The Trouble with Tactics

As I’m sure you can tell by my previous articles, I love RPGs and strategy games. It should follow, then, that I love the Strategy RPG genre. Just like peanut butter and pizza. Although I like some SRPGs, I have some issues with the genre, particularly the Tactical subgenre. By “Tactical”, I mean finer-scale games where you manage each individual taking part in battles.

For example, I started up Shining Force a couple months ago via the wonders of Virtual Console. I began noticing occasional oddities; enemies with low agility would move twice when my high-agility archers never got a move in, for example (Hans was useless anyways).… Read the rest

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 2.1.08

New game from Parappa masterminds
Well this sounds promising. A new Wii game from the creator and lead artist of Parappa the Rapper. What’s this, Majesco is publishing it? That’ll be ok, a good idea doesn’t need 10 million dollars to work. Err, it’s a marching band simulator? That… sounds cool. I mean, I’ve always despised parades and anyone who likes them and walking around while playing music makes as much sense as reading while performing ballet, but… Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind?

90% of American DS owners pirate games
This comes from the Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association and is wrong.… Read the rest

PS1 games you may have missed: The RPGs

As you all may be aware, Sony is finally picking up the software side of backwards compatibility for its shiny new system.

Since the PS3 doesn’t have any good RPGs or strategy games of its own yet, I would like to take this opportunity to recommend a few rare games that may actually be compatible with the PS3 by now.

I won’t lie; some of these games are inordinately expensive by used-game standards. But even the most expensive doesn’t cost twice as much as a new PS3 game.

My intent with this is to show you all that the PSX was, in some ways, an incredible system; it may not have had the sturdy character of the N64, but even though I am fascinated with obscurity, I hadn’t heard of several of these games a few years ago – well after the PS2 had taken over.… Read the rest

Der Langrisser: Finally translated

Lester shows Cherie what’s for.

When you hear “Langrisser”, you probably think of nothing at all unless you pay attention to Japanese-language games. Thanks to a small, talented, and dedicated group of translators, that is about to change. A group led by Derrick Sobodash has completely translated the Super Famicom game “Der Langrisser” into English.

First off: Der Langrisser is actually a remake of Langrisser 2. Why should we care? If you ever tried a little-known Strategy RPG for Genesis by the name of Warsong, you have played the first game in the Langrisser series.

Warsong is a tour de force of strategy, and could have been the start of a trend toward larger-scale SRPG battles.… Read the rest

Playing catch up: Super Mario World

I was a Sega kid. This means different things to different people — I was deluded, I had bad taste, or maybe I loved action games? Yes, somewhat and no. Sega’s consoles gave me plenty of great games to play growing up, and I don’t regret knowing the Phantasy Star and Shining Force series as well as other gamers know the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series.

What I do regret is how little I know about the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series. Everything in life costs something, even if only time, and playing so many Sega games necessarily meant I had little opportunity for Nintendo games.… Read the rest

Retrospectives – Suikoden series, part 2

Continued from part 1

Suikoden 2
Suikoden 2 takes place a few years after the events of Suikoden 1. It is not only the rarest and most expensive Suikoden (sometimes reaching the $100 mark) but is also usually considered the best of the series. I have to agree – it improves nearly all aspects of the first game, develops a more interesting plot and has nicer artwork.

First off, the second entry builds much upon the success of the first plot-wise. The game takes place in an area to the North of the first one, three years after the revolution in the Scarlet Moon Empire.… Read the rest

Is Wii screwed?

Amidst all the recent articles on how the Wii is creating gamers out of grandmas and still out of stock around the nation, there are murmurs of doubt. Few people doubt the control scheme; it works well and is a lot of fun. But it remains unclear if Nintendo will be able to satisfy either their hardcore fans or their new casual gamer audience. Detractors are already labeling the Wii a repeat of the Gamecube; a platform for Nintendo games but little else.

As expected, the Wii will have a solid lineup of first party games:

Animal Crossing
Battalion Wars 2*
Big Brain Academy
Disaster: Day of Crisis*
DK Bongo Blast*
Fire Emblem
Mario Kart (not officially announced)
Mario Party 8
Mario Strikers Charged*
Metroid Prime 3*
Kirby
Pokemon Battle Revolution
Project HAMMER
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Paper Mario
Super Smash Brother Brawl

* Published but not developed by Nintendo

This move looks unfair.

Read the rest

The cost of gaming (or not gaming)

This New Year’s, I’ll be in London. My vacation promises to be sweet, but something struck me earlier today. Does it count as regicide if the royal family is merely allowed to keep their castle for show? If you accidentally run down the Queen whilst driving the wrong way (which would be her fault in the first place for allowing people to drive on the left side of the street) does it count as vehicular regicide?

 

Also, if I didn’t go to England, I could afford a PS3. You must be saying, “What are you, a fucking idiot? The point of life is to experience new things, see new places, run over queens.… Read the rest

Yet another peculiar top 10 list

Slightly (extremely) bitter about not having my stories picked up by the big sites, I scour Slashdot, Kotaku, etc for sub par stories that gets attention on a daily basis. Today’s highlight is a top 10 list (where’d they get the idea for this one?) on the “10 lamest game consoles, ever.” Ignore the fiery rage that builds within you when you see misplaced commas and other grammar atrocities. For now, focus on the gross injustice of including the Saturn amongst the Virtual Boy, CDi, 32X and N-Gage.

The guy who proclaimed Prince of Persia: Warrior Within one of the worst games of all time clearly had some input in forming this list.… Read the rest

Review – Disgaea

As I’ve grown older I have become more acutely aware that compromises are ubiquitous in game design. I once raised common questions like, “Why don’t they make this game longer,” “Why isn’t this game more open ended,” and “Why isn’t there more dialog in this game?”

A longer game time may dilute the story and make gameplay tedious. An open ended game is less focused and loses narrative potency, and more dialog can slow down fast paced gameplay. I now realize that for every obvious improvement, there is at least a small case to be made for keeping a design choice unchanged.… Read the rest