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RPG Community |OT| Take the Epoch to a New Era

Oct 25, 2017
3,442
0
Trails in the Sky SC:

So I got through chapter 5 and chapter 6 since I last posted. Chapter 5 was the last hurrah for the formula the game had settled into after the prologue, which was kind of a strange formula: the maps were largely the same as those in FC and the side quests, and associated npc stories, were often extensions of quests from FC. There was also new content, both maps and character/narrative and what was there was quite powerful, but it wasn't the preponderance of the content. The other oddity to me was that the circuit of liberal was repeated but without an explicit road-trip premise. Basically, there's a lot of good stuff--both redux and especially not redux--but the first 5 chapters feel quite padded and the pace of the narrative sluggish.

Admittedly, I'm doing all the side quests so, to a large extent, I bring this on myself :P. (I'm now Bracer Rank B!)

Chapter 6 was quite explosive; very lean and well-paced too. It leaned into where SC has been particularly strong thus far--Estelle's personal story--to great effect.

Right now I am getting a feeling like late-game FC where it is all coming together, getting to the meat of the matter, heating up, etc.

I had an interesting time with a certain Chapter 6 boss. Had to recreate my Estelle into a tanky variant and through cookies, meatballs, and titanic roar, she was able to crush her enemies completely (with a bit of luck). I had to use some proxy puppets even! It wasn't that bad in the end. I did kind of wish I wasn't playing on hard for while though lol.

Joshua has returned to me. I keep talking about how well they are doing Estelle/Joshua in this game and that beach scene...so good. Their mutual feeling, their bonds, and the barriers they put up or otherwise feel yet overcome are really well written.

Really cast the "Joshua is broken angle" in the best light. The dream earlier was good, namely where she saw him as exactly what he says he is and could not reach him--a puppet that she could not get to before it exploded. It is interesting that she had that nightmare and then had the clarity of thought to rise to the occasion and cut through the shroud of self-sustaining narratives Joshua had cooked up. It really highlights that she was working through it and it is this sort of subtlety with the approach to Estelle and her longing throughout the entire game so far that has been really impressive to me.

Olivier is gone though :(. This is very sad. He was my go-to healer/support/mage and a charming customer.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,894
0
Man, I am really enjoying The Bard's Tale 4 so far. I've been told it falls apart after a while, but I'm pretty satisfied about 4 hours in so far. Can't wait to play more.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,966
0
South Carolina
Trails in the Sky SC:

So I got through chapter 5 and chapter 6 since I last posted. Chapter 5 was the last hurrah for the formula the game had settled into after the prologue, which was kind of a strange formula: the maps were largely the same as those in FC and the side quests, and associated npc stories, were often extensions of quests from FC. There was also new content, both maps and character/narrative and what was there was quite powerful, but it wasn't the preponderance of the content. The other oddity to me was that the circuit of liberal was repeated but without an explicit road-trip premise. Basically, there's a lot of good stuff--both redux and especially not redux--but the first 5 chapters feel quite padded and the pace of the narrative sluggish.

Admittedly, I'm doing all the side quests so, to a large extent, I bring this on myself :P. (I'm now Bracer Rank B!)

Chapter 6 was quite explosive; very lean and well-paced too. It leaned into where SC has been particularly strong thus far--Estelle's personal story--to great effect.

Right now I am getting a feeling like late-game FC where it is all coming together, getting to the meat of the matter, heating up, etc.

I had an interesting time with a certain Chapter 6 boss. Had to recreate my Estelle into a tanky variant and through cookies, meatballs, and titanic roar, she was able to crush her enemies completely (with a bit of luck). I had to use some proxy puppets even! It wasn't that bad in the end. I did kind of wish I wasn't playing on hard for while though lol.

Joshua has returned to me. I keep talking about how well they are doing Estelle/Joshua in this game and that beach scene...so good. Their mutual feeling, their bonds, and the barriers they put up or otherwise feel yet overcome are really well written.

Really cast the "Joshua is broken angle" in the best light. The dream earlier was good, namely where she saw him as exactly what he says he is and could not reach him--a puppet that she could not get to before it exploded. It is interesting that she had that nightmare and then had the clarity of thought to rise to the occasion and cut through the shroud of self-sustaining narratives Joshua had cooked up. It really highlights that she was working through it and it is this sort of subtlety with the approach to Estelle and her longing throughout the entire game so far that has been really impressive to me.

Olivier is gone though :(. This is very sad. He was my go-to healer/support/mage and a charming customer.


Estelle: Never Not Accelerating Ever Upwards

That relationship is not only handled so well, it's that it keeps going. It doesn't "end" with that scene, or the game. This isn't a happy ever after thing, but isn't a reverse deus ex machina either. Even retroactively puts earlier scenes in new light with every major reveal or movement forward in the timeline.

Fuck I cant wait to get my hands on finished localizations of later appearances of those two.
 
Nov 4, 2017
1,241
0
bit more thoughts on FFX. I think I'm in the final home stretch of the game (although I still have quite a bit to go it feels like). Still really enjoying the combat of the game. Surprisingly fun and some of the fights have actually been a bit difficult. which after FF6 some difficulty is nice lol. Still really enjoying the Sphere grid, and I like it even more at this point in the game as some of my characters are starting to get the abilities of others. In a weird way the Sphere Grid almost feels like a game of it's own. I feel like I can just sit there and spend at least 10 to 15 minutes looking through my upcoming abilities and which branch I want to take next.

Story wise the themes of this game just get darker and darker. Without getting into spoiler territory this cast of characters might be my favorite in an FF game (funny to say this coming off FF6 where I said the same thing lol). I love how much attention to detail was put into the world and how well thought out it is. The world is great and in a weird way the world itself kinda feels like a character. The characters themselves are great and I really love how different and unique each one of them is.

I'll likely be done with this game by the end of the week so I look forward to finishing it.
 
OP
OP
FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,343
0
Well Underworld: Ascendant was a complete bust so I've been drowning my sorrows in retrospective videos about Ultima Underworld. As I was doing so, it occurred to me that many on this forum and in this thread specifically might not even be aware of what Ultima Underworld is or why the game is such a big deal, so I decided to do a little writeup about it. Anyone else who has good memories of the game feel free to contribute as well.



There are a handful of games that you could make a case for being the most important game ever made, and in my view four of them are in the Ultima series alone (for the record those are Ultima IV, Ultima VII, Ultima Underworld, and Ultima Online). Of those four, Underworld is the game that has perhaps had the most pervasive influence. Put succinctly, Underworld is the first game to really tackle the concept of representing a gaming experience as if it were actually happening and not merely through the abstraction of "being a video game."

What do I mean by this. Well, consider the following:

You are deeply embroiled in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign with your beloved colleagues at the local game store. As your party of adventurers carefully descends deeper and deeper into some godforsaken, ruined dungeon, you eventually come across a locked wooden door.

A very simple setup. Now think about this scenario, except this time it happens in a video game. Let's say, Dark Souls. You come across a locked wooden door in a dungeon. You press a button to "interact" with it. Text flashes on the screen informing you that the door is locked. Naturally, you should go find the key.

But wait...why? Why do I need a key to unlock this door? I have fire - why don't I just burn the door down? I have an axe - why not just chop it apart? Why not use this transformation spell to turn the door into a chair or something?

That, in a nutshell, is the difference between tabletop role-playing and video game role-playing. Because a video game is a closed system, specific problems often have specific solutions. Games aren't necessarily designed to account for all the things that should make sense, but rather - either through a lack of budget, a lack of technology, or just a lack of caring - games often only account for the things that make sense in the context of the game itself. In other words, to continue from the scenario above, tabletop gaming is a simulation of coming across a locked wooden door in a dungeon; it is a fully-fleshed out scenario in which you think not about what you need to do in this campaign, but rather what you would actually do. You might go find a key, sure, but maybe you kick the door down instead, or burn it down, or transform that rat scurrying on the ground into the key. Many video games are, in contrast, an approximation of coming across that same door; they convey the general effect of the obstacle in front of you (i.e. this locked door stops you from progressing), but provide one tailor-made solution to control the flow of progress (i.e. go find the key to this door).

The reason why Ultima Underworld is so significant (and more importantly, why it's just very fun to play) is because it is the first RPG to abandon the "gamification" of video game RPGs and instead develop a set of systems that allows it to simulate and not approximate. The entire game is built upon one simple, seemingly obvious, but really quite brilliant premise: "What would it actually be like to be in this dungeon?" Every single thing in Underworld ties back into that central question, that central ambition of creating a world that is simultaneously fantastical but also obsessively predicated on the same physics, logic, and common sense that reality is. In Underworld, you can just bust the wooden door down with an axe, screw going to find the key. If you're in a brawl at the tavern, you can leap up onto the table to get a more advantageous position in the fight. You will be in a really bad position if you go wandering around too far and forget that you need to eat food - after all, you can't just "forget to eat" in real life. It all makes sense. Funnily enough, these incredibly detailed and complex subsystems create an experience that is extremely intuitive, because you don't have to learn what Underworld specifically wants from you. It creates no layers of abstraction from reality, like guessing what your professor wants you to say on an exam. It just wants you to do what you would really do were you shuffling around the Stygian Abyss. The game doesn't have its own logic; its logic is that of the real world. If it would work in reality, it'll probably work here - and vice versa.

I think it's literally impossible to overstate how important this shift in design philosophy was, and we see the DNA of Underworld in so many games nowadays. In direct successors like System Shock, Dishonored, Deus Ex, yes, but also in later WRPGs like The Elder Scrolls, in open-world games like Breath of the Wild, in survival games like Rust and Subnautica...hell, the current "Big Thing" is Red Dead Redemption II, which likewise owes an enormous debt to Underworld's pioneering work in systems-driven realism. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, it is to verisimilitude in video games what Ulysses was to literature in the early 20th-century; a nuclear blast that tore down artificial genre conventions and returned to the root of "holding a mirror up to nature," rather than going down an increasingly deep rabbit hole of abstraction from reality.

And ultimately, setting Underworld's conceptual brilliance and historical importance aside, the game's rock-solid design just makes it a joy to play. There is a reason why it birthed the genre that came to be known as the "immersive" sim; because the game is immersive as hell, the meticulous craftsmanship that went into the world of the Stygian Abyss creates an atmosphere of methodical exploration and constant wonder that can still go toe-to-toe with modern games, even after 26 years of technological innovation. There is a stunning variety of quests and NPC interactions, there are entire cultures that inhabit different areas of the Abyss and have unique relationships with one another, there is nefarious puzzle-solving, there is tense combat, interesting themes, virtually infinite replayability. It is a shining example of a game so far ahead of its time that it is effectively timeless.

As a player I'm usually drawn more to concepts and ideas than I am to specific experiences, so I didn't include much of my own Underworld playthroughs here (and partially I don't want to spoil too much of it, though that's a bit hard to do since every playthrough can be different in dramatic ways). It is a game that everyone should play though, because it is both massively entertaining and massively significant, like all true classics are.
 
Oct 27, 2017
471
0
Well Underworld: Ascendant was a complete bust so I've been drowning my sorrows in retrospective videos about Ultima Underworld. As I was doing so, it occurred to me that many on this forum and in this thread specifically might not even be aware of what Ultima Underworld is or why the game is such a big deal, so I decided to do a little writeup about it. Anyone else who has good memories of the game feel free to contribute as well.



There are a handful of games that you could make a case for being the most important game ever made, and in my view four of them are in the Ultima series alone (for the record those are Ultima IV, Ultima VII, Ultima Underworld, and Ultima Online). Of those four, Underworld is the game that has perhaps had the most pervasive influence. Put succinctly, Underworld is the first game to really tackle the concept of representing a gaming experience as if it were actually happening and not merely through the abstraction of "being a video game."

What do I mean by this. Well, consider the following:

You are deeply embroiled in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign with your beloved colleagues at the local game store. As your party of adventurers carefully descends deeper and deeper into some godforsaken, ruined dungeon, you eventually come across a locked wooden door.

A very simple setup. Now think about this scenario, except this time it happens in a video game. Let's say, Dark Souls. You come across a locked wooden door in a dungeon. You press a button to "interact" with it. Text flashes on the screen informing you that the door is locked. Naturally, you should go find the key.

But wait...why? Why do I need a key to unlock this door? I have fire - why don't I just burn the door down? I have an axe - why not just chop it apart? Why not use this transformation spell to turn the door into a chair or something?

That, in a nutshell, is the difference between tabletop role-playing and video game role-playing. Because a video game is a closed system, specific problems often have specific solutions. Games aren't necessarily designed to account for all the things that should make sense, but rather - either through a lack of budget, a lack of technology, or just a lack of caring - games often only account for the things that make sense in the context of the game itself. In other words, to continue from the scenario above, tabletop gaming is a simulation of coming across a locked wooden door in a dungeon; it is a fully-fleshed out scenario in which you think not about what you need to do in this campaign, but rather what you would actually do. You might go find a key, sure, but maybe you kick the door down instead, or burn it down, or transform that rat scurrying on the ground into the key. Many video games are, in contrast, an approximation of coming across that same door; they convey the general effect of the obstacle in front of you (i.e. this locked door stops you from progressing), but provide one tailor-made solution to control the flow of progress (i.e. go find the key to this door).

The reason why Ultima Underworld is so significant (and more importantly, why it's just very fun to play) is because it is the first RPG to abandon the "gamification" of video game RPGs and instead develop a set of systems that allows it to simulate and not approximate. The entire game is built upon one simple, seemingly obvious, but really quite brilliant premise: "What would it actually be like to be in this dungeon?" Every single thing in Underworld ties back into that central question, that central ambition of creating a world that is simultaneously fantastical but also obsessively predicated on the same physics, logic, and common sense that reality is. In Underworld, you can just bust the wooden door down with an axe, screw going to find the key. If you're in a brawl at the tavern, you can leap up onto the table to get a more advantageous position in the fight. You will be in a really bad position if you go wandering around too far and forget that you need to eat food - after all, you can't just "forget to eat" in real life. It all makes sense. Funnily enough, these incredibly detailed and complex subsystems create an experience that is extremely intuitive, because you don't have to learn what Underworld specifically wants from you. It creates no layers of abstraction from reality, like guessing what your professor wants you to say on an exam. It just wants you to do what you would really do were you shuffling around the Stygian Abyss. The game doesn't have its own logic; its logic is that of the real world. If it would work in reality, it'll probably work here - and vice versa.

I think it's literally impossible to overstate how important this shift in design philosophy was, and we see the DNA of Underworld in so many games nowadays. In direct successors like System Shock, Dishonored, Deus Ex, yes, but also in later WRPGs like The Elder Scrolls, in open-world games like Breath of the Wild, in survival games like Rust and Subnautica...hell, the current "Big Thing" is Red Dead Redemption II, which likewise owes an enormous debt to Underworld's pioneering work in systems-driven realism. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, it is to verisimilitude in video games what Ulysses was to literature in the early 20th-century; a nuclear blast that tore down artificial genre conventions and returned to the root of "holding a mirror up to nature," rather than going down an increasingly deep rabbit hole of abstraction from reality.

And ultimately, setting Underworld's conceptual brilliance and historical importance aside, the game's rock-solid design just makes it a joy to play. There is a reason why it birthed the genre that came to be known as the "immersive" sim; because the game is immersive as hell, the meticulous craftsmanship that went into the world of the Stygian Abyss creates an atmosphere of methodical exploration and constant wonder that can still go toe-to-toe with modern games, even after 26 years of technological innovation. There is a stunning variety of quests and NPC interactions, there are entire cultures that inhabit different areas of the Abyss and have unique relationships with one another, there is nefarious puzzle-solving, there is tense combat, interesting themes, virtually infinite replayability. It is a shining example of a game so far ahead of its time that it is effectively timeless.

As a player I'm usually drawn more to concepts and ideas than I am to specific experiences, so I didn't include much of my own Underworld playthroughs here (and partially I don't want to spoil too much of it, though that's a bit hard to do since every playthrough can be different in dramatic ways). It is a game that everyone should play though, because it is both massively entertaining and massively significant, like all true classics are.

Hell of a write-up, FiveSide. I haven't played UU, but at this point I'm more likely to play the original they most of the successors you mentioned (barring the Deus Ex games, I have playthroughs of those planned out soon).
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,493
0
Well Underworld: Ascendant was a complete bust so I've been drowning my sorrows in retrospective videos about Ultima Underworld. As I was doing so, it occurred to me that many on this forum and in this thread specifically might not even be aware of what Ultima Underworld is or why the game is such a big deal, so I decided to do a little writeup about it. Anyone else who has good memories of the game feel free to contribute as well.



There are a handful of games that you could make a case for being the most important game ever made, and in my view four of them are in the Ultima series alone (for the record those are Ultima IV, Ultima VII, Ultima Underworld, and Ultima Online). Of those four, Underworld is the game that has perhaps had the most pervasive influence. Put succinctly, Underworld is the first game to really tackle the concept of representing a gaming experience as if it were actually happening and not merely through the abstraction of "being a video game."

What do I mean by this. Well, consider the following:

You are deeply embroiled in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign with your beloved colleagues at the local game store. As your party of adventurers carefully descends deeper and deeper into some godforsaken, ruined dungeon, you eventually come across a locked wooden door.

A very simple setup. Now think about this scenario, except this time it happens in a video game. Let's say, Dark Souls. You come across a locked wooden door in a dungeon. You press a button to "interact" with it. Text flashes on the screen informing you that the door is locked. Naturally, you should go find the key.

But wait...why? Why do I need a key to unlock this door? I have fire - why don't I just burn the door down? I have an axe - why not just chop it apart? Why not use this transformation spell to turn the door into a chair or something?

That, in a nutshell, is the difference between tabletop role-playing and video game role-playing. Because a video game is a closed system, specific problems often have specific solutions. Games aren't necessarily designed to account for all the things that should make sense, but rather - either through a lack of budget, a lack of technology, or just a lack of caring - games often only account for the things that make sense in the context of the game itself. In other words, to continue from the scenario above, tabletop gaming is a simulation of coming across a locked wooden door in a dungeon; it is a fully-fleshed out scenario in which you think not about what you need to do in this campaign, but rather what you would actually do. You might go find a key, sure, but maybe you kick the door down instead, or burn it down, or transform that rat scurrying on the ground into the key. Many video games are, in contrast, an approximation of coming across that same door; they convey the general effect of the obstacle in front of you (i.e. this locked door stops you from progressing), but provide one tailor-made solution to control the flow of progress (i.e. go find the key to this door).

The reason why Ultima Underworld is so significant (and more importantly, why it's just very fun to play) is because it is the first RPG to abandon the "gamification" of video game RPGs and instead develop a set of systems that allows it to simulate and not approximate. The entire game is built upon one simple, seemingly obvious, but really quite brilliant premise: "What would it actually be like to be in this dungeon?" Every single thing in Underworld ties back into that central question, that central ambition of creating a world that is simultaneously fantastical but also obsessively predicated on the same physics, logic, and common sense that reality is. In Underworld, you can just bust the wooden door down with an axe, screw going to find the key. If you're in a brawl at the tavern, you can leap up onto the table to get a more advantageous position in the fight. You will be in a really bad position if you go wandering around too far and forget that you need to eat food - after all, you can't just "forget to eat" in real life. It all makes sense. Funnily enough, these incredibly detailed and complex subsystems create an experience that is extremely intuitive, because you don't have to learn what Underworld specifically wants from you. It creates no layers of abstraction from reality, like guessing what your professor wants you to say on an exam. It just wants you to do what you would really do were you shuffling around the Stygian Abyss. The game doesn't have its own logic; its logic is that of the real world. If it would work in reality, it'll probably work here - and vice versa.

I think it's literally impossible to overstate how important this shift in design philosophy was, and we see the DNA of Underworld in so many games nowadays. In direct successors like System Shock, Dishonored, Deus Ex, yes, but also in later WRPGs like The Elder Scrolls, in open-world games like Breath of the Wild, in survival games like Rust and Subnautica...hell, the current "Big Thing" is Red Dead Redemption II, which likewise owes an enormous debt to Underworld's pioneering work in systems-driven realism. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, it is to verisimilitude in video games what Ulysses was to literature in the early 20th-century; a nuclear blast that tore down artificial genre conventions and returned to the root of "holding a mirror up to nature," rather than going down an increasingly deep rabbit hole of abstraction from reality.

And ultimately, setting Underworld's conceptual brilliance and historical importance aside, the game's rock-solid design just makes it a joy to play. There is a reason why it birthed the genre that came to be known as the "immersive" sim; because the game is immersive as hell, the meticulous craftsmanship that went into the world of the Stygian Abyss creates an atmosphere of methodical exploration and constant wonder that can still go toe-to-toe with modern games, even after 26 years of technological innovation. There is a stunning variety of quests and NPC interactions, there are entire cultures that inhabit different areas of the Abyss and have unique relationships with one another, there is nefarious puzzle-solving, there is tense combat, interesting themes, virtually infinite replayability. It is a shining example of a game so far ahead of its time that it is effectively timeless.

As a player I'm usually drawn more to concepts and ideas than I am to specific experiences, so I didn't include much of my own Underworld playthroughs here (and partially I don't want to spoil too much of it, though that's a bit hard to do since every playthrough can be different in dramatic ways). It is a game that everyone should play though, because it is both massively entertaining and massively significant, like all true classics are.
Yup I've said it many times, Underworld is one of the most important games of all time. In addition to all the gameplay innovations it was also the biggest technological leap forward any single game has made in history. This game predates Wolfenstein 3d, yet has full 3d environments, a physics simulation, dynamic lighting, the ability to jump swim and fly, a fully alive world ecology with dozens of independent entities all doing their own thing, and a million other little insane things. In 1992.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,894
0
FiveSide You should consider posting this as a thread. I know it might not get a lot of attention, but probably more than it'll get in here.
I just replayed the game in January, but I already want to go through it again. Underworld Ascendant is such a god damned bummer.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,894
0
Bard's Tale 4 got a patch today that adds grid movement mode, saving anywhere, respeccing, among many other things. Can't wait to try it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,511
0
Austria
Man, Underworld bums me out.
I really had some hopes for that game but it looks just.......bad

Disco Elysium (great name btw) still doesn't have a release date, does it? Feel like that's the next RPG for me.
 

Tenrius

For the Snark was a Boojum, you see
Member
Oct 25, 2017
292
0
I'm really enjoying Pathfinder: Kingmaker, but the loading times are killing me on my older PC. Especially since there are some truly unnecessary loading screens! For example, you can't go to the world map straight from your manor — you have to go outside, go through the town and only then go the world map.

I also have to get back to Valkyrie Profile 2 — stopped a while back somewhere in the first optional dungeon.
 
Last edited:
Oct 25, 2017
2,894
0
I'm about 20 hours into Bard's Tale 4 and I still love it. At this point, I'm pretty certain that I'm past whatever point that people kept telling me it fell off of a cliff. I'm really not sure where that comes from. It's not perfect, but there's so much to love here. The soundtrack, the combat system, the voice acting, the party banter, and I think the general aesthetic is great too. Some things might be a bit shallower than I'd like, such as the puzzle weapon system or the amount of skills, but it's fun. I appreciate how each pack of enemies mixes it up a bit. I think choosing to make each pack pre-set and not respawn in this game does it a lot of favors.

I know the game had performance issues at release, and it still doesn't run perfectly for me, but it's clear that after four major patches, it's in a pretty good state. In an era where we've seen a bunch of attempted revivals of older properties, many of which have missed the mark entirely, I really feel like this is one of the more successful ones, and it easily allows me to forget that the 2004 game exists.

I admittedly went in with very guarded expectations, but I've not been this pleasantly surprised by a game in quite a while.
 
Dec 26, 2017
176
0
So I just started playing Tyranny, since it was on Steam sale a few weeks back. After this I wanted to switch over to playing Pillars of Eternity since I've heard nothing but great things about them. I will say, I do hope the pathfinding and companion AI is better in PoE. It is SO frustrating in Tyranny watching my primary healer run in place and not do anything when they get blocked off. :( Is the AI or pathfinding any better in PoE? Or should I just accept that I need to put up with that sort of jank and work around it?
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,493
0
So I just started playing Tyranny, since it was on Steam sale a few weeks back. After this I wanted to switch over to playing Pillars of Eternity since I've heard nothing but great things about them. I will say, I do hope the pathfinding and companion AI is better in PoE. It is SO frustrating in Tyranny watching my primary healer run in place and not do anything when they get blocked off. :( Is the AI or pathfinding any better in PoE? Or should I just accept that I need to put up with that sort of jank and work around it?
That's something you'll have to live with in pretty much any real time with pause combat RPG.
 
OP
OP
FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,343
0
So I just started playing Tyranny, since it was on Steam sale a few weeks back. After this I wanted to switch over to playing Pillars of Eternity since I've heard nothing but great things about them. I will say, I do hope the pathfinding and companion AI is better in PoE. It is SO frustrating in Tyranny watching my primary healer run in place and not do anything when they get blocked off. :( Is the AI or pathfinding any better in PoE? Or should I just accept that I need to put up with that sort of jank and work around it?
Yea this is one of my problems with RTwP which is one of my least-favorite RPG combat systems, CRPG or otherwise. Maybe I just suck at CRPGs (this is indeed very possible lol) but managing menus, inventories, selecting spells, selecting targets etc. is hard enough as it is, I don't want to do it in quasi-real-time and then also deal with making sure pathfinding doesn't bork out.

Yea I know the point is that you pause to set things up and go back to RT to let them execute, but at that point why not just get rid of the RT clusterfuck/jank and go turn-based anyway? It's no coincidence that D:OS2 and Age of Decadence are my two favorite modern CRPGs (well, they have other strengths besides the combat to be sure, especially Age of Decadence).

That being said, I did pick up PoE2 because it was peanuts on CDKeys, and I just bought Tyranny in the sale so...maybe I'll find some new modern favorites.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,346
0
I love RTwP, but I never borther with the A.I.
Having full control is pretty important when playing on the hardest setting, possibly with mods to make it even harder.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,894
0
A gambit system like FF12 is one of the reasons I was excited for Pillars of Eternity 2. It wasn't functional for me at release so I put it down. Not sure when I'll get back to that game at this point.
 
Nov 8, 2017
2,612
0
Ohio
okay fam, little backstory:

When I was younger a game called Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure for PS1 came out. I remember reading about it in PSM and EGM and probably GamePro as well but I'm not 100% sure. Anyway, I wanted it badly. I'm not really sure why, maybe I thought it was cute looking, maybe I liked the idea of a musical RPG, I'm not sure, all I know was that I wanted it bad. I never got it.

Today I bought the game for DS without knowing anything about it. I basically forgot all about the game (which is why I've never tracked down a copy for PS1). I had MGS 3D in my hand ready to pay when I saw it behind the counter, it was lying on a pile of 360 games and some strategy guides. I asked the guy how much it was and after looking it up told me it was $15.99, the same price as MGS 3D. So, I swapped the games and now I'm home. I'm in the process of moving and as such my DS is packed up but I just wanted to know, without spoilers, what y'all think of this game. I think I have 7 days to return it and can always get something else so don't hold back. Is it worth a playthrough for someone that wanted to play it all those years ago?

Should I track down a PS1 copy instead? Should I return it? Should I destroy it so no one else can ever play it? Should I quit playing RDR2, dig out the DS and start now? What say you RPG Era?

*Edit: Just looked at the back of the case and it looks like you battle a stack of flapjacks. Complete with syrup and butter. How can this game not be good?
 
OP
OP
FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,343
0
Programmable macros in RTwP games is such a clear improvement that it boggles my mind every RTwP game doesn't include it. It's like being able to walk away from NPCs as they talk in Chrono Trigger - such an obvious, decisive improvement that everyone should implement, and yet they don't. Makes me sad...

okay fam, little backstory:

When I was younger a game called Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure for PS1 came out. I remember reading about it in PSM and EGM and probably GamePro as well but I'm not 100% sure. Anyway, I wanted it badly. I'm not really sure why, maybe I thought it was cute looking, maybe I liked the idea of a musical RPG, I'm not sure, all I know was that I wanted it bad. I never got it.

Today I bought the game for DS without knowing anything about it. I basically forgot all about the game (which is why I've never tracked down a copy for PS1). I had MGS 3D in my hand ready to pay when I saw it behind the counter, it was lying on a pile of 360 games and some strategy guides. I asked the guy how much it was and after looking it up told me it was $15.99, the same price as MGS 3D. So, I swapped the games and now I'm home. I'm in the process of moving and as such my DS is packed up but I just wanted to know, without spoilers, what y'all think of this game. I think I have 7 days to return it and can always get something else so don't hold back. Is it worth a playthrough for someone that wanted to play it all those years ago?

Should I track down a PS1 copy instead? Should I return it? Should I destroy it so no one else can ever play it? Should I quit playing RDR2, dig out the DS and start now? What say you RPG Era?

*Edit: Just looked at the back of the case and it looks like you battle a stack of flapjacks. Complete with syrup and butter. How can this game not be good?
Well, Rhapsody is...eh it's serviceable imo. I think there is intrinsic value though in going back and finally playing something that you wanted to play as a kid though. I did that with a number of outright crappy games like Alundra 2 (lol). Would it be worth playing otherwise? Hell no. But at the same time it did feel good taking care of unfinished business like that.

So I say keep it on DS (my understanding is that the DS version has some positives and negatives but overall isn't markedly worse than the PS1 version).

Only tangentially related but I didn't like RDR2 at all either, I'd recommend saving the 40+ hours that takes to beat and investing elsewhere. Like in Ultima Underworld!
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,511
0
Austria
So I just bought all of Neverwinter Nights since it's on sale for like 14€ on Steam.
I have no illusions that I'm ever going to even finish the main game but might as well go big.
I think NWN was the first cRPG I ever played and I was thoroughly confused by everything and only bought the game because I thought it was similar to Gothic 2 for some reason.
All I remember is:
A. having a kick ass Hellhound as a sidekick
B. Running around a burning town looking for a basilisk

I don't know if any of this actually is in the game but I think it will be fun to find out.
 
Nov 8, 2017
2,612
0
Ohio
Programmable macros in RTwP games is such a clear improvement that it boggles my mind every RTwP game doesn't include it. It's like being able to walk away from NPCs as they talk in Chrono Trigger - such an obvious, decisive improvement that everyone should implement, and yet they don't. Makes me sad...


Well, Rhapsody is...eh it's serviceable imo. I think there is intrinsic value though in going back and finally playing something that you wanted to play as a kid though. I did that with a number of outright crappy games like Alundra 2 (lol). Would it be worth playing otherwise? Hell no. But at the same time it did feel good taking care of unfinished business like that.

So I say keep it on DS (my understanding is that the DS version has some positives and negatives but overall isn't markedly worse than the PS1 version).

Only tangentially related but I didn't like RDR2 at all either, I'd recommend saving the 40+ hours that takes to beat and investing elsewhere. Like in Ultima Underworld!
thanks for the reply! I'll likely play it once I get to my new place.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,442
0
Got through chapter seven and made it deep into chapter eight since I last posted.

Chapter seven was fairly straightforward and to the point. A certain boss was kind of shocking at first--I died before I could move the first couple of times, even after rearranging my accessories to (imperfectly) counter its instant-death and stone status effects (okay, i never tried emergency puppets or whatever their name is :P). That fight was kind of crazy. The rest of them were satisfying but not overly intimidating.

I'm talking the first Renne fight

Chapter eight is strange. I think I've reached its climatic event (haven't done said event yet though)

It is pretty neat seeing Liberl in a state of dysfunction without orbal technology--a lot of nice touches, like the darkened tunnel, the ferry to get around the raised bridge, or just all the heal points no longer functioning. The whole "you lose your zero generators as you progress" conceit is interesting too: I ended up doing all the road monsters before turning in the final two, even if that meant I had to double back. Really glad I did. I don't want to think about the crab boss with only one caster. Well, not so bad i guess outside clearing the first wave of crabs! (even then if Joshua could black fang them at the outset...) but still, magic was really helpful in the mines, e.g. it helped kill the crabs fast before they killed miners.

It is a decent amount of padding, however, and puts the breaks on the increased pace of the game post chapter 5. Still quite neat.
 

Tenrius

For the Snark was a Boojum, you see
Member
Oct 25, 2017
292
0
So I just bought all of Neverwinter Nights since it's on sale for like 14€ on Steam.
I have no illusions that I'm ever going to even finish the main game but might as well go big.
I think NWN was the first cRPG I ever played and I was thoroughly confused by everything and only bought the game because I thought it was similar to Gothic 2 for some reason.
All I remember is:
A. having a kick ass Hellhound as a sidekick
B. Running around a burning town looking for a basilisk

I don't know if any of this actually is in the game but I think it will be fun to find out.
Woah, I didn't realize it was on sale. Thanks, bought it as well. Original campaign aside, it should be pretty good from what I understand.
 
Oct 25, 2017
259
0
playthispodcast.com
okay fam, little backstory:

When I was younger a game called Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure for PS1 came out. I remember reading about it in PSM and EGM and probably GamePro as well but I'm not 100% sure. Anyway, I wanted it badly. I'm not really sure why, maybe I thought it was cute looking, maybe I liked the idea of a musical RPG, I'm not sure, all I know was that I wanted it bad. I never got it.

Today I bought the game for DS without knowing anything about it. I basically forgot all about the game (which is why I've never tracked down a copy for PS1). I had MGS 3D in my hand ready to pay when I saw it behind the counter, it was lying on a pile of 360 games and some strategy guides. I asked the guy how much it was and after looking it up told me it was $15.99, the same price as MGS 3D. So, I swapped the games and now I'm home. I'm in the process of moving and as such my DS is packed up but I just wanted to know, without spoilers, what y'all think of this game. I think I have 7 days to return it and can always get something else so don't hold back. Is it worth a playthrough for someone that wanted to play it all those years ago?

Should I track down a PS1 copy instead? Should I return it? Should I destroy it so no one else can ever play it? Should I quit playing RDR2, dig out the DS and start now? What say you RPG Era?

*Edit: Just looked at the back of the case and it looks like you battle a stack of flapjacks. Complete with syrup and butter. How can this game not be good?
I have a soft spot for Rhapsody. It's a game that is utterly oozing with charm.

Unfortunately, I think the DS version loses a significant amount of that charm. The battle system is simplified (and made more boring), and the so-bad-it's-good dub has been removed. In fact, there's no dub at all, and all the songs are sung in Japanese.

If you have a way to get the PS1 version for cheap, I'd highly recommend that one instead. However, the PS1 version typically isn't cheap at all, so. Between an inferior version of Rhapsody and an inferior version of MGS 3, the former might be a more unique and interesting experience. If you're cool with a subbed musical with Japanese vocals, I can think of a worse use of 16 bucks.
 
Nov 8, 2017
2,612
0
Ohio
I have a soft spot for Rhapsody. It's a game that is utterly oozing with charm.

Unfortunately, I think the DS version loses a significant amount of that charm. The battle system is simplified (and made more boring), and the so-bad-it's-good dub has been removed. In fact, there's no dub at all, and all the songs are sung in Japanese.

If you have a way to get the PS1 version for cheap, I'd highly recommend that one instead. However, the PS1 version typically isn't cheap at all, so. Between an inferior version of Rhapsody and an inferior version of MGS 3, the former might be a more unique and interesting experience. If you're cool with a subbed musical with Japanese vocals, I can think of a worse use of 16 bucks.
woah, yeah that ps1 copy goes for quite a bit now. I might pull the DS out of a box and give it a go for a couple of hours. See how it plays out. Thanks for the input.
 
Oct 30, 2017
15
0
A gambit system like FF12 is one of the reasons I was excited for Pillars of Eternity 2. It wasn't functional for me at release so I put it down. Not sure when I'll get back to that game at this point.
I probably enjoyed FFXII much more than most people and a big part of that was the gambit system. Dragon Age Origins used a similar system and I thought that was great as well. I prefer turn based over rtwp, but if you gave me something similar to a gambit system they’d probably rate about the same for me. I feel like it would make the console conversions more appealing also.
 
Nov 8, 2017
2,612
0
Ohio
So I went ahead and started playing Rhapsody, played just over an hour I think. Got past the intro and a little into Ch.1.

So far I really like the characters. They have a lot of charm and are super over the top, I loved that stuff when I was younger. The writing is a product of it's time but there are some pretty funny moments. The battles are super easy though, I don't know if it gets any more challenging later on or not and I would keep playing but there is one thing holding me back...

There isn't any sound effects, like what? Hit an enemy, nothing. Open a chest, nothing. Open a door, nothing. It's just music playing the entire time. I never thought I'd miss sound effects but holy crap does it make a huge difference. I honestly feel like I'm playing a broken game or something and it might hold me back from playing anymore.

Does anyone know if this is just a DS port issue or if the PS1 game had the same problem?

I also wish the singing was available in English as well. I'm reading the game in English and then all of a sudden they're singing in Japanese.

You were pretty spot on Thores, I think I'll hold off until I get a copy on Playstation.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,304
0
Against better judgement, I booted up Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader. The game does get bad later on, but I always enjoy the early game parts. I easily rate that part as top tier rpg goodness. Such a shame that the game couldn't maintain its quality all the way through.
 
Oct 25, 2017
259
0
playthispodcast.com
So I went ahead and started playing Rhapsody, played just over an hour I think. Got past the intro and a little into Ch.1.

So far I really like the characters. They have a lot of charm and are super over the top, I loved that stuff when I was younger. The writing is a product of it's time but there are some pretty funny moments. The battles are super easy though, I don't know if it gets any more challenging later on or not and I would keep playing but there is one thing holding me back...

There isn't any sound effects, like what? Hit an enemy, nothing. Open a chest, nothing. Open a door, nothing. It's just music playing the entire time. I never thought I'd miss sound effects but holy crap does it make a huge difference. I honestly feel like I'm playing a broken game or something and it might hold me back from playing anymore.

Does anyone know if this is just a DS port issue or if the PS1 game had the same problem?

I also wish the singing was available in English as well. I'm reading the game in English and then all of a sudden they're singing in Japanese.

You were pretty spot on Thores, I think I'll hold off until I get a copy on Playstation.
PS1 version DEFINITELY has sound effects.

If you enjoy what you've enjoyed so far, I'd say eventually getting your hands on the PS1 version is absolutely worth it! The game feels really overlooked these days. It has its flaws and probably hasn't aged well in some ways, but it's something special and unique.
 

Seda

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,530
0
I finished a (re) playthough of Dark Cloud 2. This is one of those games that is sometimes considered wholly superior to its predecessor, but I don't quite agree with that sentiment. It *does* make some significant improvements, namely with weapon upgrading mechanics and softening of some systems like thirst and weapon breaking. But it also makes several changes or additions that don't improve on what was already there.

-It's a kitchen sink game. There are so many subsystems inserted that don't quite gel together. Golf, photos/inventions, monster transformation, fishing/races, NPC recruitment, medal challenges.

-It's a much more talky game - more dialogue and cutscenes, but the story itself isn't exactly compelling. I feel it loses some of the basic simplicity of the original. It's also a much longer game in general. More floors and such and it's prone to overstaying its welcome.

-The Georama system is a downgrade overall. It's less a puzzle and more freeform, but it requires you to actually farm for certain items to make the various items or buildings. I much preferred the more confined approach of the original where it was trickier to try to appease the various people in the town and try to achieve 100% satisfaction. That aspect is much more dilute in the sequel.

-The music is weaker

I don't dislike the game I would have just preferred it stayed a bit more focused.
 
Oct 25, 2017
138
0
I'm really enjoy Pathfinder: Kingmaker, but the loading times are killing me on my older PC. Especially since there are some truly unnecessary loading screens! For example, you can't go to the world map straight from your manor — you have to go outside, go through the town and only then go the world map.

I also have to get back to Valkyrie Profile 2 — stopped a while back somewhere in the first optional dungeon.
Did you get a substantial performance improvement from the major patch of Kingfinder (1.1)? I upgraded my PC in between playing before and after the patch, so I have no idea what's attributable to PC changes vs game changes.

The loading times definitely are pretty rough - pre-1.1 I was seeing minutes to load up initially, and often 40-45 seconds for some loading screens (which as you said - totally unnecessary, a shortcut from the throneroom to world map would substantially improve things).

I'm planning to start up Dragon Quest III on mobile since most of my free time tends to be short bursts throughout the day. I played the GBC version a little, so I have some familiarity with the "new" features, but haven't played it in years. Thinking my initial party will be MC/Priest/?/Gadabout, where I haven't figured out what ? will be - merchant or thief seem useful, but I don't know whether they're useful enough to merit replacing a proper frontliner.
 

Tenrius

For the Snark was a Boojum, you see
Member
Oct 25, 2017
292
0
Did you get a substantial performance improvement from the major patch of Kingfinder (1.1)? I upgraded my PC in between playing before and after the patch, so I have no idea what's attributable to PC changes vs game changes.

The loading times definitely are pretty rough - pre-1.1 I was seeing minutes to load up initially, and often 40-45 seconds for some loading screens (which as you said - totally unnecessary, a shortcut from the throneroom to world map would substantially improve things).

I'm planning to start up Dragon Quest III on mobile since most of my free time tends to be short bursts throughout the day. I played the GBC version a little, so I have some familiarity with the "new" features, but haven't played it in years. Thinking my initial party will be MC/Priest/?/Gadabout, where I haven't figured out what ? will be - merchant or thief seem useful, but I don't know whether they're useful enough to merit replacing a proper frontliner.
I only resumed my playthrough some time affter 1.1, but I it looks like there's some improvement. The title screen used to take like 3-4 minutes and now it's maybe a minute. Most regular loading sreens take 1-2 minute while loading the game from the title screen is like 3 minutes. It used to be like 30% longer pre-1.1 from what I remember

For the reference, this is on a 2013 Windows laptop with Core i7, 8 GB of RAM and a 750M graphics card. I think it's mostly the HDD as the game loads a lot faster on my Macbook Air
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,442
0
Why didn't you ever talk about Mother 1 on the discord? I would have greatly preferred that over all of the Kingdom Hearts fanxiety.
The Blitz channel has some of this talk, including Mother 1 talk.

....

Just finished Trails in the Sky SC. Phew. Took longer than I anticipated between finishing chapter eight and the finale. Quite the game. Because of the way I did this I still haven't talked about the end of chapter 8 in here even :P.

So I left off above right before the event in Grancel that closed chapter 8. That was interesting with only one arts user, but not wasn't as scary as it sounded, even when those helicopters showed up.

But the main thing I didn't talk about was the return of Olivier! So glad to have him back. I was kind of surprised that it seemed for a bit Olivier harbored conquest ambitions but he's a strange fellow and it was unclear how his layers would be peeled back but...I am glad he came back to me and I got to use him. Didn't end up taking him to the boss--took Kevin instead--but he was my main mage/support/healer in FC and I'm quite fond of him.

It was also interesting because it was clearly laying the groundwork for things outside of TitS and setting up a basic political conflict in Erebonia and tying it back into Ouroboros.

The Finale was quite meaty, as I said. There was a noticeable uptick in difficulty, which was fairly frightening wrt the bosses (the chest monsters weren't nearly as evil as in FC final dungeon though). Still, save one key boss--really the difficulty climax--it went relatively smoothly once I'd settle into a strategy. I'm kind of curious how this would have felt on normal mode--if the experience would've been less prolonged (shorter fights, easier to accomplish fights)?

It was nice getting the "ends" of the stories of the various enforcers and having a "real" fight with them. It was interesting how with the enforcers there were a couple of sympathetic twists to the story but also a further twist to cast them in a darker light and underlie their existence as your antagonist, e.g. Luciola, her feelings for Harvey, and her expressed lack of guilt for murdering him or Renne being addressed as not just the wounded confused child she is but as the bully she is. This builds to Joshua scolding Loewe and besting him in their fight, which draws on the earlier scene where Estelle did the same with Joshua on the beach. It is refreshing in the sense that sometimes in these things there is only overflowing pity for these antisocial characters but there is *something* of a check here.

I'm curious about what Loewe said to Kevin and the Graalsritter stuff. Kind of wonder if it comes up in 3rd because of the 3rd cover art :P. Glad Weissmann is dead (?!).

Glad Estelle and Joshua are wandering together :). Their last scene was good.

The Finales of these games remind me of Ys 1 so far but Falcom seems to have a thing with meaty end-game setting changes, into which you are sometimes locked.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,518
0
Why didn't you ever talk about Mother 1 on the discord? I would have greatly preferred that over all of the Kingdom Hearts fanxiety.
Haha, I kept it relegated to the blitz channel instead of the madness of general. I'll have a write-up for it this weekend I think.
 
Oct 27, 2017
134
0
I’m just about 2-3 hours into Mother as well, and I’ll probably have a lot to say about it once I’ve finished. First impressions are fantastic, though. Everything is so ridiculously charming and quirky, and the music has nearly brought me to tears several times.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,434
0
I hate the fact that I already know about
the whole main villain identity plot twist or w/e
in MOTHER 3, because it does seem like an incredibly charming game but I always have a hard time getting motivated to play a story-driven game I've been spoiled on.

I don't know anything about the first one and very little about the second one, though, so maybe I'll check them out some day. What's the best way to play them?
 
Oct 27, 2017
471
0
I hate the fact that I already know about
the whole main villain identity plot twist or w/e
in MOTHER 3, because it does seem like an incredibly charming game but I always have a hard time getting motivated to play a story-driven game I've been spoiled on.

I don't know anything about the first one and very little about the second one, though, so maybe I'll check them out some day. What's the best way to play them?

I just finished playing through the fan translation of the GBA version of Mother 1, since I was told it was the best way to play it. Just having the context button instead of having to select "Talk" or "Check" from the menu is a big deal.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,516
0
I’m just about 2-3 hours into Mother as well, and I’ll probably have a lot to say about it once I’ve finished. First impressions are fantastic, though. Everything is so ridiculously charming and quirky, and the music has nearly brought me to tears several times.
!!!!
I hate the fact that I already know about
the whole main villain identity plot twist or w/e
in MOTHER 3, because it does seem like an incredibly charming game but I always have a hard time getting motivated to play a story-driven game I've been spoiled on.

I don't know anything about the first one and very little about the second one, though, so maybe I'll check them out some day. What's the best way to play them?
That spoiler really shouldn't be much of a problem, I think a lot of people have it spoiled before playing but the game doesn't really keep it super secret either so it's fine.

Mother 1 is better played in its original NES version with the easy patch that spreads EXP evenly among party members and reduces encounter rate, or in the GBA one with the fan translation available, which I hear people like more than the official Nintendo translation and includes gear that enables the same effects as the easy patch by equipping it. Of course you can always just play it as is on Wii U too, the game is challenging but not agonizingly so.

Earthbound doesn't need any patches, just play on whatever platform you own it (it's on Wii U, 3DS, SNES classic...)
 
Little sad I missed the boat on the top 100 RPG thread...just completely overlooked it until now. I'm pretty happy with the list. I'm especially happy to see Panzer Dragoon Saga get some recognition. I struggle to think of an RPG that deserves a re-release more than it. I wrote a blog post about it some years ago that I've posted in various places on the web about how it changed my appreciation of gaming. It's not great writing, but I suppose I'll share it here as well if anyone is interested in a read:

My earliest memory of playing a video game was standing on a step-stool so I could reach the controls of my mother's "Mappy" arcade machine. As a child born in 1985, I grew up during the resurrection of the games industry. The NES was released in the US just one month before I was born. My favorite games included Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man. NES era platformers were all I knew of video games, and I had only the most limited experiences with adventure games like Zelda or RPGs like Final Fantasy. Those were the kinds of games my sister and I would rent for the weekend but never be able to make any real progress.

Moving forward to the early 90's, a neighborhood friend invited me over to his house to play games. He had just received this system called the Sega Genesis and a game called Sonic The Hedgehog for his birthday. I was hooked from the moment I saw it. It would be another year or two before I would get my own Genesis, but in that time I became a huge fan of the character. I would draw him, read his comics, and watch his TV show. A friend of mine even hand painted a Sonic The Hedgehog t-shirt for me. By the time I got my Genesis, I was already a Sega fanboy.

The games on the Genesis generally had a different feel than the ones found on the NES and Super Nintendo. Sega was all about the arcade experience. It was only ever an accident if I should happen across a legitimate RPG experience among the shmups, beat'em ups, fighting games, and platformers. I didn't even really know what a role playing game was. Going into the mid 1990's when my family bought a Sega Saturn, I really didn't even care. I had Virtua Fighter, Virtua Cop, Tomb Raider, and Panzer Dragoon.

Panzer Dragoon was another one of those game series I became obsessed with in my childhood. I would play it every day after school, memorizing enemy attack patterns and trying to obtain 100% shot down ratio on every episode. When Panzer Dragoon Zwei was released, I rented it so many times my parents finally decided it would be cheaper just to buy it. Again, every day was spent learning the best routes through the game and how to unlock the best evolutions. It became my favorite game.

I was not the only person in the household who played games on the Saturn. My younger brother was growing up fast, and my Step-father was enjoying games like Resident Evil and Tomb Raider. Unfortunately, the Sega Saturn was not popular enough to warrant release of the sequels to those series. This lead to the purchase of our first PlayStation, as well as the first RPG I had ever owned.

At the local Game Trader was a copy of Final Fantasy VII. The store clerk raved about the game, and my Step-Father and I had seen the commercials. The title "Final Fantasy" stirred up long forgotten memories of those weekends renting games. We bought into the hype and purchased a copy of the game and the BradyGames strategy Guide. I remember excitedly popping the game into the drive and watching the opening credits in full. "Wow." I thought. "This must be something really special." I selected "New Game" and watched the gorgeous opening cinematic, followed by one of the most exciting first acts in RPG history. My response to this? "Meh."

"Why do I go to a separate screen just to fight people?"
"Why can I not see the things that are attacking me before the battle starts?"
"Why do I have to select 'Attack' to attack?"
"Why is everything just standing around?"

I didn't get it, and after an hour or so of playing I decided the game wasn't for me. It would sit on the shelf and collect dust.

That was 1997. A year later in 1998 saw the third entry in one of my favorite series, Panzer Dragoon Saga. I begged my parents to get it for my birthday. I worried they wouldn't be able to find it because the Saturn wasn't very popular. But on November 20th, 1998, I was delighted to receive my copy of the what would become my favorite game of all time.

With my game in hand, I excitedly reconnected the Saturn, popped the first disc in the drive, selected "New Game" and watched the gorgeous opening cinematic. I was finally playing Panzer Dragoon Saga! The game started proper, my character riding on a dragon through a canyon, when suddenly I was attacked by an enemy I couldn't see. I was moved to a separate screen just to do battle. I had a menu of commands. It was my worst nightmare! How could they do this to my favorite series?!

But then I realized they hadn't. The developers had taken everything I loved about Panzer Dragoon and lovingly crafted a wonderful RPG. I still had to memorize enemy attack patterns. I had to learn the best way to morph my dragon to handle combat effectively. The stunning berserk attack from Panzer Dragoon Zwei had been expanded into a series of beautifully animated and deadly spells. I wasn't just standing around either. I was soaring in the sky, circling my opponent to find the moment of opportunity to unleash my most devastating attacks.

Furthermore, the story was significantly expanded from previous entries. I had always wanted to know more about the world of Panzer Dragoon, and boy did I get what I asked for! The plot that was once relegated to opening and ending cutscenes was now the driving force in continuing the game. In addition to the basic narrative was a bestiary with 3D models of every enemy in the game and diaries that developed the mythos that continues to enthrall fans of the series.

And so, after completing Panzer Dragoon Saga, my taste in games changed. I still appreciate arcade action games and platformers, but it's RPGs that I have come to appreciate the most. Since my experience with Saga, I've gone back and played every Final Fantasy game, most of them to completion. I enjoy the deep mechanics and punishing difficulty of series such as Shin Megami Tensei and Demon's Souls. Most importantly, I've learned to keep an open mind when it comes to game genres with which I have limited experience.

There is one last note that seemingly every article about Panzer Dragoon Saga has to mention, and that is the rarity and monetary value of the game. I'll address that very simply. Yes, I still own that copy and know how much it is worth, and it's definitely worth more to me than the price you'll see on eBay.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,442
0
Little sad I missed the boat on the top 100 RPG thread...just completely overlooked it until now. I'm pretty happy with the list. I'm especially happy to see Panzer Dragoon Saga get some recognition. I struggle to think of an RPG that deserves a re-release more than it. I wrote a blog post about it some years ago that I've posted in various places on the web about how it changed my appreciation of gaming. It's not great writing, but I suppose I'll share it here as well if anyone is interested in a read:
There's always next edition of the Essentials Thread, whenever that happens!
 
Oct 25, 2017
419
0
Vienna
After not playing Dragon Quest 7 for about a year, I was so close to finally finish it, but my copy of Dragon Quest 9 arrived yesterday. I might try a solo run this time - Minstrel appears to be very good for this - so I guess it's over DQ7, sorry.