wallwalker: Venetian mask, dark purple with gold gilding. (Default)
[personal profile] wallwalker posting in [community profile] personalapocalypse
5.Write a review of the most recent episode you’ve seen/chapter you’ve read/particular scene.

I could do scenes, I suppose. But I think I'll just do a quick, mostly spoiler-free review of each game.

Star Ocean 2:

Graphics: The sprites and rendered backgrounds were pretty, in my opinion. The CGI and animated sequences in the PSX version were less attractive to me, and honestly felt unnecessary. The PSP remake's sequences were better.
Music/Sound: I still love the musical score for this game. A bit grandiose, but still a lot of really great songs. But the PSX voice acting and translation is infamously and laughably bad. ("I'll turn you into a beehive!" Seriously, what... is that a metaphor in Japan or something?) Another thing that they improved for the PSP.
Plot: ...so if I'm being honest with myself, the plot of this game is fairly weak. Definitely not the reason I've played it so many times. It works well enough to get things from point a to point b, but there are still some dropped threads and unexplained events. I can't help but wonder how many things had to be cut out in production, especially since this game can be finished in thirty or forty hours if you know what you're doing. For a JRPG, that's nothing. (That said, it is neat to go back to areas you've visited before at various points in the story and see what's changed. That's a nice detail that they didn't neglect.)
Characters: This is why I've played it so many times. Some of the characters might be cliche on the surface, but I found them all interesting and likable enough to keep playing the game again and again to learn new things about them.
Gameplay: ...if you like sidequests, there aren't many here. Combat is mostly realtime and action-based - it's improved in the PSP version, IMO. You can only control one character at a time, and the AI likes to spam certain moves even when they're not effective, so you have to be careful with it.

Dragon Quest 8:

Graphics: They used cel shading for this game. It was nicely done, I thought, and better than some of the 3D stuff they tried to use earlier in the series. Easily the best of the series, visually.
Sound: They got a symphony orchestra to perform the entire score. Dragon Quest is Kind Of A Big Deal in Japan, so that's not surprising. The music's not a huge departure from the rest of the series, but it is quite nice. The voice-acting is a bit overdone in a few cases, but usually in a humorous way; the main characters (who have voices) are generally done well. (The king's voice is really the most annoying one, and I think that's by design...)
Plot: This game is long. The main plot alone takes upwards of seventy hours to complete, on average. That's not counting any of the sidequests. (Just look at the numbers here.) It's enjoyable, if not groundbreaking, which is par for the course for the Dragon Quest series. It sticks very much to tried-and-true formulas.
Characters: The designs are nothing special. If you've played a previous DQ game or watched DBZ, everyone will look vaguely familiar. Still, they're likable; even the silent protagonist manages to have a lot of personality.
Gameplay: Exploration is very important, and can take a very long time. Battles are turn-based and require a bit of strategy and awareness of your own skills/stats; they're also harder than most other JRPGs released around the same time, and since saving is limited to save points, it's entirely possible to end up wiping out in a random battle a few steps away from the nearest town. There are some new, interesting ideas (the Alchemy Pot, for instance,) but for the most part it's like the rest of the game - entertaining, but nothing new. Not necessarily a good or bad thing, but it's a good thing to be aware of going in.


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