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391  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: September 15, 2006, 02:12:33 AM
I've just beaten the game this morning and I'll consider myself satisfied.  Just about everything I wanted to know was answered and things that were left hanging as so open to interpretation that I won't even bother thinking about them.  The final portions of the story, in particular, were especially powerful and I found myself tearing up at a couple points.  That's rare for a game to do that to me these days.  I loved going through the character and ES battles, they were actually a lot of fun.  Exploration wasn't nearly as tedious as in the past two games, either.

The voice acting was a little rough at some points due to the near slavish devotion to lip flaps, but it was good for the most part and great when it needed to be.  Even MOMO didn't suffer from what I like to call "hyper-active chipmunk" syndrome.  She was perfectly cute without being obnoxious, though that may have to do with the fact that she didn't have that huge a role in the overall story.  We finally get to see the angsty side of Shion in full force and DAMN does that girl know how to whine.  There were a couple of times that I REALLY wanted to smack her...
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And you actually get your chance in one of the end battles.  ^_^

But at least it was better than having to deal with her constant "happy-cheery" mood that she had throughout the first two games.

A couple more points that I feel the need to bring up (OMG T3H SPOILERZ)
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1. Allen grows a pair of fucking balls!  And actually uses them!  I was waiting for that moment ever since the first game and the payoff is awesome.  Standing up to Kevin during his "Now young Ridgeley...you will die" moment was nice to watch.

2. Jin.is.THE.MAN!!!  He's the epitome of cool in this game, from his rivalry with Margulis to dealing with his sister.  His final moments were both awesome and sad to watch.  You knew he wasn't getting out of there alive, but at least he went down fighting, like he wanted to.

As for Cauton's issues with the dialogue, a lot of the lines (particularly from  the villains) do sound like typical "mwah ha ha" bad guy posing.  Especially Yuriev.  I don't usually mind accents, but he and Sellers sounded like a couple of bad Bond movie rip-offs.  All that's missing is the mustache.  The protagonists aren't off the hook, either, as Jr. in particular seems to be channeling several "shounen-manga/anime" archetypes.  I suppose that makes sense, given his personality, but it just seems more so than in the past two games.  I had a really hard time taking him seriously in this game.

Overall, this was probably the best ending Monolith could have come up with considering they had to cut down the series.  They may have learned from their mistakes with Ep. I and II, but it was too little, too late.  At least they threw in more than enough vague Xenogears references (more so than the first two games combined) to keep people guessing.

Ah well, time to kill things in Lego Star Wars II...
392  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Things you canít bear in RPGs on: September 04, 2006, 03:26:38 PM
Quote from: "Dincrest"
Quote from: "Spoony Mage"

Perhaps, but my statement still stands.  RPGs have run the gamut from fantasy-based teenfests to futuristic adult-themed warfare, whether or not they have made it over from Japan.  


...or were developed elsewhere.  

Have people forgotten adult-ish sci-fi themed US RPGs like System Shock 2, Dues Ex, Fallout, Anachronox, Septerra Core, and more?

What's that?  Americans make RPGs, too?  And they're good?  :P

Okay, admittedly that wasn't fair.  I haven't played those games and I rarely pay attention to games directly from the US market, so I can't really speak about quality.  I did enjoy what little I'd played of KOTOR on a friend's XBox.  There are a world of games beyond Japan, I realize.
393  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Things you canít bear in RPGs on: September 03, 2006, 12:39:32 AM
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True. However, some are so overdone, that no matter how well executed it is, it can be tiresome, such as taking place in a fantasy setting, or staring a teenaged cast. On the other hand, it's not like the only stories we see/read (or so I'd hope) are RPGs, so you've got those mixed in with whatever TV shows/movies/books/games/whatever you go through.

Perhaps, but my statement still stands.  RPGs have run the gamut from fantasy-based teenfests to futuristic adult-themed warfare, whether or not they have made it over from Japan.  True, a lot of people still think that RPGs are all LotR-like fantasy swords&sorcery and considering the roots of traditional RPGs, I don't see that sentiment going away anytime soon.
394  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Things you canít bear in RPGs on: September 02, 2006, 02:41:23 AM
Quote from: "Eusis"
Quote from: "Alisha"
ive long since been sick of people complaining about cliches. the problem isnt cliches its poorly done cliches. on a side note id like to see more rpg's in the future like kotor where you get to customize the main character.

While that's true, some things I just want to see a complete break from. Having several decent, mature teenage protagonist that aren't obsessed with shouting corny rightous crap all the time is great, but I still would like to see a wider age range for RPG heroes. And it seems to me that when RPGs fall to cliches, nine times out of ten they embrace them in all their cheesy glory.

The problem with cliche's is that everything has been done in some shape or form by now.  Like Alisha said, a poorly done cliche' will scream in your face the entire game and annoy the hell out of you until you switch off.  A well done cliche will run throughout the entire game, hiding and giggling at you while you go "WTF!?" at every plot twist.  Unfortunately, a lot of games these days lack the latter scenario.

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Edit: Oh! Another one!

I really wish RPGs would have more varity in settings. I'd like to see more full blown sci-fi RPGs or truly out there settings, like Skies of Arcadia's floating continents deal and the first chapter of Terranigma. Espicially if I can have the level of exploration/world design that DQVIII employed.

Something I'm fervently hoping for with Rouge Galaxy.  Not only does it seem like it's along the same vein as Skies of Arcadia, but as it's a space adventure it should be much grander in scale.
395  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: September 01, 2006, 02:06:50 AM
I've only played for a few hours so far (just finished the first ES battle) and I'm really enjoying this.  The music is a definite improvement: when you have a catchy jazz tune as the background of the first dungeon, you're well on your way to "winner".  I heard that Yuki Kajiura returned to do the entire soundtrack, rather than just the events.  Is this correct, or did they find a better secondary composer as well?

And I agree that the graphics are definitely a midpoint between Episodes 1 and 2.  Not as realistic as Episode 2, but not as SD anime-ish as 1.  The character's looks seems to have the best of both styles melded into one.

And I'm liking the voice acting so far as well, though is it just me or does Jr. sound a bit younger than he has in the previous two episodes?  It's definitely the same VA, but there seems to be a higher tone in the voice.

The battle system is nice and simple.  There's still some strategy and thinking involved (as with any good system), but it's not nearly as mind-numbingly tedious this time.  Though, I'm still early in the game so I'd better wait until later for a true judgement.
396  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Things you canít bear in RPGs on: August 31, 2006, 01:01:28 PM
Hidoshi: Wholeheartedly agree about the "God is the Ultimate Evil" crap.  Now that I think about it, that sort of thing has been around since probably the Nintendo vs. Sega days (Breath of Fire 2 comes to mind).  Still, that's why I love characters like Kefka (FFVI) and Ramirez (Skies of Arcadia).  The final boss battles with them were so satisfying.

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And +1 for those who mentioned that Tales of Symphonia's female characters are mostly melee characters. Genis and Raine are the only mages, but that's due to their species rather than gender. Sheena, Colette, and Presea are all melee characters.

The only other Tales game I can think of that has more melee females in it is  Tales of Destiny (Rutee/Mary/Philia/Lilith).  I haven't played the ones that are stuck in Japan, though, like the real ToD2.
397  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: August 30, 2006, 03:28:01 AM
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BTW, I bet the twist at the end (mentioned in the 1up blog) is that chaos turns out to be the main villain, or something whacked like that.

Naw, it'll be Allen.  Because no one suspects the wet blanket.  :P
398  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Things you canít bear in RPGs on: August 30, 2006, 03:10:45 AM
Concerning the "teenage protagonist" problem: Think of most of the popular anime coming out of Japan.  What do a lot of them involve?  Schoolkids going through all kinds of issues.  And the audience just eats it up, regardless of the age bracket.  So of course, most video games will go for the lowest common denominator when it comes to plot and characters.  that's why we still have little girls with annoyingly high voices running around killing things.

Oh yes, that's one thing that annoys me.  Characters (main or otherwise) that have to be as exhuberant and obnoxious as humanly possible in an effort to sound "cute" or "passionate".  And that concerns both english and japanese voice overs.

Romantic <insert geometrical nightmare here> - Don't get me wrong, I like a romantic ploy in an RPG.  But when you get the typical "mother hen vs. every other female" thing, I tend to want to shoot things.  Atelier Iris' Lita annoyed me to no end regarding that, especially since she then tried to play it off like she wasn't interested in Klein.    

One thing I applaud Skies of Arcadia for NOT doing is pitting Aika vs. Fina for Vyse's affection.  Yeah, there were signs that both girls were interested in him, but there were bigger things at stake than shagging the guy.  This is one of the things that worries me concerning Wild Arms: Vth Vanguard, since it has a similar setup with its main characters (main character/childhood friend/mysterious girl).  

Another triangle I think was handled well was Grandia II's Ryudo/Elena/Millenia.  Nothing beats a schizophrenic priestess being possessed by a psychotic demonic redhead.

I also admit to getting weary of the whole "weak healer/magic user female" thing.  Those types always seems to get the soft, submissive personalities.  I want a pyromaniacal psychoslut with homicidal tendencies, dammit!  One who can wield both powerful magic and powerful weapons!  I haven't played much of Dragon Quest VIII, but Jessica is a good start I think.

And I'm also sick of the "giant, 30-story tall alien blob as the final boss" shit.  There are things far scarier than that these days.  If J. Edgar Hoover is trying to destroy the world, then I want to kill J. Edgar Hoover and be done with it, not have to move on to fight the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

And crappy music.  I can handle long dungeons, tedious battles, and monotonous minigames as long as the accompanying music is a good listen.  Crappy music makes playing even the good games tedious. at times.  Shadow Hearts; Covenant is a big offender there...fucking Idar Flamme and it's wannabe "scary movie" music...

I'll shut up now.
399  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: August 30, 2006, 02:20:01 AM
Lack of blood in video games makes Angelus very angry...



Disappointing, yes.  Surprising, not in the slightest.  It is sad, though, that Namco felt the need to go to this extreme just to cover their asses.  I still find it highly ironic that the ESRB label warns about violence.  Don't blood and violence go hand-in-hand?

Ah well, I've already fully preordered it and I've waited this long.  I'll just play this with a sense of something missing...as has been the case with a lot of games lately.
400  Media / Single-Player RPGs / FF:MQ -- Confession Time on: August 26, 2006, 02:22:50 AM
While not the greatest of all time, it was simple and cute.  I found the music rather catchy and the whole game was pretty light-hearted compared to other RPGs of the time.  I think that's nice in its own way.
401  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: August 18, 2006, 03:21:23 AM
Quote from: "Morridor"
Art book for Gamestop / EBGames
Life Size poster at Best Buy
Lenticular at GameCrazy

Maybe this will make people happy?

Danny

I'd take an artbook over the latter two bonuses anyday.  hence my preorder at GS.  Still, I'm curious: a life-sized poster of who?  KOS-MOS?  T-ELOS?  Shion?  MOMO?  The Godwin sisters?  (Which I'd actually steal in a heartbeat)

And to echo the above question: What is a Lenticular?
402  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Wild Arms 5 screens on: August 13, 2006, 01:59:16 AM
I was talking more in terms of characterization than in fighting ability, actually.  Though I do agree that female heavy hitters are rare.  I just liked the fact that Raquel was artistic in addition to being a swordswoman.
403  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Wild Arms 5 screens on: August 11, 2006, 11:08:09 AM
Bah.  Lady Harken > Anastasia.  Barely.

Because demonic, scythe-wielding redheads are the win.
404  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Wild Arms 5 screens on: August 11, 2006, 02:08:25 AM
Well, Raquel had some big shoes to fill after Maya Schroedinger's awesomeness in WA3 and she barely suceeded.  Who knows?  Maybe the girls will surprise us.

Either that, or there will be a third female PC who will redefine awesomeness.  :P
405  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Wild Arms 5 screens on: August 10, 2006, 01:09:00 AM
Quote from: "Sketch"
A shovel is a badass weapon.
I'll take one over a sword any day!

Hey, it worked for Shawn of the Dead.  :P

I'm hoping there are more than three playable characters.  I can't see why they wouldn't since every WA game since the first had 4+ playable characters.  Those three will probably have the most development, though.

And as for Rebecca looking like a "bad cowgirl themed stripper", I'm not sure I'd go that far.  The Daisy Dukes are not working for me, though...

Personally, I'm hoping Michiko Naruke retains more of a presence in the soundtrack this time.  Splitting the work between 3-4 composers ended up producing something that wasn't that bad, but wasn't that great compared to the music from WA2 or 3.  The music is one of my favorite things about the series, so I do hope it comes back up to par.[/b]
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