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Congratulations to Andrew Barker! RPGfan Editor of the Year and now Chief News Editor!
340926 Posts in 13933 Topics by 2222 Members
Latest Member: XanTehMan
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991  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFXIII-2 on: January 22, 2011, 04:17:42 PM
*looks at the new trailer* Wow...I think honestly that wins points for the most nonsensical outfit swap I've ever seen. If nothing else FF XIII had some decent character design going for it but this takes the sour cake.

If everyone else gets the same outfit treatment they're going to make Seymour's hair stylist look sane by comparison.
992  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Ar tonelico 3 coming to the PS3 January 2010 on: January 19, 2011, 08:59:56 AM
Yeah...sorry but I'm going have to disagree with a few people. I love the first game to bits and have some affection for the second; but the Ar Tonelico series is neither dark, deep, nor does it have a dating sim.

First; the darkest Ar Tonelico ever got was the story revolving around the character Jacqli; but that was dark-lite at best. There've been themes of equal "darkness" used in Magical Girl Genre anime, if not even darker ones. And that's hardly even touching upon the darkness either genres of entertainment have generated over the years. It's understandable if you've never been exposed to anything dark that you'd misconceive this but honestly Ar Tonelico is a pretty light-hearted story as far as genre tales go. This same thing applies to it's depth.

Secondly, Ar Tonelico does not contain a dating sim. There are many other games I would say that have a "dating sim" before I would even put Ar Tonelico on that list. Some examples include Sakura Wars V and Persona 4. Ar Tonelico's Dive System is basically all those "character development" cutscenes you seen in JRPGs that tend to chug the plot during slower times combined with Tech Trees ala Xenosaga I. You're paying an in-game currency to receive both a power-up and a dialog scene; that's it and that does not a Dating Sim make.

Dating Sims are all about choice, or rather the illusion there of. You make choices, choices have consequences; irrevocable consequences usually. In the aforementioned games you have multiple choices (sometimes branching dialog trees) you can make during the "Sim" scenes that actually have consequences. People could love you for them, or hate you for them, or even surprise you by their reaction. You can "fail" these sequences, "win" at them, get "bad" endings to their stories or "good" endings all depending on your choices. Ar Tonelico has no choices, but rather you're just sitting through multiple dialog scenes generated by a point and click map. It's like Final Fantasy X only you're paying DP to see these sequences. On rare occasion a choice box might appear; but this isn't a true choice at all. It's either "Pick right and advance or pick wrong and pay more DP to continue with the "right" choice." Ar Tonelico had the potential to be a dating sim, it presents itself as a dating sim, but at the end of the day...it isn't.

Which is a shame. The world of Ar Tonelico lends itself...nay...begs pleadingly to be one of the best Dating Sims the west has ever seen. Look at the lore mentioned so often about the same involving the Dive System. How many times were you warned that not being careful in a Reyvatiel's sub-conscious could "screw up" the girl's mind? What about the people who "force" their Reyvatiel's to craft song magic? AT could've had a brilliant dating sim element with actual challenge, moral dilemma, and real heart-wrenching consequences. Did you say the wrong thing and now the Reyvatiel won't respond well to you in the Dive? You could lie to her, mess with her mind to make her accept what you did and craft for you anyway. Or get outright domineering/destructive and cower her into making song magic. Or be the nice guy and take the long route with the right choices to try and progress naturally; although she'll always remember what you did wrong and hold it against you at later levels. Is your Reyvatiel happy at the end of her journey? Is she just "normal" because you neither excelled nor did anything terribly wrong? Is she broken like a used war-doll because you squeezed every ounce of power out of her at the expense of her mind? Or is she "broken" in another way and completely psychotic because of the mental abuse you put her through?

This could've lead to deep characters, meaningful gameplay/simulation, better relationships, and as a result: Better protagonists and character development. But nope...it's simple lead-you-by-the-hand Point A to B with subject material and relationships about as deep as a dollar store fishbowl. Still fun? In the early games, yes. But it's such wasted potential...
993  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Ar tonelico 3 coming to the PS3 January 2010 on: January 18, 2011, 10:15:32 PM
Edit: Bleh, strike this. I can't get the metaphor to work right.
994  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Ar tonelico 3 coming to the PS3 January 2010 on: January 18, 2011, 03:00:33 PM




Too easy. XD

995  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Ar tonelico 3 coming to the PS3 January 2010 on: January 18, 2011, 02:47:41 PM
I've actually pondered over the earlier point as well.  I'm surprised we can't get some hybrid of J and W.  

Quick mention on this note: Tabletop RPGs are actually "ahead of the times" of their video game counterparts regarding this as far as comparing them to Video Game RPGs. As an example, look up Legend of the Five Rings sometime; it's a Samurai Tabletop RPG that blends together eastern themes with enough westernization to make it appeal to people who're typically turned off by the cliches and over-bearing themes in most JRPGs & Anime while still managing to hold a very eastern feeling. Even allowing for games to be customized more towards the East or West depending on your group's tastes.

Shame the company in charge of it (Alterac Entertainment Group) has no interest in the digital frontier. They'd make a killing in this jaded market.
996  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Ar tonelico 3 coming to the PS3 January 2010 on: January 18, 2011, 01:22:31 PM
Y'know with all these franchises running themselves into the ground perhaps one day someone will come in and cherry pick the best bits from all these has-been series and make something amazing out of them. I've mentioned before that the IP Battle System from Grandia needs to be salvaged; so with Ar Tonelico I would say the one thing that needs to survive from this series to be reincarnated is the Dive System.

Well...sort of. Not the Dive System as is (basically a giggle-fest for low brow jokes about sex without saying sex); but rather the Dive System as a concept. Getting to form a close, personal bond with a character by exploring the many different layers of their sub-conscious and finding out things you would never ordinarily discover about them (without it being forced) while unlocking new powers and abilities for doing so.

What kills it from reaching full potential is how AT takes this rather unique and potentially deep system and instead of treating it like a mature, adult platform for character exploration they dress it up in a cross-dressing clown suit and have it sing 90's pop songs instead.

Now imagine if you fused some of the loving care and detail given to Sakura Wars: So Long My Love's dialog options/events and applied it to Ar Tonelico's Dive System. Toss in Grandia's IP Battle and there's your recipe for most mechanically sound game of the year for 2011.
997  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Ar tonelico 3 coming to the PS3 January 2010 on: January 17, 2011, 12:25:10 PM
I don't think the Lunar artist is even capable of erotic.  He's always seemed so... rated G for me.  Unless there's some work I'm unaware of.

Complain about trilogies, but Hollywood action movies are no less ridiculous in the portrayal of women.  Except the dividing line of J and W.

W tends to be more sexy for the sake of sexy
J tends to be more cute, innocent and bashful for the sake of perversion haha

You've forgotten about the back side of the Lunar case haven't you? XD

I'm not less critical of the west than I am of the east. There's a reason I avoid most modern genres like the plague. Well...multiple reasons. Excessive, pointless, over used fan service perhaps only being the mid-range on the strike chart.
998  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Ar tonelico 3 coming to the PS3 January 2010 on: January 16, 2011, 08:12:46 PM

Geez, this is reminding me why I've ignored the Ar Tonelico series despite some early interest; it comes off as too pandering or otherwise embarrassing to play.

You should still play the first one at the very least. AT was pretty good, practically flawless if you go the Misha route over the Aurica route because you miss a particularly infamous scene that way. AT 2...suffered a bit because of the overdone fanservice, a bit from game breaking glitches, and a bit from sloppy conversion. While I wouldn't really recommend it outright I would say it's at least worth a glance.

But this...yeah, I'm not even going to watch the video. The summary of the ESRB rating was more than enough for me. Sheesh, first The Third Birthday, then AT3...any other trilogies you want to ruin with your repressed sexual issues expressed through artistic expression Japan? Hmm? :-/

Heh, imagine if Lunar 3 gets announced. Imagine how badly that would be mangled by this treatment.
999  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: where is grandia 4? on: January 13, 2011, 08:20:21 AM
Here's an interesting question: Which game do people think had the better battle system? Xtreme or III?

Personally I thought Xtreme was slightly better. III's ran more smoothly and introduced some interesting air combos, but traded off better melee combat for broken magic. (It was far too easy to get the ultimate spells and you could literally spam them most of the game for easy wins, almost literal OHKOs against all by the hardest bosses.) Xtreme seemed to have better balance and more of a risk/reward when it came to timing your shots and positioning your characters.
1000  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: where is grandia 4? on: January 12, 2011, 04:17:35 PM
That's a shame really. Xtreme and III might've had crap stories but they also had what I think are the best combat systems of any RPG in the entire existence of the genre. Even if Grandia IV is never made it would be a shame for the industry if no one else utilized the IP Battle System.
1001  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Re: Is it worth Playing These Series in Order? on: January 09, 2011, 11:41:00 AM
Honestly...I'm not quite sure I could recommend anyone playing Muramasa. Sure it's a pretty game with a decent combat system; but it tends to get repetitive and the gameplay-to-story payoff ratio is very much on the bad side of things. Quite often I found myself wishing for more story in general, but in particular there's not enough character interaction and dialog to justify playing through it as long as the average player will.

It's like a parallel of Threads of Fate; only you're trading a better combat system and better graphics for less characterization (and vastly inferior Main Character x Main Character interaction) and a story about equally as silly.
1002  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenogears, Legend of Mana, Vagrant Story, and Threads of Fate ESRB rated for PSN on: January 04, 2011, 09:52:41 AM
Y'know all this talk about Legend of Mana brought back a rather bitter memory. I'd always wondered about it at the time but never knew anyone I could ask so I'll ask you all: Is it possible to make the game "unbeatable"?

I remember now that when I played it ages ago, no matter what I did eventually I got to a point with like 10 hours or less where I could expand the world no further. And no matter where I searched or how many times I searched I couldn't find anything at all to progress the plot. So time after time I would constantly hit "dead ends" with no progression possible and eventually gave up on it entirely. Was I just missing something really obvious or is that a possibility due to design?
1003  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenogears, Legend of Mana, Vagrant Story, and Threads of Fate ESRB rated for PSN on: January 02, 2011, 06:11:05 PM
Why would you need a guide for Xenogears?  It's a weird game, but not a hard one.

Back in my early teen years my spacial memory was not as developed as it is now. So dungeons tended to be more confusing than they really were. XD
1004  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenogears, Legend of Mana, Vagrant Story, and Threads of Fate ESRB rated for PSN on: January 02, 2011, 04:44:46 PM
I remember Xenogears being a decent playthrough in High School; but that was also because I had a strategy guide for some of the more infamous dungeons, button combo lists, and hidden character upgrade/(s?). These days I find reading vast amounts of internet text against a stark white background hurts my eyes so I'll probably have to play through most of it without a guide...something I'm not entirely looking forward to.

Basically if you hated Legend of Legaia's combo system you'll probably hate Xenogear's combat. Personally I say it's worth a go; just to experience it at least once.
1005  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenogears, Legend of Mana, Vagrant Story, and Threads of Fate ESRB rated for PSN on: January 02, 2011, 01:37:07 AM
Huh, weird. I never had any issue with ToF's controls; then again it could possibly be because I loved the game so much that I adapted unusually quickly (as a kid I never paid attention to things like clunky controls) and that set of skills have stuck with for a long time. I'll have to see if this is still the case once it hits the PSN as I haven't played it in many years. So if the controls really are clunky I'll be in for one heck of a re-learning curve. XD
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