Cloudy With a Chance of Gaming -- Run Away With Me to the Land of JRPGs and Mild Disappointment

It's nearly two in the morning and I'm wide awake. I've recently finished some games, so I figure I'll write a bit about them while I have the time.

BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien

I've finally finished this! I really liked it a whole lot, and I was trying to savor it for as long as possible. But I did finish it a few days ago, and continued to play after the final boss was defeated and the credits rolled. There're quite a few secrets to find in this game, so I spent a good couple hours unlocking costumes for the plethora of characters. I also made my way through all of the retro cartridge stages to unlock the classic Commander Video character. There's a lot to see in Runner 2.

Inarguably the best alternate character.

I started to write a review for the game, but so far that hasn't really gone anywhere. There's something about writing reviews that throws me off. I just don't know what I want to do with a review, you know? As someone who's not a well-established internet personality, it's tough to write a meaningful opinionated review, as no one really knows a ton of my background or where I'm coming from. But then going the pure objective route in a review is entirely uninteresting to me, so it's little tough. I hope to at some point find a way to write a meaningful review, but I haven't cracked that nut quite yet.

On top of my struggles with review theory, I've had a hard time nailing down my exact thoughts on Runner 2. If I were to put a number on it, I'd either give it a four or a five, but I've gone back and forth quite a bit. I liked the game a lot, and in many ways it's nearly perfect. On the other hand, this is a game that doesn't do much differently from the original Runner. The mechanical additions to the series aren't particularly interesting, and toward the end of the game things begin to become a bit stale. Whether or not those issues are significant enough to warrant docking a star is hard for me to say. It probably makes sense to dock a star for these legitimate issues, but then I feel like I still had five stars worth of fun with the game. I suppose this circles back around to my issue with review theory.

Anyway, the game's really great. Despite my lack of faith in the art style upon initially learning about the game, it actually works extremely well, and is downright charming. I think fans of the original will definitely enjoy what's here, which is a whole lot more of the Runner you love.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

So I finished this as well. I must say, I'm glad to be through with it. I wanted to like it, but I just didn't. The controls are too clunky and the basic game design lacks creativity. There are simply too many gunfights and not enough exploration. I felt like I was constantly shooting, and that's really not what's fun here. It got to the point where I'd see a gun leaned up against a crate in the distance (something that's all too common, eventually becoming laughable) and just knew I'd be in for more frustration.

The plot barely managed to keep me interested. Luckily the characters were really good, and the dialog actually provided me with two or three laugh out loud moments. I've already talked some about my problems with this game in my last blog. Unfortunately none of my thoughts have changed much since finishing it, so I won't go on too long. Uncharted was interesting, and ultimately I'm glad I played it, but I'm happy to put it behind me and never play it again. I'll be moving on to the second game in the series in a little bit, but I'm currently taking an Uncharted breather. Hopefully the second game can live up to the hype. I'll be supremely disappointed if it turns out to be too similar to Drake's Fortune.

This underground cavern section is home to but one of many frustrating combat scenarios.

Oh, and I guess the last thing I want to make sure to mention is how crazy short this game is. The combat scenarios were terrible, therefore I died quite often, and yet this still only took me seven hours to beat. Seriously, with as many times as I died, that total time should have been closer to six hours, possibly less. I would have enjoyed some more time with these characters, but then with my aforementioned habit of dying constantly, the brevity was, in a way, a relief.

Legend of Dragoon

And a game that I haven't beaten! Not yet, anyway. I'm continuing to make progress in this lengthy JRPG. Perhaps that was redundant, as length is probably implied with the term JRPG.

I have no idea how long this game is, but I now have what seems like way too many Dragoon Spirits in my possession--one for all but one of my seven party members, as it stands. I'd guess that I'm at least half, possibly two thirds of the way through.

Drama queen Shana.

If there's an issue with the game at this stage, it's that there's too much exposition and not enough straight icin' fools. I'm currently trapped in this process of gathering party members inside a castle for an imminent celebration of my party's heroicness and bravery. You know what? I've still got things to do. I don't have time to celebrate my own accomplishments (or lack thereof). I need to chase down Lloyd (the main Bad Dude) and take back the Moon Dagger, which is clearly of great importance, and almost certainly poses a threat to the entire planet. I have no time for scavenger hunts, followed by dialog, followed by backtracking, followed by more dialog. I hope the pace picks back up soon, because it's currently as if the story is stuck in molasses, and it's tiresome. The combat's so good here that I actually want to grind and level up my characters and their special moves, so please, game, let me do that.

The writing at this stage of the game is as laughable as ever, which continues to be simultaneously enjoyable and cringe-inducing. There was recently a scene between the main character, Dart, and his love interest Shana that was redonkulous. Shana finally confessed her love to Dart. She told him that she loved him, that she's always loved him, and that when Dart went away on his journey (an event previous to the game starting) it just made her love him even more. She says that she's okay if Dart only thinks of her as a little sister, because at least she's been able to spend time with him. At that point Dart finally tries to tell Shana that he thinks of her as more than just a little sister-type, but Shana cuts him off and says they should discuss it after their journey. They awkwardly move closer to each other. What's going to happen?! It's a JRPG, so of course there're like three awkward interruptions in a row, and the moment is lost. Everything about everything in this game is so ridiculously cheesy, but again, it's all pretty much amazing.

I'll continue to update as I make my way toward the end. I'd like to wrap this one up so that I can not only get back to Ni no Kuni, but also start in on the other PlayStation era JRPG's I've bought recently: Xenogears and Wild Arms. So many RPGs!

That's all for now, but I'll almost certainly be back to bother you all some more in the near future. If you have any thoughts (perhaps contradictory ones) regarding whatever it is I've been rambling (waffling?) about here, I'd love to hear them!

19 Comments
19 Comments
Posted by jewunit

Quite the blog! Despite owning a PS3, I have never played the Uncharted games. I have the first and third games in my library, my interest in them fizzled after I played the demo for Uncharted 3. I will have to play the first game and compare notes with you at some point.

Edited by Video_Game_King

Oh god. I don't think you're halfway through Legend of Dragoon. Come back when you're talking about Wingly abortions or when a huge plot twist hits you in the face like crazy.

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Edited by pyromagnestir

I played Drake's Fortune on easy and had a grand old time. I did so because I'd read all about the combat being annoying thanks to bullet spongy enemies and so on, and I was only playing it because I wanted to have some sort of baseline understanding of the characters and story of the game before jumping into 2, since it was so well regarded. And it was mostly the characters that I liked so much. That and the obvious Indiana Jones-yness of the whole thing. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I started up Uncharted 2 only a couple weeks after finishing the first. And I enjoyed 2 so much I probably would have jumped straight into 3 had it been available at the time. As for 3? Well, I'm gonna need some time before the idea of an Uncharted 4 excites me...

As for the idea of writing reviews, I'm with you. I've no idea what the hell I'd do in a review or why anyone would want to read it. Hell, most of the things I post on the forums here are probably not video game related or only tangentially related to games for much the same reason. I do know that if I did ever review a game the score I'd give the game would be entirely arbitrary, and thus could not be held up against any score I would give any other games in other hypothetical reviews I write, because that's how I roll.

Posted by JJWeatherman

@jewunit said:

Quite the blog! Despite owning a PS3, I have never played the Uncharted games. I have the first and third games in my library, my interest in them fizzled after I played the demo for Uncharted 3. I will have to play the first game and compare notes with you at some point.

Well that's not a good sign if you didn't like what you saw of three, but since you already own a couple of the games, they're definitely worth trying. I'm cautiously excited to jump into the second game sometime soon.

Oh god. I don't think you're halfway through Legend of Dragoon. Come back when you're talking about Wingly abortions or when a huge plot twist hits you in the face like crazy.

You know, now that I really think about it, you're probably right. I'm still on disc 2 of 4, but then I assume the length of each disc decreases as it goes along. I could very easily be assuming wrongly. Anyway, that's fine by me, as the game's still holding my interest, even in the slower sections.

I played Drake's Fortune on easy and had a grand old time. I did so because I'd read all about the combat being annoying thanks to bullet spongy enemies and so on, and I was only playing it because I wanted to have some sort of baseline understanding of the characters and story of the game before jumping into 2, since it was so well regarded. And it was mostly the characters that I liked so much. That and the obvious Indiana Jones-yness of the whole thing. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I started up Uncharted 2 only a couple weeks after finishing the first. And I enjoyed 2 so much I probably would have jumped straight into 3 had it been available at the time. As for 3? Well, I'm gonna need some time before the idea of an Uncharted 4 excites me...

As for the idea of writing reviews, I'm with you. I've no idea what the hell I'd do in a review or why anyone would want to read it. Hell, most of the things I post on the forums here are probably not video game related or only tangentially related to games for much the same reason. I do know that if I did ever review a game the score I'd give the game would be entirely arbitrary, and thus could not be held up against any score I would give any other games in other hypothetical reviews I write, because that's how I roll.

Maybe it would have been better to play Uncharted on easy. I didn't think Normal would be as hard as it was, but some of those combat scenarios are relentless. You can die pretty quick if you're not super careful.

Yeah, I feel exactly the same way about reviews. And it's not even like I'm trying to find some clever angle on it or anything; I just want to write something interesting. Maybe that's the issue. I guess reviews aren't supposed to be interesting necessarily. Game reviews just seem like such a specific thing that're only useful or interesting if you're in a very specific position--that position usually involving early access to games and the ability to get a review out when people actually want it.

Perhaps I should stop worrying about reviews and turn my focus elsewhere. There's probably a way to write them in a creative and interesting way, but that almost seems antithetical to the nature of a review. Reviews are boring. I remember Jeff vaguely mentioning that he's had some ideas on how he'd like to change the way reviews are written. I'd be interested to hear some of his more specific thoughts.

Edited by Video_Game_King

@jjweatherman:

I think your math is off. If I remember correctly, most multi-disc games (especially of that era) really shafted the final disc, so the proper formula for game length in regards to multi-disk games is this:

(CDN+PTCD)/([TDN]-1)

  • CDN=Current disc number.
  • PTCD=Progress through current disc. This value can never exceed 1.
  • TDN=Total number of discs, must >1.

This is all with +/- 10%, of course.

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Posted by Daveyo520

@jjweatherman: Why didn't you come to PAX East, despite living next to PAX Prime, JJ?

Posted by Video_Game_King

@daveyo520:

There are two possibilities:

  1. Like everybody in the Northeast, the cold weather froze his body in seasonal stasis, and he has just now melted.
  2. He was busy with other stuff.
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Posted by Daveyo520

@video_game_king: I am in the Northeast and he is in the Northwest. Jeez VGK, I thought you could see all of this from the moon.

You mean he is too lazy. So so lazy.

Edited by JJWeatherman

@video_game_king: Oh, of course. How could I forget such a simple formula?

@jjweatherman: Why didn't you come to PAX East, despite living next to PAX Prime, JJ?

I probably wouldn't have gone even if I'd have been on the East coast. Did you go?

Edited by Daveyo520

@jjweatherman: I did, it was fun. Real you was there.

Psssst why do you have a Vita?

Edited by JJWeatherman

@jjweatherman: I did, it was fun. Real you was there.

Psssst why do you have a Vita?

Real youze waz dare? I have no idea.

And I don't own a Vita.

No drunken posting at 1:30 in the morning!

Edited by Daveyo520

@jjweatherman: Rich was there.

Wow, old PS3 graphics have aged poorly. I thought that was the Vita Uncharted.

Edited by JJWeatherman

@jjweatherman: Rich was there.

Wow, old PS3 graphics have aged poorly. I thought that was the Vita Uncharted.

Oh! Real Me! I would have gotten it if you'd capitalized "you." Or maybe I'd have been equally as oblivious.

Does it really look that bad? Haha. I thought the water looked alright in that screenshot. But yes, go play the opening scene of the game and you'll be shocked.

Edited by JasonR86

@jjweatherman:

I remember that when I beat Legend of Dragoon when it was new it took me forever to beat the final boss. It felt like it took at least an hour or more with several stages. I just looked it up and the videos I saw on youtube were between 40-50 minutes. Just a heads up when you get there. You'll be going for a while.

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Edited by Daveyo520

@jjweatherman: You capitalize the first letter in a sentence mister.

IDK, maybe because I only have this page taking up half the screen, it just looked like a handheld game for some reason. I also forgot the first game's subtitle.

Posted by JJWeatherman

@jjweatherman: You capitalize the first letter in a sentence mister.

IDK, maybe because I only have this page taking up half the screen, it just looked like a handheld game for some reason. I also forgot the first game's subtitle.

But it was a two word pronoun! Makes total kinda sorta sense!

I see. So what you're telling me is that you were too lazy to confirm your initial assumptions. Who's the lazy one now?!

@jasonr86 said:

@jjweatherman:

I remember that when I beat Legend of Dragoon when it was new it took me forever. It felt like it took at least an hour or more with several stages. I just looked it up and the videos I saw on youtube were between 40-50 minutes. Just a heads up when you get there. You'll be going for a while.

Ha, wow, alright. Looking forward to it, I guess. I hope it's not too difficult, as I can't imagine dying toward the end of something like that.

Edited by JasonR86

@jjweatherman:

It's been so long that I can't remember. I think I did it on my first try but I used to grind in games more then I do now. So 'me' now would probably have a harder time with it then 'me' in the past.

EDIT:

Oops, the 'boss' took me an hour or so to beat. My brain and fingers weren't working together with my original post.

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Posted by Daveyo520

@jjweatherman: Well like I would actually read your blog for reals.

Posted by JJWeatherman

@jasonr86 said:

@jjweatherman:

It's been so long that I can't remember. I think I did it on my first try but I used to grind in games more then I do now. So 'me' now would probably have a harder time with it then 'me' in the past.

EDIT:

Oops, the 'boss' took me an hour or so to beat. My brain and fingers weren't working together with my original post.

I was slightly confused initially, but don't worry, I figured out what you meant. Ha. I'll make sure to grind out some levels before the end if I can. Although from what I've encountered thus far that's not an easy thing to do. A lot of the random enemy encounters give fairly insignificant amounts of experience, and the levels really come more from the larger encounters. I could still in theory put in an hour or two and grind out a level, but the game seems to discourage that.

@jjweatherman: Well like I would actually read your blog for reals.

Well yeah, that would just be madness. Don't ever read anything I write.