Why did I play this?Why did I play this?

Posted on Sep 23rd 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under Editorial, rpg, action, console, replay


As the storage size of digital media has increased, so too has the size of the video games that are played. Game worlds used to be quite tiny, and the length of games came from other areas of difficulty meant to make it hard to explore those worlds. Enemies were difficult and frequent; statistical balance was brutal. It would take players hours to get the right equipment, enough money, and high enough stats to be able to properly progress. Games have been expanded in many ways for decades.

The idea of playing through a game twice or more is quite old by now, with the earliest examples coming from some mid-80s hits and classics such as Ghosts 'n Goblins, The Legend of Zelda, and Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei. The rewards for this choice are varied, the true ending for Ghosts 'n Goblins, or an extra challenge in Zelda and Megami Tensei. It was only later when this idea was not only popularized, but received a name that has stuck with gamers for over two decades and counting now. Chrono Trigger rewarded players for multiple trips through its world by offering a variety of different endings that could be achieved by beating the final boss in any number of different ways and almost anywhere during the story.



Continue reading Old Game -



Posted on Aug 26th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under evolution, rpg, pc, open world, history, theory, editorial


As video games become an aging hobby, it becomes more difficult to grasp the beginning of its tale, or the history and growth of it in general. This does not just mean its actual history, but also its dominant theories of design. For example, when many gamers talk of role playing games, only two dominant styles are generally brought up: The consolized Japanese designed role playing games, and the historically more mechanically complex and open, Western designed role playing games. Despite the fact that these two schools of design are considered different enough to be easily categorized, they share a common ancestor in tabletop games, specifically Dungeons and Dragons. While Dungeons and Dragons has been around since the 1970's, it has evolved and is almost unrecognizable in comparison to its earliest version, as the company that originally created the game went bankrupt, was bought out, and its creator has passed away.



Continue reading The Great Western RPG Schism?



Posted on Jul 25th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under world building, analysis, playstation, rpg, konami, ps2


Since the beginning of role playing games, many details have been taken into account by everyone from the top tier game designers down to the dungeon or game master building their first campaign. However, few details are thought about as much as the design of the world the players inhabit. For most gamers, it is nothing more than passing scenery made to make you stop and enjoy the beauty before you move two steps forward and completely forget about it.

In modern video gaming, there are a few different kinds of world designs at play. Most Japanese developed RPGs, from the beginning to this day, are the world spanning epics. No stone is left unturned on these worlds as many are developed without the idea of direct sequels in mind. The juggernauts of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest almost always take place in a completely new world with linearity in mind. Dragon Quest I and II are notable exceptions to this, where the world of the first game is revealed to be just one small part of the full world that is revealed to the player in Dragon Quest II. This is the idea that Suikoden takes, as it will likely never will reveal the full world in one game.


Continue reading Summer of Suikoden: A Treatise on World Design



Posted on Jul 25th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under Sega Saturn, fighting, platform, rpg, capture, time loop


The vast sea of forgotten tales long buried in the sands of time can seem insurmountable to one looking for a place to dig. Sega's Saturn is a system that has been pushed to the wayside for the entirety of its existence in the West, while it enjoyed a brief success as the great black gaming box of the East. Some of its games made their way over to the West, but the overall ratio of those that came compared to those that never made it is sad to look at, especially if you put yourself in the mindset of a Western Saturn fan who sees the press talk about new Japanese games that only had a tiny chance of being brought over. Some of the ones brought over were excellent, like Dragon Force, GunGriffon and the arcade ports that I have previously discussed. Even the weaker titles brought over were at least something to whet the appetite. With all that in mind, which category of quality does Dark Savior manage to fall into, or is it just another futile voyage along a sea of the endless sands?


Continue reading Psychotic Reviews: Dark Savior



Posted on Apr 26th 2015 at 11:57:35 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under sandbox, irem, atlus, ps2, open world, rpg, action, customize


Steambot Chronicles, or Ponkotsu Roman Daikatsugeki: Bumpy Trot as it was originally named in Japan, is a Playstation 2 game developed and published by Irem in Japan, Atlus in North America, and 505 Gamestreet in a few countries in Europe. There is also a spin off on PSP named Steambot Chronicles: Battle Tournament, and an odd tie-in puzzle game on PS2 and PSP named Blokus Portable: Steambot Championship (one of only four games published by Majesco on the PSP in the USA).

A quick look at the back of the case of Steambot Chronicles shows the game being marketed as an open world RPG, and that is correct in a way. The game starts off as linear as any other RPG that's been made and then opens up. It's similar to the opening dungeon in Elder Scrolls, but drags on much longer. In this long opening sequence, you'll visit all three of the main towns, many of the back areas, and explore most of the world by the time it's completely opened up. Once an area is open, it may be visited at any time afterwards, and as a result, money can be hoarded this way.


Continue reading Psychotic Reviews: Steambot Chronicles



Posted on Nov 13th 2014 at 12:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under RPG, namco bandai, tales of xillia, ps3, playstation, gaius dumplings


I have been excited about the release of Tales of Xillia 2 since I played and reviewed the first one a few months ago (http://www.rfgeneration.c...-Tales-of-Xillia-2755.php). I greatly enjoyed the main characters and writing of the original game and thought that the plot took plenty of nice turns that were not as predictable as an RPG veteran would expect.


Continue reading Psychotic Reviews: Tales of Xillia 2



Posted on Sep 6th 2014 at 04:33:03 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under konami, stars of destiny, nintendo, ds, rpg


Suikoden Tierkreis was the second Suikoden game made by Konami for a non-Sony system and was the first to be released outside of Japan. The first, Suikoden Card Stories, was released on the Game Boy Advance (Japan exclusive) and is basically a retelling of Suikoden II as a trading card game. Though I have no idea what I'm doing in that game due to the language barrier, I do know what's going on in Tierkreis. Tierkreis was the first Suikoden game released since Suikoden V on the PS2, and was anxiously awaited by fans of the series, since there was about a three year gap between these releases.


Continue reading Psychotic Reviews: Suikoden Tierkreis



Posted on May 31st 2014 at 12:37:07 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under RPG, sega, saturn, sunsoft



Albert Odyssey is one of those pesky Working Designs games for the Sega Saturn. It is a classical styled turn based RPG which is actually a departure from earlier titles in the series. The Albert Odyssey series started on the Super Famicom, developed and published by NES favorite Sunsoft. These are tactical, strategic RPGs in the vein of Fire Emblem and Ogre Battle mostly. There was also a sequel made for the Super Famicom, but both of these were never released outside of Japan. Albert Odyssey: Legend of Aldean began development for the Super Famicom as a side story to the first two games, but that version was cancelled and ported to the Sega Saturn. In Japan this game was released as Albert Odyssey Gaiden ~Legend of Eldean~, and was developed and published by Sunsoft as usual.

In comes Working Designs, finally moving beyond the limited audience of the Sega CD and onto Sega's new system. This audience would also be quite limited, and the Saturn's short life would eventually move the company onto the juggernaut Playstation. But before that happened the company managed to localize and release 6 games for the Saturn. Albert Odyssey is the first one that I am playing.



First off I want to say that graphically this game is a slight upgrade from its Super Famicom roots, but it certainly feels like it would be right at home for that system. As a result of the Saturn's strong 2D capabilities the pixel count is much higher than you would see on any Super Nintendo game. There are little bits of 3D perspective on the world map that the Saturn was able to soup up a bit, but these would have looked fine with the Mode 7 capabilities, much like Final Fantasy VI's airship traveling. The music is all Sega Saturn though, with nice CD quality audio and high quality, crisp voice acting from time to time. There's not much voice acting in the game, but what is there is quite enjoyable and fits the characters rather well. Not susprising since Working Designs was one of the first to utilize voice acting for their CD games.

What really bugs me about this game, and this was also a complaint from reviewers when the game released, is the localization. Its not a direct translation with a few cultural phrases, superstitions, and such changed so the new audience would understand them, oh no. Some of the dialogue, especially NPC dialogue, is a poor attempt to garner laughs, chuckles, and such, but it is poorly executed and a vast departure from the original Japanese script. I even saw on the main characters say "Holy Sh-nikes" to which I replied, "Holy 90s localization!" Another NPC blatantly breaks the fourth wall by saying she doesn't remember her lines in the script. This was the furthest thing from funny I've seen. Everybody calling Pike, the main character, fat gets really old, really quickly. Its because of games like this that have RPG fans so adamant about the differences between translation and localization. This is an example of a localization that just went too far and Working Designs is the prime reason for this.


See what I mean?

The story is a typical save-the-world from big evil bad guys scenario at first. Later on however, there is a twist where you must go on a manhunt, again looking for a big evil bad guy because kidnapping and such. At least this is a bit different. You not only have to save the world from certain conquest and destruction not once, but twice! I wonder what would happen if you failed in taking down the first threat, would the two bastions of evil then decide to fight it out to determine who shall be the supreme evil overlord of all beings of this world? Would they enter some sort of endless using pawns of little evil underlings for various schemes and maneuvers? That would be some Baatezu vs. Tanar'ri style warfare there.

One feature I do enjoy about Working Designs games of this time period is a section of the manual where they explain what changes were made to the gameplay. Some of the things they did included cut down on the encounter rate while increasing experience gains, decrease load times, fixing diagonal movement, and adding shoulder button support to change between characters in the equipment and magic menus. I really can't imagine why a game would originally release without shoulder button support for character switches but hey, they were still kind of new in 1996, by five years. This at least gives you an idea about some of the changes, and helps you realize how some minor changes like L + R button support can shave a lot of time off of menu navigation.



Overall this game is quite easy. It starts off impossible to lose but does increase in difficulty as you get stronger and add more members to the party. It never gets overbearing though, and you'll only really grind for about 10 minutes here and there to squeeze out an extra level or get a little bit more money. The characters are quite interesting from a narrative standpoint, with Pike being one of the most boring ones. He was a child when his hometown was invaded and destroyed, so he was raised by peaceful harpies and carries a magical sword. Eka is a beautiful singer who joins Pike and the two end up getting married and living happily ever after. Leos is a charismatic priestess who becomes renowned for caring about all the people and races of the world, and going above and beyond to help them. Gryzz is a Dragonman who joins after the party saves his people from certain death, he's young but is a bastion of honor and the party's heaviest hitter. Amon is a metrosexual Birdman who joins because he's hot headed and tired of the personal politics of his tribe, so he joins the group without even really knowing them too well. Kia is a young magician who joins the party for their second quest. She has the power of the teleport spell and adds a rather naive young voice to the party.

The gameplay is solid, yet simple. This game is quite short, so if you're looking for an RPG that you can sink your teeth into, play casually, and beat without much of a time investment then I would recommend this game. If you're somebody who wants more value for your buck then I would pass on this game, as it regularly sells for over $80 nowadays. The packaging is quite solid and beautiful, with shiny lettering and a much higher quality manual than most Saturn games received, so this game has a crossover appeal between RPG fans and collectors since it looks so good on a shelf.





Posted on May 2nd 2014 at 08:11:53 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under RPG, bandai namco, ps3, playstation 3



Tales of Xillia is a role playing game developed and published by Bandai Namco. It did not take me long to start enjoying Tales of Xillia. The characters are quite memorable, which in today's world of RPGs seems to be less common. Or they focus so heavy on characters that they make a bland, boring, and repetitive world (looking at you Bioware). Xillia manages to avoid both of these shortcomings to create a memorable cast of characters, and a wondrous, magical filled world to explore. Artes, Rieze Maxia's form of spirit channeled magic, help fuel everything from a healthy ecosystem to the architecture of cities, even an area's local climate, and passing of the seasons.

The game starts with the ability to choose which side of the story you want to view. You're able to pick between Jude Mathis or Milla Maxwell. They're pretty much the same for over 90% of the game, but there are a few moments when the party splits up and bad things happen. Number 1 rule of RPGs, be they video game or tabletop, never split up. That's how people get hurt, or die.

Anyway, I started with Jude's story. He lives in the city of Fennmont, blessed under a cover of eternal night, and the capital of a country called Rashugal. Jude is studying at the Talim Medical School to be a doctor, following in his father's footsteps. He wanders out to find the teacher he's doing slave labor, I mean graduate study work for. He makes his way to the Laforte Research Center, where outside he sees a strange woman who can walk on water with ease. He grows curious and follows her, and she claims to be the Lord of Spirits Maxwell in a human form. Milla has control of the Four Great Spirits, and begrudgingly decides to let Jude travel through the Research Center with her since he insists on finding his professor.

For those of you familiar with the Tales series you'll know that the combat system is where the real meat of the game is, having a nice story and interesting world are wonderful add ons. The combat system for Tales of Xillia is a real time system. Enemies appear on the screen, and the player has the option of how they approach the enemy. Do you run and strike them behind for some damage? Do you give them the run around until they stop chasing and hit them from behind for even more damage and a stun? Or do you gather up enemies to fight a big group all at once for added EXP and money? I usually chose the latter option as it coupled well with EXP and money boosting food buffs.



You can customize your combo system, using the left stick + circle button, just the right stick, or pressing down L1 for a second set of combos. Each character also controls completely differently. Jude is a very fast fisticuffs brawler, smacking enemies around the screen with his gauntlets. Milla uses a shortsword to dispatch enemies, and is great to use as an aerial combatant. Alvin is the heavy physical damage dealer, swinging a greatsword around like its nothing, as well as using a gun for added distance. Elize is primarily an artes user, being a great healer as well as an area of effect threat. Rowen is a great arte user for single target spells, the Fireball spam is strong with him. Leia shares many combos with Jude, but uses a staff for extended reach and different attacks.


And you can create pretty princesses with various fashion items!

Whoever you're playing as can link up with another character, and as you build a battle gauge on the side of the screen you can unleash combos by pressing R2 and certain combos while linked with a specific character. The skills you must use are predetermined, and some links are more fruitful than others. When you've climbed this ladder enough you have the ability to unleash as many of these Link Attacks as possible in a given timeframe, even if you switch who you're linked with in the middle of the timeframe. This game's combat is incredibly satisfying, and I found myself turning the difficulty up to hard so I could enjoy longer fights.

This combat system is deep and incredibly satisfying. You feel like you're in complete control as the player, and you can even customize your ally's AI to help support you by healing, or go all out with their strongest attacks, or anything in between.



One of my favorite parts about this game are the villains. In a game of war, politics, intrigue, and quickly advancing military technology each antagonist has his own goals and a defined personality. Each one is much more complex than a stereotypical mustache twirling, world conquering, or slaughtering menace. Nachtigal, King of Rashugal rules through a military junta and is investing heavily in powerful technology that could be Rieze Maxia's Weapon of Mass Destruction. Gaius, another king who has united the country of Auj Oule, united warring clans by force and has consolidated his rule by winning the hearts and minds of his most common subjects. These two powerful kings and some other unforeseen players are all ready to strike in the name of glory, power, and survival.

In the end the goal is not conquest, or destruction, but merely an ideal for how the world should be. The game's story and narrative are centered more around philosophical quandaries amongst Rieze Maxia's most ambitious people, be they king or a medical student on the lam. As such I feel this story is a true sign of the evolution of video gaming as a whole, growing from nonexistent stories to one of an ultimate, nonsensical evil being hell bent on world destruction or domination, with no real follow up plan. If you're a fan of RPGs you owe it to yourself to play this game and discover some well rounded characters and a world of mixed fantasy and science fiction. I am anxiously waiting for the sequel to be localized!


NO! THAT'S NOT WHY I'M SO EXCITED! MY EYES ARE BURNING!



Posted on Feb 27th 2014 at 12:23:26 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under playstation 3, rpg, level 5, ps3, nintendo ds, nds



I am unsure if Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is the RPG I would use to introduce the genre to a child or not. I was planning on showing my eventual offspring the classics first, maybe start with some Dragon Quest and lead into some SNES Squaresoft. I am still leaning towards Ni no Kuni as a launchpad as it throws Dragon Quest, Monster Rancher, Pokemon, and My Neighbor Totoro in a blender and just lets it all puree for hours. Glorious hours. Level-5 and Studio Ghibli have crafted a beautiful world with wonderful characters that show a child's journey from the worst circumstances you could imagine into a strong and independent leader.

Oliver is a resident of the post-war Americana inspired peaceful town of Motorville. Early on in the game Oliver's mother dies, saving her son from drowning after he test drives his friend Phillip's hand made car. He holds onto a stuffed animal that his mother made for him and begins to cry on it. When his tears hit the stuffed doll Studio Ghibli happens and the stuffed animal is granted life, becoming Lord High Lord of the Fairies Drippy. Drippy gives a bunch of information to Oliver about another world where people's hearts are connected. If somebody exists in Motorville, they will exist in this world, so his mother could still be alive there!

Not long into the adventure in this new world Oliver is granted the spell to create a familiar from the power of his heart. Oliver creates the Milites Mitey Mite. You as the player have the ability to feed and grow your familiars as you see fit, and get the ability to catch your own once Esthar is recruited into the party later. Swaine has the ability to steal items and cause status ailments with his gun. Marcassin is recruited late in the game and is another powerful spellcaster to add to the mix of Oliver and Esthar.


That's a tidy pose, ent'it?

You'll really get your power from familiars, as they can take up roles that just don't fit your main characters. Early on Mitey is a pretty good tank and does decent damage, but attacks slowly. Mitey is not very useful after the halfway point, his stats start to flatten. There will be plenty of options for a replacement though, assuming you've been singing to catchable familiars with Esthar! This is a Level-5 game, so expect item alchemy as well.

Combat itself is fairly straightforward, attack, use skills and magic, and you can stagger your enemies and cancel their attacks with proper timing. Familiars with fast attack speed are better at staggering and canceling than slow attackers like Mitey. Staggering can lead to a possible golden glim, which gives the familiar a form of super ability. It could be an offensive ability, healing, or a buff. The combat is turn based, so the feel of attacking and the experience gains give the feeling of Dragon Quest influence.

The music is fantastic, being composed by Studio Ghibli veteran Joe Hisaishi and Rei Kendoh. All the music was performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. The music was first compressed so it could fit on a DS cart, a 4 gig cart though. The PS3 soundtrack is the full orchestral performance.



The world really feels like an old school RPG world though. For every kingdom or large landmass there only seems to be one town to visit. There you stock up on items, move the story forward, run errands for people for items and money, and take monster bounties. For the most part of the game I found the errands and bounties to be the best way to stock up on money, as monsters just didn't seem to drop enough. It really felt more balanced around the fact that you do run all the errands while playing through the game.

This really slows down the midgame, as you end up devoting entire play sessions, multiple hours each time, to simply running errands and taking out bounties. Otherwise you can't afford new weapons and armor and lag even further behind! Eventually the errands start to bottleneck as you're running out of new pieces of heart to take and give to other people, so it doesn't take long towards the endgame.

The game quickens pace towards the end and leads straight to the final showdown with the White Witch. After completing the game the player has the option of creating a cleared save file and returning to the world to complete more errands, bounties. You can also do some more side quests like win stuff at the casino, finish the Solosseum, and make all the hidden and powerful alchemy recipes. As sweet and magical as this game is, this post game content might just be hard to resist.

I would give a strong recommendation to this game for anybody that is an RPG fan and has been looking for a classic styled game that is just modern enough, challenging, and tells a strong enough story to keep you hooked. The characters in this game are not the same tired clichs that have been running rampant in the genre for the past decade, so their performances and development should leave you satisfied.





Posted on Apr 20th 2013 at 12:27:44 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under rpg, xenogears, fallout 2, planescape torment, suikoden

5. Id (Xenogears)

Those that are familiar with Freudian psychology already know what Id is, even if they've never played Xenogears. Well, he's a bit different than the textbook Freudian definition, replacing the libido with say, instinctual bloodlust would make the Id of Xenogears more accurate.


The ladies can't resist him either.

He pops up seemingly out of nowhere, for no reason. Its unclear when Id first starts showing up which side he is on, but the characters quickly learn that he's more just out for a nice stroll with a side of wanton destruction. I do not want to spoil the truth behind Id though, but knowing Freudian psychology, or playing Xenogears can let you figure that one out. This 'twist' is one of the reasons why Id scores so highly on my list.

""That was interesting. But dropping a warship on me is cheating. Take it back!" - Id

4. The Godwins (Suikoden V)

Motive. I cannot stress how important it is for a villain to have a good, believable motive. There needs to be purpose behind actions, words are empty, especially in the highly politicized Game of Thrones which happens in every installment of Suikoden.

Unlike most villains the Godwins have a very clear motive for the coup d'tat of the Queendom of Falena, personal power, wealth, glory, and the ability to declare war on their neighbors whenever they desire. That said, Marscal and Gizel Godwin are much deeper than their motives. Marscal is the grizzled veteran, no stranger to the game of nobles, I would compare him to Tywin Lannister as he's not afraid to deeply scold his son in private.


Dress for the job you want they told Lord Marscal.

Gizel however, just seems to shrug everything off of himself. In public he oozes charm and watches his tongue and body language carefully. In private Gizel schemes and hatches various little plots, usually just putting them in motion and watching as the story unfolds before him.

Gizel is just so sneaky and snakelike, an absolute joy to watch scheme. The Godwins, Gizel in particular, are just so interesting. You always want to know what they're up to and the game indulges your curiosity. This family is the pinnacle of the idea of loving to hate something. I hate them because of their actions, they killed the Prince's family and took his little sister and her throne and now want you dead. They're so well written, casual, and laid back that watching them brings a big smile to my face.


But enough talk, have at you!

"When you get involved in intrigue, do it decisively." - Marscal Godwin

"What if my master plan was murdering you... in front of your beloved brother?" - Gizel Godwin

3. The Transcendant One (Planescape: Torment)

The greatest enemy one can conquer is oneself. The Nameless One is the main character of this cult classic, but that immortal bag of bones is only half the equation. The real power lies with The Transcendant One, the mortality of The Nameless One personified and he fortifies himself in The Fortress of Regrets.  This is one antagonist that makes their appearance known quickly and is just completely imposing.


Imposing might be putting it lightly...

The Transcendant One does not have much screentime. The Nameless One does not even know he exists until you are inside the Fortress, but his sheer force of will is maddening. What makes this villain score so highly for me is the fact that you can just talk him into committing suicide by recombining with The Nameless One and fighting in the eternal battle of the lower planes, finally blessed with the death that breaks The Nameless One's prison of eternal life.

2. President Dick Richardson (Fallout 2)

Eugenics. How often does this subject come up in gaming? If you ask me, on the whole, whether I prefer Eastern, or Western villains, I'll usually say Western. Most of the Western ones I've experienced have been great villains that were well written, had a clear motive, and were devious enough to really rustle your jimmies.


Its time for my Nintendo Power nap!

President Richardson is one of the few examples of a reluctant villain. He just happens to be the President of the Enclave while all these plans for purification and recolonization of mainland North America are coming to fruition. Their main weapon for 'purification' is a modified strain of FEV, Forced Evolution Virus (why Super Mutants exist), which will supposedly eliminate all life on the mainland.

In the end, President Richardson is just another frail politician hiding behind a wall of muscle. Literally.


His name is Frank.

"The only way for true humans, and democracy, to be safe is to cleanse the mutants from the globe. We humans will take back that which is rightfully ours." - President Richardson

1. Luca Blight (Suikoden II, Genso Suikogaiden Volume 1)


The White Wolf of Highland. The Mad Prince Luca Blight.

There have been deep, excellent villains on this list but none of them match the sheer raw ferocity of Luca Blight. Most antagonists usually have some sort of political power and use it to hide in their castle while they bark orders. Well, Luca Blight is a prince, he is known as the Mad Prince and is not afraid to be on the front lines, leading his soldiers during their killing. You see this happen right from the start.

The moment that really solidifies Luca Blight as a more sinister villain than the others on this list is that he is the only one that actually raises his sword and slashes it downwards towards a defenseless little girl. A small child! Pilika is like 5 years old! Even then, it takes four people to save little Pilika from her early death. Even before all this there's the systematic slaughter of the Unicorn Brigade, which is where Highland's young, up and coming recruits train during their teenage years until they're ready to wield a sword, all just so he will have the support of the Highland population to go to war.


Viktor you magnificent bastard, never stop drinking!

Every time Luca is on screen the entire tone of the game shifts, even though he only speaks in text boxes the man is so charismatic that he commands the attention of the room he's in, even if he's not talking! The fear that others feel when they are around him is quite evident as even his own generals start plotting a way to kill him.

Also, since when does an incredibly powerful madman become challenged by a small handful of teenagers? No, Luca's better than that and you better have three full parties of six decked out characters when it comes down to the final rumble. He even takes a dozen or so arrows to the chest by the time the final duel happens between the deadly White Wolf Luca Blight and Little Riou.



Great villains are always shown being rather villainous.

Remember when I said that Kefka is the best uber super destruction wanton killinator? Yeah, totally taking it back now. Well, Luca Blight has some reasons for his mental state, but that would ruin the experience of playing this masterpiece would it not?

"It took hundreds to kill me but I killed humans by the thousands. I am sublime!!! I am the true face of evil!!!!" - Luca Blight's dying words



Posted on Apr 15th 2013 at 04:06:28 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under rpg, final fantasy, phantasy star, persona

I am not a panderer, I do not make lists to drum up views, I look to get fans by trying to write strong content and support my opinions with better reasons than 'Its popular.' I do not like generic 'evil-to-be-evil' villains, they are overdone, tired, and rarely executed competently, let alone excellently. So, expect my list to be quite different from others that you have run across over the years.

10. The Turks (Final Fantasy VII)

Calling this group "villains" is a bit of a stretch. Not all of them have truly villainous acts and blood on their hands, but they are also not the ones in power. The Turks are just a special forces type of group whose job is to take orders and execute them. This doesn't excuse any action but it does provide context, which is all important in narrative.



What I like about them is that they are the most human of the antagonists of FF7. You don't always fight them when you run into them, hell you can even run into them in a bar and pretend to drink with them if that's how you like it, and go on a side quest within a side quest. You even start off sharing the same goal, chase down the generic genocidal maniac and get in each other's way.


That means a lot Reno.

9. Joker (Persona 2)

Persona 2 is an odd game, it is separated into two distinct parts. The first part, Persona 2: Innocent Sin was only released outside of Japan for the very first time on the PSP, its original release being on PS1. The second part of the game, Eternal Punishment, was released in North America (sorry Europe) back in the PS1 days.


Innocent Sin Joker

Persona has always dealt with some supernatural phenomenon taking hold in some city in Japan, and in this tale rumors become true. Joker is also the only villain here who has two distinct personalities and methods. Innocent Sin has Joker being a clown of sorts who listens to people's inner most desires over the phone, if they tell him something they get it, no matter what it is. If they do not have a true desire, their energy is sucked out from them and they become invisible to all but the party members.


Eternal Punishment Joker

Eternal Punishment is a different beast though, it takes place in a parallel world where only Tatsuya, the main character from Innocent Sin, remembers the events of IS. Like I said, this game is strange and confusing. EP's version of JOKER has him as a more straightforward serial killer who does a sort of body jumping, consciousness stealing maneuvers with those afflicted by the JOKER Curse.

If only rumors really did come true we'd have all men with footlongs in their pants, incredibly super rich, huge collection of kick ass cars, and a mansion filled with a beautiful harem.

8. Kefka (Final Fantasy VI)

Speaking of clowns here's Kefka. Now, I'm not the biggest Kefka fan, unlike Joker above Kefka is probably video gaming's closest version of Batman's Joker (outside of Batman games of course) and is one of the few villains I can enjoy despite being 'evil-because-evil'. There is a lot of underlying insanity and even some dark comedy in some of his acts. The reason for his insanity though is never once brought up, ever. Kefka is the definition of the super evil nihilistic destroyer, but he's the best at it.


Batshit crazy is not analogous to literary potency.

Despite that, Kefka is not original, at least, some of the obviously evil actions that he is lauded for performing were in fact mostly based on a villain from an even older FF game...

7. Emperor of Palamecia (Final Fantasy II)

I dislike playing FFII quite a bit. I hate the leveling system, combat is pre-ATB turn based combat and not bad, the keywords system is fairly nice and gives deeper conversations and is obviously based on the keyword systems of contemporary Western PC RPGs. But, leveling is so atrocious that it completely ruins the experience for me and many potential fans. This is the definitive NES Final Fantasy story though, I put it up there with Dragon Quest IV for the best RPG story of the system.


The Epic of Gilgamesh is painted on those huge nails.

Most of this is the result of the Emperor of Palamecia. This Emperor is one of the main reasons we see the overdone Evil Empire story in RPGs. Well, him and the Sith Empire. You remember when Kefka poisoned an entire town's water supply? Emperor did it first. Cyclones destroying towns, entire nations slaughtered, princesses kidnapped, and Leon, a close ally is converted to his evil cause *cough* Kain *cough*. The reason why this guy ranks higher than Kefka is because some reason is given behind his sudden insanity, he is basically an avatar of Diablo, Beelzebub, Angra Mainyu, Satan, Astaroth, Hades, whoever your Lord of the Underworld happens to be.


Know now the wrath of the fallen!

6. Mother Brain (Phantasy Star II)

How is it possible that a villain with no personality, no motive, no life, no emotion, happens to be better than most who try and do all of that? Well, the idea of a rogue AI as a great villain is hardly new. Rogue AI's have been prevalent in science fiction in general since the early 20th century. Just go search for 'System Shock' and try to find any mention of the games without somebody mentioning how amazing SHODAN is as a villain. The first System Shock came out 5 years after Phantasy Star II for a bit of context.


The lifegiver, and lifestealer.

Mother Brain is on the flipside of the coin though, it is a system that exists to provide a comfortable ecology to the residents of the Algo star system with green, lush, thriving, easy to live on land, along with fresh, clean, sparkling water. However, the AI had been planning to destroy the people of the Algo system from the onset of her programming once the population is completely dependent on the ecological systems and infrastructure control of Mother Brain, she even halts all space traffic.


At last, the final stage of her plan comes to fruition!

What's strange about Mother Brain is that, in destroying her, the main party of Phantasy Star II kind of fulfilled Mother Brain's wish for destruction, as the Great Collapse that followed killed most of the population, rendered most of the once fertile land useless, and ended the high tech societies of the Algo system.



Posted on Jan 7th 2013 at 07:15:42 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under nier, playstation 3, ps3, xbox 360, 360, rpg, action



There's something about the RPGs of the 7th Generation of home consoles that really does not sit well with me. Considering all three of the major systems I can name the RPGs I've seen as truly breathtaking and majestic recreations of the wonder and amazement I felt as a child on one hand.

One hand.

Now keep in mind that I still have yet to play quite a few of the RPGs released in this generation as it comes to a close. Out of the ones I have played so far only three of them have really stood out above the rest as not only great games, but telling a great story on top of it; Valkyria Chronicles, Xenoblade, and The Last Story. The list gets longer if I'm counting games I played on PC, and I'm not.


One of my favorite wallpapers.

I've been a bit jaded yes, I admit it. Anyway, I've finally decided to sit down and play some of the games that I currently own but have yet to play, and I started with Nier. I feel like I've been missing out by not playing this game sooner.

Call it timing if you will, when I first started playing Nier and I got past the introduction and really started to play the game it just felt like everything I wanted in a modern RPG. The protagonist is not some naive, asexual, teenage, pretty boy swordsman. Nier is a middle aged father taking care of his daughter who has been sticken by a fatal illness with no known cure.

So right from the start Nier has swerved to avoid the overdone and burnt to a crisp coming of age tale, but it does not completely avoid cliches, just downplays them and does not make them the focus of the story, at least at first. The voice acting and direction is highly competent, Jamieson Price providing the English voice of Nier, and Liam O'Brien starring as Grimoire Weiss. The two make for quite a dynamic duo.


Grimoire Weiss unlocks magical abilities, which will be key!

The story is progressed through various events, sometimes you just have to talk to somebody. Each arc of the story is finished up by clearing a dungeon and defeating the boss. Nier really has a lot of gameplay systems, the combat is in real time and huge combos can be made as long as the player avoids taking damage and being knocked down. The companion AI is pretty dumb as well, its executed well in combat, but your allies don't even run as fast as Nier so they're always teleporting next to you and not moving until they teleport again.

Outside of the main story Nier has a lot of extras to dive deeply into, the first one the player is introduced to being the Quests that random villagers will want you to do for them. The quests are not overwhelming like they can be in Xenoblade, and a lot of them involve farming items, fetching, delivering, or finding somebody or something. But there are enough that involve humanity, its nature, and errors that just makes for great entertainment at times, and invokes empathy at others.


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaass.

Interlaced with questing is fishing, which can be leveled up through a quest chain through an old man on the pier, and then done purely for profit. Fishing feels a bit awkward at first and took me some getting used to, but it really is simple. You watch your rod, ignore the nibbles, hit it on the big bite, and pull back and from side to side to reel it in. Nier has a terrible cast though, you end up catching huge sharks with the fishing line two feet off the pier.

At home Nier has more than just his little daughter to visit, after a couple early quests you will have a garden to tend to. Seeds are cheap to buy and even early yields can net Nier over 20,000 gold while only spending ~1,000 for seeds. All you have to do is water them at each stage of growth, even the fertilizer the game offers is totally optional.

One other way to spend your money in Nier is to level up your weapons at the little shack in the Junk Heap. You unlock this option after beating the second dungeon, and even get your first upgrade for free! There really aren't many weapons in the game so you will have to upgrade them at some point, and spend time farming the materials for it as well.

You can upgrade your spells and weapons even further with magic words that you find in random boxes you break and from enemies you kill. The effects of these can be combined for a mix and match of effects. But, you can only have two words on any spell or weapon and there are only a few that are really useful in all situations.


Did you forget that Kaine has an ass?

Nier has its technical problems and those keep it just shy out of that Holy Trinity I mentioned at the top. The story is polished and different enough to keep me intrigued through a playthrough. The narrative flows in a competent manner with nice pacing. The voice acting is done by highly trained professionals with a long list of works. All in all, I would say that Square Enix did good publishing this game, if only they had actually marketed it or bribed some reviewers to get the aggregate scores fluffed up it may have sold well enough to localize Nier Replicant.



Posted on Oct 29th 2012 at 11:34:21 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under Renaissance, pc, rpg, golden, ultima, gold box, betrayal at krondor, ultima, the bards tale, wasteland

This is part two of my PC RPG retrospective. Again if you wish to see all the pretty pictures and any video if there is some in the post check it out on the main stage. Exclusive posts are put up for enjoyment as well. http://whydidiplaythis.wordpress.com/

As the mid 80′s came there were plenty of new additions to the RPG scene, many companies would be built or come into their own as a result of success and the quickly growing PC market as a whole.

Origin would continue pushing the storytelling envelope with its own creations in Ultima V. Lord British has essentially been overthrown by his advisor Lord Blackthorn. Blackthorn was possessed and corrupted by power and ambition, skewing the virtues away from the original system of voluntary following as self enrichment and enlightment. Blackthorn has pushed the virtues into the law of the land, causing suspicious behavior and a suppressed populace around Brittania. Garriott really showed how a philosophical system of belief meant to free the minds of a world can be turned on its head and used for less than virtuous purposes.

In 1985 the aforementioned Interplay joined the ranks of the success stories in this genre, releasing The Bards Tale, the same year as Ultima IV, such a wonderful year. While gameplay wise The Bards Tale was quite similar to Wizardry the focus of the story and combat was more focused on magic than most games before it, which featured it as an option that may or may not retain balance in combat depending on party build. Interplay would develop the sequels to The Bards Tale, but since they were forced to change the original intention of the storyline and flow for the series their heart was not really in it, leading to the sequels being considered largely mediocre. Interplays heart would instead go toward the development of an entirely new experience for gaming, the post apocalyptic world. In 1988 Interplay would release Wasteland, a popular and successful endeavor that focused on the politics and rebuilding efforts of survivors of a global thermonuclear war. Interplay loved this idea so much that Fallout would be designed as a spiritual successor to Wasteland. A recent Kickstarter for a true Wasteland 2 was recently funded by Interplays founder Brian Fargo and development will be between his new company InXile and many members of Interplays Renaissance internal team at their new company Obsidian.

Strategic Simulations, Inc. would bring the officially licensed Dungeons and Dragons to the PC market with its series of Gold Box games starting in 1988. While SSI had its own experience beforehand with 1985′s Wizards Crown and 1987′s Eternal Dagger they were the ones who won the bid to license D&D from TSR. The Gold Box games would use the storytelling benchmark set by Temple of Apshai at first, telling its story primarily from print media with in game citations for players to read after completing certain events. SSI and its Gold Box series would top the sales charts through the late 80′s through a combination of crisp design, storytelling, and riding on its D&D license.

1987′s Dungeon Master would bring the first person perspective from early dungeon crawlers such as Wizardry and the dungeon diving in early Ultima games and produce combat in real time. This game can be only be described as ahead of its time, as it offered many seemingly smaller details that combined into a smooth, immersive experience. Players were able to manipulate objects with the mouse. All of these innovations combined into a powerful game that SSI would emulate with its later Gold Box games.

Wizardry would also keep chugging along through the late 80′s, the 4th through 6th entries in the series introducing more story elements, but really keeping the same gameplay intact. But after 3 games before it Sir Tech had their gameplay design largely intact already. All that mattered now was to really balance the first person dungeon crawling, turn based combat, party building, and difficulty, really the difficulty.

To close out the 1980′s we have Might and Magic, a series which began in 1986 and continued until 2006 despite the company who bought the original developers going out of business. While Might and Magic was highly popular for its time it did not really do too much differently than those that came before it, borrowing heavily from other RPG series of its day. But it all came together in a tight experience and made its home in the hearts of many gamers.

By the early 90′s there were so many companies which had success behind them and their various series that the only thing that seemed able to stop them was their own increasing ambition. Well, that is partly true. Technology was advancing at a fast rate, early pseudo-3D was gaining momentum and development times were getting longer as teams got bigger. A few new success stories came about, but of those, few were able to keep their momentum as the declining popularity and shift in market interest was already happening.

Origin made it through the 80′s standing taller than ever, and celebrated the new decade with Ultima VI. Ultima VI introduces a political quandary to the player, showing the consequences of his actions in Ultima IV, namely taking the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom. Demons invade Brittania to reclaim their holy book and are later taught to share.

Ultima VII would be the beginning of a new trilogy, and set it off with a bang. Now a big, bad archdemon is trying to take over Brittania and only the Avatar can stop him! Ultima VI and VII take some inspiration from Dungeon Master in that many objects can be moved around the world, put in your own bags, or dropped wherever the player desires, giving Brittania a huge, new amount of interactivity.

Other than these new Ultima releases the early 90′s were already quieting down, but one more influential release would come about before the True Darkness set in. Betrayal at Krondor was released in 1993 and as far as Im concerned, the Golden Age has already passed by this point, and this is the last gasp of an era passed. Betrayal is based on Raymond Feists Riftwar universe, making it one of the only licensed RPGs up to this point that was not a Gold Box D&D based game. Despite being a solid role playing experience the times had caught up to this game even before release. The graphics were considered outdated at release but heavy RPG fans let this game slip in as a cult classic despite largely forgettable sequels.



Posted on Oct 18th 2012 at 07:39:39 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under RPG, pc game, pc, video game, game, rpg, ultima, rogue, fallout, renaissance, temple of apshai, interplay, origin systems, or

So this is a series of blog posts I've been putting up on Wordpress and spreading around. If you want to check out the original posts (they have pictures and stuff) then you can find them all here: http://whydidiplaythis.wordpress.com/

In 1997 there was a large shift in the RPG World in general. On the console side the genre was given immense exposure due to the exploding popularity of Squaresoft's Final Fantasy 7, this game would go on to be the second highest selling game for the Playstation. This series is going to be focused on the PC side of things. Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game was released by Interplay Entertainment in this same year to widespread critical success and commercial support, selling more than any RPG had in years for the PC. Before Fallout released many industry insiders and long time gamers had essentially given up on the genre, developers were not making many due to rising costs and due to diminishing returns publishers had stopped greenlighting them.

Now by its simplest definition a renaissance is a rebirth or revival, which means there came a time before the release of Fallout where RPGs on the PC were king. So before we step deep into this revival it is imperative that we understand what came before, from what heights had this classical age of PC gaming climbed to? How hard and fast did it fall? What did these gamers get to experience in the days before RPGs shifted to consoles?

In the Dark Ages, for the sake of ease I'm going to label this time period as the late 70's to the mid 80's when most PC games were largely text of ASCII based. A lot of ideas would be pioneered during this time, deep storytelling came about from text adventures and gameplay ideas came from the earliest text based RPGs. Rogue was highly influential in terms of development ideas. This one release popularized the idea of 'randomly generated content' to developers and gamers, leading an entire subgenre of RPG to be labled as 'Roguelike'. This basic design philosophy inspired everybody, from the massively successful Diablo series to the more niche Mystery Dungeon games from Japan.

Temple of Apshai was released in 1979 and was one of the first graphical RPGs to be released on any PC system. Limitations lead to what became a team effort for storytelling that would become prevalant through the late 1980's. Text in the game would give the player a section of literature to read in a printed manual that came with the game. ToA was perhaps the first RPG to do this, and set a true benchmark until technology could catch up.

At this time graphics started to make their appearance more well known on the early Personal Computers, before 1980 most games with detailed graphics were on powerful mainframe systems. Due to technological limitations most of the RPGs that came out in the early 80s were simple representations and retellings of the designers' own tabletop campaigns, mostly Dungeons and Dragons. Wizardry and Ultima would release at roughly the same time, 1981, and both would prove highly popular and influential for the future. Wizardry was built completely around one large dungeon, laying the early groundwork for the modern dungeon crawler. Ultima would also make liberal use of dungeons, but spread them out throughout a world with its own story, the player able to fully explore the overworld before delving into the underground dungeons.

Wizardry would keep its basic design philosophy and continue being fairly successful. The series was the benchmark for character building and those who just wanted to dive into a dungeon and get right to the action. Wizardry would become incredibly influential worldwide, even making quite the splash in Japan where the series would become the most direct inspiration for Dragon Quest according to its creator.

Ultima made a habit of evolving its world, storytelling, and gameplay experience with every new release. Origin Systems and primarily Lord British himself, Richard Garriott, would become the greatest storytellers in gaming history to this point. Many of them even hold up today. Ultima III would really be the first release that truly set the series apart from its contemporaries, introducing plot twists into its story as well as really starting to hash out the mythos for Brittania.

Ultima IV is an entirely different beast though. Where RPGs were largely shallow up to this point (and even after), telling stories centered around ultimate magic artifacts or one stereotypical bad guy bent of world conquest/destruction, Ultima IV would introduce the idea of total freedom, philosophy, and self discovery to gamers. There is a story, but there's no real evil antagonist at all. The world of Brittania is at complete peace after the events of Ultima III, so the main character is summoned by Lord British and educated about a philosophical system based around 8 Virtues and sent around the world to master these virtues. This adventure is a landmark in not only gaming, but the evolution of storytelling in gaming. No game before it was not solely focused on some evil force or mystical artifact, and few have focused solely on the philosophy of a world and belief system as much as Ultima IV since its release, making the game quite an enigma.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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