Author Topic: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!

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Aeolus

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2016, 07:44:27 PM »
Phantasy Star 4 will definitely show its age, as even for its time, the production quality was hardly perfect. Still, it's a pretty solid RPG, and the battle system is muy bueno. It's the best title of the main series, in my opinion. One of my favorite 90s console RPGs, actually.
I'd like to say you should find enough to enjoy about it, but different strokes, and all that... It's unlikely you'll hate it, though. I mean, it's not without its flaws of course, but to me, they are more of a 90s-style annoyance than an actual exercise of patience.
I do like the idea of a speed boost.

I'd better describe it as FFIV except better designed. You still have random encounters and inventory management issues among other annoyances of the era, but it did a couple of things that RPGs would try to adopt for another 10+ years (stuff like Macros were proto Gambits, and though the turn based combat of the era didn't require the amount of depth that Gambits provided, it still was convenient to be able to preload a couple of routines like a boss fight buff round or to trigger certain Combo Techs; while vehicular combat was an interesting attempt at making world map travel more interesting and less attrition based, though balance remained an issue).

The FFIV comparison though really comes with the fact that the party changes based upon plot progress, before eventually settling upon a final party. The big difference though is that you can choose who your fifth party member will be out of all of your remaining companions (a trait that FFIV didn't acquire until the WSC/GBA remake). You also travel between multiple worlds and in a variety of vehicles (though nothing as goofy as a Lunar Whale).

The only real drawback about the game is that its built on in-series references and callbacks. The worst of it comes in the form of a couple of dungeons, specifically Air Castle and Wreckage (thank god they didn't try to bring back Baya Malay or anything from PS2).
In my vision, I see that one of us is going to KO the other.

Klyde Chroma

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #31 on: September 13, 2016, 11:50:21 AM »
But Chromo Squad isn't even on the list! D: Actually, it's on my wishlist, so if I ever do a sequel to this, it might be on that list.

What I'm playing isn't colourful and funny at all.  It's one of those games I should never ever play before bed (but probably be will because I'm an idiot):



It starts with suicide and an offer - from Death? The Devil? something else entirely? - that could not be refused.

I can't say much about the story thusfar, but yikes, this game is getting the horror part right. The visuals are an eclectic collage of 90's style pixel art, photos, CG backgrounds and who knows what else is in there. There don't seem to be any jumpscares, just an atmosphere that presses down on the player. It does get bloody sometimes, and when it does it's absolutely gruesome due to not just the heavy contrast between the red blood and the bleak environments, but also due to the wounds the blood flows from.

I know Chroma Squad hasn't been brought up but you're thread/you have motivated me to be more pro-active about at least finding the time to sample all the stuff I REALLY want to instead of waiting years to "get to it". The discussions and coverage herein has nudged my mind toward the Chroma Squad. Can't help it!!

That is what I mean by it being a fine time to be a gamer though. Who amongst us in our thirties here, didn't grow up wishing they could have total creative control over the power rangers in a video game? WE CAN DO IT NOW!!! I am obligated in the strongest way to make "Klyde" the "purple" ranger and "Tomara" the "orange" ranger. This is just a dream I never thought could be realized. **AMAZING**

The Cat Lady looks scary as sin BTW. I would be all over that if it wasn't a point and click adventure type title. That being said, I couldn't imagine the narrative delivery being so appropriately creepy by way of another genre. Point and click is just **sigh** something I have yet to discover as enjoyable, albeit the titles ALWAYS look tempting.
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Tomara

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #32 on: September 13, 2016, 03:17:24 PM »
Okay, I think I might be looking forward to Phantasy Star 4 now, because... Guess who played what before bed?

The Cat Lady - report 2

It's a little after 9PM, it's dark outside and The Cat Lady just scared the shit out of me. Most of the game is pure psychological horror, but some moments... like the one in chapter 6... It wasn't a jumpscare. It was so obvious something was going to happen and I thought I was prepared, but... Yeah, totally going to sleep with the lights on tonight. The primitive graphics and grainy sound just make it worse, you know? I knew something was going to happen... I should have turned the sound off.

I really wonder if I should just keep going and get it over with. Maybe some closure will make it better.

Rook

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #33 on: September 13, 2016, 03:34:20 PM »
Phantasy Star 4 will definitely show its age, as even for its time, the production quality was hardly perfect. Still, it's a pretty solid RPG, and the battle system is muy bueno. It's the best title of the main series, in my opinion. One of my favorite 90s console RPGs, actually.
I'd like to say you should find enough to enjoy about it, but different strokes, and all that... It's unlikely you'll hate it, though. I mean, it's not without its flaws of course, but to me, they are more of a 90s-style annoyance than an actual exercise of patience.
I do like the idea of a speed boost.

I played about 15 hours of PS4 and just couldn't get into it. Granted its another one of those games that I couldn't judge fairly because I played it a decade later. I just prefer PS2 to PS4. Phantasy Star 2, despite having a script that is only about 15 pages just felt so fresh and new. The story was FF7 before FF7. I think the graphics and music of Phantasy Star 2 are also the best of the series. 

Frostillicus

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #34 on: September 13, 2016, 04:06:39 PM »
^ Admittedly, my experience with PSII is limited. I remember renting it, and like you with IV, just not being able to get into it. I remember enjoying IV a lot more. I know II has received a lot of praise, so perhaps I'll revisit it in the near future...
I and III though, I'll never bother with again.

Tomara

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #35 on: September 13, 2016, 04:43:17 PM »
I'll know soon enough how I feel about Phantasy Star 4, because...

The Cat Lady - Final report
I'm an idiot and kept playing. Closure does make it a little better, but it was... intense. This is not just a horror game. It's about depression, fighting it, not choosing the easy way out. It's especially obvious in chapter 3, in which you're trying to get through your evening without breaking down, but every little thing can go wrong and sometimes it's just too much.

However, the horror element is certainly there. What makes the game extra scary is that the borders between reality and dreams/hallucinations are vague at best, and the games leaves it up to the player to explain it to themselves. These are the scariest parts of the game and not, say, a cannibal with a cleaver. In a way, the atmosphere was much like what I'm used to from Japanese horror. There's no solid how or why, things just are and you can't always overcome it.

I paid: 2,69
I played: 8 hours
Worth the wait?: Shit. I should have waited a little longer! Unless I find some lighthearted distraction, I'm going to have trouble sleeping tonight...

Aeolus

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #36 on: September 13, 2016, 07:32:09 PM »
^ Admittedly, my experience with PSII is limited. I remember renting it, and like you with IV, just not being able to get into it. I remember enjoying IV a lot more. I know II has received a lot of praise, so perhaps I'll revisit it in the near future...
I and III though, I'll never bother with again.

Unfortunately, PS2 aged incredibly badly. The story and setting are about the only interesting things about the game, and that's more on the fact that few have opted to follow up on the Sci-Fi JRPG genre in such a way. Dungeons are just badly designed as most are monochromatic mazes with FoV obscuring kibble and damage tiles and rampant encounter rates everywhere. Some mechanics are also rather obscure in game like finding the means to save almost anywhere, getting new party members, and the means of finishing up the Final Equipment quest, to name a few.

PS1 hasn't aged quite as badly as PS2 despite showing up on even older hardware and being an almost straight up really early Ultima clone (as it couldn't clone Dragon Quest, itself an Ultima clone, as DQ hadn't been released by PS1's release (though they weren't far apart)). It really helps that Alis is still sadly that rare female protagonist that's treated as a male JRPG protagonist would be, but not so much as to ignore her gender completely.

PS3 wasn't all that good to begin with, and only the opening track and maybe one or two others are any good. Even the generational aspect of the game couldn't save it.
In my vision, I see that one of us is going to KO the other.

Rucks

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #37 on: September 13, 2016, 07:35:26 PM »
not relevant but, the PS2 version of PS1 and PS2 are the far superior experience

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Tomara

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #38 on: September 14, 2016, 04:16:39 AM »
The moment you've all been waiting for (it seems):



(Sega, why do you still use weird American boxart that does not reflect the style of the game?)

First of all, that took some time to download and install! The game itself is 50MB or so, but the emulator that comes with it is like 1GB. Good lord... Remember Gone Home? Well, it looks like a room from that, but maybe a little shittier. There are some minor options to adjust the looks and feel of the game, but nothing special. No increased game speed, sadly.

In any case, I've just defeated the first boss. Things I learned thusfar:
- The sound quality is like a cat assaulting a blackboard. Logic dictates that it's music - there's definitely various tones being played in a pattern - but it does not sound like it. I wonder if it's supposed to be like this (and I've been just been spoiled by awesome sound chips in Nintendo systems/cartridges) or if the emulator is really, really bad.

-Yikes, this game feels old. I think it's the menu's fault. Not that menus have to be jewel box levels of fancy, but this is just kind of sad.

-I really need to make a list of spells, because I have no idea what anything actually does. "Is this the healing spell? I really hope this is the healing spell..."

-Haha, that academy that's supposed to be the biggest on the planet? It makes academies in your average fantasy JRPGs look high tech.


Klyde Chroma

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #39 on: September 14, 2016, 01:12:18 PM »
Can't believe they didn't include the simple function of speed-up. It was my understanding that was partly why the PS2 collection versions were so favored.

This is epic. I'm also one of the few who never experienced PS which makes your take on this all the more interesting to me, Tomara.

ON NAMING CONVENTIONS -- I hate obtuse naming of spells and potions and whatnot. At the very least you'd think having some intuitive sense about it would be logical. As in, Heal becomes Soothing Echo or something to that effect. When games change **Heal** into **Glickugloo** I just don't understand "why".

I mean I suppose it is in effort to add identity, character, and "world building" to a title. But in truth it really complicates things.

Certainly a minor gripe but a design choice I've never really understood.
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Frostillicus

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #40 on: September 14, 2016, 03:36:16 PM »
ON NAMING CONVENTIONS -- I hate obtuse naming of spells and potions and whatnot. At the very least you'd think having some intuitive sense about it would be logical. As in, Heal becomes Soothing Echo or something to that effect. When games change **Heal** into **Glickugloo** I just don't understand "why".

I mean I suppose it is in effort to add identity, character, and "world building" to a title. But in truth it really complicates things.

Certainly a minor gripe but a design choice I've never really understood.

I did it to myself when I played Wild Arms for the first time, earlier this year. I kept trying to name spells all kinds of cool and stupid shit, and I would forget what their function was.

Tomara

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #41 on: September 14, 2016, 03:58:25 PM »
Phantasy Star IV - Report 2
The emulator gets worse: after struggling with the 'full' version, I switched to the quick launch version, which is a lot more CPU/RAM-friendly and lets you get to your game quicker. However, I had to reconfigure my controller for some reason. It was dumb. Homebrew emulators from the 00s have more functions than this thing.

I'm now on my way to deliver the cure to those people who were turned to stone (a popular ailment in the 90s, it seems*). In game, I set everything to max speed and while the game still feels a bit clunky, it's definitely playable. I like the little 'cutscenes'. However, that's about the only thing that feels special right now. It's not bad, but... I hope I get to see some of the game's more innovative features soon. I've played plenty of other JRPGs from the early 90s and I'm curious where it fits in that context.

As for techs, I'm starting to remember some. Like Foi = fire (it both starts with an f), Wat = ice (frozen water) and Res = heal (restore). I'm having trouble with stuff like Doran, Gelun, Saner and other techs that affects stats. Maybe I should look up the Japanse names. I figure that atleast some of these weird ones are a result of shaky translation + limited characters.

BTW I do have some experience with Phantasy Star: I got about half way through the first one (on GBA) until deciding first person dungeons without proper maps are a terrible way to spend my time. Some names sound vaguely familiar, but... that's it.

*Various Final Fantasies, Tales of Phantasia and Destiny, Lunar, Grandia, Terranigma, Star Ocean - all the cool kids has either an important character or an entire town turned to stone (well, okay, or crystal, in the case of Terranigma). I do understand why it's was popular: it's like death, but you can fix it (well, usually anyway). It's the perfect level of drama for games aimed at young players.

Aeolus

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #42 on: September 14, 2016, 07:23:19 PM »
Phantasy Star IV - Report 2
The emulator gets worse: after struggling with the 'full' version, I switched to the quick launch version, which is a lot more CPU/RAM-friendly and lets you get to your game quicker. However, I had to reconfigure my controller for some reason. It was dumb. Homebrew emulators from the 00s have more functions than this thing.

I'm now on my way to deliver the cure to those people who were turned to stone (a popular ailment in the 90s, it seems*). In game, I set everything to max speed and while the game still feels a bit clunky, it's definitely playable. I like the little 'cutscenes'. However, that's about the only thing that feels special right now. It's not bad, but... I hope I get to see some of the game's more innovative features soon. I've played plenty of other JRPGs from the early 90s and I'm curious where it fits in that context.

As for techs, I'm starting to remember some. Like Foi = fire (it both starts with an f), Wat = ice (frozen water) and Res = heal (restore). I'm having trouble with stuff like Doran, Gelun, Saner and other techs that affects stats. Maybe I should look up the Japanse names. I figure that atleast some of these weird ones are a result of shaky translation + limited characters.

BTW I do have some experience with Phantasy Star: I got about half way through the first one (on GBA) until deciding first person dungeons without proper maps are a terrible way to spend my time. Some names sound vaguely familiar, but... that's it.

*Various Final Fantasies, Tales of Phantasia and Destiny, Lunar, Grandia, Terranigma, Star Ocean - all the cool kids has either an important character or an entire town turned to stone (well, okay, or crystal, in the case of Terranigma). I do understand why it's was popular: it's like death, but you can fix it (well, usually anyway). It's the perfect level of drama for games aimed at young players.

Other RPGs from that era guilty of getting characters Stoned: Breath of Fire, Dragon Quest, Fire Emblem, and Illusion of Gaia to keep it to ones where the affliction is plot based.

And yeah, PS4 is from that era where localizations were done by one guy in a week on a good day. Here's the guide I used to figure out spell names among other things back in the day.
In my vision, I see that one of us is going to KO the other.

Tomara

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #43 on: September 15, 2016, 12:14:41 PM »
Quote
Other RPGs from that era guilty of getting characters Stoned: Breath of Fire, Dragon Quest, Fire Emblem, and Illusion of Gaia to keep it to ones where the affliction is plot based.

I accidently read that word slightly differently.

Quote
And yeah, PS4 is from that era where localizations were done by one guy in a week on a good day. Here's the guide I used to figure out spell names among other things back in the day.

Hah, wow, it's been a while since I've visited one of those shrines!

Phantasy Star 4 - Report 3
I think I (nearly) finished the first act. I kicked a pretty boy's ass and I'm about to head into space, yay! The game still feels clunky, but I'm fairly confident I'll be able to get through it (and enjoy it!).

BTW switching to the simple version of the emulator, instead of using the badly programmed hub, solved the sound issue. Probably should have mentioned that last update.


Klyde Chroma

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Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog!
« Reply #44 on: September 15, 2016, 12:57:03 PM »


*Various Final Fantasies, Tales of Phantasia and Destiny, Lunar, Grandia, Terranigma, Star Ocean - all the cool kids has either an important character or an entire town turned to stone (well, okay, or crystal, in the case of Terranigma). I do understand why it's was popular: it's like death, but you can fix it (well, usually anyway). It's the perfect level of drama for games aimed at young players.

Brilliant point. I never really thought about it that way.
I am more a battlefield than a Ninja.