The Winter Recap Post

With the sole exception of Call of Duty 2 for the 360, which I download off XBLA, I’ve played nothing but RPGs for nearly two months.  Since this is probably going to continue for most of the year, it means that I won’t be beating as many games as I did last year and it means that I will only have to try much harder to keep my Unbeaten count from rising since I’m going to continue buying games.  Especially when summer comes around and I’ll be back in the States, I’m going to use that time to focus on some of my longer RPGs.  It’s going to be different from last year, where I went through a lot of older games in my collection.

On the other hand, it’s going to be easier to write about each game I’ve beaten so far since I have nowhere as many games to talk about as I did in my last two recap posts.  I looked back at the Summer of the Beat post I made back in September and realized that I didn’t do as good of a job writing it like I should have.  Sure, I listed all 25 games I finished from May to August, but I didn’t talk about every one of them.  I went back to that post and fixed that.  I had a lot of stuff to say about certain games, while I didn’t have a lot to say about other games.  At least I said something about each one of them.

At least I did a good enough job on my recap post for the fall that I didn’t have to rewrite it.  Since I had a lot of games to talk about, although nowhere as much as last summer, I broke up my blog post by each month.  It made talking about certain games a lot easier.

When I wrote my last recap post, I was playing Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, so let’s start with that game.

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

I tried playing Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon last fall, a game that I picked up earlier last year.  Seeing how it was a remake of the first game and how Nintendo forgot to update the game from game, there were a lot of things in the game that would have passed in 1990 but wouldn’t work in 2009.  I ended up dropping that game and almost lost interest in the Fire Emblem series until I picked up Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance.  It ended up being one of the best games I’ve played for the Gamecube and one of my favorite strategy RPGs of all time.

So why do I like it so much?  There was the story, which was really well done.  I liked how Ike, the main character of the game, was an ordinary person rather than the lord or prince you see in previous Fire Emblem games.  As with the previous games that have been released in the States, Nintendo of America did a good job on the dialogue, so I give them credit for that.  Then there was the gameplay.  There are a lot of changes in PoR that really makes the game more enjoyable.  Having a base where you can take care of stuff and make preparations between battles is one of the best things to happen to the series.  It’s where you can buy items, do support conversations, and give bonus experience to weaker characters.  The last one is pretty awesome because it means that you do not have to risk sending them into battle as much.

One hallmark of the Fire Emblem series has been the challenge each of the game presents.  Once a character dies in battle, he or she is gone for good.  Certain characters have certain weaknesses.  For some characters, it’s because of the weapon triangle (swords, axes, lances).  For other characters, like the laguz, people who can transform into powerful creatures, they can be weak to certain magic.  It’s very easy to lose a character because of a powerful enemy or the dreaded enemy reinforcements.  I really had to watch what I was doing for a lot of the game.  Many chapters took me anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes to finish because of the need to look out after everyone.  There were times that someone could have died, but they didn’t.  This was just on Normal.

I struggled to play this game as I dealt with the load of homework that came at the end of the semester and then finals.  In fact, since I would be so busy when I would go home for winter break, it ended up being the last game I would finish for 2009.  Sure, the ending sequence was long, but it was worth sitting through.  Hard to believe my first beaten game of 2009 was Chrono Trigger for the DS and that my last one would be this game.

Call of Duty 2

I originally downloaded this game off XBLA last year around the time I finished the single player mode in Modern Warfare 2.  I hadn’t played a WWII-era Call of Duty since the first one years ago, so I decided to give this one a shot.  It was fairly easy to get into this game after playing both Modern Warfare games.  Normal mode seemed…easy.  I didn’t have any trouble except for maybe a few parts.  Even then, it wasn’t too bad.  I ended up finishing it the last day I was at home for winter break.  It’s also the only non-RPG I’ve finished this winter.

Yggdra Union

Oh man, I love and hate this game at the same time.  I started this right after Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, only taking a well-needed break to finish Call of Duty 2.  From the makers of Riviera: The Promised Land comes a strategy RPG that has a very complicated battle system and has many moments that made me want to rage quit.  In fact, I had to restart my game early on because I felt that I didn’t do a great job during some of the earlier chapters.

Trying to explain the battle system is one of the most difficult things to do when talking about Yggdra Union to other people.  There’s the complicated weapons triangle.  Swords beat axes, lances beat swords, axes beat lances. Magic beats all three weapons.  Arrows beat magic.  All three weapons beat arrows.  Scythes are above all weapons, although magic does better than weapons.  There are cards that you use every turn.  Each has a certain ability that can only be activated under certain conditions.  By positioning people in the right formation, you can chain people so that you can do consecutive battles.  Each chapter has certain conditions that you have to meet, whether it be defeating a certain boss or for getting from Point A to Point B.  There’s a reason why the game introduces the mechanics of the game little by little.

I think the one thing that absolutely saved me from pulling my hair out and rage quitting Yggdra Union was the save suspend system.  It lets you save your game in the middle of the chapter so that you can jump back into it at a later time.  Unlike a lot of games that use this feature, save suspends do not disappear after one use.  That means you can reload that save as many times as you wish until you make a new save suspend file.  Abusing it was key to getting certain chapters right and beating this game.  It’s hard to believe that the PSP version was much easier than the GBA version.  My god.  I had to look up guides for this game just to get past certain parts.  I’m just glad that I was able to figure out a lot of stuff on my own.

Eff Gulcasa.  Scythe wielding dude on a dragon reamed my party many times and was just very tough to deal with.  At least I finished the PSP version of this game.  Am I going to go back and play Hard Mode?  I don’t think so.

Final Fantasy VI Advance

After going through much rage while playing Yggdra Union, I needed a change of pace.  That’s why I started this game.  I’ve had FFVIA for a while, but didn’t start the game until the beginning of this year.  The Advance version is a very good port, with none of the bugs or other issues seen in FFIV Advance.  The only thing that I would have to complain about is the downgraded audio from the SNES and PS1 versions, but we do get a revamped translation and no loading times at all.  The GBA translation stays more true to the original script, which means that certain favorite lines from the SNES version are gone.  “Son of a submariner” has been changed to “Son of a sandworm.”

What matters the most, though, is that the game holds up incredibly well in the 16 years since the original version was released for the SNES.  Taking place in a world that mixes fantasy and industrial technology, FFVI has a story that stays strong from beginning to end.  For the first 10 or so hours of the game, you are pretty much on a linear path as the plot unfolds and as you meet many people in this world.  You do have time to do sidequests and stuff, but those are few and between.  Then there is the huge plot twist, which leaves the world destroyed.

For me, this is where the game truly began to shine.  Once I took care of a few things and got an airship, I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted in the World of Ruin.  I could summons in the order I wanted to and recruit all 14 characters, given that I was prepared in terms of leveling up, having the right party, items, spells and such.  I had to restart the game once and replay the first 10 hours just so I could get to the part where I could Shadow.  Was it worth it?  Yes.  I could have done a lot more stuff in the World of Ruin, but I felt like I had done enough to take on Kefka’s Tower, the last dungeon of the game.  Aside from a few tricky bosses, the endgame was fairly easy.  The reason I’m not going to complain here is that the endgame is a step up from FFIII and FFIV, the last two FF games I’ve played in recent memory.  I wish Kefka, was more of a challenge, though.  Still, he’s one of my favorite villains in any given Final Fantasy, let alone any video game.

Do I play on replaying this?  Of course!

Pokemon Diamond and Platinum

Covered in a previous blog post.

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~ by WanderingMind on February 27, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Winter Recap Post”

  1. This blog has mostly become Wan-chan’s blog now. XD

    I really should post about the THREE RPGs I beat in the past couple months or so. >_> /lazy

  2. Yeah, it seems like it. XD

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