JRPG Catch-All

shoptroll wrote:
momgamer wrote:

it requires a gyroscope to run.

That's curious... Some new pin mechanic?

I don't know. Somewhat disappointed, but I'm betting it will be easier to get a copy of the original that buy a new iPad right now.

I'm seriously considering firing up FF7 and 8 and playing through them... For old time's sake... but the pile, the pile!

And in the pile lies Nier...

I played a bit of each multiplayer mode in The Last Story. It's pretty cool, I think if you like the game's combat mechanics you'd derive a bit of mindless fun here as well. It uses its own friend-code system, you're assigned an ID the first time you connect to the NFC.

The co-op is, as far as I can tell, just a few of the late-game story bosses in an arena. I don't know if the selection is limited by how far you are in the story - you are prompted to load your save, but I think you can fight anything regardless. I'd maybe avoid co-op until you're nearly done with the campaign for this reason.

Up to 6 people per game, and when selecting your character you can also pick which boss you want to fight. The game randomizes which among the nominations you fight. You pick a character, and that character has the gear that you have on them in the campaign. For mages, you hold the button down to start casting. The spell countdown is much faster than when it's handled by the AI, and you can shoot at any time. Releasing early leads to a weaker spell, though. I couldn't see co-op being terribly engaging for more than a few nights, but I only fought two of the weaker bosses, and they went down very quickly with six human controlled characters.

I found the deathmatch quite a bit more interesting. Rather than using your own gear, you're given stock characters, which allows for a lot more variety than in the co-op. You can play as the usual party members, unplayable but prominent story figures, generic allies or enemies, and major enemies. Generally speaking, if it's in the campaign's combat and it's humanoid, you can use 'em. After selecting your characters, you vote for map, and whether you want to play TDM or plain DM.

Much like an old-school FPS DM, there are pickups scattered about the maps, ranging from temporary buffs to special crossbow ammo to status-inflicting weapons. There's a good balance between the two character types, as fighters can pester mages and keep them from casting, but if mages land a direct shot it's almost always a one-shot kill. At times I saw dominant mages played almost like snipers in shooters, holding their spell until the unsuspecting target came 'round the corner. Other times I saw fighters overwhelm the pack through the smart use of evasion and environmental strategy.

This wiki page has the DM portion pretty well covered. The characters are more varied than I thought originally.

I really like Trails in the Sky but sometimes the Guild missions just cut off without warning.

Just recently, while exploring the PSN games for PSP, I came across Lunar: Silver Star Harmony. Now, I remember that back in the GBA games I really wanted this one - sadly, I got ripped off on an auction site and got a bootleg with non-working saves (gah!).

So, is the PSN/PSP Lunar any good? I like 'traditional' jRPGs, I loved DQ IX, or Chrono Trigger on my DS. Having said that, I usually get discouraged by grinding (SMT: Strange Journey, I'm looking atcha!).

Lunar games make me sad, for only 1 reason. I bought an imported collector's edition of Silver Star Story Complete. So much stuff in the box. I played a few hours of the first disc, and then went away for a fortnight. When I got back, disc 1 was missing. The only suspect was my younger sister, and to this day, 15 years later, she won't tell me what happened to it. I suspect that she took the PS 1 somewhere and left the disc there.

Lunar is a really traditional JRPG. It's certainly pretty and a great remake of a classic but the gameplay is super simplistic by modern standards. Many SNES JRPGs have more complex mechanics I would say. Personally, I found it quite charming but actually playing it was pretty boring. I pushed through about 15 hours before finally stopping. The story is not bad per se, just not especially interesting or surprising.

So I would pass unless you have nostalgia for the original, in which case you will probably enjoy this remake.

Edit: to compare to Chrono Trigger or DQIX, both of those have much more interesting mechanics I would say.

15 hours is fairly long by today's standards Though I've spent 100 hours on DQ IX before I got bored (post-game content).

I suppose I'll pass on that (as it's full price on PSN) and only buy it if I find a cheap UMD version.

The problem is that 15 hours seemed like barely a quarter of the game (at least from what I could tell). If I had been close to the end I might have been able to push through.

Edit: I did get it for $15 on sale. I'm not sure what the regular price is these days.

Lunar made its name back in the mid-90s (along with Ys) as one of the first console RPGs to embrace the multimedia capabilities of the CD format. It looks and sounds quaint now but, when the game was released, the anime-esque cutscenes drew a fair amount of attention:

The other thing that stood out for Lunar was the localization effort by Working Designs which, again, was fairly remarkable for the time. (Notice how often I keep using that caveat?)

I haven't played the PSP remake, but I played and still own the PS1 Complete version...and, even when I played it back in 1999, it was hard to shake the feeling that it was a bit outdated. It's not a bad game, but it's kind of stunning that it's been remade three different times: PS1, GBA (Lunar Legend), and the PSP Harmony version.

If you haven't played it already, I'd put forward Trails in the Sky as a counter-recommendation over jumping into Lunar on PSP.

I think the PSP version of Lunar is pretty outstanding, actually. Yes, it's definitely dated at this point and has the requisite grind (though there is an autobattle option for easier battles), but the updated graphics and sound are quite good. The story and characters are what make this game stand out and while it has a very traditional JRPG cliched story and characters they're done well.

That said, Trails is the better game. Still traditional, but it has better writing and a more interesting battle system imho. I'd start there and if you find yourself wanting more of the old school stuff, then turn to Lunar.

You people. I recently sold my Wii... and now I'm going to buy The Last Story anyway just so I have it around when I get a WiiU.

I like Lunar, with "charming" being the best one-word description. Just lovely characters I enjoyed spending time with. I originally played the PS1 version, and I felt like the PSP remake took everything that was good in it and improved it. As others have said, I can see how it might feel slightly dated, but the addition of a sort of "autobattle" helps a little. (You can set up three templates of auto-actions for the whole party, so if you want them to all attack that can be one, or for everyone to use their strongest attack that's another...) Then again, the fact that such a function is an improvement tells you something.

I have learned to be sensitive to time constraints; every good game I play means another GREAT game has to be skipped because I don't have time.

Btw, Lunar has a PSP demo.

Does the PSP version have the bromides?

Touch Arcade has a review of TWEWY: Solo Remix up which also covers the main changes to the systems of the game.

shoptroll wrote:

Touch Arcade has a review of TWEWY: Solo Remix up which also covers the main changes to the systems of the game.

And as soon as I beat Comcast into giving us back our Internet, this shall be mine.

Just recently got a ps2 and will be looking to catch up on some old school rpgs I missed. My favorite series growing up was Suikoden I=II, I have III but have never played it. Right now I'm looking at

Suikoden III,IV,V
Persona 3 FES
Xenosaga
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time
Chrono Chross (I made it pretty far through this as a teen but don't remember anything about it)

I would like to get to these eventually but who knows. Anyone else have any "must play" suggestions?

Eh... Suikoden 3 was almost as good as 1/2, but 4 and 5 were pretty awful.

Just off the top of my head,

Odin Sphere
Dark Cloud 2
Dragon Quest VIII
Final Fantasy X, X-2, XII (you didn't mention them, so if you missed them)
Drakengaard
Disgaea I/II (SRPGs)
Shadow Hearts: Covenant
Tales of the Abyss

and if you like Persona 3 after you play it, really the best the PS2 has to offer are yours:

Persona 4
Digital Devil Saga I and II
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
Devil Summoner

Minarchist wrote:

Just off the top of my head,

Final Fantasy X, X-2, XII (you didn't mention them, so if you missed them)

I haven't played X but the amount of stuff I've heard about it almost ruins the story for me. "Oh god it's so sad!" or "Oh man that balcony scene" I feel like it's been spoiled, especially knowing there's a part 2 of it.

Minarchist wrote:

Just off the top of my head,
Dark Cloud 2

If I were to choose one game only, this would be DC2 (aka Dark Chronicle). Action RPG at its best, with mini-games (golf+fishing), and a great weapon upgrade system.

Minarchist wrote:

Devil Summoner

What about DS2?

Tanglebones wrote:

Eh... Suikoden 3 was almost as good as 1/2, but 4 and 5 were pretty awful.

For once this man speaks truth.

And S3 is really, really good.

Gumbie wrote:
Minarchist wrote:

Just off the top of my head,

Final Fantasy X, X-2, XII (you didn't mention them, so if you missed them)

I haven't played X but the amount of stuff I've heard about it almost ruins the story for me. "Oh god it's so sad!" or "Oh man that balcony scene" I feel like it's been spoiled, especially knowing there's a part 2 of it.

For what it's worth, I liked X quite a bit. Yeah, the laughing scene is...anyway, but the game overall was good. It is very long, however. X-2 isn't really much of a sequel in the traditional sense: it's set in the same world and uses (some of) the same characters, but the battle system and story were both completely overhauled. Really, the "dress system", as odd as it sounds, is one of the better ones Square ever came up with.

shoptroll wrote:
Minarchist wrote:

Devil Summoner

What about DS2?

Honestly, I forgot it existed.

MsbS wrote:
Minarchist wrote:

Just off the top of my head,
Dark Cloud 2

If I were to choose one game only, this would be DC2 (aka Dark Chronicle). Action RPG at its best, with mini-games (golf+fishing), and a great weapon upgrade system.

Can I skip Dark Cloud 1?

shoptroll wrote:

Honestly, I forgot it existed. :)

Then I guess I won't feel too bad about forgetting I had a copy sitting unopened and collecting dust until we cleaned out my apartment.

Gumbie wrote:
MsbS wrote:
Minarchist wrote:

Just off the top of my head,
Dark Cloud 2

If I were to choose one game only, this would be DC2 (aka Dark Chronicle). Action RPG at its best, with mini-games (golf+fishing), and a great weapon upgrade system.

Can I skip Dark Cloud 1?

Yes. yes yes yes yes yes. There's a reason I didn't list it.

I love Suikoden 3 as much as any one (it's my second favourite Suikoden behind 2) but the combat is so slow paced it's very painful to play these days. I put about 20 hours into it just 2 years ago so I have a pretty good perspective. If you can play it on an emulator on PC with the battles at 2x or 3x speed, that could be the way to go. But, otherwise, a very charming and original game.

Suikoden 5 is actually not bad, worth playing if your a diehard Suikoden fan. 4 is absolutely terrible though.

Tales of the Abyss has horrible slowdown and stutters so I would play that on 3DS if at all possible. Or just skip it.

Mr GT Chris wrote:

I love Suikoden 3 as much as any one (it's my second favourite Suikoden behind 2) but the combat is so slow paced it's very painful to play these days. I put about 20 hours into it just 2 years ago so I have a pretty good perspective. If you can play it on an emulator on PC with the battles at 2x or 3x speed, that could be the way to go. But, otherwise, a very charming and original game.

Suikoden 5 is actually not bad, worth playing if your a diehard Suikoden fan. 4 is absolutely terrible though.

Tales of the Abyss has horrible slowdown and stutters so I would play that on 3DS if at all possible. Or just skip it.

My issue with 5 is that they made it very easy to miss Stars early in the game that were not recoverable later on. It pretty much necessitated playing with an FAQ open if you wanted the best ending.

Mmm, I should definitely keep that in mind if I ever replay it, thanks. I actually didn't quite finish 5 the last time I played it. But that's far better than the 2 hours or so I got into Suikoden 4.