Days to complete: 17
Fire Rings 4/17
Earth Rings 4/17
Wind Rings 2/17
Water Rings 3/17
Light Rings 0/17
Dark Rings 1/17
Extra Rings 5/17
Days to complete: 17
Fire Rings 4/17
Earth Rings 4/17
Wind Rings 2/17
Water Rings 3/17
Light Rings 0/17
Dark Rings 1/17
Extra Rings 5/17
It’s time to take a look at an RPG that I’ve had on the backburner for an extremely long amount of time. It’s been several years since I started this game, maybe even a full 10. Regardless, it was time to finally go through it and it’s a unique experience. I hadn’t played a first person RPG title before. I definitely prefer third person, but I’m always up for trying something new and this was quite the experience. The game has several weak areas though which prevent it from being a truly solid title.
The game starts by showing us a cutscene of someone fighting a dragon a long time ago. We then cut to the present where the king’s advisor sends his son off to a mysterious island to find out what’s going on. There had been something called an Eternal Ring planted in that island a long time ago. The king sent many soldiers to the island, but they never returned. The Hero arrives and things are not looking good for the army. Most of the members have succumbed to monsters and demons lurking on the island. The captain of the guards was personally consumed by the Eternal Ring and now exists as an undead who wants ultimate power. The lead will have to steel himself as he heads through this island to locate the Eternal Ring and complete his mission.
The plot is as vague as can be in the beginning so you get to piece together what is happening along with the others characters as the lead goes on. I tend to like this intrigue style and the more you withhold from me the better. Still, there isn’t a whole lot that happens here til the end. Then we learn about the infinite prison, the child of one of the gods being trapped, and other such things. The lead takes all of this in stride as he doesn’t bat an eye whether he is fighting ordinary lizards or taking down demonic tyrants. It’s all the same to him, he just wants to grab/destroy the ring and head home. It’s really all he is focused on and doesn’t even talk to anyone. Truly a tough man, but he gets the job done.
Eternal Ring is rather tragic with the plot as just about everyone dies though. I especially feel bad for the soldiers who have been trying to uphold the rebellion for years only to be completely left to fend for themselves. They did good to last this long, but when just one of the big villains can solo the whole army you know that things won’t go well. The ring is also too powerful for their mortal minds to just being near is an issue for them as well. There’s really no winning for the army grunts this time. The overall plot concept is still really cool though. There’s a lot you can do with it. It’s pretty simple at the core, a mysterious island exists with monsters protecting a jewel of ultimate power. It’s just all about the execution and the story is the strong part of the game.
As for the gameplay, as I mentioned it is a first person title where you swing a sword and fire magical spells. Think Call of Duty, but without the guns. You go from area to area as you collect keys and slay monsters as you get closer and closer to the heart of the island. Key spells include the recovery spell and the anti-poison one. They will save you much needed gems on potions and antidotes so you can buy the important things like MP crystals instead. When in a fight it is very important to strafe as much as possible to dodge hits. Almost all boss fights can easily be won by strafing while slicing the entire time. The matches will take an eternity if you’re under leveled, but they simply can’t hit you.
I ended up beating the game at level 27 which is way under leveled compared to where I should have been. That being said, I had obtained enough gems to get the wind summon which can easily destroy even the final boss in 4-5 hits. The summons in this game are ridiculously broken to the point where once you get one you have effectively conquered the game. It was smart of the title to keep them locked away for so long although if you knew where to look ahead of time you could have gotten the summons quite a bit earlier than I did. I didn’t grab them until right before the final few areas. They’re risky against minions since there isn’t a lot of space to use them so stick to fighting the bosses with them. Why does space matter? Well, summons actually deal friendly fire so they’ll destroy you in one hit if you’re close by when they strike.
Eternal Ring makes your journey a little more tedious than necessary though. For starters, there is only one shop in the entire game. If you want to go buy some supplies to help you out in the final sections then you’re going to have to run all the way back to the army base in the forest. This can take you an insane amount of time since most levels are constructed to be mazes. If you don’t have a map nearby then all I can say is “Good Luck!” because you’re going to need it. Then you’ve got the fact that save points and level ups don’t restore your health or MP so if you don’t have your health ring ready then you’ll be burning a lot of items very quickly.
The game also doesn’t help with finding out how to create the rings you want. You have to put the attribute in the left and the type on the right, but with 6 slots and over 100 possibilities you could potentially go throughout the whole game and not get the cure ring. I would have been sunk without it and that’s just unnecessarily difficulty. Nothing in the game is properly explained so you’re just left to your own devices. The story doesn’t need to be explained, but the same cannot be said for the gameplay. I absolutely need to know how to do the things so I can plunge through and claim victory!
It can be hard to see where you’re going because of how dark the game is as well. I have to attribute some of the blame to my TV since it’s always had a very tough time with PS2 games in general. Still, I could have done with more light levels as opposed to almost all of the stages being inside a very dark cave. It’s not even as enjoyable as being outside because at least in the latter scenario you can always see what is happening no matter what. Caves all look the same after a while.
The soundtrack isn’t bad. There’s a decent blend of tunes here and the themes are more extensive than I would have thought. As I write this review I’m listening to the soundtrack and it all sounds so nostalgic since I just beat the game. It’s not amazing, but it’s better than I would have expected. It helps make up for the game’s sub-par graphics. As for replay value, there really isn’t much at all after beating the game. You could try to grab all of the magic rings and such, but there isn’t really much to do with that newfound power once you’ve beaten the game. At that point it is just time to take a step back and head for the next title.
Overall, Eternal Ring was definitely put on the bench for a reason. It’s a game that the me of 10 years ago would have probably been really confused by. As it stands I still think that the game makes itself overly complicated at times and needlessly grindy in other sections. Leveling up isn’t very convenient and the lack of healing and shops in the game make you have to backtrack and run around a lot. Getting lost is also rough because if you lose then you’ll be sent back a long ways away to the last save point. You just never want to go out that way. If you really like the idea of a close quarters monster brawler then this could be the game for you. Just know that you are going to have a lot of exploring to do so the gameplay may not be as fun by the end of your struggle. First person style may not be my thing, but I’d be down with a sequel to this title if they gave it some more polish.
The first Golden Sun was a really great game. Definitely one of those RPGs you probably won’t be forgetting anytime soon. As The Lost Age is the direct continuation (Even called Book II in the opening credits) I expected more of the same. Unfortunately, it does suffer from it’s unclear directions and a slow first half for the plot. The second half picks up quite a bit, perhaps not enough for me to call it a great title like the first, but certainly good enough that it’s still worth getting to complete the saga.
Last time we followed Isaac as he and the gang were sent to stop the villains from lighting the lighthouses. A cosmic being told them that if this happens the world could be plunged into darkness. Unfortunately the villains lit up 2/4 of them and so the game ends with a whole new level of urgency for the heroes. This one picks up with the villains on their quest to light the final 2 houses. The game keeps their reasoning hidden until we get near the end of the game but you’ll probably suspect that something is up. These guys used to be friends with Isaac and the others so how could they defect so completely? Then you’ve also got the more supernatural villains who seem a lot meaner than the humans. It’s definitely a game where some communication would have gone a long way. Can you help these guys light the final 2 lighthouses or will you ultimately throw the fights and lose on purpose to protect the world?
The plot is definitely more expansive than that but the rest is pretty heavy with spoilers so you need to experience it for yourself to really appreciate it. I will say that the game does give you a lot to think about on which side to root for. Also make sure you stick around past the credits as there are quite a few scenes and they are all massively important. The third game definitely looks like it’ll be starting a completely new story in the saga.
The best moment in the story is definitely when Isaac and the gang return though. In the first game since you played as Isaac you didn’t really get to see his character so now that he talks you really get into it. Seeing his team take on the villains is definitely hype and I dare say that Isaac would have won if he didn’t get distracted. The game’s best theme popped up for the scene as well. There aren’t a lot of plot heavy moments until the end of the game so this was definitely one of the best scenes. I also like how Isaac’s group made it before ours, showing that they are still the best adventurer group in the biz. The other best scenes all involve the big villains as well.
The game took me a little over 40 hours to complete but from that time the villains only show up for around an hour or two. Surprisingly most of the game is pretty laid back. It’s not filler as we explore the world and light up the lighthouses, but the main plot surprisingly doesn’t come into play for quite a while. As a result the stakes feel a lot lower than the first game even if that isn’t actually correct. It’s just the way that it goes. I have no qualms with the story though. The main issue I have with this game is that it can be very hard to know what to do next.
Part of why this is the case is because The Lost Age is supposed to be more of an open world RPG. You can actually tackle most of the islands in any order you want as either way you’ll need to do a lot of backtracking once you get more abilities. You do have a map, but the issue is just that you don’t know what direction to go. Of course you will eventually go the right way, but that can feel like a small consolation when you are wandering aimlessly. Even when you do go the right way you can go for hours without a single cutscene. We do get more cutscenes once the second half starts though.
Without an online guide I probably still would have not beaten the game. There’s also the matter of the data transfer. The game has a cool set up where if you played the first game then you could transfer your data into the sequel. Since Isaac and the crew don’t show up til near the end it wouldn’t make a difference until then but it’s pretty neat since you keep your abilities. Of course, that does mean you get heavily penalized if you didn’t play the first game. There are whole areas that you cannot explore and multiple Djinn and weapons that you can’t obtain. It’s a little harsh, but I do like that the developers really wanted you to play both games. It did make this feel like a true saga and seeing the characters you were playing as from the outside is cool. It’s a missed opportunity that the two groups didn’t get to fight though.
The graphics definitely still look good like in the first game. I also enjoyed the soundtrack. In particular the villain theme was downright amazing and I listened to it on loop for over an hour. It really ramps up the tension for whenever they appear. This game definitely didn’t pull any punches on a technical level. Make sure you stick around after the credits as there are quite a few extra scenes and bonus content to absorb. It changes the ending entirely and makes it so that a sequel wasn’t really needed. There are some plotlines that could become loose ends, but if they never continued you could also interpret them as a full ending.
I didn’t really mention the gameplay but it is as solid as ever. The turn based system works really well here and I like the added dynamic of choosing to get your summons ready or just making the base character stronger. In the first game I went with the latter while in this one I did the former with the exception of the final boss. Both strategies definitely have their merits and there are so many different ways that you can approach a single fight. The gameplay is really advanced and while I did have to spend a lot of time leveling my characters up for that sudden spike in difficulty with the final boss, you get the level ups pretty quickly at the turtle cavern. Whenever you spend 40+ hours on a game you know that the length was quite good.
Overall, Golden Sun: The Lost Age is a solid game. It’s a big drop down from the first game thanks mainly to having a weaker main cast and less of a focused plot compared to the first. (The Ancient One’s final test still makes no sense even after you think about it) I think making an RPG non-linear isn’t a bad idea in theory, but it should still be a little easier to know where you’ve got to go. One of the big benefits of being a long game though is that your good memories quickly overwrite the rocky start that the game has gotten. Even if the first 10 hours are pretty rough, if you get a great 30 hours after that then it’s easy to let bygones be bygones. It still does hurt the score compared to the first one, but at the end of the day I’ll still give this game a thumbs up. I’d recommend checking it out, but you should definitely get the first game before this one so you can take advantage of the data transfer.
It’s time to look at an app game I downloaded a while back. I remember seeing this one as a twitter ad and figured that I may as well check it out. The posters looked nice and the Madoka series has always been excellent so I was down with seeing what the side story would be like. It’s a fun game that I would probably stick with if there was less to do, but from what I played it is a very complete title.
The game’s story follows a girl named Iroha on her own magical girl adventure. There are a lot of parallels to the show as she meets up with a very aloof magical girl who’s like Homura, a happy one dressed in yellow like Mami, a tough red colored one like Kyoka, etc. So…the story isn’t very original I’ll admit. Iroha’s memories are all in disarray as she doesn’t remember her childhood friends and this seems to directly be related to whatever wish she made with Kyubey to become a magical girl. Iroha wants to find out the secrets of her past, but she doesn’t have any idea how to do that. It may be related to a mystical law of forsaken friendships. As Iroha tries to find out about her past she also helps other magical girls learn to get along and beats up witches in the process.
With these gatcha games you never want to get too invested in the plot because it’s just never going to finish. These games are made to basically never end or if they do end it won’t be for many years. America actually got this game real late so in Japan there are a bunch of sagas out but even there the story isn’t over yet. You just gotta roll with the premise and then get ready for a bunch of inevitable filler. Still, if the adventures are fun then that’s not a problem. I thought the story was pretty reasonable. By default it’s the weakest RPG plot I’ve experienced in the mobile, but the filler isn’t quite as tedious as in Integral Factor. At the very least you always feel like things are happening.
We also do get a true opening that is fully animated which was really cool. The visuals are definitely on point and the soundtrack is awesome even if a little limited. You’ll be hearing the witch theme endlessly but it’s just so catchy and epic that it’ll rope you in. It makes every fight feel epic even if you’re just fighting the same old guys over and over again. The chapters follow a classic formula of fighting 3-5 waves of minions before you get the next round of cutscenes. On a technical level this game definitely shines through.
The gameplay is also very easy to use. You pick one of 3 attack types for each of your 3 characters and then take down the opposing forces. Using the same kind of attack more than once can give you a bonus and naturally there are also elements to keep in mind. You won’t really have to worry about tactics in story mode as at least where I was up to it was very easy. I imagine in PVP or other online modes that it would be a lot more important. The gameplay is very intricate if you are trying to master it though. There are a ton of mechanics which I barely even scratched the surface on. I recommend a lot of studying when you’re first starting up the game.
That’s the only tough part about the mobile RPGs. There are so many things to remember and keep track of. I managed to learn it all for Dragon Ball Legends and Fire Emblem, but I’m sure if I went back I probably wouldn’t remember it as well. The main menu screens are downright confusing here as there are over a dozen different kinds of things to collect and they all have different purposes. You can get lost trying to find things here and since the game barely explains anything you’ll want to run to Reddit right away. Reddit’s always a great database for these mobile games if there is something that you need to know. My main advice is if you do plan on playing this for the long haul, don’t spend or buy anything for the first month or 2. That’ll give you time to really understand the game rather than spending collectibles on things you’ll never actually use. Make sense? It’s definitely something I do with all my mobile games now even though I don’t tend to keep any of them for the long haul except for Pokemon Go.
Overall, Magia Record is definitely a fun RPG for fans of Madoka or people who just like this style. As with most mobile games like this one there is almost endless replay value. New events happen every week and the story is extremely long as well. There’s a lot to like here and the game was developed with a lot of care so there are no areas that feel slapped together. It would take a lot to keep me in a mobile game for very long though and while I love the franchise, I am overall still a bigger fan of FE and Dragon Ball. If you’re a big fan of Madoka though this is really a solid one for you to stick with for a while. One big thing here is that it’s a free to play with an energy meter that is almost nonexistent. Unless you are playing this for many hours at a time you won’t have a problem with being told by the game to take a break for a while. This is the kind of Free to Play game that does the industry proud.
Play Time 21h 45m
Isaac Level 31
Garet Level 30
Ivan Level 29
Mia Level 30
Djinni collected 25/28
It’s time to look at a fairly legendary RPG from back in the day. While Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest tend to have most of the popularity right now, Golden Sun used to be pretty big back in its day. It’s only got 3 games, but the series still got quite a lot of fans. I’ve had this game on the back burner for an extremely long time so it’s good to finally be able to jump in and experience the story in all its glory. It reminds me why I love the RPG genre. Fighting games will ultimately still reclaim the top spot, but RPGs are always fun to play with. It’s partially because the idea of grinding your stats up is always a good one and the games last long enough for you to really enjoy the characters.
So in this world there exists a few select people who are called Adepts. They are able to harness elemental powers like fire and water to increase their strength or to be used as projectiles. Some already had these abilities while others are triggered once a meteor storm occurs. There is a group of enemies who want to light all 4 of the lighthouses. Isaac and the other heroes don’t exactly know why they want to do this, but they can’t allow the villains to do as they please. They decide to stop them, but along the journey they end up finding out that there is more to their plan than meets the eye. Is stopping them from lighting the lighthouses really the best move?
The game is fairly long and it took me around 22 hours to beat it. This is partially due to how big the map is, but also how difficult the enemies get. Golden Sun’s no joke and the difficulty really spikes towards the second half of the game. Suddenly the enemies are able to take you out in a few hits and that’s just the minions. The bosses basically one turn KO you so you need to level up a lot if you want to beat them. I got everyone up to Level 30 and that made the battle pretty manageable. I think if you want it to be a little calmer getting up to level 32 would probably be a good bet. Also, a big part of the game revolves around the Djinn so you are going to want to grab those guys.
There are 28 of them in the game and they are like power sources that allow you to summon. There are 4 types and 7 per type. The strongest summon of each type is worth 4 orbs so you can summon 4, 4 level summons in one match and then 4 level 3s. I only got 25/28 of the Djinn, but I can guarantee that without them I would not have been able to beat the final boss. Initially I didn’t go after them and even avoided obtaining them unless they were directly in my way. I figured that they weren’t all that important, but they are crucial. Aside from the summoning just owning the Djinn increases all of your stats as if you got multiple level ups. So once you have 25 you’re way stronger than if you didn’t have them. For example one of my characters went from having 200HP to over 500 with them equipped. I can’t stress enough just how useful these guys are.
Golden Sun is definitely an RPG with a pretty intricate gameplay system. The turn based combat is pretty much the same as always, but then you’ve got the element system. This also ties into the Djinn. Depending on which ones you’ve got equipped and your element ratio, your attacks per character will be different as well. Likewise they will also change depending on if you have your Djinn set or on standby. There’s a whole lot to consider as a result and it does make you have to re-think how you want them arranged on the board for each fight. You’ll want to think over every fight very carefully. Even by the end of the game I can’t say that I really understand the system perfectly. It’s also hard to tell which attacks are best to use since the type advantage system isn’t always obvious. By the end of the game using a normal attack is typically better than using almost any of the magical abilities which is pretty interesting.
The game definitely holds up quite well with the visuals. There’s a lot of nice backgrounds here and the game even gets a nice 3D effect during the credits. The attacks are all a lot of fun to look at and in general everything is pretty bright. Then the game also has a dynamite soundtrack. There are a lot of great themes to listen to here that range from being fairly heroic to setting up a moody atmosphere. It’s all exactly what you want to see here. Golden Sun just holds up well in every area. There is almost nothing to dislike about the game.
While the story may not be quite as exciting as some other RPGs, I did like it overall. You can tell that there’s more to this story than your usual heroes vs villains story. The villains definitely have their own reasons for doing things and don’t seem to be inherently evil. Of course there are many villains who believe they are the hero, but since the heroes don’t know what will happen if the lighthouses are activated, it’s possible that it is the right thing to do. Of course, it would be easy to tell the heroes this, but none of the villains ever feel like talking. The heroes also get lucky quite often as the villains could have easily won on a number of occasions. They just prefer to split up rather than fight as a team.
Isaac doesn’t really have a personality in this game as he is just the player. Garet is a good ally who basically acts as the leader of the team even if he is a bit impulsive. Mia’s a solid medic who joins on later. We don’t get a whole lot of time to develop her personality but she seems nice. Then you’ve got the young mage who seems really nice even if lacking in experience. The childhood friends are all suspect though with how they don’t tell the heroes much. They basically miss the entire game as they just get a few scenes after being kidnapped, but they seem to be taking it in stride. It seems like the villains ultimately start to convert everyone.
The game ends with quite a lot of loose ends for the sequel. While there are probably one or two that you could finish through side quests, there are definitely some that can’t be. There’s a scene after the credits for example which shows that the adventure isn’t quite over yet. It makes sense since there’s a big villain who doesn’t show up in the climax. Also, in general it just doesn’t feel like a conclusive ending because there are more lighthouses left and more villains so the heroes can’t rest easy now. As I already own the sequel you can bet that I’ll be jumping on that one pretty soon.
If there’s anything that’s a bit iffy here, it’s that the game isn’t always clear on where to go next. It actually has a map with town labels on it so that’s a big upgrade from something like Final Fantasy VII, but at the same time there are usually multiple routes to choose so you end up wasting a lot of time looking for the right one. The good news is that it gives you more time to level up though. Once you’ve gotten strong enough then you can also just flee the battles, but it takes quite a while to get to that level. Another thing I do like is that if you die you are taken back to the temple, but don’t lose any data. It costs money to revive your teammates, but that’s a fair price. A lot of little things like that help the game overall because it takes away the irritating nature of a game over. Dying and being forced to restart the area is very fair if you ask me.
Overall, Golden Sun is definitely an excellent RPG and deserves to be known as one of the greats. It’s aged really well and made for a very fun 20+ hour experience. I look forward to seeing how the sequel goes since it should feel pretty similar. I’m also ready for Isaac to talk since that would be awesome, but even if he doesn’t I’m sure the story is going to be really good. If you haven’t played this game yet then I highly recommend changing that. It’s just a great all around title with no real weaknesses. You’ll be engaged from start to finish even if you might end up with a slight headache from how complex the gameplay mechanics are. The important thing is that you’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment because this is definitely one of the tougher RPG titles out there.
7/15 PS4 Trophies
Play Time 2h 10m
Objectives Complete 14%
Treasure Chests Opened 34%
Enemies Defeated 302
Style Changes Performed 48
Most used magic: Curaga 42 times
It’s time to look at what is likely my first Rogue game. The genre is definitely pretty interesting since it’s so unique compared to others. Here if you die you lose everything. Forget about keeping things like items, level ups, money, etc. If you die you start from scratch with nothing to show for it. It’s an interesting dynamic. Honestly I think I would prefer it if you got to at least get level ups or something since you would eventually be able to power your way to the end. Still, it’s steady stream of quick levels can be pretty addicting and you’ll find yourself wanting to keep playing “1 more round” over and over again.
The plot is pretty basic. There are a group of heroes who used to be quite impressive back in their day. Unfortunately for them they have grown old and people barely even remember them anymore. Well, they’ve been given one last mission. They have to escort these two princesses over to another kingdom. That should be easy enough but the world is overcome with monsters so maybe this won’t be quite as easy as they thought. Don’t worry about the plot much though as it doesn’t return again until you’ve beaten the game 6-7 times as you get the true ending. The rest of the endings don’t even finish the plot as they just unlock another character.
The gameplay uses a 3 lane system. You have a hero on the top lane, middle, and bottom. Each one can attack when his gauge is full. This is how you drain away at enemy’s stamina and then their health. You have to time it just right so you finish off the stamina and then damage the opponent in order to chip away at the gauge. Otherwise you won’t be making a whole lot of progress in the fights. It’s a very interesting system for sure and a complex one. Throw in the spells and then you’ve really got a lot to think about during the fights. Fortunately you can pause the game to think about your options but pause too often and you’ll just be taking up too much time. That’s the way I see it at least.
One nice thing about the game being so complex is that you can feel yourself improving as you go through the game. I lost my first 10 games before finally reaching one of the endings. From there it took me about 5 more tries to get the 2nd ending and then another 3 or so for the third one. There are 12 endings but if I kept up that pace maybe it wouldn’t have taken much longer. At the same time, it’s like Pac-Man as the more endings you get the longer the game becomes. That’s because the levels stack on top of each other so at first the game is 3 areas long, then 4, then 5, etc until it reaches 8. Naturally you can see why losing when you’re at area 6 or 7 during a late playthrough can be pretty rough. The bosses shuffle each time so you never really know who you are going to be up against.
There is also some luck involved as the shops and chests change each playthrough. On my final victory playthrough I got a good line up as I got the mind control spell, 2 water spells, and 2 little minions who would help me blast the enemies. On other playthroughs I just didn’t have enough money to do much of anything so I ended up falling behind the curve. My best recommendation is to fight as many battles as you can on the way to the boss to stock up on money so you can get as many items as possible. If you run out of money then you’re basically sunk. Always have a plan when going into a boss fight as well and don’t be afraid to pause if necessary. How you start a fight could very well determine how you end it. For my tip of the game I would recommend getting any spell that does direct damage to the opponents like the water blast. It’s incredibly different and can make all the difference in a fight.
The graphics aren’t bad. I like the illustrations we get for each ending. There was a reasonable amount of skill put into the drawings. The actual animations during gameplay aren’t anything amazing, but it looks pretty clear. You can usually tell what is happening. The only exception is the status effects that play whenever you hit a villain. There are way too many words and they go too fast so you can’t really tell what they are saying. That seems to maybe be intentional but certainly worth mentioning. The soundtrack is actually quite solid though. It has a good variety depending on the levels and is soothing enough to enhance the gameplay experience. The later levels seem to decline a bit based on the tracks I heard online, but it’s still quite good all around.
Naturally there is a lot of replay value here. If you want to get all 12 endings prepare to be here for over 20 hours. It depends on how quickly you get used to the gameplay and learn the tricks of the trade of course, but I wouldn’t expect to get the hang of it too soon. I can’t stress enough that this is a pretty difficult game. It’s no walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. You’ll learn best through trial and error. There are also bonus modes like Challenge Mode, Seed Mode, etc. Getting through with everything will take a long time. I believe I got this game for around 10 bucks so that’s a lot of value for that price.
Overall, Has-Been Heroes is a pretty fun game. The story certainly takes a back seat as this is the kind of game that barely even has a plot, but the gameplay is the main thing here. The gameplay is smooth and a lot of fun. It may not be the most enjoyable experience at the very beginning if you just don’t get what you have to do, but as soon as you figure it out the sky’s the limit. I’d be up for trying more Rogue games out, but I still believe that they would be more fun with some actual progression. I want to feel like I’m getting closer to the goal with in-game features as opposed to just mastering the style more and more. It makes the whole experience just feel more rewarding.
Play Time 18h 10m
Memories Collected 12/30
Key Items 25
Natural Level 2
Knight Level 7
Dragoon Level 1
Dark Knight Level 1
Scholar Level 1
Black Mage Level 1
White Mage Level 7
It’s time to look at a recent Final Fantasy spinoff I got to play. This game has been sitting on the back burner for a very long time at this point. It always looked pretty fun, but I figured it would be pretty long so shorter games kept jumping it in line. Well, no more! I finally took the plunge and it’s definitely a fun game. While I’m not a fan of all the mechanics, I can say that the game was pretty well made. It certainly does the Chocobo character justice.
The game starts with Chocobo and Cid trying to grab the Timeless Power stone from some kind of ruins. Unfortunately Cid’s rival shows up and nabs it first. Before she can gloat, the whole group is transported to another dimension and the rival vanishes. This town is a little odd as nobody remembers anything including what their names are. A bell rings every few hours which makes the memory loss even worse. Fortunately, Chocobo seems to have the ability to go inside someone’s mind which allows him to restore their memories. There is also a baby named Rafaello who seems to have something to do with it. Chocobo starts on his mission to get everyone’s memories back, but everyone keeps telling him that this is a bad idea. Even the gods of the world tell him that he will only bring despair. Is this really the right thing to do?
Chocobo’s Dungeon is the kind of game where a large part of the story doesn’t really seem to have much of a plot. You go around restoring memories, but beyond that nothing much happens. Still, it’s a pleasant enough game. Right away you can see how much content is here as there are a bunch of side missions and sub quests to fulfill. The towns people seem nice enough as well. Still, you get the sense that something isn’t right since as I mentioned everyone is against Chocobo. The bosses you have to defeat in order to save the memories are also characters like the guardians of Light and Flame. Are they really villains or are you the villain?
All of these questions are answered in the climax which is definitely intense. It’s a climax that wouldn’t feel out of place in a main installment like Final Fantasy VII. The Destroyer, who is the final boss even looks a little like Sephiroth. We get a nice cutscene towards the end where this character even takes on Chroma and I wasn’t expecting such a fight. It was cool and I’d be up for seeing this game get a remake or be turned into a movie. I know there is a sequel for the DS so maybe I’ll get that one pretty soon.
Now lets talk about the gameplay as that is the bulk of the game. It’s a 3D turn based dungeon explorer type game where you have to navigate through the many floors until you get to the boss. Each step you take counts as a turn so you will have to quickly decide whether you want to move, attack, or use an item. I do really enjoy the strategy here. Most dungeons are only 8-10 floors while the larger ones are around 20. The final dungeon is 50 floors so get ready for that. Fortunately there is a check point every 10 floors so you don’t have to worry about starting all the way from the beginning. That would have been annoying.
The game does add in some stakes here though. For one, if you die you lose all of your money and all non equipped items. This encourages you not to take unrealistic risks. Make sure you have an exit strategy in mind or at least store your money in the bank before going on a tough quest. You’ll definitely want to do some leveling up before you get to the end of the game since the final bosses see a considerable increase in difficulty. Don’t underestimate them or your items will be sorry. When going into a dungeon you also have to choose what class you want to play as. Each new dungeon unlocks a new form for you. I highly recommend the Knight and White Mage forms. The Knight has great special attacks and gives you extra defense which is always good. I used him for the first 3 and a half chapters. However, eventually he simply wasn’t cutting it so I switched to the White Mage and never looked back. This form has a lot of great healing abilities so you no longer have to worry about carrying potions. Then he also has the best ability in the game which is the fact that he can cast a revive on himself. You can also use the escape ability to just get out of the dungeon if things look impossible. The Dark Knight is typically considered to be the best, but by the time I unlocked him the game was almost over so I couldn’t really verify that.
Now, I mentioned that not all of the mechanics were my favorite. In particular I am referring to the fact that enemies can rot your weapons. It works like in Breath of the Wild where your weapons just get weaker as you use them. They don’t actually break in this version but they do get weaker which is annoying since the only way to power them up further is to spend more money. What you want to do is find a weapon with an anti rust upgrade and then fuse that to your main weapon to ensure that nobody can weaken it. At that point you are all set. There are others for extra EXP and money, but I never found the former. It would have certainly come in handy though.
The graphics are pretty decent. It’s certainly a step below most of the other Final Fantasy games, but it still looks pretty good I’d say. It’s just using a different style. It’s sort of like World of Final Fantasy but not quite as polished. It does have each character keep up a motion throughout the game which is cool though like Chocobo’s power squats. He is doing squats during the entire game which is pretty impressive. Then we have the soundtrack which is pretty ordinary for the most part, but I do like the Chrome boss theme. That one’s definitely hype and will pump you up for the actual battle. It’s just that kind of high energy theme. So this game ultimately definitely delivered when it counted.
Overall, I’d recommend checking this game out. It’s a pretty fun RPG and one where you really feel like you got a lot of value for the price. The story took me 18 hours and that’s certainly a good amount of time. As I mentioned, the plot does take a while to get going, but as long as you’re fine with that then this is a slam dunk. With this game gone now I’ll be eagerly awaiting the Spyro trilogy. In the meanwhile I’ll work on Ridge Racer, but those turns are definitely real tough. I need some more training before I can be a master at the game like Chocobo. They always start out tough, but get enough level up and any RPG is cake. Sadly there are no level ups in something like Ridge Racer.