I play old games (Unfinished Business)

Alright, so you all know about all the old games I have played and written about (at least, I hope you do). However, much like my second look blog (Daggerfall is still  super old and infuriatingly generic. Thanks for asking) this isn't about any specific game, but instead about stuff that I played, but didn't feel comfortable blogging about. Please consider take these impressions with a grain of salt and remember that I have no nostalgia for any of these titles.
 

Fallout 2

 
Reason for not finishing: Extremely slow pace. Kind of like Fallout 1.
 I have probably offended a lot of people by saying that I don't like this game enough to finish it.

 
I admit. I wasn't a huge fan of the first Fallout. I thought it was an unique RPG with interesting mechanics and settings brought down by some obvious balance and playstyle issues (i.e. The only weapon class worth using was Small Guns. The best stat is Agility because it gives you more action points). I finished it to completion though, which is more than I can say for Fallout 2. From what I can tell, F2 manages to fix a lot of my complaints about skill balance (though Small Guns are still appearently the best, but at least there is a reason to use other guns). Then why didn't I finish it? Because it's slow. 
 
Before you pull out your torches and your pitchforks with cries of nostalgic rage, be fully aware that I am capable of handling "hardcore" RPGs.  I beat the first Fallout, and I would have beaten Baldur's Gate 2 if I didn't have to wipe my computer a few years ago. But with these kinds of RPGs comes a lack of progression (or at least a lack of the sense of progression). I managed to handle the first game, but F2 starts out even slower, giving you junk weapons and armor for the first few hours of the game and being surprisingly difficult as a result. This along with a lack of autosave (yes I know I am a weakling for wanting an autosave in a difficult game) meant I never got past the first real town. 
 

Disgaea

 
Reason for not finishing: Dragon Age came out. Got distracted and now I have trouble getting back into it.
 I would have done a thing on this if Dragon Age hadn't come out.

 
Ok, I have played around 20ish hours of Disgaea, so I feel far more justified in talking about it. Hell, I probably could have written a review if I wasn't occupied with more recent releases at the time. For those who don't know, Disgaea is a Strategy RPG from the Final Fantasy Tactics school of design (speaking of that, maybe I should get FFT and review it here. Sounds cool enough) as opposed to the Fire Emblem or X Com schools. It's an isometeric, yet also 3D grid layout, but the real differentiation for this game is that it's crazy. I wouldn't say that the script is funny (because it tries to hard to be funny, it actually isn't. The voice acting doesn't sell it either) but I would say that it is amusing throughout.  Admittedly this is pre-Killer 7, so I'm sure the bar of what constitutes a crazy Japanese game was far lower than it is today.  But dood (See what I did there?). You can get your guys to level 9999.
 
However, as a tactical RPG it's more than competent. Some of the systems are poorly explained, and others aren't at all, but for what it's worth the game works in that measure... for the most part. Unfortunately, coming from the Fire Emblem school of unforgiving brutality (He died? Fuck you. Restart the level from the start if you want to keep him) I find the game to be a little too grindy and a little to lenient in its death penalty. I like the open, almost sandboxy approach to character management, and I probably will finish it eventually, but as for now it's a little low on my priorities (I should get back to playing more Mass Effect 2...). 4 stars?
 

Baldur's Gate

 
Reason for not finishing: Same as Disgaea. Silly Dragon Age, sucking up all my time in November only for Modern Warfare 2 to come out a week later.
 This game only gets one paragraph. Because it's special like that.

 
I am a fan of Bioware RPGs, and not just the ones that aren't especially RPG-esque. I started with KotOR (as I'm sure a lot of other people did). This is the first Bioware RPG. I should like it, right? Wrong. For the longest time I had trouble getting into Baldur's Gate 1. I finally managed to get past the initial difficulty hump, and as a result started to enjoy it. That doesn't mean that it is free from criticism however. The game is such that your party is super-vulnerable at the start and can be one-shotted by just about everyone if you are unlucky. And I am unlucky a lot. It was only through compulsive saving that I managed to finish the initial chapters. It's still good certainly, but there are plenty of areas that lack polish (not to mention the arbitrary and stupid D&D 2nd Ed ruleset) and the actual Role-Playing elements are pretty weak by today's standards, but once again as an influence on video game development Baldur's Gate cannot be denied. But it's still probably Bioware's second worst game (Jade Empire is the worst. Now that I said it there are going to be 50 billion replies that nitpick this single point.)
 
Next Up: Something?
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16 Comments
Posted by ArbitraryWater

Alright, so you all know about all the old games I have played and written about (at least, I hope you do). However, much like my second look blog (Daggerfall is still  super old and infuriatingly generic. Thanks for asking) this isn't about any specific game, but instead about stuff that I played, but didn't feel comfortable blogging about. Please consider take these impressions with a grain of salt and remember that I have no nostalgia for any of these titles.
 

Fallout 2

 
Reason for not finishing: Extremely slow pace. Kind of like Fallout 1.
 I have probably offended a lot of people by saying that I don't like this game enough to finish it.

 
I admit. I wasn't a huge fan of the first Fallout. I thought it was an unique RPG with interesting mechanics and settings brought down by some obvious balance and playstyle issues (i.e. The only weapon class worth using was Small Guns. The best stat is Agility because it gives you more action points). I finished it to completion though, which is more than I can say for Fallout 2. From what I can tell, F2 manages to fix a lot of my complaints about skill balance (though Small Guns are still appearently the best, but at least there is a reason to use other guns). Then why didn't I finish it? Because it's slow. 
 
Before you pull out your torches and your pitchforks with cries of nostalgic rage, be fully aware that I am capable of handling "hardcore" RPGs.  I beat the first Fallout, and I would have beaten Baldur's Gate 2 if I didn't have to wipe my computer a few years ago. But with these kinds of RPGs comes a lack of progression (or at least a lack of the sense of progression). I managed to handle the first game, but F2 starts out even slower, giving you junk weapons and armor for the first few hours of the game and being surprisingly difficult as a result. This along with a lack of autosave (yes I know I am a weakling for wanting an autosave in a difficult game) meant I never got past the first real town. 
 

Disgaea

 
Reason for not finishing: Dragon Age came out. Got distracted and now I have trouble getting back into it.
 I would have done a thing on this if Dragon Age hadn't come out.

 
Ok, I have played around 20ish hours of Disgaea, so I feel far more justified in talking about it. Hell, I probably could have written a review if I wasn't occupied with more recent releases at the time. For those who don't know, Disgaea is a Strategy RPG from the Final Fantasy Tactics school of design (speaking of that, maybe I should get FFT and review it here. Sounds cool enough) as opposed to the Fire Emblem or X Com schools. It's an isometeric, yet also 3D grid layout, but the real differentiation for this game is that it's crazy. I wouldn't say that the script is funny (because it tries to hard to be funny, it actually isn't. The voice acting doesn't sell it either) but I would say that it is amusing throughout.  Admittedly this is pre-Killer 7, so I'm sure the bar of what constitutes a crazy Japanese game was far lower than it is today.  But dood (See what I did there?). You can get your guys to level 9999.
 
However, as a tactical RPG it's more than competent. Some of the systems are poorly explained, and others aren't at all, but for what it's worth the game works in that measure... for the most part. Unfortunately, coming from the Fire Emblem school of unforgiving brutality (He died? Fuck you. Restart the level from the start if you want to keep him) I find the game to be a little too grindy and a little to lenient in its death penalty. I like the open, almost sandboxy approach to character management, and I probably will finish it eventually, but as for now it's a little low on my priorities (I should get back to playing more Mass Effect 2...). 4 stars?
 

Baldur's Gate

 
Reason for not finishing: Same as Disgaea. Silly Dragon Age, sucking up all my time in November only for Modern Warfare 2 to come out a week later.
 This game only gets one paragraph. Because it's special like that.

 
I am a fan of Bioware RPGs, and not just the ones that aren't especially RPG-esque. I started with KotOR (as I'm sure a lot of other people did). This is the first Bioware RPG. I should like it, right? Wrong. For the longest time I had trouble getting into Baldur's Gate 1. I finally managed to get past the initial difficulty hump, and as a result started to enjoy it. That doesn't mean that it is free from criticism however. The game is such that your party is super-vulnerable at the start and can be one-shotted by just about everyone if you are unlucky. And I am unlucky a lot. It was only through compulsive saving that I managed to finish the initial chapters. It's still good certainly, but there are plenty of areas that lack polish (not to mention the arbitrary and stupid D&D 2nd Ed ruleset) and the actual Role-Playing elements are pretty weak by today's standards, but once again as an influence on video game development Baldur's Gate cannot be denied. But it's still probably Bioware's second worst game (Jade Empire is the worst. Now that I said it there are going to be 50 billion replies that nitpick this single point.)
 
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Posted by Video_Game_King

Crap, I haven't played any of these. Came close with Phantom Brave, so that's something.

Posted by Claude

It was dark... but my wife got a new laptop from her mother.  

What can I play...?
 
Max Payne 2
 
I'll be, that thing plays games.

Posted by HypoXenophobia

I played old games too, made it to Oregon without catching syphilis >_>

Posted by Spike94

If nothing else, this reminded me I need  (rather badly want, but ehhh) to play the Disgaea series...thank you, sir! =)

Posted by Spike94
@HypoXenophobia:
Ha haaaa! Bam! I caught the reference. 
That was a reference, right? Had to of been...
Posted by HypoXenophobia
@Spike94: 
God, I spent so many school days playing that game, yet some how made honor roll.
Posted by Spike94
@HypoXenophobia:
xD Nice, man. Nice.
Posted by xyzygy

I haven't played any of these... what are disgaea games like? I'll look up some gameplay videos. I have a PS3 but I don't know if the 3rd one is worth picking up...

Posted by therabidfrog

Funny. I haven't finished all three of these games for nearly the same reasons.... strange.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@xyzygy: 
 
From what I've played of Phantom Brave, they're pretty good. Prepare for a shitload of leveling, though, since the level cap is what happens when you place a heavy rock on the 9 key.
Posted by ahoodedfigure

Arcanum, maybe? 

Posted by Bombs_Away

I bought Fallout 1 and 2 the other week. I started the first and it seems ok...I just can't get into RPGs though. I guess everyone is different.

Posted by ArbitraryWater
@ahoodedfigure said:
" Arcanum, maybe?  "
Refresh me on what that game is about. I assume it's an old school western RPG.
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Edited by ahoodedfigure

It's a middle school Western RPG, yes.  Victorian-ish steampunk, with difference races to choose from for your main character, made by some of the team behind the original Fallout.  Magic and technology are at odds, and strong tech makes for weak magic (and vice versa).
 
If you say oldschool, I think 1st person dungeon crawls or text.  This is more like the isometric stuff of the 90's.  Some of the reviews I've read and seen talk about some significant flaws in its execution.  I've ALWAYS liked the music, and the character design seemed snappy as hell, but I've only played the demo.  
 
Arcanum Review in google should get you a good variety of opinions on the full game.  Considering adding it to my GOG collection but, you know, I'm a bit behind with using the stuff I HAVE.

Posted by ArbitraryWater
@ahoodedfigure said:
" I Considering adding it to my GOG collection but, you know, I'm a bit behind with using the stuff I HAVE. "
Hmm.... I wonder what you could be talking about. Oh wait. That game. I still recommend it. Takes the concepts of M&M 3-5 and fleshes them out some. Just don't expect an oscar worthy plot or any extremely complicated gameplay mechanics.
 
As for Arcanum... Looked at this sites Wiki page and some of the reviews (including one by a much younger Greg Kasavin. With hair.) Seems interesting enough, and also seems like it would have some sort of cult following devoted to it.
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