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16  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Valkyrie Profile 2 and Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 on: June 26, 2010, 08:47:47 PM
I have two questions about two different games

1) So, I recently completed the original Valkyrie Profile (Seraphic Gate included) and I really loved it. I thought it was a beautiful RPG with a fun combat system and a great story. So, my question is: if I liked this game, will I like Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria? I heard it's really different from the first one. I don't mind if it's different. I just want to know what people think of this game, especially the combat system and story.

2) I went to the mall the other day and to my surprise they had Persona 3: FES on sale. As I perused the store and others in that same mall for other hidden RPG gems (of which of course there were none), I thought to myself "Why not buy this game?" I never tried the Shin Megami Tensei series before and thought that this was a great opportunity. This is somewhat odd for me because I tend to favor high-fantasy stories but I tried Xenosaga and I loved it also. So the same thing could happen with Megaten. However, I feel intimidated by the game, lol. It's been sitting there on my shelf, unopened. The story attracts me because it's original, but at the same time it's so different from what I'm accustomed. Should I just get to it and play it?
17  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: 'Broken' or 'Tired' RPG gamelplay elements? on: June 09, 2010, 02:22:36 PM
As much as I love FFXII, I have to agree that the chest system and drop rates were beyond atrocious. Another thing that bothers me is not being able to escape battles. Sometimes I want to escape a battle to avoid damage but the game decides that my characters can't escape. And I have to try several times until I succesfully escape and in the meantime I'm getting beaten up. I really hate that. I'm gonna present two examples to explain my point further. In Valkyrie Profile, the Tower of Lezard Valeth has monsters that are quite strong for that point in the game, so you try to escape but you're characters are already getting beaten up left and right. Thankfully in that game monsters don't respawn. Another example and which is even worse is in Suikoden V. In the first three Suikodens, if you fought every single battle in dungeons you would quickly gain sufficient levels to being able to let monsters go without any risk. I never had a problem with these games in this respect. But in Suikoden V it seemed like no matter how many levels you gained you could rarely let monsters go. It took forever and sometimes it wasn't worth it to stay and gring for hours just for being able to escape battles without risk. You were just better off fighting. And there were one or two instances in this game in which you couldn't escape at all. The game forced you to fight every random battle that appeared and there were lots of them. I dreaded thos sections of the game because of that.

In short, a game should let you decide when you want to fight or not and also inhuman drop rates should be banished from the face of gaming, like some of you have so eloquently argued.
18  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: RPGs with the best: Story, Characters, Atmosphere, and Plot twists? on: June 02, 2010, 04:07:08 PM
How can you say FF12 had the best story when it had a simple story spread out over 50-60+ hours of game time? It was elegant at all. Grind 5 hours, get a few stupid lines, move on.

Well, one of the things that makes FXII's good in my eyes is that the world is so fleshed out. Second thing is that Vayne is a very interesting villain. He wanted to "help" humanity by deposing the Occuria as the controllers of the world's affairs by instating himself as dictator instead. He killed people to get where he was. But also, he was so obnubilated by his illusion of control that he didn't realize he was being used and manipulated by Venat who lured him with promises of being the next Dynast-King but Venat didn't have any intentions of doing that in the first place. I find this whole conflict among the antagonists quite atypical for an RPG, where villains generally amount to destruction-hungry dark forces with no more depth other than: "I wanna blow up the world. Hurr, hurr!" Vayne didn't want't to destroy the world like Sephiroth/Jenovah in FF7 or Ultimecia in FF8. Vayne just wanted to rule the world as he thought it ought to be ruled. And this is why I think Vayne was such an efficient antagonist.

The political strife initiated by the Archadian Empire at Vayne's hands that permeated the whole of Ivalice, including the main characters is why I think is so compelling. You could say that at it's most basic, FFXII offers a story of a group of renegades rebelling against an evil empire, but I think leaving it there is oversimplifying it.

These are my reasons for arguing that FFXII has a good story. You may not agree with them but that's all right.
19  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: RPGs with the best: Story, Characters, Atmosphere, and Plot twists? on: June 02, 2010, 01:42:04 PM
Wow, this is such a difficult topic for me because it's really hard to choose, but I guess my choices are as follows:

1) Story: I'm probably gonna be attacked by an angry mob when I say this but for me the RPGs with the best stories are Final Fantasy XII, Xenosaga III, Suikoden V, and Valkyrie Profile. Not necessarily in any order but what I find these games have in common is that they manage to tell a story in a more elegant and cogent way than most video games. Although no video game is still on the level of great books or movies, these four games manage to convey great themes and pathos to make them stand apart from the crowd.

2) Characters: My picks would be again FFXII (and I'm probably gonna get murdered by this because everyone complains that this game's characters were sucky but I liked them. Balthier is <3) The Xenosaga series also has great characters with well-defined personalities and conflicts that makes easy to relate to them. Suikoden III has such a diverse cast full of personality. Lastly, Valkyrie Profile's individual characters' stories were also quite compelling.

3) Plot twists: Xenosaga III, like someone else mentioned Suikoden III's villain, and Final Fantasy X.

4) Atmosphere: Suikoden III, FFXII, and Valkyrie Profile. They had gorgeous locations, including the towns. They felt right out of a fantasy novel or movie.
20  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: What rare RPGs have you found? on: May 26, 2010, 09:24:23 PM
Unfortunately, Latin America is a barren wasteland when it comes to RPGs. Stores will usually have bad stereotypical action and shooter games. All the games that I own have been bought off Amazon and Ebay, and at hefty prizes. But otherwise, I would have never been able to play those games. I own a non-greatest hits copy of Final Fantasy VII, Suikoden, Suikoden II and recently I acquired Valkyrie Profile, which I'm currently playing and loving. As fors PS2, I own Suikoden III and V and all three episodes of Xenosaga. I just consider myself extremely lucky to own these games, considering my geographical handicap.
21  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Recommend me a game, please! on: May 04, 2010, 08:51:36 PM
So, having recently finished Suikoden V, I've sort of reached an impasse, because I have no idea what other RPG could suit my tastes. The three RPG series that I've tried and loved (Final Fantasy, Xenosaga, and Suikoden) I found about out of sheer luck. Compared to some of you on this site I'm a complete newbie to RPGs (and gaming as a whole), so I turn to you RPG vets for adviice.

I like my RPGs to have meaningful stories without gratuitous gore or sexual innuendo. I don't mind sexual themes as long as they're handled in a mature way. In short, story is a very important aspect on how I choose my RPGs. In the gameplay department I prefer turn-based RPGs but I want to try action and strategy RPGs as well.

So I've heard about a few series or games that people would recommend playing first based on the focus on story.

Here are some that I've heard good things about:

Valkyrie Profile
Wild Arms
Shin Megami Tensei
Kingdom Hearts
Tales of
Vagrant Story
Breath of Fire
Skies of Arcadia
Dragon Quest

I would also try WRPGs such as

Baldur's Gate
Planescape Torment
Icewind Dale

I really don't know a lot about WRPGs, so any guidance on them would be very appreciated. I mentioned these because the often come up in discussions of WRPGs.

The consoles that I have are a Gamecube, a PS2 and a DS. I'm planning to get a PS3 but in the meantime I need something to keep me occupied.

Basically, you can just recommend a turn-based JRPG, a WRPG, a strategy RPG and an action RPG. If you want you can put a recommendation in just one sub-genre.

Sorry if this is all too much, but I'm really not sure which game to play. Thank you in advance!
22  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Favorite Game Story Topic & most disappointing on: April 17, 2010, 01:51:25 PM
I love:

Xenosaga I-III: Xenosaga explores a great deal of themes such as freedom, the value of life, etc. in a way I've seen few video games do.

Suikoden III and V: Great political stories, with meaningful characters.

Final Fantasy XII: Great political story with themes such as freedom with a new angle.

Final Fantasy X: Great characters and relationships and themes like death and religion.


FInal Fantasy VIII: It had a good premise but the execution was atrocious.

In RPGs I tend to focus on the execution of themes and characters and their relationships. If a plot doesn't have a strong theme to convey through efficient dialogue and character interaction then it has failed it's purpose.
23  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Favorite characters in these categories. on: April 11, 2010, 07:09:42 PM
So RPGs (and games and books, for that matter) have character stereotypes that are easily recognizable, which is not a bad thing in itself if the character is good. So what are people's favorite characters in these categories from the RPGs?

Awesome magician- You know the type. They have awesome magic skills and kick more butt than the rest of your party but have a somewhat bitter personality. Mine are:  Lulu (Final Fantasy X), Luc (Suikoden I-III), Soren (Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance)

The stoic, wise warrior: They don't say much, but when they talk you should usually listen to them. Mine are: Ziggy (Xenosaga I-III), Auron (Final Fantasy X), Geddoe (Suikoden III), Jacques (Suikoden III), Jin (Xenosaga II-III), Zihark (Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance), Dinn (Suikoden V), Basch (Final Fantasy XII)

The villain: Vayne (Final fantasy XII), Wilhelm (Xenosaga series), Gizel Godwin (Suikoden V)

And finally, a very special category:

The comedy relief: Euram Barows (Suikoden V), Rikku (Final Fantasy X), Yuffie (Final Fantasy VII)

If you can think of other categories besides these, feel free to add them. I just added these categories becaus they are the ones to come to mind when I first think of RPGs.
24  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Suikoden Topic on: April 01, 2010, 12:48:55 PM
I just got Suikoden V in the mail! The premise of the story, although it's yet again political strife (like all Suikodens), seems particularly compelling this time around, just like Suikoden II and III. The characters are quite likeable, and I like how they're exploring more character interaction (like family relationships, especially). It gives the characters way more depth than usual for an RPG, even if some of them still fall into some stereotypes common to the genre. However, I can't help but think that it is a little jarring that the prince doesn't talk at all while everyone else is given spoken dialogue, this sticks out like a sore thumb. I'm getting used to it but it feels a little retro, when in Suikoden III all three main characters had direct interaction with other characters, not only through short phrases that you choose on their behalf.

The gameplay is classic Suikoden and I'm curious to see how the formations aspect affects gameplay later on, such as boss fights.

Sadly, I won't be able to advance very much in the game this week because I have a lot of homework to do for college. :(

25  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Suikoden Topic on: March 30, 2010, 12:37:35 PM
I saw that we have a Shin Megami Tensei general topic so I thought it would be cool to have one for Suikoden.

What are people's opinions on the series as a whole? Which is your favorite Suikoden? What do you like/dislike the most about the series?

Personally, I think Suikoden is one of the best RPG series. I discovered it totally by accident (like I usually do with video games, lol).

I have played Suikoden I-III, and I must say I loved all of them. Suikoden I was great fun, but the story was a little light (although very expansive). Suikoden II and III are great in the story department and I would have never expected what happened with a certain recurring character, which shall go unnamed for spoiler reasons, in the third game. It really caught me off base but I guess it was actually fitting within the lore of Suikoden and it all added up.

Perhaps I enjoyed the gameplay of Suikoden II more in the sense that it was more "traditional". But Suikoden III's gameplay was pretty exciting as well.

It's interesting that the first three games were direct sequels and the last two were prequels. I would love to see a Suikoden VI set after the Second Flame Champion Wars (aka Suiko III) and perhaps see more of characters like Geddoe, Jacques, Viktor, Flik, Pesmerga, Sheena, etc. just to name a few. In any case, I just really hope there's a Suikoden VI.

I'm really not sure if I should play Suikoden Tactics and Suikoden Tierkreis.
26  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Best JRPG ever on: March 18, 2010, 10:07:53 AM
I'm gonna sound like a newbie but here goes:

FFXII (yes, that FFXII) I'm in the minority that thinks this game is awesome. Well-crafted story of political intrigue and the gambit system is great. (Oh, and I have played all the FF's from FFV-FFX)

Xenosaga: Episode III- Good culmination to a story full of philosophical themes, which is something JRPGs rarely do. The battle system is also the best of the series.

Suikoden III- I played Suikoden I and II, but Suikoden III is just so elegant. Not to mention that the characters are all really well developed and the political story is top-notch. The battle system is great fun. The only thing that I didn't like was controlling characters in pairs. Other than that, awesome.
27  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenosaga Episode II - Why does everyone hate it so much? on: February 08, 2010, 08:40:01 PM
Ah, Xenosaga II. That brings back memories. I really liked the story of Xenosaga II (and the Xenosaga series as a whole). I will say that while the battle system was fun in boss battles, it tended to drag on forever in normal encounters with multiple enemies, because the only way to get rid of enemies is for the whole party to exploit its weakness while trying to stay healed on top of that. So that "one enemy at a time while you take a beating from the others" approach was what made it drag. However, I felt it worked really well for bosses. And speaking of bosses, I had a blast beating the optional superbosses, especially Mikumari. I must have tried that battle at least 15 times, but when I finally beat him, I did a little victory dance, lol.
28  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: AmI the only one who hate Final Fantasy xii? on: December 12, 2009, 05:08:00 PM
Well, personally, I loved Final Fantasy XII. I might be on the minority but I did not find the characters or the story boorish. Even though video games don't have the level of storytelling of books qand movies, I find myself very much impressed by the scope of the story and the amount of lore to be found in the game to enrich the narrative. As for the characters, each one of them had a purpose or better yet a motive to do what they were doing. The ones that fail on this issue are Fran and to some extent Penelo. The characters motives were clear and well defined: Ashe wanted to free her kingdom and come to terms with the death of her father and her husband, Basch wanted to clear his name and end the conflict with his brother, Balthier wants to stop the empire because he knows the inner workings of Arcadia and he didn't like how things were handled there plus he wants to find out why his father has gone mad, Vaan needs to get over the death of his only remaining family member (his brother), plus I sensed that he has a natural sense of justice and he is fed up with the abuse that Archadian soldiers practice on Rabanastre every day. Penelo and Fran are the weakest links because they don't have much of a purpose other than to tag along with their respective friends to watch over them.

Vayne is a great villain because he doesn't rely on blowing stuff up and laughing menacingly while he twirls his mustache. He has clear goals that go beyond dominate/destroy the world. He embodies the Machiavellian side of political leaders who will do ANYTHING to accomplish his goals. And I find really atypical for an RPG villain that he thought he was doing something good by eliminating the tyranny of the Occuria when in reality he wanted to fill that void of power by essentially becoming a tyrant himself. Compelling stuff for a video game.

As for the gameplay, it was smooth and intuitive. I did hate the chest system though. It should have never been like that in the first place.
Horrible idea!

The hunts were great fun as well. I have very fond memories of the hard, long but epic battles against Zodiark, Yiazmat, and Omega Mk. XII.
29  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Grandia on: November 21, 2009, 05:39:53 PM
I've decided that I want the best PS1 RPG's available before they become expensive in an unfathomable way. I already have all the PS1 Final Fantasies plus Suikoden I and II. So I was wondering if Grandia is worth it. I've read reviews for it and they're all very positive, but I want to hear from people who have played the game.

What are your opinions on this game? Do you like the battle system and story?

Any input would be greatly appreciated to help me decide.
30  Media / Single-Player RPGs / The Japanese gaming industry and the current state of the RPG. on: October 29, 2009, 09:01:44 PM

In the article above Keiji Inafune of Capcom says that the Japanese gaming industry is "done for".

How do you think this applies to RPGs?

Personally, I think that the current state of the RPG is a sad one. The only franchises from the good ol' PS1 days are fading into obscurity. The only franchises making a transition to this generation where there's an overabundance of FPS are Final Fantasy (thank god that it refuses to die and it's still very much alive), Tales and Star Ocean. All of the other RPGs are less than compelling. And this applies to western developers too, because the stories in recent WRPGs lack focus. There isn't something like Baldur's Gate anymore. And the gameplay mechanics of the genre are getting diluted in favor of more action and less strategy.They're even combining it with shooters!

I just recently played the first Suikoden from start to finish and I enjoyed it more than I know I would enjoy any game from this generation, and I plan on playing Suikoden II soon. I don't plan on playing a current gen game anytime soon.

It may sound like I'm stuck in the past, like Japanese developers are said to be, but, in all honesty, I'd rather play PS1 games than the watered down RPGs of today.

I'll eventually buy a PS3 to play FF and Tales, but I'm not rushing because I'm still enjoying what past consoles had to offer.

Thoughts on this? Do you think JRPGs are stuck in the past? The japanese gaming industry as a whole? What could Japanese developers do to improve the situation?
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