Review – Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a “companion game” to the core game Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, which is still in development. Hundred Heroes is a Kickstarter headlined by Yoshitaka Murayama (story) and Junko Kawano (art), veterans of the original Suikoden. The Kickstarter is clearly designed to invoke the feel of the Suikoden series. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising serves as a kind of teaser for the game world as well as a standalone, relatively casual, action RPG. As a teaser for a future game, it works reasonably well. Isolated from that context, I’m not sure it’s a great action RPG, although I did enjoy it.

As Jay observed in a comment on a prior post, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is similar to Ys III (not just because many of the environments line up – that’s just a happy coincidence). →  Shadow of the Article

Switch Mario Party Games Compared by a Dad Who Would Rather Play Something Else

I’ve played Mario Party games off and on in the past. Sometimes I even enjoyed them. When you’re with a group of friends or family, and the down-time between turns and minigames doesn’t matter as much, they’re a great background game.

As a parent to a child who loves playing them, I have officially played enough Mario Party. The good news, for you, is that I have played enough Mario Party on the Switch to go in-depth on which one you should play, when you would really rather be playing anything else.

Super Mario Party

Although it’s a few years old now, there are several points in Super Mario Party’s favor. It has a large variety of gameplay modes – including 2v2 and 4-player co-operative modes, in case your gameplay companion is really insistent about winning. →  You may say I’m a gamer, but I’m not the only one

Affordable GOG Game Recommendations Part 2

More GOG recommendations, continued from Part 1 here.

More Strategy games

Knights & Merchants: The Peasants’ Rebellion – If you’re into sims, this sure is a sim. When I had the time to play the original release (which had no fast-forward) I reviewed it. I find myself mostly agreeing with my earlier self; it’s an interesting game if you’re into the idea of building a supply chain from scratch, sort of like a peaceful, less dangerous cousin of Dwarf Fortress. I’d probably recommend the more recent Banished over this one, if only for the clunky combat K&M requires you to engage in – but if you want to build a medieval ant farm and then leverage it to crush your enemies, this might be your game.

Seven Kingdoms 2 – This is a deep, relatively slow-paced RTS that was largely ignored at release. →  Article Hominid

Affordable GOG Game Recommendations Part 1

Since videolamer has begun the process of following in Buzzfeed’s esteemed footsteps, it’s only natural that we reach for the low-hanging fruit of picking out games we played and telling you to play them. GOG (www.gog.com), briefly branded as Good Old Games, is stacked with tons of games created by incredibly talented developers years ago, most of whom will never see any of the money you spend because the rights have been sold and resold dozens of times over. But at least if you spend money on these 20-year-old games, it will assuage the slight twinge of guilt you might have felt if you pirated them.

Many of these games are more than 20 years old. Some run in DOS/DOSBox, but many have fan patches available. Check the corresponding GOG forum first – there is typically a stickied topic for mods/patches. →  It’s not you, it’s me.

Last Minute Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console Game Recommendations

With eShop purchasing for the Wii U and 3DS set to end next year, and the majority of releases for the Wii U coming out in the 2012-2016 timeframe, it seems appropriate to bring up the immense loss of availability that we’ll see once the eShop is closed.

Digital-only releases are already only available to those brave few that bought a Wii U. There are fewer systems and games available on the Wii U VC than the original Wii VC (RIP), so even what is still available until next year is a stripped-down version of what once was. But many of the games available on Wii U VC are still unavailable to owners of the Switch via the Switch Online apps – so once the shop closes for new purchases, the selection will be further stripped down. Given →  We have the best words.

Playing a Classic Game for the First Time: Heroes of Might & Magic 3 in 2022

I had a classic game on my shelf for literal years, unplayed. It’s not the only one – although it’s one of the more prominent ones. It’s simultaneously a symbol of the dying physical game release and the lost excess free time of my youth. It’s the Heroes of Might & Magic III collection – the base game, plus two expansions, on one DVD. I bought it at a used book store for $10.

Might & Magic started as a first-person RPG series. King’s Bounty was a spin-off of that series, where you play a hero leading an army on a quest for magical artifacts. Heroes of Might & Magic then took the strategic combat of King’s Bounty and made it into a turn-based strategy game – you take command of a nation, with heroes serving as your generals. →  Ikari Warriors 2: Postery Read

Shin Megami Tensei V, from the perspective of an SMT “fan”

I’ll start all this off with a long caveat. Shin Megami Tensei 4 on the 3DS was the first real SMT game I finished. But since Persona 1 came out on PS1, I’ve played pretty much every SMT spinoff. The core series has such an iconic identity among RPG fans – “The Dark Souls of JRPGs,” (because Souls and SMT are both accessible, you just have to put up with a lot of deaths).

Except that last part is also ironic, because the first two SMTs are (legally) inaccessible in English unless you installed them on an early Apple device years ago before they got pulled. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I’m the kind of person a true SMT fan hates, while anyone who’s not a true SMT fan thinks is an SMT fan. →  Readius III and IV

Maximum Spoilage: Persona 5 and Apathy

The Maximum Spoilage series of writings is focused on discussing aspects of a game that would spoil said game to any normal person. Please continue reading at your own risksona. Note that this Maximum Spoilage entry also contains spoilers for the Mass Effect trilogy, in case you somehow haven’t either played or read about how terrible the ending is.

Persona 5 starts off with a bang. It ends with a whole ton of narrative confusion, meaningless (or even meaning-killing) twists, and the age-old “power of friendship” and “determination to move on” saving the day.

The first antagonist, Kamoshida, is arguably the best. He’s a former pro athlete turned high-school coach, and his reputation from his old job allows him to run roughshod over anyone else in the school, since it brings the school fame and money. →  Speak softly and carry a big post.

Review – SaGa Frontier Remastered

The SaGa series has been on a remaster/remake/rerelease kick lately – in part because the series seems to have strong advocacy within Square Enix because of a successful mobile game (Romancing SaGa Re;Universe, which pains me to type) which helps cross-promotion, and likely in part because it makes money. While the cynic in me would say these are probably low-effort cash grabs, so far these games have been more accessible and better than the originals. So this is at least a medium-effort cash grab. Not bad!

Just like the good old days.

I’ve mostly been a “SaGa-adjacent” RPG player, primarily because many of these games didn’t make it over.  The ones I did play either didn’t have the SaGa label (Final Fantasy Legend), or were among the few that made it over during the golden age of RPGs – which is, of course, when I was mature enough to enjoy them and had the time to play them.  →  Read like G did.

SaGa Collection: A Review of the Games that Matter

In an era where I find online, free-to-play mobile games gross and yet play them anyway, an RPG experience that is small, complete, and playable in short sessions is a great palate cleanser.  I finally picked up the Collection of SaGa AKA the Final Fantasy Legends remasters when they came out on mobile. As our thousands of readers might recall, I’m unreasonably nostalgic about these weird games – at one point I wrote an FAQ on one of them.

COLLECTION of SaGa FINAL FANTASY LEGEND for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Game  Details

The Collection itself is about what you would expect. I got the Android version, and the real lure for me was the ability to play in portrait orientation and rearrange the buttons for comfort. The price tag might seem a little high for what it offers – but the fast-forward feature is a godsend (particularly for the second game, and I imagine I will appreciate it on the third also). →  Oreshika: Tainted Postlines

We’re back… kind of

We’ve managed to bring the site back with https support, removed some older shared content (what even is gamegrep?) and cleaned other things up a bit.

If you happen to actually read this… let us know if anything seems to be broken!

Quantum Link Remembered

Hey reader(s),
None of us at videolamer (that I could get a hold of) recalls the Quantum Link service, although many of you no doubt remember its successor America On-Line with no small amount of fondness. This is a pretty darn cool article about the Quantum Link worthy of attention:

https://www.tinytickle.co.uk/quantum-link/

We’re not really in a state to reincarnate at the moment, but we do fondly recall the times we would write several articles a week, some of which were worth reading. We’ll keep them online as long as we can.

Keep on keeping on.

2012 Retrospective – Part 2

Continued from the previous article, this is a set of mini-reviews from stuff I didn’t get the chance to actually write about in 2012.

Diablo III (PC)
Because impressions from the beta were somewhat divided, I held off on picking up Diablo III until early summer, when the hype for the game had died down to “acceptable dungeon-crawler”. Unfortunately, I commit the ultimate sin now by (mini-)reviewing it without having actually beaten it. After the wealth of customization, strategy, and randomness that was in Diablo II, its sequel came as a huge disappointment.

Despite more than two hours of gameplay, I had yet to make an actual decision for either character I made. Bizarrely, stats exist but are auto-allocated, and you are simply given a new skill (and occasionally skill-variant) at each level. →  The Read Star

2012 Retrospective — Part 1

Since I didn’t get the chance to write about many of these games on videolamer, this is sort of a 2012-as-reviewed. Apologies if it’s a bit much; I’ll try to keep my impressions brief. These are all games that stand out to me, in either a good or a bad way. Some of them were released in 2011, but as a fellow gaming peon (no review copies for videolamer) I didn’t acquire them until this year. Games appear in rough chronological order.

Overall, 2012 has been a really great year for video games. Personally, I’ve been trying to limit the growth of my backlog while completing as many new and interesting games as I have the time for. What I found surprising was how well-represented the JRPG genre has been, as they have seen releases on consoles, portables, and even PC. →  Now you’re reading with power.

Great Greed: Or, I play bad RPGs so you don’t have to

Many, many years ago I was an avid reader of Nintendo Power.  I had already developed a taste for RPGs, although they were a bit less numerous back then.  A bunch of them were bad — and often, even Nintendo Power was willing to admit that.

Regardless, I would read each article about an RPG with fascination.  When it was a game I knew, I would enjoy flipping through the various artwork and reading about the tricky parts.  Otherwise, I’d quietly file it away in a hidden corner of my mind, to play later.

I’m finally working my way through the last few of those games I filed away — recently Paladin’s Quest and 7th Saga, and a year or so back I played through a good chunk of Arcana.  All of these games I tracked down, purchased, and (with the exception of 7th Saga, which is too tedious) played on real hardware. 

 →  Video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about huffing paint.

Review — Suikoden Tactics

Disclaimer: Not really a “glorious revival” of videolamer, but I’ve written this stuff on my own site and by gum this site deserves some activity.  Don’t worry, I’ll probably only update once or twice before the site goes back into hibernation.

Recently, I finally beat Suikoden Tactics, the Strategy RPG semi-sequel to Suikoden IV.  As a long-time fan of the series, I had intended to beat the game for some time, held off by two things.  First, Suikoden IV wasn’t very good and the story never resonated with me.  Second, Suikoden Tactics has the much-maligned feature of permanent death for non-story characters.  When combined with the grid elemental system and a massive set of things enemies can do, it’s extremely difficult at times to predict whether a character will die in any given situation. →  Sonic the Readhog

Review – The Last Remnant

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about The Last Remnant. On the one hand, its Akitoshi Kawazu pedigree shines through, with an incredibly nuanced battle system that never fully makes up for its terrible plot. On the other hand, that battle system is really very good and worth playing the game for on its own, it’s just that the plot was made even worse – seemingly deliberately – to balance things out.

Kawazu has a long history of working on the SaGa games, and it is entirely reasonable to call TLR a stealth entry in the series, since it has many of the hallmarks. Aside from standard battle system/plot dichotomy, there’s a wonderfully imaginative world that very little is actually done with, entertaining side characters that never really break into the third dimension, incredibly good music that has only bits and pieces of substance to go with, and enough sidequests to deliberately avoid the main story for hour on end. →  Reading. Reading never changes.

Digital Distribution is the Future — and Soon it Will Have the Past too

This evening I felt the need to sift through my old book of CDs — mostly PS1 and 2 games, but a smattering of PC.  First I noticed one game I had a digital copy of, then another, then another… and, well, things went on like this for a while.  By the end of it I had a small pile of games I had bought twice — voluntarily, of course, to support distributors bringing such old games back.  And surprisingly, I play them, too — I had not actually beaten Baldur’s Gate II until a few months ago, when I purchased it from Good Old Games.  The set (which is incomplete, since it doesn’t include Kohan 1, Seven Kingdoms, or any Blizzard games) is below.

Much of my childhood (and high school... and college)

If I had to pick favorites in here, it’d be Master of Magic, Arcanum, and MOO2 — but honestly, all of these games are pretty good. 

 →  You think about everything.

Review – Rune Factory 3

I think Neverland is set for life with Rune Factory. Few other series can withstand being rehashed over and over again without much in the way of innovation. Most stagnate enough that even the die-hard fans abandon them. Dynasty Warriors is a good example of one of the few capable series; perhaps it’s because the beat-em-up is that ideal genre where one only need switch up a few move-sets and add new characters and people will be satisfied.

Surprisingly, this game does not directly cater to the, er, fur-inclined.

Surprisingly, RF3 does not cater to the, er, fur-inclined.

Despite the fact that every Rune Factory is very similar, the three I have played feel very distinct. In Rune Factory 3, you still raise crops, forge weapons, woo women, and fight monsters –  many more activities exist, most of which are variations on the rest, such as wooing monsters and forging women. →  What is a post? A miserable little pile of secrets.

Review – Nier

The first thing you will hear when you start up Nier is swearing. Its intro, as with many other aspects of the game, may be an attempt to be unique. It also foreshadows (or is reminiscent of) a significant plot event. Either way, it’s certainly unusual. Much of the game seems like the intro sequence: it may be an attempt to be unique. It’s harsh and initially somewhat intriguing but each time through it loses a little bit of its charm. In the end, Nier seems to be saying something, but aside from a decent story filled with the requisite twists and turns, it’s impossible to really tell what.

Nier is not entirely a love-it-or-hate-it game, despite all appearances. Most reviewers panned it, saying its quests are too repetitive, its graphics too bland, its gameplay too derivative of the genre(s) it pulls from. →  Read or Alive 2: Hardcore