Tag Archives: RPG

Retro Review: Grandia II Anniversary Edition

While I love and mildly worship the Lunar series, I did not have as fond a time with the original Grandia when I finally played it through the PlayStation Store. Unlike many, I found its story and characters to be generic at best or boring at worst, its battle system to be far too easy to exploit to remove all challenge, and even its music to be surprisingly unpleasant. Grandia II, which I did play briefly on the Dreamcast when it released, fares a lot better in my estimation. It jovially embraces practically every cliche of the JRPG genre–much like its predecessor and Lunar–but it stands out on the great depth of its battle system. This review will be covering the anniversary edition port on the PC. Read more

Retro Review: Suikoden II

For years, I have seen people call Suikoden II one of the greatest RPGs ever made, but until recently, I had never played the series. Thanks to the PlayStation Store, I have finally rectified this issue. One hundred and eight Stars of Destiny later, I am ready to weigh in with my opinions on the game and where I think it ranks with other classic RPGs of days past. Long story short, I believe the game falls short in a couple fundamental ways, but makes up for it through (for the time) shear originality. Read more

Reviewing Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is a game about death. In spite of the presence of magic, monsters, and chocobos, it manages to capture the despair and terror of war better than any game I have played before. Does that make this game a classic for the ages? No, not by a long shot. But it is quite a good upgrade on the Japan-only original released for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) back in 2011. I was an unexpectedly huge fan of the earlier PSP title Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII when it released, and Type-0 HD takes that action RPG style of combat and expands upon it with over a dozen new styles of play. Combine that combat with the obsessive ruminations on death, and you have a very unique new title in the Final Fantasy series, and a pretty unique title in general. Read more

Retro Review: Dragon Warrior VII

The Dragon Quest series, known as Dragon Warrior in the US until the release of Dragon Quest VIII, is the prototype for the entire JRPG genre. Originally inspired by complicated western role-playing computer games like Wizardry and UltimaDragon Quest simplified the formula and ended up becoming the most massively successful game series ever in Japan. In the United States though, the series has always played second fiddle (or maybe fourth or fifth fiddle) to the prettier and more cinematic Final Fantasy series. You can’t really blame the US though; we never officially got the fifth or sixth installments in this country at all until they were remade for the Nintendo DS. And although we did finally receive Dragon Warrior VII for PlayStation, it did not arrive until 2001, a full year after the release of PlayStation 2. I myself did not get my hands on the game until 13 years later.

In spite of its absolute adherence to tradition and an almost complete lack of innovation in its gameplay, I find that Dragon Warrior VII still holds up surprisingly well by today’s standards. I would even argue that, in both good and bad ways, this game pushes the concept of the traditional JRPG to its limit. Read more

The Jackal in Us All: A Critical Analysis of Illusion of Gaia

Illusion of Gaia

The Super Nintendo was home to any number of masterpieces. Chrono Trigger, Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Final Fantasy VI, and Earthbound are merely the first few to come to mind. As a kid in elementary school, one of my favorites was Illusion of Gaia. It was one of a rare few games that I felt the need to play over again periodically, and eventually, I realized the game was my all-time favorite, even ahead of Chrono Trigger and Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. It was a game that just resonated with me on a very profound, very nerdy level.

As an adult, a while back, I decided to revisit that view. The result was a lengthy critical analysis of the game, covering every aspect of its design and execution. What did I discover? And is it still my favorite video game? Read on, dear viewer, if you want to read the most intricate dissection ever written about a video game that no average person has ever heard of.

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