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Author Topic: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs  (Read 14498 times)

SunGodPortal

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Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« on: September 13, 2015, 02:35:43 am »
Sorry if this is a lot to read. I want better suggestions so I've decided to explain my position in more detail than I might noramlly do for such a thread.

I've decided to get a conversation going because I've been playing a lot more PS2 lately and playing more of the Shin Megami Tensei games in recent years has made me feel like most of the RPGs I've played over the years were incredibly shallow, boring and generic. Each of those descriptions could be used for a number of things be it the combat, the story, characters, etc... I'm looking for something interesting and original. I'll use the next few paragraphs to highlight some of my biggest concerns.


Combat... I liked how in the SMT games I've played there was an obvious focus on fighting intelligently instead of "battle starts, press X/A for generic attack, next character is ready, press X/A for generic attack, etc. repeat this 10,000 times over the course of the game except for boss fights". I never want to play a game like that again and if there is a hell, I know what I'll be doing when I end up there. I like how SMT games make you pay attention to what you are doing. If you don't find the most efficient ways to kill your enemies, even the weaker ones will be ripping you to shreds in no time and you will burn through your resources at an alarming rate (assuming you don't get murdered before you get the chance). I like the challenge and I like having to use my brain.

Setting/Story... I'm getting tired of "magical fantasy worlds" and "dystopian futures". I'm not opposed to these two types but I think they're a bit obvious and played out at this point. I like how the majority of SMT games take place in what appears to be the present. The Raidou Kuzunoha games also take place in the 1930's (I believe) which is even more original IMO. It's not as obvious anyway and the early 20th century holds a special place in my imagination. EDIT: For some reason when reading this back I got to thinking of the movie "Brazil". Something like that would be a funny setting. Like the future and the past combined. Or even a game that takes place in a future that is not ruined. Or an RPG set in ancient Japan. Something other than the same basic handful of RPG settings would be nice.


Those were my biggest concerns, so now that that's out of the way I'll try to briefly mention the RPGs I have played for the PS2. So far the only ones I've played at length are: Odin Sphere, Persona 3, Persona 4, Shin Megami Tensei III, Ar Tonelico: Melody of Elemia, Dragon Quest V and Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana. I have yet to beat any of them. LOL I want to go into more detail about these but this is already getting to be a long post so I'll be as brief as possible and just let people ask questions if they are curious...

Dragon Quest V is the only DQ game I've ever liked so I'll def finish it. Not sure if I'll come back to Atelier Iris but I may continue with Ar Tonelico when I'm in the mood for basic Final Fantasy with some interesting gimmicks added on top. I'm about to finish Odin Sphere and while it is a bit repetitive I still love this game. I love 2D games and I love how this game's combat system is good about making you pay for being reckless. Plus the boss battles are super fun. I also like the efficiency of THIS game's alchemy system. There's not much that I don't like about the Shin Megami Tensei games besides Persona 3's annoying music. LOL

Odin Sphere is the only action-RPG I've mentioned but I do like them too and recently have been more interested in that type than turn-based because most of the turn-based games I've played suffer from what I mentioned in the combat paragraph. I also don't like random encounters suddenly distracting me from exploration (a problem if the devs didn't bother to program a map function).

EDIT: I forgot to mention Okami. That was a neat game. I haven't finished it yet but I def will.

Now while I am looking for suggestions for PS2 games, I do plan on getting some newer systems at some point in the future (likely a PS3) so I'll take games for other systems into consideration but for the time being those suggestions won't mean much to me.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 02:59:37 am by SunGodPortal »
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Gideon Zhi

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2015, 03:03:01 am »
First thing that comes to mind is Rogue Galaxy. It's a very active battle system, game is scifi, space pirates, etcetc. Another game you might consider is Dark Cloud 2, which is a roguelike in a steampunk setting that has you rebuilding the world Soul Blazer style.

Since you mention DQ5 I'm going to assume that either you don't have any problems playing in Japanese or you have a way of playing ISOs, via mod or via emulator. Have you considered Shadow Tower Abyss? It's sort of the final evolution of King's Field before From Software turned towards third-person (Demon's Souls).

It didn't review well, but I really enjoyed Metal Saga. If you played Metal Max Returns and liked it, chances are you'll get a lot of mileage out of Metal Saga. It doesn't drag you by the nose from place to place and leaves it to the player to find their own way in the world, and I think that perceived lack of direction is what cost it points with critics. Plus, tanks and Shiba-mounted rocket launchers.

If you like Atelier Iris, you should look into Mana Khemia. Same developer and similar in concept. Every few hours they add new functionality to the battle system which completely changes how you interact with it. Personally, I found this to be really refreshing, and it helped the game from getting stale. Plot's forgettable though.

Other potential suggestions with an unorthodox setting, less-than-braindead battle mechanics, or both:
- Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
- Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria
- Megaman X Command Mission
- Drakengard
- Orphen
- Shadow Hearts and Shadow Hearts Covenant

KaioShin

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2015, 03:19:54 am »
I'm looking for something interesting and original.

Yeah don't play JRPGs then. I'm sorry but that's how it is. If you already played SMT3 there is not much left. I guess I can concur with Lakmir's Rogue Galaxy recommendation. Gameplay wise it's much more fun thanks to being real time action and the setting isn't overused. Also Shadow Hearts 1+2 has an amazing cast and unique story and is all around pretty great. Gameplay wise it's nothing super special though.
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SunGodPortal

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2015, 04:01:08 am »
Quote
First thing that comes to mind is Rogue Galaxy. It's a very active battle system, game is scifi, space pirates, etcetc. Another game you might consider is Dark Cloud 2, which is a roguelike in a steampunk setting that has you rebuilding the world Soul Blazer style.

I remember hearing about RG and thought it sounded interesting. Thanks for reminding me. I remember playing Dark Cloud 2 at some point. It seemed pretty cool and I can def see the Soul Blazer connection.

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Since you mention DQ5 I'm going to assume that either you don't have any problems playing in Japanese or you have a way of playing ISOs, via mod or via emulator. Have you considered Shadow Tower Abyss? It's sort of the final evolution of King's Field before From Software turned towards third-person (Demon's Souls).

I've got a PS2 with the door sensor rigged and Swap Magic. My collection is a mix of legit and burned discs though at this point I'll probably only buy legit copies under certain circumstances (I tend to prefer the original voice-acting for imports and this is not always a feature/option).

I don't think I've even heard of Shadow Tower Abyss. That's an interesting title.

Quote
It didn't review well, but I really enjoyed Metal Saga. If you played Metal Max Returns and liked it, chances are you'll get a lot of mileage out of Metal Saga. It doesn't drag you by the nose from place to place and leaves it to the player to find their own way in the world, and I think that perceived lack of direction is what cost it points with critics. Plus, tanks and Shiba-mounted rocket launchers.

I remember testing out a Metal Max game on SNES just after a translation was released and thought it seemed pretty cool. I'll look into that.

Quote
If you like Atelier Iris, you should look into Mana Khemia. Same developer and similar in concept. Every few hours they add new functionality to the battle system which completely changes how you interact with it. Personally, I found this to be really refreshing, and it helped the game from getting stale. Plot's forgettable though.

Other potential suggestions with an unorthodox setting, less-than-braindead battle mechanics, or both:
- Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
- Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria
- Megaman X Command Mission
- Drakengard
- Orphen
- Shadow Hearts and Shadow Hearts Covenant

Of these mentioned the only one I've played is Valkyrie Profile. I don't really like the art style but the game was certainly worth coming back to some time. Thanks for the recommendations.


Quote
Yeah don't play JRPGs then. I'm sorry but that's how it is. If you already played SMT3 there is not much left.

I appreciate your brutal honesty. Sometimes people make comments like that to be dicks, but being familiar with the genre I know that your stance here is technically justifyable. LOL

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I guess I can concur with Lakmir's Rogue Galaxy recommendation. Gameplay wise it's much more fun thanks to being real time action and the setting isn't overused.

Noted.

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Also Shadow Hearts 1+2 has an amazing cast and unique story and is all around pretty great. Gameplay wise it's nothing super special though.

Okay cool. I don't recall hearing about Shadow Hearts until starting this thread but I'll look into it. Thanks for the recommendations.

I'm glad I started this thread. Some of these games I've played but forgot about and forgot that I owned one of them. LOL I can already tell this thread might become hard to keep up with. There were a lot of RPGs for the PS2 and it will take time to investigate so many games. That's a good thing though. :)
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KaioShin

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2015, 04:07:11 am »
I can already tell this thread might become hard to keep up with.

From my experience this kind of thread quickly devolves into people listing every PS2 RPG they ever heard the name of since they don't read :P I honestly hope you'll get some good recommendations instead. Though I can't think of much more and I did play through most of the PS2 JRPG library, at least the officially localized ones. Back then my standards were much lower and it was kinda the golden age of JRPG in terms of quantity and quality. Maybe that's the point I became sick of them since there was just too much :P Thinking back I played a ton of them but not too many were memorable enough to immediately pop into my head now 10 years later.
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SunGodPortal

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2015, 04:20:39 am »
Quote
From my experience this kind of thread quickly devolves into people listing every PS2 RPG they ever heard the name of since they don't read :P I honestly hope you'll get some good recommendations instead.

haha Yeah. I took my time with the first post hoping to get the best results. I wanted to write more but I knew the more I wrote the less people would read. Sooner or later someone is going to come in here and read only the title and then cut/paste a huge list from somewhere. I guess the "I like game X but I won't bother telling you why" is on it's way too. :)

Oh and sooner or later an arguement will break out. LOL
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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2015, 09:33:09 am »
Dragon Quest V? Translated Ps2 version? Or did you mean DQ8? If you really haven't played Dragon Quest 8 you should, has the most memorable cast of characters in any DragonQuest title, is damn gorgeous, and hilarious. Still my favorite PS2 game, and like you, I don't like many.

Mana Khemia: Best Atelier game I've ever played, you attend an alchemists academy and schedule your classes. Classes consist of sending your party out on missions to gather items, craft equipment, or defeat monsters. I personally loved the level up system though, your skill tree unlocks as you craft new recipes, so the more your characters learn the stronger they become.

Phantom Brave: My favorite of the crazy NIS strategy games, I felt it had the better story but mostly I liked the fact that your armies could pick up environmental decorations and used them as weapons. I had cat men slapping around giant fish, and bird men carrying huge fir trees. Made me laugh.

Radiata Stories: Like Suikoden the fun of Radiata is tracking down all the recruit-able characters - apparently there's something like 176 different available party members. And I mean track down - game has a living universe where NPCs walk around according to their own schedules and live out their daily lives.

SunGodPortal

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2015, 03:16:50 pm »
Quote
Dragon Quest V? Translated Ps2 version? Or did you mean DQ8? If you really haven't played Dragon Quest 8 you should, has the most memorable cast of characters in any DragonQuest title, is damn gorgeous, and hilarious. Still my favorite PS2 game, and like you, I don't like many.

Yeah, the DQ5 translation. Something about DQ5's story just sort of clicked for me in a way that others in the series very much have not. I've been putting off DQ8 just because while I respect the series I am not crazy about it. I'll def get around to it, but for now I'm looking for something a little less traditional than what this series tends to offer.

Quote
Mana Khemia: Best Atelier game I've ever played, you attend an alchemists academy and schedule your classes. Classes consist of sending your party out on missions to gather items, craft equipment, or defeat monsters. I personally loved the level up system though, your skill tree unlocks as you craft new recipes, so the more your characters learn the stronger they become.

Hmm. Sounds interesting. The screenshots look interesting too.

Quote
Phantom Brave: My favorite of the crazy NIS strategy games, I felt it had the better story but mostly I liked the fact that your armies could pick up environmental decorations and used them as weapons. I had cat men slapping around giant fish, and bird men carrying huge fir trees. Made me laugh.

That sounds pretty cool. I remember playing La Pucelle Tactics (I think they were by the same people) and thinking it was fun so I should probably give this one a shot. I don't typically like this sub-genre but I've been warming up to it a little more lately.

Quote
Radiata Stories: Like Suikoden the fun of Radiata is tracking down all the recruit-able characters - apparently there's something like 176 different available party members. And I mean track down - game has a living universe where NPCs walk around according to their own schedules and live out their daily lives.

Oh yeeeeah... I remember this one being really funny but I only had the chance to test it out. I didn't know about all that character stuff. Sounds really cool. Yeah. This one for sure.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Daria

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2015, 04:46:56 pm »
Yeah, the DQ5 translation. Something about DQ5's story just sort of clicked for me in a way that others in the series very much have not. I've been putting off DQ8 just because while I respect the series I am not crazy about it. I'll def get around to it, but for now I'm looking for something a little less traditional than what this series tends to offer.

No need to explain, DQ5 ranks among my favorites in the series. Just Until you mentioned it I didn't realize a patch had been released for the PS2 version.

SunGodPortal

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2015, 04:53:02 pm »
Quote
No need to explain, DQ5 ranks among my favorites in the series. Just Until you mentioned it I didn't realize a patch had been released for the PS2 version.

If you play it don't forget to apply the supplemental bugfix patch. Otherwise you'll be like me and only be able to get so far in the game because every time you try to revive someone at the chapels the game will get caught in a loop that is inescapable. Once I figure out the proper way to patch this game I'll pick up where I left off. Until then, it's hard to play an RPG where none of your characters are allowed to die. :P
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Daria

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2015, 08:27:53 pm »
If you play it don't forget to apply the supplemental bugfix patch. Otherwise you'll be like me and only be able to get so far in the game because every time you try to revive someone at the chapels the game will get caught in a loop that is inescapable. Once I figure out the proper way to patch this game I'll pick up where I left off. Until then, it's hard to play an RPG where none of your characters are allowed to die. :P

How reliable is PS2 emulation? Or is this I have to get a system modded sort of thing? The most modern game I've ever patched up till now has been PSOne.

SunGodPortal

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2015, 10:36:54 pm »
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How reliable is PS2 emulation? Or is this I have to get a system modded sort of thing? The most modern game I've ever patched up till now has been PSOne.

I've got a PS2 slim with the door sensor rigged to think it's always closed (I think I opened the console and put a piece of tape over it, mine was the final model so it only had one sensor instead of multiple ones) and a Swap Magic disc. If I tried to emulate a PS2 game on my laptop it would probably have a nervous breakdown. I can't even achieve stable emulation of PS1 games...

So far I haven't had any luck patching DQ5. Before I initially started playing it I couldn't get it patched properly so I downloaded a pre-patched ISO. Unfortunately it did not have the bug fixes. Now I'm forced to return to the same problem because of the revive bug... I enjoy playing on a console and TV but it sucks to have to wait for a disc to burn only to find that it was a waste of time and a DVD because it didn't patch right (and won't even load!). I hope I'm able to finish that game some day. I really liked the SNES version but I find the PS2 remake to be that much more charming.
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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2015, 11:00:11 pm »
Try Grim Grimoire and play it in ENGLISH DUB (for real, JP dub here is awful). Not a RPG tho, more like strategy :thumbsup:

SunGodPortal

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2015, 11:28:38 pm »
Quote
Try Grim Grimoire and play it in ENGLISH DUB (for real, JP dub here is awful). Not a RPG tho, more like strategy :thumbsup:

Oh yeah. :) I got that one. Tracked it down not long after I became enthralled by Odin Sphere's aesthetic and wanted more Vanillaware. Funny that I don't remember how I fealt about the voice-acting in GG. That's usually incredibly important to me because I hate how cheap the VA sounds in some games. I mean for real. Who thought Mitt Romney was good choice for Richter in SotN?
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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2015, 11:33:14 pm »
yeah go play shadow hearts and rogue galaxy

SunGodPortal

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2015, 01:19:08 am »
Quote
yeah go play shadow hearts and rogue galaxy

I'm gonna try Shadow Hearts first because I like the idea of it taking place in the early 20th century.


I swear though... Doesn't Richter sound like Mitt Romney?

Richter Belmont
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vs

Mitt Romney
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x9s_piBO3o

Romneyvania...
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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2015, 03:07:28 am »
Holy crap. Glad I played the import when it was released.

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2015, 03:40:55 am »
Heroes of Might and Magic: Quest for the Dragon Bone Staff is a pretty good RPG game you should check out. Me and my older brother like it because it's a remake of one of our favorite Sega Genesis games, King's Bounty.

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2015, 03:02:08 pm »
I'd reccomend Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits. It's a bit more strategy than Rpg, but it fuses the two together in a way that is quite awesome. Battles aren't grid-based like a tactics game, instead you have a range that you can freely move your characters around in. You get techniques that have area effects or can go in a straight line ala Chrono Trigger.

Story-wise, it feels a tiny bit generic (mostly due to how you're first main character is initially presented.) but it picks up pretty fast and becomes very addictive. It has a mix of steampunkishness and darker environments, and you switch back and forth between main characters. There's also some legitamite plot twist that you won't see coming (well, at least I didn't see them coming.)



Also, Dragon Quest 8 is certainly a must play if you enjoy DQ5. It feels like you're literally exploring a planet, and the characters/environments look like Toriyama's artwork come to life. It's  mindblowing the first time you see some of the things for the first time in that game, like realizing that you can actually see your characters fighting the monsters (not sure if the PS2 version of DQ5 does this). I believe there's also a sort of crafting system in the game, and the voice acting is some of the best I've heard in ages. and apes a good number of PS3 Rpgs  (I'm looking at you, Star Ocean 4 International)



Both Dark Cloud and Dark Cloud 2 are fantastic Soul blazer/Roguelike hybrids. I'd love to get ahold of DC2 so I could play more than the beginning area, but I can vouch for the first one all day. :) You get special rewards if you arrange the towns how the villagers like (or force woman A to live by pervert B just for the fun of it!). You can upgrade your weapons, level them up as well if I recall correctly. The first Dark Cloud also sports  weapon durability, a thirst gauge, and the ability to run around towns/inside of buildings in first person (which blew my mind back in the day). Dark Cloud 2 may also have these, but I haven't played enough of it to say either way.
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SunGodPortal

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Re: Suggestions for PS2 RPGs
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2015, 02:18:58 am »
Due to annoying circumstances I was not able to try out Shadow Hearts so since I already had Mana Khemia ready to go I tried it. I found myself laughing out loud within the first few minutes because of something the cat said. I never would have seen that one coming. :) I played it for about an hour and half before I finally got tired and had to go to bed (not because it was a JRPG, fufufu...).

Just like with Persona 3+4, I like the whole "going to school and having a schedule" thing with a home base that you keep returning to. I find that refreshing for a genre where you more often find yourself wandering from place to place until the game is finished. The battle system feels VERY quick for a turn-based RPG. I'm loving that. I also like how the main character seems like he in a fog the whole time. That's a refreshing change of pace from the ususal "arrogant tough guy".

So far I'm actually enjoying it a lot more than the other Gust/NIS games I've played (which I have yet to finish). You can def tell it's the same developer. It had the same style of graphics, music, characters, etc. It even had some of the same sound fx. The atmosphere isn't really what I was looking for, but at the same time I'm kind of a sucker for the whole "cute and fun" thing it's got going on. Like with the other games these guys have made, much of the characters and music is kinda funny, like it borders on parody or something. I'm also a sucker for that sort of thing (Carranger, Akibaranger). Mana Khemia has not disappointed.

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Holy crap. Glad I played the import when it was released.

Yeah I don't think it's even possible for the voice-acting to be any worse than it is. I would say if they had used kids or something but then that wouldn't just be a problem with VA, it would be a problem with casting. :P

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Heroes of Might and Magic: Quest for the Dragon Bone Staff is a pretty good RPG game you should check out.

You know, I don't think I've ever even heard of that one. That's why I like these threads. :)

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Both Dark Cloud and Dark Cloud 2 are fantastic Soul blazer/Roguelike hybrids.

I've played it before but it was just a quick test run. It was def worth going back to though.

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Also, Dragon Quest 8 is certainly a must play if you enjoy DQ5.

I've heard good things about it so once I can get DQ5 patched correctly and finish it I'll move straight on to 8.

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I'd reccomend Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits. It's a bit more strategy than Rpg, but it fuses the two together in a way that is quite awesome. Battles aren't grid-based like a tactics game, instead you have a range that you can freely move your characters around in. You get techniques that have area effects or can go in a straight line ala Chrono Trigger.

That sounds cool. I always liked that about CT. If you just take an extra second to think about who or how you are going to attack you can get more bang for your buck and end the battle(s) quicker. Seems like there's a lack of that sort of versatility with attacks in a lot of RPG battles.
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