What an unexpected turn of events.



Out of this World

( Also known as Another World in parts of the world that aren't America.) Also known as "That One Game that Gives European Gamers Massive Gamer Hard-ons, Besides Treasure Island Dizzy." Wow, this game has not aged well at all. Wait, is that it? I can't tell what this game is, in terms of quality. Is it overrated? Is it poorly aged? Is it a shit port? (On that last one, yes, but I'm not sure if it's just that.) Rest assured, though, that I know what this game isn't: good. OK, you're probably going to rest less assured and more angry.
 
In fact, let me retract that for a few sentences, maybe. After all, I love a good story like I love Fire Emblem 4 (wait, that game has both? FUCK. YES.), so much so that I'm sometimes willing to overlook some crap gameplay if the story's good enough. Conversely, a crap story can drag down an otherwise awesome game. Notice how neither of those games were Out of this World. That's because there's pretty much no story in this game. I'm sure that this is due to the fact that there are no words anywhere in the game. While I have been known to love games that pull it off well, I'm willing to admit that its application is limited, since your story probably won't exceed a note-card in length. Sonic 3 can get away with it (why didn't I link there?) because the focus was less on story and more on speed and unique level design; Out of this World, as far as I can tell, seems to focus a lot on story and cinematic atmosphere, which seems like me making a blog that focuses on E3 coverage: you know it's not gonna work and that it'll amount to absolutely nothing, so why do it? Wait.... I did that. Fucking hell.
 
 A great way to sum up this game: Son, I am disappoint.
What else can I yell at this game for? How about the graphics? Keep in mind that I didn't play the decent-looking PC version, but rather, the "this only looks good when you tell people that it was done entirely in MS Paint" SNES version. Hell, even when it's trying its hardest to look passable (like in that picture on the right), it still looks like a blocky mess. The only positive thing I've to say on it is that the animation is decent, I guess. Wait, I think I have this figured out: primitive graphics with decent animations that tell a story without words? It's a Prince of Persia knock-off! That's the only way it works! But...hold on, no, that's not how it works. In Prince of Persia, you felt like you were solving puzzles to save a princess who had never read Rapunzel strategically; here, it just feels like you're going through the motions, trying to progress through the game by any means necessary. Oh, sure, there are puzzles aplenty, but they're all fairly basic, and the best strategy for all of them can be summed up as "trial and error." Don't believe me? Remember that spaceship thing near the end? Exactly.
 
Also, remember how fluidly Prince of Persia controlled? Forget that, since the control in Out of this World is...OK, it's not bad, but it's not good, either. You can't perform a regular jump while standing still, which means you have to run into jumps A LOT. "Why didn't you complain about that in Prince of Persia?", you ask me while I write my blog, being the impatient asshole that you are. Well, Prince of Persia was really cool about not putting platforms on the edge of a screen, something the guys at....Foxy Soft (gross) never seem to have learned. Unless you have access to some type of real-world bullet time, you're going to die A LOT. (If you do have access to that bullet time, why are you wasting it on games?) Not even due to the pits, either; this game comes up with some weird ways of dying. Fail to do anything for a few seconds? DEAD. Solve a puzzle element too early? DEAD. Type in the wrong password? DEAD. (Albeit in a different game.) If you can think of it, it'll kill you.
 
It doesn't help that your only defense is a Super Soaker (and a crotch shot, but only once), or that our protagonist never learned how to shoot a target while moving. I realize that the game is going for a minimalist vibe, but I'm pretty sure that mapping run and gun to the same button crosses the barrier into "don't fucking do that." You have a bunch of other buttons, so why do you map everything that isn't move to one button? I don't mind it with the gun charging, but running? Oh, that's right, I forgot to mention the gun charging. Breaking away from the minimalism, your gun has three charge levels: a simple laser shot, a shield, and a giant death laser that takes nine years to build up. It's actually pretty satisfying, since several of the puzzles revolve around using your charges in the right way, and the combat scenes come across as more involved than anything else you'll find in this game. But again, all of this comes with trial and error. Given that I've seen that aspect more in this game than I did in a blind run of Dragon's Lair, I get the impression that the guys over at Foxy Soft (ugh!) were trying to make this game as long as possible, especially since this game has load times. Even then, though, it barely moves past the hour mark, if YouTube is to be believed. It makes me wonder why I wrote something that's probably longer than the game I'm reviewing. In fact, let me make that the award: Blog>Game Award.
 

Review Synopsis

  • Story? What story?
  • Gameplay? What gameplay?
  • Graphics? Yea, they suck.
 
 
 
 
There's hope for you, yet, Fatty. OK, I'm kidding; there's no hope for you.
 
 

Romancing SaGa

( This certainly caught me off-guard.) No, not the sudden loss of Internet for several days, I can deal with the fools around me. Obviously, I'm speaking of beating Romancing SaGa, the series with a permanent capitalization (and, according to GameFAQs, pronunciation) problem. My plan for the next blog was to get Wii Sports Resort out of the way, since I have most of it written already. However, I didn't realize that the first SaGa was such a ridiculously short game, even with 12 hours of grind. (Yes, I spent 12 hours of game time grinding. Shut up, I got the best equipment in the end, didn't I?)
 
Anyway, heeding the advice of myself from a year ago, let me start with what little story there is. Long ago, there were three evil gods: The Final Boss, The Pope, and The Girl. Eventually, the one good god decided he had enough of whatever the hell they were doing. He killed The Pope and The Girl, but soon found out that their power was directly related to how many words their name was. This in mind, he sealed The Final Boss away with ten gemstones. 1000 years later, things start to go awry. How exactly they go awry depends on what character you choose at the beginning. I chose my Persona character from before, and I saw his entire family die in a horrible fire. And that's about it, really. After that, he gets to do a bunch of irrelevant quests that all the others get to do anyway, which casts a hint of doubt on the whole prospect of choosing a character in the first place. Worse, though, is that the character I chose has the most story of them all, leading me to believe that all the other characters' stories consist of a couple of sentences scribbled on the back of a napkin.
 
 Who else loves glitches?
This may sound like a minor complaint, but remember the reason why we even have stories in games: so we know where to go and what to kill once we get there. Remove the story, and it's VERY easy to get lost and confused. Sure, SaGa tries to fix this problem with the quest system, but that fixes absolutely nothing. You still have no sense of unity or cohesion, meaning you have to follow a FAQ like it was written by Jesus if you want to progress through the game. To be fair, I played through the whole thing in Japanese (I'll explain why much later), but even if I did play it in English, I'd still have a hard to getting from quest to quest. You're never aware of what quest you're on unless you're doing it, which gets really confusing when you find yourself stumbling into quests every nanosecond, maybe. Confusinger than that is that the game lets you find out the requirements for a quest as you go along, instead of telling you straight away what you need, meaning you might need to tell one of your party members to go piss off and die so you can let another guy join you for five brief seconds.
 
And just like that, we conveniently transition into the battle system. Remember back in my Persona blog, when I compared that game to this one? Now things come full circle as I blog about this game. Like Persona, you align your party members into formations that dictate what they can do in battle. Unlike Persona, this one is, surprisingly, less ambiguous (at least when you face your enemies head on; anything else doesn't seem to make sense), especially since there's no isometric bullshit to deal with. In fact, it's rather simple: front characters can use anything, anybody behind them is limited to a pussy bow (odd choice of words) or long-range weapon skills, and enemies can't attack if you destroy their front line. Also like Persona, enemies have formations, too, but here, it means a bit more, as I said. Enemies are really polite, waiting in line for you to beat the shit out of them, waiting until the next turn to bash you in the head should they get to the front of the line. Or maybe it's just that all the enemies in the game are functionally retarded. This time, however, I have VIDEO PROOF. That's not a random occurrence, by the way; that happens every time you go there, in the exact same fashion.
 
Then again, maybe I'm being hard on the game; after all, it does seem to think you're an idiot, as well. After all, it gives you a bunch of cool moves you can unlock/buy over the course of the game, but never any concrete numbers to tie it all together. Sure, you're told how many times you can use each super-awesome move, but keep in mind that they're all drawing points from the same imaginary number pool, meaning that kick-ass move you can only use twice won't die alone. Not that you'll need to use any of these kick-ass moves; most regular battles can be won with our good old friend, Turbo Button. None of the enemies are immune to it, which is really convenient, since you'll see a lot of them. This game has A LOT of grinding. 12 hours worth, in fact (remember that). You'll grind to raise stats (because your allies don't adjust to your strength), to buy the best armor (which sets you back quite a bit, since skills are tied to weapons, for some reason), and to raise money (I. Hate. Jewels.). It was during this time grinding that I noticed that your actions in battle have about as much connection to your stat increases as this game does to itself. Hell, in some translations, you can destroy your enemies with the vindictive nature of Kefka around anything and end the battle with an increase in your love points!
 
 Translation: Your face deeply horrifies me.
Oh, look at that, this game has translations. Why didn't I play this game with at least one of them, you ask? The game is glitchy enough on its own, so imagine the nightmare a choppy translation would add! When I say "glitchy", I don't mean the Assassin's Creed/Red Dead glitchy, where I'm the only person to have played a working copy. I mean this game can't handle dumping your weapons, deciding which areas get which music, keeping its ending near the end, or even making a final boss that reassures Giygas. OK, again, I feel like I'm being hard on the game for that last point; after all, none of the bosses before him fared any better. Don't be fooled by their powerful attacks, as their HP rarely breaks the single digit mark. Throw in a 35ish hour....I mean 23ish hour length and some weird quirks (there's only one part of the game where you're allowed to run, but you've always the ability to strafe, MC Hammer style), and I should logically be berating this game like I do other games that piss you guys off a lot.
 
But notice that this game got the better score of this blog. Why is that? First, because Out of this World isn't that good of a game. Second, weird quirks don't necessarily make a game bad (except for that horrifying Dark Crystal look the PS2 version's sporting). Hell, they're kinda what keep me coming back to this series like that one person you all know who should get out of an abusive relationship but stays anyway because.....why are they in that relationship? I don't know, I'm not an expert. Also, shut up, this is a SaGa blog. Anyway, it's things like how the game uses katakana for things that don't need it, or how it tried to do something different that endear it to me. Hell, a lot of the ideas actually have their place. It's like somebody heard all the crap that JRPGs got, and decided to fix it. Then we all found out why these games have linear stories, pre-defined characters, and safe b-oh, fuck this. You know it, I know it: I only come here for the music. That's it. Even then, though, this game's kinda lacking, compared to the other ones in the series. Besides, I should've realized that this suits all my SaGa needs, so I'll give this game that as an award. But how to phrase it? Hmmm......how about the Androgynous Japanese Nerd Dude Award? Eh, close enough.
 

Review Synopsis

  • Removing the story from a JRPG is like removing the story from a JRPG: don't do it.
  • I can see where they were going with the battle system, but it never got there. It veered off a cliff and into a vat of acid.
  • How can such a badass-looking final boss be beaten by something that looks so stupid?

10 Comments
11 Comments
Posted by Video_Game_King


Out of this World

( Also known as Another World in parts of the world that aren't America.) Also known as "That One Game that Gives European Gamers Massive Gamer Hard-ons, Besides Treasure Island Dizzy." Wow, this game has not aged well at all. Wait, is that it? I can't tell what this game is, in terms of quality. Is it overrated? Is it poorly aged? Is it a shit port? (On that last one, yes, but I'm not sure if it's just that.) Rest assured, though, that I know what this game isn't: good. OK, you're probably going to rest less assured and more angry.
 
In fact, let me retract that for a few sentences, maybe. After all, I love a good story like I love Fire Emblem 4 (wait, that game has both? FUCK. YES.), so much so that I'm sometimes willing to overlook some crap gameplay if the story's good enough. Conversely, a crap story can drag down an otherwise awesome game. Notice how neither of those games were Out of this World. That's because there's pretty much no story in this game. I'm sure that this is due to the fact that there are no words anywhere in the game. While I have been known to love games that pull it off well, I'm willing to admit that its application is limited, since your story probably won't exceed a note-card in length. Sonic 3 can get away with it (why didn't I link there?) because the focus was less on story and more on speed and unique level design; Out of this World, as far as I can tell, seems to focus a lot on story and cinematic atmosphere, which seems like me making a blog that focuses on E3 coverage: you know it's not gonna work and that it'll amount to absolutely nothing, so why do it? Wait.... I did that. Fucking hell.
 
 A great way to sum up this game: Son, I am disappoint.
What else can I yell at this game for? How about the graphics? Keep in mind that I didn't play the decent-looking PC version, but rather, the "this only looks good when you tell people that it was done entirely in MS Paint" SNES version. Hell, even when it's trying its hardest to look passable (like in that picture on the right), it still looks like a blocky mess. The only positive thing I've to say on it is that the animation is decent, I guess. Wait, I think I have this figured out: primitive graphics with decent animations that tell a story without words? It's a Prince of Persia knock-off! That's the only way it works! But...hold on, no, that's not how it works. In Prince of Persia, you felt like you were solving puzzles to save a princess who had never read Rapunzel strategically; here, it just feels like you're going through the motions, trying to progress through the game by any means necessary. Oh, sure, there are puzzles aplenty, but they're all fairly basic, and the best strategy for all of them can be summed up as "trial and error." Don't believe me? Remember that spaceship thing near the end? Exactly.
 
Also, remember how fluidly Prince of Persia controlled? Forget that, since the control in Out of this World is...OK, it's not bad, but it's not good, either. You can't perform a regular jump while standing still, which means you have to run into jumps A LOT. "Why didn't you complain about that in Prince of Persia?", you ask me while I write my blog, being the impatient asshole that you are. Well, Prince of Persia was really cool about not putting platforms on the edge of a screen, something the guys at....Foxy Soft (gross) never seem to have learned. Unless you have access to some type of real-world bullet time, you're going to die A LOT. (If you do have access to that bullet time, why are you wasting it on games?) Not even due to the pits, either; this game comes up with some weird ways of dying. Fail to do anything for a few seconds? DEAD. Solve a puzzle element too early? DEAD. Type in the wrong password? DEAD. (Albeit in a different game.) If you can think of it, it'll kill you.
 
It doesn't help that your only defense is a Super Soaker (and a crotch shot, but only once), or that our protagonist never learned how to shoot a target while moving. I realize that the game is going for a minimalist vibe, but I'm pretty sure that mapping run and gun to the same button crosses the barrier into "don't fucking do that." You have a bunch of other buttons, so why do you map everything that isn't move to one button? I don't mind it with the gun charging, but running? Oh, that's right, I forgot to mention the gun charging. Breaking away from the minimalism, your gun has three charge levels: a simple laser shot, a shield, and a giant death laser that takes nine years to build up. It's actually pretty satisfying, since several of the puzzles revolve around using your charges in the right way, and the combat scenes come across as more involved than anything else you'll find in this game. But again, all of this comes with trial and error. Given that I've seen that aspect more in this game than I did in a blind run of Dragon's Lair, I get the impression that the guys over at Foxy Soft (ugh!) were trying to make this game as long as possible, especially since this game has load times. Even then, though, it barely moves past the hour mark, if YouTube is to be believed. It makes me wonder why I wrote something that's probably longer than the game I'm reviewing. In fact, let me make that the award: Blog>Game Award.
 

Review Synopsis

  • Story? What story?
  • Gameplay? What gameplay?
  • Graphics? Yea, they suck.
 
 
 
 
There's hope for you, yet, Fatty. OK, I'm kidding; there's no hope for you.
 
 

Romancing SaGa

( This certainly caught me off-guard.) No, not the sudden loss of Internet for several days, I can deal with the fools around me. Obviously, I'm speaking of beating Romancing SaGa, the series with a permanent capitalization (and, according to GameFAQs, pronunciation) problem. My plan for the next blog was to get Wii Sports Resort out of the way, since I have most of it written already. However, I didn't realize that the first SaGa was such a ridiculously short game, even with 12 hours of grind. (Yes, I spent 12 hours of game time grinding. Shut up, I got the best equipment in the end, didn't I?)
 
Anyway, heeding the advice of myself from a year ago, let me start with what little story there is. Long ago, there were three evil gods: The Final Boss, The Pope, and The Girl. Eventually, the one good god decided he had enough of whatever the hell they were doing. He killed The Pope and The Girl, but soon found out that their power was directly related to how many words their name was. This in mind, he sealed The Final Boss away with ten gemstones. 1000 years later, things start to go awry. How exactly they go awry depends on what character you choose at the beginning. I chose my Persona character from before, and I saw his entire family die in a horrible fire. And that's about it, really. After that, he gets to do a bunch of irrelevant quests that all the others get to do anyway, which casts a hint of doubt on the whole prospect of choosing a character in the first place. Worse, though, is that the character I chose has the most story of them all, leading me to believe that all the other characters' stories consist of a couple of sentences scribbled on the back of a napkin.
 
 Who else loves glitches?
This may sound like a minor complaint, but remember the reason why we even have stories in games: so we know where to go and what to kill once we get there. Remove the story, and it's VERY easy to get lost and confused. Sure, SaGa tries to fix this problem with the quest system, but that fixes absolutely nothing. You still have no sense of unity or cohesion, meaning you have to follow a FAQ like it was written by Jesus if you want to progress through the game. To be fair, I played through the whole thing in Japanese (I'll explain why much later), but even if I did play it in English, I'd still have a hard to getting from quest to quest. You're never aware of what quest you're on unless you're doing it, which gets really confusing when you find yourself stumbling into quests every nanosecond, maybe. Confusinger than that is that the game lets you find out the requirements for a quest as you go along, instead of telling you straight away what you need, meaning you might need to tell one of your party members to go piss off and die so you can let another guy join you for five brief seconds.
 
And just like that, we conveniently transition into the battle system. Remember back in my Persona blog, when I compared that game to this one? Now things come full circle as I blog about this game. Like Persona, you align your party members into formations that dictate what they can do in battle. Unlike Persona, this one is, surprisingly, less ambiguous (at least when you face your enemies head on; anything else doesn't seem to make sense), especially since there's no isometric bullshit to deal with. In fact, it's rather simple: front characters can use anything, anybody behind them is limited to a pussy bow (odd choice of words) or long-range weapon skills, and enemies can't attack if you destroy their front line. Also like Persona, enemies have formations, too, but here, it means a bit more, as I said. Enemies are really polite, waiting in line for you to beat the shit out of them, waiting until the next turn to bash you in the head should they get to the front of the line. Or maybe it's just that all the enemies in the game are functionally retarded. This time, however, I have VIDEO PROOF. That's not a random occurrence, by the way; that happens every time you go there, in the exact same fashion.
 
Then again, maybe I'm being hard on the game; after all, it does seem to think you're an idiot, as well. After all, it gives you a bunch of cool moves you can unlock/buy over the course of the game, but never any concrete numbers to tie it all together. Sure, you're told how many times you can use each super-awesome move, but keep in mind that they're all drawing points from the same imaginary number pool, meaning that kick-ass move you can only use twice won't die alone. Not that you'll need to use any of these kick-ass moves; most regular battles can be won with our good old friend, Turbo Button. None of the enemies are immune to it, which is really convenient, since you'll see a lot of them. This game has A LOT of grinding. 12 hours worth, in fact (remember that). You'll grind to raise stats (because your allies don't adjust to your strength), to buy the best armor (which sets you back quite a bit, since skills are tied to weapons, for some reason), and to raise money (I. Hate. Jewels.). It was during this time grinding that I noticed that your actions in battle have about as much connection to your stat increases as this game does to itself. Hell, in some translations, you can destroy your enemies with the vindictive nature of Kefka around anything and end the battle with an increase in your love points!
 
 Translation: Your face deeply horrifies me.
Oh, look at that, this game has translations. Why didn't I play this game with at least one of them, you ask? The game is glitchy enough on its own, so imagine the nightmare a choppy translation would add! When I say "glitchy", I don't mean the Assassin's Creed/Red Dead glitchy, where I'm the only person to have played a working copy. I mean this game can't handle dumping your weapons, deciding which areas get which music, keeping its ending near the end, or even making a final boss that reassures Giygas. OK, again, I feel like I'm being hard on the game for that last point; after all, none of the bosses before him fared any better. Don't be fooled by their powerful attacks, as their HP rarely breaks the single digit mark. Throw in a 35ish hour....I mean 23ish hour length and some weird quirks (there's only one part of the game where you're allowed to run, but you've always the ability to strafe, MC Hammer style), and I should logically be berating this game like I do other games that piss you guys off a lot.
 
But notice that this game got the better score of this blog. Why is that? First, because Out of this World isn't that good of a game. Second, weird quirks don't necessarily make a game bad (except for that horrifying Dark Crystal look the PS2 version's sporting). Hell, they're kinda what keep me coming back to this series like that one person you all know who should get out of an abusive relationship but stays anyway because.....why are they in that relationship? I don't know, I'm not an expert. Also, shut up, this is a SaGa blog. Anyway, it's things like how the game uses katakana for things that don't need it, or how it tried to do something different that endear it to me. Hell, a lot of the ideas actually have their place. It's like somebody heard all the crap that JRPGs got, and decided to fix it. Then we all found out why these games have linear stories, pre-defined characters, and safe b-oh, fuck this. You know it, I know it: I only come here for the music. That's it. Even then, though, this game's kinda lacking, compared to the other ones in the series. Besides, I should've realized that this suits all my SaGa needs, so I'll give this game that as an award. But how to phrase it? Hmmm......how about the Androgynous Japanese Nerd Dude Award? Eh, close enough.
 

Review Synopsis

  • Removing the story from a JRPG is like removing the story from a JRPG: don't do it.
  • I can see where they were going with the battle system, but it never got there. It veered off a cliff and into a vat of acid.
  • How can such a badass-looking final boss be beaten by something that looks so stupid?

Posted by Claude

"that our protagonist never learned how to shoot a target while moving"
 
Ha! That sounds like Resident Evil 4. Yeah, I'm one of the people who have fond memories of Out of this World. I played it one Christmas and finished it in eleven hours on my SNES. That was a long time ago. You know how that goes, the years not played have made the game a classic in my mind. Trial and error I do remember. I've always wanted to try the enhanced version on the PC, but meh. I'll just let my nostalgia goggles rule the day.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Claude: 
 
By enhanced, you mean good, right? Looking at the PC versions of this game, I've noticed that they look MUCH better than the SNES version. That explains why there really aren't any SNES pics of it on the site.
Posted by Claude
@Video_Game_King: 
 
I'm sure it looks better on the PC, but the gameplay is probably the same. I've always wanted to play Flashback. I never had the opportunity to try it way back when. It has a similar play style.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Claude: 
 
From what I've played (the first level before it became unbeatable), it's sort of like Out of this World, only MUCH MUCH BETTER. Play it.
Posted by ZombiePie

Yeah Out of This World is a mean game that is overly abstract. But when I finally completed it back in the day it was released it felt like a real genuine accomplishment, like reading Moby Dick to completion. So by the time it was done I was satisfied with what I had experienced. Also there was that scene near the end in the "nude" bathhouse (we are still talking about polygons man).

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King
@ZombiePie: 
 
Those were nude....organisms? I thought they were soldiers from before. Besides, if I wanted nude video games, even back then, I could get some Bubble Bath Babes or something. Or primitive 90s Internet porn.
Posted by mylifeforAiur

Well done on another great blog post. I've never actually played Out of this World, so your review helped me in deciding to skip the console versions all together (i believe it also came out on the 3DO). As for Romancing SaGa, well i barely handle JRPG stories when i can understand them, except for Final Fantasy 4, cause that game is awesome ;)   

Posted by Video_Game_King
@mylifeforAiur: 
 
Even though this game is in Japanese, the story's still easy to handle, since there isn't one.
Posted by mylifeforAiur
@Video_Game_King: All the fun of grinding without the hassle of things like story. It's like Diablo all over again, well maybe thats harsh ;)  
Posted by Video_Game_King
@mylifeforAiur: 
 
The only problem is that there's no such thing as turbo-click :P.