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Author Topic: Great pretentious crap sequels.  (Read 10576 times)
TurnBasedDude
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« Reply #45 on: March 30, 2007, 01:39:14 AM »

Quote from: "Tria"
The same goes for the Kingdom Hearts series, which, in my opinion, is the most overrated series I've ever played.


I <3 you!

I actually didn't think Star Ocean 3's story was bad either. I did like the game until the difficulty sharpened way too high. That seriously bugged the hell out of me. I don't mind challenge, but by the end, the enemies have become way too cheap.

As for the Mana/Seiken Densetsu series, I felt the developers re-invented the wheel a bit too much, and I gradually lost interest, but I still play them. I might give Dawn of Mana a go despite the hate. At least the series music remains great, and I greatly enjoyed that games soundtrack.
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Tlonuqbar
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« Reply #46 on: March 30, 2007, 02:39:21 AM »

Quote from: "Tria"
I despise how [just about every Japanese RPG...period] make themsel[f] out to be more important and thought-provoking than they actually are.


Fixed.




Don't get me wrong, I love JRPGs with a passion...but honestly, none of them are really THAT deep, not even the ones that are commonly percieved to be intellectually engaging or profound.  ...well, I suppose I'm what you would call "well-read" and even "cultured" (man, I hate where I'm leading this line of thought already), so I admit my opinions may be a bit...different from that of a person with a more limited cultural palate (*sigh* which makes me sound like an elitist prick, oh well *shrug*).  All I really mean to say is that there really are profound books, movies, etc. out there that when measured up against a "profound" JRPG, the later almost envariably is cheapened by the comparison.  Granted, video games are still extremely young from a cultural perspective, and I believe that one day they WILL measure up to the masterpieces of the novel, cinema, theater, etc., but they haven't yet reached those hights...at least, IMHO.

Now, I was thinking the other day about a work of literature that I could compare to the level of 'literary' or 'intellectual' achievement in the most 'profound' JRPG narratives, and it hit me: That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis.  I used to love that novel when I was younger, and I still like the book even today, but I have to admit it is also heavy-handed, structurally something of a mess, and basically full of odd quirks and backwards ideas (but then what do you expect from an extremely conservative Christian like Lewis?).  If you don't want to go through the trouble of reading the novel, I looked it up on wikipedia and found a rather nice little synopsis, character bio sheet, and thematic analysis:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That_Hideous_Strength

Even though Lewis' thematic concerns are pretty much different than that of an intellectually ambitious JRPG designer's would be (I mean, one was an Anglican; the other is most likely nominally Buddhist and/or Shintoist, but really an atheist/agnostic in practice), I personally find the overall "depth" of the novel to be more or less on par with such RPGs as Xenogears or FFT.  And also note, that while That Hideous Strength has its share of fans, almost nobody considers it to be "great literature" or even "great sci-fi or fantasy."  It simply just isn't that deep.
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Raze
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« Reply #47 on: March 30, 2007, 02:58:59 AM »

Quote
I happened to think Star Ocean 3's storyline was actually pretty good. The beginning parts were terrible, as was all of the medievel boredom. But the meaning behind the game was actually thoughtful and touching.


Star oceans plot wouldn't have been so bad if the story was told in another format, such as a book or anime. But

Code:
When you're playing a game and the characters start to say they're more then just characters in a video game it just breaks suspension of disbelief. Why? Because they ARE just characters in a video game. That's the reality of the situation, and pointing it out directly goes against the theme that they're more than that.


Quote
Especially Tales of Symphonia, which is the most pretentious piece of garbage I've ever played.


I liked one point it made. Wasn't the main theme, just a little thing said when you went into some dungeon and the evolved winged half elves were there with blank faces. Something along the lines of 'How can there be heaven if you lose your humanity'. Which of all the anti religious themes in games was the only argument presented that meant a damn outside entertaining storytelling(Which by that point wasn't entertaining storytelling because every rpg uses it).

 If you DON'T lose your humanity it can't be heaven, it'd just be a reflection of earth. If you DO, what kind of heaven is that?

 But yeah, the overall story did suck. Characters helped carry it though.
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Sapphire_Fate
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« Reply #48 on: March 30, 2007, 12:18:40 PM »

Quote from: "Prime Mover"
Quote from: "Sapphire_Fate"
Leyviur's right. Chrono Cross is more about the nature of time travel, parallel universes, and the effect a Time Traveler can have on all possible timelines. This concept was explored in Chrono Trigger, but moreso in Cross.

If this isn't pining for the philosophical, than I don't know what is. "The nature of time travel, parallel universes, and the effect a Time Traveler can have on all possible timelines." I don't know how you can NOT pass these off as philosophical questions, ones with direct relivance to the human condition.

Obviously, some people enjoyed it, and its not my job to try and change anyone's opinion of it. I'm just exploring its relivance to myself, and why other seemed to find it so appealing, because, frankly, a really don't get it. I guess the only reason I perseverate on things like this is that by understanding others' opinions, I guess I can come one step closer to understanding my own.

Eh, this is a worthless arguement, and it's mostly my fault for bringing it up. Maybe it's reached the end of its usefullness? Is so, sorry 'bout this.

Nothing in Trigger or Cross is about "the human condition."

You're thinking of Xenogears or Xenosaga.
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Tlonuqbar
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« Reply #49 on: March 30, 2007, 12:48:33 PM »

Um, every story that involves humans pertains to "the human condition" in some way, however small.  To be sure, XG and XS are more directly and thoroughly concerned with "the human condition" than CT and CC are.  Nevertheless, CT and CC are more relevant to "the human condition" than say, Mario Bros. ("If someone you know is in trouble, you should save her") or a Steven Segal movie ("If you need to accomplish a goal, you should kick a lot of people's asses").  And remember, just because something pertains to  "the human condition" doesn't mean that its message regarding humanity is intelligent, profound, or even remotely relevant to the real world.  For example, I could say: "The best way to improve humanity's emotional well-being is to stop killing each other and instead concentrate on wiping out endangered species."  This statement pertains to "the human condition" as well, but it's so wrong as to be offensive to the mind.

All I'm saying is: 1) EVERY story has a message, no matter how banal, erroneous, or stupid it may be, and 2) if the story involves humanity in ANY way (whether it involves humans, anthropomorphic animals, aliens who pretty much act identical to humans, etc.), it pertains in some way to the "human condition."
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Ashton
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« Reply #50 on: March 30, 2007, 01:36:05 PM »

Then this completely negates your earlier argument of CC's 'stupid philosophy' because by your definition, 99% of every story in existence has 'stupid philosophy' as well.
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D-Rider
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« Reply #51 on: March 30, 2007, 01:42:56 PM »

I heard that all games are role-playing games because they're all games where you play a role.

Just what I heard, mind you. :P
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #52 on: March 30, 2007, 02:32:21 PM »

First, I'll just say, that I'm thrilled to see people interested in thinking so thoughtfully like this, it's a real breath of fresh air.

In response to the commentary about the Tales series. For some reason, the Tales series doesn't bother me. I didn't think of Symphonia to be pretentious, because it really didn't pretend to be anything, it was just a fun romp... which is just fine with me. The presentation was such, that it didn't really take itself seriously, except in the instances that it actually became a bit more mature. The story was simply a device for the characters, which were really rather well written, and had quite a bit of developement.

I don't really mind if a story is banel and silly; if the characters are portrayed well, I can sorta look the other way. I think writing a "good story" is not very difficult to accomplish, even stupid action movies often have "good stories", but what they lack is good character portrayal and developement. I think the quality of the characters and dialog in the Tales series characters is far above that of the quality of the stories, which is a bit unusual in this day-in-age. I guess I'd have to say the same for the Lunar series as well, at it's heart, Lunar is the same old fetch-quest story we've heard over and over again, but what made it great was the interaction between well-written characters.

I guess what I'm saying is, if you take your characters seriously, it doesn't matter, so much, what happens. What I really hate is when a game will take its story too seriously, and then pay no attention to the characters involved in it. This was my problem with CC, which had very little character portrayal or developement. As a friend of mine was saying this morning, "ya know, the pirate captain [an NPC] had more character developement than any playable character in the game, and that's not saying a lot." So I guess I tend to see plot and story as simply a means to an end in portraying its characters, which are really at the heart of the experience. If a rediculous story is able to provide me with great characters, than the game/novel/film has succeeded, at least in my book.

Tales of the Abyss falls right into this catagory. I really could care less about most of the story elements: fonons are rediculous, replicas are cliche, all the techno-babble surrounding themagic is ludicrus. But when it comes down to it, the game really isn't about those things, and when you really look at it, the game only spends about 5% of its cut-scene time on these elements, it's mostly about the character's interaction with each-other, and their feelings about themselves.

I don't think games, currently, have much in the way of sophistication when it comes to plot elements... and I don't really think it's exactly the right genre to be concentrate on telling really thought-provoking stories. For one thing, most games come down to some kind of "the bad guy is going to mess things up, kill him before he destroys everything" kind of plot. But within the confines of these repetative, silly, stories, you have endless possibilities of character exploration, which is where RPGs really excel. This is why I don't really care too much about "profound" games like CC or Xenogears, when they don't offer me rich characters. I'd be better off in another genre entirely, if I wanted a good outlet for profound storytelling. But the interactive quality of games allows me to bond with characters far more closely than I would with a TV series or a novel of similar length, which is where I think this genre really does have some value.
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Tlonuqbar
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« Reply #53 on: March 30, 2007, 04:22:58 PM »

Quote from: "Leyviur"
Then this completely negates your earlier argument of CC's 'stupid philosophy' because by your definition, 99% of every story in existence has 'stupid philosophy' as well.


I'm not sure if this was directed at me or not, but if it is, please quote the sections of my earlier posts that cause a contradiction with my later posts.  I do have a tendency to argue both sides of an argument with myself, and there have been quite a few times that I have expressed seemingly contrary opinions due to the fact that I do not find all disagreeing viewpoints to be necessarily mutally exclusive.  Incidentally, when presenting a viewpoint, it is pretty much common practice to act as if one is correct in his or her analysis, but this doesn't necessarily mean that those opinions are held as strongly as they are presented.  Very few of my personal beliefs and opinions are "set in stone," and one of the principal reasons I enjoy discussions of any sort is to refine my own ideas.  There is an expression, "Gold fears no fire," which basically means, since fire not only melts gold but also removes impurities, that one should not fear adversity, as it not only damages, but also refines.  I personally think ideas are like this; every idea should be challenged, so that the idea can either be refined or discarded for a better idea.

Try to name a great thinker who wasn't wrong about SOMETHING (I don't think it can be done)...and then consider: these great thinkers are the best minds that humanity has to offer...o.O!
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Sapphire_Fate
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« Reply #54 on: March 30, 2007, 05:48:44 PM »

A story can be great even with very little character development or "great, thoroughly explored characters."

Chrono Cross's themes and symbols have very little to do with the characters. The grand scale of the story is above what the characters do, and their development. Serge is merely a trigger for the story to unfold, not some deep, heavily complex character. There doesn't need to be. Chrono Cross's plot revolves around the idea of time and it's infinite possibilities, not about it's characters or their problems. Hell, even some of the character development is completely optional(such as the Marbule event with Nikki and Miki).

You're pissed that the game didn't have any character development, or great characters. Again, Chrono Cross's plot does not tie-in with the characters so much as the very nature of time itself. You're reading into the game too linearly.
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« Reply #55 on: April 01, 2007, 09:28:08 AM »

I think Chrono Cross gets alot of undeserved shit. People just go on and on about how "it isn't Chrono Trigger" so it sucks.

Exactly the same with Legend of Mana. Hell, go back and read the IGN review of it - all the reviewer does is bitch about how he didn't get "Secret of Mana 2".

Legend of Mana had a distinct style, and I liked its "short story" type approach, rather than the big sprawling quest of every other RPG. Made for a nice contrast.

People bitch and moan about how repetitive the vg industry is - yet they just bitch and moan when a new game isn't exactly like the one they already love.

That said, the Tales games are some of the blandest, most repetitive RPGs I've ever played. They just scream "mediocre".

And I *liked* Xenosaga 2 - and the series as a whole.
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