Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: RPG Backtrack: Episode 121 - The Rock Goes in an Arc

  1. #1
    Code: Kirin RPGamer Staff JuMeSyn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Close to Trees
    Posts
    3,872

    RPG Backtrack: Episode 121 - The Rock Goes in an Arc

    Ah, Sony, holder of many now-dormant IPs. One of those was a pretty good tactical series that hasn't been seen for a number of years, but did a lot of interesting things along the way. Not all of those things were successful, but the effort makes for a substantive chat.
    Wanna be a Hunter? It's kinda fun.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.

  2. #2
    Everyone else may want to excise Beyond the Beyond from their minds. I won't. I remember its absurdly high encounter rate, trial-and-error puzzles, and cliche-ridden story with two-dimensional characters.

    When I played Beyond the Beyond, two dimensions were 200% more than I was accustomed to. I came to Beyond the Beyond from early CRPGs (Bard's Tale series, Might & Magic series, etc.), where characters were nothing more than a name, a class, and a list of statistics.

    At the time, I found Beyond the Beyond *amazing*. It was wonderful to play a game with character portraits, extensive dialogue, lots of NPCs to talk to, unusual graphic puzzles everywhere, and a beautiful CD-quality soundtrack. None of these things were in the tile-based WRPG dungeon crawlers I'd played before. Beyond the Beyond was my first overhead-perspective JRPG, and it convinced me that such games could be fun.

    I will never, ever replay Beyond the Beyond, because now I'm more aware of its excruciating flaws. But I'm keeping the rose-colored glasses as a souvenir.

  3. #3
    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    2,294
    Very nicely said! That will get read tomorrow, my friend.

  4. #4
    Member Texside's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    136
    I just gave this a listen today. Very nice!

    I never got to play the games, but in college, my friends and I decided to put the Arc the Lad anime series on. It was incredibly confusing because of a mixture of not having played the first game, alcohol, confusion over who Arc and crew actually were, alcohol, the sometimes questionable early 2000's dub acting, and yes, alcohol. I do recall my brother yelling at the screen because "that guy would have killed all of them in one hit!"

    Also, the fact it was named the White House. Like, was it that in Japanese? Was this weird political commentary worked in by someone? Did the most likely nonexistent Spanish translation make it the Casa Rosada to be more politically relevant to Argentines?

  5. #5
    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    2,294
    Quote Originally Posted by Texside View Post
    I just gave this a listen today. Very nice!

    I never got to play the games, but in college, my friends and I decided to put the Arc the Lad anime series on. It was incredibly confusing because of a mixture of not having played the first game, alcohol, confusion over who Arc and crew actually were, alcohol, the sometimes questionable early 2000's dub acting, and yes, alcohol. I do recall my brother yelling at the screen because "that guy would have killed all of them in one hit!"

    Also, the fact it was named the White House. Like, was it that in Japanese? Was this weird political commentary worked in by someone? Did the most likely nonexistent Spanish translation make it the Casa Rosada to be more politically relevant to Argentines?
    This is soooo getting read on our show tonight....

  6. #6
    Member Texside's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    136
    Whoa! You guys are getting them out once a week, now. That's awesome!

  7. #7
    Beard God VonBeardly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    119
    I remember going through the 50 floor dungeon in Arc 1 just because I wanted the game to be longer. It wasn't until I started Arc 2 that i found out saves carried over, so my need for a longer game worked in my favor. I remember Choko being pretty fun to use. Sadly I don't recall actually beating Arc 2. I do remember my save being over 100 hours though. Last thing I remember vividly was attacking a submarine.

    Never got around to playing Arc 3, though from the backtrack it sounds like it would be worth playing. I played most of Twilight of Spirits but eventually stopped playing before the end. I found all of the humans boring and most of the demons interesting. You guys were spot on with the human main being boring and forgettable.

    Sadly I did play End of Darkness. Thankfully I stopped trying after 6 hours, that game made me angry. It took everything I liked about Arc the Lad and pretty much got rid of it.
    Great backtrack as always guys, keep up the good work.
    Twitter: @vonbeardly just started and mostly use it to tweet about games i'm playing.
    PSN: theharv00 (blank invites will be ignored)
    http://www.yourgamercards.net/trophy/496/theharv00.png

  8. #8
    News Director/Reviewer RPGamer Staff Severin Mira's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Milton Keynes, England
    Posts
    1,846
    Quote Originally Posted by Texside View Post
    Whoa! You guys are getting them out once a week, now. That's awesome!
    It varies depending on host and guest availability but the average scheduled gap is still around two weeks, we've just been playing a bit of catch-up this month I think
    "My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre and that I am therefore excused from saving universes."
    Twitter: severinmira | Xbox Live: Severin Mira | PSN: severinmira (EU), severin-US (US) | NNID: severinmira | Skype: severinmk
    Final Fantasy XIV: Sevirain Kristinger (Leviathan)

  9. #9
    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    2,294
    Indeed.... in fact, we don't record the next show after this for three weeks.

    Sadly I did play End of Darkness. Thankfully I stopped trying after 6 hours, that game made me angry. It took everything I liked about Arc the Lad and pretty much got rid of it.
    Great backtrack as always guys, keep up the good work.

    I'm sorry about End of Darkness. Whatever you spent on it...it was too much :P

    Thanks for the kudos! Sorry I didn't get to read this on air... it went up after we recorded... some great insights here! I had no idea AtL2 could run over 100 hours!!
    Last edited by jcservant; 07-02-2014 at 05:35 AM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Victar View Post
    Everyone else may want to excise Beyond the Beyond from their minds. I won't. I remember its absurdly high encounter rate, trial-and-error puzzles, and cliche-ridden story with two-dimensional characters.

    When I played Beyond the Beyond, two dimensions were 200% more than I was accustomed to. I came to Beyond the Beyond from early CRPGs (Bard's Tale series, Might & Magic series, etc.), where characters were nothing more than a name, a class, and a list of statistics.

    At the time, I found Beyond the Beyond *amazing*. It was wonderful to play a game with character portraits, extensive dialogue, lots of NPCs to talk to, unusual graphic puzzles everywhere, and a beautiful CD-quality soundtrack. None of these things were in the tile-based WRPG dungeon crawlers I'd played before. Beyond the Beyond was my first overhead-perspective JRPG, and it convinced me that such games could be fun.

    I will never, ever replay Beyond the Beyond, because now I'm more aware of its excruciating flaws. But I'm keeping the rose-colored glasses as a souvenir.
    In that case I want to add my story about Beyond the Beyond too:

    I've played this game quite recently (2012) for the first time and liked it a lot, despite having played plenty of JRPGs before.

    How I came to playing it: Well I grew up with the Shining In The Darkness / Shining Force games and the past 3 years have been pretty... bad for my gaming. No new games that I actually enjoyed playing anymore. So one day I wondered "What happened to Camelot?". I was aware of Golden Sun and played the two GBA ones on my GameCube at that time already. So I checked Wikipedia if they made any new RPGs and there I saw it. They made an RPG for PSX named Beyond the Beyond that I've never heard of before (not released in Europe)! I actually had a dusty old US PSX sitting around, so in theory I could play it, but the game was hard to get. Not on Amazon at all anymore. I went through great mental trouble by creating a PayPal and an eBay account (two things I never wanted to use) just to be able to get a totally overpriced copy of the game for 60.
    Connecting a different console to my TV isn't really easy either, because I put all the cables behind the shelves and they are almost impossible to access, took me 4 hours to actually get the PSX to run and then another 2 hours to switch some cables because at first it was missing all the colour (NTSC / PAL problem I guess).

    So after quite some investment in both money and time I finally could play it. A game from Camelot back when they were still good and actually more RPGs than golf games. A game that I looked at in youtube videos and immediately fell in love with. "This is basically Shining Force as RPG!", I thought.

    Playing Beyond the Beyond, I enjoyed it. ALOT. It was hard and challenging, but not overcomplicated. Exactly how I like it. It had lots of secrets just how I remembered from Shining Force, too. It had those neetly designed dialogues between the characters that often showed emotions by "vibrating" rather than text. Minimalistic text and still a lot is told. Also just how I like it.
    Yes! This game was for me... it should never end. I liked the graphics that reminded me of Shining Force and the music was amazing too. I loved to whistle to it, so much that our neighbors complained about the whistling noise (but that's another story). Also the puzzles in the dungeons were fun and great. This game... it was the perfect RPG! Well, maybe not as perfect as SaGaFrontier, but quite close! At least I thought that (in fact, just see the whole post as my subjective view on the events that transpired).

    There are only two things that I could criticize. One was that part where the first enemy mages appear... that was just too hard. Bad luck + two mages in enemy formation = dead no matter how good you are and grinding won't help much either. On the other hand - things like this is what I also like in older RPGs. They didn't try to extremely balance ever single encounter and actually allowed there to be easier and harder encounters. I think it makes RPGs a lot more interesting (in what modern RPG do you ever think "Oh no, not this encounter!"?). The other thing is the encounter rate which is really brutal. It's basically "Every step, 12.5% chance for encounter", so with bad luck you basically could have 3 encounters while only walking 3 tiles! At first the encounter rate didn't bother me much, though. The combat music was great and it actually switched multiple times as you progress in the game (it's kind of like Breath of Fire II which also has too many encounters, but gets lightened up a bit by having multiple battle themes). It gets kind of annoying in the dungeons that have this "fall down, but if you select the wrong hole, start from the beginning" puzzle style. I was already like 80% into the game where I felt "Well... now it's about time the game comes to an end". Luckily, shortly after, it was really finished.

    So yeah, I really enjoyed playing the game and didn't regret the 60 I spent on it, even though it was already 2012. While I can understand the complaints about the encounter rate, it really hurts me seeing how people call it one of the worst RPGs ever. It's not. It's one of the best, just not in the top 10.

    Would I play it again? Unlikely. Or maybe in 10 years if I still live by then. But I certainly would play a game that is exactly like it with a new story and characters and a bit lower encounter rate.


    On a sidenote: Currently 95% of my playing time is spent with Camelot games and I don't see it changing anytime soon.

  11. #11
    Member Texside's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    136
    Quote Originally Posted by jcservant View Post
    Indeed.... in fact, we don't record the next show after this for three weeks.
    Hey, that's cool! It makes sense. Juggling staff availability seems like it could be tricky sometimes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rya.Reisender View Post
    The other thing is the encounter rate which is really brutal. It's basically "Every step, 12.5% chance for encounter", so with bad luck you basically could have 3 encounters while only walking 3 tiles! At first the encounter rate didn't bother me much, though. The combat music was great and it actually switched multiple times as you progress in the game (it's kind of like Breath of Fire II which also has too many encounters, but gets lightened up a bit by having multiple battle themes).
    I know it's subjective -- and have never played Beyond the Beyond (or heard of it, actually) -- but... the changing battle themes still didn't get old if the encounter rate was higher than a 1 in 10 chance?

  12. #12
    I'm not sure about you, but if I really like a song I can listen to it 16 hours straight. And I really liked the Breath of Fire II and Beyond the Beyond OSTs.

    Oh and what I forgot to mention is that the battles in Beyond the Beyond have some kind of rhythm feature. Basically if you press the confirm button in the rhythm the characters "blink", you do special attacks (or dodge/block/counter in case of monster blinking). I think that helped that they didn't get old too fast, too.

    (In case you wonder about Beyond the Beyond OST: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uePDb6Ouh0)

  13. #13
    Beyond the Beyond supposedly had some feature where correctly timed button presses increased the odds of an extra-powerful special attack (there was a low chance of getting an extra-powerful attack no matter what), but nothing in the manual or the game explains how it's done. At the time I played it, there were no FAQs about which buttons to press when, and the strategy guide was no help either. Fortunately, it's possible to completely ignore this feature and do fine in the game.

    I don't remember the killer early-game mages at all. I do remember a Water Demon boss, who was a nasty piece of work.

  14. #14
    The hard mages start to show up when you reach that desert region in the east the first time.

    And yes the rhythm feature isn't actually explained, for me it was simply "learning by doing". I already had the habit to "mash the buttons" during combat even if it isn't required and at first I didn't connect me doing all the special attacks and dodging to my button mashing until I was further into the game where I started to feel like it's connected on how I press them (also because it plays a sound if done right). Then I stopped pressing them to test and saw that suddenly special attacks and dodging stopped. At that point I realized, I really should be mashing the buttons and tried to figure out in what rhythm I need to mash them. Eventually I managed to succeed almost always. I accomplished that without even consulting a FAQ even once.

    And I don't think you can "completely ignore this feature" that easily. Without it, the game is significantly harder. In fact, I think most people that said the game is too hard just said that because they didn't know about this feature.

  15. #15
    Member ghaleon80's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Pass Christian, MS
    Posts
    150
    I've actually never played a Arc the Lad game and as a Working Designs game collector, I definitely need to pick up the collection.

    I had no idea how these games played until I heard this podcast. The 1st game sounds kinda brutal but it's short so I think I can tough it out.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •