Retro Encounter Final Thoughts(s) Archive

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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Kaleb Curry Radiant Historia is not Mega Man Battle Network. That may seem obvious to most, but to me—a decade younger and craving some more of that sweet, sweet MMBN action—it was a deal-breaker. I played 15 minutes of this lovely game and then never gave it a second thought for ten years, all because… Read More »
Tyler Trosper Monolith Soft has become synonymous with the Xeno games, whether it’s the Xenoblade series or, to a lesser extent, Xenosaga. However, GameCube owners know of another RPG series by the famed company created in conjunction with tri-Crescendo: Baten Kaitos. Seventeen years after my initial playthrough, my return to the first game in the… Read More »
Peter Triezenberg Final Fantasy X-2, as a story, is such an anachronism. It is both too weird to be a sequel to Final Fantasy X, and also not weird enough to stand on its own. There are glimmers of potential scattered throughout the game’s plot, such as themes of civil unrest, rebuilding in the wake… Read More »
Alana Hagues Being a SEGA kid growing up, I was always disappointed that I never got a chance, or made the time, to play any of the Phantasy Star games. Picking up Phantasy Star IV 27 years after it first came out, it struck me just how fresh it felt, even today. The End of the Millennium is a breezy… Read More »
Leona McCallum I first played Persona 2: Innocent Sin back in 2009-ish when the game wasn’t even available in English. I relied on a fan translation to see me through, which I’m sure only added to the enigmatic allure the game held over me. I didn’t always fully understand it—especially not that first playthrough—but I… Read More »
Peter Triezenberg Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is a very influential game from my childhood that helped bridge the gap between the world of Super Mario I was already familiar with and my future obsession with role-playing games. There’s a reason my old forum handle was IhaveFURY! While I’ve since gone back and played some… Read More »
Jo Padilla “When you lack a silver spoon, you fashion one of steel.” As I look back on Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, it’ll be with this line firmly emblazoned unto my mind. This is a story of class and ethnic conflict, of land and blood. At a time when the JRPG was not… Read More »
Michael Sollosi Yakuza 0 is a misleading title, because it’s not about yakuza and doesn’t have zero of anything. Yakuza 0 is a game about machismo, loyalty, excess, and capturing a specific place at a specific time. That place is Japan and that time is the economic boom of the late 1980s, and it’s a… Read More »