Retro Encounter Final Thoughts(s) Archive

2024-01-28
Aleks Franiczek As someone who loves to play videogames that try something different narratively, mechanically, and thematically, my exposure to Love-de-Lic and their oddball development legacy across multiple studios has been long overdue. I’m glad I finally got around moon: Remix RPG Adventure, the game that started it all, and was able to have such a thoughtful discussion about it… Read More »
2023-12-24
Michael Sollosi Why do nearly all RPGs, even the ones with elaborate character creation systems, always start the same way? There are many sensible reasons for this, but I appreciate how Dragon Age: Origins rejects that idea outright. Just after character creation, the player chooses one of six different Chapter 1’s to begin the story,… Read More »
2023-12-05
Michael Sollosi Bloodborne is a revelation. An intense action RPG with incredible freedom and drama, draped in a blood-soaked Gothic aesthetic that’s brutal and beautiful, Bloodborne‘s environments, boss fights, and hidden secrets get more fascinating by the minute. Bloodborne is the game that gave us the term “Soulsbourne,” as it has all the hallmarks of… Read More »
2023-10-24
Michael Sollosi This is my first time playing Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure, and, well, the highest compliment I can give is that it goes down smoothly. Rhapsody is fast-paced, easy to understand, and so breezy that I wonder if it was a little too easy? Rhapsody has a cute premise (a village girl falls in… Read More »
2023-10-01
Aleks Franiczek Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is a rare RPGs that dares to look outside of its genre for inspiration and hammers it down with a distinct vision. From that standpoint, it’s really the opposite of the rest of the Breath of Fire series, which was content to play within the common JRPG standards of the 1990s—with… Read More »
2023-08-27
Hilary Andreff Disco Elysium is a game you play when you feel like reading a book. I’ve been reflecting on this comment significantly since we convened and podcasted, and it’s true in many ways. This game requires attention, patience, reflection and promises a range of responses and feelings that match even well-written fiction. Disco Elysium… Read More »
2023-07-16
Aleks Franiczek Final Fantasy VI has long been my default answer when asked what my “Favorite Game of All Time” is. I hadn’t played through it in over a decade leading up to this podcast, and I was honestly concerned that the experience wouldn’t live up to this legendary status I’ve assigned it. Childhood memories and… Read More »
2023-06-06
Peter Triezenberg Lost Odyssey is a special game. While it doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the table, it’s an exemplary RPG made by experienced developers and talented artists. Much praise has been given to the Thousands Years of Dreams, and they’re indeed beautiful, but I’m in love with the rest of the package as… Read More »
2022-12-28
Peter Triezenberg Xenosaga Episode I is not a good video game. I feel like I need to get that out of the way: it’s slow, clunky, and needlessly obtuse, with a cumbersome battle system that wears out its welcome even before you realize that there’s only one battle theme for 99% of the experience. And… Read More »
2022-10-02
Wes Iliff I knew going in what a special game LIVE A LIVE is. After playing it decades ago through a fan translation, getting into an official western release was something to get excited for. What I didn’t expect was how well it would hold up, or how well a few small quality of life… Read More »
2022-09-04
Michael Sollosi Final Fantasy XIII was a victim of its own hype. When Square Enix outlined the Fabula Nova Crystallis project in 2006, they committed themselves to (at least) four games of great ambition and promise, but unfortunately none of their development cycles went quite as planned. Final Fantasy XIII is startlingly beautiful, especially for… Read More »
2022-08-10
Michael Sollosi Tales of Xillia has a few things going against it. Its PS3-only release somewhat limits its audience, especially since the PS3 has a weaker overall library of games than the PS2, further scaring players away. But PS3 owners who seek out JRPGs and are at least Tales of-curious series are in for a… Read More »
2022-07-03
Cory Tischbein Playing Suikoden for the first time today is a little strange. Few series can boast a fanbase as devoted, with many claiming that some series entries surpass the heights of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Yet the series is dead — and has been for decades now in the U.S. The excitement I… Read More »
2022-03-01
Jono Logan Going back to the early era of the industry, games based on movies generally had the feeling of cynical cash grabs. The one big exception to this was always Star Wars, which had the full backing of George Lucas’ own video game developer, LucasArts. Though they turned out dozens of legendary licensed games,… Read More »
2022-02-06
Audra Bowling Skies of Arcadia was a title I’d heard a lot about over the years, but like some of those pesky discoveries you search for throughout the game, it always eluded me. That changed with an incredibly kind gesture from our very own Michael Sollosi. While it took me far longer than I care to… Read More »
2021-12-29
Audra Bowling My first exposure to Final Fantasy was the original FFVII on PlayStation. Since then, I’ve been determined to explore the series by playing through every main installment at least once. Yet Final Fantasy V always eluded me. I was never able to get a copy of the PlayStation release, didn’t have access to… Read More »
2021-12-02
Audra Bowling Ys Origin was my first exposure to the Ys series, as I became extremely curious about the action RPG games after a friend couldn’t stop exuding the praises of Ys: The Oath in Felghana to me. Unfortunately, although not a reflection of my enjoyment of the game, things happened around the first time… Read More »
2021-10-31
Michael Sollosi Cosmic Star Heroine is game of admirable ambition, clearly inspired by many of the most acclaimed 16-bit Japanese RPGs, striving to hit those highs in a brisk runtime with gameplay concepts from a time beyond that golden age of JRPGs. The game looks like a brilliant lost Super Nintendo RPG and feels like… Read More »
2021-10-10
Alana Hagues There was no way I wasn’t going to play Eternal Punishment just over a year after beating Innocent Sin. The cliffhanger ending, the exhilarating stakes, and wild events left me desperate to see what would happen to Tatsuya Suou and Maya Amano in this alternate world. And while I leave Eternal Punishment a bit shy of my glowing… Read More »
2021-08-29
Michael Sollosi Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne‘s reputation precedes it. This is the PS2 RPG for “hardcore gamers,” while Personas 3 and 4 are for players who cared more for living through an anime series set in a Japanese high school with some demon summoning on the side. I am more the Persona type. I… Read More »
2021-08-08
Hilary Andreff I had some concerns going into ‘Ladies Otome Month,’ namely “What if this really doesn’t click with me?” and “What if I can’t find anything interesting to say? I’m not thirsty enough for this.” Luckily, those concerns were unfounded, and I even found some comfortable familiarity among the Shinsengumi with my slight martial… Read More »
2021-06-27
Eva Padilla Knights in the Nightmare is one of the strangest, most baffling titles I’ve ever played. It has the soul of an experimental indie title of today wrapped in that nostalgic PSP SRPG glow. And, despite this playthrough becoming a more of a sample than the plunge I had hoped for, I can still… Read More »
2021-05-25
Alana Hagues Prior to these episodes, I’d played four numbered Dragon Quest games, and two spin-offs. Nothing about Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen should’ve been surprising, right? This is a series that has built its reputation on consistency, and Dragon Quest IV has all of those typical Dragon Quest hallmarks. And most of this game is exactly that! The… Read More »
2021-05-02
Alana Hagues I started my Suikoden journey only two and a half years ago for this very podcast. Before these episodes, I’d only played the first two games (of which Suikoden II has become one of my all-time favourites), and with Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes on the way, this felt like the perfect time to jump into the next game… Read More »
2021-03-29
Eva Padilla Muramasa: The Demon Blade is a game that surprised and delighted me frequently, and not in many of the ways I initially guessed. Certainly, there was “Backgrounds are stunning” and “That is the best-looking, gosh-darn dango I’ve ever seen.” But then in comes “This game has 4 DLCs on Vita, and each one… Read More »