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Thread: Wolf Kanno's Bottom Ten JRPGs.

  1. #31
    Feel the Bern Administrator Del Murder's Avatar
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    You must have played some really good RPGs if this makes your 10 worst.

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    Resident Critic Ayen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Kanno View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ToriJ View Post
    Holy crap, it's a game I actually heard of. I haven't played it, mind you, but I have heard of it.
    Don't worry, the next one will be obscure for most of you.
    Challenge accepted

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    I'm planning to play Dawn of Mana

  4. #34
    *permanent smite* Spuuky's Avatar
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    This game is probably the best game to have ever come out on the PS3.

    It kind of depresses me that one of your complaints is that those are the only good classes. Shocktroopers are great, Snipers are great, Lancers are great, Engineers are pretty okay. You certainly don't need to min-max anything, you can just play through with basically whatever you want, unless you really insist on super-high scores/times. Also, this game would actually be pretty bad if the AI did not cheat their statistics, because then the game would be trivially easy.

  5. #35

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    Not to nitpick, but it just came out on Steam a month or so ago, so people who previously did not have access to it, may be playing through it, or going to in the future. Might want to spoiler the one bit



  6. #36
    disc jockey to your heart krissy's Avatar
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    you weren't kidding when you said controversial

    it's probably one of the best games of its generation

  7. #37

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    I liked the game, but I do have some issues with it. Coincidentally enough I have just watched this episode of Extra Credits and I feel Valkyria Chronicles is a prefect example of disjoint between story and mechanics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ44hVeVdEw

    Imo, this game is way too forgiving, mostly because the option to save between every turn. With this there is no need to ever lose a member of your team. If the risk of losing a member was considerably higher (like without the option to save would provide) I would care about my team a lot more. I'd feel like a bad captain for losing a member. I would be involved. The game tries to be kind of rogue, and then decides not to. It clashes with the tone it's going for.

    And this snowballs into a lot of issues: the surprises some missions throw at you have become completely void. Reload, reposition, and counter the surprise like you knew. The enemy is therefor never fearsome or as powerful as the story and cutscenes would suggest. There is no sense of threat and for a game about war that's a huge flaw. The player is never on the back foot, and the crew feels way too powerful to be this scraggy band of militia. The entire extra crew list doesn't matter as you'll never need replacements. That one casualty in the cutscene doesn't hurt as much as you've been a good cap'n anyways for having lost no other members of the crew. I think the impact would be much greater if it had a "not you too, not another one" effect.

    It wouldn't go on my worst RPG list, but it didn't make it to my top 25 games list either.
    Last edited by Pete for President; 01-09-2015 at 04:31 AM.

  8. #38
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    wut,valkyria chronicles was a lot of fun
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  9. #39
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Del Murder View Post
    You must have played some really good RPGs if this makes your 10 worst.
    It's my bottom ten not my top worst, basically if I was ranking all my RPG these would be on the bottom. I honestly only really hate maybe four games on this list while the other six are either disappointments (like my next entry) or I just feel utterly indifferent to it like VC is. If I could make it through a mission without being bored or a cutscene without wincing, I wouldn't have had to put it here.

    If I listed the games I truly hated, many of which I don't own because why would I? Then you would probably agree more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pumpkin View Post
    I'm planning to play Dawn of Mana
    It's got some serious quirky design problems. Still go for it, maybe it will motivate me to crack it open again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spuuky View Post
    This game is probably the best game to have ever come out on the PS3.

    It kind of depresses me that one of your complaints is that those are the only good classes. Shocktroopers are great, Snipers are great, Lancers are great, Engineers are pretty okay. You certainly don't need to min-max anything, you can just play through with basically whatever you want, unless you really insist on super-high scores/times. Also, this game would actually be pretty bad if the AI did not cheat their statistics, because then the game would be trivially easy.
    Shocktroopers are good except for their crappy mobility which severely slows down combat, I'd rather just head shot them with the more mobile Scouts. Lancers are situational units whose logistical problems make them not worth it, and my experience with the snipers is that the enemies are far better than yours, not to mention they have even worse mobility than the shocktroppers. Mechanics are good for keeping the tank alive so you have me there. I mean I just mentioned that I find the combat slow and boring so damn straight I'm going to ignore the slower specialty units and use the high mobile units to clear a path for my death dealing tank. With that said I do use shocktroopers to defend bases but outside of a few maps it's rare for enough of the enemy to still be alive to try and retake one of their bases.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vyk View Post
    Not to nitpick, but it just came out on Steam a month or so ago, so people who previously did not have access to it, may be playing through it, or going to in the future. Might want to spoiler the one bit
    Fixed

    Quote Originally Posted by krissy View Post
    you weren't kidding when you said controversial

    it's probably one of the best games of its generation
    *ahem*

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete for President View Post
    I liked the game, but I do have some issues with it. Coincidentally enough I have just watched this episode of Extra Credits and I feel Valkyria Chronicles is a prefect example of disjoint between story and mechanics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ44hVeVdEw

    Imo, this game is way too forgiving, mostly because the option to save between every turn. With this there is no need to ever lose a member of your team. If the risk of losing a member was considerably higher (like without the option to save would provide) I would care about my team a lot more. I'd feel like a bad captain for losing a member. I would be involved. The game tries to be kind of rogue, and then decides not to. It clashes with the tone it's going for.

    And this snowballs into a lot of issues: the surprises some missions throw at you have become completely void. Reload, reposition, and counter the surprise like you knew. The enemy is therefor never fearsome or as powerful as the story and cutscenes would suggest. There is no sense of threat and for a game about war that's a huge flaw. The player is never on the back foot, and the crew feels way too powerful to be this scraggy band of militia. The entire extra crew list doesn't matter as you'll never need replacements. That one casualty in the cutscene doesn't hurt as much as you've been a good cap'n anyways for having lost no other members of the crew. I think the impact would be much greater if it had a "not you too, not another one" effect.

    It wouldn't go on my worst RPG list, but it didn't make it to my top 25 games list either.
    Thank you and I agree about the the game's disjointed gameplay/story connection. Seriously I've yet to lose a unit in my playthrough and the only fight where I get seriously pushed back in was against a scripted opponent I'm not suppose to beat for story reasons.

    In all honesty, if this wasn't restricted to just JRPGs I own, it wouldn't be on this list.

  10. #40
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Okay scratch that, the game I was originally going to do actually does deserve to be higher on this list so I'm not going to do the obscure one yet.

    #10 Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse
    Xenosaga_Episode_II_-_Jenseits_von_Gut_und_Bose_Coverart.png

    Solid proof that writing can't save a game hampered by poor design and questionable executive changes. I don't feel I really need to explain why this game is bad, it's commonly accused by the fanbase and even Namco and Monolith Soft for killing the franchise in its prime. When Monolith Soft created Xenosaga 1 and 2 for the DS, Episode 1 was largely untouched while episode 2 was heavily re-written and it's this version of Episode 2 that Episode 3 is based off not the original. Talk about trying to bury a shameful past.

    For those unfamiliar with the series. Xenosaga is a spiritual successor to Squaresoft's PS1 cult hit Xenogears. It follows the outline of Perfect Works but it's more of a re-imagining than a true prequel due to legal problems. The first game was meant to be a "FFX Killer" and while it did not achieve such lofty goals it did prove to be a good, if flawed, intro to one of the most complex JRPGs stories on the PS2. The original Episode 1 was suppose to be central character Shion Uzuki's entire storyline but executive meddling and poor management had her chapter broken up into a trilogy. In fact in the original trailer for Episode 1, scenes from this game can be seen in it using Episode 1's engine. The mismanagement of this game saw the departure of Soraya Saga (FFVI, Xenogears) from the series and in her frustration she had a now infamous venting session on her blog about everything cut from this game by the executive and why she was kicked out of the company.

    Like Valkyria Chronicles, I have some reservation about putting this game on the list but seeing how often Assassin's Creed 2 gets hailed as the all time favorite by being a vastly improved redesign of an inferior game, I felt it was fair to place an incredibly botched sequel to a promising franchise on this list. So let's begin the breakdown.

    First things first, Episode II changed the art direction drastically. The first game utilized a heavy anime art style that was make or break for some people but I don't know anyone who was happy with Episode 2's art change.

    Examples:

    Episode 1
    xenosaga2.jpg
    Episode 2
    glij_040627_xenosaga_large_1088303555.jpg

    My eyes! Anyway to add insult to injury several of the key voice actors were also changed in this title with a few better choices (chaos) and a few bad ones (Shion, KOS-MOS, MOMO and some side characters). In fact this might have been higher on the list had Crispin "my voice is sex personified" Freeman hadn't returned to reprise Albedo.

    The original game had a beautiful if poorly utilized OST by Yasunori Mitsuda, in fact the original game has some serious audio design problems because several locations didn't even have audio playing of any kind including towns and ships, allegedly Mitsuda was so annoyed by how misused his score had been he refused to compose for the sequels. Episode 2 rectified this by hiring two composers, one of which was Yuki Kaijura (.hack anime, Resevoir Chronicles Tsubasa, Noir) and the other was Shinji Hosoe, Kaijura wrote beautiful work for the game's cutscenes. Hosoe wrote incredibly generic arcade style music for the actual game part.

    Examples:

    Hosoe (Episode 2)


    Notice how generic this feels. Compare that Kaijura's tracks from the same game or Mitsuda's work from the first game.

    Kaijura (Episode 2)


    Mitsuda (Episode 1)


    When episode 3 was being made, of the two composers only Kaijura got a call back to return.

    Episode 1 had an interesting battle system that was a huge step up from Xenogears. Characters had special attacks that they could level up and combo together which made each character distinct. Every character learned their own set of spells but it was possible to actually teach these skills to other party members and then you could also learn skills from equipment and equip up to three of those skills for further development. Did I mention you could also use tech points to permanently raise stats?

    Episode 2? Combos Finishers are removed though a few characters now have attacks that either launch opponents in the air or smash them into the ground. While their attacks still hold unique properties to make them all feel a bit different, it becomes quickly obvious the game wasn't balanced to make this equal opportunity, Characters like Shion and chaos who were powerhouses in the first game are relegated to situational at best. Even worse is that all the characters now share a generic skill pool which allows you to teach them everything. Only Shion gets a few unique moves. Funny enough little magical schoolgirl wannabe MOMO, is easily the game's best character. I can't even explain it but she always seems to do double damage over the cyborg, master swrodsman, and the two avatars of order and chaos, go figure.

    In terms of mecha combat, Episode 1 had highly customizable AWGS to play with, they weren't as impressive as you would think but at least tinkering with them could be fun if you ever felt bothered to use them. The E.S. units on the other hand, though better designed and more important to the plot, you only got three of them and their customization was incredibly limited and unsatisfying. The dungeons designed around them were worse, I'll take Xenogears poorly designed platforming hell over walking through boring linear dungeons that are rarely even fun to look at.

    Speaking of dungeons, they are mostly terrible, either linear as hell or just tedious design that overstays it's welcome. Hell one of the most obnoxious dungeons involves going through it twice with a second redesign

    Combat is changed to utilize a new system where performing certain attack combos had a chance to break the enemies guard. Once this happened, a character who had a move that had the launch or down attribute could knock the enemy into the air or smash them into the ground. By using the Boost system to chain together party member turns you could perform long chains of attacks while the enemy was defenseless and taking full damage. If this all sounds vaguely familiar it's because FFXIII borrowed this system. On paper it sounds really cool and in fact it starts off pretty fun and even by end game the boss battles are involving and require real strategy; the problem is that the regular encounters become a chore because you have to always break their guard to win and by mid-game the regular enemies have HP in the field of end-game FF bosses. A battle against six infantry soldier in the final dungeon takes longer to complete than the actual final boss of the game. That is how tedious and ridiculous this gets. Even worse is that even though the enemies can be seen on the field and theoretically avoided the narrow road ways and the enemies high mobility makes it nearly impossible if you don't have a stage specific trap to slow them down so many of these fights are unavoidable. Did I mention that knocking them in the air is often the best choice and two party members have no air options for combat making them useless?

    There are no traditional towns and the only shop in the game involves a quest where you have to sell stuff to the merchant to pay off a minor characters debt. This brings me to the GS campaign which is the only side quest in the game. The Good Samaritan campaign or GS for short involves collecting missions from NPCs in the game's few non-dungeon areas and doing simple fetch quests or kill certain enemies which largely involves backtracking through the game's terrible dungeons. The quest is designed to be pretty much impossible to complete in a single playthrough as certain quests open in new game+ which is not that special. You mainly get rewarded dual techs which are flashy super attacks two characters can perform that are almost never as useful as a well timed combo and swimsuits which change the characters looks and give more TP in battle for the skill pool you'll largely have completed by end game anyway. So yeah it's pretty redundant. Episode 1 actually had some fun mini-games this one is just kind of a chore and worse it involves tons of backtracking when you probably want to just keep on the stories momentum.

    The story is probably the only good thing about the game besides Kaijura's music and I'm afraid this is where I'm going to be doing my Adults in Charlie Brown impression for those who have never played the game because most of this info won't mean anything to you.

    It begins where the first game left off and involves crazy car chases, meeting Jin "I'm totally not an expy of Citan" Uzuki, and curry. The plot then takes a detour to finally explain the backstory to Jr. Albedo, Gainun, and the truth about Sakura Mizrahi and the origins of MOMO. Barring the awful gameplay, the story is actually well told and it really changes how you perceive Albedo who by the end of Episode 1 was considered and absolute monster by the fanbase only to have Episode 2 really explain why he's so smurfed up and make him a more complex character. The URTV story arc is actually handled well, it's the second disc trying to move the story forward where the plot goes wrong. Introducing a ton of new characters whom the plot treats like they were in the first game when they were barely alluded to. Combined with Episode 2 removing the useful database system that the first game used to actually fill us in on terminology and history the game didn't feel like wasting cutscene time on ended up making this whole section a bit jarring.

    Episode 1 spent a good chunk of its time building up the consequences and issues of returning to the forbidden planet Miltia and when Episode 2 finally sends you there, it's actually pretty underwhelming. Two seriously boring dungeons, an amusing nod to the Vanderkaum fight in Xenogears, and Jin being cryptic about his involvement in the plot along with introducing two more characters that sound more important than they are and then it's all over and it's time to go stop the big bad. The second disc is a missed opportunity and was largely rewritten and made more significant. It doesn't help that Pied Piper, a crummy cell phone game, actually felt it was important to sit down and actually explain the whole conflict between the Federation, Immigrant Fleet, and what Ormus/U-Tic are trying to accomplish in the story whereas the high budget console entry couldn't really be bothered. Also Albedo does a few too many fake out death scenes for my taste with the final one being absolutely hammilicious that it would make Ultros and Gilgamesh proud. In the end the game doesn't really answer many questions from the first game, the few accomplishment in moving the plot forward are underwhelming due to poor writing and lack of set-up, and so you're ultimately left with a feeling you just played a side story as opposed to an honest to goodness plot moving sequel. It's main saving grace is the URTV plot and finally introducing us to Yuriev who pretty much bitch slaps all the other antagonists in the series and steals the throne as the true Big Bad.



    Xenosaga Episode 2 is the poster child of why you should never let marketing dictate creative design. It's largely here because the game is largely pointless, even to Saga fans as the creators chose to ignore it and have it redone than actually accept this is what they wanted. With that said, this game is probably the most played entry on this list from back in the days when I was a total Xeno fanboy i.e. Tool. I still feel it has some merits but overall I cannot recommend it except to die hard fans who want the full Xeno experience.
    Last edited by Wolf Kanno; 01-12-2015 at 07:31 AM.

  11. #41
    *permanent smite* Spuuky's Avatar
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    Episode 2 is a bad game. I still love it personally, because I like Xenosaga that much, but I will concede that it is a bad game.

    Big strikes: Art changes, voice changes, AWFUL AWFUL COMBAT SYSTEM

    Good things: Story, music

    So basically, I agree. My biggest complaint, by far, about the combat system is that regular non-boss fights take FOREVER. And then you get just abuse elemental chains to make the game trivial, or you slog through eternal fights.

    I have to add (with total seriousness) that the highlight of Episode 2 for me is that in some ways it represents the absolute height of Xenosaga's unrepentantly pretentious symbolism, which is one of my favorite things about the series. You quite literally fight a cathedral, for instance, which uses attacks with names like "A Lily Bathed in Deception." What in this vast universe could possibly be better than that?
    Last edited by Spuuky; 01-09-2015 at 08:26 AM.

  12. #42
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Oh yeah the symbolism did get put to eleven in this game. I did mention that Albedo's send off was hammilicious. For those who need a visual to understand what I mean...
    hamilicious


    Fun Xeno fact for the non-Xeno players. The "angels" are little robot girls he brutally murdered in the first game.

    I do still like Episode 2 though my love is more of a guilty pleasure because I know it's so bad.

  13. #43

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    I really enjoyed the Xenosaga trilogy, but II is the only one where one boss was so hard/confusing I literally couldn't progress (Pilum and Scutum in the AGWS or whatever).

    I'm discussing my 108, er, 111 favorite games of all time in THIS THREAD so go check it out and join the conversation!

  14. #44
    Pinkasaurus Rex Pumpkin's Avatar
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    The design changes were a bit of a shock to me, and I didn't like them, but other than that I liked the second game fine. Not as much as the other two, but I still really liked it.

    Albedo is my favourite villain and his relationship with Jr. is one of the best in game I feel, and this game really focused on that and it had some amazing scenes to it. That being said, I don't feel like enough story progression happened in II because they were busy telling the past

    Episode III is a masterpiece though and I think they did an awesome job of combining the first two game and fixing both their kinks. Like the story in Episode I was great and well told, but the battle style was convoluted and unnecessarily complicated and difficult (especially for 11 year old me, who didn't realize to switch Techs to HI until the Kookai Foundation, since it wasn't well explained and is something pretty important to making the game that much easier), but III I feel is where the series hit its peak, and its a shame II turned off so many fans that they didn't play it

  15. #45
    Feel the Bern Administrator Del Murder's Avatar
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    Sadly I have never played Xenosaga, let alone the sequel. Spuuky's (and others) constant praise of it makes me want to play it but I'm afraid of being affected by the generation gap if I tried to dust off the ol' PS2 (plus wired controllers in my current situation are very dangerous!). Too bad they never rereleased it.

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