Review – Ys IX: Monstrum Nox

So I just beat Ys IX. It was… better than I was expecting, but not as good as it could be. It takes nearly every feature and system from Ys VIII – features and systems, mind you, that were new and specifically built to work in that game’s very particular setting – and brings them whole hog into this new game, with a very different setting. Suffice to say that it doesn’t really work.

For example, in Ys VIII it made sense to earn rewards for mapping out the island, since it was literally uncharted. But it seems insane to be rewarded for mapping out a centuries old city (under the guise of “finding the places that tourists would be most interested in”).

Similarly, it made sense to have a crafting system on an island with no shops, and a bartering system that allows you to refine low grade crafting materials by essentially trading for them. →  Read Read Revolution: Disney Channel Edition

Playing catch up – Phantasy Star IV

I was a Nintendo kid growing up (until that stopped being cool, when I defected to Sony). I got a Genesis very late in the game, so I’m still playing catch-up on the Phantasy Star games. A couple months ago, the final game worth mentioning in the series was released on Virtual Console. I played through Phantasy Star 2 several months ago, so I figured I’d give its better-regarded descendant a go now that current-gen RPG releases have calmed down a bit.

Phantasy Star 4 deserves all of the acclaim it gets. If its fans are not heard as loudly as those of other, better-known series, they should be. Is it the Second Coming? Perhaps not. But it has all the requirements for a good RPG (aside from only one of two established religions being evil – I’ll overlook that). →  I’ll read you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!

Review – Persona 4

After blue comes yellow. So it would seem with the release of Persona 4, which has the same engine and battle system as its predecessor. Despite all this, it comes off as a much better game – Atlus clearly took the time to figure out what went wrong in Persona 3 and fix it. At the same time, they came up with a plot I found easier to connect with, composed better music, and even came up with better swag to lure people into buying the game. It’s no surprise, then, that Persona 4 is my new favorite RPG on the PS2.

Several improvements make up the core of the reason I enjoyed playing Persona 4 so much. You can pretty much copy the gripes from my Persona 3 and FES reviews and every single one of them has been mitigated if not completely resolved. →  Destroy All Articles! 2

Review – Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger is an embarrassment for the gaming industry. Straight up embarrassment. It’s embarrassing that a game that is over ten years old can be so well made as to put many current games to shame. It’s like the Roman Empire, without all of the strange pedophiliac tendencies but all of the impressive works of art.

Chrono Trigger is the latest in a series of Square-Enix remakes designed to milk old titles for every last dollar and yen. Like Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger is a game that I somehow missed (though I did play the under appreciated Chrono Cross at some point).

Chrono Trigger is, simply put, a pleasure to play. The casual gaming experience (by which I mean, the fights, going from A to B, etc) completely trumps a game like Dragon Quest. →  We have the best words.

Review – Dragon Quest IV

For many, the Dragon Warrior/Quest franchise has a great deal of meaning, nostalgia and history. I remember playing Dragon Warrior on the NES when I was a young whippersnapper. I also remember that when faced with a choice at the end of joining the last boss or killing him, I decided to join him. The screen acquired an orange glow and my Nintendo froze. Was that what was supposed to happen? After my orange experience, I never touched a Dragon Warrior game again.

Dragon Quest IV, a Square Enix port of the original to the DS, presented an opportunity to reacquaint myself with the franchise. Having just run through the remake of Final Fantasy IV, I had high hopes that Square Enix would have scrubbed through the original and done away with any lingering issues to create a superior RPG experience, as they had in FFIV. →  Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Bore me and I sleep.

Review – Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World

Tales of Symphonia is one of the Gamecube’s greatest RPGs. I only got around to finishing it a couple of months ago at the urging of several friends. I was further encouraged to play through it by the impending release of its sequel, Dawn of the New World. Unfortunately, DotNW does not live up to its predecessor’s legacy and instead spends much of the time in its shadow.

Some of this is inevitable. Tales of Symphonia ends with the merger of two worlds, and much of the sequel deals with what happens afterward. The two lands of Sylvarant and Tethe’alla do not really get along, and bizarre weather events trouble the entire world. A lot of blame is naturally cast at the heroes of the first game. Lloyd, in particular, seems to have gone off the deep end as he instigates a massacre of a town during the game’s beginning. →  Mrs. Article, you’re trying to seduce me.

Dragon Questing

Before they even released their next iteration, Square Enix has announced that Dragon Quest 10 will see the light of day on the Wii. The announcement comes as a surprise to no one (which is different than the angry genre fans that bet and lost on the PS3 carrying the jRPG torch). The question still remains as to what this will actually mean for the console.

While it is true that Dragon Quest has always appeared on the most popular console of the time, the reasons for this have always varied. For DQ 1-6, Nintendo was so dominant that there was no question as to where to put the series. For 7 and 8, Enix took a “wait and see” approach before choosing Sony, and released them many years after either Playstation had established their own dominance. →  The only thing we have to read is read itself.