PS-One Classics on PSN

AmazingZoidberg wrote:

Final Fantasy VIII - $9.99

It's here ladies and chocobo's. One of the more decisive entries in the Final Fantasy franchise, some claim that the draw system is downright broken and the story is a convoluted mess. Others argue it's a cinematic milestone, and they like having a card game in their RPG.

I'm not sure those arguments have to be mutually exclusive.

Final Fantasy VIII is the console analogue to Black & White. There's a ton of ideas in there, so much so that the game is completely at odds with itself at times, and reviewers - for whatever reason - were very willing to overlook a litany of critical issues in favor of its ambition.

For every aspect that really works (e.g. Triple Triad), there are probably two to three elements that are disastrous frankensteins or misfits (e.g. crushingly obnoxious characters, completely bizarre world design, baffling storyline). I'm normally a gameplay-first type of person, so I can definitely see the "hooks", but this is one situation where there was simply too much noise for me, from almost every other facet of the game, to tolerate.

(And, to take another opportunity to wonder out loud if Square Enix is aware of themselves at all, where in the world is the XBLA/PSN version of Triple Triad? There are probably a half-dozen homebrew versions of Triple Triad out on the 'net for the PC; they're leaving money on the table.)

Sony has updated the PS Store, and not just with a snazzy animated winter background. They've also continued their theme of "games that were better on the PC."

Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom - $5.99

Judging by this gamespot review this game is probably quite functional with the PS3 analog stick, but I can't imagine it would live up to sitting at a PC with a full sized flightstick in your hands.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Wing Commander series, first forget everything you learned from watching this (you crazy kids). Imagine FMV cutscenes staring Mark Hamill surrounding a kickin' space combat simulator and you're starting to get the picture.

Gone Fishin'

Championship Bass: $5.99

Actual gameplay starts around 3:45.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

(And, to take another opportunity to wonder out loud if Square Enix is aware of themselves at all, where in the world is the XBLA/PSN version of Triple Triad? There are probably a half-dozen homebrew versions of Triple Triad out on the 'net for the PC; they're leaving money on the table.)

Oh god. I pray this never comes to fruition. It's not the monetary cost I'm worried about, but the obscene amount of time I'd sink into it. I've played Triple Triad more than I played the actual game. Hell, gathering cards became more of a driving force to work through the story than the story itself.

After I cancelled my FFXI account I paid the $1 for a few months to keep playing tetra master

Now here's an interesting bit of retro deliciousness.

Hi Octane: The Track Fights Back - $5.99

This is a futuristic hovercraft racer I remember fondly from my youth. Of course I remember the PC version but this version looks to be every bit as fun and even has some modes I don't recall having.

... and behind door number 2?

Extreme Pinball - $5.99

A pinball game with four tables. I have no experience with this one so I've posted a video showing all 4 tables for those who might be interested.

You might have thought that Sony stopped loving the PSOne classics. You may have figured they had run out of old, relatively obscure games to port to their latest hardware. You sir, would be wrong. In fact they have three new titles you may or may not of heard of that they're dropping on ya like hot fire this week. Or hot dirt would probably be more appropriate, they seem to have gone with a construction theme this week.

Dirt Jockey - $5.99

I wasn't kidding when I said semi-obscure. I couldn't find gameplay footage of this. It didn't even have a wikipedia entry. So I'm going to give you the description from the playstation blog.

Earn your license and get behind the wheel of your very own dump truck, bulldozer, wheel loader, or crane and see what it’s like to operate these massive machines.

Populous: The Beginning - $5.99

A Playstation version of the series that practically invented the God-game genre.

Here's a gameplay video. Intro movie starts at 1:00, the tutorial starts at 4:00 which is probably a good way to how well the controls translated.

Sim Theme Park - $5.99

It's Sim Theme Park people, do you need me to hold your hands?

AmazingZoidberg wrote:

It's Sim Theme Park people, do you need me to hold your hands?

Yes, but only because that first drop is so scary.

Wow, I missed the boat this week. My sincerest apologies for the late update. On Thursday we got a heaping helping of new old content. Before we dig in I also want to give a shout out to the 50% price-drop for Marvel vs Capcom 2. So get in on that sale while it's still going on ($7.49 is an amazing deal for this awesomeness). Now on to our three course meal for the week.

Magic Carpet - $5.99

A 3D-magic-carpet-flight-sim-shooter.

Mass Destruction - $5.99

You roll around in a tank blowing stuff up. This one looks like it could be kind of fun on the PSP.

Sorcerer's Maze - $5.99

If you hadn't guessed by the title, it's a breakout clone. Wait, that wasn't clear to you?

One game this week, but it's a good'un.

Grandia - $9.99

Looks like the 'good game tax' is still in effect. I get the feeling there will be a retronaughts coming up with some in depth discussion on this classic sprite based RPG. It was mentioned several times in the episode about the Lunar series (also by Game Arts).

Here's a good cross-section of gameplay.

EDIT to add:
In other vaugely retro news, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is on sale for 50% off this week. So there.

AmazingZoidberg wrote:

Here's a good cross-section of gameplay.

Another great one I still own. The 13-year-old in my 20-year-old self enjoyed the hell out of it, I don't think the 13-year-old in my 31-year-old self will find it much different. It was just plain fun and charming, and has some pretty good music. I wish there were more games based more explicitly around the motivations of exploration and the undiscovered, rather than those things just happening to happen while saving the world (here, you just happen to save the world while exploring). Couldn't find a Feena clip, though? Feena's the coolest.

I only ever played Grandia 2 on Dreamcast, and it was fantastic. For $10, I can think of few reasons not to play this one as well.

AmazingZoidberg wrote:

In other vaugely retro news, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is on sale for 50% off this week. So there.

Next week is Super Puzzle Fighter II HD for 50% off. All beings with a pulse are obligated to purchase and play it.

I think Grandia 2 has a much better take on the Grandia battle system and the PS1 port of Grandia 1 is kind of a disaster...but it's still probably worth checking out at $10 if you have any interest at all in JRPGs.

Magic Carpet? Oh man, I don't know if the PSX version was any good but I used to play the old PC one religiously. I hade no idea what the game was about or even what I was supposed to be doing, but that never stopped me.

Alas, no new classics this week, but as was previously mentioned Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is on sale for only $4.99. This has been a public service announcement, we now return you to your regularly scheduled forum browsing.

I bought Super Puzzle Fighter 2 HD, and it's as glorious as I remembered. Full online modes (ranked or friendly), and you can even customize your return gem pattern for use in local play. Awesome stuff.

On a side note, you can get Penny Arcade episodes 1 and 2 for $15 now on PSN.

...and we're back!

One - $5.99
Here's a title I've never heard of. It's a sort of 3rd person action platformer shooter. Take a look at these gameplay videos and you'll know as much as I do about the game.

Jigsaw Madness - $5.99

Do you want to put together simple jigsaw puzzles? Do you hate cardboard? Then this is the title for you.

Whatever this game was trying to be it wasn't doing a very good job of it.

Perfect Weapon - $5.99

I'll let the gameplay speak for itself as it screams "don't buy me!"

I've always wanted to try Grandia. Have they solved the whole PSN w/ custom firmware issue?

Sorry for the late update. Followers of the MAG thread will know that my PS3 died on my last weekend and I just shipped it off for repairs on Saturday. So I've been a little out of the console game lately. But I must carry on in my quest to share the retro love.

TNN Motorsports Hardcore 4×4 - $5.99

I'm not gonna say anything, I'm just gonna let you watch this trailer.

In retro-news we care about. Final Fantasy IX is apparently coming to the Japanese PSN store soon. Unfortunately no mention was made of the game finding it's way to other regions.

I've been out of it for a little while, work has kept me busy and for a couple of weeks there my PS3 was out for repairs. So I've neglected passing along the information on several forgetable 'classics.' Sorry guys, my bad.

But today marks a change in all that because...

Final Fantasy 9 - $9.99

I've already downloaded it, and as soon as Bayonetta is in the can I'm gonna fire it up. This is the only Final Fantasy of the PSOne era that I missed, and I've always dug the art style that I saw in screenshots and publicity images. I can't wait to give it a whirl. I've heard it's a divisive title, but it couldn't be more divisive than FF13 could it?

AmazingZoidberg wrote:

I've heard it's a divisive title, but it couldn't be more divisive than FF13 could it?

I remember quite the opposite. I think the only FFs you'll find that are more widely embraced are IV and VI.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
AmazingZoidberg wrote:

I've heard it's a divisive title, but it couldn't be more divisive than FF13 could it?

I remember quite the opposite. I think the only FFs you'll find that are more widely embraced are IV and VI.

I remember it being embraced without question by SNES-era Final Fantasy fans, but not quite as well received by those introduced to the series with Final Fantasy 7/8.

Personally, I loved the look. I love the return to hard class definition of the characters like IV and VI had. After playing FF7/8, the story is downright lighthearted... imminent destruction of the world not withstanding. The card mini-game was a let down after the strength of Triple Triad. If pressed to pick a favorite Final Fantasy, this would probably be my choice.

I liked the art style of Final Fantasy IX, but, like IV and VI before it, it's:

IMAGE(http://imgur.com/v2IPe.jpg)

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
AmazingZoidberg wrote:

I've heard it's a divisive title, but it couldn't be more divisive than FF13 could it?

I remember quite the opposite. I think the only FFs you'll find that are more widely embraced are IV and VI.

Same here, I thought 8 was the devisive title? Never actually played them myself but I remember 9 being really well received at the time it was released with most of the impressions taking the opportunity to say unfavourable things about 8.

The issue people had with 9 was how long it took to come out. It was the first FF game that had serious delays, and it was a great game, but lots of people couldn't understand why it took so long to get out (myself included).

It was easily my favorite of the PSOne era games. The characters are fantastic, the system and music was a return to the SNES era games (the battle theme is very reminiscent of FFVI, and you get 4 characters in your party), and the story was gripping enough to keep me playing to the end.

All of the PS1 Final Fantasies are divisive, in one way or another. People will probably still be arguing about Final Fantasy VII's place in history ten years from now.

As for Final Fantasy IX, it's not the most important Sony-era Final Fantasy, but I think it will end up being the best one, when all is said and done. The core gameplay mechanics borrow some interesting elements from all of the games -- class-based characters from IV are back, but their items allow for Esper/Materia-esque growth of abilities -- and the artwork is gorgeous, even by Square's high standards of the time. The dreaded mini-games have some value as well; Tetra Master is decent (even if it's still a far cry from Triple Triad) and Chocobo Hot & Cold, complete with hilarious music, is a home run.

The big issue with Final Fantasy IX is the storyline. Things are absolutely stellar for the first two discs of the game but, somewhere around the third disc, things go screaming off a cliff, as the creators try to work in some very-bad allusions to storytelling from the previous PS1 FF games. Also, some other issues arise from botched translation, which has been an ongoing problem for the series ever since they moved onto the 32-bit era. (Alexander O. Smith's work in FFXII was a brief, if overly chatty, respite.)

I don't quite agree with the earlier comment that the game is grind-tastic, but I understand where it comes from; you do seem to spend a lot more time fighting than in the previous two games, if for no other reason than the fact that the battle screens have some of the slowest load transitions in the series. From what I remember, the random encounter rate is a touch higher than some of the other games in the series as well.

At any rate, it's certainly worth your $10 and, if you're curious about the Final Fantasy series and you can't get FFIV or FFVI through the GBA/DS re-releases, this is probably the best entry point available to you.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

I don't quite agree with the earlier comment that the game is grind-tastic, but I understand where it comes from; you do seem to spend a lot more time fighting than in the previous two games, if for no other reason than the fact that the battle screens have some of the slowest load transitions in the series. From what I remember, the random encounter rate is a touch higher than some of the other games in the series as well.

I think my impression of it as being grind-tastic comes not so much from the encounter rate as from the speed of combat. I don't know if I navigated through the menus too quickly or what, but I frequently found myself sitting and staring at the screen for what felt like ages as the characters' and enemies' ATB gauges refilled. There was a lot of downtime in combat when the attack animations had completed and everyone just sort of stared at one another. It made combat feel like it took forever for very little benefit.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

I think my impression of it as being grind-tastic comes not so much from the encounter rate as from the speed of combat. I don't know if I navigated through the menus too quickly or what, but I frequently found myself sitting and staring at the screen for what felt like ages as the characters' and enemies' ATB gauges refilled. There was a lot of downtime in combat when the attack animations had completed and everyone just sort of stared at one another. It made combat feel like it took forever for very little benefit.

Yeah, that's a fair point. Ultimately, I tend to feel that way about all of the PS1 FF games. FFVII and FFVIII are certainly faster, I'll agree there, but they all felt a step slower than the speedy ATB that you'll find in the SNES entries.

FFIX's battle speed didn't bother me as much, but it's probably a good thing to point out, especially for those who are more familiar with the series.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

I don't quite agree with the earlier comment that the game is grind-tastic, but I understand where it comes from; you do seem to spend a lot more time fighting than in the previous two games, if for no other reason than the fact that the battle screens have some of the slowest load transitions in the series. From what I remember, the random encounter rate is a touch higher than some of the other games in the series as well.

Since you mention it: is anybody able to tell whether (or how much) load times are improved by playing it as a download instead of a disc? Because for $10, you can probably pick up a physical copy with little effort.

As far as it being "divisive," it seems like that means "mixed." The reaction to XII seemed mixed too, but it was more divisive, as people felt the gambit-based combat either ruined Final Fantasy or was the salvation of RPGs. People might have liked or disliked IX but rarely got worked up into a lather about it; it was usually just a question of aesthetics.

It seems like VIII was the most widely disliked, up until XIII at least. I'm pretty typical in that I didn't enjoy either, what I played of them. I did thoroughly enjoy every other Final Fantasy I played though, including IX. (...and VI, VII, X, X-2, and XII.)

It might be worth noting that my wife, who almost never plays video games, seemed to enjoy Final Fantasy IX more than any other game she's ever played. (She also played FFVII, FFX, and FFX-2; other than that, Viva Pinata and occasionally Harvest Moon are the only games she's ever been inclined to play much without prompting.) She really liked Vivi.