Monsters! Monsters and turn-based combat!

Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Cobi's Journey

(It's been a while, Dragon Warrior Monsters.) Last I saw you was back when I merely thought I was writing a billion words about games. It was Caravan Heart, and you....sucked harder than a black hole named Brain Lord. That probably explains why I refused to look at you for over two years, instead getting my Mon RPG fix from Persona and.....more Persona. But we reunite again, and I gotta say...you're alright.

Except in the story department. Now I know you haven't always been known for your compelling tales, Dragon Warrior Monsters (your older brother, on the other hand...), but come on. This just can't pass. I mean, it's so formulaic. First, Cobi goes to an alternate dimension to solve its problems. Then he gets some random object as a reward, uses it to plug up the GreatLog (because it's sinking, something islands can do), only to discover it won't work as a plug, but works well as a plot device. Repeat for a few worlds until you get sick of it and decide to end things for no adequate reason. Although to be fair to you, that's only looking at the big picture. Zoom in, and things look much better, even though no picture in the world works that way. You do, though. You populate yourself with stories of people overcoming some seriously messed up stuff, like a low-fi version of Dragon Quest IX. Always welcome. True, your obsession with demons is a tad worrying (leave it to the Megami Tenseis), but whatever. I'll take what I can get.

Clearly.

And with you, that's a lot. Now that's not always a bad thing, what with the various worlds to explore and tourneys and monsters to beat up. Real staying power, that. But then we get to your monster breeding, and I start getting scared. Not because you seriously considered making a gorilla fuck an apple....OK, not just because you seriously considered making a gorilla fuck an apple, but because there's sooo much to keep track of. So many stats and breeds and abilities and meta-game. Do you even realize who's supposed to be playing this game? Kids. Kids play you. Now they can put up with your ridiculously saccharine atmosphere and skeletal game mechanics. These are all things you do incredibly well. But the breeding? That's gonna scare those little guys away. Hell, I'm 375 years old, and even I was intimidated by your Moreau-esque horrors.

But, as always, I persevered, because there's something rewarding to gaming your breeding system. Yea, you take a while to get there, but when I got there, you made me feel totally unstoppable. Probably because I was. What was up with that? I mean, I love how you allowed me to set fire to every monster in sight, but why did Nap Attack destroy every single mid-game boss? And then the bosses after that take twelve hours to defeat. It's like you couldn't decide what exactly your difficulty should be. Still, though, you're a pretty cool game, Cobi's Journey. You got some neat systems in place and enough distractions in case I get bored with your bestiality. Yea, you're indecisive as all hell, but you could always be worse. At least you're not Caravan Heart.

Review Synopsis

  • What's with your story, bro?
  • You're pretty much Persona for kids. Yay.
  • Except you're somehow more arcane than Persona was. What?

OK, just one more Persona 4 video after this, and it's Fire Emblem for months on end.

Sweet Home

(What is this game doing here?) I thought I'd already established that I just don't seem to like survival horror as a whole. Not many of them are scary in the first place, and with that gone, you're often left with a really bad adventure game with clunky combat on the side. Now this would be the time where I'd transition into the specifics of what I don't like about Sweet Home, but....well, I just did, didn't I? Just add some RPG elements, and you have the blog in a nutshell.

Although funnily enough, one of those RPG elements missing is the story. OK, so there is a story, but there isn't a lot of it, despite the amount of work it puts into it. Five blank slates who seem to be people are heading into a haunted house to retrieve some frescoes for reasons I can't really remember. Unfortunately, they all get trapped within five seconds of entering the house, so obviously, the most logical action is to rid the house of its evil curse. What is that curse? Well, I'm not going to spoil that (I've learned my lesson), and while it involves a lot of genuinely interesting ghost story material, most of that comes toward the end of the game, more still in the form of optional content. A lot of that content isn't even necessary (they're usually hints to puzzles you could solve half the time), so there's a good chance you're not gonna get a lot of the story this game throws your way. A shame, too, because, again, that story's got some decent, ludicrously graphic horror shit going on.

All the enemy names are announced because all the characters are five years old.

Odd, then, that I'm about to say that this game isn't scary. This game isn't scary. This game is trying hard to be scary, what with the story and the thudding sounds it calls music, but Clock Tower this is not. Why is that? Well, I could be a lazy butthole and write it off as this being an NES game that interprets a rejected Oompa Loompa design as a doll (are bad Willy Wonka references my new running gag?), but there's more to it than that. Specifically, this game is uneventful. Here's how your typical Sweet Home experience: you walk around the mansion....and walk...and walk....and HOLY SHIT, A CHAIR! IT'S A JUMP SCARE, BUT WHATEVER, IT WORKS FINE! At least when you're in the (thankfully brief, and not in an insulting manner) moment. Because the scare goes away once that chair decides to hit you, and you only take a paltry three points of damage from it. Even at the absolute beginning, this is not a lot of damage.

Hold on. What's this about RPG element whatevers? Well, turns out that not only were these elements the main gameplay mechanic in Sweet Home, but they're also kind of what's wrong with it. See, it can't decide whether it wants to be an adventure-type game or an RPG, and both aspects suffer a bit as a result. There's not a lot to the battle system, which is to say that there isn't anything to the battle system. Your only two options are to attack or to run if attacking nets you perma-death. I know that sounds tense, but given the general ease with which you can run away from most enemies, it's just kind of annoying. Same goes for curses and poison and whatever else the RPG system brings to the table. Add in a level-up system that makes you nigh invulnerable as the game goes on (although one party at a time, because there's never any reason to bring only two people into battle), and it's hard to find this game frightening on any level.

Capcom: staffed by psychics since 1979.

So by now, I'd write it off as your typical bad survival horror game, but there's an...anomaly....regarding this game. It must be going for some type of meta-fear, because while the actual horror elements are not horrific themselves, the puzzle elements are executed rather well. What the what? How is that even possible? Well, there are boring reasons behind this, like a decent level of challenge and clear (ish) direction, but who cares about that shit? You want more compelling reasons, and more compelling reasons I have. OK, a reason, but still: the teamwork. Each character has a specific purpose, like curing status ailments or opening doors. Now that doesn't sound impressive, but it leads to some OK puzzles and, more importantly, forces your party to stay together at all times in order to advance. You know, like they were trying to outlive some type of terror, or something similar. It'd be enough to develop a secondary emotional connection to the characters if they had any character in the first place.....That's a compliment, not a complaint.

In fact, my only complaint about these portions of the game are managing it all. I'd call them minor, but that makes me feel like I'm suffering Stockholm syndrome with this game. Anywho, playing this game is inevitably going to be cumbersome, partly because the menus are all poorly designed. Fine, everything's only a couple options away, but there are just so many options that are so necessary all the time. It could all be quicker, especially the items. Fuck, you guys. Doing anything with the items is a pain. You'd think that you pick up an item simply by pressing A in front of it, but it's never that simple. No, you're going to navigate about nine menus to pick up those matches, because that's what horror is. Same goes for the weapons, only a bit more confusing at first. I like that the game is long, but not when most of that time comes from navigating menus half the time! Even outside the menus, things don't work well. Each character only has enough room for two items, meaning the game becomes an interactive episode of Hoarders about twelve minutes in. Hope you like backtracking, because that's what this game will become! Nothing but backtracking and random encounters! The hallmarks of a great game...and Sweet Home, I guess.

Review Synopsis

  • There isn't a lot of story, but what's there is decent, to say the least.
  • Wait, a horror-themed RPG with a simplistic battle system? That sounds familiar.
  • General gameplay puzzles succeeding despite a clunky system, though, is all on Sweet Home.
  • So I guess what I'm saying is that it's Resident Evil 0.
19 Comments
19 Comments
Posted by Video_Game_King

Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Cobi's Journey

(It's been a while, Dragon Warrior Monsters.) Last I saw you was back when I merely thought I was writing a billion words about games. It was Caravan Heart, and you....sucked harder than a black hole named Brain Lord. That probably explains why I refused to look at you for over two years, instead getting my Mon RPG fix from Persona and.....more Persona. But we reunite again, and I gotta say...you're alright.

Except in the story department. Now I know you haven't always been known for your compelling tales, Dragon Warrior Monsters (your older brother, on the other hand...), but come on. This just can't pass. I mean, it's so formulaic. First, Cobi goes to an alternate dimension to solve its problems. Then he gets some random object as a reward, uses it to plug up the GreatLog (because it's sinking, something islands can do), only to discover it won't work as a plug, but works well as a plot device. Repeat for a few worlds until you get sick of it and decide to end things for no adequate reason. Although to be fair to you, that's only looking at the big picture. Zoom in, and things look much better, even though no picture in the world works that way. You do, though. You populate yourself with stories of people overcoming some seriously messed up stuff, like a low-fi version of Dragon Quest IX. Always welcome. True, your obsession with demons is a tad worrying (leave it to the Megami Tenseis), but whatever. I'll take what I can get.

Clearly.

And with you, that's a lot. Now that's not always a bad thing, what with the various worlds to explore and tourneys and monsters to beat up. Real staying power, that. But then we get to your monster breeding, and I start getting scared. Not because you seriously considered making a gorilla fuck an apple....OK, not just because you seriously considered making a gorilla fuck an apple, but because there's sooo much to keep track of. So many stats and breeds and abilities and meta-game. Do you even realize who's supposed to be playing this game? Kids. Kids play you. Now they can put up with your ridiculously saccharine atmosphere and skeletal game mechanics. These are all things you do incredibly well. But the breeding? That's gonna scare those little guys away. Hell, I'm 375 years old, and even I was intimidated by your Moreau-esque horrors.

But, as always, I persevered, because there's something rewarding to gaming your breeding system. Yea, you take a while to get there, but when I got there, you made me feel totally unstoppable. Probably because I was. What was up with that? I mean, I love how you allowed me to set fire to every monster in sight, but why did Nap Attack destroy every single mid-game boss? And then the bosses after that take twelve hours to defeat. It's like you couldn't decide what exactly your difficulty should be. Still, though, you're a pretty cool game, Cobi's Journey. You got some neat systems in place and enough distractions in case I get bored with your bestiality. Yea, you're indecisive as all hell, but you could always be worse. At least you're not Caravan Heart.

Review Synopsis

  • What's with your story, bro?
  • You're pretty much Persona for kids. Yay.
  • Except you're somehow more arcane than Persona was. What?

OK, just one more Persona 4 video after this, and it's Fire Emblem for months on end.

Sweet Home

(What is this game doing here?) I thought I'd already established that I just don't seem to like survival horror as a whole. Not many of them are scary in the first place, and with that gone, you're often left with a really bad adventure game with clunky combat on the side. Now this would be the time where I'd transition into the specifics of what I don't like about Sweet Home, but....well, I just did, didn't I? Just add some RPG elements, and you have the blog in a nutshell.

Although funnily enough, one of those RPG elements missing is the story. OK, so there is a story, but there isn't a lot of it, despite the amount of work it puts into it. Five blank slates who seem to be people are heading into a haunted house to retrieve some frescoes for reasons I can't really remember. Unfortunately, they all get trapped within five seconds of entering the house, so obviously, the most logical action is to rid the house of its evil curse. What is that curse? Well, I'm not going to spoil that (I've learned my lesson), and while it involves a lot of genuinely interesting ghost story material, most of that comes toward the end of the game, more still in the form of optional content. A lot of that content isn't even necessary (they're usually hints to puzzles you could solve half the time), so there's a good chance you're not gonna get a lot of the story this game throws your way. A shame, too, because, again, that story's got some decent, ludicrously graphic horror shit going on.

All the enemy names are announced because all the characters are five years old.

Odd, then, that I'm about to say that this game isn't scary. This game isn't scary. This game is trying hard to be scary, what with the story and the thudding sounds it calls music, but Clock Tower this is not. Why is that? Well, I could be a lazy butthole and write it off as this being an NES game that interprets a rejected Oompa Loompa design as a doll (are bad Willy Wonka references my new running gag?), but there's more to it than that. Specifically, this game is uneventful. Here's how your typical Sweet Home experience: you walk around the mansion....and walk...and walk....and HOLY SHIT, A CHAIR! IT'S A JUMP SCARE, BUT WHATEVER, IT WORKS FINE! At least when you're in the (thankfully brief, and not in an insulting manner) moment. Because the scare goes away once that chair decides to hit you, and you only take a paltry three points of damage from it. Even at the absolute beginning, this is not a lot of damage.

Hold on. What's this about RPG element whatevers? Well, turns out that not only were these elements the main gameplay mechanic in Sweet Home, but they're also kind of what's wrong with it. See, it can't decide whether it wants to be an adventure-type game or an RPG, and both aspects suffer a bit as a result. There's not a lot to the battle system, which is to say that there isn't anything to the battle system. Your only two options are to attack or to run if attacking nets you perma-death. I know that sounds tense, but given the general ease with which you can run away from most enemies, it's just kind of annoying. Same goes for curses and poison and whatever else the RPG system brings to the table. Add in a level-up system that makes you nigh invulnerable as the game goes on (although one party at a time, because there's never any reason to bring only two people into battle), and it's hard to find this game frightening on any level.

Capcom: staffed by psychics since 1979.

So by now, I'd write it off as your typical bad survival horror game, but there's an...anomaly....regarding this game. It must be going for some type of meta-fear, because while the actual horror elements are not horrific themselves, the puzzle elements are executed rather well. What the what? How is that even possible? Well, there are boring reasons behind this, like a decent level of challenge and clear (ish) direction, but who cares about that shit? You want more compelling reasons, and more compelling reasons I have. OK, a reason, but still: the teamwork. Each character has a specific purpose, like curing status ailments or opening doors. Now that doesn't sound impressive, but it leads to some OK puzzles and, more importantly, forces your party to stay together at all times in order to advance. You know, like they were trying to outlive some type of terror, or something similar. It'd be enough to develop a secondary emotional connection to the characters if they had any character in the first place.....That's a compliment, not a complaint.

In fact, my only complaint about these portions of the game are managing it all. I'd call them minor, but that makes me feel like I'm suffering Stockholm syndrome with this game. Anywho, playing this game is inevitably going to be cumbersome, partly because the menus are all poorly designed. Fine, everything's only a couple options away, but there are just so many options that are so necessary all the time. It could all be quicker, especially the items. Fuck, you guys. Doing anything with the items is a pain. You'd think that you pick up an item simply by pressing A in front of it, but it's never that simple. No, you're going to navigate about nine menus to pick up those matches, because that's what horror is. Same goes for the weapons, only a bit more confusing at first. I like that the game is long, but not when most of that time comes from navigating menus half the time! Even outside the menus, things don't work well. Each character only has enough room for two items, meaning the game becomes an interactive episode of Hoarders about twelve minutes in. Hope you like backtracking, because that's what this game will become! Nothing but backtracking and random encounters! The hallmarks of a great game...and Sweet Home, I guess.

Review Synopsis

  • There isn't a lot of story, but what's there is decent, to say the least.
  • Wait, a horror-themed RPG with a simplistic battle system? That sounds familiar.
  • General gameplay puzzles succeeding despite a clunky system, though, is all on Sweet Home.
  • So I guess what I'm saying is that it's Resident Evil 0.
Posted by Salarn
Posted by Video_Game_King

@Salarn said:

What I want to know is what's up with old horror games and their fascination with wood planks?

That was a trend? The only other game I remember doing it was Clock Tower, and believe me, there were stranger things about that game than planks.

Posted by Salarn

Corpse Party - Cross gaps

Silent Hill - Recurring weapon

Splatterhouse - does the 2x4 count?

I guess trend might have been too strong of a word, I blame on playing Corpse Party last night (50% on PSN) and having planks all over that game, then seeing them in Sweet Home in your post.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@Video_Game_King said:

  • So I guess what I'm saying is that it's Resident Evil 0.

You're not allowed to make that joke when a game called Resident Evil Zero already exists. And is a good game. And the true precursor to Resident Evil is totally Alone in the Dark. You want clunky survival horror with emphasis on the clunky? That is that game.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@ArbitraryWater:

To be fair, there are quite a few similarities between the two, like the villain who doesn't show up for most of the game, the emphasis on two parties, dropping important inventory items all over the place, and its use of the phrase "Resident Evil".

Speaking of Alone in the Dark, I'm playing the recent one, and dear god, it is horrible.

Posted by Hailinel

Regarding Sweet Home's plot, you are aware that it's a licensed game based on a movie, right?

Posted by Video_Game_King
Posted by Ravenlight

@Salarn said:

There should be a dyslexic character that acquires a loose broad.

Edited by Mento

Amnesia had a few planks too. Needed to fix a broken staircase and were also useful for escaping Mr Splashy. SH: Downpour had one too many balancing sequences involving planks as well. I don't know about a trend, but there's something going on there.

I only know about Sweet Home from its reputation; one of those obscure games frequently mentioned for being the first to do something that a much more famous game would later do. Goes to show there's more to a great game (or at least a successful one) than simply having an innovative idea. As for Dragon Quest Monsters 2, well, I played the first one of those for way longer than I perhaps should. I really don't like Mons games of any type. It's the aspect I most want Persona 5 to do away with. Maybe switch it out with some sort of singular customizable Persona instead, but the precise details for how that system would work still elude me. Guess we'll be back to spending hours clicking back and forth on the fusion screen, hoping the right skills get inherited.

Final note: Nothing wrong with that title. It's punchy and to the point. At least I could tell going in that the blog would have something to do with monsters, or monsters and turn-based combat.

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

@Mento:

Wait, Amnesia's gonna have planks, too? Who the hell is designing all these games? Johnny 2x4? (And there's my dumb joke of the day.)

Goes to show there's more to a great game (or at least a successful one) than simply having an innovative idea.

Of course there has to be, but I've already discussed this to death.

I really don't like Mons games of any type. It's the aspect I most want Persona 5 to do away with.

Wait, what? Wouldn't that kinda destroy the thematic base upon which the games are built? Kinda hard to call a Persona a mask with which you face the world if it's a mask you're actively and consciously creating. What happens to the shadow stuffs and all that?

Final note: Nothing wrong with that title. It's punchy and to the point.

I still think it could be better. It was one of those things I came up with at the last minute when I realized I had to make a title. You know, like how the DWM2 portion is what I came up with at the last minute when I realized I had to write a blog on the subject. (Also, I'm only now realizing that I should write a blog titled "Punchy and to the point." I came up with it first. You heard it here, folks.)

Posted by Hailinel
@Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

Regarding Sweet Home's plot, you are aware that it's a licensed game based on a movie, right?

Interesting thing, that: I read the Wikipedia article on it some time ago, and it's impossible to tell if it's that way or the reverse.

Only if you're the Wikipedia author that wrote that bit.
Posted by Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

@Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

Regarding Sweet Home's plot, you are aware that it's a licensed game based on a movie, right?

Interesting thing, that: I read the Wikipedia article on it some time ago, and it's impossible to tell if it's that way or the reverse.

Only if you're the Wikipedia author that wrote that bit.

I'm not. In fact, I don't think I've even edited a Wikipedia article since my GameSpot days.

Edited by Mento

In terms of thematic congruity, I'd say a chameleon-esque malleable Persona is perfect for the Fool Arcana. The greatest issue with that idea is how it intends to factor in the whole "acquiring other personas" and "social links power up personas" aspects. Both are sort of integral. That and the fact MegaTen fans would not be down for such a massive system upheaval. I can imagine them all picketing Atlus HQ with signs saying "No Fusion? Refusin'!". I just recall it being the one thing that ground my playthrough (and the Endurance Run) to a halt every time it was required.

Feel free to use "punchy and to the point", though I'd recommend waiting until you have a boxing game and a swordfighting game lined up. Punch-Out!! and Secret of Monkey Island?

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

@Mento said:

In terms of thematic congruity, I'd say a chameleon-esque malleable Persona is perfect for the Fool Arcana.

Oh sweet shitting fuck. Now I'm imagining the P5 Protagonist sounding like this.

Feel free to use "punchy and to the point", though I'd recommend waiting until you have a boxing game and a swordfighting game lined up. Punch-Out!! and Secret of Monkey Island?

I've already covered Monkey Island, though. Twice. I imagine I can find other punch/stab-related games, though. I'd use Assassin's Creed for the latter, but I've already used Revelations and have yet to touch III.

Posted by Hailinel
@Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

@Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

Regarding Sweet Home's plot, you are aware that it's a licensed game based on a movie, right?

Interesting thing, that: I read the Wikipedia article on it some time ago, and it's impossible to tell if it's that way or the reverse.

Only if you're the Wikipedia author that wrote that bit.

I'm not. In fact, I don't think I've even edited a Wikipedia article since my GameSpot days.

I didn't say you were. But I can't help you if you insist on taking the article at face value.
Posted by Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

@Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

Only if you're the Wikipedia author that wrote that bit.

I'm not. In fact, I don't think I've even edited a Wikipedia article since my GameSpot days.

I didn't say you were.

It's your avatar. It always looks like it's angry with judgment, and colors your statements as such. (Plus, on an unrelated note, I can never remember what character she's supposed to be.)

Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel said:

@Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

Only if you're the Wikipedia author that wrote that bit.

I'm not. In fact, I don't think I've even edited a Wikipedia article since my GameSpot days.

I didn't say you were.

It's your avatar. It always looks like it's angry with judgment, and colors your statements as such. (Plus, on an unrelated note, I can never remember what character she's supposed to be.)

Have a link.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Hailinel:

I know I've seen that before, and I know I'm gonna forget it quickly. Sadly, that's just how things are gonna play out.