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Thread: Giving/Asking Recommendations (PS2 RPGs)

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    Default Giving/Asking Recommendations (PS2 RPGs)

    Okay. Acting on kupomogli's advice, I'm starting a thread about recommendations. I'm keeping this to Playstation 2 RPGs so that is at least some limit to the scope involved.

    The format I'm going for here is starting with the games I've played and do recommend, and then a list of games I'm considering next. Feel free to chime in with your own lists and feedback, and any recommendations you want to put forward.

    Games I've Played And Recommend:
    Final Fantasy XII
    Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny
    Romancing SaGa (AKA Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song, recommended for enthusiasts only)
    Ar Tonelico: Melodies of Elemia (probably misspelled that)
    Rogue Galaxy
    Tales of Legendia
    Tales of The Abyss
    Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

    Games I've Played and Neutral On (I tend to like them, but recognize their flaws and see why others don't like them):
    Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana
    Suikoden IV
    Phantom Brave

    Currently Seeking Opinions:
    Legaia II: Duel Saga
    Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
    Castlevania: Curse of Darkness

    I'm also more than willing to hear any opinions and recommendations regarding other PS2 RPGs. The Backlog of Glory always have some room in it!
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    Crono (Level 14) Custom rank graphic

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    Breath of Fire Dragon's Quarter is a great game though completely different from every other game in the series. instead the game is a third person dungeon crawler with a TRPG like combat system. Ryu is your melee/tank character, while the other two permanent characters are back row damage dealers. As a TRPG it's a bit limited as there's not that much depth in the skills that you have or get at your disposal, but it works well. The movement in combat is similar to those like Arc the Lad Twilight of Spirits if you've ever played that. As you progress through the game you'll learn more skills, some are weapon specific, that you equip on your triangle, square, and x buttons. Triangle is your weak attacks, costing 10ap points per skill, square is medium, costing 20ap, and x is strong, costing 30ap. The more attacks you link together in a single turn, the more bonus damage each attack afterwards will deal. You start with 100ap each characters turn and you can pass a characters turn and whatever remaining AP will stack with up to 200ap being able to be carried over to the next turn.

    The game is pretty hard, and if you do restart you can carry your party exp(a third exp slot that you can give to any character you want,) and a lot of people will tell you it's impossible to finish the game without restarting. This isn't true because the first time I've played the game I finished it without restarting. As you progress through the game, Ryu will turn into a dragon and by using his dragon form you'll eat up percentage of which he'll be taken over by the dragon. Get 100% and it's game over. However if you only use your dragon form when absolutely necessary and using the dragon skills conservatively, you'll get through the game no problem. The tip with the dragon form is only use it when you're at a tough boss battle, charge up maybe two or three times to increase attack power(it stacks,) and then use one of the three attack skills against the boss, with the high chance of taking any boss out in one, two, or three attacks by doing this.

    When going around with your characters though, you don't have the dragon form and you don't want to waste it on regular enemies. It can still get pretty challenging which is why like past Breath of Fire games, healing herbs are your best friends. In this game, using items doesn't use any AP. They're cheap and effective so buy as many as you can and use them when necessary.

    The design of the game is that enemies don't ever appear, and it's dungeon crawler like, so you'll find multiple items, equipment, etc, that can help you on your journey. The game does offer reasons to replay it as you'll get more story as you play through the game with better character rankings and there are locations within the game that you can only enter with a better ranking. Additionally, even if its your first playthrough, it has a great storyline and one of my favorite villains in an RPG.

    //

    Castlevania Curse of Darkness is a pretty bad game. With the combat, they've removed the depth that Lament of Innocence had and changed it to Musou style combat system. Even with this the combat isn't the issue as it's got enough of its own mechanics to make it play much better than the traditional Musou garbage. You've can do a sort of high time attack with any weapon by pressing square then x immediately after, getting used to that will let you combo attacks and immediately go into a lifter to perform an aerial combo. You also have innocent devil combination attacks that can be used as a finisher, and additionally, you can steal from every enemy in the game by finding out the specific way to make them open from being stolen from. Some enemies you might have to just guard, other enemies you might have to perfect guard the correct attack, etc. It's different per enemy so finding out how and then stealing is actually kind of enjoyable. The other plus is that the AI is decent.

    The real problem with Curse of Darkness, even more so than with Lament of Innocence, is that you're constantly running down these long hallways with square rooms in between each length of hallway. There's almost no unique rooms within the game like there was with Lament of Innocence, just long hallways and then rooms that might have an enemy in it. Isaac, the main character, has a stick up his ass and runs slower than molasses. You can evade once and then do a forward flip to speed up, and try to perfectly time it so you can repeatedly perform single forward flips and then do that the entire way through instead of walking, it's just as boring though and under no circumstance should the player have been forced to do this.

    The storyline is decent, the music is pretty good, and the gameplay is okay, but the shitty design of the games world along ruins the game. This style of game works well for a dungeon crawler, but an action game that already has a lot of repetition isn't very fun with this kind of world design.

    //

    Here's a few standout RPGs on the PS2 imo.

    SMT Nocturne is hands down the best PS2 RPG there is, while the two games Digital Devil Saga and Digital Devil Saga 2 take the same gameplay, make some tweaks to it, and are also some of the best games on the system as well. The changes in the Digital Devil Saga games may actually be preferable to most people.

    SMT is basically Pokemon, except they have good storylines and some well designed and difficult gameplay. SMT Nocturne brings along the press turn system which is one of those few amazing unique concepts that video games bring that defines the game/series in question. The press turn system takes however many characters you have on the battlefield and gives you that many turns. Hitting an enemy with a critical, hitting an enemy with a weakness, or passing will only use up half a turn, while an enemy that ignores damage whether this is a nullification or evasion, will remove two turns, and then if the enemy absorbs the attack, you'll lose your entire turn. As if SMT wasn't already focused on paying attention to enemy weaknesses, etc, the press turn system further pushes the series towards strategy.

    The main character in SMT Nocturne is a demon who ingests magatama which will change the characters resistances, but also allows the character to gain skills as he levels up. You can only have a max of eight skills, so you'll discard skills to keep the eight you want, customizing your main character for how he'll be most beneficial. The other party members are mosters that will slowly level up, so you'll replace them with other monsters, or fuse them with others so you can carry over skills.

    SMT series is a dungeon crawler style, with each game in the series aside from Persona 3 and 4 having some great design when it comes to the dungeons that you traverse through. SMT Nocturne and DDS are no exception.

    Now the difference between SMT Nocturne and DDS is that on DDS, your party members are preset characters rather than monsters. At save points, you'll be able to change your karma, which doesn't have any effect on your characters, but once mastering the karma you'll learn a few skills and unlock the next tier for that specific set of skills. You'll start off on the lowest tiers of devour/melee, melee, elemental, status effect, and recovery karma, the more you go into the tier, the better the skills or higher the damage. On DDS you can only equip a certain amount of skills as well, but on DDS you can also change the skills to any that you've learned at any time when outside of battle. On DDS2, karma works the same, but the different karma classes on this game are displayed in a way that the license board is displayed on Final Fantasy 12. You master one group of karma and then you can move to any karma that is any direction alongside it.

    //

    MS Saga. This one is a lot better than you'd expect. Now the characters look stupid and the storyline is pretty cliche, orphanage is destroyed, story starts off as a revenge story where kids save the world. It's everything else within this game that's excellent.

    In this game you start off in weaker mobile suits, all enemies that you fight are also in mobile suits, but as you progress, you get more powerful ones that you can move your characters to. You can modify any of the mobile suits so that their parts will be on any of the other suits(which is useful for heads or arms that have integrated weapons) and any character can be put in any mobile suit. MS Saga and other Namco Bandai robot RPGs, characters and robots will each have varying stats. A Guncannon for instance has a high range stat while having a low melee stat, while a Gouf will have a high melee attack but low ranged attack. So you'll not only want to put these characters into more powerful units with more powerful weaponry, but you'll also want to place a character in a suit that is most beneficial to them. The two characters you start with have high melee/low range and high range/low melee, so the high melee character would more than likely be placed in a Gouf while the high ranged character would use the Guncannon.

    After characters are placed into their respective mobile suits, each mobile suit has a sort of Diablo/Resident Evil 4 like equipment management. So they'll only have so many squares down and across. As you progress further, the backpacks for the suits will get larger and the weaponry will get larger and more oddly shaped. You'll be trying to outfit your characters with the weaponry the best you can, thinking of how you can fit every piece of weaponry on a specific suit becomes a game in itself. Additionally you get option parts which the characters can equip to give passive upgrades to the characters.

    Each character has techs, which are basically magic and cost TP, consisting of attack damage, support spells, healing spells, etc, and then boost skills which costs ap. At default, your characters start with 2ap and gain 2ap per turn, taking any attack action costs at minimum of 1ap, but you can defend, or even charge to conserve or increase the amount of ap the character gets. Boost skills consist of special attacks for the weapons and sometimes stuff like chaff grenade or beam grenade which will nullify bullet or beam damage, or tri snipe which will attack an enemy and reduce attack, defense, and evasion all at once. As you get further in the game you get better boost skills, and it does get to the point that late in the game you'll never regularly attack, you'll do nothing but attack all boost skills or all weapons boost skills because enemies do have that much HP, and the amount of damage enemies end game take off, you can't afford to do anything else. So at that time boost attacks take priority and is kind of an issue, but throughout the game, the combat actually has a lot of strategy within it.

    Finally, you have your front row characters in combat and you have your back row characters. While in back row the characters in combat only gain +1ap per turn, but similar to Final Fantasy 10, you can swap characters when in need to have one of your back row characters to replace one in the front row, but, each time you swap characters it uses one ap for the character who is swapping out, so there's a penalty involved, but with how difficult the game is, swapping out is a necessity.

    When in combat you get to see enemies actions that they're taking, so if an enemy is doing BST, if it's a boss, you know that more than likely you might want to defend with all your characters, or if you happen to know that it's going to be a beam attack, you could always use beam grenade to nullify the damage on all your characters. MEL is melee, RNG is ranged, TEC is tech, so you atleast get an idea of what the enemy is doing and more of an idea of what you as the player should or can do. Everyone might have low health, but if the enemy or enemies are all using TEC, then you probably aren't going to have to worry about the characters with low health dying(depending on the enemies and the tech they might use though.)

    The game plays like your standard RPG with a world map and dungeons like you'd expect on a PS1 or SNES RPG rather than lacking the world map like most some RPGs PS2 or later and it is an actual pretty difficult game, but with the strategy, it's much more involved and enjoyable than your standard RPG as well, which is why I'd rate it so well. I think this one is a bit rare and expensive, but I'd highly recommend it over most PS2 RPGs.
    Everything in the above post is opinion unless stated otherwise.

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) WulfeLuer's Avatar
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    Minor clarification: Is it actually called MS Saga, or is that an acronym? (I know what SMT means, though. know a couple Persona fans IRL).

    I've always had this odd thing about BoF5, and I'm glad there's actually some nice things to be said. I know that they got the Chrono series and FFTactics music people on the soundtrack, so that alone merits me attention, but I kept running into butthurt fanboys and getting scared off.

    And anyone else is more than welcome to chime in with their requests and recommendations!
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    Oh yeah. Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne and MS Saga. MS Saga: A New Dawn is the actual name of the game. MS means mobile suit but the title doesn't reference its meaning.
    Everything in the above post is opinion unless stated otherwise.

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    Eternal Ring. If you're an old King's Field fan, Eternal Ring has a lot of the same feel as the first US King's Field. First person action RPG that works if you're into that sort of thing. It won't likely convert you, but it's a must if you're into those games.

    MS Saga is an interesting one to be sure.

    Growlanser Generations does some different stuff in an SRPG than the typical old grid based games. Your movement is closer to Ogre Battle in how you plot a course for characters, adding some RTS elements, and there's a wider variety of objectives than just the usual "kill all enemies" approach. Artwork from the guy that did the old Langrisser art.

    I may think of more, but PS2 isn't my preferred RPG console.

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    Bell (Level 8)
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    Quote Originally Posted by kupomogli View Post
    Oh yeah. Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne and MS Saga. MS Saga: A New Dawn is the actual name of the game. MS means mobile suit but the title doesn't reference its meaning.
    I'm guessing Gundam games expected players to know that term. :P
    One of the Super Famicom RPGs has an intro sequence in poor English and just right away starts saying "MS".

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    Lol, well the interwebz seem to agree with kupomogli about MS Saga. I browsed a few places (mostly fleabay) and it goes for $40+, compare that to the usual RPG on PS2 bringing in $15-$30. That tells me a lot right there.

    is there anybody out there that can say much about Xenosaga? I wound up with a copy of II but I've been reluctant to fire it up (some of it because I like playing the first in a series before the second, some because I have really nerdy commitment issues).
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    I've barely touched the Xenosaga games myself, but I do know that it's a continuous story across the games, so you definitely shouldn't start with 2. For that matter, 2 is widely considered the worst of the three.

    It's probably obvious from my avatar, but my favorite PS2 RPGs are Star Ocean 3, Radiata Stories, and Valkyrie Profile 2 (in that order). SO3 is pretty divisive, and it admittedly has a disaster of a plot and cast. But the battle system is pure bliss. Radiata Stories puts the emphasis on its world. It's similar to Majora's Mask in that you can watch everyone go about their lives from morning to night, and it really feels like a living, breathing world. You can recruit a large percentage of the characters you encounter too. VP2 is like a weird hybrid of SO3 and the original Valkyrie Profile. I think the first VP is better, but VP2 is still solid too. Really beautiful graphics for PS2 also, though I wish it had more color.

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    If 2 is the worst, it would be a shame for PAL regions since I thought that was the only episode released there.

    Some say Xenosaga is like playing a movie because of extensive cutscenes. And yes, from what I remember playing of 1, it probably did have more than a movie's worth of cutscenes. (and a top of that, it had an email log and/or dictionary as I recall for even more character development stuff. To say it is a story-heavy game is probably an understatement.)
    I don't remember as much about the gameplay but I recall it was a turn system where you got certain "AP" per turn and different actions used more or less of it. I remember stat-building was a sort of skill-tree system.

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    Hmm, I thought that was the Star Ocean 2 version of the Calnus there, Aussie (that's also a good game, with the hilarious bonus of accessories that just give you random goodies at frequent intervals, I remember doing a ridiculous cash grind to grab the first one, Mischief).
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    It's from the intro of SO1, but yeah, I love the whole series. (Or what I've played of it at least, I still haven't gotten around to SO5.)

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    There's been a lot of talk about Namco Bandai developers wanting to remaster Xenosaga, so you might be better off waiting until the series is remastered on the PS4, seems fairly likely it'll happen especially after a few remasters of their games, one of which is the .hack GU series.

    That being said, I've played through all of the Xenosaga games so can give you a good idea of the gameplay and storyline to each one without any spoilers. All three games in the series are heavily story driven, the first one having the best story, and that might just be because the third one wasn't actually completed, and by that, most of the cutscenes on the third one unlike the other two had characters standing in one position with a single camera angle. Most of these cutscenes weren't coreographed in the way that the first two games were, and despite having a much better story than second game, it did take a bit away from the game.

    So anyways. The first one had the best storyline imo, with around seven hours of cutscenes, but if you preordered Xenosaga 2, you actually got a Xenosaga Movie DVD with the cutscenes cut in a way to play like a movie. They did take out many of the cutscenes that weren't really integral to the story, shorted a few that were a bit long in length, and because it was four hours on a single DVD, it was also compressed, you could tell it didn't look quite as good as the PS2 version.

    The first Xenosaga didn't have a world map and you couldn't go back to most areas after you got past them. The game included a lot of equipment that had to be stolen from specific enemies, so you'd definitely want to make sure that the characters who could steal had the ability, because if you missed it that was it. In terms of dungeon design, the game had some great level design. The gameplay on the first game was as basic as it gets. If you've played Xenogears, it was basically like playing the Gear battles. You could do only one attack, and then after you did the initial attack you could then do a combo attack as you had an AP charge. It had just a very slow paced and boring battle system, it used a front and back row mechanic that didn't work as well as it should. The game is well worth playing for the story and world alone, similar to Final Fantasy 10-2 having an absolutely garbage storyline but is worth playing for the gameplay.

    The other thing about Xenosaga is that it includes one of the best mini games I've ever played. It actually includes a few mini games, casino mini games, a Virtual On style mini game, and then one called XenoCard. I loved XenoCard, atleast when I can play it with an actual person, other than a cousin of mine who's also played the game and enjoyed the mini game, there's really been no one I've ever been able to play it again. XenoCard is the kind of game that I think if Namco Bandai took a second look at it, they could tweak its design and release it as a full fledged game. It's got a unique design similar to games like Yugioh, Magic the Gathering, etc, and has a lot of depth, the only problem with it is that each attack deals damage in cards, so whenever you're attacked your cards go to the discard pile and once all the cards are gone, that player loses, which means player 2 has a huge disadvantage. The game has around 140 cards and has three types of decks you can build around.

    Xenosaga 2's storyline is introduction and backstory of one character in the game named Jin, and the back story of Jr. The storyline can be completely skipped and it honestly won't make a bit of difference. You can go straight from the first game to the third game and it won't make a difference in terms of what you're missing because none of this actually has any meaning towards the third game except one single npc who dies. I could just tell you who dies, and there you go, you don't need to bother.

    They also attempted to add some depth to Xenosaga 2's gameplay, but in doing so, the gameplay is even worse than the first game. Enemies in the game has so much damage that unless you charge all your characters to gain full stock and then combo each and every character stock into killing each enemy, you're not going to kill even regular enemies they have so much HP. So the entire battle system is nothing but you stocking and healing until all of your characters can then go in a row, and you can then interupt after every single action, and repeat, for every single enemy in the game. It's just ridiculous, time consuming, and not fun at all.

    Xenosaga 3 has the best gameplay in the series and it's more closer to your traditional RPG style. Now in this game, characters have an a/b style leveling system where when leveling up, they can choose to go through the top skill tree or the bottom, making one of two builds for each character. The characters either had magic type spells, damage melee attacks, or break damage melee attacks. You could attempt to break the enemies to do more damage or go straight into dealing damage. Sometimes dealing damage is more efficient than breaking them first then dealing damage because the amount of break damage that's required to break them might not be worth it. Additionally, the also has another unique mini game, fairly good puzzle mini game where you need to get every character to a specific location by moving blocks in different positions, etc. Pretty cool if you like puzzle games.

    And like the above stated, each game in the series has a huge reference guide that even Webster's Dictionary would be hard pressed on having as much detail. Just kidding, but it certainly has a lot of lore and goes in depth about what connects to what.
    Everything in the above post is opinion unless stated otherwise.

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    Hmm, so wait or just pick up Xenosaga I first. That works rather well, I think.

    I wanted to ramble on a bit about one, since everyone else and I should contribute.

    Romancing SaGa (aka Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song) -- The SaGa series has always had a special place in my gaming experience, with Final Fantasy Legend II being my first RPG. Things pretty much blossomed from there, and when it was time to give the PS2 a spin, Romancing SaGa seemed like a logical enough choice. I got burned pretty hard my first time out, and wound up shelving it for a while; I figured out what I did wrong and came back and put this little monster through two full playthroughs and most of a third.

    RS is an odd duck, combining traditional turn-based combat with open-exploration and a potentially huge character roster to recruit. It starts off pretty crazy, with choosing one of eight protagonists as your central character and dropping you in an introductory quest. The overall story is a spin on the usual "big bad evil god of evil is coming back" shenanigans, but most of the time you're going about on various missions of RPG daring-do. Part of what makes it interesting is that you have almost complete control over where you go, who you recruit, and how you mulch the local monsters. The game uses the SaGa-style stat-increases; beat critters with swords, you get physical stat boosts, set them on fire, you get magical stat boosts. On top of this you have skills, ranging from the usual weapon-and-magic stuff to non-combat field skills like jumping or (two varieties of) steath, or my favorite, trading with monsters. All of these skills are ranked from one to five, and are upgraded by spending jewels at specific stores. There are also classes, which give extra boosts to specific skills (using less relevant action points to use in combat) plus extra effects like stat modifiers or enabling spell combination or giving better results when harvesting, all sorts of stuff. Classes also act as package deals, purchasing a class level is much cheaper than purchasing the component skills separately.

    Other wrinkles include a fairly kooky tempering mechanic, breakable weapons, and combat formations. What makes the formations unusual is that if you use specific actions from specific location in the battle party, you can channel divine favor into a super-combination attack. Think Chrono Trigger Duo and Triple Techs for a good analogue. Figuring all the little intricacies of things can be quite a challenge, and is pretty fun for turn-based fare. Another plus is that when you finish a playthrough, you get little bonuses like increased jewel drops to develop your characters faster, all the classes you've mastered are available for your next character at the outset, your store levels carry through (which is good, this game is pretty stingy especially starting off) and progress in certain multi-playthrough quests. One more interesting thing is that just about everything you do affects your relationships with the local pantheon, this affects and is affected by your 'vortex' super-combos, some quests, and which of three penultimate quests you get near endgame (you can get all three, but it's annoying as hell, so I tried for two and works out pretty well).

    There is one feature that worked out with some very mixed results: The Event Rank system. Essentially the game rates how far along you are by various metrics, the most prominent being how many battles you've fought. This determines how tough your encounters are, and what quests are available at a given point. The frustrating part is that it can lock you out of quests, essentially punishing you for mulching too many monsters. You can miss out on a lot of content, and while nothing missed is particularly critical, lots of nifty gear and better quests can be lost on a playthrough, and you don't realize until it's too late.

    The game is still loads of fun, and anybody familiar with SaGa style quirkiness will find their stride pretty quickly. Protip: Get a level 5 trader ASAP, it'll pay out dividends both in getting goodies, and slow the Event Rank down by avoiding a lot of battles. Just don't trade away anything important; you can offer just about everything your party has, including the games macguffins (the ones you're trying to keep from monsters).
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    How many rpg elements does Castlevania: Curse of Darkness even have? Even as many as SOTN? Scant as they are in SOTN, it's a great game belonging in almost everyone's library.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlastProcessing402 View Post
    How many rpg elements does Castlevania: Curse of Darkness even have? Even as many as SOTN? Scant as they are in SOTN, it's a great game belonging in almost everyone's library.
    Depends on what you call RPG elements. It has everything from SotN. It also has a materials system which you create weapons and armor from materials and system where your innocent devils level up different depending on what colored gems you acquire from destroyed enemies. The innocent devils can level up to multiple different versions of the same one(where each innocent devil will have a different ability than the next.)
    Everything in the above post is opinion unless stated otherwise.

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    Great! Already great infrormation about PS2 RPGs here!

    Just a heads up, I don't know if this is old news, but here it is:

    http://kotaku.com/playstation-2s-hac...-ps-1796049271

    The .hack/GU series (3 games) is getting a HD remaster for the PS4. No word yet about the release date, but I guess it won't be this year.

    I really like HD remasters of great PS2 games, FF X just looks gorgeous, if done right I'm all for it. Has anyone of you played the dot Hack/GU series? I have to admit, I didn't.

    I know that Dragon Quest VIII is not an overlooked game, but I have the feeling that it still doesn't get the appreciation it deserves. For me it is one of the best RPGs I have ever played. Everything is just right in this game, the so called pacing, the proportionate element distribution between storytelling, levelling up your characters and exploration, the humor, the graphics, the story, all of these gameplay elements are in perfect balance and add up to a masterpiece. It gave me the feeling of the old SNES RPGs, and hunting Metal King slimes is just as fun as always. One of the best, if not THE best game in the series. If you have this one on your shelves and haven't played it yet, please do!

    I also second Aussie2B's evaluation of Radiata Stories. Certainly an overlooked and underappreciated game. I liked it a lot, it is a strange mix of Shenmue and Suikoden, a mix between hiring lots of characters and living in a city in which you can become part of everyone's live. The city is one of the most charming, well designed locations of all the RPGs I ever played, and it creates an atmosphere of a location come to life.

    Another game I'd like to recommend is Okage Shadow King. This one might be a love or hate affair. It is an unusual game which I always understood as a parody of a JRPG. The Tim Burton-style graphics fit the weird but nevertheless entertaining story, the clever written dialogues and quirky humor. It creates a unique atmosphere which thankfully dominates some flaws in the battle system. Button-mashing and some confusion in the battles are certainly weaknesses in game design, but overall this is a unique game well-worth playing and truly underappreciated. It was an early release for the PS2 and it was for years on my shelves unplayed. I wish I had played the game sooner, and I even think about purchasing the game in HD for the PS4 which I'm usually not a friend of.
    Last edited by lendelin; 07-24-2017 at 01:46 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by lendelin View Post
    The .hack/GU series (3 games) is getting a HD remaster for the PS4. No word yet about the release date, but I guess it won't be this year.

    I really like HD remasters of great PS2 games, FF X just looks gorgeous, if done right I'm all for it. Has anyone of you played the dot Hack/GU series? I have to admit, I didn't.
    I've only played the first one, and it's not bad, it's just a bit average. One thing you might like that you might not have liked if you've played .hack//Infection is that as an action RPG, attacking was more fluid. In .hack//GU, when you attacked you actually attacked and saw your attack, an actual action RPG, while on the PS2 of .hack//infection, you had to be pretty much point blank range for a target to appear on the enemy and then hit attack and you'd do your action. .hack//Infection played kind of like a mix between an action RPG and a turn based RPG because of that, or atleast that's how I remember it.

    Problem with the first GU game is that every world you went to, the world design both in and out of dungeons was that of a rogue like. You've got a bunch of giant squares with a bunch of hallways between them, except the game isn't a rogue like, lacking everything that makes that style of dungeon design work for a rogue like, making the dungeon design on GU kind of suck. Also, monsters had too much defense as you progressed. It wasn't hard at all, but you get to the next area in the game and you'd be dealing 1 damage(the minimum) from enemies. They gave you so much exp though each new area you win a battle and you're pretty much ready for that area now. It meant the chainsaw swords were always the most powerful weapon, slash at the enemy and then mash square as quick as you can to deal multiple chainsaw hits. Never died once in the game. Can't remember much of the story, but I did complete the game and was never interested enough to pick up the second. I was a bit disappointed that the in game forum hyped up this one card game and at the very end of the game when it seemed you were where you could get to play it, it ended, but I wasn't going to buy the second game for a potentially good card game(and you can probably guess, my thoughts and interest of the card game were simply because of how much I enjoyed XenoCard from Xenosaga and was hoping to experience a mini game that was just as good.)

    I owned the Collector's Edition and sold it for around $120, I'll probably get the HD remaster so I can play the second and third but will wait until it hits $20.
    Everything in the above post is opinion unless stated otherwise.

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    Well, if anybody cares, I snagged a copy of MS Saga, so after a bit of a romp through Atelier Iris 2 I'll probably wind up breaking out the mecha. Also I beat DQ8 for the PS2, and that was a lot of fun (though the alchemy pot timer was EVIL). Any game that gives you dinosaur lumberjacks and spell called Kaboom also gets bonus points.

    Has anyone here ever heard of a game called Ephemeral Fantasia? I stumbled across it, and it seems to be a RPG centered around Majora's Mask-style time loop shenanigans. What little reviews I could gather (yay for interwebs crapouts) were pretty mixed, but I find myself intrigued.
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    Ephemeral Fantasia was very poorly received when released. In Japan, it's compatible with the Guitar Freaks controller... I didn't spend a lot of time with it. However, a couple of close friends called it "very boring."

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    WulfeLuer, I put a link to your thread in this older thread about PS2 RPGs.

    https://forum.digitpress.com/forum/showthread.php?73673-Complete-RPG-List-for-the-PS2-Updated-2016

    I hope you don't mind. It is a complete list of PS2-RPGs which was done from 2005 until 2009 and got updated the last time last year.

    I think this thread is a nice complementary thread to the RPG-list since we avoided back then a discussion about gamequality; the necessary discussions were all about the Q if certain games should be regarded as RPGs or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by celerystalker View Post
    Ephemeral Fantasia was very poorly received when released. In Japan, it's compatible with the Guitar Freaks controller... I didn't spend a lot of time with it. However, a couple of close friends called it "very boring."
    This was my impression also. More than ten years ago I put maybe one to two hours of gameplay into Ephemeral Fantasia, and I remember it as a unique game for which I had good expectations but was overshadowed by terribly boring gameplay.

    But I have to be careful. My experience is with the game is limited, it may pick up after a couple of hours, but one thing is for sure -- it didn't give me any motivations to play the game.

    However, as a unique and odd game is it worth to be picked up. I don't know how much it is right now, I got it for around $5 at a Gamestop more than ten years ago.

  22. #22
    Insert Coin (Level 0) WulfeLuer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lendelin View Post
    WulfeLuer, I put a link to your thread in this older thread about PS2 RPGs.

    https://forum.digitpress.com/forum/showthread.php?73673-Complete-RPG-List-for-the-PS2-Updated-2016

    I hope you don't mind. It is a complete list of PS2-RPGs which was done from 2005 until 2009 and got updated the last time last year.

    I think this thread is a nice complementary thread to the RPG-list since we avoided back then a discussion about gamequality; the necessary discussions were all about the Q if certain games should be regarded as RPGs or not.
    I can't say find anything objectionable about that at all; keeping such a list is all to the good, and will probably be fairly useful for this thread. All in all, a good idea.

    And thanks everyone for the comments on Ephemeral Fantasia. Truth be told I came across it on one of those "people who like this also like" sidebars. Even without the timey-wimey stuff, there's more than enough kookiness to qualify for Yet Another Wackadoo RPG (the lute is sentient? is it the chosen prophet of Banjo the Clown?) which attracted my attention. It might wind up being added to the Backlog of Glory and chronicled in my Blog of Dork Side Natter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WulfeLuer View Post
    Well, if anybody cares, I snagged a copy of MS Saga, so after a bit of a romp through Atelier Iris 2 I'll probably wind up breaking out the mecha. Also I beat DQ8 for the PS2, and that was a lot of fun (though the alchemy pot timer was EVIL). Any game that gives you dinosaur lumberjacks and spell called Kaboom also gets bonus points.

    Has anyone here ever heard of a game called Ephemeral Fantasia? I stumbled across it, and it seems to be a RPG centered around Majora's Mask-style time loop shenanigans. What little reviews I could gather (yay for interwebs crapouts) were pretty mixed, but I find myself intrigued.
    Once you put in enough time, tell me what you think. I'd say after atleast gaining access to six characters and putting in a bit of time so you get a feel of the games depth of combat.
    Everything in the above post is opinion unless stated otherwise.

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    Well, I beat Atelier Iris 2 again, so decks are just about cleared to start this chibi Gundam foolishness called MS Saga (that still sounds like a bad web comic). There's still gonna be a bit of a delay, since I went through like the nerdiest bout of angst ever and wound up with a SNES, so I've been throwing fireballs at bunny slippers too.

    Anyway, a bit of an AAR review for Atelier Iris 2: Azoth of Destiny. It's a fun little RPG, that I randomly picked up and tried out a few years back. I like to take it out for a spin every year or so, acting as a sort of 'palate cleanser' between longer, more serious games. The gist is that it's by-the-numbers JRPG fare, bumped up with a complex and enjoyable crafting system, fun combat, and some interesting characters. It is worth a look-see, especially if you like tinkering with your items and gear. I happen to feel that overall Iris 2 is a much more enjoyable game than Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, with a tightened up crafting system, better characters, and a much better overall focus (Iris 1 just didn't know whether or not it wanted to be a traditional Atelier gather-and-craft or a goofy RPG).

    Pros: A better take on Atelier's crafting, allowing you to go nuts and make stuff from weapons and armor to potions to big bombs made of alchemical doom. Interesting (but a bit shallow) characters, with standouts being Gray the dragon man (a considerably less grim copy of Fogel from Ogre Battle), and Flashbang Poe, a hilarious little fairy dude that hauls around huge handcannon and hits on anything female. Throw in a talking magical sword infused with the essence of snotty, insufferable genius (though it gets better as the story goes by). The combat is turn-based, but eschews MP in favor of a charge meter to fuel special attacks. Attack items are actually practical. I also like the overall aesthetics of the graphics and the soundtrack, both contributing to an air of fun and exuberance (that last can turn some players away, since it is kinda kiddie, but I could use more kiddie). No brown filter here, and even the dark, dank places have bits of brightness and life to them. It's very reminiscent of the Mana series and PS1-era SaGa games.

    Cons: It's a very standard JRPG plot, though if you're into them, then it's not that big of a deal. There are some plot details and bits of garbled dialog that can confuse you. A couple of the NPCs really come across like useless stoners in positions of responsibility, through a combination of dull VA work and...overdone serenity in their choice of words. There are some technical problems, mostly things like voice clips and sound effects being cut short, though there are some nasty bugs that can make the game hang up (most of it is Gust's game engine being flawed and made worse when localized), though in Iris 2, they tend to be very rare (I see them usually once a playthrough). One last one is Gust's apparent love of completely recycling enemy sprites and programming, which can contribute to the combat bugs.


    Overall, Atelier Iris 2 is a fun little RPG (usually clocking in 25-30 hours or less), and well worth a look, especially if you need a break from the usual melodramatic grindfests that dominate the genre.
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    WulfeLuer, thanks for the nice recommendation. I have to give Atelier Iris 2 a go, I have all the Atelier games published in the US, and haven't played not even one of them. It is a shame.

    I want to recommend an almost forgotten game, a game hardly mentioned anymore and even when it was released, underappreciated. The game has certainly flaws, but overall it is unique, original and fun to play. It's

    Dual Hearts

    Dual Hearts was released in 2002, published by Atlus. More importantly it was developed by Matrix Software, a developer founded by former employees and game designers of Climax Entertainment and Telenet, two RPG developers which designed among others Landstalker (Genesis) and Alundra (PS1).

    The Landstalker/Alundra heritage shows clearly in Dual Hearts when it comes to the game's story, character design, aesthetics, and level design. It is an action-RPG with a surprisingly good portion of a jump 'n run like Jak and Dexter and Super Mario 64. The story isn't the most important and best written of the RPGs I've played, it is sufficient to know that the protagonist has to enter dreams of human beings and animals in order to fulfill the main task.

    It is exactly here where the strenghts of the game show. The old receipe of Alundra works well and provides for uniqueness, some quirkyness and humor to create a wonderful playful atmosphere, something I miss often in todays RPGs. The rather boring hub world is completely forgotten as soon as you enter the dreams which are varied, consist of wonderful surreal elements and allow for a well-executed variety of different landscapes; to enter the dreamworld of Santa Claus in a snow landscape, or the bizarre and sometimes good but always interesting dreams of a dog or sheep is never boring and always makes you curious what's around the next corner. The level design of a little girl's dream is rather ingenious, namely presented as a pop-up storybook. The flying sequences in these kind of levels are very reminiscent of Super Mario 64.

    The controls of the battle mechanics could certainly be better. At times the lock-on feature is imprecise and so is the shield. Luckily, some features and abilities are unlocked over time which are very helpful in battle. Another weakness are the boss battles. Unique and quirky characters yes, however, the battles are too long (at times 15 minutes) and too repetitive with the same moves which have to be applied. These rather boring and at times frustrating gameplay elements are thankfully more than compensated by the overall unique level design and wonderful gameplay elements on the way to reach the boss characters.

    I recommend Dual Hearts. If you can overlook some weak gameplay mechanics but love the overall great atmosphere, the exploration of interesting worlds and fantastic gameplay ideas, this game is certainly worthwhile to play. Overlooked, not admired, but certainly a very good game.
    Last edited by lendelin; 08-21-2017 at 08:33 PM.

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