Spin Time 3/6
Slide Time 2/6
Total Mojo 298300
Time Jacked 2h 4m
Game Complete 39%
Spin Time 3/6
Slide Time 2/6
Total Mojo 298300
Time Jacked 2h 4m
Game Complete 39%
It’s time to take a look at an RPG that’s a part of a series I know the name of but that’s about it. I certainly had no idea on the plot or anything like that. It’s certainly a great RPG and one that has lasted throughout time. You’ll have a good time with this one as there are a bunch of likable characters and solid gameplay throughout.
The game starts out by introducing us to Ryudo. He’s effectively a solo hunter/bounty hunter that nobody likes. His career choice isn’t exactly a popular one and Ryudo isn’t known for his winning personality either. Well, one day he finds himself in a village where his next assignment will be difficult. He has to guard a girl named Elena as she heads off to a mysterious castle to perform a ceremony. It doesn’t go well though and she ends up absorbing the Wings of Valmar.
Elena is now considered corrupted and must find a her way to the master church in order to cure her affliction. It won’t be easy though so Ryudo will have to stay on the job a while longer. He doesn’t believe in either Granas or Valmar as the two gods and just wants to live his life as best he can. The two heroes will ultimately run into several allies, enemies, and even a whole conspiracy. All they will have is each other as the group of heroes prepare for their ultimate confrontation.
The story goes through a whole lot of twists and turns so this is really more of a basic summary. The main thing to remember here is to always watch your back. Ryudo has a pretty good sense of danger about him and usually suspects everyone at first. It’s a wise policy since most of these characters always have some kind of agenda at the ready. It’s impressive just how antagonistic Ryudo is at first. He insults everyone and is clearly not having any fun.
As the game goes on we learn more about his past and why Ryudo is the way that he is. He gets a lot of memorable dialogue throughout the game including a variation of Bully Maguire’s famous line “You missed the part where that’s my problem.” Ryudo is a very different kind of protagonist and is written very well. He’s memorable and not a lead that you are likely to forget anytime soon.
As for Elena, she’s a bit of a weaker heroine. I wasn’t on board for her during most of the game as she always follows the bosses even when they’re acting rather suspect. She’s slow on the uptake in that front and just takes a lot of time to get used to the real world. She finally does, but not until the very end of the game so it took some time.
Her counterpart Millenia was a lot more fun. Effectively this fighter is the embodiment of the Wings of Valmar and one of the most powerful demons around. Naturally that means that someone like Elena who is incredibly focused on the church of Granas does not take too kindly to her. They are polar opposites in personality as Millenia is very forceful and takes what she wants while Elena is a lot more passive.
Roan is a kid who joins the group as well and he’s got quite a few secrets to hide. He’s a nice enough kid even if you feel like he’s too young for this adventure for a while. Ultimately he does end up helping out the group when it counts though. He was also one of the first characters to really trust Millenia which was great for her character arc.
Then you have Mareg who is the power member of the group. He wants to destroy Melfice no matter what due to a tragedy that happened in his origin story. Mareg is always speaking in riddles and trying to be fancy. It may make his dialogue a little stiff but I wouldn’t say they overplay this angle too much. He may not rank quite up there with some of the other characters but he gets the job done.
The final main hero is Tio and she’s an android who has to try and develop a heart. That’s not an easy tasks for anyone but she gives it her all. She comes a bit late in the game but makes the most of her screen time and quickly became one of the more enjoyable members. It always makes for a powerful character arc to have a robot truly become alive like this.
There’s also Ryudo’s pet bird Skye but he doesn’t do as much as you would expect despite technically being around for the whole game. He likes to tease Ryudo once in a while. Selene is one of the big members of the Church of Granas so she gets a sizable role here. From the start she comes off as very forceful in trying to keep people safe so you don’t want to be near her when the knights come strolling in. I’ll give her this, she was very dedicated to the cause.
Then you have Melfice, Ryudo’s long laost brother. This guy was a difficult fighter and certainly not someone to take lightly. He’s one of the more interesting villains even if he isn’t around for a big part of the game. Ultimately he chosse power over everything which is rarely ever a good decision. It was interesting to see how in his village this was a popular idea though in the sense that you can’t create justice without power. To an extent that is true but it’s definitely easy to lose focus and start obsessing over power too much.
Zera is a big player in the story for sure. I’d say he’s your classic old guys in one of these RPGs. He has big plans and will do anything in order to make it to the end. Not the kind of guy you want to trust and he loves showing off with his big speeches and everything. It’s just what he does.
Towards the end of the game things get rather cosmic. One of the best cutscenes is when we actually got to see the origin of the big battle between Valmar and Granas. Typically this is the kind of thing you’d expect to hear about but never actually see so I was impressed when the game threw me a curve ball and actually showed this on screen. That was very impressive and a prequel could easily work with this concept. There’s a lot you could do for that war.
Throughout the game the graphics are definitely impressive. We even get some good soundtrack themes during the game. I like the battle themes and boss music. It’s not surprising that a big RPG like this could have a solid soundtrack but it’s always worth noting. It makes the battles all go smoothly as you would expect.
In the end the game took me over 30 hours to complete which is a very solid length. I had to train for several hours before the final bosses because of how difficult they were though. Once I got a certain character back into my party then things eased up though. I’m not sure if there is any replay value here though as it seems it’s the kind of game that takes you back to right before the final boss when you load it up. So this will be a game you just aim to beat all the way through.
The only two areas in the game that could be improved are that the cutscenes can’t be skipped as well as the attack options. The latter may not sound like a big deal but quite a few of the attacks here are very fancy so during the final battles you’ll be having to wait for many attacks to go trough. I would usually have reddit open or a manga while I was waiting between attacks. So if the game is ever remade they should definitely add a skip feature in and that would be perfect.
It may go without saying but the combat system is that of a turn based combat mode. It’s a lot like Mega Man X Command Mission where your turns are based on speed as opposed to things always going in the same order. So that makes investing in quick equipment well worth your while. Each character can also equip 6 skills from the books you collect as well as an egg which grants you the ability to use magic. Leveling all of your techniques up takes time so I recommend saving your points for the abilities that you will really want to use.
Overall, Grandia II is a great game. It’s got a very satisfying story to it and a good cast or characters. It’s also fairly long at over 30 hours so this is certainly not the kind of game that you can just complete in an instant. You’ll really have to apply yourself here and I recommend fighting enemies as often as you can because it will certainly catch up to you by the end. I cleared the game at around level 57 and it was still fairly difficult. So I definitely recommend this to any RPG fan.
Play Time 14h 35m
5/6 Fighters unlocked
Play Time 26h 47m
Dungeon Floors Cleared 117
Item Space 90
Character Stats Health, Water, Defense
Toan 170 Max 45
Osmond 140 4 51
Ungaga 160 4 50
Ruby 140 Max 36
Goro 170 6 41
Xiao 60 5 42
End of Darkness continues the story of Arc the Lad which is always fun since it gives you a chance to meet some of the old characters. Surprisingly, none of the Deimos get to appear though and the leader of the heroes from the last game is a no show as well. The decisions there were a bit questionable but the characters we did get to see were pretty cool. The game is ultimately a step down from the first one but still makes for a fun adventure.
This game starts with introducing us to the world’s new status quo. Deimos and Humans seem to still live apart for the most part but there’s no war going on. They still visit each other at least and deliberate even though there are some tensions. The main character here is Edda. He’s grown up in one of the Deimos towns all his life and uses his exorcism skills to help the town. See, there is a new form of monster which keeps on regenerating whenever it is destroyed. The only way to destroy it for good is with exorcism. The island is pretty safe thanks to Edda but the rest of the world isn’t so lucky. Edda decides to embark on a journey with his friend Hemo. He’ll become a hunter and will use his exorcism skills to bring humanity to an era of peace.
Meanwhile, there is a mysterious lady named Kirika who has stolen an ominous book. It’s hard to say what she wants from it but Edda can’t take any chances. He needs to find her. Perhaps she knows why more and more monsters have been appearing lately. The hunter guild is trying to get to the bottom of this as well but they haven’t made a whole lot of progress yet. All of these plots will eventually intersect.
The story is fun although there’s not as much of it as you would expect. A lot of times the chapters won’t have any story development as you just help people out and continue on your day. the game has a set structure of how you progress through chapters as well. Each chapter is tied to your hero rank. You start out as a beginner of course. To advance to the next level you must complete 5 side missions which are fairly basic like defeating a few minions. The side missions keep on rotating so when you find an easy one, just remember the name so you can beat it again. You need to have 10 stars for side missions.
Then there are 2 story missions as well for each chapter. Once you complete those you can take the promotional exam. If you complete that, you enter the next chapter. Rinse and repeat until you get to the end of the game. I would say the final 2-3 chapters are where the story really gets going. The rest is mainly to introduce the characters and set things up. Interestingly there is no EXP system here so you can feel free to avoid all the enemies this time around. Unless you are doing a mission to defeat enemies there is no real benefit to fighting them.
You can’t leave a room if any of them are chasing you though so sometimes it is quickest to take them down. This means equipment is even more important now. You want to make sure you buy the best gear possible. You can actually buy the best gear rather early on in the story. Still, you might notice that the final boss is still very difficult to conquer. It feels like the game massively spiked up the difficulty just for that final boss which was certainly very intense.
So to deal with him you’re going to have to use the magic synthesizer. Make sure you save before doing so. You want to get a triple S rank spell and that will help you complete the game. Without it, you’re in for an extremely long fight at the very least but possibly a futile one. You really want to have those spells on hand.
Meanwhile the graphics look pretty good. It’s fun getting to recognize all of the areas from the first game. A lot of the levels seem to have been directly grabbed from the last one for maximum nostalgia. The soundtrack is also mainly made up of tunes from the first game so all in all, it’s a sequel that feels a lot like the first game except for the gameplay changes.
While I do like real time action, between the lack of an exp system, the dungeons being far away so if you lose then you have to start over, and your items all being confiscated if you lose a side mission, the other game had the stronger gameplay system. You do have a few other playable characters here which you can unlock through cards but I never really tried them out since I had Edda all maxed out anyway.
As for the characters, Edda isn’t bad. He doesn’t have as much personality and charisma as Kharg but he does well enough for himself. As an exorcist he is always trying to do the right thing. His friend Hemo is never particularly entertaining though. He never helps out when Edda is in a pinch so there’s not much reason for him to even be here. He holds the main character back without a doubt. Finally you have the mysterious Kirika. She’s a fun character although even she realizes by the end that her plan was not very good. If she had done things a little differently the game would probably be massively shorter.
As for the length, the game is pretty solid. It’s over 10 hours which is always the important part. I’d say it’s around 15. Additionally there are some more chapters you can play after the final boss which will serve as the post game. Perhaps we will see more guest stars there. So all in all there is a good amount of content to enjoy here without a doubt. It’s got replay value to keep you going.
Overall, End of Darkness is a nice way to see all of the old faces again. It tried a lot of experimental gameplay mechanics which is always ambitious even if it didn’t work out. Make sure you focus on getting some good spells pretty quickly because you will absolutely need them for the final boss. They will probably make the rest of the game a little easier as well. Until the final boss I really had just stuck with Cure since health is super important and a thunder blast of sorts. The spirit moves at the end would have certainly made the bosses quicker.
Play Time 39h 51m
Battlestar Galactica is one of those games that should have been good by all accounts. It’s a Sci-Fi game like Star Fox with a direct plot involving aliens and a main character who’s already showing some sass in the first level. How could it fumble the ball this hard? Well, unfortunately the controls are pretty bad and the game design is even worse. You have to be prepared for an incredibly long level and if you die at any point during it there are no checkpoints. That’s exactly the kind of thing that you don’t want to do.
The game starts off with a bunch of alien robots showing up. They want to destroy the Galactica. Your mission is to stop them and prevent the Galactica from being destroyed. Simple enough right? Unfortunately not really and this was the last level I would see. I gave it a whirl for around 3-4 hours but it was just not enough to get through. You have to see the same cutscenes and dialogue each time too which can get old. The main character constantly saying that he’s not a cadet but the other characters mock him anyway gets old pretty quick. It’s a shame because the main guy had some potential here.
The core gameplay is that you’re in a 3D environment where you have to fly in and start taking names. You have your main weapon, your sub weapon, boosters, and a few other tricks up your sleeve. You can reallocate your stats to increase attack or speed. Additionally you have charge missiles and other weapons by holding down each button. I think this may have been part of the problem though. The game just got a little too ambitious with all of this. At the end of the day the main issue here is there are too many controls. You have so many different attacks and movement options that none of them are actually reliable.
Then you have the fact that the levels are massive so it feels like you are never making any progress. I’m telling you, I’ve gone through that exact same intro so many times in this game that it’s incredibly old at this point. It’s just the same dialogue options over and over and over again. You really need a checkpoint system in this game or in any game with long levels for that matter. The worst feeling is dumping a few hours into something without anything to show for it. While minor, I’d say at least adding a play time ticker somewhere in the game would do it wonders. Then I could at least put that down somewhere as a quick achievement. Without it, the game feels like an empty experience.
The graphics are really good at least. The game looks surprisingly solid for the PS2 era and you could make a case for this looking like a PS3 game. It’s got full voice acting and the soundtrack is on point as well. On a technical level this game can hold its own and that’s more than I can say for other games at this level. That’s part of why the whole situation is tragic since at least some of the departments working on this game seemed to try hard. Just not hard enough to really make this a good game.
So, how would I fix this? Well, aside from adding checkpoints I would remove some of the control options. We shouldn’t have 3 different ways to boost. Make R1 the boost option and otherwise you are accelerating by default. L1 will be to slow down. Square button will fire the homing rockets. No need to have it twice. I would make the lock-on system a whole lot more pronounced so you don’t have to be wondering where the enemies are. Remove the team strategy options or just make it something you control from the pause menu. Same for redistributing your skills in the level, that should be through the pause menu. Now with this we’re cooking with gas.
Next up, instead of making each level 20-30 minutes and only having 7 levels in the game, make it 21 shorter levels. Each level is the objective so the length is more akin to what an average Star Wars or Star Fox level is like. Bite sized levels like that are perfect for objective based games like this one. For that matter they make a lot more sense as well. With these changes I think you can instantly bump this game all the way up to a 7. It would feel like a completely different game in a good way.
Of course at the end of the day that’s all just wish fulfillment. The game exists and nothing’s really going to change that. Perhaps if the developers see this they can use it for context on their next game though. For some reason sci-fi games just tend to have a lot of issues I’ve noticed. Star Trek hasn’t exactly hit it out of the park and then you had that game about visiting planets a while back. Star Wars has had its hits but it’s also definitely had some titles that didn’t hit people the way you would have hoped they did. I don’t get what’s so hard to make about a space shooter. Just look at Star Fox Assault for a good idea of how to handle it. That game is quite old by now and yet to this day it is easily the best sci-fi shooter I’ve ever seen. It could handle both aerial combat as well as on the ground. It’s a true legend.
Overall, Battlestar Galactica is not a franchise that I’ve ever started and this game definitely wouldn’t help me to turn around on that. It’s just not a very well developed game with the level designs being too long and the controls are overly complex. The series in general always seemed like an alternate version of Star Trek so there’s a lot of potential there. We just need a modern game version to really adapt the series and give it more respect with the fundamentals. I think if you handle this right then you may definitely have something here. Until then though, stay far away from this game and buy Star Fox Assault instead. You’ll be glad you did.
No stats this time!
Time to continue the Tales of Series with Legendia as my next stop. It doesn’t exactly seem to be one of the more popular titles in the series but it’s a great title in its own right. It doesn’t quite match up to the Symphonia titles but then again what does right? The gameplay is on point and we have a good story here so at the end of the day that’s all you need. This is definitely not a game that you can try to just knock out real quickly.
The game starts with Senel and Shirley crash landing on the Legacy. The Legacy is a huge boat that is so big it serves as the hub world of the entire game. See, this ship is bigger than most countries combined to the point where it is practically the planet. It’s an interesting concept. Well, Shirley and Senel are on the run from a powerful group of villains led by Vaclav. Naturally the reasons for this are rather secret and Senel doesn’t intend on telling anyone. Unfortunately Shirley ends up getting kidnapped by the group. Senel meets up with a local authority figure named Will and a self proclaimed hero named Chloe. Eventually they also team up with a cheerful girl named Norma, a bandit named Moses, and a scholar named Jay. Together perhaps they can take this villain group down for the count.
In a 30+ hour RPG like this you can expect a whole lot of twists and turns. This is just the basic premise. Every character is keeping at least a few secrets in the back pocket for later on. The climax is a lot of fun and there are even a few loose ends which are likely either handled in the post game or left for a sequel. I didn’t really go into the postgame so I wouldn’t know if anything big occurred there. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case for at least some though.
Senel’s a good character. He is quick to get into fights which is always a quality you want to see in a hero. He has his own character arc of course so he will change a bit as the game goes on. Naturally one thing that will make his life a little tricky is that 4 of the heroines seem to like him so there will be a bit of tension there. Mainly his goal is to help Shirley out though and everything else is secondary. As long as he saves her then the rest will all come into place eventually.
Shirley’s a solid heroine as well although things definitely get a little dicey with her. She starts to weaken in the second half due to a lot of dicey decisions that she made. It almost turns into a bit of a guilt trip against Senel with the paths she ultimately went on. It makes her not always appear as selfless as you would think. I preferred her sister Stella although her role is a lot smaller than Shirley’s. Stella is more powerful and also just seems more heroic in general.
Then we have Will who may have the biggest role from all of the side characters. My main issue with him is that he seems to think he’s better than the other characters a lot of the time. He spends a lot of time lecturing the other characters and if they don’t agree with him then he will just smack them. Not exactly the kind of leadership you want to see from one of your allies right? He never quite got into my good graces by the end. Chloe’s a much more developed character. Her goals of being a true hero as well as her revenge plot are handled well. She definitely gets a ton of development as well and is really a key player in all of this. The fact that Chloe is a good warrior from the start is also important.
Then you have Norma who is mainly here to throw a bit of levity into the scenes. She is always having a good time and doesn’t take things as seriously as the other members. I thought her character was handled really well and she was consistent in being the voice of hope in the game. Whenever things were dire she would think of something to do. Norma also likes trolling the rest of the characters quite a lot which I can definitely appreciate. Moses is another member of the group but he’s a little more forgettable. The characters always give him a hard time and yell at the poor guy but at the end of the day he is a loyal ally. He’ll help out as much as needed.
Next up is Jay but I didn’t care for this guy. He’s not loyal in the slightest as he plays the field and tried to keep on grabbing more and more intel to stay ahead of the pack. Someone like that isn’t someone you can trust to have your back. Additionally by the end of the game he is quick to decide that he is cool being on his own. This guy was usually more trouble than he’s worth. Finally you have Grune but I’m still not sure what the point of her character is. She shows up near the end of the game as a playable character and then proceeds to do nothing for the rest of the game. If you ask me she could and should have been cut out. It feels like there must have been a big plot for her that was cut out or something because otherwise her whole role here just doesn’t make any kind of real sense.
Then we have the villains such as Vaclav and his 3 generals. They make for a solid villain group. Definitely not the most memorable ones around but the armor was fun. They had better designs than character personalities but they did manage to be a real threat when they arrived. There are a number of villains and factions here as well so the heroes always have to watch their back or risk being attacked while they’re busy. The soundtrack is pretty good. It may not be Symphonia level but the tunes we get are reasonable. There’s enough of an assortment where you are bound to enjoy at least one or two of them. It could be better but I’m satisfied with what we got.
Naturally there is a lot of replay value here. The base game is already around 30 hours and then after that you have the post game which involves character stories for each member of your party. I don’t know exactly how long this is but coupled with what you already have you are going to have a lot of content to play through here. It’s always one of the big advantages of being an RPG, the fun never really has to end. The graphics are also solid of course. We get a few fully animated cutscenes and for the rest there is a good amount of voice acting as well as details to the backgrounds.
Oh yeah I almost didn’t talk about the gameplay. It’s fairly standard for Tales of. You play as the heroes in a 3D or at least 2.5D gameplay style. You can hit the opponents in real time and use basic attacks as well as items and super attacks. The gameplay flows pretty smoothly and there’s a decent strategy element here as you have to decide which enemy to attack and how to go about it. There are numerous options for each scenario so it’s not as simple as just deciding to run and gun it. That may work for a while but eventually you will need to do some level grinding to keep that sustainable.
Overall, Tales of Legendia is a great game with a lot of emotional moments. You should be pretty well attached to all of the characters by the time you end things off. The gameplay is smooth and the graphics are on point. The game is just a strong experience that I could recommend to any gamer. Whether you’re a fan of RPG titles or action games, you should enjoy this one. I’d definitely be down with a sequel coming out someday to revisit the cast.
Play Time 25h 20m
Senel Eres Mastered 22/23