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Thread: RPG Backtrack: Episode 83 - We Have the Technology

  1. #1
    Code: Kirin RPGamer Staff JuMeSyn's Avatar
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    RPG Backtrack: Episode 83 - We Have the Technology

    A certain Square title involving giant robot combat and questionable theological ideas is the showcase this time. If that's not enough, an offshoot Final Fantasy and one of the PSP's most appealing Rogue-likes are also analyzed.
    Is it the Messiah or just someone like him...?
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.

  2. #2
    Angel-Possessed Priestess Administrator Strawberry Eggs's Avatar
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    Excellent episode, guys! No, I haven't played Xenogears yet (I read up on the story years ago, so you don't have to worry about spoiling me), but it looks like something I'd be interested in. As I'm rather fascinated by Gnosticism, I thought I'd throw in that "Evil God" is ususally referred to as the Demiurge, meaning craftsman or artisan. He is sometimes called Yaldabaoth, with Demiurge being his title.
    "Tiz, please. You're getting bumpkin all over my feral bikini woman fantasy. "

  3. #3
    I'm still making my way through the previous episodes, just getting through episode 79 Dragonwyck from a little while back and wanted to make a comment on some of it. Dragon Quest 4 is among my favorite jRPGs of all time, I have a lot of great memories of it from my childhood. I'm glad that JCServant and possibly others had actually played the original. A quick correction- at one point, it was mentioned that you couldn't choose the gender of the hero, which actually is wrong. I don't know if any of you who did play the original NES version remember what it was like when a save was corrupted/lost, but I remember several times when I didn't turn the NES off right or powered on/off a few times, and the game would play the most heart-sinking short piece of music with a note about save(s) being lost. I remember that music to this day, and will always get a sense of dread from it.

    Overall though, I agree with the comment about 4 being a better introduction to the series even than 5 was. I've always been impressed with just how much story and innovation the DQ series had, even if the specific gameplay mechanics haven't changed much in 25 years. I'm also glad that they did get rid of the AI-control in DQ4. It was very impressive and a new gameplay mechanic when the game was originally released, but it was also more of a challenge to work with than a benefit. I wish there were more games like this trilogy had. It is a shame that party chat was omitted for the DS remake of DQ4. Glad you guys mentioned the PSX remake that we never got. I believe the reason for it was that the company who developed it actually went out of business during the time the localization was in progress, although perhaps that happened during the PS2 DQ5 remake.

    In the end, I'm glad we got these remakes. They are all among my favorite RPGs of all time, and they really drove the genre in more ways than that era of FF ever did. I remember seeing lists of upcoming SNES games and seeing Dragon Warrior 5 on the list, and waiting for a long time to get it. My wait for DQ5 was longer than the wait for Duke Nukem Forever. Now we just need the DQ7 3DS remake to be localized, I might actually pick up a 3DS if it comes.

  4. #4
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    My kingdom for text speed control. That feature alone would likely cut the playtime by 10 hours.

    With the twists and revelations in the game, two play throughs are easily warranted, but the sadness caused by the unfinished nature of the second disc (and slow text speed) make it hard to do so. One of these years I might manage it.

  5. #5
    Xenogears was the first RPG I bought for my Playstation way back when. I always remember it being a lot harder than FF7(mostly the tough gear battles) and how confusing the story was. Without the Perfect Works book that was released later, I'm pretty sure it's impossible to understand much of anything. I did manage to beat the Rock Paper Scissors game, after much raging at how the computer cheats. A funny story about when you guys mentioned that you can play it on your PS2. When I replay my old PS1 games I always use my PS2 since its usually hooked up, but the last time I played Xenogears; I got to the first boss fight where you fight Deus(the one who keeps cutting everyone's HP in half) the AMV that would play for that attack would cause my PS2 to freeze. I tried several times but couldn't get past it. I dusted off my old PS1 and tried it and no problems. As a side note it seemed to look a little better and run/load faster on my PS1 as well. Maybe the PS2 emulator isn't quite the same as running it on the original hardware.

    Like smacd, I am also catching up on some of the recent backtracks I missed and wanted to comment on the .hack episode. I was always interested in .hack but never got into them and after hearing all the good things about .hack//G.U., I went and picked them up(btw I was able to get all three for about $75 at Movie Trading Company if you have one of those nearby) and just finished playing Vol. 3. I liked the characters, story, the avatar battles were cool, and of course the card game was addictive. I thought it would have been more like an MMO world if it had been a little more open though. The game has you always teleporting between towns and areas which are reused so much it literally put me to sleep(I was running into walls while nodding off). And after each story event your character always mentions that "I should log off and check my email." Which tells to where to go do the next story part then check your email again. A super linear game, with a few side things to do here and there.

    My post is getting a little long, but since I'm on the topic of super linear RPGs I wanted to say a few things about FFXIII and linearity in general. As you might have guessed from my avatar I love FFXIII BECAUSE its so linear. As I know Phil has mentioned on this show before all Final Fantasy games are actually linear and they merely have the illusion of freedom and choice. One thing thats done really well in FFXIII that I don't hear mentioned much is its balance. Since the game limits where you go and who's in your party and how much you can power up in any given section you are never over/under powered and you actually have to use some strategy and tactics, which brings out what makes FFXIII so great, its battle system. I'm not really a completionist when it comes to games but if there are quests or areas to explore I will do it. I like to know what the reward is, and not being a "FAQ guy" when I can help it, the only way to find out is to do it. I was so overwhelmed when I played Xenoblade recently. It had so many trival quests that had you running back in forth all over the place and because of that part of me I couldn't just let them go. But I would dread walking into a new town knowing there would be a bunch more. What this led to was me being stronger than most of the story content of the game, and it became so easy that the cool tactical systems of Xenoblade were irrelivant since I was always overleveled. I was reminded of this when I played .hack, as in the fist 2 volumes I was always way stronger than the story stuff since I explored extra dungeons that I found on the in game forums. This was especially amusing when I would fight the arena fights where my character is supposed to be weaker than the enemy and after fighting the battle and crushing my opponent, it would jump to a cutscene where I was being beaten.

  6. #6
    Member Hero Killer Id's Avatar
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    I love the backtracks guys but I think you barely scratched the surface of the game with Xenogears. No mention of Billy and his father. And no mention of the often time terrible platforming that was very unique for rpgs which caused copious amounts of frustration while climbing the friggen Babel Tower. But still glad to see it got a backtrack I've been really impressed these last few months especially with the Dragon Quest and .hack episodes.

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