By YI_Orange 10 Comments
I've made the decision to cram the rest of the games into this so as not to go into 3 parts. I also included a special mention that don't quite fit the criteria for this blog. Anyway, on with it.
Yep, the first one. I played the GBA version of this a couple years ago. I chose it over the original version because the limited spells and the fact that your character would attack nothing if it's current target died before they got a chance to act was dumb. Why would I do this? I listened to some Duane & Brando and for some reason that made me want to play Final Fantasy.
Not much to say about this. It's what you would expect from an early FF game. Just take the current ones, simplify them a bit, and remove all traces of guidance throughout the game. Oh, also shorten it by about 50 hours.
Viewtiful Joe 2(PS2)
I got this game when it was current, but I stopped playing it really quickly after starting it for quite possibly one of the dumbest reasons ever. You could play as Silvia. I don't know why, but for some reason the ability(and occasional requirement) to play as another character scared me off the game. Funny enough, the exact same thing happened with Otogi. I went to play the second, saw I could play as another character, and promptly quit.
However, I picked Viewtiful Joe 2 back up earlier this year to play through it. The combat was simplistic, but fun, and at times frustrating, just like the first game.
Silvia played a little bit different from joe. Her normal punch was a projectile and her augmentations were different. I can't say too much about them because I spent as much time as possible playing as Joe and focused on his upgrades and health upgrades.
If you played the first game and remember the bosses from that, any fury or frustration you may be feeling remembering them will be applicable to this...if you're like me and forget how to play. The bosses were taking me forever to kill and it was getting to the point where I was almost dead each time I beat a boss just from making dumb mistakes or trying to get too rushy. Finally, in I believe chapter 5 the ice-tiger-guy was going down way too slow. One time after he killed me I decided to look up how to beat him easier and I was reminded of the Red Hot One Hundred. It's an ability that consists of you zooming in, slowing down time, and punching..that's it. Surely enough, every boss and enemy I decided to do this too quickly became a joke.
Zone of the Enders: Second Runner(PS2)
Wait wait, a mech game that's fun? That can't be right. There's gotta be something wrong with it. Oh, I see it's really fucking hard.
I'm not real up on the story of Zone of the Enders, and haven't played the first one since a rental when it was new. I'll give a little bit of an introduction to this one though, and I apologize if anything is wrong. You take control of a guy named Dingo, who discovers Jehuty during a mining operation(?). He refuses to ally himself with the bad guys of the story and gets himself shot. A woman he defeated in the opening of the game turns out to be a double agent and saves his life...as long as he does what she says. If he disconnects from Jehuty he will die, and she can kill him at any moment so he's forced to go on a suicide mission.
I didn't get far. I'm on Mars after defeating Leo piloting Vic Viper. I will blame part of it on the camera making controlling yourself and effectively maneuvering a large amount of enemies difficult, but I'm willing to accpt that I'm bad at the game. Badness aside it's a lot of fun and I would love to see someone take this idea and run with it to create a badass, mech-based, stylish action game.
I'm not sure if I exactly missed God Hand, but side objectives got me really frustrated and caused me to quit for probably about a year so I'm counting it.
God Hand was the final game to be released by Clover Studio. This game is strange, absurd, dumb, and completely awesome. God Hand is 3D brawler with one important twist; there's no block button. In order to avoid damage you MUST dodge. Tapping the right analog stick in a direction will make your character dodge in that direction. The game relies heavily on reflexes and counterattacking and just trying to mash your way through will see you very quickly defeated. I'll talk more about the gameplay in a bit.
In God Hand you take control of a 23 year old man named Gene who at some point had one of his arms cut off. He encounters a young girl named Olivia who is a descendant of a clan of people charged with protecting the God Hand, which she entrusts to Gene. Other than that the story is basically a powerful council of demons(the 4 devas) wants your God Hand, and that's not cool so you set out to kill them along with Olivia. God Hand runs on a map of self-contained levels with a casino you can go to at any time to upgrade yourself, gamble, or take on side missions.
The gameplay in God Hand, as I talked a bit about earlier, is really unique but there's a bit more to it. You start off with some basic punches, maybe a kick, and a drop kick thing. Throughout the game you'll collect money which you can use to upgrade your health, your special orbs, buy new special abilities, buy new attacks, and I believe you can buy new combo slots. Each attack has a damage number assigned to it, but higher isn't always better. You want to mix in some fast attacks, some that hit multiple times, or guard breakers so that you can complete your combo on your enemy without them attacking you or blocking your attacks. Your combo is mapped to the square button and will automatically progress through it as you press square. You can also map single attacks to the X and Triangle buttons(I think both). Generally, I found it useful to put a guard breaker on one, and a launcher on the other for crowd control. Gene's special abilities get more absurd the further you get the game. They range from a basic shockwave to kicking your enemy into space(sorry Chie).
I should mention that this game is dripping with sexuality. Aside from a couple extremely flamboyant boss fights and one of your main antagonists being a succubus, this game probably contains more testicular violence than the new Mortal Kombat. I'm looking at you, Johnny Cage. Also, mash circle to spank. Really.
All said, I highly recommend this game to anyone looking for something fun and different to play this summer.
I...ok. Yeah, I beat this game. I won't say a lot on it because I'll probably just get sad.
You take control of Ryudo, your average scoundrel. You are tasked with escorting Elena, your average anti-scoundrel priestess lady to purify a tower. But wait! Things have gone terribly wrong! Elena gets possessed by the Wings of Valmar, a piece of an evil god. If all his pieces are assembled, he will awaken. You then need to escort Elena to see the pope to have her cleansed. Along the way you meet a..diverse cast of characters consisting of a kid in short pants, a beast-man, and a robot, as well as the Wings of Valmar who occasionally completely takes over Elena. Also along the way you find other places cursed by body parts of Valmar and stop to defeat them..at which point Millenia(the wings) consumes them..I think you know where this is going.
The story in Grandia is extremely predictable and the characters are pretty basic. Ryudo was ok, but the rest were sort of "meh". Saying all this, I'm really not understanding why I decided to play through all of it.
Maybe it was the gameplay? Ok, Grandia II is an RPG with RPG combat, equipment, leveling up, etc. However, the combat is pretty different and easily the most interesting part of the game. Each participant in a battle has a small portrait and arrow pointing directly above or below their portrait to a location on a bar. Depending on one of the character or enemy's stats the arrows will move at different rates along the bar. When it reaches a certain point(probably about 3/4ths) you then issue a command to that character. Each command(also affected by your speed stat) will then take a certain amount of time to cover the rest of the distance on the bar. After a command is executed(or interrupted), they are reset to the beginning of the bar. Timing can actually be somewhat important in this game. If you a combatant is struck while they are going to attack they will take extra damage. There are also several abilities as well as a basic attack that will knock the target back on the meter so in some cases you can stall out enemies for an entire battle. The combatants also have the ability to move around on a 3D plane during the battle, though all movement is done as a result of commands and is not free. Due to this, multi-target abilities can become situational depending on how well you control the position of your enemies. Unfortunately(or fortunately), each character has these dumb phrases they say every time they execute a special move. The phrase is specific to the ability and is always the same. The worst(or best) exmaple is the kid in short pants, Roan, will throw a large snowball on top of the enemies and exclaim "Get ready for an early winter!...With lots of snow!" Every. Single. Time.
In terms of production quality for this game, the voice acting is poor and the frame rate is miserable on the playstation 2. So this is a game that I played...still not entirely sure why.
Skies of Arcadia:Legends(Gamecube)
I wrote of a review of this if you're interested.
Valkyria Chronicles(PS3) Last one!!
Valkyria Chronicles is one of those games that makes me upset that sometimes I miss things. I'm pretty sure I was already a year or 2 behind when I got this, but I even stopped probably a little less than half way through due to losing the same mission too many times only to pick it up again way later.
The story in Valkyria Chronicles I don't want to talk a lot about because I highly encourage that anyone even slightly interested picks up and plays this game. The game follows the story of Welkin Gunther(also known as Fishy Mcsketcherson), the son of a war hero and nature enthusiast, and Squad Seven of the Gallian Militia. When his home town is dragged into the war between Gallia and Valua he joins the militia as a tank commander with his "sister" Isara as his pilot. The game does a good job of fleshing out the major characters and even giving some personality to your disposable squad through what is essentially a codex. I found myself really caring about the characters by the end of the game.
Valkyria Chronicles has a visual style, especially during cutscenes, that I thought was absolutely beautiful. It might not be the most technically advanced game, but something about the art style really clicked with me(aside from the jiggle physics which seemed out of place. Luckily they were only on one character).
The gameplay combines that of a cover based shooter and and grid based RPG. Each unit has a meter that drains as they move to limit their mobility. The size of the bar varies by class. Scouts have the largest bar. They are highly mobile units with decent killing power but not very durable. Next comes mechanic, mine usually just sat behind my tank but I assume they're the overall weakest. Following mechanics is the lancer who is there basically to kill tanks. After the Lancer is the Shock trooper, a durable close ranged unit. Finally, the sniper. The sniper is extremely fragile and can not move far but can kill most enemies with a single head shot.
In order to actually attack, you must line up a reticule somewhere on the target(head shots doing extra damage) then select "fire". Your unit will shoot a number of shots depending on their class and all the bullets will connect somewhere in your targeting circle. Being in cover such as grass or behind sandbags will cause a unit to take less damage and counter-fire after the aggressor's volley is complete. Moving through the line of fire of idle units will also cause them to begin shooting and is the best way to get your units killed. When a unit is downed, you may bring over another to call a medic and evacuate them before an enemy goes over to them and causes them to die for good. Your tank can not be revived and will result in a game over. Each turn will consume a turn counter whose number is based on the number of leader characters active on your side. If one of those characters falls you will gain 1 less turn each round until they are back on the field. Tanks consume 2 turns.
Between missions there is a large number of cutscenes to progress the story and some optional ones that can be purchased for extra character development. You can also return to HQ between missions to spend earned experience to upgrade your classes and spend money to upgrade your weapons or tank. You can also visit the graveyard at HQ to spend experience to learn orders(special battle tactics) from an old retired general.
Anyway, enough rambling. Valkyria chronicles has a great cast of characters and really unique gameplay. I would reccomend this game to anyone. Despite the someone cartoony presentation the game is deceitfully mature.
Special Mention: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.(SNES)
I don't believe I actually missed this game but I wanted to make a brief mention of it. I'm generally not one for replaying games but I've completed Super Mario RPG at least 5 times. I realize it doesn't fit what this blog is for, but I've gone back to it enough I wanted to throw in a mention of it. Anyone who's a fan of RPGs or Mario should play this game without question. Even today I think the presentation and gameplay hold up strongly.
Anyway, this blog is long enough so that's all I'll say on it.