Tag: SRPG

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20 Game Series That Need A Sequel

1.) Lunar

Still my favorite game series of all time, Lunar, deserves a sequel and has plenty of source material to derive such a sequel or rather, prequel from. What I’d like to play is the original tale that started it all, playing as Dyne, with the original reincarnation of the goddess Althena, and Ghaleon, and Mel, and the other 4 heroes (whose names I’ve forgotten at the moment). Of course, they could always just spin it off in a new direction in a future somewhere and use return appearances or references of some of the characters. But the logical next step to me, would be to let us see and play the tale of the original 4 heroes. read more

Anime, Branching Plot, Dating Sim, Decisions Matter, Fantasy, Game Review, Multiple Endings, Playstation 2, Retro Game, Review, RPG, RTS, SRPG, Strategy, Videogame

Growlanser Generations: Growlanser II and Growlanser III Review

Hang tight; things are going to get confusing if you’ve never heard of this series before. Growlanser Generations is the name of an American version of Growlanser II and III (that’s the one I’m reviewing below). BUT Growlanser Generations is the name of a Japanese game in the same game series, which is Growlanser V (and this game was also released in America as Growlanser Heritage of War, but I hate (or at least strongly dislike) that one, so I’m not reviewing it (at least not right now).

So Keep in mind, this is a review of Growlanser II and Growlanser III (Generations NA). And it is NOT a review of Growlanser V (Generations JP) Got it? Good 🙂

Title: Growlanser Generations

Publisher: Working Designs

Release Date: 2004

Platform: PS2

Genre: Strategy RPG with Dating Sim Elements

Where to buy: Amazon has a few available ranging in price from $65 to $95 depending on quality and deluxe or standard editions. You can browse whats available on this page here: http://www.amazon.com/Growlanser…

Geeky: 3/5 

Sweetie: 5/5 

Overall: 71/90 79% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

Concept: 7/10 Though packaged in America as a single game, this is originally two separate games (though from the same series) in Japan. Growlanser I was never released in America, which puts us at a disadvantage because Growlanser II’s story takes place at the same time as, and has the same characters as, Growlanser I. It is basically letting you play as the opponent’s army  from the first game, to draw sympathy and give you another look at the war from a different view point. But since we never got Growlanser I in America (I’m sure Working Designs would have if they could, but this game actually was one of their last games and probably partly responsible for the ultimate demise of the company – selling two games, for the price of one, at the expense of double the staff hours, wages, localization fees, etc.) — Anyways, since we never got the first game, Growlanser II is mostly a stand alone story for English speaking players – and I felt its story, while good, was weaker than III – which is intended to be a new stand alone story – because Growlanser II is supposed to be enjoyed with Growlanser I.

Anyways, beyond that, they are both real-time strategy rpgs with a high amount of freedom and player choice and consequence. Choices matter, and there’s a branching plot, mostly focused around who you date in the game. There’s multiple endings and of course the data from one game to the next can be carried over from game to game.

Gameplay: 8/10 The gameplay in these two games features real-time (as opposed to turn-based) strategy rpg battles which sometimes have you trying to reach the edge of the map to “escape” or sometimes destroy all enemies on the map, or sometimes must protect an NPC from being killed. Growlanser III expands on the gameplay of II by allowing you to freely move around the overworld instead of just choosing points on a map. However, Growlanser III cuts the active party members in half from 8 in Growlanser II to just 4 in Growlanser III. Growlanser III also raises the encounter rate significantly from that of II and introduces proceduraly generated dungeons which are sometimes rather hit or miss in their design.

Upon gaining a level you can spend attribute points to customize your party members to your liking, which is just another testament to the freedom of choice these games provide. Also as you level up your equipment, you can unlock new spells and abilities that are tied to the equipment, making the equipment a key focus of your battle strategy. You can team up with party members to unleash joint spells and abilities and you are also free to move around the map, not stuck using a grid based system in other Japanese strategy games such as tactics ogre and final fantasy tactics.

Because the game has a branching plot and multiple endings, there are some things which may happen in battle which would typically be a gameover in most games, but in this case, the game goes on (not always, haha sometimes it REALLY IS a gameover lol.) – Sometimes though this can throw you off the route you want in the game so save often and make use of multiple save files.

Outside of battle there is not much to do in this game (aside from talking to your comrades which can influence the storyline which is a big draw to this series) — That is changed years later with Growlanser Wayfayer of Time on PSP which introduces city building and “pet” raising elements to the game series. (But that’s a review for another day (maybe soon).)

That’s not to say that all you do is hack and slash your way through Growlanser Generations either. Both games feature a huge branching storyline with several secret hidden side quests and dialog scenes which unless you take time to back track to previous locations and explore the map fully, are very easy to overlook. If you enjoy exploring  every nook and cranny of every location, you’ll really enjoy the huge worlds and the fact that this game does not hold your hand or force you down any “correct” path as it’s very non-linear. However, there are some gamers, who may find all this back tracking and side questing to be tedious.

Storyline: 10/10 Both games have a very emotional and action packed story which is fueled by the theme of war and focuses strongly on character backstory and development. They take place in a fantasy setting, however; it is draped around a very modern and realistic atmosphere that makes the characters and story feel quite engaging and believable. Mostly, what I enjoyed about these stories is the overarching theme of betrayal, trust, sadness, and pain that are told through the events and actions that happen in each game. As mentioned above, Growlanser II definitely has the weaker story, because in America, we only experience “one half” of the “game” (although it is in fact 2 games in Japan too, Growlanser II is a “direct sequel” – and not only takes place “after” but also concurrently during the first game. So I can’t deduct points here, because it’s no fault of the game that we only have “half” the story here.) Overall, the story becomes very emotional and the sheer volume of the game world itself and lore added into every nook and cranny and dialog options and extra scenes really help bring these games to life.

Characters: 8/10 Growlanser II is packed full of dozens and dozens of interesting characters. Like most branching plot games, some character routes are more well developed than others. Growlanser III significantly cuts back on the number of characters, BUT in exchange, they devote the time to writing a very interesting and well developed story around those characters. As I’ve said a few times, III is definitely the more story-focused of the two games in this collection, and that also shows through character development and interaction – not that it was terrible in II either, but III just really digs into it more. 12 years later I still deeply remember the story and characters of Growlanser III – while I only sorta vaguely recall some of the characters of Growlanser II.

Graphics: 7/10 While the character portraits themselves are LOVELY and very appealing, especially I think to females, as they’re rather “Shoujo” in nature, the battle effects, background environments, and other artistic elements are very underwhelming, even for a PS2 game.

Music: 5/10 – It’s been awhile since I’ve played, but I can’t recall having a strong opinion of either like, or dislike, for the music in these games. I’ll update this the next time I play 🙂

Voice Acting: 8/10 Working Designs is always pretty good with their localizations – of course they westernize things and take some pretty big liberties with their translations (which some fans criticize them for) but for me, I’ve always enjoyed their sense of humor and found it often times make a dry script more engaging – not that I think Growlanser is dry by any means, but it’s always fun to see Working Design’s little touches. That said, the cast is very good, reusing many actors from previous Working Designs titles (such as Lunar and Vay). So if you enjoy the voice acting in those games, you’ll enjoy it in Growlanser as well. Each game has probably about 2 or 3 hours of voice over content – which isn’t much when each game probably spans hundreds of hours through multiple story lines and endings. But hey, there are games from early 2k that don’t have any voice overs at all, so can’t complain much. I would’ve liked the option left in for Japanese voices as well but I understand those are expensive with licensing fees and Working designs was such a small little studio. I appreciate all the love and care they always put into their games and I feel out of all the 90s Dubs out there, Working Designs were some of the best!

Replay Value: 10/10 Both games feature Multiple endings, though the differences to these endings are definitely more distinctive in Growlanser II as opposed to III. There’s also tons of hidden side quests and dialog options which will require multiple playthroughs to experience everything these games have to offer. Between both games, you’ll probably spend hundreds of hours to get 100%. I’d wager it’s about 35-40 hours per single play through.

Overall: 71/90 79% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

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    Anime, Featured, Game News, Laptop, News, PC, Playstation 2, PSP, Sony, Sony PSP, SRPG, Strategy, Videogame

    Disgaea comes to PC for the First Time with Disgaea PC – an HD Remake of the first game, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

    Disgaea is a cult classic Strategy RPG by Nipponichi and now, for the first time ever, PC Master Race players (those who refuse to play on a console) are about to experience this epic game series.

    Technobuffalo recently reported that this is the “definitive” edition of the first Disgaea game, “Hour of Darkness” because of not only the new HD graphics, but also the bonus content that was previously only available in the PSP version “Afternoon of Darkness”

    Steam already has a store page set up; and an expected release date in February 2016.

    According to the Steam store page, the game will include Japanese and English audio, as well as Japanese, English, Chinese, or Korean text, making it a world-wide edition.

    Also in the announcements on the steam page, users will be able to choose from the old “pixelated” graphics, or the new HD graphics, OR mix and match between the two – such as choosing the old character sprites, but using the new HD environments. The interface has also been enhanced for PC play.

    For those who have never played Disgaea, or even long-time fans who want to have a copy in their steam library, this is very exciting news.

    Here is some info taken from the Steam Store Page to help explain what this game is all about to new players, and to show long-time fans the new features in the PC port.

    About This Game

    Download the Darkness, Level Up Evil!

    Two years after the death of his father, Overlord Krichevskoy, the demon prince Laharl awakens to discover that the Netherworld is in turmoil. With unlikely allies, his devious vassal Etna and the angel trainee Flonne, he must battle his way to supremacy to retake the throne and become the next Overlord. Experience the SRPG classic, now on PC!

    Key Features:

    Fantasy, Featured, Game News, Handheld or Portable Gaming, History, Mystery, News, Otome Game, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Preview, PS TV, Release Date, RPG, SRPG, Strategy, Trailer, Videogame

    God Wars, New JRPG Strategy RPG Game, Heads West for PS4 and PS Vita in 2016

    Kotaku covered a news scoop regarding Kodokawa’s latest upcoming JRPG, God Wars: Toki wo Koete (translation: God Wars: Beyond Time). You play as a girl, which makes this game highly relevant to my audience here at Geeky Sweetie. She’s a priestess named Kaguya, who has been chosen as a sacrifice to the gods, by her own Mother (the Queen).

    People who are quick to criticize weak willed characters, especially females in gaming, will appreciate this lead role, who manages to escape her ill fate, and has a spunky and opinionated personality, enough so that she rebels against her mother, and her kingdom.

    She does not just accept authority, from her mother, the queen, or even the teachings of the gods. Instead she sets out on a Journey to find her own answers and make her own decisions.

    Japanese history, folklore, and mythology are at the heart of the story. Sawaki Takeyasu (famous for his creature work in Devil May Cry and Okami) will be in charge of monster design once again for God Wars Beyond Time.

    Gameplay consists of turn based and grid based mechanics similar to those in other JRPG strategy games such as Shining Force, Final Fantasy Tactics, or Tactics Ogre. Check out the official trailer below.

    According to Gematsu, God Wars will feature over 30 job classes, 200 weapons, and 600 skills. Gematsu also provided some more storyline details, stating that the game is intended to blend Japanese fairytales with historical events to reimagine the coming of age of some of Japan’s greatest historical figures.

    Gematsu also notes that the characters are designed by Mino Taro (famous for character design in Love Plus) and a narration by Japanese actor Shiro Sano.

     

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    Featured, Game Review, Multiple Endings, Retro Game, Review, RPG, RTS, Sega Saturn, SRPG, Strategy, Videogame

    Dragon Force | Retro | SRPG | Review | Sega Saturn | Working Designs | Strategy | Strategy RPG | Strategy Game | Retro Game | Retro Gamers | Retro Game Review

    Title: Dragon Force

    Platform: Sega Saturn (or if you’re able to read Japanese, the original game has also been ported to PS2 and PS3. No word if it’ll ever get ported over to the USA; chances are slim now that Working Designs, the original publisher in the USA, is defunct.)

    Release Date: November 1996

    Publisher: Working Designs

    Where to Buy: This game goes for $100-$200 on sites like Amazon. (and yes, it’s worth it; it’s an amazing game) You can find it on this page here: http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Force-Sega-Saturn/dp/B00004SW0Z

    Geeky Factor

    Sweetie Factor

    Overall: 76/90 84% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

    Concept: 10/10 Dragon Force is a Real-Time Strategy RPG with large-scale warfare (hundreds of units in combat) which allows you to play as one of 6 different kingdoms initially, with 2 more to unlock through multiple gameplays. Each kingdom has it’s own unique story within the game, making for excellent replay value. There are a ton of hidden characters to recruit too, which also may add to replay value if you fail to recruit them on your first attempt.

    Gameplay: 10/10 There are a few different elements to the gameplay. The primary focus is on managing your kingdom by hiring new generals (you can spend a turn searching for generals as well), you have to keep your generals happy or risk losing them also. To do this, you can award merits obtained in battle to certain generals that you want to boost. You can also raid castles to find treasure.

    As the game progresses, you capture more castles (the goal is to control all the castles on the map); but you can also lose castles too if you do not assign enough generals and soldiers to defend the area. Hence why recruiting generals becomes one of the primary focuses of gameplay.

    Dragon Force has incredibly unique combat in that each of your generals can lead hundreds of soldiers into battle and there are many different types of soldiers for you to add to your party which fill different class roles such as knights, archers, mages, vampires, beastmen, etc. Having the right balance of soldiers and generals is very important to the gameplay, some fights will become very difficult if you don’t put time and thought into your army.

    Story: 7/10 Since the game has several different stories woven into one game, and forces you to play as all of the characters to unlock additional story-driven characters, it can take a lot of effort to see the whole story. There are some elements within each playthrough that will follow the same lore/backstory that ties all of the stories together. The lore goes like this…

    The world of Legendra was a peaceful world, governed by the Godess Astea, until the arrival of an evil force known as Madruk. A warrior known as Harsgalt sealed away Madruk’s evil powers but was unable to defeat him completely. Madruk remained sealed away for 300 years, however, now his Minions seek to revive their dark lord. Madruk’s minions have tricked the 8 nations into warring with one another so that they’d be too busy to stop them from their plans. The rulers of each nation must be convinced to set aside their differences and join forces to stop this greater evil.

    Although there is a story here and there are anime cutscenes and voice acting, it feels like the story still takes a backseat to the action/combat and kingdom management features of the game. Also, as with any game with branching plots, some characters’ routes feel more fleshed out than others.

    Characters: 8/10 I don’t want to get into spoiling all of the different story lines as the fun in the game comes from experiencing each monarch’s perspective for yourself. I will just give a brief overview of the characters here, but there is much more to learn by playing the game for yourself.

    Junon: Cold Hearted, brutal knight, known as the “Masked Death”, rules the cold icy kingdoms of the north.

    Mikhail: A samurai seeking to avenge his father’s death. He has most of the qualities we imagine a samurai to have, a calm, honorable disposition and air of mystique.

    Leon: Large muscle-bound “hulk” like character, with a hot temper and stubborn streak.

    Gongos: Leader of the beastmen. He is a kind and courageous king who is well loved by his people, because he lives in the forest however, he is not always the brightest when it comes to wits or common sense when dealing with humans

    Teiris: Typical “female protagonist” here. The game makes up for this overused stereotype elsewhere though as you will see for yourself if you play the game. She is depicted as the good-natured, “friend to the world”, kind-hearted, soft spoken, and physically weak, but makes up for it with her excellent magic skills and abilities.

    Wein: Wein is kinda the default “hero” or knight type of character, he is strong, noble, and proud. He accepts his duty gladly, and does everything in his power to serve the orders of the Goddess Astea.

    Voice Acting: 8/10 Like many of Working Design’s RPGs, the voice actor talent is top notch. There are not as many voiced scenes and anime cutscenes as say, Lunar or Vay (two other Working Designs anime RPGs) but there’s still a decent amount. And like all Working Design games if you sit at the credits screen after completing the game, you get to hear the gag reel and outtakes. The voice actors clearly had fun in their roles, and it shows through in their performances as well.

    Music: 5/10 Music is just kinda “there”; not particularly bad, nor good.

    Graphics: 8/10 It is exciting to see all of your units in combat. They did an amazing job designing the combat system which is very unique to this game. There are also ample anime cutscenes, and while the anime scenes have that “90s retro vibe” they’re still nice and colorful. The overworld map and other elements are rather basic in design, and the kingdom management screen while easy to use, is also not the most elegant of systems.

    Replay Value: 10/10 – to see the whole story, and to unlock other playable nations you must play the game multiple times. This encourages the user to explore the game as other kingdoms and experience new stories and different play styles.

    Overall: 76/90 84% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

     

    Anime, Branching Plot, Decisions Matter, Game Review, Handheld or Portable Gaming, Multiple Endings, Retro Game, Review, RPG, SRPG, Strategy, Uncategorized, Videogame

    Tactics Ogre – Let Us Cling Together Review

    image

    Title: Tactics Ogre – Let Us Cling Together

    Platform: SNES, Psx/Ps1, PSP

    Genre: Strategy RPG (SRPG)

    Publisher: The game was originally developed by Quest Corporation who are now defunct. The english localizations of this series have been handled by numerous third party companies including Atlus and Square-Enix. This review is specifically for the PSP enhanced edition released in 2011 by Square-Enix.

    Overall Score: 83% B. Very Good Game for Girls

    Where to buy: Amazon

    Geeky Factor: 

    Sweetie Factor: 

    Story: 10/10 – The story of tactics ogre is far more complex and mature than square’s own “final fantasy tactics” series. It resembles a lot of what made the original final fantasy tactics great, while the sequels of that series have been dumbed down to be child friendly. At it’s core, it’s a story of choice and consequence, in a war-torn continent full of political intrigue. At every turn, you will shape and mold the story and the fate of the people living (or dieing) across the continent. Will you be consumed with vengeance, seduced by greed, or sacrifice even those closest to you for the greater good? The story is also full of emotions, and does an excellent job drawing players into the world. They’ve even gone as far as to use old english in much of the dialogue to create total immersion.

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    Concept: 10/10 – The concept is also similar to most SRPG, grid based combat, lots of different classes for your units, recruiting new units, leveling up and equipping your troops, etc. – The difference with Tactics Ogre once again is that the choices YOU make, effect which parts of the story you live out. Instead of just being told the history of these people, you are the one writing their history and deciding their fate.

    Gameplay: 10/10 – While it does little to innovate, there are certain unique twists on the traditional tactical rpg combat. You do not level up a single character, instead you level up a job class, and this job class can then be “equiped” to any character who will start from the max level you have obtained for their role. Any units who survive combat gain experience points for the class that they played as for that map. Since the choice and consequence system could also be considered a gameplay mechanic just as much as a story mechanic, I’m also awarding points to gameplay for this factor, because no other SRPG, and perhaps, no other game, period, puts to use such an elaborate and meaningful choice and consequence system.

    Characters: 5/10 – While the story is moving and emotionally engaging, I still feel that character development was a bit flat. I have played a ton of rpgs, and just find these characters to be less memorable than others in other games. They don’t stick with me or make a lasting impression. Sure I care about them at different points throughout the game, some have made me laugh, others have made me cry, some have filled me with hate, but at the end of the day, when I’m done playing, I don’t think back about the characters, they look similar, talk similar, can have similar classes, skills, abilities, and don’t have as much heart or personality as more fleshed out characters in other games. I truly believe this is due to the game’s best feature, the choice and consequences system, when you have a more open ended, or multi-pathed game, the writer gives up control of these characters, to the player, while in a very linear game, the writing is very precise and true to the author’s original intentions for the cast. It’s a sacrifice or trade off. It’s rare to find a game that can do both well. I feel that it was a worthy sacrifice in this case, the gameplay is amazing and I would not want to sacrifice that at all.

    Graphics: 5/10 – This is an old game, originally for the super nintendo, 16 bit system. It’s graphics are about akin to what any novice can produce in programs like RPG Maker today. But for it’s time, I think it had really strong graphics. They are definitely outdated by today’s standards though.

    Music: 10/10 – This game has beautiful music which adds to the emotional impact of the story. The music itself feels very majestic.

    Final Scores:

    Story: 10/10

    Concept: 10/10

    Gameplay 10/10

    Characters 5/10

    Graphics: 5/10

    Music: 10/10

    Voice Acting: Not Voiced N/A

    Overall: 83% B. Very Good Game for Girls

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