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7846  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenogears - Games of this scale, advice required on: March 25, 2008, 01:55:15 AM
ChronoCross was made by a team completely caught up in their ability to be be "deep" and extravigant: full of themselves. Some love it, but I hate it more than any other game on earth (just ask people around here).

Okay. There are going to be spoilers. They may or may not be coded out.

Your reasons for hating it don't really make much sense because they're based on stuff that's either not actually in Chrono Cross or stuff that's also in Chrono Trigger. Does the fact that you... sort of facilitate the extinction of the reptites count against the game being a light-hearted romp or whatever you're calling it? The entirety of 2300 A.D.? That machine that turned people into power tablets? Pretty much everything involving Zeal, or the way that the stuff involving the Zeal family was, frankly, one of the best done tragedy-type-thangums in videogame writing? The fact that the core of the story is basically an epic-level cluster!@#$ spanning millions of years? The sound Lucca's mom makes if you fail to turn off the machine? Have you *played* Chrono Trigger recently? It's not really all that happy! Especially not in the second half when everything starts to go a bit weird.

I think you also called CC's story cynical, even though the... moral of the story or whatever is pretty much anti-cynicism. Blatantly so. There are only a few genuinely selfish characters, for one thing, and plenty of people like Doc and Norris and Glenn and Greco and whatever to counter that, and the only genuinely *cynical* moments were maybe the bits with reptites and the... beastmen-mystic-things, which is exactly where Chrono Trigger got sort of cynical too!

For god's sake, you find a clown's skeletal, rebuild it, and reunite him with his grandmother. ONE OF THE CHARACTERS IS A GIANT MUSHROOM. I actually remember one of the complaints about the game being that it could be too silly at times, especially compared to Chrono Trigger, and I do sort of agree. POSHUL. NEO-GODDAMN-FIO. STARKY.

I'm not saying the game doesn't have the darker moments but it's pretty ebullient or whatever quite a lot too.

And I think that if the game even gets into any "deeper stuff" it's... pretty much limited to people rising up against fate, and maybe defeatism and cynicism on some level. I mean, honestly, I'd call it a reaction to Xenogears. Xenogears could be depressing. Or well, tried to be. Oppressive would be a better term.

Why else would Xenogears be set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and Chrono Cross be set on a really lush, greenish sort of island chain?

(Also, I do feel that CT is actually pretty well written, although having read the fan re-translation, I blame all of the games writing-related merits on Woolsey).


Jesus christ still arguing about games on the internets I NEED A LIFE OR SOMETHING.

Anyway, a few games I think are actually cynical:

DDS1 and 2 (moreso 2) for obvious reasons.
The last few Breath of Fire games (Also considering DQ's story was similarish to DDS2, yeah).
Phantasy Star 2. Jesus christ, phantasy star 2. I can't, honestly, even think of a more cynical game.

Not SMT: Nocturne because despite the fact that everyone in that game was bastards, the narrative was like, pretty removed and objectivish.
7847  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenogears - Games of this scale, advice required on: March 24, 2008, 05:10:50 AM
Except for Maria, who stops getting any sort of development the moment you get her in your party. I didn't get her back story either, though. She just sort of comes out of nowhere and her backstory refers back to... something which I'm pretty sure wasn't in the game at that point but none of the characters seem to notice (HI UNCLE TUSKY). And I think I used her about as much as Chuchu.

And Chuchu is pretty much the best argument against using comic relief in... anything. Overwrought and hamfisted and oppressively dark is completely preferable to Chucifixion.

And I like how Chuchu was behind one of the stupidest moments in the game, where she's sitting in front of a door and Fei thinks she's a stuffed toy and he's all, "Huh, there's a stuffed animal blocking this door. I better get someone to move it." This also proves that Fei is pretty useless as a hero because he's afraid of stuffed animals.

Fei does get points for not coming off as angsty though. Bizarre and irrational, yes. Not really angsty, though... Actually, come to think of it, I can't really remember his personality at all. Some sort of creepy, oversexed Mr. Bean comes to mind, though, and I have no idea why.

I like how everything in Shevat alluded to a lot of backstory that's not actually in the game and barely makes sense because of it :[
7848  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core... on: March 23, 2008, 11:34:49 PM
I'm honestly convinced that FFVII is sort of a parody of RPG stories. Sort of. I don't really think parodying them is the main goal of the story but there's quite a bit that makes me think it's mostly just a massive, absurdist subversion of videogame storytelling as a whole.


Namely, things like Cid's rocket ship. Cid, being the guy that makes the airships in, what, a bunch of the previous games? So instead of that, in seven, he eventually gets an airship, but he starts off with a crappy, crappy plane and as a cranky, abusive would-be astronaut?

And the Golden Saucer compiling every minigame into a single location? Literally a huge, interactive arcade inside of a game. Things like casinos in RPGs aren't anything new but this is different. Sort of because half of the games you unlock are... minigames based on your own exploits? And it's a big, modern, electrical arcade disneyland wahoo-di-lalley?

And then you get to Sephiroth's "Cloud, you are a puppet bit." Which from an in-game context refers to him being manipulated by the Forces That be (AKA the republicans or something) but I'm pretty sure that you were also supposed to take that completely literally. Cloud is a puppet in that he's just a little character in a videogame being moved around by someone in the real world.

I'm not saying I'm necessarily positive that I'm right here, but some of this stuff does send up some red flags. FFVII is pretty massively absurd, has tons of "This is only a game" moments, and does, frankly, make use of some pretty Earthboundsian logic.

So what's this have to do with the extended story games that keep coming out? I'm petty sure, from what I've heard, that those are just targetted at the rather obnoxious group of fans that though Cloud was deep and strong instead of just insane, or that Sephiroth was "bishy" instead of "vaguely geriatric looking."

http://www.ffcompendium.com/art/7-sephiroth-a2.jpg Hi. NOT ATTRACTIVE.

Then again, people get their rocks off to Bagi.

So yeah I'm pretty sure that FFVII was absurd by design. At the least, the entire game works a damn lot better [?] if you take it as such, so even in this sense the movies/phone games/EXTENDED UNIVERS!!! ZOMG taking things a lot more seriously sort of is stupid.
7849  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenogears - Games of this scale, advice required on: March 23, 2008, 09:43:08 PM
Also never found customizing gears to be that interesting becuase... you... really can't customize them. Sometimes you get options on... I BELIEVE the kind of engine you want, and whether you're balancing HP or Speed or something. More part variety would've been nice I guess.

I sort of want to replay it just to see if what I remember about magic being fairly useless was true. Reading through the spell list, the spells listed seem fairly good, but at the same time I don't really recall using anything but maybe healing spells occaisionally. And I think there was one fight -- maybe the last battle or something -- where I had to spam... elemental attacks, from Emmy or Elly or whoever has them.

I also recall most of my characters being underlevelled because I never really used anyone but Fei, Bart, Citan, and Emmy once I got the choice. I don't really remember why. I think it was maybe a little like how in FFVI, everyone has unique skills, but some of thoes unique skills are either not very good or really confusing to use, making everyone feel pretty much the same after all.

Also keep in mind that I beat the game without Fei going into hypermode or whatever because I never actually learned all of his deathblows -- I think I learned all of the first couple, and then... one of the ones that unlocks after the limiters get turnedoff. THAT fight was hard as a result. But there wasn't anywhere else in the game where having those other deathblows felt like it would've been useful.

Then again, I did find something that compelled me enough to actually finish the game, and I can honestly count the number of games I've finished on like, three hands.
7850  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenogears - Games of this scale, advice required on: March 23, 2008, 04:00:02 PM
Xenogears really requires a certain mindset to get anything out of it, I think.

Also, whatever depth and scope XG's story has comes more from intricate plotting, complex backstories, and all sorts of intertwining events than its ability to actually *say* something. You could say the recent SMT games or Earthbound or Vagrant Story or a lot of things are trying to make some sort of statement or convey a point or something. You can't really say that about Xenogears.
7851  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenogears - Games of this scale, advice required on: March 22, 2008, 06:12:09 PM
Xenogears' scopes a lot smaller than that article makes it sound. I mean, yes, it has a huge backstory, but hardly any of it's in the game for one thing, and only really came out with... Perfect Works or whatever.

The philosophical and religious aspects of the story are also... fairly poorly done. Or not even there. Honestly, the thing doesn't focus on religion that much at all except for having an obligatory evil Catholic Church Analogue. And the philosophical bits are sort of on par with what you might expect to find in, like, a fifteen year old's poetry journal. Except none of this actually matters because 90% of the religion and philosophy there isn't really the focus at all and it's just there because the writers thought it would look sort of cool.

Also, when I said the back story was big, that is the extent of the epicness. A rough, spoilerless plot summary of the game is that you find a robot, help invade a country, get sent to jail, do this a bit more, take down an evil empire, and realize that the second half of the game is some bizarre mish-mash of FFVI and Chrono Trigger.

Alternatively, the Phantasy Star series also have fairly similar plots, sans работы, and panned out over several games. Problem with that is that only 1 and 4 are particularly fun to play. PS2 is a massive grindfest with dungeons that are on par with Daggerfall as far as "not making sense" goes, and PS3's dungeons are also lame and the game's grindy although it's not as difficult and the dungeons are a lot smaller and less obnoxious. PS1 and 4 are totally awsome though and should be played, definitely.

It also has a rather bizarre battle system based around entering strong, weak, or medium attacks, and forming combos from these, but magic is fairly not good for anything, and you're generally only going to be using the best combo you have at any given time. Getting gears adds some strategic depth and fun but that's fairly late in the game when you can use them at will.


Anyway, so yeah, I wouldn't really say Xenogears is epic -- especially since the totally on rails bits really, really dull the feeling of any sort of epicness, but it has a lot of great moments in the story.

Most meaningful one for me was when the evil empire breaks into the Fatmia Mausoleum to steal one of the characters' dead mother's corneas in order to get past some... eye scanning thing. Another moment is when a relatively unimport side-NPC named Samson gets vaporized at a security checkpoint.

So I mean overall I think it's a good story, but you really shouldn't be playing it for whatever religious elements get trumped up everywhere. Actually, there ARE some ways that XG is really epic, but again, not the ones that are usually portrayed in articles like that, and it's pretty spoily too.

Your other gaming platform is presumably a PC given that you're posting here, and if you can handle THE INTERNETS, you can probably run a bunch of old DOS games using DOSBox, which is good, because there really haven't been any essential PC RPGs in a few years.

Anyway, I'd go for Ultima 7 or something if you'd like something that discusses religion in a more relevant manner (IE, tackling scientology) instead of some sort of crackpot-gnostic-babbling manner. The game as a whole is also a fair piece larger than Xenogears.

Albion doesn't quite have the same scope as Ultima 7, but... well, you'd have to play it. It's weird to describe.

And then there's star control 2, which is freeware now. Here's a quote from that game:

When the rock finally got to the Zoq, the Fot, and the Pik they simultaneously discovered the wheel, fire, and religion thus catapulting them on to the road of progress. The wheel and fire were obvious inspirations from the rolling rock. It suggested religion in a more roundabout way: when it got to the threesome, the flaming wheel was going at a pretty good clip and it ran smack into the Zoq, killing him. The Fot and the Pik felt bad, as they had really liked that Zoq, so they decided the Zoq hadn't really died when the wheel flattened him he had just gone to 'a better place.' Presumably one without lethal flaming wheels."

The bad guys in the game are also interesting but I'm not discussing that as it would be spoilers.

So, back to the PS2 then.

SMT: Nocturne and the DDS games have religious elements in them but they're mostly there for flavor. If you want something with philosophy, uh... go for Persona 3, I guess. Which isn't even really philosophical but more psychological but whatever. Granted, maybe Nocturne IS what you want in terms of epic. If you're expecting Xenogears you'll probably find the storytelling sparse to non-existant. On the other hand, if you're into talking to NPCs and think that minimalism is a good thing, then you'll probably think that the plot is understated for its own benefit and becomes a lot better because of it.

Personally, if I'd have to pick one really epic on the PS2, I would say Nocturne, but it's a very different kind of epic.

For the PSX, I thought Legend of Mana had lots of neat religious and philosophical touches in it, one of the more amusing being one of the characters actually walking into hell as some sort of bizarre suicide, a religion started by some androgynous jungle-woman based around worshipping a dog, and various other bits of surrealism but nobody agrees with me that the game even had coherent sentences, let alone a story, so just forget I even mentioned it.

Chrono Cross is also rather xenogearsian at times, except not as silly because you don't have a large plot point based around writers writing about schizophrenia without knowing what schizophrenia is. Chrono Cross also has the unfortunate distinction of not being Chrono Trigger, so it's the worst game ever, obviously. That and it didn't get a PAL release. Actually, there might be ways around that but I have no idea if discussing them here is kosher or not.

I'd also recommend Contact for the DS, because I have some theories about what it's doing, although I haven't played it far enough yet to really verify them so I don't want to mislead you.

Honestly in any console game I've ever played, I'd have to say Earthbound had the best... I don't know, whatever it is you're looking for. There's nothing really epic about it, but the writing's probably smarter than in any other console RPG, ever.

Metal Saga for the PS isn't serious at all... sort of buggy, oddly balanced, and devoid of production values, but it's also one of my favorite PS2 games, really epic, and feels sort of Xenogearsish, only you collect tanks instead of robots.

Also, I know you didn't mention the SNES, but Europe got Terranigma. *THAT* game is epic, and its battle system is a lot better than XG's. Actually, yeah. Screw everything else on here and go play Terranigma.

Honestly there were also a few other games that weren't RPGs but were definitely, definitely epic in the sense that XG is built up as. Also some other games I can't remember. [/code][/quote]
7852  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Gamasutra - A Japanese RPG Primer: The Essential 20 on: March 20, 2008, 11:40:27 PM
I think the list sucks, but not for the content. I think the guy writing it has... issues with writing... decently.
7853  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Final Fantasy IV DS on: March 19, 2008, 11:52:26 PM
By the way, does anyone know if you can still lose stats on levellup like in the SNES original?
7854  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Persona 4 info! on: March 19, 2008, 10:14:57 PM
Is it just me or do most of pinkspiders posts come off as "I was too afraid of losing the game so I never actually played it and now I hate it"?
7855  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Persona 3 on: March 19, 2008, 10:12:18 PM
<Me> Hi. Do you guys have The Elder Scrolls: Bloodmoon?
<EB Employee> Bloodmayo?
7856  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Persona 4 info! on: March 18, 2008, 10:19:05 PM
Also, in sony's eyes, the PS2 is dead, so they'd probably let pretty much anything slide now.

Which means that Soul Hackers needs to be included as a pre-order bonus.

Anyway, I hope they let you continue, like, roleplaying your character in some way. P3 was the first game in the Persona series that really let you *do* that. You COULD make choices in P2 and P1, but not to the same degree, really.

anyway, the fact they're keeping press-turn in place doesn't bug me at all since that's a really, really excellent system, but one that's not so pervasive that you have to design everything around it.
7857  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer DS is coming! on: March 16, 2008, 12:10:40 AM
Shiren has a run button too :| It's also better in every way or something. Anyway.

I don't have it yet and I've got a list of things I plan on buying before it. To name a few: Avernum 3, Commander Keen Pentology (Because iD sucks and doesn't have rights to episode 6), and FES.
7858  The Rest / General Discussions / Gamestop? Mo' liek, Gamegestapo! Or, "The Game Stops He on: March 16, 2008, 12:02:17 AM
"The Game Stops He

The game stops *him.* LEARN SOME GRAMMAR, SON.
7859  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer DS is coming! on: March 08, 2008, 05:39:36 PM
Well, the Pokemon ones also had like... interface lag and your character moved about as fast as a truck full of vasoline and it's a really special vasoline that makes the truck move slow I don't know why I'm not a scientists, GOD. Part of the draw of Roguelikes is that they pretty much move as fast as you want them to which is why 3059 is annoying.

Anyway, Shiren looks more like Nethack in that it appears to focus on a lot of creative item usage and strategy whereas the other ones look... sort of grindy, I guess.
7860  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer DS is coming! on: March 08, 2008, 04:47:33 AM
Hey, uh, Torneko and the pokemon ones were sort of tedious! Is Shiren better?

Also, when you say one stat -- there aren't things like armor in this?
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