Right, so I’ve been playing a few modern-ish RPG’s recently, namely Final Fantasy X and Blue Dragon. And they’re great, because unlike a certain ripoff MMORPG created by Blizzard that is a pathetic version of their RTS’s of the same name (I won’t say the name, because it’s poisonous), they actually require skill, timing, strategy, and the ability to think before you do something.
For example, "Frig, two out of three people in my party are down! Who have I got left… okay, Auron. I can risk trying to escape, but it doesn’t always work… or I can use a Phoenix Down on one character in the hope that it’ll be that character’s turn next so he can use a Phoenix Down on the third character… OR I can use a Mega Phoenix to get everyone up, BUT they’re quite hard to find. I can also switch Yuna in, summon an Aeon and see if that can pwn the rest of the enemies, but if it can’t, I’m royally screwed."
See? In that other MMORPG I mentioned it’s "I’ve gotta keep clicking the same three buttons over and over again until the boss goes to the back of the room, then I have to dodge his charge that is impossible to dodge because of the lag, and it kills in one hit… and if I can’t dodge it, then I die, which means we lose." You can’t prevent ANYTHING, only your teammates can prevent you from dying… and your teammates CONSTANTLY make stupid mistakes.
And, don’t forget, that game is SERIOUS… FUCKING… BUSINESS!!! You HAVE to win, otherwise EVERYONE has a screw, and when you DO win, everyone’s like "YES, YES, WE WIN AT LIFE" even though they don’t… that’s the biggest thing those types of nerds fail at. Then if they lose when rolling for a good item, they’re like "O FFS OMG WTF… I HATE YOU ALL IM GONNA KILL UR MOMS" and then become an hero. (That’s internet slang for comitting suicide, for all you that don’t know. )
Even Blue Dragon, the game that looks like, and contains enemies like it’s targeted at 3-year-olds, has a crapload of strategy in it! It’s in the same style as Final Fantasy, because incredibly… it was MADE by the guy that founded Final Fantasy. And even though all the characters and enemies look like cartoon characters… it’s not aimed at little kids. For example, when Shu grabs onto this rope to try and stop this shark enemy thing at the start of the game… he yells "Stop! STOP, YOU BASTARRRD!" Sadly, that’s the only swear word they were allowed to use to stop the game going over 12+.
Final Fantasy X and Blue Dragon are great modern RPG’s, and there are more out there (Fallout 3 doesn’t count. It was good, but it was just an FPS with randomness included, so there’s no skill required, and modern developers think that graphics are much much more important than gameplay and game length). But, after playing a certain rare semi-retro (1998, it’s retro enough ) RPG… I’ve decided that most modern games have NOTHING unique about them.
I found a ROM for Panzer Dragoon Saga, a Sega Saturn RPG that is extremely difficult to find a hard copy of, because it’s so rare. Apparently, if you want a hard copy, you may have to pay upwards of $200 (£140) for it! I decided to stick with the digital copy, and use Daemon Tools to run it.
As you may know, Panzer Dragoon is probably the best rail-shooter of all time. I’ve only played Panzer Dragoon Orta, and it’s awesome, I mean REALLY awesome, because it’s such a challenge (The amount of times I’ve died on Normal mode is ridiculous, and I haven’t even dared to go on Hard yet. ), it’s got great gameplay (Because it’s FUN), it’s got a lot of strategy involved (You’ve got to change forms A LOT. For example, you’re on a section before the chapter boss, and there are a lot of enemies, so you’ll want to use Base Wing, because that lets you lock onto the most enemies. Then when you get to the boss, you’ll want Heavy Wing, so you can do more damage, but then when the boss shoots a million missiles towards you, you’ve got to change to Glide Wing and shoot all the missiles down, otherwise it’s gonna hurt quite a bit, and destroy your ranking. ), and because it’s a RAIL SHOOTER, and rail shooters automatically win, UNLESS incorporated into Legend of Spyro. Then they auto-fail.
Anyway, I decided to try Panzer Dragoon Saga, and after about 20-25 minutes of finding a Saturn emulator and trying to get it to work, I managed to boot the game. After starting a game and after a VERY LENGTHY intro sequence (about 10 minutes, and it was all in Japanese with English subs, but I don’t care, because then at least you don’t have shitty English voice actors ruining it), I got TWO MINUTES of gameplay, followed by another 5-10 minute cutscene, where Edge (the main character) meets the dragon. Don’t ask me why, cuz I don’t really know. And then it explained the battle system with a bunch of tutorials… and after I finished the tutorials, I concluded that this was the best battle system in the known universe.
RPG’s to me are about story, strategic gameplay and character development… and although the story is important, and the character development is like, critical… the strategy and gameplay just dominate everything else, because they are STUPIDLY indepth. I’m gonna try and explain why now… I may need screenshots. It’s quite hard to explain.
Basically… in a battle, you have a radar at the bottom of the screen, with the enemy in the middle, and you at the edge of the map marked by an axe/hammer/whatever, like this:
If you’re in a green area in relation to the enemy, you’re safe, the enemy can’t attack you (or can attack you with puny attacks), and you can charge your action gauge freely without risk of pwnage. If you’re in a grey zone, the enemy will be able to use its moderate attacks (if they have an action gauge charged). If you’re in a red zone, you can be hit by the enemy’s most powerful attacks, and you should REALLY consider moving.
Thing is, some of an enemy’s weak spots may not be in a green zone, so you have to decide whether to stick your neck out for high damage, or to play it safe in the green zones.
And this is unique, as well – after a battle, you get RATED on how well you did:
However… the rating system is BRUTAL. If you do awesomely, but just make the SLIGHTEST mistake, it won’t give you an "Excellent", the highest rank. Slight mistakes include taking ANY form of damage, firing the wrong thing at the wrong time, using Berserks when it’s not totally necessary, moving when you don’t really need to… all of these can possibly knock you down a rank.
For that battle with the first boss, it gave me a "Good"… which is the middle rank. GOOD?! I kicked his ass through the wall! Hit his weak spot every time, stayed out of red where it was physically possible, taking the minimum amount of damage you can take, never used a heal… and I got a GOOD. It’s not irritating, really (unless it gives you a "Close Call" when you didn’t do THAT bad), it’s a REALLY BIG challenge. Some games are easy to get the highest rank on (Overkills on Final Fantasy X are SOOOO easy…) so you don’t feel like you’ve done anything amazing… whereas in some like this one, when you get the highest rank, you feel like yelling "OH YES! I RULE!" because it’s so hard to achieve!
And speaking of "Excellent"s… I JUST GOT ONE!!
Oh yes, oh yes, that was awesome. And with the Japanese double-exclamation mark that you see pretty often! It adds EFFECT to your winnage!
Oh yeah, and by the way, now that I’ve just saved the game… I
have to ask, WHY THE HELL DON’T GAMES SAVE LIKE THIS ANYMORE?! You know
how it is these days, you click the "save" button, and it takes a few
seconds to save (one game I remember took over 30 seconds to save ).
Panzer Dragoon Saga? You click "Save Game to Internal RAM", select a
slot, confirm the overwrite if you need to, and BOOM, in a split
second, the game is saved. Final Fantasy X doesn’t need to save much
more than Panzer Dragoon Saga does… so why does it take about 400
By the way, don’t even go saying "Oh, you only think this game’s awesome cuz there’s a dragon in it", because that doesn’t make a lot of difference. I could be flying on a giant eagle or a flying FISH or even a BRICK… and I would still think the game is awesome. Even though flying on a brick would sort of destroy the storyline, and the part where you have a choice of whether to name your brick or not would be kinda weird… but I wouldn’t care, because the gameplay would still be awesome. That’s all that matters to me – the gameplay. And if you’re a proper gamer, that’s all you should be bothered about anyway.
Seriously dudes, if you’re bored and like RPG’s, try and find the ROMs for Panzer Dragoon Saga (there are four of them, because there are four CD’s). You can get them all from Romulation (although you’ll have to wait a while to get the points needed to download all the ROMs), and get the Saturn emulator called SSF. I admit, it’s a lot of work to get it to run the game properly, you have to get DAEMON Tools, mount the ROM with it, turn off the BIOS (otherwise it won’t boot, saying the game disc is unsuitable), configure controllers, set the CD drive to be the correct one, and THEN you can boot the game. If you’re on Vista, whatever you do, don’t save state using the emulator menus. The emulator WILL crash.
Anyhoo, I’ll stop typing now, and get on with playing this. I suggest you do the same, because you will be forever awesome. See yas!