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16  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Pacing in RPG's on: February 05, 2010, 02:39:23 PM
Definitely I think the mission structure works better with handhelds. I like having set goals that can be accomplished in under 30 minutes of play time. Console games generally make missions ONLY sidequests, like FFXII or Devil Summoner 2.FFX-2 did it well I thought, though I know that game rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Resonance of Fate works because the three protagonists are sort of like mercenaries, so it makes sense that they're constantly taking odd jobs.
17  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Pacing in RPG's on: February 05, 2010, 10:28:50 AM
So I finished FFXIII back in early January and moved on to start three JRPG's simultaneously: Resonance of Fate on PS3, SMT Strange Journey on subway trips going away from my apartment, and Valkyria Chronicles 2 on return subway trips (yeah, it's a goofy system, but it works). And I noticed something that all three of those games have in common:

All of them use missions to break up the story and allow players to go at their own pace. Some missions are optional sidequests, while others advance the plot. All three games have a sort of home base where you can customize your team, set-up gear, save, and recover.

There are numerous idiosyncrasies for each title, of course: Resonance of Fate is all about fashion and customizing character outfits, Strange Journey is classic SMT demon fusions, and Valkyria Chronicles 2 is persona-esque with its school-sim elements and year-long schedule of classes and battles.

However it's a massive departure from FFXIII, which felt like being on a treadmill. The tacked-on missions allowed you to shuffle backward a bit on it, but basically the game just pushed you forward until the end.

So what are everyone's thoughts on how best to pace an RPG? Do you prefer more linear or more open experiences? What games have the best or worst structure?

My view: I really dig the mission structure. It feels like a happy medium between the do-whatever-the-fuck openness of Fallout 3 and the rails-shooter linearity of FFXIII. I can pick my priorities and just hop back into the plot whenever I feel like it, but the plot is always there, never vague, easy to continue if I want to cut the bullshit and just finish.
18  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: White Knight Chronicles dated for the US on: February 03, 2010, 08:20:34 PM
Looks like I may have been too kind.

I wonder if the folks that sent me all of those whiny hate e-mails last Winter will send apologies now.

mmmm.....probably not.
19  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Resonance of Fate Topic on: January 30, 2010, 06:29:09 PM
PS3 version.

And let me tell you, this game is a fashion-lover's wet dream. The degree of costume customization from clothing stores and random treasures is ridiculous.
20  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Resonance of Fate Topic on: January 30, 2010, 12:41:12 PM
'Tis out in Japan. Been playin' and lovin' it for a spell now.

When the crap is it to be released in the west? IGN, Wikipedia, and Amazon all have separate release dates. If it is really coming in March than I feel for the wives of Sega's marketing team 'cause those dudes must have some serious stones to go up against FFXIII and God of War III.

An official impressions piece should be up soon. Review will be sometime in February. So far this looks like it could be way more fun than FFXIII. Sure, it ain't as pretty nor can the story compete, but the action is sick and with so many gun accessories and costumes (that carry over into story scenes) plus a fantastic overworld, RoF may be the great JRPG savior prophesized to bring balance to the force.

Oh, and I've also been rocking Valkyria Chronicles 2 on the subways, in case anyone has questions about that. Also pretty sweet so far.
21  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Mass Effect 2 on: January 27, 2010, 06:24:31 AM
Deepens the experience eh? Maybe I'll check out some videos. I'll probably wait for it to get a bit cheaper. I love sci-fi and I really wanted to get into the last game but it just didn't light my fire.

I got Resonance of Fate a bit early thanks to my magazine gig. The story looks promising so far but it's still too early to say. There should be an impressions news article based on the demo going up here soon. Full review next month.
22  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Mass Effect 2 on: January 26, 2010, 08:19:23 PM
Do you have to play the first one to get into this one? 'Cause I tried, man, I really tried to get into Mass Effect years ago. Twice actually I bought and sold it (the yen / dollar exchange rate was really bangin' at that time) and I don't feel like playing through it just to play ME2, not with Resonance of Fate and Valkyria Chronicles 2 eating up all my free time now anyway.
23  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Supposed Leaked Demo of Grin's Final Fantasy XII: Fortress on: January 17, 2010, 08:07:44 AM
Why would anyone make a sequel to the best final fantasy ever


24  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The obligatory Game of the Year 2009 thread on: January 17, 2010, 08:05:27 AM
Dragon Quest IX won't win because a dozen better games will come out in 2010, including DS titles like Infinite Space and Strange Journey.

It'll be interesting to see how Mass Effect 2 stacks against FFXIII, but my bet would be that the former earns more GOTY nods. On the JRPG side, my hopes are up for Versus XIII, Resonance of Fate, and Valkyria Chronicles 2.
25  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Official Final Fantasy XIII Japanese Release Topic on: January 09, 2010, 04:55:00 PM
Flattery will get you everywhere.

::flashes panties::
26  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Official Final Fantasy XIII Japanese Release Topic on: January 08, 2010, 11:02:10 AM
I didn't complete 100% of the missions, but I probably could with another 10 - 20 hours. 100 hours should be more than enough to get 100% completion of the game.

And the ending wasn't fantastic. It gets a bit corny by the final boss' third form and wraps up too neatly for my tastes. Doesn't detract from the awesomeness of the story up until that point, though. XIII is arguably the the best story in the series, with VI, X, and XII offering decent arguments IMHO.
27  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Official Final Fantasy XIII Japanese Release Topic on: January 06, 2010, 04:38:50 PM
Beat it.

Whew, that was an epic 60 hours.
28  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Official Final Fantasy XIII Japanese Release Topic on: January 04, 2010, 11:30:16 AM
Oh snap, I'm up to the last boss. It's Faize from SO4!!!

No. Not really. I can't back that up.

But it is nice to be finishing up. Since chapter 11 my opinion of the game has gone way up. Things branch out a lot and there are a bunch of sidequests and sweet missions. I still miss the towns and random NPC interaction, just not as much as before.
29  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Official Final Fantasy XIII Japanese Release Topic on: December 31, 2009, 02:26:38 PM
Yeah, Hope has arguably the most epic summon.

And I don't mean to suggest that Sazh is useless. He works well in a group of rounded characters. I've found Sazh + Lightning + Hope works well. His summon is also killer sweet.
30  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Official Final Fantasy XIII Japanese Release Topic on: December 31, 2009, 08:20:21 AM
The Crystalum system is very similar to the sphere grid. Early on characters will have very specific roles to the point where magic users like Hope and Vanille literally cannot use regular attacks. Later on all six roles open up for everyone and there will be significant overlap. Depending on which routes you choose to evolve in the Crystalum grid first, you could end up with a lot of mages, warriors, buffers, or a mix. Usually stat differences will keep certain characters in one class - Lightning and Fang for example have an obvious bias toward melee, though Lightning learns a lot of good attack spells too.

Sazh's stats are weirdly lower than most of the other characters at this point. That's probably why not many people use him. He has a lot of HP and is sort of a jack-of-all-trades character in that he's decent with magic, has a good projectile attack with his guns, and can buff pretty well. The problem is that there is always some who can do those things better so you don't find yourself using him much.

Hope is easily the best attack mage and a good buffer. Vanille is a better healer and great at debuffing enemies and negative status magic. Snow is a big target with a lot of HP. Works great in the defender role.

My bread and butter party now is Lightning, Fang, and Hope. Sometimes I switch out Hope with Vanille and have a ladies night team.
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