Haunter ranks 101 games he's played over the last decade, with write-ups.
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Original Release: 2008
Year Played: 2008
Totally forgot about this one for a while, seeing as it's not on the first list of this thread. DMC4, however, exceeded my expectations and came to be a great action game from that time period. I never really gave DMC1-3 a chance and I don't know if I ever will (the HD collection seemed to get poor marks), so coming in and playing 4 all the way through was a fresh new experience for me. Nero was actually a good character and fun to play as, but not as fun as Dante. I can't really forgive Capcom for completely recycling the second half of the game by forcing you to go through the same exact locations as Nero and fight mostly the same exact bosses, but it still sometimes felt like a new experience as Dante.
Did I mention how much I like Dante? It's unfortunate they totally ruined them with Capcom effectively killing the franchise off after this one. I love his quips and pre-boss insults, his snarky one-liners, and his overall demeanor. It's one of the reasons I hold this game in high regard (I'll get to playing DMC3 someday).
Oath doesn't really have anything else I could call a complete homerun as at its core it's still a remake of a rather simple game. There's one town, a bunch of dungeons, and a plot twist (a new one in this game) that is typical Falcom fare but at least gives the plot some depth. It's also incredibly short. But the gameplay is so much fun that it's the best out of all the Ys games. I wish Falcom used that formula more!
You should give Ys Origins a try, that game is set up pretty similarly. Given your thoughts on recycled content I'm not sure you'd enjoy the "beat the game with every character" thing the game kind of wants you to do but it's definitely worth at least one playthrough
There's also The Ark of Napishtim but I didn't think that one was nearly as good.
[NO BARKLEY NO PEACE]
[NO BKSheikah NO PEACE]
Yeah they're really trying to shove Ys Origin in my face with all the rereleases. I may check it out, although I didn't particularly enjoy a demo I played of it.
25. Final Fantasy IV DS
Original Release: 2008
Year Played: 2008
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: Nintendo DS
Favorite Character: Kain
Recreating a beloved SNES RPG classic with 3D graphics is a pretty ballsy move, but Square did it with FFIV and it turned out to be really good. It's a shame they never followed suit with FFV because they had something going here. FFIV was always my least favorite of the SNES trilogy but the DS remake of it stole my heart.
It's not the new graphics that make it the best iteration of FFIV (although they helped a lot), it's the changes in gameplay and mainly, the difficulty. I'm not too familiar with all the versions of FFIV released here on in Japan (hardtype, easytype? wtf) but this is clearly a much more challenging game than the SNES one and the GBA one. Random encounters are quick but frequent, and one bad battle can lead to a fast game over. You're always kept on your toes, and it's quite rewarding to make it through each and every dungeon. In fact, because the game is so tough it also feels much slower paced, which is a good thing as it's quite short. You're not -required- to grind, but it doesn't hurt. It's also sometimes imperative to go out of your way to complete optional tasks and get better items/equipment so you can survive.
Boss battles are done exceptionally well. I've always been a fan of these encounters in the "classic" FF games because they're not just random slugfests. They have gimmicks and I love gimmicks. I'm not sure if it was Sakaguchi who came up with the idea (Lost Odyssey had a ton of gimmick battles) but I always loved changing up my strategy to deal with some of them. FFIV DS takes this even further by adding certain interesting tweaks to battles which make them tough but very, very rewarding to beat. My favorite was Lugaeborg. who uses Reversal Gas which caused healing spells to do damage and attack spells to heal. This changes up your whole strategy, forcing you to use Curaga on the boss or Firaga on yourself to heal, but also being wary of him reversing the effect back to normal. Others have you doing things like Reflect spamming. Ordinarily you'd only find stuff like this in the new hidden content of each of the ports/remakes which I often don't touch, so it was nice that it made it into the main plot.
I can't really call this the complete collection but it's my favorite FFIV release. I wish the optional dungeon from GBA made it in. I also didn't care for augments, as they were too time-consuming to figure out effectively. Also I wish more FF games used a five person party.
(edited 4 weeks ago)
This is great. Tag.
"A more mature answer than I expected."~ Jakyl25
"Sephy's point is right."~ Inviso
24. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II
Original Release: 2016
Year Played: 2016
Favorite Class VII: Laura
It's been a minute since the last Trails title on this list. Cold Steel II takes second least favorite Trails game for me based on a few disappointing factors, but by no means is it a bad game. It's not even average-bad...it's really, really good. It just doesn't hit the same marks the first Cold Steel did, and in some ways the plot is a disappointment.
Gameplay wise, CS2 is an improvement and virtually perfects its battle system. Overdrives were fun and were oftentimes key in winning battles, and the combat in general flows more fluidly. Little changes here and there make for a better experience. Plus, you'll eventually get a huge roster of character you'll be able to use in battle, including the ones from the last game. I also loved the mech battles introduced near the end of CS1. They were a simple but really cool addition and I have somewhat of a thing for giant robots using flashy attacks against each other. One of the things I loved about the Suikoden series was its inclusion of different types of "battles" like the duels and wars. It's not a major addition but it made the game feel more engaging, and CS2 nails that feeling.
But if you've played SC and found the countless backtracking and recycling of areas from FC a little frustrating, Cold Steel II won't strike your fancy. It does the same exact thing but manages to have even less new areas. You'll go through the same places from the first game, and most of the dungeons WILL be revisited either for optional or required quests. Remember the chapter bosses from CS1? Well, almost all of them are back in some ways. You'll face the baboon again, then you'll face the dogs, then the spider, then all those archaisms...sometimes you'll face these bosses in the exact same areas where they were located in the first game! It all felt like padding.
Speaking of padding, the whole game's structure felt really fetch-questy. You see, CS1 ends with a bang and you're dying to know what happens next. Erebonia's suddenly in chaos and Rean is missing. There's giant mechs on the loose and a civil war has begun. CS2 is the story of that civil war, but it never feels like one. Constantly, we are told and occasionally shown the state of things in the country with the ongoing war, but we're never really participating in it. We'll occasionally run into the bad guys here and there, but for the most part we're traipsing around the countryside doing menial tasks or searching for friends. I was excited to see what happened to all of Class VII at the end of the last game, but the first act throws them all back together in a perfectly tied box. The first act involves going around Nord, Kreutzen, and Legram to find all the missing members. Then, you actually get some plot momentum with an intermission chapter. I loved this chapter. Some questions get answered and others are asked. We end with an epic showdown and get a cool airship, and then it's back to the status quo. Act 2 deals with going around and liberating some areas and then visiting four irritating, elemental dungeons to find some MacGuffins. This is tedious busywork and the second halves of each part of the act sometimes propels the plot forward (especially in the Roer section) but not always. There's also a Suikoden-like recruitment system however that I loved. Second time I mentioned Suikoden in this write-up but this game feels like it's giving nods to that series if it's unintentional. All your former Thors classmates can be found and recruited in East Erebonia. Speaking of that, am I supposed to believe that every single character is hanging around East Erebonia and nowhere west of Heimdallr?
I mean, I understand that we're not up to that part yet (CS3 will get there) but I, like some others, was under the impression we would get to visit some new locations heard about in CS1, but that's not the case. It cheapens the feel of the game, but I'm sure this will change once CS3 and CS4 are released. Most of the core character cast doesn't really get any big developments. Sure, you may find out some things about them but not enough for how well they were presented in the first game. Machias felt like an afterthought, he had like no presence.
The finale finally wraps some of the story up and the final dungeon is epic and well-designed, but the ending (not the epilogue ending) feels like CS1's ending in that it's not a cliffhanger, but a series of revelations that are left unanswered. The end of CS2, like CS1 before it, left me wanting way more. There's a bunch of new questions and too few answers and we're left with a feeling of emptiness inside. There's a timeskip after that and we go to a Crossbell scenario which leaves us wanting freaking CROSSBELL, and then we're back to another timeskip with Class VII chillin' like the old days and the same revelations from before not expanded upon. The scene with Claire and Rean in Trista's train station put a tear in my eye. I wanted to see more of Rean immediately after the final chapter's final boss and what he has been up to, but I knew the game had to end soon. I also shipped ReanxClaire.
Oh, and I also felt like no matter how powerful I was gameplay-wise, the game never displayed it story-wise. It overuses the big damn heroes that is prevalent in the series but here it's really bad. I can wreck a boss but the scene after that shows it getting back or him/her using some special move and then we don't a chance...but wait, X guy or X girl from the previous game suddenly shows up to save the day! This literally happens all.the.time. The worst instance of this is in Act 2 when storming an enemy base. You run into random mooks that look the same and then at the end of the dungeon is the random mook commander (who has the same exact character model as the other random mooks) holding a hostage captive. Nevermind the fact that we just S-Crafted the s*** outta his buddies and got shot hundreds of times, he has a gun pointed to the hostage and we can't do anything! He sics some soldiers, then the big dog bosses on me, then still tries to blackmail us afterwards and we don't stand a chance against him! Fortunately, a character from the previous game makes an appearance just in time and everyone's saved! This becomes a nuisance later on, where we face a bunch of the villains in the final dungeon and beat them but then they come back and nearly kill us before some big damn hero shows up. It's funny, because I absolutely wrecked the final chapter final boss within moments. They had an epic boss track that I didn't get to hear because I beat him in less than a few minutes, which is why I linked to it above.
But, at the end of the day, I nitpick a lot, and CS2 is still amazing and an essential game to play. I reckon it will be a much better experience when CS3 and later 4 are released in the west, because it'll feel like a part of a package. I wish it were paced better, yes, but what we got was worth the price of admission and then some. It's still a Trails game and an excellent one at that. If you're a fan you'd be doing yourself no favors skipping out on it, and even if the story has its faults and doesn't flow smoothly and ends sorta anticlimactically, it's still a freaking Trails game! These games have the best RPG storyline in this day and age, and it's still ongoing. I loved Suikoden for its various lore, backstory, and worldbuilding, and how it built upon a larger storyline in every entry of the franchise. And I love Trails for doing the same exact thing except doing it even better, and I know one day it will pay off.
I pretty much agree with that assessment of Cold Steel II. The good parts of the game (Intermission, the finale) are really good imo, but a lot of the rest of the game drags way too much. I do more or less like the first half when
Crow the best.
Trails game ranking imo: Sky SC > Sky The 3rd > Sky FC > Cold Steel 1 > Cold Steel 2
Congratulations to BK_Sheikah00, this year's guru to achieve contest enlightenment!
Gross, Claire. Probably my most disliked character.
Just killing time until the world ends.
23. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
Original Release: 2005
Year Played: 2009 (a little bit of it in 2005)
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Favorite Character: Ike or Gatrie or Jill or Haar or Naesala
Two FE games on this list and the first appearance is in the top 25! I'm not the biggest fan of the series, though...I love the addicting gameplay, and I used to like the stories but I find them quite lacking now that I'm older. I'll elaborate more on that. The characters in each game also grow on me after wrecking a battlefield. For example, in Sacred Stones I used Gerik pretty much to destroy everyone and everything, so I was always looking to see any sort of development the game would give him even if it's a minor support conversation. Path of Radiance expands upon this.
The battlefields are larger and often times more bombastic than in the GBA entries. Lots of units and lots of things going on, especially in the later chapters. Some battles take forever and this is my biggest issue with Fire Emblem and the SRPG as a whole. I don't enjoy making multiple autosaves just "to be safe" but I felt like I needed to do this frequently after Chapter 15 onward. I don't want anyone dying, ever, and I worry too much after my units! This is why I don't like Myrmidons too much -- they operate mainly on high evasion and crits, so it's easy to move them into firing range and letting them go to town. But what happens when the enemy gets a lucky move and ends up OHKO'ing that Myrmidon, which is entirely possible? Remember that a unit who dies is permanently gone, so for me this was a restart. Playing carefully and conservatively was sometimes irritating in the late game. Other than that, though, I liked the battles as a whole, and the headquarters prep in between.
Probably my favorite part of the game is the story. This is the first of a duology yet it doesn't pull a Trails and ends with a cliffhanger. You don't really need to play Radiant Dawn, but it's advisable especially if you're a fan of the plot and the world, because PoR ends with unexplained events and unanswered plot holes. Unfortunately, Radiant Dawn released a few years later on a different console, so if you didn't have a Wii, sucks to be you. I liked the overall plot and the mysteries surrounding the Black Knight (which are not answered here), as well as the Greil Mercenaries. Best of all, there is an arc involving the ravens and heron in Begnion which is actually very deep, mainly for Naesala's chronic backstabbery. He was one of my favorite characters. One of the most irritating things about FE storylines is its treatment of villains. While Ashnard was a great and capable villain, the issue is that all the bad guys looks like obvious villainous a******s with no redeeming qualities. Most bosses of each map look the part, either big bandits wearing rags or pissed off looking knights in armor. It's just a small nitpick though.
Crow the worst character in any Trails game.
Unfortunately, Radiant Dawn released a few years later on a different console, so if you didn't have a Wii, sucks to be you.
Aren't people much more likely to own Wiis than GCs...?
I played both of these on an emulator anyway though.
All the stars in the sky are waiting for you.
(edited 4 weeks ago)
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