Well, this would explain why there's been so many GOTY lists popping up in my notifications today. Thanks again for all your hard work, ThatFrood. May your statistical analyses be correct within an acceptable number of standard deviations. At least I think that's all statistics talk, it's been a while since stats class.
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Vandal Hearts, dude. Pretty much built for beginners, that one, since you never change your party members and don't have a whole heap of customization options to stress out over. Every scenario comes down to using the tools that you have available, rather than worrying that you leveled someone wrong and are now screwed. Also, arterial sprays are fun. If you wanted to take the hybrid route, you could try one of the Suikodens.
Early stuff like Shining Force and Arc the Lad are good too, because there was (generally speaking) less complexity back when they were made. I suppose the same could be said for Fire Emblem, but I've never been a fan of how easy it is to permanently miss/lose recruitable characters in those games. The new one has a Casual mode, so that might be ideal.
Then after that maybe work up to the FFTs and XCOMs and Nippon Ichi games like Disgaea. They're not much more challenging, but there's a lot more options to tinker with and that's the sort of thing that might put you off if you're new to this genre.
Oh, and by all means jump into Valkyria Chronicles at any stage of this process. It doesn't play like any other SRPG, so nothing's going to prepare you for it. Have fun!
Dragon's Dogma seems like a game that rewards patience. Which is a diplomatic way of saying that I packed it in after about 15-20 hours because of all the uneventful walking I was doing. (It did lead to one of my favorite Twitter exchanges though.) I heard you get access to more Portcrystals eventually, but...
I think the issue was that I was playing Xenoblade around the same time, which while generally better in every respect anyway, had a very much appreciated (if not necessarily congruent) instantaneous fast travel system. XC really bends over backwards to accommodate the spoiled Western CRPG types, letting you save anywhere and change the time of day instanter in case a quest sponsor was on a weird schedule. Playing Dragon's Dogma right after (or right before, or concurrently, I forget) was hard to adjust to.
Another one for the ol' Community Section, eh @marino?
This is seriously great work. The Bomb Crew have some tough decisions ahead regarding their avatar pictures. (I'm surprised you didn't make Alex look like Salvatore.)
A conspicuous absence of undermountains notwithstanding this is a fine list of gaming "don't"s you've put together here, old chum.
At this point in time I've got way too many good games I ought to be playing to futz around with the mediocre ones, as much as I'd like to join you. I suppose I still saw my fair share of second-rate dreck this year thanks to all the TurboGrafxin' (and Desura-in', for that matter) I've been doing.
I suppose this means you didn't see the end of M&M 9? It's not quite the transcendental insanity of something like Nier or Dragon's Dogma, but it certainly goes off the rails a bit with regards to that world's vaguely Nordic mythos. Then again, I am talking about a series that regularly has you switch out your bows and swords for laser guns upon entering the final act. I should write a list about really bizarre video game endings some day, only it'd be so full of spoilers no-one would want to read it (at least that's what I'll be telling myself when it gets zero recommendations).
My favorite part of today's stream was Jeff trying to follow directions to a "shortcut" and then falling to his death by the big ladder that connects Undead Burg to Lower Undead Burg, at which point half of chat said some variation of "that's a pretty good shortcut Jeff just found".
I was in a similar position somewhat recently myself. The local Blockbuster store finally closed today, one of the last holdouts from the entire corporation imploding. We're one of those towns that is small enough (read: crappy cable) for Blockbuster and physical media in general to still be a viable option - but much like the Egyptian pharaohs of old, once the brand dies all the franchises must be buried with it.
It sucks because up until the start of this year you could get free rental vouchers in exchange for Tesco clubcard points. It was a moderately fair exchange rate too, so I managed to rent and beat a lot of £40 RRP ten hour long games (for free (legally)) in that time. I suppose I could always spend those points on a fairly decent Android tablet now. Those things have games that rival the AAA console stuff, right?
Wow, so you just blasted through all three of Quintet's SNES RPGs? Sounds like a good way to spend a week. If only Square-Enix could get their finger out and put all their old SNES RPGs on Steam alongside their Eidos output, like how Sega's doing the same with all their RPG classics.
Sorry. I feel like I've said something like this for each one of these Quintet RPG blogs. It'd just be great to play Terranigma again in some sort of legal capacity. I barely recall anything after the world reconstruction towers. Maybe I should put my money where my mouth is and get the Wii U EarthBound already.