to bring in the hurt. Riki is another jack of all trades type character with an emphasis on damage over time skills from various status effects he can use. These different styles makes playing through the game with different leads not only rewarding, but also breaks up the sheer monotony the game can fall into sometime. The Vision element in the plot also comes into play in combat as Shulk will occasionally have visions during battle showing the player the boss is either revving up for a powerful attack or a party member may end up getting killed by the enemies next attack. After the vision, you have a set amount of time to prevent it by either changing aggro, using one of the Monado skills to protect the party, or even simply healing a low health party member. Successes help build a special meter that allows the party to chain together all their moves together to gain boosted damage in a similar concept as XII's quickenings.
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While the level design is fantastic and the gameplay is pretty damn solid, the game has a few glaring faults against it. The one most people won't argue with is the games awful inventory system, which is probably worse than Mass Effect 1's system if you can believe that. It has an absolutely clunky layout and UI that may likely be a result of the devs assuming most gamers will only have access to the Wii mote and not a classic controller. Combine that with the games sheer number of equipment and weapons to keep track of, which is exacerbated by enemies having the same issue as FFX's fiends and loving to drop two or three pieces of armor and weapons per trash mob, and you'll find yourself eventually having to rummage through the whole system to sell the crap and keep the good stuff. The fact that NG+ forces you to choose a certain amount of gear to carry over, thus forcing you to have to dig through the inventory system again, is quite the slap in the face.
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The game also suffers from the same issue that almost all open world/sandbox games suffer from, which is being bloated with too many sidequests. Granted Xenoblade does a great job of making this as user-friendly as possible as most quests will auto-settle once you complete the requirement and you don't have to backtrack to the quest giver. The game also features an extensive and well thought out NPC system where the NPCs all have interconnected stories that continue to open up as you advance the game. This makes chatting with the locals and accepting the quests far more rewarding as these quests tend to fill in some interesting gaps in the plot, some surprisingly character development for the cast, and helps to really get you invested in the world and characters. As you do more missions and grow a stronger bond with a town, more missions will be unlocked which may create a new story link between two NPCs. Its a neat concept and I love the fact the NPCs are actually developed into people instead of just information hubs. Still, the amount of missions in this game are exhausting and I still feel the game could have stood to have half of them cut out of the main game.It would have done wonders for the game's pacing.
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The game also has Heart to Hearts, which are kind of like Tales' skits between two characters. The whole party has them with each other and you really get a strong indication of where everyone stands with each other. Even better is you will often see fun quirks not present in the main plot as much, such as Shulk's fanboying over technology or Riki finally dropping his obfuscating stupidity to show that he's a lot smarter and mature than most of the cast. Its a great idea and I wish more games would do stuff like this. In truth this game is filled with great ideas and barring a few snags here and there, the game does it's best to be as user friendly as possible which is much appreciated.
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If you're looking for a game with one of the most imaginative settings and world designs that Japan can offer you should definitely check this game out.

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Pumpkin
07-18-2017, 04:54 AM
I like Xenoblade a lot but darn if it isn't easy to burn out on. I'm at hour like 70 or so and I still have some to play but I just got so burned out. There's soooo much to do

Also the faces are euk

MELIA IS BEST

Del Murder
07-18-2017, 07:09 PM
Xenoblade was the standout JRPG of the last gen. Also agreed with above that Melia is the best!

Wolf Kanno
07-18-2017, 07:19 PM
82.
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Well this game always takes me back. Something I don't about much on this forum is how my father was the guy who really got me into gaming. He's also the PC gamer in my family, and his favorite type of games are 4x Games. Empire was my first foray into the genre, but Colonization was the first proper entry I ever played.
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Sid Meier's Colonization is the odd middle child in Sid Meier's ground breaking Civilization, and the superior sequel, Civilization 2. As such, it tend to be forgotten since it's the games that came afterwards that really popularized the franchise. Yet you can tell from some of these screenshots, that this is the game that really solidified some of the rules and UI that made Civ 2 such an addicting game.
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Colonization has you choosing one of four European Nations, and set off to colonize the New World. You'll start colonies, befriend local Native American tribes who will often help you, build industry, kill off said Native Americans when they start to protest about your rapid expansion into their territory, meet the other European colonies and quickly descend into the same relationship you had with them back in Europe. Build alliances, build a trade between the Old and New Worlds, and eventually decide you don't need your parent nation and revolt for your independence and suddenly build alliances with all those other people you were probably just fighting with a few turns back. So the game is a surprisingly accurate portrayal of the history of the Americas with one major historical omission concerning a very robust and popular trade that would take another century to sort out, and even then, we're still feeling the ramifications of it it today.
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If you've played any entry in this genre from back in the day, there isn't a whole lot that is different. You build cities, name them something stupid (I was a comic book nerd at the time, so all of my cities were named after X-Men and I was Charles Xavier) try to figure out trade, transform colonist into specialist(think settlers and engineers) who can help till the land and build roads to increase productivity. You'll also build up your military to deal with hostile Native American tribes and the other three European colonies. The whole goal is to build up your society to be strong enough so you can finally declare your independence and fight off the mother country until they concede.
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Instead of wonders of the world, you collect "Founding Fathers" who are usually associated with early colonial history such as Benjamin Franklin, Ponce de Leon, and Hernando Cortez. These will give you special bonuses to your units and cities, as well as boost your overall score. The game does a pretty good job of trying to be pretty historically accurate as is it can be on the matters with many of the Native American tribes being decently researched and giving the player a wide selection of historical figures who left their mark on the Americas that stems from all four major powers. Course this is a pretty old game so things get left on the floor and the map you utilize is traditional random from the series, so it can be odd to be far north on the map and running into the Aztecs from a geography standpoint, but this is a game first and foremost.
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Probably the biggest element that is unique from the Civ series besides the conditions for winning, is the interaction with Europe. You'll need to develop trade lines with your parent nation and keep tabs on the resources you send back as supply and demand changes. You can also use these contacts to not only gain resources you normally can't get a hold of because the damn English refuse to trade with your Portuguese ass, and its a great way to bolster your colonies population as you acquire more people from Europe willing to come to the colonies to gain new opportunities.
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Its a great game overall, and I had a lot of fun trading tips with my friends in middle school about it. I know Civ 4 introduced an expansion based around this game, and while looking up stuff for this entry, it seems the game may have recently gotten a minor remake. So if you can, check it out. It was a fun and quirky game about one of the more controversial points in history.
8hz0XfNwQhM

Bubba
07-19-2017, 06:54 AM
Xenoblade Chronicles is still a game I need to experience. I've got the new 3DS version that I need to fire up soon. Thoroughly enjoying the list so far! The fact that you're now in the 80s means you're about a year ahead of Lonny BoB.

Wolf Kanno
07-19-2017, 08:05 AM
81.
73038

Welcome to the ultimate guilty pleasure game. Over the top violence, stylish action over any form of substance, fanservice, hot chicks in stripper outfits, masked wrestling, potty humor, kitty cats, an otaku power fantasy, and it was formerly a Wii exclusive title. The only thing it needed was a rhythm game, but considering its on the Wii, the motion controls kind of get that part in as well.
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No more heroes is a game by Suda 51, who is basically Kojima without the respect or prestige of making a million dollar franchise. Like Kojima, the guy fills his games movie references, auteurs game design, and loves to fuck with the players. Unlike Kojima, these games rarely make it past the niche market because Suda 51 wears his weird on his sleeves. Course looking at Death Stranding, it might be too soon to say if Kojima isn't going this route now himself.
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No More Heroes is the story of Travis Touchdown, a sociopathic otaku and general loser who lives in a hotel called No More Heroes with his cat and merch, spends his days wandering through dumpsters to find T-Shirts, does odd jobs to buy more useless anime and video game crap, tries to get laid by hitting on girls clearly out of his league, oh and he's trying to become one of the top ten assassins' in the world with the beam saber he bought off eBay. This game is pretty much about the last part, but you'll still get to experience the rest of his usual life.
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Travis meets a hot girl in a bar who hires him to kill a stranger. In hopes of impressing her enough to get laid, he does what she asks and surprise, surprise, Travis wins the fight and is now ranked the 11th best assassin in the world based by a mysterious organization that runs the lot of them. Travis then decided to got after the top ten and become the best in hopes of impressing his new agent to sleep with him.
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As one can tell from this entire premise, not only is the game incredibly tongue and cheek about the whole thing, but the cast and story sort of serve as a satire of the otaku gaming culture and the warped way gaming indoctrinates us into believing that murder and violence are things you should be praised for. Its just like Metal Gear Solid... if Solid Snake was Deadpool and Metal Gear Monkey was the norm and not the exception. The Deadpool reference is also spot on because Travis and the cast break the fourth wall all the damn time and the plot is absolutely hilarious.
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The game basically works like this. In order for Travis to fight the next assassin, he has to cough up some serious dough to gain the privilege, otherwise the organizations running this whole thing wouldn't make much of a profit losing their members left and right. So Travis has to spend the downtime between each mission either doing minor assassination jobs, usually dealing with the games trash mob enemies, or taking a part time job doing something absolutely tedious and stupid like being a gas pump attendant, mowing lawns, or extracting deadly scorpions. All of these mini-games make full use of the motion controls which makes them a it more interesting than you would expect. Once he has the money, Travis can face off against his next target and all of their goons.
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Like Shadow of the Colossus, the boss battles are the games main event and it sometimes feels like Suda 51 makes the downtime parts more tedious for the sake of testing your patience. The boss fights are nice because all of the assassins are very unique from each other, like a high school samurai who will test every single skill you learn in the game, an ex-army demolition expert who lays down trap pits for you to fall into before she tries to blow you to kingdom come, and even a TV Super Hero with a crotch energy beam cannon... yeah! The fights offer a nice blend of tactical thinking to figure out how to gain an opening, and the frenetic action of a brawler.
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Despite failing to achieving the lofty goals of motion controls adding a new permanent dimension into gaming. I have a soft spot for the Wii as you can kind of tell considering this is now my third game from the console. While I always felt the tech was probably going to be wonky, I also feel the problem with the medium was that too many devs (including Nintendo sadly) kind of had an all-or-nothing approach to the technology. Games either ignored the controls altogether making you wonder why they even bothered (Xenoblade) or made the controls so dependent on the game experience that the wonky interface became very much apparent (about 98% of the game on the system). Which is where No More Heroes comes along because I really felt it hit that nice middle ground of not relying on the controls but utilizing the motion element in a way to garner a big impact.
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Despite Travis' frantic swordplay, you don't actually swing the Wii-Mote to perform any of his normal basic sword swings. Instead you simply button mash A like you would have done on a normal controller. The motion controls only come into play for the big things: Like finishing moves, where the screen prompts you to swing the sword in a certain direction to enact the killing blow; clashing weapons, where you have to frantically shake the controller to break the enemies guard; grabs and throws, Travis' fighting style incorporates wrestling moves so you have to "grab" the opponent with both controllers and do the motions of the wrestling move; and recharging the sword, which involves a comical motion that many guys know, and many a girl of different relations with said guys have unfortunately walked in on.
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This relegating to the big things adds a certain weightiness on the combat that I simply just don't feel like a classic controller could properly replicate, without feeling like an arbitrary quick time event. Yet, I also appreciate the game not making combat solely based on the motion controls cause damn if my arms wouldn't get tired real quick and the novelty would have warned off pretty quick. So, in a lot of ways this game is partially on this list because I feel like it was one of the best representations of what the Wii was capable of doing. While its glory quickly faded, I still can't deny that I have no regrets playing this game. The other reason why it's here is because its just a fun and silly game. and the story is over-the-top in all of the right ways. It skewers so many bad action film and samurais tropes as well as one of the most hilarious fourth wall breaking backstories in gaming.
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Its definitely one of those games where I don't want to tell too much, the joy is really discovering the absurdness on your own. With that said, this is still one of those games where it has to scratch that certain itch that only some people get, and thus its not really for everyone. Still, this is a game that makes me smile the whole time I'm going through it and that alone makes it worthy to by on this list.

Wolf Kanno
07-19-2017, 07:36 PM
Well if the last two entries didn't turn some of you off, this one might do the trick as you now have to deal with my actual fanboy self. ^^;

80.
73054


Robotech was the first anime I ever saw, though I was too young and dumb to understand any of that, it was just a cool show with transforming robots and more talking than my six year old self could probably handle. For those who don't know, Robotech was the Frankenstein creation of Carl Macek who wanted to bring Super Dimensional Fortress Macross to the U.S. but due to broadcasting standards at the time that required a minimum episode account he couldn't. His company, Harmony Gold, also owned the rights to Super Dimensional Calvary Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber Mospeada which were all associated with Tatsunoko Productions (Speed Racer and Gatchamen) and had similar designs. The other two series were probably not going to do well since they were not successful in Japan like Macross was, so Carl came up with an intriguing idea to simply merge all three series into one long generational epic about mankind's war with alien invaders and the secrets of Protoculture. Frankly, he did a pretty good job despite what a once vocal anime fanbase use to say back in the day. I'm also sure modern anime fans would be even more appalled since the fanbase has only seemed to grow more snobbish as the years went by.
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So after finally resolving most of the legal disputes concerning who owns what of the three franchises, Harmony Gold decided to bring the series to a new generation and started expanding the scope including a few video game tie ins. Battlecry was their first venture into gaming and they teamed up with TDK (yes the same guys who made that awful Aquaman video game but bear with me) and created an original story set in the Macross part of the Robotech universe that captured the original series.
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Battlecry is the story of Jack Archer, a former soldier who is drafted to work on the SDF-1 project and becomes the leader of the Wolf Squadron for the RDF. The opening missions follow the Macross Saga and its major events, explaining what Jack had done during the war with the Zentraedi and the eventual devastation of Earth's surface. The bulk of the game takes place in the post-war part of Macross, where the survivors of the war try to rebuild earth, prepare to go to space to deal with future alien threats, and deal with the social troubles of integrating the surviving Zentraedi into human society. Jack's Wolf Unit is one of many units that deal with Zentraedi Rebellions in the wastelands and he eventually has to stop Zeraal, a notable Zentraedi General who is gathering malcontent Zentraedi to build an army to crush the RDF and return home. So it's basically the plot of Macross's third act with just new characters replacing all of the main series characters. Despite that, the story is still pretty solid and thankfully doesn't mirror the original series too much outside of broad strokes.
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As a licensed game, you can expect that the biggest draw of this game is the fanservice. There are several returning characters from the show all voiced by the original 80s VA cast, and almost all of the new characters are also voiced by the old cast. What makes this a real treat is that the designers seem to have purposely cast everyone in an opposing type from the original. Cam Clark (Max Sterling) goes from talented wing man to main character Jack Archer, Rebecca Forstadt (Lynn Minmei) who played a finnicky 16-year old idol singer, plays the serious military mission support Izzy Randal which basically makes her playing the same type of role as her romantic rival in the original series Lisa Hayes, whose VA Melanie MacQueen got the wonderful job of playing the battrout crazy Zentraedi Ace Kiyora. I know this probably doesn't mean a whole lot to any of you, but as a fan, this is all super cool to me.
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Battlecry has you playing using the infamous Veritech Fighters through a variety of missions that incorporate all three of the mechs modes. Search and destroy, as well as defense missions take advantage of the Battleoid mode, Radar Escort and most space battles require Fighter mode, and occasionally you have to do human escort or grab important item missions which require the awkward Guardian Mode. All three modes play differently, with Fighter mode being like using a fighter jet, and Battleoid mode being a third person shooter. Guardian is the odd man out as it allows you to hover and grab things, but it lacks Battleoid Modes Auto-targeting lock on, and its missile attack lacks the punch of the Fighter mode. On the brightside, like the anime, you can actually switch between all three modes on the fly which can seriously help cover the faults each mode has. The gameplay works for the most part, but there is room for improvement, Guardian mode is mostly useless and you'll dread any mission that requires you to have to use it. Fighter and Battleoid modes are also a bit clunky but not to the extreme as Guardian, so they feel better in comparison but on their own its obvious they could have tighter controls. Escort missions are the bane of your existence since often times, the escort is actually sturdier than your own fighter. I'm also annoyed by the Battleoid's gun kind of having awkward power output. You can go into a sniper mode to pick off targets, at which point the gun does ridiculously high damage but the regular machine gun mode just does cherry tapping type damage to everything. A happy medium would have been nice especially in the boss battles as it feels like Battleoid mode is mostly useless and your strategy often devolves into zooming back and forth in the small arena in Fighter mode to launch a few missiles every pass.
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The game allows you to collect and use both the models of every Veritech in the Macross Saga, but also the paint scheme of all the heroes, including ones that never show up in the game. Sadly, barring a few units, most of the Veritechs only have minor stat changes between each other and serve largely a cosmetic choice. Then again, this is pretty accurate to the source material, so the gamer side is not too annoyed. Still, it would have been nice to be able to use the Destroids for some missions and add in a bit of variety to the gameplay.
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The game also has a versus mode where you can go head to head against another player in a dog fight which is super cool but depending on the rules set up for the fight, it can transform quickly into "whoever gets their full Macross missile attack off first wins" or "the longest drawn out fight in history". Still, I had a blast recreating a fight from Macross Plus with a friend, we even turned down the game music and switched in the OST from the Macross Plus for the full effect.
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As I fan of the anime, I appreciate all of the nods and references to the series proper. As a gamer, I felt it was a nice first effort, but could have been a lot better. I was very sad when the games sequel Invasion was reduced to being a crappy Halo knock-off cause FPS games had really taken off by that point and the developers wanted to capitalize on it. Even more irritating is that the sequel takes place in New Generation and the Invid Invasion which is one of my favorite parts from a setting perspective.
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As a fun fact, I've actually met Tommy Yune, who was a producer from Harmony Gold on the project and also the character designer. He and his brother Steve (also from Harmony Gold) signed my copy of the game and even got Tony Oliver (VA of Rick Hunter and a crap ton of other things from my childhood) to sign my game copy as well. So yeah, the dumb fanboy is real with this game, and everytime I do run into them at conventions, I keep asking for a real sequel.

Wolf Kanno
07-20-2017, 06:40 AM
79.

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Have you ever bought a bargain game as a lark cause you were bored and felt five dollars was a nice bargain for a cheap afternoon of entertainment? Now how often does that game turn out to be really cool and turn into game you remember fondly? I have only had that happen to me about twice now. Evil Zone, which is fun, but definitely a bad game and not appearing on this list, and this game.
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Um Jammer Lammy is a indirect sequel to Parappa the Rapper. It's set in the same world, but features a different protagonist and musical style. Lammy is a klutz and kind of a wimp, but when she has her guitar in hand, she's one of the best, even if she constantly doubts herself. The big concert is about to start in fifteen minutes, and as usual, Lammy is late. The entire game is pretty much about Lammy's journey to get to her concert and all the wacky adventures she has to finish through the power of her guitar work, even on the occasions she doesn't have her guitar and has to magically make do with whatever is on hand.
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The plot has a silly premise that goes into wonderful Japanese absurdness from the get go as Lammy's adventure starts with her having to pay second fiddle to an Onion Dojo Master (returning from Parappa the Rapper), helps fire men fight a fire, quite down a whole bunch of baby rabbits for a caterpillar nurse, flies an airplane, cuts down tress and even goes to the underworld. Despite the weirdness, the game has a pretty positive message about believing in yourself and the power of friendship and song. The music is also super catchy which is always a treat with these types of games.
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Gameplay is the same as the first game and is basically Simon Says but with a brutal need to be accurate and yet the ability to embellish as well. Good luck figuring out that thin line as this game can be brutally difficult, and is probably one of the most difficult Rhythm Games I've ever played. Your graded from Cool to Awful, but only need Good to proceed to the next stage. With each stage you complete, you get a special item which you can use to modify the sound of Lammy's guitar which will help or hinder later stages, but they add a level of change up to make the stages feel fresh through multiple playthroughs. Finishing the game actually unlocks Parappa himself as a character and you can play through the game with new hip hop tracks sung by the stage characters.
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The reason this game is here is because it was the title that first introduced me to Rhythm games. While I had dabbled in mini-games like the Topo boss fight from Brave Fencer Musashi, this was the first game I ever played that was a dedicated music game, and it quickly became one of my favorite genres. The game is also just so happy and fun, and with the long list of doom and gloom type games I play that deal with philosophical issues and oozing with melodrama, its sometimes nice to play a game that doesn't take itself so seriously and just wants you to have fun.
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Oddly enough, I've never ventured into the Parappa series beyond this game, though I think I have the second game on PS2 somewhere, perhaps I should give it a try.
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Bubba
07-20-2017, 07:54 AM
I had no idea Un Jammer Lammy was an actual thing. Parappa the Rapper passed me by and I've always been more than happy with dodging that bullet. This seems much more up my street though. I wonder if it's on PSN?

Fynn
07-20-2017, 08:55 AM
Kind of sad to see Xenoblade so low but what can you do :monster:

Still need to look deeper into this list. There's quite a bit of unexpected stuff here!

Rez09
07-20-2017, 09:22 AM
Never use Joe Chin's chains for them!

Wolf Kanno
07-20-2017, 04:28 PM
I had no idea Un Jammer Lammy was an actual thing. Parappa the Rapper passed me by and I've always been more than happy with dodging that bullet. This seems much more up my street though. I wonder if it's on PSN?


I believe so, it's a pretty cute game overall.


Kind of sad to see Xenoblade so low but what can you do :monster:

Still need to look deeper into this list. There's quite a bit of unexpected stuff here!

As I said in my first post, most of these rankings are tentative, and change on a whim. I've actually rearranged a few future entries cause as I really started to think about it didn't care for my initial ordering. Oddly, the game I'm kind of wishing I had ranked higher at this point is Chrono Cross, cause I kind of forgot how close I was to that game back in the day until I really started to write about it.


Never use Joe Chin's chains for them!

:cool:

Pumpkin
07-20-2017, 05:33 PM
Where is Style Savvy on this list

fat_moogle
07-20-2017, 05:57 PM
Has anyone else started playing any of the games on this list? I've gone for the first Wild Arms. I know it's the 2nd game on this list but I thought I'd start from the beginning. I'm not too far in at the moment but I've just gathered my party together and I'm in the first dungeon so thanks WK for getting me to play something that I otherwise wouldn't have. Wouldn't have otherwise? No English.

Del Murder
07-20-2017, 06:28 PM
You are inspiring me to make my own version of these top 100 lists. I think we'll have a lot of overlap, and our Number 1 is probably the same game. However, I guarantee you Jamma Lamma or whatever it's called will not be on my list!

Wolf Kanno
07-20-2017, 09:26 PM
Where is Style Savvy on this list

Sad to say, but I've never played it, though I'm not opposed to it, as I've heard some surprisingly good things about it.


Has anyone else started playing any of the games on this list? I've gone for the first Wild Arms. I know it's the 2nd game on this list but I thought I'd start from the beginning. I'm not too far in at the moment but I've just gathered my party together and I'm in the first dungeon so thanks WK for getting me to play something that I otherwise wouldn't have. Wouldn't have otherwise? No English.

I feel that's the real draw of these types of lists is that you find out about a lot of cool games you probably missed one way or another. Fynn's list got me to pick up Radiata Historia, though I have yet to start it. ^^;


You are inspiring me to make my own version of these top 100 lists. I think we'll have a lot of overlap, and our Number 1 is probably the same game. However, I guarantee you Jamma Lamma or whatever it's called will not be on my list!

You totally should man, its actually been surprisingly fun going through it. Though I'll warn you that after every entry, you'll probably want to be playing that game.

I doubt Um Jammer Lammy would be on most people's lists, but as I said, I both love quirky Japanese rhythm games, and it was also the game that got me into the genre as well. So it has a special place in my heart despite being a game you could beat in an hour.

I'm not sure if we share the same #1 actually, but I would be pretty confident that both of our #1's are in each other's top tens. Frankly, I feel I have maybe one game in my actual top ten that will sorta surprise most people, unless you really paid attention to my old posts. I don't talk about this particular game like a broken record like the other nine. I'm pretty sure most of my top ten will not surprise anyone, and a few people here could probably list all ten, but perhaps not in the correct order.

I have been thinking of typing a post concerning a few omissions from this list. Games people know I own or have played that I'm sure everyone would imagine being on this list, but didn't for one reason or another.

I'll have the next entry up soonish.

Pumpkin
07-20-2017, 09:27 PM
Style Savvy Trendsetter and Fashion Forward are actually super good games. You should try em out. FF also has hairdressing and makeup too if you want more than dress up

And yeah I love these lists to find suggestions of what to play too :flirt:

Spuuky
07-20-2017, 09:48 PM
I'll build my top 100 at some point. And have like ....... zero overlap with anyone, except for at least Psychotic appreciates SR2.

Wolf Kanno
07-20-2017, 10:40 PM
78.
73072

Well this going to be the complete opposite of the last entry. The Mega Man X series is Capcom's darker and edgier take on the MM franchise that started on the Super Nintendo, but any X fan will tell you that X4 is probably where the series really took to that ideal vision. simple crash course plot, the X series takes place a few centuries after MM's timeline and mankind now lives side by side with robots possessing total free will called Reploids. Though this society tries to live in peace, there is a lot of distrust between humans and Reploids and the path their futures will take them. Since humanity has unshackled machines from the Three Robot Laws, the inevitable robot uprisings do occur and these Reploids are deemed Maverick by society and hunted down by an organization called, non-surprisingly, Maverick Hunters. It's eventually revealed in the third game that one of the causes of the uprisings is a mysterious virus that drives Reploids mad, but its origin is unknown and only accounts for some of the Maverick behavior.
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This information has always been in the background of the series but X4 is one of the first games to finally bring the social dynamic of X's world to the forefront, and non-surprisingly, it begins the trilogy of the darkest entries in the X continuum. The story proper begins with a terrorist attack on the floating city of Sky Lagoon led by what appears to be a group called Repliforce. Repliforce is a Reploid military outfit that was created to replace the Maverick Hunters who were seen as both ineffectual, and too close to humanity and their interests in human/reploid relationships. The destruction of the city comes as a shock to everyone, especially Repliforce's leader, the General who quickly realizes this is a frame up job. Humanity calls upon the government to label the organization as Maverick's and to send in the Maverick Hunter's to deal with them. Realizing they can't prove their innocence. General enacts a plan to take over a military orbital cannon and transform it into an independent Reploid nation.
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X and Zero of the Maverick Hunters are sent to deal with Repliforce but feel uneasy about the whole situation as despite being designed to eventually replace them, Repliforce and the MH were largely on friendly terms. Zero especially has many friends among the ranks, including the headstrong Colonel, and gentle sister, Iris of whom Zero has strong feelings for. Unwilling to disarm out of pride and a fear of unfair treatment, Repliforce goes to war with the Maverick Hunters. It soon becomes obvious that there is a spy among the MH as Repliforce continues to always be one step ahead of X and Zero.
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At this point, the plot differs depending on whether you are playing as X or Zero. For the most part, X gets the shaft in the plot department as his story deals with uncovering the traitor which after three games of putting down various traitors to the organization, it's apparently his M.O. now. Course there isn't any surprise as their is only one unique character in his story line, and his name is Double of all things... yeah. The only real point in playing X's story is that he has a fairly dark ending that serves as foreshadowing for the MMZero franchise, where X begins to wonder if he too will go Maverick one day, and asks Zero to take him out if he does.
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Zero is the real star of this game as he not only get the most character development, but his whole story is just better written if a bit cliche. Zero's story centers on two plot threads: the conflict between him and Colonel, with both being too prideful to back down from their orders and find themselves in conflict; which ultimately serves as a point of tension with Iris, who is sides with the MH and wants to be with Zero, but also wishes to protect her brother. The second plot thread deals with Zero's past. He's haunted by dreams of a weird man calling him his greatest creation. For fans of the MM franchise overall, Zero's past becomes a huge bombshell for the series and sets up an unseen conflict between X and Zero the series had been only teasing about up until this point, as well as changing the way people view many of the legacy characters within both MM and MMX. For most fans of the series, MMX didn't really begin until this game, and it's still regarded as one of the best entries in the series from a narrative standpoint.
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It's also praised for being the first game to allow the player to actually play as Zero as a full character. He was a fan favorite NPC in MMX, out of action for most of MMX2, and was a special, but limited character you could only use in stages in MMX3, except for one special boss fight where he can be used to gain a special upgrade and change the ending. So having the fan favorite finally become a fully playable character was treat for everyone, especially the MMX team as it becomes blatantly obvious that Zero gets most of the attention in both the story and game design. Bosses and stages are slightly modified to incorporate Zero's close range fighting style, and unlike X, Zero doesn't simply obtain boss moves, he actually gets a whole set of techniques that range from combat moves to useful skills like Double Jump. It quickly becomes obvious the game balance is based around Zero's campaign as level design seems to always work better with Zero's moveset, and bosses offer a greater challenge against Zero and his new play style. X on the other hand feels like the game's easy mode as he can curbstomp most of the bosses with little effort and personally, I feel X4 has the weakest selection of boss weapons for X in the series. His armor upgrades are nice, but require a lot of skill to make them not become your Achilles Heel as both the boots and one of the weapon upgrades can actually make X's scenario more difficult due to their wonky design.
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To add insult to injury, Capcom USA was too cheap to hire new VA for the game and instead used the same cast they hired for MM8, including letting the VA for Mega Man voice X using the child voice she gave to the Blue Bomber, so a lot of X's scenes are unintentionally funny because he sounds like a six year old despite X being noticeably taller and more mature than his "older brother". Zero's VA is pretty decent, though he seriously hams up the dialogue in a few scenes.
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While the boss selection is not the worst in the series, that would be X7, X4 doesn't exactly have the most memorable bosses barring one. Magma Dragoon is probably one of the best Maverick Bosses in the series for not only having a bit more of a story outside of his stage, but also because his fighting style is a shoto-clone from Street Fighter. The levels are as usual, gorgeous, and thankfully the level design is a huge improvement over the large and kind of empty stages from X3. I love the fact that the Mecha Armors are still a feature, but sadly, this is probably the last game where they still hold some significance, which is a shame after X3 tried to really make them a feature. Music is solid as usual, but Capcom is usually pretty good on that front and MM series are all well known for their strong soundtracks.
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The heavier emphasis on plot, as well as the game's darker and more dramatic plot really both elevated this game and the series for longtime fans. Inafune was happy to finally have his originally intended main character take center stage, and the fans rejoiced in being able to play as Zero. Overall, it's not hard to see why this is considered to be one of the best games in the series.

LCJUoHNCe3w

Del Murder
07-20-2017, 11:44 PM
X2 is my favorite, but that was mostly because it was the only one we owned growing up. The MM and MMX series were both fantastic.

Wolf Kanno
07-21-2017, 04:09 AM
77.
73089

Oh man this takes me back. For a long time, this was actually my favorite Mario Game, but jumping through the series a few more times, it's like my third favorite now, but I absolutely appreciate how unique this game is. While a lot of people know that this game is a reskin of an original title called Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, what some of you may not have known is that game had actually started as a test bed for new ideas for a new Mario game. So an experimental Mario game became another series, which then got turned into a Mario sequel. The original its based on had was made to correspond with a special event Nintendo was doing with Fuji Television. The mascots for that event are the characters in this game which was a family of four set in a dream world based on Arabian Nights. This game was into a Mario game for the US market, and proved so damn popular that it was originally released in Japan as Super Mario Bros. USA. So in a way, it's kind of like Mystic Quest's older and more successful brother in terms of being a cross market title.
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So with that history lesson out of the way, let's talk about one of the most interesting Mario games. What I love about this game is that it breaks away from the original title. The heart mechanic to give you some leeway for damage, the multiple characters with their own strengths and weaknesses, the lack of powerups, and the use of the new pick up and throw mechanic were all neat ideas that really set this game apart from the previous installment and also allowed it to feel distinct from its successors as well.
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The game actually had bosses with unique tactics required to beat as opposed to just facing Bowser every four levels with a slightly different move set but the same basic strategy to win. I love jumping on Birdo's eggs and grabbing them to throw back at him. The game shifted from just stomping to actually using enemies as weapons themselves and this really brought a lot to combat for the series. The level design is often hit or miss, partly because like its predecessor, this game isn't much to look at as you can tell from the screenshots, but I appreciate the Arabian art style and loved flying around on magic carpets.
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It should also be noted that I love the enemies in this game, Shy Guy is one of my favorite Mario enemies. In fact, and I know this will likely be considered sacrilege to some folks, I actually like SMB2's enemy selection more than the regular Mario games for the most part. I just love the little guys and I'm always really happy when they make appearances in other Mario games.
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I feel the real draw of this game is being able to use four different characters and finally having Mario and Luigi be more than just palette swaps of each other. Tackling the various stages with different characters with their own unique styles gave this game a hell of a lot more replay value than some of the other Mario games. I had a blast one summer where I did complete runs using all four characters.
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The game also has a pretty killer soundtrack with one of my favorite stage tracks from the Mario franchise. I'll leave a little treat at the bottom to listen to. Overall, this is a pretty solid Mario, not Mario game.

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theundeadhero
07-21-2017, 08:00 AM
I've just finished reading through your lists. I was glad to see Ogre Battle and Wild Arms on it. Ogre Battle was definitely a game I was glad I tried out on a rom instead of an actual cartridge. I can't imagine how much harder it would have been without save states. I haven't actually played through WA2 yet, but I really enjoyed playing the first one, and two is sitting on the shelf just waiting for the right time to put it in.

Bubba
07-21-2017, 09:49 AM
Good old Doki Doki Panic!

I agree it's a unique entry for the Mario series. I don't think I ever completed it without using the warp pots. Birdo and especially Wart at the end were lots of fun to fight.

I also love these lists as it does make you think what your own list would look like. If I get run over and spend months in hospital then I'll probably do my own then :lol:

Karifean
07-21-2017, 12:23 PM
Now this one I have played, albeit in its Gameboy Advance iteration. I have a lot of fond memories of it. I *always* used Luigi though =P

Wolf Kanno
07-21-2017, 07:27 PM
76.
73102

Meet my first, and probably the oldest RPG I have ever played. Long before Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy, or even playing Zelda; my dad enticed me into playing this little gem due to knowing my absolute love for giant robots. This game is set in the Battletech/Mechwarrior series universe, a popular tabletop/minatures RPG/Tactical Warfare franchises from the 80s and early 90s.
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Battletech takes place in the distant future of the 32nd century. Mankind has expanded into outer space with the Terran Alliance. Unfortunately, much like any great empire, the Terran Alliance couldn't control the farther space colonies and a combination of corruption, illegal expansion, and political power consolidation led to the weakening of the Terran Alliance and the rise of several powerful political houses that controlled different sections of the empire. The Star League was formed shortly after, and mankind entered a Golden Age of technology and prosperity. The five great houses turned on the Terran Hegemony controlled by House Cameron who also controlled the Star League, and eventually the house collapsed and its territory gobbled up by the other great houses. This severely weakened the Star League as houses competed with each other over territory. The independent Star League Defense Force grew tired of the in-fighting, and when Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky realized the Houses were about to plunge the League into bloody conflict, opted to take his forces and leave the League all together into the outer frontier zones of the galaxy. With the main military gone, and the ruling house in collapse, the five great houses began the Succession Wars, which saw the rise of Battlemechs, giant humanoid tanks capable of immense destruction. These wars went on for centuries and with the end of the Third Succession Wars, the various colony worlds had not only been reduced to a future version of feudalism, but the houses had almost knocked each other back to the stone age technologically. The modern era can no longer recreate the advanced technology of their golden age, and thus, families who had control of a Battlemech were highly valuable to continue on the wars for the various lords, and undisturbed cache from the Star League era was worth destroying entire planets for. So yeah, basically future version of the post-Roman Empire Europe. There is a crap ton more information concerning the houses, the various smaller lords, and which mechas are associated with which house, but for the sake of space, I'll leave all that for you to read elsewhere.
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The game takes place on the planet Pcifica (Chara III) and takes place just before the political marriage between House Davion and House Steiner, which will eventually set off the Fourth Succession War. You play Jason Youngblood, a cadet at the MechWarrior Academy on the world and the son of Jeremiah Youngblood, a famous Mechwarrior during the Third Succession Wars who fought in the Kell Hounds unit before being personally asked to run Katrina Steiner's Crescent Hawk unit, which were almost her personal guard. He spends his time now serving House Steiner and looking for old Star League cache's for them. When Katrina Steiner stops by Pacifica for a visit on her journey to her daughter's wedding, Jeremiah is asked to head security detail and reunites with his son at the academy. House Draconis, opposed to the marriage, attacks the planet and takes over. Jason is doing a mock battle in the arena when four Draconis Jenner's attack him and he now has to use his new skills to fight for his life and escape.
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Katrina safely makes it off the planet but Jeremiah disappears in the confusion and the planet comes under Draconis rule. Jason is forced to go into hiding but eventually encounters Rex, a member of the now scattered Crescent Hawks. The two band together and seek out the other members of the unit and begin fighting a guerrilla war against the Draconis Combine and House Kurita. Eventually Jason and Rex learn that the Draconis had learned that Jeremiah had found an old Star League cache on the world and kept it hidden, which was the real reason for the invasion and the game quickly becomes a race to find and access the cache first.
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This game was developed by Westwood Studios, whom some of you may know as the Studio that created the Command and Conquer franchise in the 90s. It was also published by Infocom of Zork fame. So its no surprise that his game has a bit of a heavier focus on story and narrative than usual, which works out pretty well considering how much backstory the series has from the tabletop books. The game actually offers a lot of different elements despite its crude design, the game begins before the invasion proper, so you spend your time living on the Academy campus, placing your money in the futures screwy bank system, talking to NPCs and your dad as well as taking exams so you can finally take the final mechwarrior exam that deals with a mock battle. During the mock battle is when the invasion begins and battles properly begin. Battles are turn based, but you also have the option of moving your units around on the field to either gain cover in terrain or to move in closer and boost your weapon accuracy. Battles can be against human opponents or even other Battlemechs but depending on how the battle goes, you can salvage the enemy mechs and eventually outfit your whole unit with them, though it can get expensive and its always possible that you'll lose your own mechs for good in battle. There are only a small handful of mechs available in the game, but oddly enough, the best one is the one you get in the mock battle. Course you're guaranteed to lose it in the fight with the Jenners (also rare mechs you can only acquire by chance if you win this battle) and the safest option is to actually target the arena and blow yourself an escape route and simply run.
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The bulk of the game is wandering the planet and trying to acquire the rest of the unit while avoiding or battling Draconis troops in the fields or towns. In the various cities you can repair your mechs, buy gear, go into taverns to collect information. There is a great deal of flavor text when communicating with the townspeople or other party members and the game does a pretty good job of creating a really cool narrative for a game that makes Dragon Quest 1 looks like Final Fantasy XV in comparison. The game switches modes again in the third act, when your party finds the Star League cache and have to get past the security systems, which oddly enough is all about puzzle solving instead of combat. Some argue its a bit anti-climatic, but I appreciate the change up.
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For a game made in 1988 for DOS, it's a surprisingly well done experience and it introduced me to the wonderful world of Battletech and Mechwarrior. O anything, the game is probably too small for such a narrative, but works well as an gateway entry into the series. The game received a sequel called Battletech: The Crescent Hawk's Revenge, which still has you playing as Jason during the Fourth Succession War and into the Clan Invasions. The game unfortunately drops most of the RPG elements and takes on a bit of a more RTS feel.
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If you can find an old retro website to play this game, I recommend it as the franchise is pretty cool and game is pretty solid if a bit on the easy side of things. Still one of my favorite games from childhood. Fun fact: Many of the mechs in this game are unavailable in the series proper now, due to FASA Corp (the creators of Battletech and Shadowrun) using mecha design from various animes they acquired in the 80s by poor liscensing standards, many of which are from Macross as you can tell from the screenshots. ;)

Wolf Kanno
07-21-2017, 09:29 PM
I'll do my next entry a bit later, but I will say now that I kind of made an error on my list, and in hindsight the next game really shouldn't be this high. I can pretty much say for certain that 100-75 were kind of put in order a bit haphazardly, and the next entry is a prime example, because as I began writing the assessment for it, it dawned on me that I'm not as partial to this game as I am to a number of titles that has come before it. If I could do this again, I would actually rank the next title at #100 because the game is largely on this list for pure nostalgia as opposed to quality. Though I'll give a banana sticker to anyone who actually knows this game because it's pretty damn obscure.

Wolf Kanno
07-22-2017, 08:40 AM
75. (Really #100)
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Once upon a time, before they became the EA of Japan and were largely known for that one game, Konami was known for their high quality beat em up arcade games, many of which were licensed games, and Konami did for Licensed games in the arcade, what Capcom did for them on console. They rocked them out. Of course, every once in awhile, Konami did something daring and made an original title. Mystic Warriors: Wrath of the Ninjas is such a game.
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It's a bit hard to really explain the premise here. You and three of your friends can play up to four the main game's five playable characters, who all pretty much hit every martial art stereotype such as the Hanzo look alike gut that SNK totally didn't notice, a Kabuki knock off, the rough looking tough guy, the token girl for sex appeal, and the random American black guy who came to Japan to learn martial arts and do hip hop. After you choose a character, an evil Ninja from a rival school breaks into the Dojo and kidnaps one of the characters you didn't select, and thus the story begins with your party trying to rescue their fellow student from a cyborg ninja clan that would make Shredder proud.
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Despite being martial arts fighters, the game actually is a re-skin of Sunset Riders on closer inspection and your party basically fight by throwing shuriken from their infinite bag of holding. The stages themselves are absolutely hilarious with the first stage being a city since the dojo is apparently in a skyscraper somewhere in Ninjaville, and the boss of the stage is fought at a drive in theater (remember those? No? Okay I feel old) and he's a flamethrower dude that looks like a rejected G.I. Joe villain.
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Later stages include a ski level, an underwater cavern, a science lab filled with terminator knockoffs, and a train sequence obviously inspired by Temple of Doom. What made this game stand out for me, besides spending the better part of afternoon getting my ass kicked playing through it, was that in the science lab base, you finally rescue your lost comrade and the game shifts to escaping the bad guy hideout during the train level. The boss of this stage is a bulltrout robot on an opposing train track that will eventually capture your party in a force field, at which point, the rescued comrade performs a heroic sacrifice to destroy it and free your party. With your journey lost, your party vows revenge and the later stages focus on the group deciding to take down the badguys.
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I can't really put it into words, but I found something quite profound in a story about rescuing someone and ultimately failing, but only due to their selfless sacrifice to return the favor of coming for them. Perhaps because I had never really seen a game do that before and that one element really made this game stick out in my mind. In fact it was only a few years ago I even found out what the game was called because I only ever played it two or three times before that arcade shut down.
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Despite not being a particularly special title from a gameplay perspective, I love the narm charm of the premise, and that one moment is probably one of my favorite arcade moments I ever had. Still, it's a pretty solid game on its own with a killer soundtrack because Konami did damn good back in the day. Like all of the arcade games featured on this list, and there will be more, this is definitely one of those games that I would tack down for my dream arcade I hope to make one day.
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Wolf Kanno
07-22-2017, 08:50 PM
74.
73141

Meet my favorite original IP for the DS. The World Ends With You was a quirky, "blink and you missed it" title, that Square-Enix released in the mid-2000s great reviews and so-so sales. It was developed by the same team that worked on Kingdom Hearts:Chain of Memories on GBA but directed and written by a new team. The game began it's life when Nintendo asked Square-Enix to make a unique RPG specifically for their new DS unit coming out in a few months. After testing the product out, this game started as a means to improve CoM's battle system but eventually evolved into its own unique style.
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TWEWY is the story about Neku, a loner who cuts himself off from other people and has a pretty negative outlook on life. The story begins when an amnesiac Neku finds himself at Shibuya which is overrun by monsters called Noise. He has a strange timer on his handand everyone around him seems oblivious to the monsters and Neku himself. He meets a girl named Shiki, who dreams of being a fashion designer and is caught in a similar situation as Neku. They form a pact and become partners in order to defeat the Noise, using special pins that grant various powers. It turns out the two are in the Game. A week long tournament for the newly dead against the Shinigami of whom the winner gets to come back to life and the others are erased from existence. To enter this tournament, you have to sacrifice something important to you, which for Neku, was his memories. Initially cold to Shiki and the other contestants, the week proves to be a growing experience for Neku, who eventually learns to open up and actually start caring about people.
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The story of this game is pretty awesome and Neku finds himself in a role similar to Squall Leonheart; and his growth over the course of the story is quite remarkable. I mean I say it's similar to Squall, but Squall comes off just quiet and occasionally unpleasant compared to jerk-ass Neku, of whom I almost didn't finish the game because of his awful personality in the beginning. Thankfully, the rest of the cast is much more endearing. Shiki is Neku's opposite, kind, empathetic, and understanding. You'll want to punch Neku in the beginning due to his dickish attitude with her. Rhyme and Beat make an amusing duo with Beat being a blusterous wannabe badass who talks in 90s street lingo and Rhyme is his kind and friendly partner. Joshua is a smug ass, but is absolutely wonderful for basically putting Neku through the same BS he puts everyone else through, so he quickly became one of my faves in the game. The Reapers themselves are a colorful cast of literal punch-clock villains who are simply going through the ropes of the game. A few take it super seriously, but several of the Reapers act like the Turks from VII and will sometimes not bother the heroes due to being on their lunch break, at which point they bitch to each other about work and needing a vacation. It's actually hard to find anyone in this game who is completely unlikable. You may hate Neku in the beginning, but by the end of the game, you're seriously rooting for him. It's a bit interesting how well Neku actually works as a player avatar (though he's not a silent protagonist) due to the story structure. You feel very cold towards him in the first part like he is to everyone else, you share his desire and frustrations in the second part because you're both now emotionally invested in the cast, and certainly feel his anger and want to bring the whole damn system to the ground by the third part.
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Gameplay is a unique experience, and I will say now, that everything I love about the gameplay is pretty much everything that most people seem to hate about it. This was a game that was truly designed to show off every feature the DS had to offer. For many people, this is a very gimmicky game, but for me, the difference between a gimmick and a feature is whether you like it or not and for me, this game is simply filled with awesome features.
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The game utilizes both screens in combat, Neku and his partner play on different screens and even have different input methods with Neku's controls being exclusive to the touchscreen and his partners being connected to the D-Pad. Fights can get really chaotic, but the partner has a limited A.I. that will take the burden of watching both screens constantly, but after awhile, you do develop a type of rhythm with the gameplay mechanics that makes using both screens more functional. Part of this is because of the Puck mechanic, where each player has an energy puck they pass back and forth to control damage output and build a super meter to unleash a powerful attack on all enemies. The other Neku's controls are the most important and versatile, as his partner's usually works about the same way with using the D-Pad to switch between combo chains. Neku uses various Pins you can collect that do different spells and effects. These abilities also have different inputs that utilize the DS features but most fall into classes so there is really only about six or seven input methods total over about 30+ pins. For instance, Neku can send a fire wave attack against enemies by drawing a line over the enemy. Lightning spells need him to simply tap on the enemy to summon a bolt against them. There is a Quake spell that requires you to shake the DS to activate, and there are even a few that require you to use the microphone to shout at the screen. It all sounds silly, and certainly curbs the game's appeal to be played in public, but I quite enjoyed the novelty and inspiration for it all. Neku can be outfitted with several pins, but the pins have cool down effects, so you'll need to balance out his abilities so you're not just running around the screen avoiding enemies while waiting for all of your pins to recharge.
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Pins level up by three different methods, and once leveled up, they will either transform into a stronger version of themselves, or even evolve into a completely different type of Pin. This all depends on which of the three XP tables was completed first. The first is basic battling, win battles and the Pin gains XP. The second involves the DS' online component and depends on how many people you pass with a DS on, and the third is simply by how long you don't play the game. Shutting off for awhile will actually give XP to your stuff. Obviously the online component is hit or miss and like many of the DS online gimmick features, favors Japan over everyone else, since encountering someone with a DS is not terribly difficult over there compared to the U.S. and Europe. I still love the different input methods and it really does make you purchase multiples of the same pins just to see what they will evolve into.
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Being set in Shibuya, Japan's major fashion district and cool kids town, means that fashion plays a huge role in the game. Sadly, clothing doesn't alter appearance, but clothing is separated by brand, and in a weird gang related gameplay element, wearing certain brands in certain areas of the game will improve or weaken their ability. You can actually raise a brand's popularity in a district by wearing it while completing lots of battles but this may lower other brand's appeal that you can get later, so even equipment becomes a bit of a balancing act. Course I found this wasn't as big of a deal as the game lets on, and usually their is comparable gear of every brand, so switching outfits on the fly to take advantage of this is usually not that big of a headache.
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What's really cool is the game's player focused features. You can adjust he game's difficulty on the fly, which at the time was unheard of in a console game. So players finding the battle system overwhelming or a difficult boss can power the game down to keep advancing. Difficulty mostly affects drop rates and the items you can get from monsters, so only a completionist would care to beef up the difficulty. The game also has a radio feature that lets you change the background music to any of the game's kick ass song selection. You can even just keep it on repeating that one infectious (of many) ear worm. I will also point at this time that the game has a really cool aesthetic style and really drives home how much I love Tetsuya Nomura's more heavy manga style over his pseudo-realism designs from FFVIII, X, and XIII. It all really fits with the game's setting and gameplays feaures focusing on a heavy dose of style.
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The game also a pretty humorous post-game (which I still need to finish) that unlocks special story scenes that took place during the game main game and alter the story a bit. So the game does a pretty good job of keeping you hooked. Overall, I feel this is one of those rare gems, everyone should definitely check out and it is one of my favorite games to come out of the Square-Enix era.

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Karifean
07-22-2017, 09:04 PM
Playing this game right now on my phone. I'm only up to the third day so far though so I've still got a ways to go.

Edge7
07-23-2017, 05:06 PM
I've been meaning to start a third playthrough of TWEWY, only problem is I can't decide if I want to haul my DS everywhere with me, or get the Android port... wait, only the DS version has "Lullaby For You", nevermind. I wasn't expecting this game to stick with me the way it did; I hadn't played Chain of Memories at the time, and I remember wanting to pass over it for 358 days/2. Glad I didn't

Rocket Edge
07-23-2017, 06:16 PM
Sweet. How have I not noticed this until now? I'll be following this closely. Wolfy, seeing as FFVIII is my favourite game of all time and all, be kind to it. ;)

You are inspiring me to make my own version of these top 100 lists. I think we'll have a lot of overlap, and our Number 1 is probably the same game. However, I guarantee you Jamma Lamma or whatever it's called will not be on my list!
Do it. I love these kinds of threads!

Wolf Kanno
07-24-2017, 06:09 AM
73.
73158

Here's a game that was forced onto me by my, at the time, closet furry friend who knew how much I love stealth games. He lent me the first two entries in the series and I pretty much had a blast with both of them. The first game is mostly going to get the spotlight due to being the tighter designed game, but I did love the second game's semi-open world, Ocean's 11 vibe it had going for it. I just wish the game wasn't so damn long because I got seriously burnt out by the end, but maybe I should give it another spin one of these days.
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Developed by Sucker Punch of InFamous... fame? Sly Cooper is a stealth platformer that feels like an odd combo of 3D Mario and Metal Gear. You play as the title character Sly, who comes from a long line of gentlemen thieves who primarily steal from other thieves. Obviously, stealing from people who tend to do more reprehensible things to acquire that wealth, may not have been the smartest thing. So Sly lost his parents at a young age when several old family enemies banded together, murdered Sly's parents, and stole the Theivius Racconus, a compendium containing both the Cooper history as well as all of their awesome thieving techniques. Sent to an orphanage, Sly meets his two life long friends Bentley and Murray, and the three of them grow up to become a premiers thief group. The story largely deals with Sly tracking down the bad guys who killed his parents and trying to recollect all the pages of his family's book.
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The game structure is very similar to Mario 3, with each boss having a themed dungeon location. Sly has to do an initial break into the fortress but once in, the main map simply leads to rooms that load the real levels much like Mario 64. You can play the levels in any order, but most of them pertain to a long winded strategy to get the bosses attention or access to their room in some ways, so one stage might be finding blueprints, another can be hitting the generator powering the security system and so on. Completing the stages will unlock a time attack mode as well which completing opens up some cool extra features as well. Stages combine the usual platformer elements like collectible coins, some power-ups, and special bottles that contain clues for Bentley to decipher the combination locks in stages that contain a piece of Sly's family book.
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Despite the collectibles and trick jumps, Sly is still very much a stealth title, though a pretty easy one compared to more traditional entries in the genre. With that said, it makes it's point about utilizing stealth to succeed, very quickly. While Sly can give a good beating, he can't take a hit and will go down in one blow unless you've acquired one of the horseshoe power-ups that allow him to take two or three hits. He also suffers from Sonic syndrome and can't swim to save his life. You'll need to sneak around and ambush guards but Sly will open up his repertoire of abilities as you collect more pages of his Family book. The stealth angle adds a cool dynamic to the level design as you have the MGS element of looking secret ways around the various guards and obstacles, but you have a stealthy Mario's mobility. It creates a much more thrilling platform experience for me and there are several stages that focus on that almost sadistic Olympic level of precision to complete. One of the last pure platform stages in the last area is quite memorable because it tests how well you know every one of Sly's thief skills and platforming ability. There are also a few unique stages ripped straight out of MMX where Carmelita, Sly's female Interpol adversary/love interest, will chase him around a stage, using her overpowered tun gun to wreck the stage, at which point the level is about speed and keeping an eye out for the useful collectibles.
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The bosses are usually more of gimmicky affair and include a wide-variety of styles to make them each unique. My favorite is the Bayou Witch, whose battle is a Rhythm game similar to the defensive mode of Gitaroo Man. They help get around the fact poor Sly can't really do well in a protracted fight.
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The real draw of this game is the fantastic characters. Sly is a genuinely suave version of Lupin III, and while Murray is just the dumb muscle/driver, Bentley is a hilarious combination of Colonel Campbell and Otacon from the MGS series, and there are a ton of references and gags making fun of MGS and the stealth genre. Every level is bookend by great story sequences that flesh out the villains and cast, as well as tell you wacky adventures the group had to go through just to get to the next level. The animation is simply, but gets the job done. Besides the obvious benefit of getting more abilities for Sly, the other fun part of collecting them all is listening to Bentley's hilarious solutions to the alleged "clues" of which you never actually read, but makes you wonder about the bad guys. The bantering during levels is fun and ultimately helps endear you to the game's quirky and fun cast of characters.
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Overall, if you love stealth games, and you like mascot platformers, you should definitely give this series a look into because it was super fun and was sadly a bit overshadowed by rival mascot franchises like Jak and Ratchet and Clank. Here's a taste of what to expect.

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Del Murder
07-24-2017, 05:45 PM
I don't think SE has made a better game than TWEWY since its release 10 years ago.

Wolf Kanno
07-24-2017, 07:03 PM
72.
73172

Oh yeah, the Gamboy's original killer app. I played the hell out of this game and to date, I still consider this to be one of the most addictive puzzle games on the market. There really isn't much to say about it though since most people it's just about moving blocks to form lines and make them disappear for points. The game has a killer soundtrack as well, which most people know.
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What is kind of interesting about this game is that it's one of the few super popular Nintendo titles (at least back in the day) that Nintendo had nothing to do with its creation. It was actually developed by Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov a programmer in the former U.S.S.R. who designed it to give him something to do while he had downtime at work. He kept making copies of it for friends, until one of them got smuggled out of the country and eventually found it's way to Nintendo, who wanted it for their new Gameboy system.
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There was a bit of a legal issue obviously, but we know Nintendo kind of got their way in the end. The programmer in question became a game developer after the wall fell in 89. He designed for Nintendo, Microsoft, and even formed his own company, at which point he was able to finally receive royalties for his creation.
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Overall, I really love this game, and make sure I never download it onto my hone or browser cause it would destroy what little free time I have. It encompasses what I love about a good puzzle title, being simple to understand but difficult to master. It also has more of a twitch element to it than something like a jigsaw puzzle, which I also like.

Del Murder
07-25-2017, 01:48 AM
Tetris deserves a spot on anyone's Top 100 list.

Edge7
07-25-2017, 06:11 PM
I only got into Tetris recently, but it is SUPERB. It's my go to multiplayer game after burning out on fighting games.

I got a PS2 for Jak and Daxter, but the Sly Trilogy is my favorite Mascot platformer series ever. WK, did you ever play the third one? It takes the second game's open world structure, but adds a ton more variety. It's also MUCH shorter, more vibrant, and the variety in environments is spectacular. Revisiting the trilogy, it's since become my favorite.

Wolf Kanno
07-25-2017, 06:33 PM
I never got to the third entry for one reason or another, but I'll probably pick it up eventually.

The next entry will be up in a bit.

Wolf Kanno
07-25-2017, 07:16 PM
71.
73177

Well time to talk about the last SEGA title on this list. I actually really love a lot of SEGA titles, but growing up predominately with Nintendo and Sony consoles means my exposure to their games is rare outside of the arcade scene. I still have a playthrough of Phantasy Star 1 I need to get back to. So yeah, I'm still playing catch up with SEGA titles so I apologize for the little representation they will receive on this list cause I know they've made some good shit.
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While most of the screenshots are from Sonic 1, that's due to being the one I've had the most personal time with in recent memory. I've played a bit of all of the classic 2D entries. Thus this entry will largely be talking about the Pre-3D era of the mascot character in general.
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Sonic was a series I was always infatuated with growing up, the graphics looked better than Mario, the soundtrack had more of a beat, and the gameplay combined good platforming with the sporadic exhilaration of watching Sonic blast through the stage with speed. My only time to really play the series was on the rare occasion a local game shop had one of the games on demo, and whenever I had a sleep over with a friend who happened to own a Genesis. In fact, I often associate this series with a few of my friends from childhood. One in particular was so obsessed at the time that he used to draw his own characters and I would lend him magazines with featured articles about the games. I remember us pouring over GamePro's Sonic 3 guides over lunch break just so he could figure out all of the alternate paths.
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When I got into RPGs, I drew away from platformers and ended up spending more time with out mutual friend (who pretty much did everything in his power to get me into JRPGs) and eventually we went out separate ways gaming-wise. Years later, I finally picked up the Sonic collection for PS2 when I was on a nostalgia kick and started playing through the first game again. I got stuck in the Labyrinth Zone boss battle but overall, I had a blast with the game and was a bit disappointed in myself for not jumping back into the series sooner.
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Sonic is largely here on this list due to nostalgia rather than me talking about level design or how awesome the games are. They are awesome games and I recommend checking out the classics, but for me, the series simply takes me back to a more innocent time in my life and a good friend from elementary school. Also, if you've never watched the anime "movie" made in the 90s, you should definitely check it out.

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Wolf Kanno
07-25-2017, 08:57 PM
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This post will reference two previous posts: Contra 3 and Mystic Warriors. Remember how I loved Contra 3 because it was the closest thing on the console to a true Aliens game? Remember how I mentioned that Konami used to be Kings of the Beat'em Up" arcade scene? Well here we are to those two ideas coming together.
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Aliens is a side-scrolling shooter/beat'em up for arcade, based on the popular Aliens sequel by James Cameron. You play as a very pixelated Ripley or Hicks and play a much goier fare than the film version. The game very loosely follows the plot and mostly focuses on the concept of the marines being here to get rid of a xenomorph infestation. Like the comic adaptions, toyline, and later films; Aliens makes use of the idea that there are more types of aliens than one would think which helps build better variety.
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You get an assortment of weapons including the starting "smart guns" which are just glorified machine guns, rocket launchers, and my personal favorite, the flamethrower which will instantly murder any bug that comes your way.
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There are third person sections, where you have to ride the tactical tank and shoot down aliens that try to board you. These sections are a bit spotty and probably my least favorite parts of the game. What's really cool is all the fanservice the game brings. I love the opening level where you'll go by beakers containing a face hugger and having your heart skip a beat when one of the fuckers burst out and ruins your day. You'll occasionally find the Power Loader, which you can use to ruin the unrelenting hoards day. There are also sections where you crawl through the vents and have to use the radar to make up for the speedier enemies.
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For a fan of the film series, this game was a huge treat and I still fondly remember the day I got a bunch of quarters and beat this damn game. Capcom, actually made a game I consider to be a spiritual sequel to this title which was loosely based on the Aliens vs. Predator comic book franchise and used the same engine as their D&D brawler. To this day, I still consider this to be the best game to ever come out of the Aliens franchise, though I really do need to check out Alien Isolation someday.
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Wolf Kanno
07-25-2017, 09:23 PM
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This takes me back. Meet my father's favorite arcade game and the one he gets super excited about when we actually find a place that has this game. That reason is largely the reason why this game is here because it always reminds me of fun arcade times with my old man.
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Gauntlet is a top down, four player co-op dungeon crawler where four players take on the role of four major fantasy trope characters. Warrior is basically Conan the Barbarian but with a battle axe instead of a bastard sword, Valkyrie is Red Sonja but now blue, Wizard is Gandalf without the hat and wearing an ugly yellow color, and Elf is Robin Hood with a species change. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses and the game is based on the four players learning to cooperate to advance further.
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The plot... well there is no plot, at least not until the 3D entries. Players basically traverse deeper and deeper int the games dungeon, battling obscene amounts of enemies while collecting loot and finding food to regain health. Keys need to be found to open doors that will often lead to more enemies, but also the level's exit.
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You obviously want to avoid damage from enemies that gang up on you or fire spells and arrows at you but the real kicker here is that your health is actually constantly draining. So if you don't maintain your health with food, even a veteran fighter who as left every battle unscathed will eventually die.
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Most enemies are classic D&D monsters, but the most dreaded is Death, who dramatically raises the amount of health you slowly lose over time and can take far more punishment than anything else the game has. The best part of the game is the hilariously cheesy dialogue the game has with many memorable phrases like "Warrior needs Food badly" and "Valkyrie is about to die". The narm charm of this game is superb.
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There are no bosses in the game, but I'm also pretty sure there is no final level in either. You basically fight to see how far you can get and your final score. The game had several sequels but beyond some minor tweaks here and there, the originals are all basically the same game. The 3D entries try to revitalize the franchise later, but I just never got into them as much. This is still one of my favorite co-op games as well and I am always up playing this game with other people.

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Wolf Kanno
07-26-2017, 10:01 PM
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Oh boy, time to make a few people happy and a lot more sad. I have a confession to make, Kingdom Hearts is probably the closest thing I have to a guilty pleasure in which I place heavy emphasis on the guilty part. I've played most of the series except the mobile titles and the $40 demo attached to the HD remaster of DDD that came out a few months back. At this point in time, I honestly feel nothing for the franchise and I'm probably one of the few people on this forum who doesn't give a shit about KHIII cause at this point, I'm pretty sure the conclusion to the Xehanort plotline would just leave me disappointed like DDD was. So I guess what I'm trying to say here is that this is the only Kingdom Heart game that is going to pop up on this list because it's the only one I still have overwhelmingly positive feelings for, whereas every other entry is a mixed bag.
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KH1 was an amusing experiment that really surprised me, but the gameplay has aged terribly. KH2 had way better, if kind of more flash than substance gameplay, but the plot was awful past the prologue. 358/2 had a great if kind of long winded plot, with some cool gameplay ideas that were ruined by being put on a a system that couldn't handle it. Birth by Sleep had some great gameplay and introduced some awesome new characters to the series, but ultimately made me wish we didn't have to use Sora and Riku anymore, also this game re-introduced a bunch of silly ideas into the story I wish we could have avoided. DDD had some interesting gameplay (not as good as BbS though) and pretty much hammered the final nail in the coffin containing my interest in the plot and main cast. I can only say that Kingdom Hearts is a series with great ideas that are crippled with juvenile plot lines and hampered by having to stay kid friendly. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of Digimon which has a similar problem.
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So with my confession out of the way and the only real negativity I'll say about the series in general, let's discuss why this game is here. Note: I have only ever played the GBA version, so everything after here largely concerns it and doesn't put into accoutn changes made in the PS2 Remake.
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Chain of Memories begins right where KH1 left off with Sora, Donald and Goofy looking for Riku and King Mickey. Sora meets a strange man in a black robe who suggests they go to Castle Oblivion where Sora will find something important that he has forgotten. Castle Oblivion supposedly has the power to affect memories and Sora and the others have their abilities sealed into cards and the various floors become reflections of places within Sora's memories. The higher Sora climbs, the more he begins to forget, but he suddenly remembers a girl that was also on Destiny Island with him, Riku, and Kairi. A girl named Namine that Sora and Riku fought over. The plot heavily deals with the theme of memories and how they make us who we are. Being a kid friendly version of this idea (see Ghost in the Shell for the less family friendly version) Sora and everyone else will learn that even without memories, it won't change the kind of person you are deep down. Meanwhile, Riku is also a playable character in this game with his own story. Riku also finds himself lost in the castle, but unlike Sora, who is losing memories, Riku finds himself haunted by Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, who represents the darkness still in Riku's heart. Riku goes on a story of redemption and to overcome his guilt for all the bullshit he pulled in the first game. Overall, the storyline of both characters deal with interesting existential crisis as Sora becomes more flustered and confused as his memories are manipulated; while Riku does some serious soul searching through his own chapters. It gives both characters some much needed character development which they will sadly never really get in the later entries as Riku kind of keeps forgetting the lessons he learned in this entry, while Sora moves from happy-go-lucky kid on an adventure of discovery, to KH's take on a Messianic figure, who is more important as a concept than as a person.
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The plot officially introduces us to Organization XIII and the Nobodies, though the true nature of their existence wouldn't be elaborated upon until KH2. A shadowy organization who have plans for Sora. The group at Castle Oblivion are their to study the place, but it soon becomes apparent that there is dissent among the ranks, and a group of the newest recruits to the organization are secretly plotting to take over the organization. This ends creating a more interesting story than the simply tales of Sora and Riku, as we get learn more about the group and see the conflicting dynamics of the old guard versus the new guard. In fact, I still feel CoM did the best job of making the most out of Org. XIII as they ultimately get reduced to Mega Man bosses in the sequels, including the one that actually focuses on them, and ultimately get sidestepped as a minor threat when the later entries reveal the real big bad. In this entry, they are a real threat but also a conflicted unit where every member has their own motives and issues. Barring Axel, the surviving members in KH2 are mostly on the same page with Xemnes, and offer very little individuality beyond a personality quirk or two. Which is something I found rather disappointing after the more colorful cast of CoM.
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Gameplay is kind of deceptive in this game. Most people know it as the "card battle game" but while cards are a major focus, this is not Magic: The Gathering, and the game is very much still an Action-RPG.There is just now more of a strategic element to everything. All actions beyond running require a card. There are five types of cards in battle: Red Cards which are action cards. They have various keyblades on them and allow Sora to swing them. Each Keyblade has various strengths and weaknesses and understanding how Sora naturally combos and placing the cards in an order that maximizes their efficiency is a large part of making a strong deck. Blue Cards are Magic and Summoning cards which work pretty much the same way as the first set, but I would like to stress that magic and summons are ultimately more useful in this game than the console titles. The 2D plane and smaller battle arenas make magic far more effective and the summons odd gimmicks are designed to work better than their odd mini-game/special command nonsense in the other entries. Green Cards are Item cards which help restore health and your deck. Black cards are enemy cards randomly dropped by enemies or gained from defeated bosses, and they offer a slew of really cool passive abilities like changing the number on your cards or boosting their effectiveness. The last set are technically the same as Blue cards, but are acquired differently and are temporary, and these are Friend Cards which randomly appear in battles and let you summon an ally like Donald and Goofy, or the world's corresponding hero.
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All cards have a number between 0 and 9 and you can neutralize and enemy attack by playing a higher number card than theirs, or use a 0 card which neutralizes everything but can also be neutralized by any card higher than it. You can also build Sleights, which is where you combine three cards to fulfill the requirement for a special skill or to increase the potency of a move. Using three of the same magic card will raise its power from a simple Fire spell to Firaga, Freind cards will cast more powerful group hitting moves, and certain combinations will unlock Sora's special skills from KH1 like Ars Arcanum and Trinity Limit. Of course some of these combos require low numbered cards, so you'll have to think about that when building your deck.
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This is ultimately what I really love about the game is building the deck to really customize how Sora plays. As he levels up, he can increase the size of his deck and you get more customization options. The game also has a versus mode which kind of counters the one gripe I have with the battle system, which is the dame gripe I have with many of the FF titles. There are loads of really cool customization options, but nothing really worth using it on. Yeah, you can build a deck that can finish off any boss in the game due to it's intricate and carefully planned layout, or you could just grind long enough to build a Cloud deck and Omnislash everything in the game. Sadly, the second style is actually easier to do and more common among people I've discussed this game with. At least the versus mode gives it more of a purpose, but good luck finding anyone who has the GBA version and the cable to do the head to head.
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Riku's gameplay is slightly different, and frankly, I find his gameplay a bit more fun despite his general strategy for winning battles is ultimately the same in every situation: Build the right sleight to go into Dark Riku mode, spam Dark Aura, and win. What makes his gameplay more interesting is that Riku can't build a deck of his own. His deck is handed to him and he only has a few Sleights he can use. He's compensated by having ridiculously overpowered move set. Instead of increasing his deck size, Riku can increase his attack power and how long Dark Riku mode lasts, though increasing the time limit for the mode also increase how much more Riku has to do to enter the mode. Riku can gain enemy cards which he keeps through the various levels and this proves invaluable. The enemy cards are flavor stuff in Sora's game but are incredibly essential in Riku's game. Tjis is because Riku's deck actually get weaker the further you get in. His first deck in Hollow Bastion is filled with 8 and 9 cards, but his deck on Destiny Island is mostly 1-3. Riku's final boss is also more of a headache than Sora's, but Sora probably has the more difficult boss battle in his game simply due tot he fact that Sora's battle is one of attrition whereas Riku's take on the fight comes down to who can kill who faster. This brings up the fact that I find CoM to actually be one of the most balanced games in terms of difficulty in the series. It's not too hard, but it's not as easy as the other entries tend to be. There are some actual challenging boss battles in this game and your ability to grasp and utilize the battle mechanics will play a large part in how easy you make it through the game, whereas I often feel the other entries really comes down to just spamming attack peppered with an occasional healing spell or special attack to win most of the story mode, and the real challenge of the game comes down to the optional stuff, which I still consider to be an awful design Squenix can't seem to shake.
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So yeah, a great game wrapped in a really thought provoking story that gave the impression the series was going to go into some deep territory with the overarching plot is what ultimately makes this entry stand out to me. For me, this entry was the last time I really had high expectations for the franchise before the later entries crashed me back down to reality and made me except the series for what it is: simple fun for a different audience than me.
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Edge7
07-27-2017, 09:56 PM
Chain of Memories seems to be a love it or hate it kinda game, but it's definitely my favorite in the series. I still like to play the first game; despite its datedness, I think it still provides a fun experience. Besides that, my thoughts on the series more or less follow yours, though I'm interested in KH3 for gameplay alone; if it's something of a mix between KH2 and BBS, I'll suffer through the nutty story.

Del Murder
07-27-2017, 10:26 PM
I never got into CoM as much as the others in the series. Too much of Sora's plot was reliving the first game over again. I wasn't interested enough to ever try Riku's section though I hear it's better storywise.

Wolf Kanno
07-28-2017, 07:50 AM
I got distracted while writing up the next post and the page froze on me before I could copy it down. So no post today. :cry:

Karifean
07-28-2017, 01:41 PM
I got distracted while writing up the next post and the page froze on me before I could copy it down. So no post today. :cry:

No "Restore Auto-Saved Content" to save the day?

Fynn
07-28-2017, 02:22 PM
Hells yeah Chain of Memories was fantastic!

Wolf Kanno
07-28-2017, 05:49 PM
I got distracted while writing up the next post and the page froze on me before I could copy it down. So no post today. :cry:

No "Restore Auto-Saved Content" to save the day?

If I knew how, I would have.

Wolf Kanno
07-28-2017, 10:19 PM
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Man, I've been kind of dreading this one, so much so the universe acknowledged it and sent my original write-up into internet limbo. I've mostly been dreading this because I know how "passionate" the fans and the haters are for this game. With that said, let's discuss Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the spiritual successor to legendary FFTactics and the last new game Matsuno actually finished for Squenix before XII destroyed him.
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In the town of St. Ivalice, young Marche has recently moved here due to his brother Doned's illness and the idea that the countryside will improve his health. Marche has left all his friends and places he's known to help out his sickly brother. He quickly finds himself at the bottom of the pecking order at his new school along with the other outcasts whom he quickly forms a friendship with. Ritz is the school rep and a notorious tomboy who defends the outcasts, she may also have one of the dumbest secrets in gaming. Mewt is a quiet boy who likes to read and play video games. His mother passed away a year earlier and his father Cid became the town drunk due to his inability to cope with it. In the first thirty minutes of the game, we've established how troutty most of the cast's lives are in this small little town. Mewt finds a new book he wishes to share and hoping to cheer Doned up since he's bound to a wheelchair and home, Marche invites Mewt and Ritz to his place. The kids talk about how much they wish they could live in an exciting world like Final Fantasy and eventually read Mewt's book, the Gran Grimoire (Vagrant Story vets will likely be cringing or screaming at the kids at this point) and eventually go to sleep. Overnight, the snowy mountain town of St. Ivalice is transformed into the exotic Ivalice.

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Marche wakes up alone and feels he is dreaming, up until he accidentally commits a hate crime on a Bangaa and has to be saved by the streetwise moogle Montblanc. Montblanc takes Marche under his Pom Pom and let's him join his Clan, known as Clan Nu... oh who am I kidding, we all changed the name when we saw how ridiculous it was. Let's just call is Clan AWESOMESAUCE! In the world of Ivalice, various Clans battle for territory, but there is no real war thanks to the Judge System. Judges monitor all battles and enforce various rules handed down by the royal family, which keeps everyone under the government's thumb, but has prevented any actual deaths or large scale conflicts. Marche eventually proves himself in battle and rises through the ranks to lead the Clan. Marche accidentally stumbles into another dimension that contains one of many powerful crystals that maintain the balance of the world. When he accidentally destroys it, and learns of it's purpose, he begins a plan to find the others in the hopes of destroying all of them will return himself back to the real world. Unfortunately for Marche, he soon discovers that his new friends are also in this world, but don't seem to care about leaving. Ivalice's adventures fit Ritz like a glove and this world, Doned is healthy and can play to his hearts content. Mewt is the crowned prince, with his mother alive in this world as the Queen and his father Cid, the head Judgemaster. Ivalice has allowed all of them to have the world they want. His friends soon turn on him when they learn of Marche's plans to return them all to the real world.
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Thus we begin what makes this game so fantastic, the moral dilemma of FFTA and Marche's role in the game. is Ivalice a real world that Marche is dooming to destruction in the slim chance it may return him back to his real world, or is Ivalice simply a Lotus Eater Machine that has ensnared the group in a wish fulfilling fantasy that is ultimately destroying their personal growth and making them run away from their real problems? Is Marche right in trying to force his friends to return home, even when people like Doned and Mewt are absolutely miserable in said world? Are Montblanc and Babus even real, and what would the crystal's destruction mean for them? For a game starring middle schoolers, it asks some pretty deep questions and the game tackles serious themes like what is reality versus dreams, the rights of individuals versus the rights of a group, and ultimately the main them of Escapism. The final theme hits especially hard due to the story dealing with children and the sheer meta of it all since I'm sure most of us play video games to escape our rather dull lives. This is a game that one of my friends basically stopped playing because he was morally opposed to what Marche was doing. The themes create that strong of an opinion and while many of Matsuno's titles deal with complicated themes and moral questions, I often feel this game generates the most passion due to it actually dealing with an issue almost all of us can relate to. Despite the kid-friendly atmosphere, TA is a game that handles difficult topics in a mature way, and I almost feel like having the story's theme center around children dealing with real world problems was to incite such heated debates since the game would speak more to the target audience. I feel it's a testament to the game's legacy that people still debate the topic and Marche may be one of the most divisive main heroes (or villain) in the franchise's history.
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The game side of things is a bit more simple, but no less controversial. FFTA can be easily considered Final Fantasy Tactics Lite. It streamlines or flat out removes a lot of elements from it's predecessor and the game is remarked on by series veterans for having a much more simple design. Whether you feel this is a good thing depends on a number of factors and has also caused it's own heated debates. For me, I fall somewhere in the middle and while there were things I initially praised TA for "fixing" from the original, I soon discovered why certain choices were being made. Magic and the removal of charge times are probably the most easy design change to explain. In Tactics, all spells and some abilities have charge times to compensate for their power, but leave the unit open to be killed if not properly protected. TA makes all abilities instant cast which creates some serious balancing issues as mages will dominate the battlefield throughout the game I often found myself towards the middle of the game that I could clear entire maps with just an Illusionist and a Ninja, which makes you wonder why you would bother with other units. On the other hand, removing the Brave/Faith stats fixes a ton of balancing issues Tactics itself had, and while I miss the extra customization they offered, TA has us covered with the new race dynamic.
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Unlike Tactics which was all humans all the time. TA introduced us to the Ivalice races and the player is welcome to recruit any of them to their Clan. Each race posses unique jobs and have minor statistical differences that add a new layer of depth to the entire experience. Humes are the "every man" race with balanced stats overall and not excelling at any one thing. Viera are more magically inclined and have better speed, moogles have the best speed and offer some quirky classes. Bangaa offer the best strength and defense, while Nu Muo offer the best magic power and resistance. These minor stat difference come into play when dealing with overlapping jobs like Black Mage or Thief as you can customize difference like building a sturdier Black Mage with a Hume version of a speedy version like a Moogle.
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Each race has their own collection of unique jobs which help to differentiate them from the other races and often work towards their strengths, though some races do occasionally get the odd job that goes against the grain in order to cover their weaknesses. Viera get classes that balance physical and magical abilities like Magic Fencer, Sniper, and Red Mage. Bangaa get heavy melee focus classes like Gladiator, White Monk, and Dragoon. Nu Muo get magic focused jobs like Alchemist and Sage. Moogles get quirky classes that often deal with buffing and debuffing like Gunner, Animst, and Juggler. Humes off the most balance role and get the most jobs though they share most of them with other races, still they get the unique Hunter, Ninja, and Blue Mage classes. The Job selections are quite nice and really help to give identity to the races. If I have one gripe, it's that the classes do feel a bit too streamlined for my taste, though a large part of that is likely due to being a GBA title and limited memory.
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Skills are no longer gained by spending Job Points, instead, Ability Points are rewarded after every mission is completed successfully in a set amount. TA takes on FFIX's ability mechanics where each piece of equipment has a skill attached to it and the AP rewarded after missions goes towards the skill until it's "learned" at which point the character can move onto the next piece of gear. Now, I'm a fan of IX's ability system in it's own game, but that's because the developers did a good job of balancing the game's difficulty curve so you're party is always gaining the next advancement of abilities at certain points in the narrative. It's hard to break the game. TA doesn't do as well of a job. While shops and major missions certainly maintain a curve, the bulk of TA is the game's optional missions and when you combine it with how horribly important a Thief now is in this game, it really doesn't take long before you start seeing lopsided results of the ability system as some classes will get mastered in no time, while it may be hours into the post game before you'll start seeing missions and enemies sporting gear that teaches what most people consider to be basic spells. My Black Mage was stuck with -ara spells until late in the post game after I had already conquered most of the games real challenges, and I have several classes not mastered due to the nature of how you acquire Mythril Weapons, which I'll stop there cause I don't want to rant about hiding rewards behind optional multiplayer elements, which sadly was the only idea WotL took from this game when it was ported to PSP.
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I will also take this time to call out the designer who thought it was a great idea to treat all key items as a separate item in your inventory despite the game making it super easy to overload your inventory with multiples of the same useless item. I like the idea of the missions needing certain key items, but I hate the inconsistency and it really makes me feel it was something slapped together at the last minute. Not only is it really easy to clutter up your whole inventory with useless items and end up denying yourself an important one later, but several key items only appear in a limited capacity, and the game will never tell you which ones. A similar issues happens with the Blue Mage and Morpher classes as well. So my initial playthrough has me stuck at 298 out of 300 missions completed because I accidentally either threw away the Black Thread or used all three of them on the same mission, this tiem only appears three times in the game and is needed for different mission requirements so I literally locked myself out of 100% completion due to the fact the designers decided that some items can be given infinite times while others are limited time only for arbitrary reasons. Yes I'm still salty about this.
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Another new addition is the Law system. Judges enforce various rules that add restrictions to battles. If you fulfill a law, you get Judge Points which can be used to summon Totema or use Combo abilities, but frankly I never found much use for it anyway. Breaking a law will get you carded by the judges like a soccor/football ref and getting a red card will have the character eemoved from your party until they serve their sentence in jail. If Marche gets sent to prison, well it's game over. Most people hate this mechanic, but I honestly loved it, especially since it was easy to abuse it to give yourself an advantage in battle. There is also a character named Ezel who will sell you Law and Anti-Law cards which will allow you to modify the laws before battles, so it becomes really asy to break the system if you choose to, but I frnakly like the extra layer of challenge it offers, especially since the game is rather easy without it. I also like the stiffer restrictiosn and harsher penalties it has over TA2's lobotomized version.
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If none of this sounds bad to you and the story sounds intriguing enough, I highly recommend the game to anyone. It was a fun romp through Ivalice and scratched the Tactical RPG itch Tactics left behind for me.

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Karifean
07-28-2017, 10:27 PM
https://i.imgur.com/5v9n5wz.png

Wolf Kanno
07-28-2017, 10:30 PM
https://i.imgur.com/5v9n5wz.png

Good to know, though I've probably never seen it because I use Faded Fantasy skin and thus the frame is black for me. The youtube tag is also missing but still usable, though it looks like Old Skool has the same issue.

Bubba
07-29-2017, 09:11 AM
Oh man, how have I never seen that Aliens game before?! I must obtain a copy at some point.

I have owned a copy of FF Tactics Advance for years and have never actually played it. It is on my list. Where on my list... I don't know.

theundeadhero
07-30-2017, 04:50 AM
I still have my copy of FFTA in my gameboy advanced. That I haven't played in eight years. But its still the game in the system! Gonna finish that one day.

Wolf Kanno
07-30-2017, 05:57 AM
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Hot damn, two Final Fantasy games in a row! Let's talk about Final Fantasy's middle child. Due to be released years after it was relevant, it doesn't garner the same respect as it's other SNES brethren thanks to lacking nostalgia, yet all the cool trout it introduced has not only become standard fare by the time it came out in the West, but we all got introduced to it's best features in an upgraded capacity, making it difficult to appreciate what it really did for the series.
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For many fans, FFV is the best game in the series. Maybe not the best entry, but the best game, and frankly I find this assessment to be hard to argue you with. The Job Class system is always a welcome customization system, and while it lacks the bells and whistles of the later installments, it kind of beats them out for me by being far better balanced. It's hard to find a bad job in this game, and while it's not as balanced as FFIV, it's gameplay is a pretty close second. It's also the last game in the series that I feel is challenging. Hardly the hardest game in the series, but the difficulty drop between this entry and VI are quite noticeable.
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The game also introduces a lot of classes that I actually either love or have a soft spot. Blue Mages, Samurai, Dancer, and Mystic Knights are awesome, and despite some people's issues with them, I find that Bard, Tamer, Chemist, and Berserker are pretty neat classes with some cool uses with a creative approach. In fact, that what makes this game so fun is just playing around with all the job combinations, and thanks to not having the min/max element of later installments, you can feel free to really play around with combinations with little repercussion, something even FFIII kind of failed at.
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Yet to say V's greatest contribution to gameplay is simply it's job class system and the introduction of the sub-job mechanic is kind of selling the game short. The overall game structure of this game really pushes for the player to explore and the game is filled with hidden secrets all across the three (technically five if you can't the submarine parts) world maps you traverse. I loved finding the secret entrance to Castle Walz's basement where Shiva lay hidden to do battle. Using a black chocobo to find Bartz's hometown. Challenging the Gil Snapper, finding the Phantom Village, and the more open ended final act of the game where you collect all of the games ultimate spells, summons and the legendary weapons. FFV may as well be called ADVENTURE: THE GAME, because that's pretty much the experience I feel it offers as a game.
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The King of Tycoon senses a disturbing presence within the crystals and notices the arrival of a strange meteor to their world. His kingdom has guarded the Wind Crystal for centuries and with the thanks of Cid, mankind has learned to harness the power of the crystals to gain great wealth and prosperity. Unfortunately, this abuse of their power has weakened them, and now the crystals are shattering. Lenna, the Princess of Tycoon goes in search of her father when he doesn't return, and she is soon accosted by monsters. She is saved by Bartz, a noble, if a bit simple, wanderer who comes across her on his travels with his Chocobo stead Boko. The y investigate a meteor that crashes near them and discover Galuf, an amnesiac old man who thinks he may have been a warrior long ago and has a mission to save this world's crystals, but obviously can't quite remember why. With the Wind Crystal destroyed, no ship can sail the seas, and thus the party can't reach the Wind Shrine to investigate. They learn of a pirate crew with a ship that can travel without the need for wind and try to "borrow" it, only to gain the ire of the pirates and their captain, a stern warrior named Faris who has an interesting secret and an unknown connection to one of the party. Faris is intrigued by this possible connection and also wishes to learn why the Wind stopped and so he accompanies the three to the Wind Shrine to discover it's destruction and that some evil force is taking advantage of the crystals weakened state to destroy them. Tasked by the crystal to save the world, it's shards bequeath to them the ancient knowledge of warriors who have long since served the crystals in time past. Thus the four set off on a world spanning adventure that will take them across two worlds and the mutliverse to stop a great evil force from being revived.

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V often gets knocked for it's story. Yes, I would agree that the game is less serious and dramatic than the more popular entries it's sandwiched between, but I still feel that doesn't mean it's plot is bad because the story and characters are more fun than dramatic. The five main characters have their dramatic moments but they are also just fun to be around and watch their next ridiculous plot point. IV's story is often times, very ridiculous, but still tries to play it straight, which can make it hard to gt in for some people. FFV is a bit more tongue in cheek and plays the laughs more often than the serious moments, even then, the serious moments are still well done with moments like Galuf's sacrifice, Bartz's childhood flashback, the birth of the new Phoenix, and Gilgamesh's last stand are fantastic moments that really stay with you.
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Another element I feel that is often overlooked by this entry is how fantastic it's music is. Clash on the Big Bridge, The Evil Lord Ex-Death, Home Sweet Home, Legend of the Deep Forest, Sorrow of Parting, Music Box, Musica Machina, Dear Friends, and Opening Theme are some of Nobuo Uematsu's best works and really showed he was growing into the promising composer that FFIV led us to see. It's my third favorite FF soundtrack in the series and I'm still amazed by it.
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I don't feel I really need to sell or explain this one to people, especially here. FFV is a lost gem of the series and for me, proof that Square and Final Fantasy's Golden Age began in the 16-bit era, as this game showed just how fun an RPG could be in terms of game design and just a lovable story and characters.
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Pumpkin
07-30-2017, 12:07 PM
I love FFV!

Wolf Kanno
07-30-2017, 10:51 PM
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It's our second Zelda game to make it onto this list. Link's Awakening actually has a bit in common with two other entries on this list, namely Majora's Mask and FFTactics Advance. Like FFTA, LA places you in a bit of a moral quandary about halfway through and like TA, the player is kind of left at the ending wondering if you did the right thing. The similarities with MM on the other hand are far more apparent.
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The game actually has an interesting origin, as it was being secretly developed by some of the programmers who did LttP using ideas and concepts that didn't make it into the main game. They did this to blow off steam from the major projects they were working on. Soon what became a simple project started gaining more people helping out, and soon Nintendo game them permission to make the game. Wishing to make this more of a spin-off, the game incorporates villains and enemies from Mario and Kirby titles, and it was intentional to move the setting away from Hyrule and the main story. The Giant Egg idea was a scrapped idea for Ltt and found it's way into this game. The scenario writer Yoshiaki Koizumi, came up with the basic story and themes, and wanted to make the game feel like the TV series Twin Peaks, so he wrote the characters and the islanders to reflect this concept along with the underlying mystery surrounding the island.
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Link's Awakening is a direct sequel to A Link to the Past. After saving Hyrule, Link goes on a journey and tries to cross the ocean before he is caught in a storm. When he wakes up, he finds himself on a strange island filled with colorful characters who worship the Wind Fish that sleeps in an egg on a mountain in the middle of the island. No one knows how long they've been there and have no real memory about the past. Only Marin, the young singer who found Link on the shore and helped him has ever really wondered what the world beyond the island is like. Link meets a strange talking owl (who would later inspire the different character in OoT) who convinces Link that his only way of leaving the island is to wake the Wind Fish by gathering eight spirit instruments and play a certain song to wake it up and get it's help off the island. About halfway through the game a certain revelation is made to Link by the monsters who guard the treasures that puts Link's journey into doubt.
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So like MM, Link is ultimately transferred to a new place with a new villain, in fact Ganon, Zelda, and the Triforce are barely mentioned in passing and Link's real foe is original. The game is also less heroic fantasy and has more of a dark edge to it's story which is juxtaposed with a quirky cast of fun characters who are surprisingly cheerful considering what the story is really about. There is also a greater emphasis of talking and dealing with the locals, as often the temples are connected to them in some way. Marin herself is more prominent figure in the plot than previous NPCs in the franchise.
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The game also serves a s a bit of a bridge between A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time, as the game is loosely based on the tech of LttP, but it also brings in many elements that would become major features in OoT. For instance, the Ocarina and the need to learn various songs to progress the quest, actually debuts in this game. The game also introduces the Mario Bros. expy's and along with Marin herself, will come to be expy's again in OoT as Maron and the Lon Lon Ranch crew.
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The core gameplay isn't terribly different from mainline Zelda titles, but there are more experimental elements in the game than typical Zelda titles. The game plays around with Mario style side scrolling elements and there are actual a few Mario enemies like Goombas and Chomp Chomps that makes appearances in this game. Even King Wart from SMB2 (also on this list) appears as the King of the Frogs and teaches the Frog Song to Link. There is also a cameo from a character from another Game Boy title that never made it out of Japan.
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Probably the coolest feature the game brought, which for reasons I'll never fathom, didn't become a major feature for the franchise and only ever showed up in one other game, is the ability to use two sub-weapons/item by replacing the sword with one of them. This ends up creating some interesting combinations like combining the Bombs and Bow to make Bomb Arrows, or using the Pegasus Boots running mechanic in conjunction with the Roc Feather's (debut) jumping mechanic to greatly expand Link's mobility and create more clever means of getting around the island.
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While Link's Awakening is kind of doomed to be always overlooked by Zelda fans since it's not a console entry and more of a spin-off, the game is really well designed and has a great cast and story with it. It was a sheer blast playing through this entry a few years ago, and I'm still kicking myself for taking so long to get around to it.
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theundeadhero
07-31-2017, 01:10 AM
I liked a lot of things about Link's Awakening. The trading adventure was fun. Sea shell collecting was interesting to power up your sword, and it was especially useful that if you went to the gauge after every five you got a free sea shell. I liked that you could steal a shovel, as long as you never went back to the shop, but then everyone would call you thief instead of your name for the rest of the game. It was an especially nice touch that Marin actually turns into a seagull and flies away if you manage to beat the game without dying.

Skyblade
07-31-2017, 11:07 AM
Nooo, I missed FFTA and KH: CoM. These update too often! :p

Del Murder
07-31-2017, 04:40 PM
These last three are absolute gems.

sharkythesharkdogg
07-31-2017, 07:03 PM
Link's Awakening is my second favorite Zelda behind ttP. It really is a pretty great game in a lot of ways. It's sad though.

Wolf Kanno
08-01-2017, 07:11 AM
Probably not going to have an update today. I'm pretty exhausted tonight. Sorry. ^^;

Fynn
08-01-2017, 09:01 AM
These last three are absolute gems.

Agreed!

Wolf Kanno
08-01-2017, 07:21 PM
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When asked the question of which DQ Yuji Hori considers his favorite, he answered this game. He considers it his magnum opus for the franchise and after play through it, I am of the impression that he is most likely right. Dragon Quest V is a special game in terms of it's overall design and I feel it breaks away from the "DQ Mold" a bit more than any other entry in the series, which really sets it apart for me.
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Set during the loosely defined Zenithia Trilogy (Super Famicom era), DQV is a generational story separated into three arcs. The first arc begins with your character as a small child traveling the world with your badass father to find the Zenithia gear and the Hero of Legend to stop an underlying evil encroaching on the world. The second arc begins as your character is a young man still continuing your journey and ends up finding some of the gear, but gets married and learns more about his past. The third arc is about the character traveling the world with his own kids and finally fulfilling the journey they started as a small child. This is a very vague description because I feel you really need to experience the journey for yourselves.
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Like most DQ games, the game is a bit light on plot but makes up for it with a good cast of characters and memorable scenarios. DQV is tied with DQVII for me as a game that really has some heart-wrenching moments scattered about it as well as some really warm elements as well. In truth Hori was at his A-Game with this titles story which is saying something coming from me because I rarely like DQ stories. With that said, DQV's plot does kind of fall apart for me by the end. Largely because the main villain and even his cronies are such a background element to the plot that beating most of them never really had much satisfaction as you kept asking yourself, "who are you again?". There is also a major subplot that only gets pushed into the front of the story about three times in the plot, about once per arc, and due to being so scarce, it's resolution in the final act, which is meant to be a very powerful moment kind of fell flat for me because it involved a character who spent most of the game as an unknown entity. DQIII has a similar plot thread, but made sure to keep it as an element throughout the plot, so it's impact was far more powerful imho.
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Still I liked that he re-utilized the one interesting idea from DQIV which was the chapter scenario by splitting the game into different arcs with a clear beginning and end. It's amusing playing as a weak small child and having your A.I. controlled father show up to absolutely wreck everything for you and then transition to the second arc, where you have to fend for yourself. My one gripe is that again, the third arc falls a bit flat, which is sad when it begins so powerfully, but this is largely due to a combination of the villains being underdeveloped and the game deciding to overload you with a bunch of human characters at the last minute after you spent so much time building your Monster Dream Team.
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"Monster Dream Team" you ask? Oh yes, this is what really separates this game from it's peers. The game follows a gameplay structure out of Shin Megami Tensei, and while you do have a few human companions to help you at certain points of the plot, your party is basically built with the various monsters you battle in the game. Sometimes when you finish a battle, one of the monsters may get up and ask to join you. Monsters learn their own spells and can use some gear as well. People who have played XIII-2 will recognize the monster leveling mechanic, as some monsters start off with beefy stats but will level cap at Lv. 20, while some weak monsters can eventually be leveled to 99 and gain ungodly powerful skills. While the acquisition of monsters is a bit random for my taste, it is still an absolute blast trying out different monster teams and seeing which works best.
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Probably the most well known element about this game is the fact your character can get married, and you actually get to choose which of the fair maidens to choose from. In the original, it was only between the childhood friend Bianca or the quiet and demure Nera, but the DS version adds Deborah, Nera's more selfish and strong minded older sister as an option as well. The game is also a bit anvilicious about the choice as the original version makes it clear that Bianca is really the only choice, especially since she's the only one to really appear in any of the official artwork. So it's nice the remake kind of scaled back pushing her as the right choice.
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While Dragon Quest is a bit more niche in the West, I will wholeheartedly say that if you really wanted to know what all of the fuss is about, this is the best game to play. It's easily the most creative entry and has better replay value than many of the other games in the franchise.

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Pumpkin
08-01-2017, 07:28 PM
DQV is excellent. Nera is bae

Slothy
08-01-2017, 07:55 PM
Link's Awakening is my second favorite Zelda behind ttP. It really is a pretty great game in a lot of ways. It's sad though.

Knew I liked you for a reason.

Spuuky
08-02-2017, 12:46 AM
Had Liquid Metal Slime in my party, A+++

Bubba
08-02-2017, 04:38 PM
I've never attempted a Dragon Quest game. I remember in the early days of he SNES, the magazine I used to buy (Super Play) had a monthly feature on Japanese rpgs and this series (along with Final Fantasy, of course) grabbed most of the headlines.

I should really attempt one at some point.

Del Murder
08-02-2017, 05:15 PM
You are on a roll here Wolf.

Wolf Kanno
08-02-2017, 08:13 PM
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Man, is this really the first MegaTen title on this list? This game is a bit of an oddity in he SMT community. First off, I don't think any of us were expecting it since Atlus released the third entry in 2003 which itself was close to ten years after SMT2 came out, so it seems like Atlus can only give us a legitimate sequel to the franchise once per decade. This was also the first entry to only have modest contribution from the core SMT team since many of them either left the company or got kicked up stairs in the corporate ladder. The game was built with a team comprised of older veterans of the franchise and new people and apparently there were lots of disagreements on how to go about this game, but I'll get to that later.
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Shin Megami Tensei IV takes place in the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, a feudal kingdom with a strict caste system of Luxurors and Casualrys which you are born into. The only way for a peasant Casualry to circumvent their status is to be chosen to be a Samurai, a prestige position of knighthood who protects the realm, on their eighteenth birthday during the Rite of the Gauntlet. You play as Flynn (though you can change his name) who travels to the capital city with his friend Issachar to fulfill the rite. Flynn passes as the mechanical gauntlet boots up and he's introduced to the spirit of the gauntlet known as Burroughs. Issachar fails and has to return to his old life.
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Flynn meets his fellow knights who recently passed the rite: Jonathon, a kind-hearted Luxuror who want to change the caste the system to help everyone; Walter, a fellow Casualry who is happy to leave his life behind and has a carefree attitude that likes freedom; Isabeau, a Luxuror associated with the monastery branch of the government, she is more calm and serious than the other two but tends to be a bit more indecisive. Finally there is Navarre, a spoiled Luxuror who is annoyed that he has been chosen, he looks down on all Casualrys. The five recruits are soon taught the basics of their new jobs and learn to their horror that it's to protect the realm from demon invasions. Even scarier is that the gateway to Naraku, the demon realm, is actually under the capital city. Luckily the gauntlet's they receive give the Samurai the ability to speak and even recruit demons to help them on their holy quest.
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Eventually the team come in contact with a mysterious Black Samurai, who has come from the depths of Naraku and is causing a social conflict between the Casualry and the Luxurors by distributing books to the peasant caste and teaching them to read. Hoping to stop her, the Samurai are tasked with traversing the deepest parts of Naraku until they find her, something no Samurai has ever done before. To the samurai's surprise, Naraku leads to a post-apocalyptic modern Tokyo that has been trapped in a mysterious magical dome after a war between Lucifer and the Angels of Heaven twenty five years prior. After this point, the plot just get more convoluted and twisty and frankly I'm trying my best to be vague on details because uncovering the true mysteries of the Mikado and Tokyo's connections is one of the games high points for me.
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SMTIV has a more Dark Souls approach to story, despite having more fleshed out characters in the plot than previous installments of the series. The early sections are more story driven as they set-up the world of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, but Tokyo and it's connections are far more subdued and involve talking to most of the NPCs to really put together what the hell happened twenty five years ago and how everything gets interconnected. SMTIV also adds a new element to the traditional plot themes. Usually the stories involve mankind being stuck in between the power struggle of the Chaos forces of Lucifer and the Law aligned forces of YHHW, but IV introduces a new faction called The White, which are godlike being created from the nihilism of mankind and simply want to end the cycle once and for all.The game has some cool twists and turns and plays with the series central conflict of Chaos vs. Law. There is even a point where your team get to see what a Chaos or Law world would even look like.

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Gameplay is familiar to people who've played the franchise before but has several interesting touches that make it stand out from it's peers. Battles are fought in a first person perspective, which is traditional of the mainline franchise, but the dungeons are traversed in third person like SMTIII. Battles retain Digital Devil Saga's (Avatar Turners) version of the Press Turn system where defending will prevent your weakness from being exploited, but has added a new mechanic called Smirk. Smirk activates sometimes when your party member lands a critical hit or nullifies an element attack from the enemy. Smirk lasts for one turn, but greatly enhances the power of your next action like doubling the potency of buff/debuff spells, or increased damage and healing from spells. It also makes physical attacks a guarantee critical hit, as well as boost your character's evasion to nearly 100%. So yeah, it's kind of overpowered, but even enemies can gain the status and you'll learn that quickly when you fight Minotaur and he basically becomes unstoppable because you can't control the flow of battle enough for him to not keep getting this perk.
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Another interesting addition to gameplay is how stats work. Firearms are now controlled by their own stat instead being based on your strength which greatly reduces their broken nature in previous installments. The most peculiar change is the removal of the Defense stat, instead your defenses are completely based on your armor or demon's natural defenses against the elements. This greatly speeds up combat as now everything in this game does ridiculous damage and even boss battles may only last four or five rounds top with the right party configuration. Course this also means that even backtracking can be dangerous as even low level enemies can wipe out your whole party if you don't have the right defensive build. It's a bit awkward but doesn't take long to get used to it. On the one hand, battles are thankfully short, on the other hand, party death is more common. Thankfully, SMTIV actually drops the whole "party leader dies = Game Over" since a party wipe is very common now.

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Flynn's customization also greatly differs from previous protagonists. His armor now completely controls his defensive game and it's important to keep a wide selection for any type of engagement. On the plus side, equipment actually changes Flynn's appearance and their are some nice touches with the designs. Flynn is also the first all human MC in the series to be able to use magic. When a demon under his employ finishes learning all of their skills, they can use Demon Whisper to teach Flynn one of the skills they have, though Flynn can only use eight. On the other hand, teaching Flynn the same skill powers up the skill for eight total ranks. This has the potential to transform Flynn into one of the most powerful characters in your party, much like the Demi-Fiend was in SMTIII.
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Demons are still obtained the same way, negotiations and demon fusions. Negotiations are a bit harder in this game than usual, due to demons being way more finicky and your answers having more of a percentage chance of succeeding rather than guarantee. This makes it hard to use negotiations to talk your way out of a losing battle or trying to acquire that one demon you really want. Thankfully, SMTIV brought back the App system from Strange Journey, so you can acquire apps that will help with negotiations, but it can be frustrating in the early to mid-sections of the game to either have a demon rob you of some rare items in negotiations, only to run away, or having one keep getting free turns to wreck your party because the answer you gave a hundred times before when talking to this demon stops working arbitrarily.
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Fusions have become far more user friendly in this game. The game adds the ability to break down what you want from fusions by adding restrictions like fusions for current levels, or a certain type of demon. You can even go by simply what is missing in your compendium. This makes creating the right demon super easy and reduces the need for a guide which is super convenient. Also, the game borrows from Devil Survivor's mechanics and let's you pick and choose the skills a new demon will learn from it's "parent demons" and the skill restrictions have been lifted so feel free to teach an ice demon like Jack Frost that Agidyne (fire) skill. This ultimately creates some serious balancing issues and by end game, it's not uncommon to find that you're rolling a COMP of twenty demons who all basically have the same move sets and only differ by slight stats and resistance changes.
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I said before the game had some conflict with it's development between the new team and the old team. SMTIV basically feels like an SMT team made to win over the Persona crowd of fans. It has a much simpler game design, more character driven and the difficulty has been curbed down. Unfortunately, it's still a mainline MegaTen game and tries it's best to adhere to series traditions. What we end up with is a game that kind of turned off fans of both series. Old fans hate that the more complex themes of the series are minimized to deal with how the characters are feeling. Persona fans hate the fact that all of the characters are a bit flat and one dimensional compared to the more robust ones from Persona. Old school fans feel the game holds your hands too much, while newer fans are thrown off by the game's more lore based story telling. Both sides kind of have a point, but ultimately I feel the game is actually pretty good overall if you don't adhere to some staunch ideal of what the series has to be. Frankly, I feel SMTIV did a lot to expand on the lore of the mainline games and I was happy that the Law, Chaos, and Neutral Heroes are all likable after suffering through Devil Survivors wishy-washy and angsty interpretations of the factions. The game does have some balancing issues that make it a bit too easy, especially when you put in account the game's DLC that practically gives you infinite money, skill cards, and leveling items. Still, I can appreciate Atlus trying to make the series more accessible because hot damn if it isn't a pain to convince people to play through Nocturne when they get murdered ten minutes in by a team of pixies.
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I honestly feel that people should give this game a try if you want play around with the main series of MegaTen, it was practically designed to be a "gateway" entry and I feel it does a great job. The story is pretty great if you can piece it together and the gameplay is excellent as long as you don't build a clone team.
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Scotty_ffgamer
08-02-2017, 11:30 PM
One of these days I'll get around to playing this. I still have never beat anything from the mainline smt series

Edge7
08-03-2017, 06:56 AM
I'm actually playing the DS remake of DQV as I'm reading your last two entries. The DQXI hype has inspired me to push through the rest of the third chapter.

Fynn
08-03-2017, 08:17 AM
Definitely the best entry point in the series and a game that is just becoming more and more awesome in my eyes. Definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of RPGs, mythologt, clever world building, and killing God with the power of friendship :D

(okay that last one doesn't really apply so much to this entry since it's very cynical and I love it that way but you get the idea)

It really needs more love! I'm surprised with how much negativity it has faced on the internet, tbh

Wolf Kanno
08-04-2017, 03:40 AM
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Man if I was simply doing a list of the quirkiest games I've ever played, this would easily be in the top five. Catherine is a platform puzzle game attached to a minor social sim with a horror-comedy plot about love, infidelity, and sheep...yeah. It was created by the Persona team as a test run to learn the ins and outs of the PS3 console. Until recently, this was my favorite game on the PS3.
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Catherine is told from the perspective of a late night TV show like Tales from the Crypt called the Golden Playhouse, this comes into play as the game has a bit of a narrator to it which makes the game even more amusing. The story is about Vincent, a thirty something programmer in a long term relationship with his college sweetheart who spends his free time hanging out with his old friends at a bar called the Stray Sheep. Vincent's story begins when he gets into an argument with his girlfriend Katherine about the fact their relationship is sort of in a rut and she wants to make the move to the next stage like marriage and starting a family. Vincent doesn't want to give up his freedom and shoulder the adult responsibilities this entails and ends up getting drunk at the bar with his friends. Not wishing to go home, Vincent stays late after his friends leave and meets up with a blonde bombshell of a girl named Catherine who also wants to shirk relationship responsibilities and live freely. The two hit it off and Vincent passes out.
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Vincent has a weird dream where he is stuck in a bone chilling tower with anthropomorphic sheep who are all trying to escape the tower by climbing to the top where the exit is. Many dangerous hazards are in the way and it becomes easy to see the tower is a sort of punishment for the people there. When Vincent wakes up the next morning, he finds Catherine in bed with him in a very compromising position and realizes he may have slept with her. He hopes to keep it a secret but Catherine decides she really liked Vincent and begins to stalk him and somehow wind up in his bed every morning. She threatens to kill him if he ever tries to cheat on her. Now stuck in a love triangle where he has to sort out his complicated feelings for his long time girlfriend Katherine, and the alluring if a bit psychotic Catherine who is fine with having a more casual if exclusive relationship of frivolity. Meanwhile, Vincent spends every night dreaming about the Tower and the sheep people, and soon his real world problems begin to translate into real horrors within the tower. The story revolves around Vincent trying to keep both girls from finding out about the other, confronting real world problems like a baby scare, and ultimately watching him dig himself into a deeper hole as he tries to fix the situation he finds himself in. The game has a very Hitchcock kind of vibe to it, if he wrote situational comedy sitcoms that is.
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To say this game is a bit weird is an understatement, but it also happens to be a fun and exciting game in both the story and gameplay department. If I had to use only one word to describe this game, it would be intense. Anyone who has watched me play will almost always leave the room or ask me to play something else because the game can be very nerve wracking. The core game is the tower climbing. Vincent has to climb a tower which loses the bottom floor every minute or so, so you must climb as fast as you can or fall to your death. Vincent can climb up one block space and has the ability to push or pull a block as well as climb around it, though he can't climb up if there is a block above it. The premise of the gameplay is pretty simple, manipulate the blocks to build "stairs" and passage ways to help you climb up until you reach the top. The tower is divided by several sections and each section has a set of stages. Between stages, Vincent can talk with other sheep and buy items. You will also be asked several questions concerning relationships and affairs of the heart which will ultimately determine which of the games many endings you will receive. The final stage usually involves a "boss" battle which involves a giant environmental hazard chasing you up the tower with the intent of murdering you in addition to the tower falling apart on you. Often these bosses are reflections of troubles Vincent is having in his real life and the Freudian imagery is not subtle in the least. As you progress through the game, new stage hazards appear such as blocks that can't be moves, ice blocks, and blocks that crumble as soon as you step off of them. These add new layers of challenge to the basic formula and the stages can become quite the mind bender as you try to figure out how to use all of them to your advantage. Some stages also have fellow sheep on them that will knock you down or in the case of the black ones, murder you. It all becomes a pretty intense experience that feels like Tetris when you have 75% of the screen filled but are still desperately trying to keep the game going.
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The social sim part is far more subdued and exclusively takes place in the Stray Sheep bar. Vincent can chat with NPCs and story characters which ultimately tie into the games few sidequests (yes, it has them) learn more about the plot, Vincent can drink alcohol which boosts his speed during the nightmare sections of the game. He can answer texts on his phone which also affect which ending you receive, and you can play an old school arcade game called Rapunzel which is actually a slower but longer version of the nightmare world gameplay. There are some interesting elements that go on in this point as you'll eventually notice that several of the Sheep in the nightmare have a counterpart in the bar. Vincent can have up to four drinks per night, and if all four are the same kind (Gin, Vodka, beer, or sake) the narrator will interrupt the story to give you some fun tidbits. The alcohol consumption also affects how Vincent walks around in the bar as well. It's a nice calmness that helps give you some breathing room between the intense nightmare stages and the games actual plot.
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The cast of the story are well thought out and Vincent's core group of friends are a fun bunch who all offer their own ideas about relationships and marriage, while struggling with their own problems. I feel one of the best aspects of this game is the main topic and how the game kind of addresses the theme of infidelity and moving a boy meets girl relationship into the real reality of marriage, careers, and children. The game is kind of an adult love story, but it's hardly a fairy tale and willing to look at the more ugly side of relationships. It's a nice change of pace, especially coming from a team often accused of just making cookie cutter dating sims. The frantic nature of the plot and gameplay mesh well and ultimately make this game a pretty intense (there's that word again) experience.
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If none of this has scared you off yet, then I highly recommend checking out this lost gem of a game. I'm still hoping that in between the Persona team making their new RPG and Atlus generally whoring out Persona, we'll eventually get a sequel (likely a spiritual one) to this game.

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Bubba
08-04-2017, 07:36 AM
I don't get night terrors... but if I did I can imagine them being exactly like this.

Pumpkin
08-04-2017, 12:38 PM
Me and the bf gon try that game together eventually

Wolf Kanno
08-05-2017, 12:44 AM
61.
73388

Hello, meet the game that prevents me from liking God of War because it's too slow, holds your hands too much, and doesn't have the common decency to be self aware of how utterly ridiculous it is. DMC3 does none of this. I've always had an odd history with the franchise, and in hindsight, I kind of feel that DMC3 is the only really good one. DCM1 is charming in a special needs kind of way and has aged horribly with bad camera design, cheap enemies, and one of the worst control schemes for an action game I can think of off the top of my head. DCM2 is boring and unbalanced with Dante feeling like a second fiddly to Lucia and his gameplay is ridiculously easy since the guns are overpowered as all hell. DCM4 has some great gameplay, but the plot is more ridiculous than usual, the game basically makes you replay every stage and boss fight twice and frankly, Nero is more fun to play as since his Devil Arm adds something to the gameplay but he's such a whiny bitch it's hard to deal with him. Dante is the better character but his new style switching mechanic breaks the game for him if you even remotely know what you're doing. The less said about DmC the better.
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For those unfamiliar with the franchise, Devil May Cry is set in a world where demons once tried to take over the human world, but one of their strongest generals, Sparda, woke up to justice and single handily defeated the invasion and the demon god Mundus. Afterwards, he sealed the two worlds apart using his demon sword and a magical amulet. He then fell in love with a human woman and eventually sired twin boys, Dante and Vergil, before mysteriously dying off. Demons still trapped in the human world or finding dubious ways to circumvent the barrier eventually found Sparda's offspring and attacked them, resulting in the death of their mother. The boys are still tormented by this with Dante becoming more wild and reckless and wishing to hunt demons, while Vergil grew cold and calculating wishing to embrace his full demon. The series in general usually involves someone trying to get a hold of Sparda's artifacts to open up a hole to the demon world.
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DMC3 is a prequel to DCM1, and deals with a late teen/early twenty something Dante as he gets ready to start his demon hunting business. In series tradition, a stranger named Arkham appears at his shop and mentions that a demon invasion is underway as the path to the demon world is about to be unlocked by Dante's estranged brother Vergil. Dante fights off the demons accompany Arkham and follows him to the tower to face his brother. On the way, Dante meets a feisty human demon hunter named Lady who is hunting down Arkham to fulfill her grudge against the man. The game takes place in a tower that plays a lot of lip service to Dante's Inferno, with enemies based around the seven deadly sins and other amusing nods. Vergil's ultimate goal is to retrieve his father's sword from the demon realm so he can awaken his full demonic power. The plot has it's nice dramatic moment like Dante and Vergil's first duel on the top of the tower, but the game has no problems poking fun at how ridiculous everything is. There is a sequence in the beginning when Dante meets Lady for the first time and she fires a rocket at him. The game proceeds to do a frame for frame recreation of the famous Matrix bullet time sequence, before Dante instead jumps on top of the rocket and rides it like a surfboard across the room. The game is filled with tongue and cheek nods to it's own ridiculousness which helps move it away from the rather grim second game.
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Okay, so the plot is pretty formulaic and basic, but let's face it, we're not here for the story. We're here for the hardcore, action gameplay. At this point DMC3 truly shines as the game builds on what actually worked in DMC1, while mostly ignoring DMC2's contributions. Dante can collect demonic weapons and various firearms to help him on his journey and gameplay largely revolves around being ridiculously good at crowd control and juggling enemies in the air. You'll need to get good at it too as the game is pretty difficult with competent enemy A.I. that works pretty well together in groups and some seriously nasty enemy types and bosses. Cerberus and the twin armors alone are the bane for many first time players and the game's first "boss" actually turns out to be a regular enemy later on. Many gamers whined about the game's notorious Story and Gameplay segregation, as Dante can shrug off fatal attacks from the enemy like nobody's business in the cutscenes but can be taken down in three hits by the most basic of enemies. Yet for me, the challenge of the game is getting good enough to make you recreate the crazy action sequences Dante does in the story portions which is pretty easy to do with the newer game mechanics.
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Like DMC1, Dante can purchase various skills associated with the weapons he collects, what's new is the game's Style system, which allows the player to alter Dante's gameplay focus. At the start of a mission, the player can choose one of four styles: Swordmaster, Gunslinger, Trickster, and Royal Guard. Swordmaster helps expand Dante's move-set with the various melee weapons you obtain over the course of the game. Gunslinger does the same with fire-arms. These often add special moves like using enemies to skateboard around the arena, special attacks that help launch opponents into the air, or being able to disengage the auto-lock on Dante's twin pistols so he can hit different targets with each gun. Trickster expands his mobility, giving you access to dashing moves, enhanced wall jumps and an improved double jump. Royal Guard is the most unique as it gives Dante the ability to actually block and build up energy for devastating counterattacks. Eventually you'll unlock two more styles: Quicksilver and Doppleganger. The first one uses your Devil Trigger to slow down time, the other one summons a copy of Dante that mimics the players actions. The director's cut also allows Vergil to be playable and use his Dark Slayer style which is an enhanced Trickster style that focuses on flash step/teleport spam. You can only use one style on a mission but the mechanic opens up a lot of replayability, especially against the game's wonderful selection boss battles.
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DMC3 hits that nice sweet spot of having a serviceable story that does a decent job of being both dramatic and very tongue in cheek, it has one of the best casts in the series, some killer music and the best gameplay which offers plenty of replay value. The special edition even let's you play as fan favorite Vergil, who has a very minor story mode, but his own unique play-style and weapon selection adds even more value to the game. If you're looking for a high octane action game to die over and over with, this may be your game, and I personally consider it to be one of the best action games on the market and a title that ultimately ruined my ability to appreciate the rest of the series and in some case, the genre itself.
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Edge7
08-05-2017, 04:57 PM
DMC3 DEFINED my High School days (along with MGS1-3 and FFVI, but w/e). Spent AT LEAST 70 hours on it

Wolf Kanno
08-06-2017, 06:31 AM
60.
73402

Quite possibly the funniest game Square ever made, or at least that I have played. Brave Fencer Musashi, better known as "that game that came with the awesome FFVIII Demo" comes from the Golden Era of Square and is an experimental 3D Action-RPG that will make you feel nostalgic for Square's awkward 3D model era of games. This game is also unique in that it was the first full 3D RPG Square designed and the first game developed to have voice acting for most of the major story scenes, which is pretty damn impressive considering it came out over half a year later from FFVII and yet, barring Xenogears incredibly limited VA work, Square wouldn't bother with VA until three years later with Final Fantasy X.
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The story goes that the world once was under threat from a Dark Wizard until the brave hero Musashi was summoned to the world named Musashi using the sword Lumina. One hundred and fifty years later, the Allucaneet Kingdom is being invaded by the Thirstquencher Empire who wishes to obtain Lumina, which is guarded by the Kingdom. Princess Fillet uses the Hero Summon to summon Musashi to their world to save them. Instead they get a kid named Musashi who isn't exactly pleased to be brought to this world and even more annoyed to find out he has to save it. The kingdom for their part, don't even really believe he's the same Musashi as the one in the legend, but considering they used their trump card, they decide to put their faith in him. Begrudgingly, Musashi goes to the Spiral Tower to obtain Lumina and returns to find that Thirstquencher has captured and kidnapped both the princess and most of the inhabitants of Allucanneet Castle. Thus Musashi goes on a quest to save the kingdom and obtain the five magical crests to awaken the full power of Lumina.
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Musashi is a pretty damn fun and funny game, as one can tell by the names of the kingdom and empire, there is a food name pun scheme the goes across the entire game and some other silly things like Vambees (a hybrid Vampire and Zombie) and eventually Kojiro, Musashi's rival finds his way to the world to finally get that fair duel he's been asking for. The game is incredibly tongue and cheek and while Musashi does prove to be quite the hero, he's also brash, arrogant, and pretty lazy. All quirks that help make him a lovable scamp. Most of the cast is pretty neat as well and this ties into the rescue side quest in the game. As you explore the various dungeons, you'll come across crystals that contain the local inhabitants of the kingdom and freeing them allows them to return to the village, which acts as the game's hub world, where you can open up stores to sell items, buy action figures for Musashi to play with, or even unlock other quest lines. Each towns person has their own quirks and story going for them and you can even go to the castle and have an audience with them to learn more about them. The villains themselves are also quite the treat, feeling like something out of a 70s Tatsunoko anime show or a Team Rocket vibe. In fact, if there is one game that really has a similar vibe to this game, it's probably Mega Man Legends, though Threads of Fate feels like the spiritual sequel to it.
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The game is an Action/Platformer RPG with a bit of a Zelda vibe to it, where Musashi traverses different locations around the kingdom to find the townspeople, fight monsters and Thirstquencher soldiers, and hunt down the shrines of the Crest Guardians. Combat is a bit unique due to Musashi having a a jump command and he uses two different swords. Lumina is the big heavy broadsword that does some pretty killer damage and eventually unlocks some cool powers as you obtain the Crests. Fusion, his primary weapon is a smaller and faster katana, but has a unique ability where it can be charged up and thrown into enemies. Once struck, the player mashes the attack button until the sword drains all the power from the enemy, at which point, Musashi now has access to the monsters primary or hidden skill. These skills have various effects like powerful projectile moves, making Musashi stink so bad enemies avoid him, or giving Musashi a temporary boost ability. This all consumes MP of course, and you are only allowed to have one move at a time, but you would be surprise how effective they can be as some skills can make a seriously difficult segment of the game a cakewalk, so it's imperative to try and find out what every enemy teaches. You can even go back to former dungeons to give Musashi an old skill that might prove useful in later segments of the game. Musashi can also find the legendary Musashi's Armor, which grants Musashi permanent skills like double jump. Saving some villagers can also reward him with special sword techniques as well, so there is a surprising amount of depth to the game's combat system. There are some interesting boss battles as well, this game actually introduced me to Rhythm games, because one of the boss battles is a Simon Says, DDR battle basically and the music is glorious.
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With all that said, I wish I could say this game has aged beautifully but that would be a lie. We are talking about a game with heavy platforming being made by a studio that primarily does simple RPGs with text and 2D Backgrounds. Even at the time of it';s release when 3D gaming was still kind of new, it's hard not to notice how clunky the whole game can feel and how aggravating some of the dungeons can become because of it. In fact, as much as people bitch about Xenogears Babel Tower, which is a pretty bad dungeon don't get me wrong, I feel it's safe to say that Steamwood from this game, may be the most obnoxious 3D Dungeon, Square ever made. Clunky platforming with a terrible angle, combined with a timed puzzle, makes this place infamous for frustration. Especially since the game makes you do it twice. Still, if you can get past the clunky design, the combat is pretty fun, the dungeons are interesting and the game is easily one of the funniest and charming titles to come out of Square during the PS1 era.
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One thing that makes me sad, when I really think about this game is how I really don't feel Square-Enix would ever green light a game like this. Hell, according to wiki sources, Sakaguchi had doubts about the title, and I'm sure that's why it was packaged with the FFVIII demo. Yet, I really feel this game embodies the spirit of Square's more experimental enthusiasm going into the PS1 and 3D gaming, and this title plays with so many gameplay elements that eventually became standard features for later Square titles. It makes me sad that I can't really see SE's in-house developers venture into a game this experimental, knowing it probably would be a cult hit at best. I feel The World Ends with You was probably the last title to do so. Other than that sad thought, I highly recommend this game to people, especially because I would love to talk about it more but no ones here seems to have even heard of it, let alone play it.
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Wolf Kanno
08-06-2017, 07:49 PM
59.

73421

Man, I don't even know where to begin describing this game. This is probably the first "Art Game" I've had on this list, which for most gamers means it's got a minimalist design, and very simple mechanics, yet everyone and their brother praises it for one reason or another. Most of that is true about this game as well.
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Journey is a minimalist platformer with limited multiplayer, where you play a mysterious drifter, connected to a former empire that has fallen to ruin. Your character is on a journey to the heart of the former kingdom for reasons never quite explained, but ultimately the game becomes a bit of a spiritual journey for both the character and player.
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At the end of each stage, you meet a spirit guide who shows off ancient hieroglyphs detailing the rise and fall of their people, which is the extent of any story the game gives you, yet the game actually finds creative ways to combine gameplay with actual story segments, but I really don't want to go any further in detail cause it's a better surprise. In fact, I don't really want to describe anything about this game, because I feel it's best to experience it with as little context as possible.
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You can play with another character via online, but there is no matchmaking control and you have no means of direct communication, instead, you have to talk through actions. This ends up being an incredibly clever way of doing things as you gain the excitement of multiplayer, without the downfall of playing with an expletive spewing man-child. It never ruins the ambiance the game creates of this world and meeting a stranger is both exciting and intriguing as it simply raises more questions.
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I keep saying this is a game, but I frankly feel that "experience" is a better word to describe it, especially since the core game is both incredibly simple and short. I finished the title in a single playthrough one evening, maybe three hours at most. Yet the game is filled with such gorgeous art direction and such a powerful narrative, that it's hard not to take away something from this game if you're open to this style of game.
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I don't have as much to say about this title as I would like, but largely because I feel you need to play it to understand cause on paper, it doesn't really sound all that special; yet it's a pretty powerful game and my favorite from thatgamecompany.
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Scotty_ffgamer
08-06-2017, 09:51 PM
This game used to be one of my go to games to decompress after classes in college. I'd switch between this and Flower depending on the day. It's definitely a great experience, and I feel it's worth all the praise it gets.

Wolf Kanno
08-07-2017, 09:29 PM
58.
73469

Meet my favorite PS3 game that isn't a sequel to some other series. I've been putting off checking out this series for awhile, largely due to being too busy to really dedicate any time to it, and it is definitely the type of game where if you want to make any headway on a first playthrough, you really shouldn't play it casually. The other reason I didn't touch it was due to being pretty stubborn about finishing up Demon's Souls first, which itself was a great game I kind of wish was on this list, but perhaps another time.
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Dark Souls takes place in a world that is literally getting ready to transfer from the Age of the Gods to the Age of Man. At the dawn of history, the world was grey and only filled with massive world trees and immortal dragons, then the First Fire emerged and the gods were born. From the First Flame, four figures obtained Lord Souls, which game them incredible powers from which three of them used to defeat the immortal dragons and claim the world for their own. The Age of Fire began and it was a Golden Age for a time, though filled with it's own heartache and scandal. Soon the First Flame began to dwindle and one of the Gods try to reignite it with her Lord Souls only to have it backfire on her and transform her and all her children and subjects into demons. The Demon Wars began and eventually the Gods prevailed but not before undertaking heavy losses and still dealing with the source of their power potentially ceasing to exist. Finally the King of the Gods and Lordrain itself, went o link the fire by sacrificing his own life, and thus the Twilight of the Gods began.
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One day, the world and humanity especially began to deal with the Undead Curse. A mark appears on ones body and the person becomes virtually immortal, but the curse also eats away at the persons' souls and eventually drives them insane, so the various lands began to be overrun by crazy undead, until people began to lock them away. Soon a prophecy began that one day, a Chosen Undead would come to Lordran who would either save the First Flame and continue the Age of the Gods, or would finally usher in the Age of Dark where humanity would rule.
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Dark Souls is an Action-RPG and spiritual successor to From Software's previous Demon's Souls. The game works fundamentally the same but has been better refined and in it's design and has had it's focused on combat made a bigger focus with more involving boss battles. Being able to have a unified server for multiplayer alone, helps to make the games more quirky and original design elements stand out better.
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You start the game creating a character with the game's atrocious character maker, and then choose a class. Classes are not static and only simply change your starting stats and gear, but the customization system is incredibly flexible and you can pursue any type of build. Stats have been better balanced in this game, especially for mage builds as Demon's Souls kind of gave Clerics a better deal than mages. I do still find it weird that Poison Resistance is a separate stat though, and I kind of have issues with Humanity as well. The game also thankfully dropped item burden which was the bane of any player in the predecessor since it meant you would have to leave behind some items you found due to weight limits. Equipment Load is still here but helps to balance out the character and make stat progression feel like it matters as you finally get enough strength to hold that greatsword one handed or even equip some of the heavier armors. Poise is the newest stat and one that really adds a lot of depth to the game. Basically it's a stat that factors how much damage a character takes before they flinch. This stat is mostly controlled by equipment but gives heavy armor builds more flexibility in combat. All of this helps to make character creation pretty involving and satisfactory.
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Level design is also different from it's predecessor. Demon's Souls utilized a simple level select between five themed areas with three levels a piece. Dark Souls goes for a integrated, almost open world design as all areas are actually connected one way or another and simply grow larger as your skill level and and acquired key items rise. While I kind of like the more tightly designed stages of Demon's Souls a bit better, I also appreciate the quirky, almost labyrinthine layout of DS' world. There is something kind of chilling knowing that just below the peaks where the Firelink Shrine lays both the haunted and flooded city of New Londo as well as just beyond the mountains lies the great city of Anor Londo. Also new to the game are checkpoints in the form of bonfires you can start, which is very much a welcome addition after going through the nightmarish checkpoint starvation of Demon's Souls. The game also drops consumable Healing Herbs for the Estus Flask, a special flask filled with a predetermined amount of uses that greatly heals your character. You can actually do things in the game to increase how many uses you get, as well as boost the power of the healing. These flasks can be refilled by staying at a bonfire, but also staying at a bonfire will respawn all of the defeated enemies you killed to get there, so there is still a nice risk/reward element going on here.
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Dark Souls is probably better known for it's reputation than anything else, and like many games with a rep, while there are some truths to it, I feel the reality is a bit different than the expectations. Dark Souls is a hard game, or more correctly, it's a hard game for anyone who hasn't played either anything released before the 2000s or any genre afterwards that are generally more challenging like fighting games, shmups, or RTS titles. Yes, you die a lot, but death is kind of a slap on the wrist in this game, and coming into this game from Demon's Souls, it's obvious the devs went out of their way to make this game way more user friendly. To say the game is always fair is another misnomer, unless you're the type of person who feels difficulty based on pattern memorization through repeated trial and error gameplay is legitimately fair. I feel the reality is that it varies from area to area. Recognizing enemy placements or boss patterns are fine in some places, but the game has cheap sections like Sen's Fortress which is filled with booby traps, difficult to stagger enemies with ridiculous attack range, plenty of pits to fall to your death, and more nooks and crannies for invaders to hide in than you can shake a stick at which will eventually skyrocket the amount of times you see the "You Died" logo to the point of being more frustrating than fun.. So yeah, the game will definitely cheese you until you memorize the layout and the tells of enemy attacks, and sometimes it's gratifying, other times it can be really frustrating, but it does have that Mega Man feel where it does get easier as you adjust your expectations and becomes pretty rewarding after awhile. Again, I would almost argue the game is actually more user friendly than similar games of it's caliber.
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The plot of the game is more lore based than actually story driven, there are some minor NPCs with detailed plots you can follow just like it's predecessor, but it's also very easy to screw up the quest line and never see it completed until NG+. I love the more lore based story because I feel it really pushed this idea that you're living in the final days of a historic era. In fact, I feel Dark Souls really feels like a game that makes you feel like you're playing a video game version of some great mythological story like Ragnarok, or classic Greek Myth. It helps the game borrows heavily from these types of stories to really build up it's world and large cast of characters, many of whom you met probably at their lowest points. Speaking of which, I wish to give this game kudos for having some of the best DLC I've ever seen for a game, largely because it's pretty high quality in design, doesn't hand you game breaking items that distort the game's careful balance, and actually feeling like something that was neither grafted onto the game by force, nor feeling like something that I felt should have been in the game proper. I find it's usually really difficult to do this, so kudos to From Software for pulling this off.
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Overall, this turned out to be a great game that has really changed how I view what I want out of games, and that's always something to appreciate. I'm sure this game will slowly climb it;'s way up my list as time goes by and I have more time for subsequent playthroughs. I plan on playing the sequels in the future as well, but I kind of want to complete half of my backlog before I start adding more games to it. I highly recommend this game and it's spiritual brethren like Demon's Souls and Bloodborne as well.

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Spuuky
08-07-2017, 11:00 PM
Very likely would be in my top 10.

Del Murder
08-07-2017, 11:12 PM
Could never get interested in this series. I spent my youth playing super hard NES games all day every day so I'm sure this wouldn't be too bad, but I think I've just had enough 'pattern memorization through trial and error and repetition' games for my lifetime.

Spuuky
08-08-2017, 04:41 AM
That isn't actually what Dark Souls is about but that's alright

Wolf Kanno
08-08-2017, 08:01 PM
57.
73493

We're almost halfway through and I just reached my first Metal Gear title, woo boy! I'm sure some people may be a bit surprised to find this game on my list as this entry was for the longest time within the franchise the very definition of "love it, or hate it". I happen to fall into the love it category, though I can still be pretty critical about it's faults.
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MGS2: Sons of Liberty, takes place two years after the previous game. Ocelot sold the schematics for Metal Gear REX on the black market, and now the world is filled with Metal Gear units for various nations and terrorist organizations. Snake and Otacon formed Philanthropy, a non-government organization that opposes Metal Gears and proposes to have them outlawed. On the side, the two of them will often sneak in and destroy these Metal Gears when the U.N. fails to be firm. The group has gained a lot of notoriety partly due to these activities, but also due to Snake's rise of popularity in the aftermath of Natsaha's book detailing the Shadow Moses incident.
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When the game opens, Snake is in New York, infiltrating a Tanker ship on the Hudson that secretly houses the U.S. Marines new Anti-Metal Gear unit, Metal Gear RAY. Snake is simply coming in and taking photos, but the missions catches it's first hitch when the ship is taken over by Russian mercenaries led by Revolver Ocelot and his old friend Gurlukovich. Sneaking his way past the mercenaries, Snake eventually finds RAY and begins his mission but when Revolver Ocelot crashes the scene, it ends badly for everyone and Snake is ultimately blamed for the incident and presumed dead, in addition to an environmental plant needing to be built to clear up the mess.
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Fast forward a few years, the plant is taken over by Dead Cell during an inspection by the U.S. President, and FOXHOUND sends in their newest recruit, Raiden to rescue him. Raiden, a rookie member of the outfit with only VR training, is completely flabbergasted by the surreal nature of the mission as he deals with the kooky Dead Cell led by the former U.S. President and third brother of the Big Boss clones, Solidus Snake; conspiracy after crazy conspiracy; some very questionable character expansions; and the fact his girlfriend is part of the mission support team and won't shut up about whether Raiden remembers that tomorrow is their anniversary or not.
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MGS2 is a pretty surreal game for the series and for the longest time, many fans really didn't know what to think of it. The controversy of the protagonist switch, the surreal plotline that made you question if it happened or not, and the game's lack of a real ending didn't exactly go over so well with fans back in 2001. Which may be the reason why Kojima chose to troll all of the fans again by something very similar with MGSV. Still, the games underlying themes about information in the digital age and how it reflects our reality is probably more relevant today in an era of fake news, social media creating ideological safe spaces for fringe beliefs, and people still giving a damn about Justin Beiber and Kanye West. I don't usually like to use the phrase "ahead of it's time" but I feel it's safe to say that in historical hindsight, MGS2 certainly was from a narrative perspective. As time goes one, I have come to appreciate the game's story more and more despite it being my least favorite part initially.
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I'm also the odd duck in the franchise who never had a problem with Raiden. I liked the twist of his introduction, and I never found him too angsty cause he was pretty much an "every man" in the wacky MGS world. I'm sure if Kojima had ever gotten around to remaking the original Metal Gear with rookie Solid Snake, he would have also been spending half his time whining to Big Boss while sucking on his thumb like a baby for comfort. With that said, I'm a little miffed with what Kojima did to the character in later installments as I felt Raiden was compelling enough without the "badass" upgrades and I actually found him more unintentionally goofy and angsty in the sequels than in his proper game.
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Rose on the other hand, is pretty annoying and she's probably the most blatant example of why this mission feels so off. Initially I thought it was just the way the story went, but when she came back in MGS4, I came to realize that I simply don't like her. In fact one of the major gripes I do have with the game is the lackluster mission control team. The various characters you can chat to were highlights for me in the first and third entries, so it always makes me a bit sad that the one in this game was kind of dull, especially when design documents released later showed that Raiden was meant to have a proper team.
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Dead Cell was also a bit of a dud as well minus Solidus Snake. Again, they were sandwiched between two better teams and while Dead Cell had a better backstory than the Cobra Unit, it never translated well into gameplay as most of the fights with the team range from boring to just annoying. Vamp was another character I felt MGS4 ruined. Oddly enough though, the battle with Olga is probably one of my favorite fights in the series despite being a showcase for the games new physics engine.
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With all that said, MGS2 was a massive improvement from a gameplay standpoint, despite introducing the ultimate crutch of any stealth run, the silenced tranq gun, the game is fairly challenging compared to the previous entries due to new mechanics like first person aiming, bodies needing to be hidden, and new enemy units like the bane of my existence, Cipher Units. The game's A.I. is also hyper competent and the games more narrow layout made getting spotted pretty easily and usually a quick death if you weren't on your toes or didn't have the grenade launcher yet. Despite my initial problems with the story, I felt even then that MGS2 had more rewarding gameplay than it's predecessor, and that sentiment has never really gone away either. The Tanker sequence is still one of the high points of the franchise for me and probably my favorite sequence.
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This is the first of five Metal Gear titles to be on this list, and I feel being in my top five is kind of a nice testament to this game's quality. It has aged far better than I really thought it would and I feel it's the one entry that has truly be vindicated by history despite all the issues it caused on release. Of anything, this game ruined Kojima's ability to ever really surprise the fans again as fans wised up and carefully combed trailers and his interviews to the point where most fans usually guess all the big moments of his later games.
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Loony BoB
08-08-2017, 09:50 PM
Just popping in to throw my love in for Journey, and also to ask who WK preferred out of Katherine and Catherine.

Slothy
08-08-2017, 10:30 PM
That isn't actually what Dark Souls is about but that's alright

Pretty much what I was thinking. I mean memorization helps, just like in 99% of all games ever, but if you're careful enough you can get through pretty much any area your first time.

Del Murder
08-09-2017, 02:53 AM
I'm hoping for a curveball that one of the other four Metal Gear games is from the NES.

Wolf Kanno
08-09-2017, 06:06 AM
There is certainly more to DS than pattern recognition and memorization, especially since I only gave the most basic of explanations and didn't even really go into depth of character customization and how it can change your playstyle, nor did I even go into how multiplayer is a game changer in both helping you and being the bane of your existence.

Still, the closest thing I can think of for difficulty would be the old style arcade games of yesteryear, and when it comes down to it, if you were super careful there, you could potentially beat any game on a first try as well. Statistically unlikely, considering the human element involved, but theoretically possible as well.


Just popping in to throw my love in for Journey, and also to ask who WK preferred out of Katherine and Catherine.

Catherine actually, but I screwed up and kind of got the bad version of her ending.

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As for Del's question... You'll have to wait and see. Most people will know what two of them are, but it would be interesting to see what people guess for the other two. Technically I have three other franchises I love on this list and haven't even gotten to any entry for them yet.

Bubba
08-09-2017, 10:38 AM
I have things to say.

A quick word on Journey. I have had this downloaded on my PS4 since forever... and have never booted it up. I am well aware of how highly regarded it is and know it can be completed in 2-3 hours. I really have no excuse and the fact that you gave very little away in your review may have given me the nudge I need. Cheers WK!

Right, Metal gear. My love affair with this series started with Metal Gear Solid on PS1 and ended with the sequel. The PS1 game was ground-breaking on many levels which I won't go into now (as I'm sure it will appear somewhere on your list). I remember being so hyped for the sequel and distinctly remember buying Zone of the Enders (a cracking game in its own right) as it came with the MGS:2 demo. The demo was pretty much half of the tanker sequence and I was absolutely blown away. Everything about it was slick as hell, fantastically atmospheric and full of beautiful touches. You better believe I was first in line at the shop on its day of release.

I agree that the full tanker sequence is probably the highlight of the entire series. As soon as we reach the big shell though, man... Put me firmly in the 'hate-Raiden' camp. The main turn-off for me though was the big shell itself. Boring, boring, boring. Strut A, bridge, Strut F, bridge etc etc... Plus, you've already mentioned how awful Rose was. Smurf off with your anniversary talk. I'M A GOD DAMN SPECIAL AGENT, LET ME DO MY JOB.

I never actually completed it on the PS2 and played through it again recently on my Vita. It definitely improved in the later stages and the boss fights were pretty enjoyable. There were just too many parts I didn't like. The fake-out game over screen, the Colonel's meltdown, Raiden & Rose, the environments... I was so disappointed.

I did play the Gameboy Colour Metal Gear game though a few years ago and that was excellent.

Scotty_ffgamer
08-09-2017, 10:40 PM
The first metal gear solid will probably always be my favorite, but I like mgs2 quite a bit. I thought the story was interesting and I had a ton of fun with the actual gameplay. Might have to play through the series again soon. Also, I still need to play through the phantom pain.

Wolf Kanno
08-10-2017, 07:09 AM
56.
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One of the more interesting, if totally underrated franchises to come out of Square. Front Mission is the brainchild of Toshiro Tsuchida, whom I doubt any of you have ever heard of, yet many of you have played a game he's worked on since he was the creator of FFX's CTB system and he also worked on FFXIII's battle system. He also created the Arc the Lad series for Sony but only worked on the first two entries. Despite all that, Front Mission was his baby and while the games never received the overseas recognition he wanted, he was pretty happy to have completed the full story he wanted to tell with the series.
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The games are set in the end of the 21st century and early 22nd, where in addition to Germany finally figuring how to do this whole "giant robot" thing since it didn't seem like Japan was ever going to get around to it; the world has been swallowed up with Supranational Unions that have banded together for economical relevancy. With the rise of globalization comes an outcry of nationalism, and soon the various Unions deal with conflicts between other supranational unions as well as upstart nations within, clamoring for their independence. As one can tell, an overarching them of the series nationalism vs. globalization, and thankfully, I feel like Front Mission does a pretty good job of being pretty even handed on the subject, often showing the strengths and pitfalls of both ideologies.
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The series works a bit like Suikoden, in that each entry is a mostly self-contained story, but each one also adds to the overarching struggle between these two ideologies that play throughout the franchise and strugles in one game has consequences in others. It also has a good dose of "war is hell" but much of that plays out more in the light novels and drama CDs. Speaking of which, Front Mission is kind of the only franchise that pulls the whole "multimedia" approach that Square likes to do, pretty well. Mainly because all the non-game media are either one-shot stories set within the world or simply follow up stories that tell you what happens to everyone after the credits end. You don't actually need to read any of it to appreciate the plots or understand the stories better, and that's how I feel it should be.
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Front Mission 3 deals with the story of Kazuki Takemura, a test wanzer pilot for Kirishima Industries who becomes embroiled in a a global conspiracy involving a stolen USN developed nuclear weapon called MIDAS. MIDAS is a nuclear weapon designed in a way to bypass most anti-nuclear weapon laws in place and threatens to throw off the delicate power balance within the world. I say it's Kazuki's story, but he's more like a Vaan or Tidus in that he's simply the point of view character for the player, and instead the plot actually revolves around either Alisa Takemura, Kazuki's adopted sister who is a renowned prodigy that was working with the Japanese military in studying a prototype MIDAS construct the government got its hands on; or Emir "Emma" Klamsky, a USN scientist that helped developed the original MIDAS and is looking to find it and destroy it. Whichever one he chooses to follow, Kazuki tries to chase down MIDAS throughout the OCU, which is Australia, Japan, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. He also winds up in the Da Han Zong (DHZ) which is basically a united future China
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The game has two different scenarios and understanding the whole plot will involve playing both of them. Alisa's story is shorter and considered easier, but Emma's arc has more unique elements to it like some unique wanzer units and the ability to affect who joins your group. The game has loads of characters with fifteen potential party members across both story arcs with only Kazuki and his best friend Ryogo being the the constants in each one. One of the most interesting aspects of the game is how each scenario finds Kazuki on a different sides of a conflict. The obvious is between the main heroines. If Kazuki sides with his sister, he joins up with a DHZ spy that smuggles them out of the country of Japan, and helps them track down the bomb before it can be used to destabilize the DHZ. If he goes with Emma, he's working for a USN block ops group trying to recover the weapon from the OCU and DHZ before the other nations learn about it. Several characters that are allies in one story path, are bitter enemies in the other and vice versa. When Kazuki lands in the Philippines, it's caught in the middle of a bloody civil war. In Alisa's plot, they help the rebels, but in Emma's they are getting help from the Philippine government. This allows you to get a better idea of the conflicts as one scenario may play out the rebels as freedom loving forces trying to take back the nation for the people, while the other scenario may reveal the call for independence is simply one persons rallying cry to gain more power as they use the war to destabilize the country and build their power structure. There is a lot of gray in this world and it's fantastic.
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Gameplay is a typical grid based Tactical RPG a la FFTactics fame. Players control the wanzers, the series named for the mecha, and can use up to four units per battle. There are over thirty different Wanzers in the game for you to acquire though some are unique to certain scenarios. Pilots can switch between wanzer units and wanzers themselves can be mixed and matched by parts with body, legs, and arms all being easily switched around though weight and power distribution will affect what type of weapons the unit can use. There are nine different weapons to choose from and every unit can usually have two. Despite this flexibility, some units are obviously better for certain tasks than others, and equally, the pilots themselves have certain weapons they gain better proficiency with than others. Kazuki for instance is a rare hybrid melee/attacker specialist, which means he works better with melee weapons and firearms like shotguns and machine guns. Emma and Alisa are both Gunner types that deal with high marksmanship so rifles and missile launchers are their weapons of choice.
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Battles utilize AP that dictates how far you can move, which weapons you can use, whether you can use a skill, or whether your unit can counter or defend during enemy turns. Skills are powerful moves that associated with the different wanzer parts, each part teaches it's own skills, and while the likelihood is randomizes, it happens often enough and they are usually strong enough to warrant some attention. Once a skill activates for the first time, a character learns it and can have it assigned to them so it can be used even when you switch wanzer parts. Multiples of the same skill can be learned and assigned as well which will raise the likelihood of it activating in battle. With all that said, the amount of skills you can have a pilot assigned to them varies based on the skills level and the CPU of the wanzer, so it's not like you can have ten or twenty skills attached to them. Later, the game introduces special CPUs that will raise the likelihood of a skill activating or being learned, but it usually comes with some drawback to balance it out.
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Combat works pretty similar to Tactics, but when I mentioned that units have parts, that plays into it as well. To defeat a unit, you need to destroy the main body or damage them so badly they surrender.. Destroying legs will reduce a unit to moving one square a piece and being unable to jump, while destroying the arms will often cripple their combat abilities. You can even potentially kill the pilots themselves by either knocking them out of the wanzer and killing them before they can re-board, or using special pilot targeting skills. You can even have your own party members board an enemy unit that has had it's pilot removed and thankfully the A.I. is a bit too dumb to go straight for your own abandoned unit. This all offers some interesting depth to combat, especially when you start factoring in skills that target specific parts, using a lucky strike on an enemy unit to commandeer it and give to an ally whose unit might be close to being destroyed, and the fact that surviving enemy wanzer units are automatically added to your own inventory if you win the battle which is great for gaining more customization options as well as being the best source of money in the game.
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Between all of the fighting, the plot plays out like a very low budget visual novel, and you'll travel between locations within cities or bases while talking to your allies and NPCs. There are actually quite a number of little sidequests to do in the game and most involve the internet. Yes, the game has the internet, which is hilarious in hindsight cause it's a late 90s idea of what it would look like in the future and its pretty bad and non-user friendly, just like the internet was in the late 90s. Your party can go online to answer emails surf, websites, online shop, and even acquire some hacking programs to dive deeper into government websites or decrypt messages you obtain. Tis part of the game is actually way more involving than you think, and I would advise getting a guide for it because writing down all of the various passwords and learning when its possible to hack a certain website can be rather tasking. On the other hand, the internet aspect helps to sell the world and characters better as it will fill you in on the history of the world and tech, fill in backstory for the politics of the areas you visit and you'll get to see another side of some of the characters like Ryogo's womanizing, or hardass Marine Marcus' almost goofy love for his daughters. You can even acquire an internet stalker in Alisa's scenario.
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It's a fairly involving game overall, and easily my favorite of the entries I've played. In fact, I'm replaying the game right now on my PSP, and it's kind of guilt tripping me that I never finished FM4. Still, it's a great series for people who love Tactical RPGs, Real Robots (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RealRobotGenre?from=Main.RealRobot), and Realpolitk (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Realpolitik) then this is definitely one to check out.
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Edge7
08-10-2017, 09:43 AM
Re: MGS2. I agree with your impression of Raiden for the most part, but I'll actually defend his characterization in Revengeance as it feels like that game's entire thesis statement is how antithetical the the desire to play as a Cyborg Ninja is to the themes of what was once a series of Political Spy Thrillers. They even repeat MGS1's "you enjoy all the killing" spiel, but this time the main character goes nuts and admits that he's only in it for the action and that all of the plot is simply pretense. And then the plot goes from potentially salvageable to REALLY stupid.

Basically, I always found it as a cool way to poke fun at the fans who lamented Raiden not being playable in MGS4. And also maybe a parody of how MGS4's writing was all flash and exposition and had very little of substance, but that's like, my opinion man.

Del Murder
08-10-2017, 06:08 PM
I only played FM3 recently but it is a really cool tactical RPG.

Slothy
08-11-2017, 01:28 AM
I've always regretted not getting FM3 back when it came out.

theundeadhero
08-11-2017, 03:35 AM
I can't remember if FM3 had combo options like FM4 did. That was one of my favorite things about four.

Wolf Kanno
08-11-2017, 05:06 AM
55.
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Now we're introduced to another underrated JRPG franchise from Capcom of all places. Like Konami, Capcom always seemed to have bad timing with this franchise and I wouldn't be surprised if it had a better reception in the EU since it was the only place where Capcom didn't release the game at the same time as Final Fantasy IX. I mean seriously, in both Japan and North America, it was released the same month for both places. I almost missed it myself since I was still coming off the high of IX until two of my fellow Breath of Fire buddies in high school started talking about it and I read an article about it in GameFan. So I quickly asked my Dad to pick it up for me in Christmas and on New Years day of 2001, I finished the game for the first time. I still get in the mood to play this game when the Rose Parade comes on.
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For those who have never heard of this series, it's a set of JRPGs set in a world filled with people and anthropomorphic people that usually centers around a character named Ryu who has the power to become a Dragon. There is usually a winged girl named Nina who hails from Wyndia. Despite the series kind of cutesy nature, the games jump back and forth between lighthearted humor and nightmare fuel while tackling a usually difficult philosophical question concerning religion, the nature of God, the ethics within a society, and utilitarianism versus the individual needs. So yeah, don't let the art style and funny animal people fool you, this series gets progressively darker with every entry.
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In the distant past, the western continent was embroiled in an endless civil war when one of the rulers, tired of the conflict summoned his greatest thinkers and sorcerers together and had them summon a mighty god to end the conflict. The ceremony was botched and the god was summoned incomplete, it's body and mind split across space and time, but the figure they got was still mighty indeed and set forth to unite the western continent and forged it into a mighty empire with himself as the first emperor. Wishing to unite the whole world, the emperor built a magic transport to help his soldiers cross the impenetrable Mud Sea that separated the main continents and he began a war with the nations over there. Soon the incomplete summoning took a toll on the God Emperor and he decided to enter a state of sleep until the time his other self would come into the world. The God Emperor Fou Lu "died" but claimed he would return in six hundred years to reclaim his throne and end his task to unite the world of mortals.
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Six centuries later, the Western Fou Empire has been in a state of war or uneasy truces with the confederate nations of the Eastern continent. The world has seen four devastating world wars, the most recent of which had only recently ended. Princess Elina of Wyndia had gone to the front line of the conflicts on a peace keeping expedition to help the war orphans and war stricken civilians when she suddenly vanished. Tired of the constant conflict, the Eastern powers are not as concerned with condemning the Fou Empire of foul play but Elina's sister Nina, and her friend and lover Cray of the Woren Tribe sneak to the front lines in hoping to find out what happened to her. While crossing the desert, their sandflyer is attacked by the Sand Dragon and wrecked forcing Cray to stay behind to keep the vehicle safe while Nina walks to the closest town to get parts. On her way, she comes across a mostly naked and amnesiac man named Ryu. She helps to get back on his feet and asks him to travel with her.
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Meanwhile, in the empire, Fou Lu has awaken again, just as he promised but instead of being greeted with parades and celebrations, he is instead attacked by the Empire's greatest sorcerer and assassins as the current emperor refuses to relinquish control of the empire to the God Emperor. Fou Lu begins a journey across his kingdom to reach the capital and finish what he started centuries back. Bot Ryu and Fou Lu travel the world of mortals and see the foolishness of a world that has only known war and blindly seeks the helps of the gods to sort through their messes. How will both of them come to see mankind when they finally unite?
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Breath of Fire IV is an interesting game with a dual protagonist in the form of Ryu and Fou Lu. You play through both of their stories and see their ups and downs, although only Ryu continues the series tradition of silent protagonist. The story continues a theme brought up in earlier Breath of Fire games concerning the nature of Man's relationship with God. Past title brushed on the subject but BoFIV makes it a central theme as Fou L's journey really shifts from feeling like a parental/shepherd figure to a being who soon grows a distaste for the people he is put in charge with. Ryu's journey is a bit slower on the uptake, focusing first on the political realities of the world, but once his origin becomes known and he begins his journey to discover what he really is and who his other half, his story falls in place with Fou Lu as they both bear witness to the best and worst that mortal-kind has to offer. It's a pretty cool story with some absolutely great and heart breaking moments during both plot-lines. The game also has an incredibly colorful cast of characters like Scias the drunken swordsman, the no nonsense Ursala, and the lovable Ershin who will really make you question if an animated suit of armor can be a person. If I have one major gripe with the game's plot, it's that it kind of suffers from MMX4 syndrome (which you can conveniently read about in this thread) in which the dual protagonists have lopsided attention and it's pretty obvious which one the writing staff preferred. Fou Lu is so popular with the staff that they made an expy of him in the next game. Fou Lu's story is better paced, has a great arc, and one of the games most tragic moments. It is not difficult to want to side with his idea of mortals by the time the game asks you to decide which ending you'll get. Ryu's story in comparison is bloated and takes awhile to get to full steam, only to constantly reverse gears on you and have you feel like you're starting back at stage one. I never realized how bad it was until I found the manga adaption of the story and found Ryu's plot to be a hell of a lot more enjoyable when the extra bullshit gets cut out. Regardless of that rant, the game is pretty enjoyable for the most part and my issues with it largely comes as a veteran of the series than any actual major problems.
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Gameplay is traditional turn-based and like previous entries, all party members also possess a special skill which can be used when they are leading the group in dungeons to help find secret paths or clear puzzles, such as Ryu's ability to cut things with his sword, or Cray's strength to move heavy objects. The newest addition to the combat system is the combo system, which works in a very similar fashion to Persona 2's fusion magic system. When characters use certain moves in succession, as long as their speed ratings are close enough, the skills and spells can combine to create a new move. For instance, using the fire spell Burn followed by Nina's wind spell Sever will cause Sever to be transformed into the Wind/Fire spell Simoon which does greater damage. Casting a group heal followed by a group shield spell will have the shield spell also heal the party for an extra ten percent for the participating members. As one can tell, this adds a whole layer of strategy to how you use the parties moves. Each party member specializes in one elemental type with exception of Ryu and Ershin. Ryu is mostly a blank slate besides his dragon powers and can be customized however you want. Ershin begins the game as a melee focus but can eventually learn all four of the highest tier of elemental magics and even gets a unique non-elemental spell, but sadly all of those are completionist bonus as he only learns them well past the recommended level for beating the game, which makes him this entries continuation of the series traditional joke character.
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The game also brings back Breath of Fire III's Skill system and Master System. In the previous game, party members could observe enemies during battle for the chance to learn their battle skills in Blue Mage fashion, IV simplifies it and reduces the risk factor by simply letting your party learn skills by defending in battle. Masters would take party members as an apprentice and alter their stat growth as well as teach useful skills. In III, you simply had to level up enough to gain the skills, but IV alters this with each master making you focus on some different gameplay aspect like how many much damage you can do in one move, or how many combo spells you can perform in a single round. It adds a lot of variety from the previous game, but a savvy player can potentially fulfill all the requirement before even meeting the master, allowing you to gain all the skills the moment you meet them. The other issue is that BoFIV doesn't actually add too many new skills from the previous game and kind of screwed up some of the balancing by making it pretty easy to gain skills through the Blue Mage monster style over the Master system. Even worse is that the game increased the hp/damage cap and made the stat growth from Master's not go as far as they did in BoFIII. It's pretty annoying considering how popular both features were in the previous game and feel like they would work well with IV's new mechanics, but it just feels a bit sloppy to me in execution. Course, if you've never played the third entry, you'll probably not even notice any of these issues and I admit it does feel a bit unfair to compare, but I still feel IV didn't really do much with such a cool game concept, it's mostly a copy/paste job.
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Ryu's dragon forms are also a downgrade from III, but the nature of their narratives make it difficult to repeat for this game. Ryu has the ability to transform into a smaller dragon and eventually gains the power to transform into a more powerful ultimate form which can't be controlled unless you fulfill a sidequest to meet and gain the power of all of the Dragons. Ryu and Fou Lu can both acquire Dragon Gems which contain the fossilized power of an ancient dragon and gives them the ability to transform into them. These forms usually are elemental based like the Fire elemental Wyvern for Ryu or the Ice elemental Serpent for Fou Lu. They add a bit of variety for both characters but you'll quickly learn the default story forms are much more powerful and versatile. They are still fun to use and can even be upgraded by getting high scores in the games excessive amount of mini-games. Unique to Ryu is the power of the other dragon gods which he uses like a summon, and unlike freaking Final Fantasy, Capcom was smart enough to just add a freaking skip animation button when you don't want to watch the long cinematic sequence for the billionth time. :stare:
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The game is also filled with minigames, including the traditional Fishing minigame of which IV may have the best incarnation of, there is even a new fishing card that allows you to gain points to be traded for fantastic prizes but sadly the game is unbalanced as hell and getting the best gear would require hours upon hours of just fishing to get them. The Fairy Village also returns where you have to build and maintain a village for ungrateful fairies which allows you to open up special shops to gain money, new skills, or buy unique equipment.
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I also would like to point out that the games art direction, sprite work, and musical score are amazing. I had to add GIFs for this just to show off how fluid the sprite animation is from one of the best companies in the field, because you can probably tell from the static screenshots how little justice they do how good this game really looks. The game has a very Asian design with the Fou Empire having a mix of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean influences in there design. There are even a few Biwa style musical pieces which gives this game a really interesting vibe you don't see too often in the genre. The muted color palette of earth tones also adds to the very stylistic design of the game and makes it really stand apart from the flashier earlier entries and the industrial design of the fifth entry.
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If you've been meaning to really check out this series, this is actually a pretty good starting point for anyone and the story and cast are fantastic with some deep themes. The gameplay is solid and despite all of the mini-games, unlike Final Fantasy, I feel most of them are fun. You should definitely check this game out if you haven't.
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Pumpkin
08-11-2017, 12:06 PM
I still need to finish BoF III >.<

Fynn
08-11-2017, 12:11 PM
It's a good thing IV is a waaaaay better game, then, Pumpkin, so you can ditch that and start this ;0


Seriously, BoF IV is awesome and is hands-down the best game in the series, alongside the much more experimental Dragon Quarter.

maybee
08-11-2017, 12:52 PM
Just got into BF IV the other day, it's a pretty good game. Really need to get into the other BF games.

Del Murder
08-11-2017, 04:12 PM
BoF III was more fun for me, but I liked both. The fishing in IV was excellent. Probably my favorite part, other than Fou Lu being awesome.

Wolf Kanno
08-11-2017, 05:42 PM
I can't remember if FM3 had combo options like FM4 did. That was one of my favorite things about four.

Yes and no, The game doesn't use the Links system bu there are a few skills that your characters can learn that do the same thing like Cover Fire and Gang Beating.


It's a good thing IV is a waaaaay better game, then, Pumpkin, so you can ditch that and start this ;0


Seriously, BoF IV is awesome and is hands-down the best game in the series, alongside the much more experimental Dragon Quarter.

Says you, though this is hardly the only Breath of Fire on this list.

Fynn
08-11-2017, 06:01 PM
It's a good thing IV is a waaaaay better game, then, Pumpkin, so you can ditch that and start this ;0


Seriously, BoF IV is awesome and is hands-down the best game in the series, alongside the much more experimental Dragon Quarter.

Says you, though this is hardly the only Breath of Fire on this list.

Yes, yes, I know. This is the one thing you're insisting on being wrong about ;)

Wolf Kanno
08-11-2017, 06:57 PM
Yes, yes, I know. This is the one thing you're insisting on being wrong about ;)

P4 was a better anime than a game, BoFIV was a better manga than a game. :p

Fynn
08-11-2017, 07:30 PM
P4 was a better anime than a game

Oh please. The Nanako fake death was so much stupider in the anime :D

Wolf Kanno
08-11-2017, 07:41 PM
P4 was a better anime than a game

Oh please. The Nanako fake death was so much stupider in the anime :D

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Wolf Kanno
08-12-2017, 06:37 PM
54.

73611

I've been kind of dreading this one, not because of any controversy or anything, I simply can't really think of anything to say here. I mean it's freaking Super Mario Bros. 3, you either understand or you don't and it's one of the most iconic games in Nintendo's library.
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I guess what I can say is that this game ultimately started an interesting trend with Nintendo where the third entry always seems to set the formula down for the rest of the franchise. I mean with a few exceptions like Mario Cart and Star Fox, games like Metroid and Zelda have all adhered to a strict formula that was usually concocted by the third entry and Mario 3 may have started the trend since it was the first to do so without being on the SNES.
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Mario returns to his goomba stomping and shell kicking roots after the "now for something completely different" cut and paste job of SMB2 as well as making cameo appearances in a dozen sports titles on the NES. The game introduces two major hallmarks of the franchise: Themed Worlds/Levels and ridiculous power-ups.
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The fact that so many of the power-ups in this game are so iconic is a nice testament to how well this game was made and some fans still feel that Nintendo has never quite designed a game with the same caliber since. Plains, deserts, underwater, giants, the sky, ice, pipes, and even Bowser's hell on earth world. It's hard to argue this game didn't give you some serious variety and change up how you did things. You even got a special inventory system to hold onto power-ups you can use on the map to given yourself an edge before tackling a new level.
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Speaking of which, Mario introduces the "world map" concept to the series and the possibility of a non-linear approach with the right items, not to mention the fun dueling co-op as you and a friend battle to see who can "take over" as many levels as possible. The roaming boss ship in each world was also pretty swanky despite being some of my least favorite levels.
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This was a pretty iconic game from my childhood, and I still remember fondling trying to beat this game with my dad. He still considers it his favorite Mario game and it's one of mine, though not my favorite. Normally I would end this with a video doing a trailer or commercial, and technically this is pretty much the same idea, but a little more special.

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Scotty_ffgamer
08-12-2017, 10:12 PM
Mario World will probably always be my favorite, but i do love Mario 3 quite a bit.

Del Murder
08-13-2017, 12:06 AM
Mario 3 is, quite simply, one of the greatest games of all time. It's probably my number 1 non RPG.

Spuuky
08-13-2017, 06:59 PM
Always a toss-up between this and SMW for the best Mario game but I think this narrowly takes it.

Edge7
08-13-2017, 10:08 PM
It's very weird, because I grew up with my parents' NES with only Super Mario 1 and 2, and to this day I've only ever watched a friend play through the third game (while game over-ing really early as Luigi). I feel like I've really missed out not playing SMB3 and SMW.

Bubba
08-13-2017, 11:16 PM
Always a toss-up between this and SMW for the best Mario game but I think this narrowly takes it.

I am in total agreement. They are both sublime platformers with incredible variety but the extra challenge in SMB3 gives it the edge for me.

Rocket Edge
08-15-2017, 01:18 PM
Looking at them pictures just gave me a solid pang of nostalgia. I haven't played SMB3 for nearly 20 years now I'd imagine, yet it and Solstice were the only games I owned on the NES, I loved them both! I wonder if it's still possible to play them on a console? :/

Skyblade
08-15-2017, 04:32 PM
P4 was a better anime than a game

Oh please. The Nanako fake death was so much stupider in the anime :D

Agreed. That part was really not that well done. Only real bit of the game I can say that about, but there it is.

On the other hand, the P3 episode makes up for it.

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As for Mario 3... My first Mario game, and my first console game. But...it didn't age well for me. Going back to it, the controls feel floaty, almost like the whole game is with ice physics, and I don't know that I've ever finished it. At this point, I likely never will.

But I've beaten SMW several times over. All exits, all dragon coins. As Mario. As Luigi. As a file where I switch every time I get an exit. I've done everything in that game. Great game.

theundeadhero
08-15-2017, 06:14 PM
Which version of the game do the controls feel floaty on to you? I agree that they're off that way on the SNES' Super Mario All Stars, but they weren't in the original NES version. That was a porting issue.

Wolf Kanno
08-15-2017, 07:13 PM
Sorry I haven't updated in a few days, I've been busy with work and another project, so I haven't had as much time as I would like to do this. I did start work on the next entry and then kind of came to a loss for words because it's a title most of you are familiar with.

I'm almost halfway through the list, any surprises? Any games you're expecting in the future?

Pumpkin
08-15-2017, 07:15 PM
Me and sharkson have started Catherine togefer

Wolf Kanno
08-15-2017, 07:17 PM
Me and sharkson have started Catherine togefer

I see that, are you enjoying it so far?

Pumpkin
08-15-2017, 07:19 PM
I am! Although the moral dilemma over the cheating is a bit lost on me since if anything I would call what Catherine is doing rape and not him being unfaithful. Not that he's helping with the gawking at her boobie pictures but still.

Del Murder
08-15-2017, 11:24 PM
My bold prediction is that Final Fantasy VI will be somewhere on your list.

Wolf Kanno
08-16-2017, 05:27 AM
I am! Although the moral dilemma over the cheating is a bit lost on me since if anything I would call what Catherine is doing rape and not him being unfaithful. Not that he's helping with the gawking at her boobie pictures but still.

To be fair, Vincent was pretty drunk and mad at Katherine, so it would be easy for him to see how he cheated on her.


My bold prediction is that Final Fantasy VI will be somewhere on your list.

You only bet on sure things, don't you? ;)

Loony BoB
08-16-2017, 10:58 AM
Sorry I haven't updated in a few days, I've been busy with work and another project, so I haven't had as much time as I would like to do this. I did start work on the next entry and then kind of came to a loss for words because it's a title most of you are familiar with.

I'm almost halfway through the list, any surprises? Any games you're expecting in the future?

What the crap man, nobody takes this long!

Wolf Kanno
08-16-2017, 08:24 PM
53.

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Our third Final Fantasy game and the initial game that brought me to this forum actually. With the release of the Zodiac Age, this game is pretty fresh in the minds for some of you and I feel most of us are familiar with the ins and outs, so I'll be ignoring my usual "here's the plot, here's the gameplay" spiel and instead just focus on why this game deserves to be on this list. With that said, if you are just now playing this game for the first time, there are likely going to be spoilers so read at your own discretion.
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I find it a little bit funny to see that over a decade later from this game's release, I'm kind of back in the same state of mind about the franchise. My options for the last few years have been a game I actively dislike, it's awful sequel, an MMO I don't care about, and a few more lackluster titles as SE focuses on branching out and slapping FF onto anything that will sell like they were the video game equivalent of KISS.
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Yet I did have XII on the horizon, which as being developed by my favorite director at Square during the PS1 era, giving me both FFTactics and Vagrant story, and even surprising me with FFTA. So I was hyped when I learned he was working on XII, and so I shouldered on through FFMMO, skimpy outfit Charlie's Angels knockoff, and weird crossover titles. Yet, as we all know, XII began the franchise's new tradition of rocky development. Despite being announced before FFXI debuted, it was released four years later, which felt like a lifetime for a franchise who Golden Age had every entry releasing one to two years apart, with only the gap between VI and VII being the longest and that at least was notable with a console change and a transition from 2D to 3D graphics. The news coming of Matsuno not only leaving the project due to health reasons, but eventually leaving the company itself was also very concerning, and I still hope to one day learn a little bit more about that, cause never set well with me. The game was taken over by Ito (VI and CT) and Kawazu (FFII and SaGa) which I feel saved the project, but I'm still sad that we were denied Matsuno's full vision.
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In hindsight, I feel like XII really showed it's work. After seeing the results of the last three titles that had ballooned development times and then got painfully rushed out the door in the last year of it's development, I can honestly say that I feel XII showed not only why it was taking so long, but ultimately achieved what they wanted to do, whereas the rest either got shrug of god with silly lies or boggled down with focus group input. Recreating an MMO style world in terms of scale on PS2 hardware without the aid of the HUD peripheral that Sony dropped almost as quickly as they touted it, with little to no loading times is actually an engineering feat on scale with VII and VIII's technological improvements. I've always felt that the PS2 was a late bloomer, and my god if this game, Shadow of the Colossus, and MGS3 really sent that message to gamers.
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So we have our first non-MMO massive world FF and it happens to be Ivalice itself, a setting that had been slowly evolving in Matsuno's mind in the years since he created it as a flimsy expy of his Tactics Ogre universe, and I honestly couldn't think of a better setting to be the first scaled world. The level design of XII is a bit interesting because it's massive in scale to other FF worlds like Spira or Cocoon, but actually has some tighter design around it as well, which differentiates it from the usual copy/paste landscapes of Open World titles like XV. Frankly, I was in awe to all this and really saw the future of the genre with this game, but sadly SE backed down from the concept while other franchises thankfully saw the potential and ran with it. In a lot of ways, I feel like XII was the last FF to have a serious impact on the genre. Other series started to build their worlds bigger, more serious subjects started to enter the writing, and it felt like more designers began to really experiment with writing styles for their games.
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XII is not about Vaan, he's the player viewpoint character, but his story arc ends about a few hours after his introduction. The plot is really about Ashe, the first playable character you're actually introduced to in the opening. Yet it still surprises me that people confuse this concept. It's also different from the Tidus and Yuna dynamic because ultimately, Vaan's story is irrelevant to Ashe's and he comes to terms with what he needs to do to grow as a character fairly early in the plot, whereas Ashe struggles with her conflict for the rest of the game. Where Vaan is important is that he's relatable, the opening sections of Rabanastre wouldn't have been as impactful if you were playing as Ashe, in her resistance bunker, with all her bodyguards, talking about how bad Dalmasca has been since the imperial takeover. It is more impactful to play as an everyman who is both powerless to effect any real change but still wants to do so, to meet a character who can freely wander the streets and talk to normal people about what's going on and learn first hand about the social dynamics of the world than a character who storywise, is in no position to do so because they are too important for such trifling matters. So Vaan is not important as a character, but he's important for the player to see and understand the world in a way that none of the other characters can't translate into without awkward writing. Tidus fulfills a similar role in X but he's ultimately too foreign and his story still requires heavy exposition by side characters and party members to get both him and the player up to speed on the situations. Vaan is a more organic means of fulfilling this role.
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In terms of the narrative overall, I kind of appreciate the fact that XII is a more subdued and grounded experience. After years of half espers, dead dream dude's, schizophrenics due to alien loogies, and Time traveling witches; it was nice to have a story where everyone actually has straightforward problems that can still create complicated emotional issues for the party to deal with. Basch is probably the best example as he has not only been disgraced due to the frame up on him, but the one person he vowed to protect, hates him and it's only through the course of the story and the other characters resolving their own personal issues does he finally get his happy ending. You feel bad for this guy, and you don't even need to have some weird excuse to do so like him being some magic construct created for war, he's a guy whom the world has turned against and yet he soldiers on and does what he feels is right despite the fact the person he's trying to help hates him. It's powerful without being melodramatic or over the top in context.
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Fran's own journey falls Matsuno's tendency to bring in real world elements into his stories. Her journey parallels the struggles of native groups dealing with the expansion of more technologically advanced cultures; and the sense of betrayal the native group feels when their young abandoned their cultural roots to pursue that foreign influence. While I'm sure Matsuno drew upon these inspirations from the struggles of native tribes in the Americas and Africa, I can easily see it hitting a chord with Japanese who feel the same loss of identity from Western influences in the last hundred and fifty years. It's incredibly relevant story point that has no clear answer and may likely have a similar end result as the real world for the Viera which makes it both fascinating and tragic, while once again, not being in your face about it.
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This is why I love XII's story, it deals with complicated issues and interesting personal struggles without being so blatantly obvious about it. the player themselves have to read the subtext to understand and not simply be spoon fed the games themes and message. This is not to say the older games were never subtle about their own themes, but at the time of 2006, I felt SE had lost that insight as well as many other popular RPGs at the time. Even today, I still feel that SE has never quite grasped subtlity like they used to, but I blame this on the fact that the writers don't have enough faith in their own audience to get the message if it isn't spelled out to them and who can blame them? My own experience when I first came to this forum was dealing with people who seemed to miss the point of the writing, and I'm sure that was rather reflective of the whole fanbase, even I missed out on a several elements my first playthrough, but that's kind of what I like about this game is that it's something where you can still discover new meanings and minor points with each playthrough. It's not a high fructose soda you stuff in your face to get that instant gratification, it's like a wine that has to be drank slowly and every sip should savor in order to appreciate the subtle elements that make it exquisite.
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This extends to the gameplay which ultimately ruined A.I. companions for me because XII offered a level of control that felt meaningful and practical that ultimately challenged my views on how I play games. It taught me to relinquish control where I wanted to while also making me appreciate the control I still gave myself. The License Board was a powerful tool that certainly had some balancing issues, but could be fixed if I simply let go and didn't settle for the lowest hanging fruit on the tree. XII came out at a good time for me, cause my own experience with FFs gameplay had largely been waning thanks to always munchkining the mechanics, but around the time of XII, I finally started to just let go and just really experiment with what some of the battle systems had to offer, and I feel that FFXII, more than any other entry is a game that really works best with this more playful approach. When you decide to sit back and simply play for enjoyment and curiosity instead of "playing to win" I feel you can truly see how much depth the mechanics have to offer.
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Overall, I felt that XII was the breath of fresh air the franchise really needed and I'm a bit sad that everything that has come after it has lacked the depth, restraint, and grandeur this game offered us back in 2006. I am happy to see that people have started to come around to this game, and I hope the Zodiac Age helps introduce a whole new generation of fans to what I consider to be the last really great Final Fantasy game.

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Bubba
08-16-2017, 09:12 PM
I couldn't read that as I'm yet to play FFXII but I'm glad it made an appearance on your list!

Fynn
08-16-2017, 09:36 PM
Yeah, it really took people w while to understand the beauty of this game but I'm glad it's finally getting some long overdue credit

Karifean
08-16-2017, 10:27 PM
Now there's an entry I can really get behind. Really good post too, makes it very clear why exactly it's here on the list.

FFXII was also kind of an experiment ground for various random gameplay ideas it seems, some good, some terrible. I'll never understand how anyone could've looked at the original Zodiac Spear requirements and okayed them. The Zodiac rereleases iron out a lot of my pet peeves and make the game a lot more fun to play overall. Interesting to contrast the two versions from a design perspective.

X-2 has XII beat when it comes to the playful gameplay approach though =P

Rocket Edge
08-16-2017, 11:09 PM
Nice read. I remember at the time of FFXII's release getting fixated on words for example like magicite and nethicite and wondering why needlessly confuse people. I found it hard to follow in places.

Now it's irrelevant. I'm currently playing through the Zodiac Age and I'm surprised at how much I really love playing through it.

Wolf Kanno
08-16-2017, 11:26 PM
52.

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Now for something completely different. I'm going to be honest with you. This game is here for pure nostalgia and because it's funny as hell, but I can objectively say that several games that have come before are better titles. Why this is here is largely due to the nostalgia of my father's bad parenting (I was about eight or nine when the version I played came out) and the fun memories of being over at his place playing this game and asking him a bunch of unfortunate questions that all parents dread to hear their kids ask. With that said, I do feel a bit guilty of placing this here after going through four solid titles. So I may end up dropping this a bit lower on the list in the end, and remind people that the list is transient at best until you reach the top ten.
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Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards is a remake of an old softcore porn game that largely scaled back the "porn" aspect and amped the humor like any good text adventure game. Considering it's unfortunate origins, Larry feels more like a raunchy 80s college comedy about a guy who wants to find true love, or at least get laid while trying. That or Johnny Bravo for adults. To say this game is considered politically incorrect in today's age is an understatement, but the game makes up for it for the delightful narration, quirky black comedy antics that befall the cosmic chew toy that Larry is, and how much this game often makes fun of itself for how utterly juvenile the whole premise is. Fun fact, Al Lowe, the creative genius behind Larry and remake got his start making compute edutainment games based on Disney titles. So yeah...
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As I said, Larry is basically the original forty year old virgin. He still thinks the Disco era is in full swing and Leisure Suits are a thing, he tells the ladies that he's looking for love after his old lady kicked him out of their place, but fails to mention that the "old lady" is his mom, and that this happened maybe two months ago. The game makes it abundantly clear that Larry is a loser and that his purpose in the game is kind of misguided. You're given eight hours to help Larry find his dream girl, otherwise, he'll kill himself. Dark I know, but considering the more fun ways to get him killed, chances are, you won't see this ending.
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You spend the majority of the game traveling a poorly veiled expy of Las Vegas looking for a girl to be Larry's true love and wooing them with words and gifts, though considering Larry has the worst pick up lines and this is an adventure game, it's mostly the second option. Most of these end disastrously for Larry. The girl at the club forces Larry into a sham marriage and then steals all of his stuff while leaving him tied naked to the hotel bed, the second girl ditches him for her real boyfriend, and you can only see the good ending by finding and romancing Eve, a doctor you meet at ritzy hotel.
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The real charm in the game is the old adventure game element of dialogue from looking at various items in the game, the text is hilarious and the narrator and cast will take every opportunity to poke fun at Larry. There's an amusing scene where Larry needs to pick up a "Lubber" to get with a prostitute involves answering a ton of questions, of which half of it doesn't really have anything to do with, and the convenience story clerk as well as all of his patrons making fun of you for how perverted you are.
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Going back to my statement about uncomfortable questions and Larry's amusing deaths, this is actually the game that taught me both what a condom and STD were. Because if you "do the deed" with the prostitute without protection, Larry contracts an STD and explodes, fanciful yes, but it gets the message across about "no glove, no love". You also get arrested if you don't remove it since apparently Larry always forgets to zip his pants up. My favorite death is flushing the toilet at Lefty's Bar, where it overflows and drowns you. When Larry dies and you press continue, the floor opens up and reassembles a new Larry for you by dropping him in a blender and sending the Larry Shake through a machine to make a new one. It's amusing and never really grew old for me.
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My other favorite part was that you had to answer a bunch of questions to even start the game, most of them designed to weed out young kids (or at least ones without negligent parents) from people of the "proper age" to play this. So a lot of questions are entertainment trivia questions about old actors and musicians, but some contain hilarious jokes mocking the development team. Hell just stating you're too young or old to be playing the game offers some really funny text from the game.
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It's a funny if quirky game that definitely falls into the "product of it's time" way of thinking. It actually did get a remake recently thanks to a kickstarter campaign which surprised the hell out of me, especially since the newer games (about Larry's even more pathetic nephew) are generally panned by everyone, including fans of the series. Yes, I did say series, the game spawned like eight sequels not including the ones about the nephew, and it contains my favorite joke in gaming. Al Lowe vowed to never make a Leisure Suit Larry 4 after 3, so the next game is actually labeled "5" and the plot revolves around a The Hangover style story where Larry has to remember what actually happened in the unmade 4. It's a quirky series indeed.

8ru-niGZWYE

Del Murder
08-16-2017, 11:44 PM
Ahahahahahahaha.

Spuuky
08-17-2017, 07:21 AM
I wish more party-based games would use the gambit system or something like it.

Del Murder
08-17-2017, 05:45 PM
They basically scrapped that to make the AI do it. It was cool to have the highly customizable gambit system but I felt like there wasn't enough 'if' options.

Wolf Kanno
08-18-2017, 04:36 AM
51.
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And now back to our regularly scheduled program... and ooh boy, I get to talk about my two favorite things: Pretentious existential philosophical mumbo jumbo and giant robots. Lucky for me, Tetsuya Takahashi likes the sames things and keeps finding people willing to fund his games. In fact, this is the game that actually made me join a forum. My first forum was the former Ethos Sanctuary which lasted a good while before the drama of the series development and the fan community caused the owner to hate all Xeno fans, and ban everyone before he pulled the plug on the site. Good times.
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Xenosaga, in general, is a spiritual prequel to Xenogears that eventually became it's own thing under the tenure of Monolith Soft. When Square told Takahashi and the Xeno team that they had no intentions of making any further games in the Xeno series, the team left Square and formed Monolith Soft and got a contract with Namco to create a new Xeno franchise. In truth, Xenosaga may be the poster child within RPG circles for the dangers that can be done concerning executive meddling, listening to focus groups, and the constant battle between artistic integrity and the reality of game business on a fresh IP. As I mentioned before, Kojima is about the only game director on the market that has somehow crossed the gap between weird ass auteurs design, and actually making something that is fairly profitable. Xenogears was a cult hit for Square, and in time, Xenosaga is a bit of a cult hit for Namco, but one I don't ever expect the company to ever address again outside of the occasional crossover spin-off. The damage the series took with each new entry ultimately killed the franchise and after replaying the franchise again last year; it has become a bit more obvious to me that many elements that were being set up in the first game were either dropped, or significantly changed in the sequels. Much like the half finished Gears, Saga also fails to give the players the true vision it really entailed.
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Set thousands of years in our future, mankind has colonized worlds with ease, nanotechnology is the norm, and people live side by side with bio-androids called Realians. Mankind is under attack by a mysterious alien race called the Gnosis; these beings exist in a higher plane of existence, but can still interact with our world and cause untold damage. Professor Mizrahi studied the Gnosis Phenomena along with their connection to a mysterious artifact from Earth called the Zohar, which seems to have the power to warp reality and channel infinite power from other dimensions. His research institute, controlled by a religious order with connections to the Zohar, start a rebellion on the planet Militia which spreads to the rest of the Militian solar system. The war devastates the world, saw Mizrahi commit suicide, the planet Militia and the Original Zohar are sealed away into pocket space, and the Gnosis appearance skyrockets; leaving the Federation to deal with the new threat.
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When the game opens, the planet Ariadne has vanished from physical space, and the Federation hastily sends a military unit to investigate to see if this was caused by the Gnosis. To offset the rush job of putting the unit together, the Federation are helped by the powerful corporate conglomerate Vector, who lend them a new space ship called the Woglinde. They are given the staff of Project KOS-MOS, an anti-Gnosis battle android, unique for being completely mechanical instead of usual Realian technology as a fail safe in case the Gnosis do show up. Shion Uzuki is the head researcher of the project, and despite KOS-MOS's future role, Shion has a motherly attachment to her due to her being a pet project by her secret lover and KOS-MOS' original designer, Kevin Winnicot. Kevin died during the original KOS-MOS' activation and Shion was forced to destroy her, but has since rebuilt her.
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The mission feels off to everyone on board and it almost feels like the expedition is being controlled by other forces not connected to the military. The crew pick up a large artifact that is the only thing remaining at the sight where the planet is and quickly start heading home, which unnerves the crew. Eventually the Gnosis do attack the ship and Shion finds herself in a life or death struggle to escape.
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That right there is about the first three or four hours of the plot. I could easily jump into the other storylines that present themselves in the plot, but that would be another five to ten pages worth of text. I feel I'm getting my point across when I say that Xenosaga Episode 1, is a story dense game. In fact the largest complaint against the game back in the day was that you watched it more than you actually played it, and that's not a lie in the slightest. After the initial tutorial dungeon, you won't see another for about an hour or two. If you're the type of gamer who likes a little gameplay with their huge heaping of story, then this is game for you.
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The pacing of this game is both it's greatest strength and it's greatest weakness, to say it's a slow burn is a bit of an understatement. The game spends the first several hours trying to get you up to speed with the setting and characters, and I honestly feel it does a pretty good job. It makes sure that you know the differences between your U-TICs from your U.R.T.V. and it has a helpful glossary you can access to help fill you in when the plot wants to be vague. It's actually kind of intimidating how many story threads are introduced right off the bat, and while it may seem like they are moving forward a bit too slow for people used to Final Fantasy's more "shock and awe" approach the game ultimately starts a rapid fire succession of major twists and dramatic moments. Where it succeeds is that the payoff for sticking with the story and characters is usually worth the wait in regards to the first title. Cherenkov, a spy for the U-TIC organization, kind of feels like he's just there and his story will likely resolve itself in a cliche storm, and then the game really takes a left turn, and you learn so much about him that transforms him into one of the game's more sympathetic antagonists.
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The cast is both unconventional and surprisingly developed. Shion is a brilliant scientist, but is incredibly flawed as she often has poor social skills that make her seem more childish than the other cast membersDespite his misanthrope nature though, she's also incredibly sympathetic when it comes to Realians and KOS-MOS. KOS-MOS is pure badass fanservice with a healthy dose of mystery and sassiness she gives to Shion. The other party members also have interesting arcs and story's which often pair up with each other.

Ziggy was once a police officer who suffered a traumatic event that led to his suicide, but due to being an organ donor and the transhumanist Life Recycling Act, he was brought back as a cyborg with no means of self-terminating, instead he simply requests to have more and more of his flesh replaced with machines until he becomes a full robot. In contrast, his story entwines him with MOMO, an advanced Realian child, and the last creation of Mizrahi based on his dead daughter. She is more human than other realians and wishes to be treated so, especially by Mizrahi's widow, but the stigma against her kind prevents this. So we have a human who wants to be a machine teamed up with a machine that wants to be human. Jr. is contrasted with Shion, he runs the Kukai Foundation which protects and serves as a political voice for tranhumans created during the era of the Life Recycling Act, in truth, the organization is actually a paramilitary group made by the government to hunt down the remnants of the order that caused the Militian Conflict. While Jr. looks about twelve years old, he's actually twenty six, and his "father" is actually his clone younger brother. Like Shion, he was a child present during the Miltian Conflict and still carries the scars of the war with him.
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The cast is wonderfully written and it doesn't take long to really get invested with their stories. Like Xenogears before it though, the real praise must got to the villains. I often feel that my love of FF villains dropped considerably after dealing with the antagonists of the Xeno franchises. Margulis is a grim military man associated with a religious order and basically sums up his deal with his iconic line concerning the disappearance of Ariadne as "what's a few billion lives to us?". While it would be easy to sum him up as some evil megalomaniac, Margulis is actually just loyal to the cause of his religion, and even shows courteousness to MOMO when she has her captured and finds Albedo to be utterly repulsive.
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Albedo, my god, Albedo is the best thing about this whole franchise. Imagine Kefka with a sympathetic backstory, no real destructive magic, but traded it for true immortality, and he's voiced by Crispin "the voice of sex personified" Freeman. About the only good thing I can say about the sequels is that they did a great job, showing how completely multi-faceted this psychopath truly is. Albedo will ultimately steal the show for the rest of the game and marks a dark turning point for the plot as we begin to see the darker parts of the world and setting with him. In fact, his scene with MOMO is likely the most well known scene from this game, and possibly one of the funniest examples of where censorship actually made a scene look worse. Albedo psychologically tortures MOMO with both a madness induced psychological tirade with all the hamminess you would expect for something like that; and showing off his power to regenerate. In the original, he's brandishing a knife to cut off his limbs, in the censored version, he rips them off bare handed. Now which sounds more disturbing to you?
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I've often complained about games like FFX and XIII for railroading the player and forcing us to deal with their stories while stripping away the game side of things, but I've often also said that such a design can work as long as the player likes the story. This is one of those games for me, and thankfully, it does actually have slightly better dungeon design and mini-games than FFX, but like those games, if you can't get into the plot, this game will be an utter chore for you.
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With that said, the game play side of things is actually step up from Xenogears. Battles are turn based and still use AP to determine the types of hits, Deathblows are gained purely from leveling now, but are separated by whether they are short range or long range. You now have to equip these moves and can have up to six of them on a character at once. All characters have their own spell trees, but once a spell is mastered, a character can spend extra spell points to learn another characters spell. So for instance, Shion has a group heal spell, but everyone else can actually be taught the skill once Shion learns it.
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You can equip one accessory, but it's now possible to learn the special skills off of accessories and you're allowed to equip up to three of them. Despite how much the game tries to balance this, they ultimately fail, and this one aspect actually winds up breaking the game, as it's possible to teach every character a skill from an accessory that gives the same effect as the Valiant Knife from FFVI. It was still a neat concept, and gives a huge amount to customization. Some party members can also pilot A.G.W.S. which are mini-humanoid mecha with better defense and firepower than your party most of the time. These units can actually get some pretty great customization options in terms of weapon load out, but it pales in comparison to better mecha games like Front Mission and Armored Core. Still, I appreciate the concept and miss dearly once the series has the party upgrade to the Gears expys in later installments.
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The crown jewel is the battle system, which introduces the Boost System and Event Slots. Like FFX, you can actually see the turn order in combat, and who gets to fight up to four people. As your characters dish out damage, they increase the boost gauge and once they have at least one boost saved up, the character has the ability to give themselves an extra turn as long as they are not already in the turn queue, this means you can interrupt enemy attacks or get some emergency healing done. This is especially invaluable due to the event slot. Every "turn" in battle gives a different bonus the game cycles through, such as a dramatic increase in the boost gauge, a guarantee critical hit from any attack, or even one that doubles the amount of skill and tech points you earn in battle. This system ultimately determines the course of the battle as you'll be wanting to make sure enemies don't get the good bonuses while also making sure to kill the enemy during the extra point bonus gauge. It adds a whole layer of strategy to battle especially since enemies can use boost as well, and they even get a special one that allows them to bypass the "only when you're not in the queue" rule allowing bosses to effectively have two or three turns a round. In fact, the boss battles in this game can be utterly brutal and the game is surprisingly difficult at times.
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There are a whole wealth of other features I can go on and on about, but bottom-line, this is a wonderful hidden gem of a game on the PS2. I replayed the whole franchise last year in hopes of walking away from it with renewed love like I did with the Suikoden franchise, and instead walked away a bit more disappointed than I thought I would be. While I did decide that Episode 2 isn't quite the total train wreck I remember it being, Episode 3 aged poorly and felt way more like a rush job than I remember it being. In fact, with the exception of art direction, Episode 3 looks a lot worse in action than Episode 1, due to cutting too many corners with the character animation and using static models for the bulk of the dialogue; whereas Episode 1 had most of the story shown in cutscene. I wouldn't be surprised if Episode 1's cutscenes run on 60fps whereas I know Episode 3's run on 40fps. This is what I ultimately walked away from, was that more love and care went into the first title than the sequels. Episode 2 was mangled by executive meddling, and Episode 3 tried to salvage what it could with the story, and rushed out a conclusion cause the team probably knew an Episode 4 wasn't going to happen. This is especially grating because Episode 1 really showed the franchise had so much potential and despite the slow build up, I feel like the game left me wanting more, whereas the sequels kind of made me happy the farce was over.
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Xenosaga Episode 1 is a wonderful title with some good ideas and questionable pacing. If you really want a good and deep sci-fi story that pulls in influences from other sci-fi greats like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, and Solaris; this is a game I feel is worth checking out, and who knows, perhaps you'll like the sequels as well.
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Pumpkin
08-18-2017, 03:08 PM
XENOSAGA YAY

sharkythesharkdogg
08-18-2017, 03:31 PM
I've always considered slogging through Xeno 2 so I could appreciate Xeno 3 more.
(Xeno 3 is still sitting new on my shelf, wrapped up.)

Now I'm less motivated to play either.

Pumpkin
08-18-2017, 03:45 PM
I've always considered slogging through Xeno 2 so I could appreciate Xeno 3 more.
(Xeno 3 is still sitting new on my shelf, wrapped up.)

Now I'm less motivated to play either.

First of all, no it isn't. I've played it and we've had this discussion :colbert:

Second of all, rushed issues aside, I though Xenosaga 3 was amazing and I loved it even more than 1 and I replay it more often. So YMMV

sharkythesharkdogg
08-18-2017, 03:53 PM
I've always considered slogging through Xeno 2 so I could appreciate Xeno 3 more.
(Xeno 3 is still sitting new on my shelf, wrapped up.)

Now I'm less motivated to play either.

First of all, no it isn't. I've played it and we've had this discussion :colbert:

Second of all, rushed issues aside, I though Xenosaga 3 was amazing and I loved it even more than 1 and I replay it more often. So YMMV

It was in the wrapper before you played it. I remember buying new from some place that was trying to get rid of it cheap. Best Buy maybe.

Same thing with that Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution I have. Thought I'd play it, but I stuck with Virtua Fighter 4 for whatever reason. /shrug

Scotty_ffgamer
08-18-2017, 06:40 PM
Xenosaga is one of my favorite rpgs of all time, but it's one I may not ever be able to get into again due to the length of the cutscenes and me having no time to play games.

I'm actually pretty ok with 2 despite the fact that the series did go downhill at that point. More than anything, it's the change in art style and voices I hate in 2, but I was still pretty invested in the story and characters. I can agree with 3 not aging as well, but I still enjoy it. I do just wish the series could have continued the quality from the first one. It's one of my most replayed games.

Spuuky
08-18-2017, 06:44 PM
I love Xenosaga. I love the first game, I love the second game except for combat, and I love the third game. Xenosaga HD remake, Xenosaga 4, please, anything.

Del Murder
08-18-2017, 06:48 PM
They really do need to remake Xenosaga so I can finally play it. I am not about to dig my PS2 out of the garage and pay $100 or whatever just to play one old game. I don't even think you can get it on PSN.

Wolf Kanno
08-18-2017, 08:13 PM
50.

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When a franchise has been around long enough, some fans ask the devs to "mix it up" and really play with the formula. Most often or not, they won't really listen to fans because if it works, don't fix it. On very rare occasions, the devs may actually listen and more often than not, we all learn why you should never listen to fans, because fans don't want new things.

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So I feel it's easy to say that the radical new direction BoFV went, instilled the wrong type of feelings the devs were hoping for. Remember how I said back with the BoFIV entry that the series got progressively darker with every entry? Well here's the culmination of that statement as you can easily tell by the screenshots.

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In the distant past, civilization cracked the genetic code and began abusing it to create new weapons and other horrors from which humanity could use to kill each other. The scariest beings, the D-Constructs, which are basically Dragon Clones with near immortality and great intelligence and power ravaged the world so badly, that the people had to build underground shelters and escape the toxic surface world. People have lived underground for so long that they simply forgot what the "sky" is.

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In the dystopian world of Sheldar, ruled by the mysterious Regents who are close to being physical gods, life ekes out a bleak existence. At birth, every person is graded by their D-Ratio, which determines their full potential. High ratios go off to become leaders of the community or even Regents themselves, while low grade are forever stuck in some meaningless job. This caste system eventually caused rise to Trinity, an anti-government force which wants to change the system, but has trouble making any effective change due to the apathy of the citizens. BioCorp is a mega corp that uses genetic engineering to create drugs and Genics (artificial life forms) that are used as food for the citizens, while they have no notable power structure, they work closely with the Regents to maintain social order and I'm pretty sure Hojo wouldn't have a problem getting a job their along Albert Wesker.

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Ryu 1/8192 (that's actually his full name) is a low ranking grunt who has worked his way up to Third Grade Ranger, which is as high as he'll ever be. He is a compassionate figure who always tries to help others, even at the cost of his own misery, but it makes him well respected among the citizens and his fellow Rangers. His partner, Bosch 1/64, is trying to build up his reputation and climb the social ladder in hopes of becoming a Regent himself. The two are ordered by their superior Zeno, to guard a piece of cargo being transported for BioCorp.

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On their way to the transport, Ryu and Bosch encounter a dead, but massive reptilian Genic pinned to a wall. Ryu hears a voice calling to him, but Bosch scoffs it off as his nerves. While transporting the cargo, they are attacked by Trinity and wind up getting separated in the lower caves where wild Genics roam. Here Ryu makes the startling discovery that their cargo was actually a twelve year old girl who can barely speak and only says her name, Nina. She has strange wings coming out of her back and is quite frail. Ryu vows to protect her and find Bosch so they can talk to the higher ups about what is going on. On his way, he encounters Lin, a Woren (cat people) who is working for Trinity and responsible for the attack on the cargo. Their situation forces the two to work together for Nina's sake and they eventually find their way back to the lower part of the city.

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Ryu has an uncomfortable reunion with Bosch and his fellow rangers that ends with Ryu forming a pact with a D-Construct named Odjn that grants him dragon powers, Nina revealing that she's a human air filter that is slowly dying due to the amount of pollution in the world, and all three of them being on the run as the whole world wants the "dragon" dead. With Nina dying, Ryu is compelled by Odjn to seek the mythical surface so she may live, but Odjn's power takes a great toll on Ryu's own body, and it becomes a race against time to see if both of them will survive the journey to the surface.

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It goes without saying that Dragon Quarter is a pretty bleak game, and I did what I could to hide some of the juicier story tidbits that really show how messed up the world and society is in this game. Most of the characters are tragic figures and it gets really heart wrenching the further you progress as both Nina and Ryu's conditions deteriorate. While I would love to dwell and muse on the social commentary and philosophical undertones of the story, I feel like it would reveal too much and unlike some games on this list, I know most people have never really played this entry and I highly advise that many of you rectify this.

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If the bleak setting and depressing plot wasn't enough to scare you away, then perhaps the game's quirky new mechanics will instead. Gameplay is a serious change-up from previous installments. Enemies can be seen on the field, but more importantly, you the player have the ability to set up traps or use food to lure enemies together or away. You can drop some food among some proximity mines to lure all the enemies together and have them take serious damage before engaging them, or you can use poison mushroom to inflict status ailments on them to get an edge in battle. The mechanics are quite ingenious and with the exception of a similar if less involved mechanic in the Xenosaga franchise, I am still amazed no other RPG series has ever utilized this system because it gives a whole new level of depth to on screen enemy encounters.

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Battle do take place on a separate screen and utilize an AP system that controls every action you take. Your characters can move freely in battle as long as they have the AP to do so but, wasting AP to reach an enemy can leave the character reaching them and have nothing left to use for combat. There is no basic attack command, instead all of a characters battle commands are equipped onto your weapons like materia, with a total of nine skills being usable. With that said, you can only equip three of any tier skill for your weapon and thus each skill is ranked based on power. Tier one skills cost 10 AP but do minimal damage, while Tier 3 cost 30 AP and have higher damage potential. With that said, your character gets damage bonuses for chaining together strings of attacks so sometimes chaining together eight or nine basic Slash attacks can do more damage than using all three of your tier 3 skills. Some skills also give additional effects when used as part of a chain and both Ryu and Lin have skills that can completely change into new unique skills when chained together properly. It sounds complicated but it's pretty simple and fun to use.

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All three characters have a unique role in battle. Ryu is a straightforward fighter ith more health and armor options making him a useful "shield" to protect the more fragile members. Nina can cast some powerful offensive skills but her real talent comes with her Trap spells that she can lay on the battlefield that will do obscene amounts of damage and stop an enemy in their track or force them to waste their own AP trying to get around them to reach the party. Lin's skill largely focus on changing where the enemies are on the field, many of her gun skills have knock back which can be used quite effectively with Nina's trap magic to cause some serious hurt, she can also use her Vacuum skill to draw enemies dangerously close together for Ryu and Nina to use their group hitting kills. It's a highly tactical battle system and incredibly fun.

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Ryu can also transform into a hybrid dragon form, but here's where some of the more controversial elements of the game kick in. The D-Counter is a timer that activates once Ryu gains his dragon powers and slowly and irreversibly rises from 0% to 100% for the rest of the game. If the counter reaches 100% before you reach the end, Ryu is fully possessed by Odjn and is killed in a pretty gruesome transformation sequence, that also prematurely ends the game. So yes, the game is technically on a timer, but realistically, it's more psychologically daunting than being a literal issue. You can actually reach the end of the game with more than half of your D-Counter still available if you play intelligently. This counter is always rising, but when you use Ryu's dragon powers, it rises very quickly. To compensate for this, Ryu's dragon mode is ridiculously overpowered and he can pretty much destroy every boss in the game with little effort but at the high risk of increasing the D-Counter by double digit percents. So gameplay is about balancing when to use this ability in an emergency as opposed to just trying to end every boss encounter in a one sided affair. You'll also want to use it conservatively because some of the game's bosses, especially the Regents are insanely powerful and more of a headache to conquer by normal means.

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The game's difficulty is much higher than typical RPGs in order to trick you into using the dragon form, but there is another controversial mechanic you can use instead. The Scenario Overlay System (SOL) is an odd mechanic where when the party is killed in battle or Ryu's counter hits 100% you have the option to return to your last save and lose all your progress, or you can Use SOL Restart and start the whole game over game, except your character gets to keep any skills they've learned, equipment they left in a storage locker, and all the party experience they accumulated. Party Experience? Yes, when you beat enemies they drop two types of XP, standard for leveling a character and a party one that the player can use to level any of the characters at any time as long as they have enough. With these three factors, you can basically restart the game with a party equipped to be fighting mid-game opponents, allowing for an easier time to get back to where you were when you had to restart.

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To add a more titillating incentive, you're graded when you restart the game and this changes Ryu's D-Ratio. This will power up certain weapons, allow access to new areas in the new playthrough, and actually unlocks new story scenes that have a dramatic change on the story. While the D-Ratio change doesn't affect Ryu's standing in the plot (you can have a D-Ratio of 1/4 and the characters still treat you like a low rank trash) these new scenes add several new layers to the plot and cast. A wonderful case in point is rather early in the game. In the first run, Ryu and Bosch get their orders from Zeno and then Bosch asks to speak with her privately while Ryu is excused. The SOL sequence allows the player to see that private conversation and it really paints a different picture of Bosch for you. These new sequences do a lot for add to the narrative and you'll learn some terrible truths about the cast and setting that really ramps up the quality of the story. Of course, that's how some feel, whereas others would accuse the game of hiding all of it's cool content behind gated nonsense and all of this should have been there from the get go, but in an era where games like NieR have pulled this off beautifully, I would like to think we can get over that issue. To help matters even more is that DQ is actually fairly short, you can beat the game in under ten hours, in fact it's a requirement to get the best D-Ratio. Also, the extra scenes can all be unlocked long before you reach the last set of rankings, so don't worry about having to do a "perfect" run to unlock all the story content.

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The game is quirky for sure, but a real treat if you can get past all of that as it has an incredibly emotional and dark story and one of the best battle systems in the series. The higher difficulty curve can easily be offset with the SOL mechanic but even then, the extra challenge is a nice bonus considering how easy BoFIV was in comparison and works well with the more tactical battle system. The musical score is also worth mentioning since it was composed by Sakimoto of Ivalice fame and produced by Mitsuda of Chrono fame.

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If I'm going to nail the game for anything, it's that I can get behind the fact the game strays way too far off from all the elements that made Breath of Fire unique. The usual colorful worlds and characters are replaced with a drab brown and brown environment with anorexic character models, the anthropomorphic races have mostly been removed or simply replaced with the vague humanoid races like Grassrunner and Woren which significant;y drops the fantasy elements of the game. The sci-fi undertones also run contrast to the more fantasy elements of the series though the series has never been shy about utilizing sci-fi elements in the past.

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The game suffers from a similar problem as BoFIV, which is that Capcom rushed it's development which ends up hurting the story and feel of the game while also creating some underlying balancing issues. For instance, BoFV doesn't have the series traditional fishing mini-game. It was meant to, but ended up getting scrapped to make the deadline and apparently the game's sole Manilo (Fish tribe) was to be a part of it. The Fairy Village isn't as involving or useful as it was in previous installments and there are a lot of story elements cut from the game that can only be discovered from the Japanese artbooks. Thankfully, the translation didn't suffer as bad as previous installments.

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As bad as some of the Final Fantasy's get accused of, none have been stigmatized with the idea of being a franchise killer, which is what happened with this entry. It took Capcom ten years to finally get around to making a sequel after this title and it is the even more divisive mobile title BoFVI which decided to jump to the complete opposite side of the visual spectrum from BoFV. Just look at it...


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Yeah, even if the series did eventually carry on, most fans still hate on this game for killing interest in the series despite the reality being that Capcom was losing money on the series all along. I still consider this game to be both a lost cult classic from the PS2 era, but more importantly, and incredibly forward thinking RPG that still can teach modern developers a thing or two. It is sadly the most underrated entry in the franchise, but I would like to think that fans will eventually come back to it and see it for how it really was a pretty solid game overall.


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Spuuky
08-18-2017, 08:32 PM
They really do need to remake Xenosaga so I can finally play it. I am not about to dig my PS2 out of the garage and pay $100 or whatever just to play one old game. I don't even think you can get it on PSN.The game wasn't rare, it's like $10

Pumpkin
08-18-2017, 08:54 PM
Dragon Quarter story seems like a big yes to me but the gameplay a no so I'm left in this weird middle zone

Scotty_ffgamer
08-18-2017, 08:59 PM
I think it's just the third game that's up there in price. I still see the first Xenosaga on occasion decently priced.

I really want to get into the breath of fire games one of these days. Played a bit of the first one on gba, but that's about it.

Del Murder
08-18-2017, 09:38 PM
They really do need to remake Xenosaga so I can finally play it. I am not about to dig my PS2 out of the garage and pay $100 or whatever just to play one old game. I don't even think you can get it on PSN.The game wasn't rare, it's like $10
Maybe I was thinking of that one for gamecube. In any event, I'm still not about to dust off my PS2 where I also have to use a ...gasp... wired controller!

Wolf Kanno
08-19-2017, 08:48 AM
And deny your offspring to learn the horrors of why we went wireless? For shame Del Murder, kids need to know these things.

We're halfway through the list now. I know a few of you have started a few games I mentioned on this list, anybody else feeling that tinge of nostalgia or gaming curiosity?

Any entry surprise you yet?

I'll give a hint about the next few entries:

One was inspired by a child finding a cave in the countryside.
One involves Mars
One involves smoking jaguars
One involves ice skaters.

Pumpkin
08-19-2017, 12:53 PM
One was inspired by a child finding a cave in the countryside.
One involves Mars
One involves smoking jaguars
One involves ice skaters.

Style Savvy!

Bubba
08-19-2017, 01:03 PM
First one has to be Zelda! The original, by the sounds of it.

Wolf Kanno
08-19-2017, 07:47 PM
49.
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Man, we're jumping into the top 50 and I'm starting with a serious classic. Like SMB3 before it, it's difficult to really write something about such an iconic game that most people know. This was my first Zelda game, the first I played, owned, and beat. Thus it stands to reckon that it holds a very warm place in my heart. It still boggles my mind that it took me close to a year to beat this game, whereas my last two playthroughs have taken me only an evening.
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The first entry is the beginning of the long feuding love triangle between Legoals cosplaying as Peter Pan , Link; always a damsel in distress, never a bride Princess Zelda; and sexy thief who really let himself go to the dark side Ganon.The game's design was inspired by Miyamoto's childhood days of exploring his family's country getaway and all the cool things he uncovered. He wanted to really invoke that feeling and thus Zelda's open world set-up was conceived.
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What's interesting to me about the original Zelda, was how ahead of it's time it really was. Nowadays, people throw around buzz worlds like "open world" and "non-linear design" as the mediums go to buzz words of the 21st century, but Zelda achieved all this stuff back in the toddler years of video games.
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While Zelda has grown to be one of Nintendo's biggest properties, especially in the Western world, it does still surprise me to meet Zelda fans who never touched the game that started it all. Even more baffling when I hear some of these same fans complain about the difficulty of the game compared to later installments. Zelda 2 is a tough as nails game, but the first Zelda is actually pretty easy, it just doesn't ever hold your hand and it's primary gameplay advice is always "try everything" in order to proceed, something the later Zelda games ultimately fazed out from the series.
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I still remember trying to take this game down in an era where the internet gaming community was still in it's infancy and finding back issue guides for Nintendo Power at the library could be a serious challenge. So for me, the satisfaction of eventually figuring out most of the game's puzzles and the thrill of finding dungeon 8 when you've just barely finished dungeon 2 is still exhilarating.
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In a lot of ways, and perhaps this is just the "old fogy" in me wearing my rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia as I wax on about the "good old days"; but I kind of feel like the information age has made us really lose out on the sense of discovery that older games once possessed. With every new generation of consoles, it feels to me that there is less to find and uncover in this happy medium of video games and more of just people whining about strategy guides, wiki's and how dare the devs put in a secret that is ridiculously easy to miss. The mindset has changed, but perhaps it's due to games like Zelda, that offered such a rewarding experience of finding secrets and figuring out it's various puzzles that leaves me wishing more games did such things. I still tend to play dry run through where I refuse to use faqs or ask help from other players, simply cause I want to recreate the at feeling. That to me, is the Zelda Experience.
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Bottom line, if you haven't played this game, do so, and don't get any help from a fag or walkthrough. If have played this game, then well when was the last time you did so? It's the Zelda title that has had one of the biggest impacts for me, though it is not my favorite as you'll find out eventually.
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Scotty_ffgamer
08-19-2017, 08:59 PM
I finally beat this for the first time a few years ago. I never could get very far as a kid because I sucked at these kinds of games, but I still played it all the time.

I just wish I knew other people playing this stuff when I was a kid. I could have seen myself loving having friends swapping secrets we'd find and giving each other hints. Unfortunately, things had moved on to the snes/genesis and even ps1 era when I was able to talk games on the playground and such.

Edge7
08-19-2017, 10:40 PM
One day I'll play the original Zelda. I actually quite enjoyed Adventure of Link, so I'm not afraid of it being too "Old School"

Pumpkin
08-19-2017, 10:46 PM
My son likes OG Zelda too!

Also we beat Catherine and we saw Dragon Quarter for cheap at a video game thingy we went to so we got it!

Bubba
08-19-2017, 11:23 PM
It pains me to say that I've never actually completed this. I've started it countless times and even completed many of the dungeons. I just found it really easy to get lost in... and not in a good way. I think I was a bit spoiled as my first Zelda was ALTTP where it was a lot easier to navigate around. I will complete this at some point though as it is the starting point for a truly incredible gaming franchise.

theundeadhero
08-20-2017, 12:30 AM
Zelda was my first game. It was the game that got me into gaming. My dad brought an NES home when I was five, with Zelda. I would watch my dad play the game when he came home from work until he beat it. Then, I began to play it. I beat it when I was five. Not like a my dad helped me fight the bosses or find the dungeons, I legitimately played through the game myself. I could still pop the game in and beat it in an afternoon with no need for any kind of guide. Twenty years ago, when I was in my prime, I could do it in an hour. Its been about three years since I've last played through it, but that original Zelda cartridge is still the one I have, and the battery is still going strong.

Del Murder
08-21-2017, 05:34 PM
My son likes OG Zelda too!
That's a good boy.

Legend of Zelda has got to be the inflation-adjusted best game of all time. It is so far beyond what was available at that time and is still pretty great even today.

Spuuky
08-21-2017, 06:15 PM
Legend of Zelda has got to be the inflation-adjusted best game of all time. It is so far beyond what was available at that time and is still pretty great even today.Hmm, well, if you don't count the games that came before it (like the first 4 Ultima games) because they weren't on a popular console, that's probably true.

Wolf Kanno
08-21-2017, 09:04 PM
48.
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Okay, so moving past a classic, we're back to giant robots, and after another one coming up soonish, you won't have to listen to me talk about giant robots beyond an occasional Metal Gear for quite awhile. MechCommander is also the only RTS on this list, so I'm sorry if that is one of your favorite genres, and this will also be my second to last PC exclusive title on the list since this is technically the last PC game I was really into until maybe a few years ago when I started taking advantage of Steam.
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If you actually bothered to read my entry on Battletech (#76) on this list, you have a basic rundown of the early franchise. Remember when I mentioned that the former commander of the Star League basically gave the warring houses the middle finger and then left the galaxy to make his own Star League with hookers, gambling, and booze? Well ended up instead creating a new society of soldiers built around competition and an extreme honor system. While the group fractured into various clans, they are all honor-bound to that commander's dream of returning to the Inner Sphere and recreating the old Star League, by basically wiping out the various Houses and conquering all of it. Guess who showed up after the fourth succession war? To make matters worse for the Inner Sphere, the Clans not only still retain the knowledge of the technology from the Star League days, they've actually improved it. So when the Clans initially show up, they pretty much tear the Inner Sphere a new one and conquered large swaths of territory.
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Ignoring the large amount of politics and historical battles that take place, the Clan half succeeded in their goals. They failed to take back Terra where the manipulative ComStar controlled the Inner Sphere behind the scenes, but their frightening battle prowess and major victories were enough to actually force the various Houses of the Inner Sphere to forget their grudges and band together to form the Second Star League. Their first act was Operation BULDOG, which was a major force built from various houses and mercenary groups to take back all the territory the Smoke Jaguars Clan had taken during the Clan Invasion. This is the setting of MechCommander and specifically details the battle to take back the planet Port Arthur.
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You play the titular Mech Commander, in charge of a small force doing operations in the war effort to take back the planet. While you only start with four pilots and some pansy ass Light Mechs, you can eventually earn or salvage enough materials to build a powerful platoon of veteran fighters with mechs from both the Inner Sphere and the Clans. In addition to guiding the unit to complete the mission objectives, you're also in charge of using military funds to keep their battlemechs in top condition, change their payload, hire new pilots, and purchase new weapons and mechs to help make missions easier.
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The game is mission base with different objectives for your unit to complete that range from taking out enemy bases, assassinating a powerful enemy mech, escort missions, saving prisoners of war, or reconnaissance. The mission variety is quite nice and keeps you on your toes, often forcing you to think carefully about which pilots to send and what mechs to outfit them with.Many of the missions have secret objectives that can also be completed that usually nets you both new gear to outfit your unit with, and extra money for repairs and buying new mechs.
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Most pilots start out Green except for two you are given in the early game. They move up in rank as they survive missions and can eventually become elites that can will make even the toughest missions manageable. They are ranked by their skills which give you an idea of the type of mech they should be piloting. A pilot with great Sensor skills and little gunnery skills should probably not be piloting a combat focused Hunchback AC2 while a combat expert shouldn't be piloting a reconnaissance focused Raven or lightly armed Commando with a Jump Jet build. While I don't know if this was programmed into the game or not, the pilots have personalities you canb read on their bios, but my friends and I have noticed that certain pilots seem to show off funny traits. For instance, I've always found the pilot Beast to have incredibly dumb luck. If he's not the only unit that walks away from a mission virtually unscathed, then he's usually the one with a sliver of health that somehow manages to survive it. He also tends to be the guy who lands the most critical hits for ome reason which made him an excellent pilot for the Hollander and Hunchback. Lynx on the other hand, and this happened with all of my friends, is the guy who has a bad habit of wandering off from the group. I don't know why he does this, but he's the one who forced me to restart a mission when he discovered a Mad Cat in Mission 3 to both his and my own misfortune. Perhaps it's just our imagination, but it really does bring an interesting human element to the gameplay as you start giving your pilots imaginary traits or notice odd quirks with them.
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Speaking of the mecha, you have a whole variety of options in the game. You start of with two simple Commandos and a Firestarter, but can eventually acquire things like a Hunchback, Atlas, or Centurion through the shop. More mechs unlock as you successfully complete missions. You're even able to customize them by buying different variants with their own strengths and weaknesses like the speedy but incredibly fragile Jump Jet versions, the more combat focused Weapon variation, and the defensive and great for escort mission Armor variety. The real challenge is salvaging enemy mechs from missions. If you can defeat the enemy mech units without totally destroying them, it's possible to salvage them and add them to your arsenal. This is incredible invaluable as it is usually the only means of acquiring Clan mechs and weapons, which as I stated above, is incredibly powerful compared to the Inner Sphere equivalents. Unfortunately, whether you can salvage a mech largely comes down to luck and so you may find yourself replaying the same mission over an over to finally get that one unique mech you want.
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Speaking of which, this game can be quite challenging, in fact, it's one of the few games on this list I have never actually beaten due to getting stuck on a particularly nasty mission that appears late in the game. Part of this can sometimes be that your intel is bad or just poorly focused. For instance, the second mission only gives you an idea of what is around the mission objective points, it does not talk about what else is on the map which includes a really nasty Medium class Hollander Mech sporting a Clan version Gauss Rifle which will pick apart your light weight mechs like wet tissue paper. The third mission is more infamous for having a goddamn Timber Wolf (Mad Cat) wandering by it's lonesome self on the bottom of the map, and even if you somehow salvaged that Hollander from mission 2, the Mad Cat can easily destroy it by itself.
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One of my favorite memories of this game, is actually setting up a trap for that Mad Cat and eventually beating and salvaging it, so the next dozen or so missions become utter cakewalks in comparison. This game was a real treat for me in middle school and high school, due to playing it along with two other mecha fan friends I had, so we would share stories of our exploits and share secrets. It was probably the last time I ever really did this with anyone outside of a forum, so this game gives a warm nostalgia to me about those times.
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Also, despite what you see in the video intro, while it is possible for that unit configuration to win a fight against the Mad Cat, it pretty much requires the enemy pilot to be both dumb, and the heroes incredibly lucky cause that mech should have wiped the floor with that whole unit. Also, hooray for campy live action videos from Western Strategy games. I really need to give Command and Conquer a try someday.

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Del Murder
08-21-2017, 10:07 PM
Gee, methinks you like giant robots.

Wolf Kanno
08-21-2017, 10:14 PM
Gee, methinks you like giant robots.

What can I say, I was a Transformers, Voltron, and Robotech fan as a kid. ;)

I'm also not going to imply that I may have been late with this entry due to reacquainting myself with it over the weekend... :shifty:

After the next entry, you won't really have to listen to me fanboy about them as much.

Wolf Kanno
08-21-2017, 10:52 PM
47.

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I've always felt like the PS2 was a late bloomer. It was several years into it's lifespan that I finally felt the system actually had a good collection of games, and by the end, it probably has one of the best gaming library's of any console. The early years, not so much. Armored Core 2 was the only launch title I was remotely interested in, being a real sequel to the same series from the PS1. I also feel it may be the best entry.
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Set in a Blade Runner inspired future where mankind ruined the earth and lives underground while mega corporations rule the planet like governments. AC2 slightly bucks the trend by changing the setting to Mars, where humanity is hoping to start anew after fucking up their starter planet. Of course the Mega Corps follow, and so do their proxy wars, which are played out by Ravens, mercenary's that pilot the so-called Armored Cores for money, and have no real loyalty to anyone. The main plot is typical backstabbing corporate shenanigans with a subplot about lost alien technology being found on the planet. Frankly the differences in AC plots are in the details but that's not why you play these games.
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As a Raven, you start off with a cheap AC unit and have to prove your worth to the corporate masters and other Ravens by successfully completing missions and building your prestige in the AC Arena. The money you obtain can go towards outfitting your AC with better gear and doing missions for the various CEOs will garner you special benefits like discounts on parts or access to exclusive weapons or missions.
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In a lot of ways, AC is sort of a Sci-Fi centric early predecessor to another famous From Software title, Dark Souls. Both games feature a more lore based story with minimal, but still impactful characters, challenging battles and gameplay that will hone your skills, and an incredibly deep customization system that gives you multiple ways to tackle the various game challenges and give plenty of replay value. It lacks DS' quirky multi-player, but makes up for it with the Arena, where you test your unit against specially designed AC units.
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Seriously the customization in this game is staggering and it's more than just cosmetics and weapon load out, as you have to buy parts for radiators, engines, targeting systems, and much more which all offer unique changes and tweaks you can give your AC unit. MY favorite part is that after beating the game and making a new completed save, you can restart the whole game with all the parts you bought in your old save, as well as the removal of the weight restriction which really opens up more customization options than before, and finally gives you a fair shot against the top Arena fighters who are all cheating bastards no held by the weight rule. Like seriously, the unit on the cover is impossible to make in a normal playthrough. This is something the later games kind of removed sadly or at least hid it behind more tedious challenges that I don't have time for.
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AC2 is a mecha heads dream game that combines the deep gameplay elements of something like Dark Souls with the insane customization options of a Gran Turismo title, and I absolutely love it. There was even a few gaming mags back in the day that would hold contests where fans submitted their own custom AC units that I always found fun. With that, I'm done with giant robot games for awhile. I have like one true robot game left on this list, and most of you probably know which one it is. We'll be going back to RPGs and classic games for awhile after this. ;)

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Wolf Kanno
08-22-2017, 07:16 PM
46.

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Okay, so this game does feature a giant robot as well, but let's face it, Metal Gear is rarely really about the title machine. :p Originally an MSX title, Metal Gear was properly released in the West with MGS3: Subsistence over ten years ago, along with a non-butchered version of the original Metal Gear. Metal Gear 2 owes it's existence to the comically bad Snake's Revenge, a side-scrolling action sequel to the original Metal Gear that Konami ordered up, but gave to a completely different development team. Kojima was not amused when he first learned about it, and in his usual OCD kind of way, he eventually was able to get the greenlight on making a proper sequel to Metal Gear based on his own input and design.
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Set in the "future" of 1999, the world is gripped with an energy crisis as the world's supply of oil is getting dangerously low, and society is too lazy to want to switch over to alternative fuel sources. Luckily, a Czech scientist known as Kio Marv has engineered a new type of algea that can produce petroleum grade hydrocarbons called OILIX. It seemed the crisis would be over, until he is kidnapped by the small nations of Zanzibar Land that had won it's independence from the U.S.S.R. in 1997 during the Mercenary War.
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FOXHOUND is called into action, now run by Colonel Campbell after the Outer Heaven scandal of 95. Campbell tracks down Solid Snake, the shell-shocked veteran agent who ended the Outer Heaven crisis and killed the legendary soldier Big Boss. Once again Snake has to infiltrate a major enemy base where he will reunite with old friends, now turned enemies, and discover he's simply just a pawn in a bigger government scheme.
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For what is basically the equivalent of an 8-bit title, Metal Gear 2 is surprisingly robust and actually features a more intelligible plot and cast than the first game. Even more surprising is just how much the gameplay has been overhauled and refined. When it really comes down to it, MG2 is basically a 2D MGS1. I've often felt that the biggest success stories of the 2D to 3D transition games of the mid to late 90s usually came down to designers basically just copying and pasting their last 2D titles into 3D games, Final Fantasy VII, Ocarina of time, and MGS all share an uncomfortable amount of similarities to their predecessors in terms of themes and gameplay elements, but hey, it worked and better to see these series move on than watch them flounder into obscurity like Mega Man, Sonic, and Castlevania.
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Metal Gear 2 and MGS1's relationship is way more apparent than the other examples though, perhaps Kojima took advantage of the fact he knew most non-Japanese gamers have probably never even knew about MG2 existing, but it's funny to note that their are so many similarities between this game and MGS1 that Japanese fans first speculated that MGS1 was just a remake of MG2. No seriously, both games have a cyborg ninja as an enemy who is a a victim of experimentation by shadowy government agencies and happened to use a former friend of Snake whom he thought had died in the previous games, both games have that obnoxious PAL Card puzzle where you have to heat it up and cool it down, and in both games it turns out to be a trick by the bad guys. Snake deals with an undercover female soldier who disguises herself as an enemy soldier, there is a boss battle that involves Snake fighting four heavily armed guards in a locked elevator, and he has to fight both a tank and a Hind D at some point. Both games have a sequence where Snake has to jump down from one tower to reach the other side of the base cut off by natural defenses, you have to rescue a card from a rat, the big battle with Metal Gear is followed by a frustrating fist fight battle with a major antagonist who just won't fucking die... yeah the list kind of goes on.
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While this may sound like a criticism, the fact is, I love me some MGS and so I wasn't really bothered by any of this. In truth, after bungling my way through the very disjointed Metal Gear, playing an incredibly refined 2D MGS in the form of this game was actually pretty incredible. Even the boss battles are actually clever, memorable, and pretty intense. The game introduces the Soliton Radar, the ability to crawl, vastly improves the enemy ability to detect Snake through sound and better sight. The game has some bizarre puzzles but I appreciate them, like one that involves catching a mouth with an important item. You get several types of rations in the game, and the item description actually tells you what is contained in each of them. One ration has cheese in it and you have to use it to lure out the mouse.
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The bosses are far more elaborate than MG1 where most of them are just buffed normal soldier with some gimmick weapon. The Cyborg Ninja tries to constantly bum rush you and you have to use the environment to keep the distance between you while you snipe him with your SOCOM. Jungle Evil is one of the less stressful Sniper duels in the series but can still be a pain in the ass, one guy has you fight in a room rigged with explosives, hindering your movement and forcing you to take him down with his own specialty weapon much like the battle against Revolver Ocelot. The final climatic battle itself is also pretty intense being more puzzle meets run away from Jason Vorhees kind of intense as you grab various items to make a makeshift weapon while the boss stalks you around the room with a powerful machine gun. I was honestly pretty impressed how well this game really stood up to time, especially playing it almost twenty years after it was initially released.
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The plot is also a bit better with lots of interesting moments between Snake, Gustav, Marv, Madnar, Holly, Grey Fox and Big Boss. The children were especially chilling when you first meet them and learn who is really running the place. It's still comically bad compared to some of the later MGS titles and the game has more wacky video game logic than most entries, but it kind of works for the title. I've been actually meaning to go back to this entry cause I had such a blast the first time through, especially compared to the first game which was more interesting for the novelty, but Metal Gear 2 is, dare I say it? A solid sequel to what will eventually become one of my favorite franchises in gaming. The music is pretty damn good as well as you can tell from the intro screen.
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sharkythesharkdogg
08-22-2017, 08:23 PM
I've played the first one, but I never tried MG2. I have it, so I should try it out sometime.

Scotty_ffgamer
08-22-2017, 08:27 PM
I really liked metal gear 2 when I played it and have been considering playing it again. I was not expecting it to be as good as it was , even if it was so similar to mgs.

I really need to play through this series again soon though. It's been a while and I've been itching to play them.

Wolf Kanno
08-23-2017, 07:40 PM
45.
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Now we're going back to my arcade roots and one of the last fighting games I really dedicated myself to. This is specifically for the arcade version due to the PS1 port being awful and me not owning a Dreamcast, which is where you would go if you wanted to play arcade perfect ports back in the day. I'm actually still annoyed that I can't get an arcade perfect port for any of the consoles I own anymore.
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After Capcom had some success making arcade brawlers based on Marvel properties such as X-Men: Children of the Atom Marvel Super Heroes; Capcom started the Street Fighter Vs. series where these Marvel heroes battled it out with Cacomp's ever popular Street Fighter series with a new tag team feature that ended up becoming a popular mechanic used for later fighting games. This all eventually accumulated into what I felt was the Magnum Opus of the franchise: Marvel Vs. Capcom: Clash of the Super Heroes.
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No longer restricted to just the Street Fighter brand, Capcom pulled out some interesting choices for their side including fan favorites like Mega Man and Morrigan, as well as more obscure properties like Jin from Cyberbots or Capcom's former mascot back in the day, Captain Commando. In addition to the usual Tag Team mechanic. the game actually introduced the ability to perform a special mode that let you use and control both fighters at the same time with an infinite Hyper Bar for a short time frame which could be absolutely devastating when used correctly.
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Another new feature that was sadly retooled into something less interesting in the sequels, was the Assist Character. While it was possible to summon your partner for one attack starting with SFvsM title, this game "randomly" chose a special assist character you can summon who often had a unique move or special that could help you in battle like your partner without the threat of getting their ass kicked by a bad timed summon before our opponent pulled off a Super. It was also nice for giving some minor characters from both companies a chance to shine who probably never would, such as Jubilee from the X-Men franchise or Player Soldier 01 from Capcom's obscure Forgotten World arcade game.With that said, if anyone at Capcom was ever bored enough to ever read this, what the hell is up with your disdain for Breath of Fire with this franchise. We're four games in with a few special/ultimate editions and you still haven't put a single character from Breath of Fire in the games beyond the dumb card mechanic in UMvC3. Phoenix Wright isn't even a fighting game, and you have a character from it, Devil May Cry has three characters already, what the hell guys?

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Part of the reason why I consider this game to be the best is largely because it feels way more balanced than the entries that came after it, while also retaining the deeper movesets and mechanics of the earlier games. While the series has always been best known for the spectacle of summoning screen swallowing death laser to take off 18% of your opponents health, the later entries kind of took that concept and ran with it, whereas vets of the older entries knew it was just eye candy for a game still rooted in classic street fighter mechanics with just more floaty physics to make it feel unique. Not to mention this game feels like it actually balanced the characters as opposed to MvC2 which basically threw back in a bunch of unbalanced characters from previous titles *cough* Sentinel and Magneto*cough* or made new unbalanced characters to exploit like Cable.

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I also miss the fluid sprite animation of the earlier games. While the 3D models for MvC3 and Infinite don't look bad at all, I simply feel that Capcom has the absolute best sprite work, and a game like this just feels like it works better in this format than in 3D. Maybe it's just the nostalgia talking but this series and Street Fighter never felt the same once they jumped to 3D models.

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My first job was a movie theater, and this game was featured in our "arcade" if you wanted to call it that. While I was never good at the earlier Vs. entries, I had a manager who was actually an expert fighting game player who ended up showing me the ropes after I begged him. Slowly but surely, I ended up really mastering this title and with the exception of Zangief, I ended up getting pretty good with almost every character. Hell, I found the game a few years ago, and learned I'm not as rusty as I thought and actually made it to Onslaught on a first try.
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My two favorite gaming memories was challenging my friend to the PS1 version where he exclusively used the secret variant characters and still lost to my team and only finally won a match by using an exploit to play as Onslaught, the game's final boss, and even then, he didn't win until the final form. My other favorite memory was playing in an arcade once and letting a guy choose my team for me and ended up giving me Ryu and Captain America, one guy I main in most Street Fighter games, the other I had just picked up and was having a blast with. I don't know which was funnier, him nearly shitting his pants when I switched Ryu into Akuma mode at the start of the fight, or when I nailed his War Machine with Captain America's Final Justice Super which does way more damage than people think it does.
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So yeah good times, and this is probably the last arcade fighter I really stuck to and learned the ins and outs of. In my dream arcade I want to make, this will definitely be there and you will all be more than welcomed to challenge me. This is one of those games that always takes me back to my high school days and the late 90s for sure.
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Scotty_ffgamer
08-23-2017, 09:11 PM
I think I have this on my dreamcast! I'll have to double check that when I'm home.

Wolf Kanno
08-25-2017, 04:10 AM
44.
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Now for something a bit newer. Bloodborne is a spiritual spin-off from the Demon's/Dark Souls franchise which traded in Knights and squishy mages for dauper blokes in top hats with meat cleavers. Earlier this year, I slammed Demon's Souls, Dark Souls 1, and Bloodborne in the span of a few weeks. Ultimately Bloodborne came across as my favorite entry among the three for a variety of reasons.
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Set in the fictional town of Yharnam, the city is the home of the Healing Church who discovered a special blood and transfusion method that could cure any disease. The town prospered until it was afflicted by the Curse of the Beast, which began to transform the locals into monstrous werewolf like creatures. In the past Hunters and the Healing Church themselves would deal with the beasts, but as the scourge overran the town, soon the citizens themselves took up the hunt on certain nights. You play as a foreigner afflicted with an unknown disease, and you seek the paleblood to help cure you. When the story begins, your character is being treated by a doctor with a transfusion and you have a fever dream where a beast of blood tries to devour you before you are saved by some ugly cute pygmy skeleton creatures. When you awake, you find that no one is in the hospital with you except for a wounded beast that has broken in and murdered a few of the patients. You try to fight it off, only to be killed and wake up in a idealistic garden and cottage known as the Hunter's Dream. Tasked with helping in the Hunt, you're given some weapons and return to Yharnam where you must stalk the streets to kills the beasts, what transpires afterwards is a harrowing tale of gore, suffering, and the eldritch truth, as your character explores Yharnam and tries to figure out what the hell happened in Yharnam.
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Some people like to say that Bloodborne is a Dark Souls game but in truth, it actually has more in common with Demon's Souls mechanically speaking, as Bloodborne removes several of the user-friendly features from Dark Souls to return to the more narrative elements of Demon's Souls such as the safe hub world and the return to finite consumables for healing. Gameplay-wise, while Bloodborne retains the high skill and "die, die, and die again" difficulty and learning curves, the core mechanics have either been streamlined or altered to make the game more offense focus. This is best seen with the removal of shields as a left handed means of defense, and instead replaced with old school musket fire arms. Instead of deflecting an enemy attack to pull off a counter, your character interrupts it with a silver bullet to the face which stuns them long enough for your character to go in for the kill. On paper, it's the fundamentally the same principle, but hitting the enemy with the gun shot still injures them again, emphasizing a game more focused on the player character always being on the offense, much like action titles like Devil May Cry.
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This extends to character progression as well and equipment. Bloodborne drops weight load and poise, completing negating the "turtle" style of character development, if your character takes a hit from a twelve foot cleric beast, it's not only going to hurt but likely stun them by knocking them on their ass. Thus the game places heavier emphasis on dodging and finding openings, which frankly suited my own playstyle from the previous games much better. The coolest new feature is the Trick Weapons, hunter weapons that have dual functions like the famous saw blade you see in the artwork which can work as a fast light weapon in it's short form, or gain extra power by switching to it's giant two-handed meat cleaver form for extra power. There are actually some cool combo abilities with these types of weapons that can allow you to switch seamlessly from both modes and the weapons branch out from there as well. My starter weapon was a Cane Sword that could transform into a whip sword like Ivy's weapon from another series with "Soul" in the title. This proved to be a really great weapon because it could do three of the four strike types (Pierce, Slash, and Serrated) as well as having a special element bonus in it's cane form that helped with non-beast type enemies. The weapons mimic several weapon types from previous Souls titles but the dual nature allows for more seamless and interesting combat option, especially since you can equip two of these trick weapons at a time, effectively giving you four different weapons to use in battle.
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I also appreciate the fact the that stats available in this game finally have been worked out, with every stat option actually being valuable instead of some of the weird shenanigans from the previous games like Demon's Souls weird favoritism fro Clerics in terms of MP growth or Dark Souls having poison resistance be a separate stat for...reasons? Stuff like Arcane and Bloodtinge build on weapon types, so even if you go for a straight Strength/Skill build, throwing a few points into the other two actually has immediate benefits from Bloodtinge affecting your gun damage, to Arcane allowing you access to the Hunter Tools which are kind of like the game's version of magic but have other functions as well. Another interesting stat in this game is Insight and it's honestly one of my favorites because it affects the game world in various ways as the stat gets higher. The boss battles are also pretty fantastic with several memorable battles like Father Gasoigne, Vicar Amelia, Rom the Vaculous, and the Final Bosses are some pretty fun battles whom I love the lore for them.
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What ultimately drew me to this game more than say Dark Souls is the setting and lore. Truth be told, I'm not a big high fantasy fan (of which I'm probably going to get some odd looks after the next two entries) and I usually need some element to really bring me into that type of setting. In fact, I actually like Demon's Souls world a little bit better than Dark Souls, because Demon's Souls feels like a Fantasy Horror world as opposed to Dark Souls kind of being a Dark Fantasy/Heroic Epic. Bloodborne returns us back to that horror element which I fully appreciate, but more importantly, it's a game that borrows heavily from one of my favorite horror authors, H.P. Lovecraft. Yep, you start off in some Universal Studio Monster movie and it eventually escalates to fighting off fish people, tentacle faced monstrosities, and the Old Ones.
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This is where that insight stat I mentioned comes into play. Like Lovecraft's works, as you the player gain more knowledge about Yharnam, the more you'll begin to see things you didn't know were there. Enemies gain new abilities, the doll in the Hunter's Dream comes to life, you begin to see "things" that have always been in Yharnam, but no one seems to actually see except for the few notes left behind by those who did and went mad from the revelations. Like Lovecraft, there is a great use of the world of dreams. The Hunter's Dream itself looks like a peaceful garden and workshop, but it's really a prison that traps you and the other occupants there until you survive the night. You can even venture into Nightmare realms where humans can finally meet with the Old Ones. The lore and setting are just really awesome, especially for a Lovecraft fan like myself.
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I also love the characters in this game. Many of the non-crazy Hunter's you meet are instead shellshocked veterans who will leave you questioning your actions in the game; while the citizens are far less trusting and generally more tragic figures than the ones from previous Souls games. The game even twists around some of the stuff from previous Souls games by giving you two "safe" havens to send NPCs. There are some really interesting story arcs for these characters if you can figure it out. Yharnam itself is just eerie and gives a real Silent Hill kind of vibe which I appreciate, especially with the game's gorgeous soundtrack.
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Also, much like Dark Souls, I love the DLC known as the Old Hunters, where the player can travel to the Hunter's Nightmare, a dream world that serves as both a punishment for blood drunk hunters as well as the hell for several of the most important figures in the story's lore such as Ludwig the founder of the Healing Church Hunters, Laurence the Founder and first Vicar of the Healing Church, as well as giving background insight on what the healing church was doing to the people of Yharnam and the true sins of the Hunters. Not only does it have some of my favorite dungeons, but easily some of the best boss battles in the game like Lady Maria and Orphan of Kos. The Fishing Hamlet area is a creepy and great send up to Lovecraft's Shadow over Innsmouth story.
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If I'm going to criticize the game for anything, it's that the Chalice Dungeons are kind of a buzzkill. They are copy paste type dungeons with Dark Souls reject enemies and some serious balancing issues. The bosses of these dungeons seem to either fall into "wait that was the boss" level of difficulty to "I need to post in the broken controller thread" there is like no middle ground and the dungeons themselves get repetitive. Bloodborne is pretty short, especially considering how massive Dark Souls was in comparison, and part of me wonders if these were added to kind of make the game feel longer. Thankfully, the lore behind them works on paper and still holds to Lovecraft principles, and more importantly, they are completely optional, but they do have some great stuff in them and can work as a great time waster/leveling hub. My other beef is that the Online component which really sets these games apart from the pack is hidden behind the paywall of whether you have a PS+ account, which is annoying but not damning for me.
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Other than that, if you have a PS4 and want to get into them Souls game but don't want to venture into the controversial sequels, give this game a shot. Especially if you're a fan of horror games and Lovecraft. In truth, this is actually my favorite exclusive for the PS4 currently, and while I doubt it will ever receive a sequel, I would love to see Miyazaki and his team make something similar in the future cause three for three, they've made some pretty outstanding games.

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Spuuky
08-25-2017, 05:13 PM
I can never love Bloodborne like I love Dark Souls, but it's still like a 9/10 game instead of a 10/10 (and of course I use a "real" 10 point scale rather than the 7-10 range that game reviewers use).

Del Murder
08-25-2017, 06:22 PM
Bloodborne sounds interesting but it looks too scary for me.

Wolf Kanno
08-25-2017, 06:52 PM
There are only a few scary places in the game to be honest, and frankly the biggest fear factors in this game is typical of the Soulsborne series where you accidentally aggro something you really didn't intend to fight at that moment. Most of the really eerie places are in the DLC and the scariest section of the game, which is the Choir's Research Facility is not only optional, but someplace you're likely not going to find without a guide.

Now if you're the type who gets freaked out easily by body horror, then this game might be a bit intense for you.

I'll have my next entry up in a bit.

Wolf Kanno
08-25-2017, 08:14 PM
43.
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Now to move the entire other side of the spectrum from gory gothic horror, we have my favorite Dragon Quest entry in the series. I will say now that while I have played varying versions of it, I'm going to try and stick to the GBC version due to being the first version I played and the one I remember the most fondly. With that said, I have screenshots from other versions due to google image search telling me that no one really bothered to play this version so you'll likely being seeing some screens from the Super Famicom or iOS versions.
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In the summer of 2001, I had recently graduated high school and was stuck on a family trip to Florida. I was able to bring my Game Boy Color and my new copy of DQIII I got with it, that I had kind of been ignoring. To offset the boring car ride and my needy family, I took a serious dive into DQIII and found myself incredibly immersed by the whole experience. What it lacked in gripping narrative and visual eye candy, it made up for with lots of variety, well-rounded design with lots of options, and DQ's greatest strength: the sense of accomplishment from the game's various mini-victories. Only old school games ever give you a sense of satisfaction for going off the beaten path in a dungeon to find a new weapon, which may not even be a super weapon, but just raises your stats enough to feel worth it. It's the little victories that make this and many old school titles a serious treat for me. I didn't finish it on the vacation due to the GBC devouring all the batteries I bought, but I didn't finish it later that Fall around my birthday. This game and DQVIII I feel are the two games that I always think about around Fall season and I'll still get in the mood to play through the franchise that time of year.
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The Kingdom of Aliahan has grown increasingly concerned with the rising power of the Archfiend Baramos, who wishes to conquer the world. Sensing he may soon succeed, they task their greatest hero Ortega to journey to Baramos' castle and slay the demon king. Despite leaving behind his wife and newborn child, Ortega undergoes the journey and in time, is never heard from again while Baramos' influence continues to expand. Sixteen years later, you, the child of Ortega are now tasked with fulfilling your father's quest and must build a party of adventurers to travel the world and stop Baramos.
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In hindsight, I really feel like DQIII is quite possibly the best RPG on the NES/Famicom. There is so much this game does right, and it has far more staying power than a lot of other RPGs available in the 8-bit era. It also does a lot of crap that modern games still get praised for such as allowing you to choose the heroes gender, heavy customization mechanics, and day and night cycles that affect the monsters encountered and change the dialogue and towns. The definitive version to me, is the Super Famicom remake, from which the GBC and later ports all borrow from as it adds quite a few new mechanics to increase the games depth such as the Mini-Medal sidequest from later games, Pachisi Gameboards, and the new personality system.
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In the remakes intro, your character has a dream concerning a mysterious voice in which you get to choose your gender and name. Afterwards, the voice decides to see what your character truly entails and makes you do a few mini-scenarios that help define your character better. These scenarios are often pretty clever and people familiar with the GBA FFIV port will notice similarities to Cecil's optional Lunar Trial. My favorite scenario has your character transformed into a monster with a village trying to hunt you down. There is also ones concerning corrupt nobles and Good Samaritan scenarios. Depending on how you choose, your character is given a personality which directly affects your stat growth such as Macho types giving boosts to strength and endurance at the cost of Intelligence and MP growth. There are even personality traits that are exclusive to gender.
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Once the dream is over, your character speaks with the king and is sent on their quest. Here you can stop by Ruidia's Tavern and find adventurers to help you. You get to build these characters by selecting the job and gender and then using Stat Raising seeds to customize their ability. Personalities are randomly assigned but you can always re-roll a character if it doesn't work out the way you want. The original had seven jobs you could acquire: Warrior, Fighter, Mage, Cleric, Merchant, Goof-Off/Jester, and the hidden Sage class. The remakes add Thieves as an eighth class. Your hero is restricted to the Hero class, but the class has above average stat growth and a host of unique spells and equipment that compensates for being locked out of the class system. Where the class system really shines is that you can eventually reach Dharma Temple (No I'm not using the mobile names), where at Lv. 20 a character can change jobs but be returned to Lv. 1 with their stats halved from their previous jobs. This means that these Lv. Characters will be significantly stronger compared to their original versions and as long as you follow the rules of having the character be Lv. 20, you can do this indefinitely to build incredibly powerful custom parties. In fact, once you beat the game, you can drop the hero and build your own custom team.
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This level of customization depth was unheard of for it's time and may actually be the most broken customization system in the franchise. Also, some gear can actually change your characters personality as long as it's equipped, and spells learned in a class are retained across job changes, meaning you can turn a mage into a warrior with magic, an then use an item to offset the stat growth modifiers to something more beneficial. See? broken, course it's also time consuming as hell.
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Another interesting treat about the game is that the world map is actually loosely based on the real world, with many of the game's locations lining up with real world places and the towns following suit. There is a pyramid you can visit to steal a pharaoh's treasure which will curse your party to fight a battle every step until you leave the place (in the original, the curse never leaves) and the Japan themed town has you re-enact the Orochi Tale which I find kind of amusing considering that the other half of my time on this vacation was ogling the new screenshots for FFX, which borrows heavily from the Japanese myth. This game ultimately established the DQ Formula of having every location have it's own story which builds into the greater narrative of finding and slaying the Demon Lord. From smoothing over relations between Elves and Humans in one town, to stopping the game's comic relief villain from his newest scheme, to even sending one of your own party as a Merchant to start their own town only to have to save them later from an angry mob when their ego's grow too big. It's all quite memorable and I still think fondly of the adventures I had with this game.
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The biggest element that impressed me about this game is the huge plot twist 3/4ths of the way into the game. I am actually going to spoil this, so if you hope to play this in the future and want to leave this a surprise, you can should skip this part. 3/4ths of the way in, your party will reach Baramos Castle and fell the Archdemon. During the victory celebration, you learn that Baramos was simply an underling of a more powerful Demon Lord from another world. To truly save the land, your character must travel to this dark dimension which turns out to be Alefgard from DQI and II. After undertaking a quest to create the weapons needed to stop Zoma and restore light to the world with your Orb of Light, your character finds themselves trapped in the world forever but also a legendary hero given the title of Loto/Erdrick, meaning this whole time, you've been playing a prequel to the first two games in the series. This idea was sch a hit, Hori used it again in DQVI concerning the origin of Zenithia and it's legendary gear.
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Overall, the game is a great classic NES RPG with good music, a great story, cool locations and ideas, as well as rewarding gameplay. It left quite the impression on me despite DQI and VII being my first forays into the franchise. I still consider it to be the most clever and best made entry in the franchise and I'm not surprised at all that Japan still regards it as one of the best in the series.

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Spuuky
08-25-2017, 09:11 PM
Perhaps my actual favorite game as a child. I rate it as the 3rd best DQ game in the series.

Fynn
08-25-2017, 09:22 PM
DQIII wooo!

theundeadhero
08-25-2017, 10:23 PM
Its one of my favorite RPGs of all time and I've never even played outside the original NES version. It was perfection without those little additions. Having played through the first two games first made the spoilery ending all the better.

Spuuky
08-25-2017, 11:13 PM
Its one of my favorite RPGs of all time and I've never even played outside the original NES version. It was perfection without those little additions. Having played through the first two games first made the spoilery ending all the better.I have played the later versions also and I prefer the NES version myself. The only thing I "missed" when going back to it again was the dumb little mini-games in the casinos.

Del Murder
08-26-2017, 05:00 AM
The twist in DQIII is really quite good. I don't like it as much as some others, but it was fun.

Wolf Kanno
08-26-2017, 09:23 AM
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Oh man, this game takes me back. When I used to collect GamePro magazines and the Sega CD was a big deal, I remember seeing all of the promos and ads for this game and the awesome anime artwork. I was sad I couldn't really play it since I was just a kid. Fast forward to 99, everyone is super excited for FFVIII to come out and I picked up an obscure gaming magazine that had a neat article concerning first impressions of the Japanese version of the game. Except the cover article looked really familiar to me. Turned out Lunar got a remake and thanks to Working Designs (God rest their beautiful souls) was headed to the west for PlayStation. I finally had my chance to play a game that eluded me in my childhood.
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I honestly had a blast. In an era where game designers were trying to impress people with quirky designs or gorgeous 3D graphics, it was kind of nice to play something so unapologetic and old school. I'm not going to try and sell the gameplay here. It's turn base, each character has their own skills, and you have as much customization options as you do in FFIV. It's vanilla, non-offensive and some may say it's boring. I feel it gets the job done.
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The plot itself also feels incredibly vanilla. Alex lives in a small backwood village and dreams of following in the footsteps of his hero Dragonmaster Dyne who also was born in the town of Burg and his grave stand son a hill. Also dreaming of adventure and getting away from home is Ramus, the mayor's son who is more interested in running a business than taking over his father's position as head of the town. Along with Nall, a talking flying cat creature Alex grew up with and his childhood friend Luna, a girl adopted by Alex's family with mysterious powers associated with her singing; the four visit the local cavern that holds Quark, one of Dyne's dragons in hopes of finding a precious stone. Quark senses that Alex has great potential and with the gem in hand, the boys decide to head to Meriba to sell the gem and start their adventure with a reluctant Luna. On their way, they meet up with an adventurer named Laike who gives Alex advice on how to follow in Dyne's footsteps, and Nash, a top student of a the Magic Guild on his way home.
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It's all typical RPG shenanigans with the party meeting and losing friends on the way, and meeting with the great heroes who fought alongside Dyne such as his close friend and a powerful sorcerer Ghaleon and Hell Mel the beast-man. The group soon discover that a sinister army form the outlands of Lunar, led by the sinister Magic Emperor have their sights on taking over the world. Alex discovers his destiny, Luna learns about her past, obvious betrayals, a story about a new generation following in the footsteps of the old heroes, yada yada muda muda, you get the point. This game is not taking ideas from the big book of cliches, technically by historical definition, it is the book. So the plot isn't really going to throw any curve balls either. So what pray tell let this game get this far on the list?
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Mainly the characters, but I would also say the game also does the other elements well enough of at least in such an inoffensive way that it' easy to just give it a pass on it's percieved shortcomings. The battle system has no thrills, but it's still fun and rewarding. The plot has a "been there done that" vibe but it's so charming and colorful that you're never really going to mind. The cast are mostly stock tropes, but the characters are so warm, friendly, and well written that it's difficult not to fall in love with them. For a game released in the early days of the Golden Era of RPGs (90s to early 2000s) it holds up surprisingly well despite how much the genre has advanced. I mean I love quiet and adventure seeking Alex, bossy Nall, charming Luna, arrogant Nash, boisterous Jessica, humble Mia, and goof ball Kyle, and that's just the core cast. The game is filled with wacky characters and there is almost an odd, Studio Ghibli vibe to the charm this game gives of that makes you feel nostalgic for good old fantasy.
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Another factor I love is the hilarious localization the game is given. Sometimes if descends into juvenile toilet humor, but it adds a fun flavor to a game that could easily be very generic otherwise. NPCs will say pop culture references, towns have unique dialect or weird backstories to make them feel a bit more interesting, and the game is very tongue in cheek about everything, which really works to give this lighthearted romp of an adventure the extra push to feel like something greater than it is. The game is also filled with new animated cutscenes by Studio GONZO of all places which are gorgeous and filled with some of the games best moments. The lone exception being the game's ending when Alex must face the final threat to Lunar which cannot be won through a battle but instead with a certain item Alex never let go of and it's really touching to see.
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Lunar is pretty unique for me, it's one of the very few JRPGs that I appreciate for its simple adventure and fun cast of characters rather than some deep meaningful message or philosophical angle. It's a simple warm soup and piece of bread on a snowy evening, simple, but all you need to feel warm and peaceful as you watch the snow fall.
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Pumpkin
08-26-2017, 01:55 PM
Ohhh we have that I am excited to play it!

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Raistlin
08-29-2017, 07:16 AM
Lunar SSSC remains one of my favorite RPGs. I don't have much to add to the praise. The characters and writing are just so endearing and surprisingly heart-warming. It's relatively short by modern standards, and everything about it is just fun. Kyle and Nall are non-stop hilarity, and the music and animated cutscenes are fantastic.

Also in an era that had a bunch of terrible voice-acting, Lunar SSSC stands out with its excellent cast.

Wolf Kanno
08-29-2017, 09:04 AM
41.

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Now we've come to my favorite Mario game of all time. In the fourth grade, I was invited to a classmates house for his birthday. he got an SNES for his birthday and we hooked it up that night and played it until morning. A few years later, I got my own SNES with World, Mario All-Stars, and another game that's on this list. Despite owning the previous entries, this is actually the first Mario entry I've ever beaten.

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There has always been an argument over whether Super Mario Bros 3 or Super Mario World is the best 2D Mario game, and to be fair, they both have a lot of similarities. I feel that what makes Mario World Stand out to me more is that despite having almost the same amount of levels, World tends to have multiple paths within their levels that open up the world differently. SMB3 had the stages pretty much blocked out, and needed to be completed in some for of order to reach all stages, but World hid the maps to you, so you couldn't see how many stages there were, and the alternate exits could open up pathways and reach stages you may not have realized was there. This dynamic layout always felt more exciting to me than SMB3's static design, and secondly, the fact that many of these stages could only be opened by finding alternate exits within stages often meant really combing the levels and increase replay value.

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SMB3 had some cool alternate mini-games on the stage for fun, but I prefer World's more intriguing secrets like the Block Palaces that would fill in the special blocks, and the Star Warps that lead you to Star Road, and eventually the Special Zone. The secrets in World simply felt more meaningful as you got rewarded with quick travel, extra stages, and unique Yoshis. My absolute favorite secret is completing the Special Zone and unlocking the Fall version of Super Mario World, which was a nice Easter egg.

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Boss battles have a bit more variety to them as well. The Koopa Kids all basically fought the same way in SMB3, but World made them a little unique by at least giving us a few different types of battles. It isn't a huge leap, but I appreciate the effort. Also the Ghost Houses are some of the coolest stages in this game and brings us back everything cool about the Fortress Stages in SMB3 but making them even more twisted since the Ghost Houses will likely be the players real first taste of having multiple paths to complete the stage.

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The level design overall is pretty solid in this game, which is par the course for the franchise but World is devoid of some of the more obnoxious stages from previous games. I still shutter when I think about Pipe World from SMB3 whereas World has only a few small handful of stages I actively dread. While the removal of the various costumes is a bit sad, I felt the new item mechanic in the game was a bit more functional and less exploitative than SMB3's system where I could save a few P-Wings to trivialize half the stages in a world I don't like. Though we probably could have done without Yoshi's Secret Stage that allows you to get infinite 1-UPs. It's not like World is terribly difficult to begin with compared to say... Super Mario Bros. 2: The Lost Levels.

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Overall, the cool new enemies, better world set-up, cool secrets and tight level design has always made this game one of my favorites. Letting Mario ride around on a dinosaur was also pretty rad too. Man the 90s, what a time to be a kid and a gamer.

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Del Murder
08-29-2017, 05:20 PM
Lunar had some fantastic characters. It's gameplay was a little old school (I only played it recently), but the characters and writing more than made up for it.

A long time ago, my mom's grandma died and left her some money. So my parents took us to Sears and told us we could pick out one system. SNES and Genesis were both set up with a demo at the Sears. On Genesis I played Sonic the Hedgehog and on SNES I played Super Mario World. I immediately fell in love with SMW and the choice was easy. It's one of the best games ever!

Scotty_ffgamer
08-29-2017, 08:08 PM
I love Mario world. I played the psp version of silver star story and enjoyed it. I'm not sure how different it is from the ps1 version. I did like the characters and such, but I think I would have liked it all more had I played it back when the ps1 version came out.

Karifean
08-29-2017, 09:24 PM
I love this game so much. Partly because it has one of the most incredible modding scenes ever. Seriously.

Wolf Kanno
08-29-2017, 11:00 PM
40.

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An RPG released late in the SNES's life cycle. I feel slightly bad for this game because it was released the same year as Chrono Trigger in Japan, the same year as Super Mario RPG in the States, and the same year as FFVII in Europe. It doesn't really surprise me that people have never heard of this game and none of this is helped by the fact that it looks like a pre-FFVI RPG. I only discovered it thanks to a friend who would buy anything up with the RPG genre slapped onto it. Him lending me this game allowed me to fall in love and eventually pick up my own copy. Developed by Neverland, who is probably better known for their Rune Factory series, the game was originally called Estpolis Denki (Biography of Estpolis) published by Taito, which was bought out by Square, which is how SE kind of acquired the rights to the franchise in later years and developed an Action-RPG remake, that tries too hard to update the game for "cool kids". Course I might still just be a bit bitter about that...

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Despite the 2, in the title, Lufia 2 is actually a prequel to the first title: Lufia & The Fortress of Doom, which was a sub par Dragon Quest clone with some unique puzzles and a cool prologue, which is actually the ending of this game. Set a hundred years before the first game, Lufia deals with the story of Maxim, a legendary hero fated to save the world from the Sinastrals, powerful gods who refuse to relinquish their control over the world and let the Age of Man begin.

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Maxim is a monster hunter who lives in a small village of Elcid with his childhood friend Tia. Tia wants Maxim to get his thirst for adventure out of his system so they can finally settle down together, but the rise of the monsters now attacking villages as well as the prophecy of the mysterious woman Iris has Maxim gladly leave his home and travel the world to uncover the truth about the monster uprisings as well as his destiny. Tia reluctantly joins him and eventually he meets up and joins the bruiser Guy, who teams up with Maxim to rescue his sister; Selan, the commander of the Parcelyte Kingdom and a powerful magic sword woman; and Dekar, the bodyguard of the Prince of Bound, and a stupidly awesome badass who is awesomely badass because he's a bit too dumb to understand the kind of danger he's in. The group encounter the Sinistral Gades, the God of Destruction who levels a town and threatens to sink the continent into the sea unless Maxim defeats him. Their battle with Gades becomes a major turning point that puts Maxim on his path to become a legend and the tragedy that follows.

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It may be hard to read that and look at these screenshots and feel like this game is anything more than some generic romp through typical fantasy tropes. Yet Lufia 2 is incredibly deceptive in it's presentation, and story. The plot actually plays the "heroes of destiny" spiel incredibly straight, and it becomes apparent that Maxim and his allies really are different. This is beautifully played out with Tia, Maxim's childhood friend and starting love interest. She wants Maxim to finally settle down and stop his need to fight and adventure, but it becomes increasingly apparent to her as the journey continues that this is who Maxim really is. A normal peaceful life is simply not something he really ever wanted, and his other allies have similar issues of restlessness and the constant need for conflict. It creates an interesting way of looking at some of the heroes of other stories in comparison. I mean, can an ordinary person really understand a person destined to slay gods? That's not to say that Maxim is unknowable, surprisingly enough, he actually winds up settling down and having a family midway through the game before the Sinistrals return and he's back into adventure. His actual growth as character from his teen years into adulthood stems from the fact that before he fought for the need to do so, but after raising a family, he actually has something to protect. It's very subtle, but something I appreciate the game doing. Hell, one of the bigger twists in the game and by extension, the whole series is that Maxim beating Gades in the first half of the game doomed his descendants and the planet to face the wrath of the Sinistrals for centuries to come. It's elements like this that make the game stand out to me. The emotional ending is also quite powerful, leaving this game on a very strong note despite it's generic beginnings.

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Gameplay is the real treat of this game. Don't let the cartoony and generic fantasy setting fool you, Lufia 2 has some serious depth under the hood. While all characters are predetermined to fall into the typical RPG dynamic of Warrior/Mage/Red Mage with people who can use spells buying up magic scrolls in shops and their spell selection being determined by their class, the game has the awesome IP system to add several layers of actual customization. Basically, IP is a bar that goes up as your character takes damage and it can used in junction with IP Attacks which are connected to the characters equipment. So, your character might have an Agility Rind that speeds them up when equipped, but also grants the character the ability to use a speed increasing spell with the IP system. Using these abilities drains IP, so they can't be used consecutively unless the cost of the move is small enough,but the game offers a wealth of unique moves that allow characters like Dekar and Guy, who have no magic ability to have unique special moves to help turn the tide of battle. Every piece of equipment can potentially have an IP ability and it's possible to build your party around the abilities instead of just which gear has better stats. One of the accessory slots allows you to equip Rocks given by enemies that allow you to use some of their signature moves which gives a nice Blue Mage vibe to the system, hell you can even acquire some of the Sinstrals weapons and get access to some of their unique moves like Gades Sword which allows a character to attack eight times in a row.

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Another cool feature are the Capsule Monsters, seven special monsters you can find in the game, each one based on one of the elements in the game along with non-elemental. They act as an A.I. controlled fifth party member that can't be healed or resurrected in battle but get fully restored after every encounter. These guys not only offer a nice decoy for your party in long stretches of dungeon crawling, but also can become quite powerful with enough levels and through evolutions. Evolution? Yes, by feeding the monsters the equipment you don't use, they begin to slowly grow as seen through a bar. Once the bar is filled, the monster will evolve into a new form with new attacks and better stats. Their final forms are as powerful and as durable as a full party member, so it's worth evolving all of them.

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Dungeons are unique because not only can you see the enemies on the screen, they only move in relation to your own movement, so you can effectively get out of fighting by being careful when walking around a room. It's even used for some of the puzzles. Probably the most defining element of the game for me is the Zelda style puzzles in all of the dungeons. They are frankly more memorable than the bosses to be honest. Maxim will also gain tools to use like a hookshot to cross ledges, arrows to strike switches from afar and even a Reset move when you seriously smurf up. There is one puzzle late in the game that stumped me so bad, I had to photocopy the solution from an old issue of Nintendo Power at the library, just so I can move on. I still have it taped to the cartridge.

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Another cool element is the Ancient Cave, a rogue-like sidequest where your party is stripped of all of their gear and returned to lv. 1 in order to tackle this 99 floored behemoth. It lacks the puzzles of the main dungeons and is pure dungeon crawler but offers many exciting challenges. The best part is that while most gear you find is taken away when you leave, there are some unique gear that can only be obtained here and they can seriously break the game if you're diligent enough and the RNG likes you enough to acquire early. The best part is that this gear will also not be removed when you try the dungeon, so you can effectively start the dungeon with an endgame armor or weapon. After beating the dungeon or NG+ you can unlock the Ancient Cave as a separate game from the start menu which allows you to assemble a team from any party member in the game, allowing you to use party configurations your normally can't. Another sidequest involves finding eight dragon eggs scattered in random dungeons which can be given to the Egg Dragon in exchange for a wish, Dragon Ball fans have fun. Also, as mentioned, the game has NG+, but unlike most games that let you start over with everything, Lufia 2 simply balances it out by having the enemies drop 1.5x more Gold and XP, allowing you to level faster and always be well equipped which makes multiple playthroughs faster without totally borking the challenge.

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Overall, despite how lame the game looks, it has a pretty engaging story and some rocking gameplay that I still remember fondly. It was also one of the few SNES RPGs to be released in most of the regions surprisingly enough. It's a shame the later installments could never live up to this entry, and the first game is a generic dud, leaving this franchise a one-note wonder, but you can feel it's impact in later franchises like Wild Arms and Golden Sun which borrowed ideas from this title.
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Del Murder
08-29-2017, 11:59 PM
You are on a roll with the classics, Wolf. There are not many media where the sequel/prequel is better than the original but Lufia certainly is one of them.

Spuuky
08-30-2017, 12:36 AM
I love Lufia 2, and I love the hilariously bad localization that it has. Wish more RPGs would do the puzzle dungeons.

Fynn
08-30-2017, 08:24 AM
Hey look it's that game I started an LP of and never finished :p

Wolf Kanno
08-30-2017, 10:18 PM
39.
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Now back to those Arcade roots. X-Men The Arcade game was developed by Konami and loosely based off of the pilot X-Men Cartoon, X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men, which is where many of the enemies and team line-up come from. This game was kind of a big deal back in the day due to being a six player co-op experience and I can say that when you do get all six people playing, this game seriously rocks.
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Magneto has captured and re-purposed the Sentinels to use in his war against humanity, which he uses to attack a city. The X-Men travle there to stop them and their leader, Pyro only to learn too late that the attack was a ruse used for Magento and his Brotherhood to capture Professor X and Kitty Pryde. Traveling to M Island, which is totally not a poor copy of the Savage Lands minus Sauron, the X-Men battle major enemies like White Queen (remember when she used to be a villain?), Wendigo, Nimrod, and Juggernaut to rescue Kitty, before heading up to Asteroid M to battle Magento himself and rescue Xavier.
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The game introduced, to me at least, specials which my dumbass kid self used to feel were actual powers the characters had in the case of Wolverine and Colossus which could be used to clear out swarms of enemies. I can honestly say that I really love the lineup as well in retrospect, especially giving Dazzler, who I always felt was underrated in the series, the limelight. This game also got me to really appreciate Nightcrawler and Colossus even more.
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Why this game is ultimately here, is not necessarily due to being a great game. I mean it's a fun co-op brawler don't get me wrong, but it's really here because it kind of coincides with my love affair with comic books and may have been the game that got me from casually knowing about comic books to actively wanting to check them out, which was later solidified with the X-Men Animated Series.
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So in a way, this game represents a pivotal part of my childhood (along with another arcade classic we'll get to pretty soon) and simply trying to learn more about the characters from this game made me seek out all of those back issues where I fell in love with the franchise. Truth be told, I was once a huge X-Men fan and I consider the era between the Post-Dark Phoenix Saga to the end of the Age of Apocalypse to be the franchises Golden Age (early 80s to almost the mid-90s) where the series kind of moved away from fun but kind of trashy pulp stories where the team regularly fought off aliens and Dracula, to a story that really began to focus more on the characters and the growing cynicism about Xavier's dream of mutant acceptance. I came in around the Jim Lee era when the second X-Men book got launched, but I kept digging backwards to witness Storm losing her powers, Rogue starting as a villains and then begging to join the team, Colossus watching his sister lose her innocence when the team was trapped in Limbo, Wolverine losing his wife Mariko, and both the dissolution of the team in Fall of the Mutants, to all of them combing back together on Genosha to fight Cameron Hodge in Extinction Agenda. The Jim Lee era was fantastic as well with the new team line-up, my favorite incarnation of X-Factor, and great story arcs like X-Cutioner's Song and Fatal Attraction before climaxing with the mother smurfing Age of Apocalypse. I grew up with these characters and this game still brings me back to those days where I wanted to know more, which is why it's on this list.
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Del Murder
08-30-2017, 10:22 PM
Ahahaha! Welcome to die!

Spuuky
08-30-2017, 11:50 PM
I was a Nightcrawler player myself, and my brother was Colossus.

Wolf Kanno
09-01-2017, 08:35 AM
I'm going to be at a convention for most of the weekend, so updates will be infrequent for the next few days. Sorry about that, but I'm sure some people need to catch up.

So what has been your favorite game so far on this list, and which one surprised you the most?

Fynn
09-01-2017, 08:46 AM
I did not expect Chrono Cross to make the list, tbh. Personally, I loved the game, but I could never shake the impression that you didn't think too highly of it whenever I talked to you about it.

Bubba
09-01-2017, 01:51 PM
So what has been your favorite game so far on this list, and which one surprised you the most?

Probably Super Mario World or Mario 3. I get why they are quite high on the list though with them being platformers. Contra 3 as well.

All these three for me would be much higher. Although... what would it be ahead of?

*thinks about own list and explodes*

Spuuky
09-01-2017, 06:18 PM
Actual favorite? Toss-up between Xenosaga, Dark Souls, and Dragon Quests, but the game I'm most impressed is on the list is Lufia.

Pumpkin
09-01-2017, 06:20 PM
FFIX when

Wolf Kanno
09-01-2017, 07:09 PM
I did not expect Chrono Cross to make the list, tbh. Personally, I loved the game, but I could never shake the impression that you didn't think too highly of it whenever I talked to you about it.

Part of that might be because I usually either discuss the game in the context of it's battle mechanics, which I don't care for, or in relation to games it's similar to like Chrono Trigger or the Suikoden franchise. When I started this list, it was originally ranked at 100, but as I began to add more games and did comparison, it became obvious to me that CC was a better experience overall.

Another factor is that I know I have a tendency to be over-critical when discussing games, and that often overshadows my true feelings for games, making it unclear if I actually like some of the games I play. Part of the reason I did this list was to kind of overcome that reputation I've created for myself.



So what has been your favorite game so far on this list, and which one surprised you the most?

Probably Super Mario World or Mario 3. I get why they are quite high on the list though with them being platformers. Contra 3 as well.

All these three for me would be much higher. Although... what would it be ahead of?

*thinks about own list and explodes*

Tell me about it, the next couple of titles are games I thought would easily be in my top twenty, but after making the list, I realized I have too many games I love. If it wouldn't have driven me mad, I could have easily done a Top 200. There are like a dozen more arcade games I could have put on this list like Paperboy, 1942, Super Puzzle Fighter, and DarkStalkers.


Actual favorite? Toss-up between Xenosaga, Dark Souls, and Dragon Quests, but the game I'm most impressed is on the list is Lufia.

I think most people know I had a thing for Lufia when I brought up the Gaiden game in my Bottom RPG List, and when I convinced Fynn to do a Let's Play of Lufia 2. It is an incredibly overlooked game, but as I mentioned, it just had the misfortune of being released around some of the heavy hitters of the genre.


FFIX when

You'll have to stay tune to find out.

Del Murder
09-01-2017, 07:26 PM
The old school Nintendo games (SM3, SMW, original Zelda) are my personal favorites on your list so far.

The most surprising is Leisure Suit Larry. I mean, I liked it too. Those old Sierra games kick ass and there's probably 2-3 that would go on my list. I just never fathomed I'd ever see the words Leisure Suit Larry on this forum let alone in somebody's top 100 games list. My hat is off to you on that one sir.

Wolf Kanno
09-01-2017, 07:36 PM
The old school Nintendo games (SM3, SMW, original Zelda) are my personal favorites on your list so far.

The most surprising is Leisure Suit Larry. I mean, I liked it too. Those old Sierra games kick ass and there's probably 2-3 that would go on my list. I just never fathomed I'd ever see the words Leisure Suit Larry on this forum let alone in somebody's top 100 games list. My hat is off to you on that one sir.

That game is such an important part of my dysfunctional childhood, it would be a crime to omit it from the list. The real fun part about it was that while I was playing it, I was also going to a Southern Baptist private school, so I quickly became the unwholesome "worldly" kid cause I actually knew what sex was.

I'm actually happy someone knew the original series, cause most people only know the more recent, and frankly terrible, party game entries.

Karifean
09-01-2017, 08:24 PM
FFXII is my favorite of the list so far... and I have a feeling that might very well not change.

Wolf Kanno
09-01-2017, 09:23 PM
FFXII is my favorite of the list so far... and I have a feeling that might very well not change.

Probably, since I have yet to really get around to the VN Genre, and the two FFs I know you love are two I particularly loathe (the Spira entries).

Then again, you never know, I still have 38 entries left on this list, and I can say now that I have two franchises I haven't even mentioned yet on this list that pop up in the top 30 or so.

Bubba
09-03-2017, 09:54 AM
I have two franchises I haven't even mentioned yet on this list that pop up in the top 30 or so.

I have the feeling they're not gonna be Call of Duty or FIFA?