« on: September 03, 2013, 01:27:10 pm »
Since my last post:
I finished this off without too much issue. It's fairly short, but quite decent as a sort of a hybrid action-puzzler. Worth checking out, IMHO.
Sacred Citadel - Jungle Hunt DLC [Steam]
More of the same (see my prior notes)... just a new Act that takes 10-15 minutes to clear.
Torchlight II [Steam]
I finally went back and finished this off, as well. I ended up soloing through with a custom class loosely based on a WoW Paladin. It was enjoyable enough for a hack-n-slash, but I think in some ways I sort of liked the original game slightly better. I didn't really do any multiplayer with it, so maybe if/once I get around to it, my opinion may change..?
Suikoden II [PS1]
I finally went back and finished this off. I played through most of it years ago, but "gamer ADD" stepped in to take my attention elsewhere.
I still think I prefer the 1st game's music, overall. Mainly, this is due to the use of XA in I vs. synth in II, and the sound quality differences that comes with the change. Otherwise, there are a number of decent tracks, and only a couple of "stinkers".
Story-wise, I'd say II has the stronger story, but the pacing sometimes seems a little off in some cases compared to the original. It is a longer game, so a few points do feel a little like extra padding sometimes (such as cleaning up oil spots in the beginning). It also has a couple occasions of giving you little to no direction of where to go/what to do next... but, for the most part, it's not much of an issue.
Graphically, the environments generally look much better in II, with better color gradients and such, as some of the backgrounds in the first game looked really "gritty" in comparison. Character animations are also improved with more frames of animation.
Suikoden III [PS2]
I started and cleared this for the 1st time.
Due to different composers, the music is quite a shift from prior entries and it doesn't really "sound" quite like prior Suikoden games. There are again a couple of weak tracks (Brass Castle, in particular - it just seems rather dissonant to me), but the music's not too bad overall... just maybe not as memorable as some of the tracks in the prior games.
I wasn't a huge fan of some of the changes to the battle system. The pairing of characters, combined with changes to how some runes work from prior games (potentially damaging your own party, for instance) really led me to ignoring runes more so than the prior entries. The concept of placement and movement in the battle was an interesting addition... but ultimately, flawed. Mainly this is due to having no real say in where your characters position themselves when attacking an enemy, and sometimes blocking other characters from attacking (leading the AI to run them back and forth until they use up their movement, accomplishing nothing for their turn). Also, battles seem to run a bit slower than in previous series entries. For the most part, you can just "Auto" through the majority of random encounters (much like the previous games), so the character pairing doesn't really matter in that case. One slightly notable addition that comes from character pairing is the capability to mount a beast when paired with the right character... however, there's only like 3 possible pairings for this so it's not a large feature or anything.
The fixed camera is occasionally a pain, but not too bad overall for the first 3D entry into the series, and not really any worse off than most other fixed-camera games I've played.
There's a lot of story thrown at you, especially since you play through 3 different main characters viewpoints during the first 3 chapters of the game. At some points, I got to the point where I was just wanting to go and actually do something. Also, in the course of playing through these 3 different viewpoints, you end up revisiting a lot of the same areas over and over again. Especially since you don't get the ability to teleport until much later in the game, and you are required to travel certain areas of the map repeatedly. Overall, I found the story interesting enough to press on through the worst of the repetitiveness, and collecting all 108 stars allows you to play through a bonus, super-condensed chapter as the game's antagonist (sort of like a "behind the scenes"), which I found to be an interesting touch. It does offer a resolution to the character that you wouldn't otherwise see, and tries to explain his motives to a degree. It takes considerably less time to go through than most of the "regular" game's chapters. Overall, I think it's worth it to experience the bonus chapter.
The difficulty does spike occasionally, which will generally just require some levels/upgrades (read: grinding), but you seem to catch up in levels quick enough. Aside from a spot early in Hugo's 1st (I think it was) chapter (where normal enemies in the area I was supposed to be going could one-shot my entire team sometimes), usually this seemed to be limited mostly to bosses... particularly the last few. In a way, it's nice to have some additional challenge from the final boss(es), but half of it just seemed to come down to luck of the draw, depending on what attacks/magic it randomly decided to do.
I just moved on to Suikoden IV [PS2], and already have some strong opinions on the game at only about 3 hours in... but I'll save that for later.