A bad game that could do well in a remake, Ephemeral Fantasia
I remember when I first saw this game. It was in the Summer 2002. During that time in my life, I had an allowance of $6. In the summer, I would always $5 a week on renting games at Blockbuster or buying dreamcast games (and at the time, I had nothing better to do). After completing Luigi's Mansion for the Gamecube, I went to Blockbuster to return the game and pick up a new game. I was looking at the Gamecube section trying to find some games that appealed to me (while 2001 for the gamecube did have "good games", at the age of 13, I tried to avoid playing "kiddie games." ) I went over to look at the PS2 section and the box art really popped out to me. At the time, I was really into anime so this game came really seemed like a soild choice. I was really excited to play this game however, I had to go to my friend's house to have dinner with his Mom, his Mom's boyfriend, and my own Mom. My friend wasn't even there for company so I just had a boring time listening to boring adult conversation.
When I did get home to play this game, I was really excited. It was probably around 7:50 to 8:10 PM, it was near sun down. It left the real world with so much color, setting a nice mood for this game. I hit the switch on the back of the PS2, press the eject button, take out my copy on Final Fantasy 9, place this new wonderful PS2 game into the tray, and press the reset button. This was the beginning a horrible tragic.
Once I started a new game, it had you on this scene on a boat sailing to an Island. It is then and there that explains that you are a musician playing for the royal wedding on the island. While some people might be pissed off of the Dreamcast like graphics, I wasn't. I still had my Dreamcast hooked up with RPGs such as Grandia 2, Skies of Arcadia, Evolution one and Evolution two. So graphics weren't a big deal for me. In fact, this game was suppose to be released for the Dreamcast, but never was.
Once I saw my first loading screen for the game, I knew playing this game would take a long time play. Seeing these load times were frequent. At least Rummy was still hot (from the prespective of a 13 year old), so I knew more chicks like that would appear. After being taken to the Inn, you learn you are actually a thief to steal from the riches of the Island. And from there you progress over a period of 5 days in game time to meet with your cast of players for the game. All which include important details you will not remember. Eventually the wedding ceremony begins and everything turns into chaos after finishing the concert. It is here that game turns ugly. You are warped 5 days back in time from where you begin. The game is set up into the this eternal loop, much like Majora's Mask. The game requires you to remember a lot of details about the game such as the maps, character locations and things of that sort. All the tasks you were given needed to be done within a certain period of time. If you missed your chance, you had to wait till the 5 days looped again. If any one told you that Bully made a slave to the clock, they have yet to play this game. Unlike other time focused games such as Majora's Mask, The Prince of Persia series and Braid, there is no time control. This really keeps the pacing of the game to be really slow, leaving you with only time for things such as grinding. In addition, the game is set up in a way very different from the beggining and looping parts of the game. The beginning of the game pushed you forward in a linear fashion but once time starts looping, it placed you in a non-linear setting which became really overwhelming. As I said before, you will not remember the details from the beginning of the game. This is thanks to the linear design that was set up. Games in that set up allowed details to be overlooked. At some point, I stopped playing this game because it looped three times in the game trying to navigate a stupid forest.
This game really does have a lot of potential. In fact, it really comes to a love or hate thing for this game. There are people who really think it was, in some ways, better than Final Fantasy. Despite the horrible reviews it has received, this game could be called a "cult classic", divided by that love or hate scenario. It has some interesting ideas such as a Guitar Hero like mini game or the time looping.
Here are some things they can do to make this a good remake.
1. Time Control
Every good game that forces the player to be dedicated to the clock always has a way to control it somehow. This game features none of that. Most people don't have the abilty to work around this weakness.
2. Some more Guitar Music.
This game looks nearly identical to Guitar Hero minus a few things. It had 6 songs you could play and they were very frustrating to learn.
3) A notebook- In games like Shenmue, they usually had a notebook to track down information and what not. Because details would be overlooked in the beggining, all that information is forgotten. A notebook is needed to track down that information.
4) A map- so players don't waste their time exploring if they want to play the game in a more linear fashion.
5) Shorter Loadt Times- Enough said.
6) New Battle System- By todays standard, it would be probably be dated. It was okay during that time period but it certainly couldn't hurt to make a bettter one for a remake.
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