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Congratulations to Andrew Barker! RPGfan Editor of the Year and now Chief News Editor!
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16  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Recently Viewed Movies Episode 2: The Vampire Bites Back on: December 13, 2014, 09:19:28 PM
I FINALLY saw The Lego Movie. 

Everything is awesome.
17  Media / Game Journals / Re: Dincrest plays Chrono Cross PlayLog on: December 13, 2014, 03:59:10 PM
Right now, my main battle/travel party is
Serge (White)
Nikki (Blue)
Glenn (Green)

and my remaining roster is:
Kid (Red)
Poshul (Yellow)
Macha (Red)
Greco (Red)
Doc (White)
Pip (Eevee)

EDIT: And it looks like Nikki will be my main blue for a while.  A lot of people say that Nikki sucks or whatnot, that anything Nikki does Leena can do better (though Nikki can definitely play guitar and apply makeup better than Leena, lol), but I like the guy.  He does not make the strongest first impression, but he does improve at a steady rate and he's grown on me.  Plus, he seems to have connections with several other characters, so he feels like a relevant playable character and not a random recruit. 

Intersting little character rating thing.  I'm not sure I agree with all of them, but still interesting http://chronocompendium.com/Term/Rate_the_Characters_of_Chrono_Cross.html
18  Media / Game Journals / Re: Dincrest plays Chrono Cross PlayLog on: December 13, 2014, 08:30:21 AM
I could pull the pizza analogy here too.  New York style thin crust vs. Chicago deep dish.  Both totally different styles of pizza, but both delicious in their own way.  I have my preference to be sure (I grew up in New Jersey so I'm more drawn to NY style), but when in Chicago, I'll scarf that deep dish. 

And, of course, there will be the arguments of "NY thin crust is like cardboard" and "Chicago deep dish is a pie, NOT a pizza!" and all that stuff.  Just like Trigger/Cross on teh intarwebnet. 

Anyway, I'll probably put in a big chunk of playing when I'm off for the holidays. 

19  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Youtube on: December 13, 2014, 07:12:46 AM
I liken Akiba's Trip to that late 1990s anime Those Who Hunt Elves.
20  Media / Game Journals / Re: Dincrest plays Chrono Cross PlayLog on: December 12, 2014, 09:47:02 PM


= What CHA mean you like how the game is different from Trigger?  Of all points you SHOULDA elaborated on it was that.



Fixed:P  

Anyway, this editorial expounds on what I mean better than I could: http://kotaku.com/5889433/the-beautifully-melancholy-chrono-cross-was-unfairly-overlooked

It's like dating an awesome girl then dating her cousin or something who's awesome in a whole bunch of different ways.
21  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc. on: December 11, 2014, 05:50:26 PM
And if you revisit a sequel that you once reviled later in life and now find it brilliant, do you think to yourself, "Man, I wish I had seen the brilliance of it back in the day?"  


This has been a biggie for me.  I talk about this a lot and use a ton of examples, like how many Tool fans were lukewarm toward Lateralus after the incredible Aenima, but after a waiting period and letting it grow on them, they changed their tune to "Lateralus is f'n brilliant!"  Kyuss's album "...And the Circus Leaves Town" left me feeling lukewarm at first (Blue for the Red Sun was still my fave Kyuss album at the time) but now I love it and I actually listen to it a LOT more than I do any other Kyuss album.  

And, obviously, Chrono Cross is a game that I only recognized the brilliance of ex post facto.  Like what makes it so brilliant is that it's the antithesis of everything Chrono Trigger was and represented an unbridled artistic vision without any pandering. 
22  Media / Game Journals / Dincrest plays Chrono Cross PlayLog on: December 11, 2014, 05:22:54 PM
So with the insistence of everyone, I'm making my Chrono Cross journal.  I'm making a Cliff Notes version of my progress so far and will put in more details later.  

With all the talk about classic games and some of our idols wanting to return to form (e.g. Dice playing FF7 and reminding us why we love it and JRPGs in the first place, the news story of Uematsu wanting to do a 2D RPG like FF6, Legend of Legacy), I decided to revisit Chrono Cross on a whim.  I've had a love/hate relationship with Chrono Cross.  I didn't get into it at first, but later on I loved it, but never finished it.  I think part of it was that I like character-driven RPG storylines and many characters in CC get little development.  But when someone pointed out that the game is really about the world/setting, the El Nido Archipelago, I viewed it that way and had a better time with it.  Final Fantasy VII is another game I had a major love/hate relationship with, but I eventually fell into the love camp.

Oh my goodness, I forgot how freaking cool that game was!  The colorful no-holds-barred style and the music.  I could listen to this overworld theme for days:     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leFTNSTt1MU  It and FF6 definitely had two of the best JRPG soundtracks ever and oddly enough, the only track I dislike in either soundtrack is the normal battle theme.  Go figure.

Because I'd forgotten a lot of the game so I'm playing it from a semi-fresh perspective.  

I like how in that first sequence of the game in the tower, the third party member who goes with Serge and Kid is always random.  This time, I got Miki.  Dreaming about going through a dungeon with a hot chick and an annoying Kid I kill at the end of the dream?  Sure why not?      

Doing the Arni stuff, all I'm thinking is "Man, Leena is one high maintenance, pushy, and demanding girlfriend who has Serge completely whipped.  He ought to dump her carcass and play the field."  I didn't want to do the komodo scale hunt for a girl I didn't like and tried to pass off a found scale to her, but no dice.  I also wanted to shove the people out of the way of the save point in Arni since they have no use for it.  

So after the Arni stuff, it's dimension-switching time.  Bringing Home World people to Another World (and vice versa) and having them meet is fun.  I did that with Poshul since I had her.  I also later did that with the poetry girl and a bunch of others.  

After that battle at Serge's grave, I let Kid tag along.  

Anyway, to get to Viper Manor... I decided to do Nikki's path since A) Miki was in Serge's dream and that felt "right" and B) I remember Nikki being more plot-relevant than the powerful-but-underdeveloped Guile and useless fop Pierre.  

And when Harle was hitting on Serge, I wonder if he was thinking, "I should've gone out into the world sooner and find cooler chicks who don't have that 'big fish in small pond' entitled mentality like Leena."  Sure, Harle'd probably pump him and dump him, but you know what they say about crazy chicks, so Serge would've had crazymonkeyfun with her for a night.  

After Viper Manor, I decided not to save Kid.  If there was nothing that could be done, I'll cut my losses and more forward.  In NG+, I'll save Kid.  So I ended up with Macha (an underrated red innate), Doc (who sucks), and Glenn (who's Glenn).  It's kinda like the choice in Star Ocean 2.  Do you recruit Ashton, or do you forego him for Opera and/or Ernest?  I've done both, and much preferred Ashton.  In the case of Chrono Cross, if you save Kid you get Korcha (who sucks), Mel (who's usable), and Razzly (who's good).  And since I went the "Ashton" route, I chose Glenn over Razzly.  

I also recruited Greco, so I have an overabundance of red innates.  

...
Pirate ship dungeon was annoying since I got poisoned a lot and didn't have a lot of poison cures.  I recruited the mascot creature thing that I let out of Luccia's lab.  

...

Water Dragon section.  I could have sworn one of the dwarves looked like he was peeing in one of the fairy cave springs.  What a filthy creature.  It was fun to wantonly slaughter them all.  And I like how Chrono Cross went really creative with the dragons' designs.  They don't look like traditional dragons at all.  The water dragon looks like a frog, fire dragon was tiny...

Then I got philosophical:  I can't remember who it was, but someone made an interesting point about Chrono Cross- that the characters who seem like they'd be complete jokes are actually surprisingly good.  Macha and Poshul spring to mind first.  Macha seems like she'd be a joke character, but is one of the strongest red-innates and she can be a beast.  And while Poshul is easy to dismiss as a stupid mascot character, she's quite the tank and she's a yellow-innate, which are underrepresented.  

Then, I did the Fire Dragon dungeon and got to Fort Dragonia, which got a little annoying in places so ADD got the better of me and I fired up the ol' SNES and played some Chrono Trigger with my awesome save (everyone with levels in the 90s 'cept Magus who's in the 70s).  Still a killer classic.  Bringing Crono's friends home to meet his mom never gets old, especially Frog and Ayla.

And my thinking about Chrono Cross spawned a new discussion thread about sequels and follow-ups: http://www.rpgfan.com/boards/index.php?topic=14701.msg350536#msg350536

And I realized that what makes Cross so good is that it's pretty much the opposite of everything Trigger was.

Anyway, I'm 3/4s done with Fort Dragonia now (some of the status effects are a pain in the neck) and my party has mostly been Serge, Nikki, and Glenn.  I like my Serge, Nikki, Glenn team. 
  
And the battles.  I dislike the standard battle theme music, but battles themselves are pretty creative and fun.  Back in the day, I felt like there were too many things to keep track of, but now that I'm used to Idea factory and Compile Heart games from reviewing them for the site, Chrono Cross's battles are quite manageable.  And, so far, the bosses are pretty easy.  Then again, I do have Glenn.  

The graphics have not aged well.  The prerendered backgrounds look fine, but the polygons look rough, even with the PS3's texture smoothing on.
23  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: December 10, 2014, 09:43:07 PM
I'm debating turning my Chrono Cross postings into one of these play journal threadlogs. 
24  Media / Game Journals / Re: Let's write an RPG story- A Journal penned by all! on: December 09, 2014, 07:54:53 PM
Crestee's party

So Crestee, Alex, and Leona sneak around to where the castle livery is.  To their surprise, the main gate leading to the livery area is unlocked.  Thinking this might be a trap, they send Leona in to investigate.  After a couple minutes Leona beckons the others to come in slowly.  They see a young chestnut stallion in the yard freaking out rebelliously, jumping and thrashing about with the stable hand unconscious on the ground.  Leona whispers that she put a sleep spell on the stable hand to ensure that he'd stay unconscious while the others enact a plan.  

Crestee notices something strange about the horse.  As it rears up, she notices a familiar crescent moon shaped white patch around the stallion's groin.  Loper?  Knowing exactly what to do, she approaches the horse as confidently as she can.  After all, Loper in the past has no idea who she is, but she knows how to handle a horse with his personality.  The horse snorts at her as she approaches, but doesn't spook or make a hostile move.  He doesn't understand why this girl's aura and scent are good and comforting, despite never having met her.  He even likes it when she calls him "Loper" and speaks to him soothingly.  

Crestee (thought bubble exposition for player benefit): Sakes alive, it's just as I suspected!  Loper is at least part neugasol if not full neugasol.  Them rare breed horses are said to live about 250 years.  When I first found Loper in deplorable shape, I was surprised he was alive at all, let alone standing and walking.  It took me a long time to fully bond with him because he's such a particular horse, but no one else can handle him like I can.  

Just then, Alex had an idea.  The stable hand was about Alex's size, so he stole the boy's clothes and changed into them, and tore up his own clothes to use as bonds.  

Alex: Crestee, I'll pretend to be the stable boy and march us into the castle as if you were a horse thief!  Then once inside, you and Loper create a distraction while Leona and I try and free your mom.  

Leona: It sounds absolutely ludicrous.  But, given that this is a ludicrous JRPG type story, it just might work!  

So Alex, Crestee, and Leona put their wacky idea into motion...
25  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: December 08, 2014, 08:16:48 PM
Mickey- I'll be honest, except for the music, I just couldn't get into FF6.  I don't know why.  I mean, it's a great game and I know it's a great game but I just couldn't vibe with it. 

It's like when you go on a date with a girl who's totally your type, but that intangible spark, that "chemistry" just isn't there.  You just can't force that.   

I had that experience with Bravely Default earlier this year.  Objectively speaking it's a great game.  It's everything I loved and should love about classic Square RPGs.  It's the kind of game that's exactly in my wheelhouse.  But somehow, I wasn't gripped by it.  It just didn't cream my Twinkie the right way. 

Go figure, Fire Emblem: Awakening is the complete opposite of "my type," yet I was enthralled by the demo, bought the game, and loved every minute of it.  Yet, Bravely Default, which is "my type" just didn't do it for me. 

Bravely Default was like a "meh" date with a girl who was my type and Fire Emblem: Awakening was an awesome date with a girl who wasn't the type I typically date at all. 
26  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: December 08, 2014, 08:06:01 PM
Cross's soundtrack is fantastic, except for the standard battle theme.  I feel the same way about Final Fantasy VI's soundtrack- every piece of music is killer, except for the standard battle theme.  


not sure what's not to like (especially since it's a 16 bit game), explain yourself?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx3KNKHLyBc

[/quote]

There is no scientific explanation.  I simply didn't like that piece of music.  It did not appeal to me.  Just like how some of the music I listen to and enjoy doesn't appeal to my friends' personal tastes.  My metalhead friends can't fathom why I bounce around like a giggly schoolgirl to J-Pop; how can a guy who likes Cannibal Corpse like Hatsune Miku?  And even within the same genre, I adore death metal, but there are some death metal bands I don't enjoy listening to.  A lot of death metallers like the band Devourment, but I find their music painfully boring.  And what does 16-bit have to do with anything?  There's plenty of 16-bit music that's just painful to listen to (e.g. a lot of Phantasy Star 3's music) along with appealing tunes.   

When it comes to the 16-bit FF games, FFV has my favorite battle theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFW4VlvYA7o
27  The Rest / General Discussions / On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc. on: December 08, 2014, 07:57:38 PM
In replaying Chrono Cross, I kept thinking about it and Chrono Trigger.  Chrono Trigger captured a certain type of magic that's made it a timeless classic.  Chrono Cross followed it and while it could be considered the better game, it left a lot of people feeling cold.  I didn't like it, initially because I was expecting Chrono Trigger part deux and got something that felt out of left field.  Replaying it now, I love it for that.  I love that it's the complete opposite of everything Chrono Trigger was and is brilliant for that. 

So when it comes to sequels, follow-ups, etc. of games, movies, books, albums, etc. that you really love, how does change play into your opinion?  Like if the follow-up to a beloved album does things completely differently than its predecessor, do you laud it for creativity or burn it for straying too far from what made the predecessor great?  But then if the follow-up is very similar to the predecessor, do you laud it for saying true to its roots or lament it for stagnating?  And if you revisit a sequel that you once reviled later in life and now find it brilliant, do you think to yourself, "Man, I wish I had seen the brilliance of it back in the day?" 

So, yeah, let's talk about our perceptions of sequels/follow-ups to beloved classics.
28  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: December 08, 2014, 07:46:53 PM
I took a little time to play some more Chrono Cross.  Still have the top-right "Escher room" to do in Fort Dragonia.  

Objectively speaking, Cross is the better game.  Subjectively speaking, I gleaned more visceral enjoyment from Trigger.  Trigger, visually, also aged a LOT better. 

It did, but I'd argue that Cross's soundtrack is better.


Cross's soundtrack is fantastic, except for the standard battle theme.  I feel the same way about Final Fantasy VI's soundtrack- every piece of music is killer, except for the standard battle theme. 
29  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: December 07, 2014, 03:31:44 PM
I took a little time to play some more Chrono Cross.  Still have the top-right "Escher room" to do in Fort Dragonia.  

Objectively speaking, Cross is the better game.  Subjectively speaking, I gleaned more visceral enjoyment from Trigger.  Trigger, visually, also aged a LOT better. 

30  Media / Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued on: December 06, 2014, 06:04:40 PM
Right now, I'm reading this: http://ultimatefantasystudio.com/books/

It's called "The Queen's Realm" and it's by the guy who's doing the upcoming RPG Meridian Shard, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter. 

The story itself is solid, but the writing is choppy and disjointed.  As if the editor made really abrupt transitions into expository tangents, making some scenes difficult to follow.  I asked the author whether the story is related to the upcoming game, and he said they're divergent from each other.  He also promised that the following books will have better editing. 
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