By ArbitraryWater 16 Comments
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.
Reason for not finishing: Extremely slow pace. Kind of like Fallout 1.
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.
Reason for not finishing: Dragon Age came out. Got distracted and now I have trouble getting back into it.
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?
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.
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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