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Comment count is 23
il fiore bel - 2012-04-21


...I always listen to this whenever I play my bonus music CD from the LUNAR:SSSC package. (Okay, I haven't played it much lately, but there's just something about that drum beat and gay record scratches that make it magical.)

Jet Bin Fever - 2012-04-21

That keyboard/guitar solo is pretty boss.

Jericho - 2012-04-21

Wow, this blows the remake's opening out of the water.

Quad9Damage - 2012-04-22

All things are real, unless you dream they're not...

Nikon - 2012-04-21

This was a damn good game.

sosage - 2012-04-21

As a Sega CD owner, you put up with a lot of cheesy intros voiced by a programmer or his girlfriend.

RocketBlender - 2012-04-21

I've found this game doesn't hold up over time too well. Maybe I've just lost patience for turn based battle systems or characters that can't be customized in some way, but man oh man did this blow my mind as a kid with a PSone.

StanleyPain - 2012-04-21

This was pretty much going to be my post. I think at one point this may have been the proverbial "final fantasy" of Sega, but I played the PSX re-release (followed it's development on the old Working Designs forum, got the preorder boxing Ghaleon puppet as well) and found it to be a very tedious game. Maybe it is just a time-passed sort of thing.

Aelric - 2012-04-21

It totally is. I've slogged through JRPGs much more recent such as The Last Remnant and they are, technically, totally fine games that simply get bogged down in this archaic gamely style and slavish devotion to anime aesthetic. It's really unfortunate, because there really is still good stuff out there, they just keep putting that turn based poison in it.

FABIO - 2012-04-21

I'm not sure if it's obsolescence so much as we grew up. Getting 40+ hours out of a game was a great thing back when you were a kid who could count on getting maybe two games a year, even if most of it was just grinding.

Eternal Blue was ten times better. One thing this series did well was making it look totally hopeless at the end. The 4+ hour epilogue was pretty boss too.

Kid Fenris - 2012-04-22

Japanese RPGs also had much more impact in the 1990s because so few of them were released in North America (compared to shooters or runny-jumpy games). I devoured all of them for that reason, up until Breath of Fire II broke my faith.

And yeah, Eternal Blue is the best Lunar game by a long shot.

Redford - 2012-04-22

My favorite RPG in recent memory was Etrian Odyssey 3, which should give you a general idea of what my taste in games is like.

RocketBlender - 2012-04-22

Fair warning: I'm about to nerd all over you guys.

If any of you has a PSP (or Vita, I guess), check out Legend of Heros: Trails in the Sky. This is, hands down, one of the BEST RPGs I've ever played. It feels like something right out of the PS1's glory days (though admittedly with more refined visuals.)

The game's story is great. Not just by Japanese standards, but RPGs in general, it lacks a lot of those annoying shortcuts writers like too much, such as amnesia. The writers have a lot of respect for you as a player as well, and don't repeatedly try and beat a concept into your head. I could give specific examples all day, but not without spoilers. When it comes to mastering the mechanics of the game, they allow you to learn that on your own like a lot of the better RPGs out there.

The battle system and character customization is where Trails really shines. It's a turn based RPG, with a turn indicator listed on the left side of the screen, similar to FFX's turn indicator. The cool thing is, turns regularly have bonuses applied to them, such as during one round, whoever's going will be guaranteed a critical hit, or restore 10% of their HP, or each hit they do in a combo generates a bonus. Clever use of spells that have a delayed casting time or limit breaks (you build those up like you would in FF7) that let you steal turns will keep you on top. For example, the enemy that goes right after Estelle is on a critical hit turn. If you cast a spell that has a 1 turn delay, she'll fire it that next turn, not only blocking the enemy from getting a critical, but scoring a critical hit herself with that attack.

Spells and skills also have effective ranges. Remember how awesome Chrono Trigger was, where you could attack everyone in a circle, or a straight like from the caster? That's totally going on here, and it's awesome. Most spells or techs have some form of range or special effect. They way you customize it all is great too. It reminds me of FF6 in this respect; each character has their own, unique skills that are character specific, but then there's a large assortment of spells that's completely customizable.

The way that customization works is very reminiscent of FF7. Your orbment systems lets you install orbs on your characters that augment their stats, attacks, or give other bonuses, such altering attack range for spells, or keeping enemies from noticing you on the map, which means sneaking up for preemptive strikes is a breeze. Each orb you equip adds to your elemental value, which determines what magic is open to you. It's a lot of fun, and gets really deep as your progress.

Looking back at what I've written, there's a lot of classics I brought up to compare elements of Trails to. I think that's what makes it so great; there's bits of so many awesome games and ideas here, but the title itself feels so fresh and new.

Bottom lining it, Trails kind of broke me from the opinion that I've completely lost patience for turn based games. Instead, I'm pretty sure that RPGs have just been complete crap since the middle of the PSone's lifecycle until now.

Aelric - 2012-04-22

Fabio: That is a point, but I still play a ton of games to utter completion. The 100+ hours spent in Skyrim is proof of this. When you are a kid, you have a lot more patience for this sort of stuff and while I'll still throw 40 hours of my life away on a game, I need it to feel more snappy than the JRPG slog.

RocketBlender: Almost everything you are saying about Trails I've heard about Xenoblade Chronicles which recently hit the Wii (it does not entail arm waving). Now, I'm not putting a personal rec on that, as I don't even have a Wii, but you might want to check it out.

Myself: How could I have just called turn based 'poison'? I just got done spending 20 hours of fantastic turn-based combat in Jagged Alliance 2's remake (I never played the original, though I hear it was better). Turn based is fine if done in the right setting. What isn't right is menu based combat and screaming your power move before doing it and being a sexualized child, mystical high schooler (well, actually, Persona is still alright somehow) or a amnesiac subject of prophesy (western games are also guilty).

Aelric - 2012-04-22

P.S. I really don't know why I give the Persona series, the embodiment of my problems, a pass. I just do, I still like them alot.

klingerbgoode - 2012-04-22

Hi-five Rocketblender, I slogged through a Japanese copy of Trails in 2006. I was so surprised and impressed when XSEED picked it up. Wonderful game.

RocketBlender - 2012-04-22

Fabio: You've got a point about the two games a year. July and December for me. I would never ever beat a game like Mega Man 2 today.

Klinger: I really hope the second chapter makes it to the states, maybe Xseed will release it on steam like they're doing with Ys or something. The fact that the PSP is pretty much dead in this country is a bad sign.

Aelric: You're overall right, turn based systems are the instant death of a game if the designers don't have something else in there to hook you. I don't know why nobody has ever even taken a look at Super Mario RPG's battle system for inspiration. Every character, every move, hell, every weapon had a unique timing or command input to keep you actually involved in battle.

As for the persona series, I swear, half the reason I like that game is the soundtrack.

I've been playing Xenoblade to death and love it. Like you said, there's no waggle. I've been using the classic (SNES lookalike) controller for it. The battle system isn't turn based, it's more like an MMO; everything is based on timers and cooldowns. At first I thought it was boring, when I had one party member, one skill, and auto-attacks done for me. About 3 hours in though, when I had a full party, they added new things to the battle system every hour, and I had enough skills to manage that I was glad auto-attacks were done for me, I quickly got swept in.

(spoilers for those who care)

I've really got to give the game's developers some credit, too. They make some pretty ballsy moves in this game. Killing off major PCs ballsy. (And yes, they stay dead. Wouldn't think I'd need to clarify, but this IS a Japanese game.) I haven't seen a dev team confident enough in their product to do something like that since FF7.

RocketBlender - 2012-04-22

Also, both games I mentioned are really nice because they're done. They got finished, and then published. No one's going to patch in a new ending half a year from no. There's no store selling me a new party member. No one's going to offer me 6 more quests for . No NPC at my base camp will ask for my credit card info so I can save his family name. No collection of action figures to buy, with new ones every few months (it's decent fun to play with them, but seriously, DO NOT BUY YOUR KID SKYLANDERS! You never stop buying it.). No packages of gear of level-ups to balance out your broken game (fuck you, Namco, Tales games used to be awesome until the DLC age.).

Just a good, finished game that will never be touched by it's own makers again. As it should be.

Aelric - 2012-04-22

This discussion was a nice pallet cleanser after my lament on gamers in that Bioware Panel video. Thanks, I feel better about my favorite medium again.

Caminante Nocturno - 2012-04-21

That singer's voice is all over 90's video games.

dairyqueenlatifah - 2012-04-22

I remember being a little weeaboo and loving anime and JRPGS, and I wanted the Playstation remake of this (Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete) so bad but could never get it because every place wanted like for it for some unknown reason.

Aelric - 2012-04-22

I was a double CD game that had a bunch of bonus stuff on it, plus a cloth map or something. I remember full page ads in game magazines with a huge laundry list of bonus shwag. I also remember I higher price on it. I think around 0.

klingerbgoode - 2012-04-22

This and Snatcher were my two favorite games as a 90s kid.

And hey, it's Kid Fenris!

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