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Author Topic: Definitive versions of classic RPGs  (Read 2913 times)

SleepyFist

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Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« on: November 04, 2021, 12:20:12 pm »
Obviously it's something up to personal preference, but what would you say were the definitive versions of different classic rpgs? Patched or unpatched is fine.

FAST6191

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2021, 10:30:47 am »
If a Final Fantasy appeared on the GBA and has some patches (audio, font, decensoring, possibly other things) then that would tend to be my pick over SNES and whatever vintage Japanese console* it otherwise appeared on. Certainly over the PS1 (though they serve as not unreasonable options if that is what you have), DS as well (though I might take up the mantle of 3 there) and certainly whatever nonsense they did for the recent PC retreads, android and IOS fed the PC stuff sometimes so eh but definitely not definitive.
At the same time the NES/SNES stuff was the main target for many hackers over the years and that makes a compelling counterpoint when the volume of stuff available, as well as recreation (assuming it did not otherwise happen ahead of time) of whatever perks the later stuff got.

*I am prepared to have someone discuss the various video qualities of things here to find it is the technical best like we might for say Resident Evil 4 and its dozen ports. That nobody seems to be doing much with them though tells me most things I care about.

Dragon Quest I have not really played enough of to say here, certainly not played for comparison.

Don't think we really have any megadrive vs SNES in the RPG comparison stakes. Bomberman, platformers (Aladdin being the more notable), fighting games, racing games, sports games, things that were still better on the Amiga... all good for comparisons but RPG wise I think it was pretty much exclusives right down the line. Both have some great ones though.

Similarly if something started life on the Amiga then it should probably be experienced on that if your alternatives as the megadrive/SNES.

PCE/TG16 vs elsewhere is probably going to be left for bomberman and castlevania fans to fight over, maybe shmups as well but I know less of that and is way off topic.

I could maybe see an argument for some of the older might and magic games on the consoles vs PC and other things. Would almost be personal preference/personal history with the games though and it would be a hard argument at times.

What became of Wizardry I will have to leave for another day, mainly because I don't know enough about the later efforts.

Megadrive vs Saturn in the Phantasy Star world though... tricky, even more so if you are not a Japanese speaker as most have not yet been properly translated. The ages games are very good though.

Don't think Dreamcast saw any ports of things from older devices on the RPG front (barring THUG Pro it has the best versions of older Tony Hawk games a lot of the time) but I might pick the Xbox version of Shenmue 2 over its one. Gamecube version of Skies of Arcadia will probably be the definitive version there as well but there is not an awful lot in it, and both are hideously expensive (saw a GC version in a shop the other month for north of £100) for what they are -- it was a good RPG at the time and definite step into the future of such things but I would not pay that for it today saving that I flip it.

I would very strongly urge reconsidering playing the Phantasy Star 1 and 2 games on the GBA form, though if it is what you have then do it. You are going to want a megadrive for 4 though so why not go there from the start. I generally suggest avoiding 3 so no worries there.
I would probably say the same about any GBA ports of things in general as well, though with patches many of those are enough to say you did. Breath of Fire could be an exception though. I believe we don't mention Lunar Legend in polite conversation.

I would probably pick the remake of Megaman Battle Network 5 for the DS over the GBA versions at this point (and indeed as most are so similar if you want an intro to the series then that, even over 6 on the GBA). Only time I do that for DS RPGs that appeared on the GBA as well. If you insist on playing the GBA Riviera over the PSP version (I would not suggest the game at all) then could be justified. Never liked Chrono Trigger but the amount of hacking work the originals have means I am unlikely to suggest the DS version, even if the flames would keep me warm for years to come and apparently some consider it a definitive version (not sure when that one happened).

Are we counting PS1 as classic for these purposes? Because I am not sure what I would do about Final Fantasy 7 through 9 there now with various vintages and versions of PC ports that were the base for a lot of very good hacking work (and drama), never mind the recent remake (which I have not played -- was waiting for it all to be out first). Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth Remix I would take on the DS over the PS1 version I think.
Fortunately I think that is the main debate here as not a lot of PS1 goodness has ever appeared in non basic emulator format elsewhere really just yet. Though I did see Grandia got a treatment a couple of years back (Switch and then PC) so might have to look into that one, and I never played the Saturn version that the PS1 got ported a few years later.
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, nominally being a PSP (and I think IOS) somewhat enhanced remake/update of PS1 Final Fantasy tactics (for many the best of the Tactics series) probably wants to be noted in this. Tactics Ogre saw SNES, PS1 and Saturn versions, as well as a PSP revisit and GBA sequel (only one of those I have any time in). However I am not sure tactics games particularly count in this.


If I am debating the PS1 then xbox does not really count there, and for non exclusives that is mostly Elder Scrolls Morrowind, Fable, Bethesda stuff and Arx Fatalis for which you would be crazy to not go for PC and mods there. Will mention Deus Ex 2 just to get the hairs to raise up on the back of someone's neck.
Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance and its sequel might see the xbox as my device of choice though, though that is more dungeon crawler and there are some mods on PC that make it compelling (and "definitive" usually means money no object as it were so I guess I have a nice LAN setup in that case).

Not sure what goes for N64 vs PS1 vs PC in this timeframe as far as RPGs - I can talk about Turok and Forsaken but that is not RPG. It was also the last time it really made a lot of difference in terms of PC vs console, give or take the occasional bad port (see Risen on the 360 vs the PC) or oddities like James Bond Nightfire where the PC effort was basically a whole other game.

Could do N64 vs later things. I would pick basically every other version of the Zeldas (I count the Zeldas as an RPG, much to the seeming annoyance of some) over the original, but that might be more because I consider the N64 basically unplayable today. Whether I want to count the 3ds ports over the gamecube efforts I don't know. Equally as soon as the decompilation efforts for the N64 Zeldas reach some level of maturity (never mind 1:1 compilation) then all bets are off there like Super Mario 64 is today.

Xbox 360 vs PS3 might be classics in some circles now, prices certainly seem to be heading that way and we are now technically two generations on, but I am not counting that. Not to mention I already compared things there a while back elsewhere (turns out PS3 = RPG machine is nowhere near as strong a claim there as it was for the PS2 and PS1 give or take Ni No Kuni and a late stage showing from NIS) and frankly most things there appeared on PC which is going to be the best option these days -- might have been bad ports then but increasing computing power and modder efforts mean the distinction is kind of pointless right now. That said Eternal Sonata (a very nice game, I have the 360 version and it is one of the things that brought me back to Japanese RPGs after burning out big time) and Nier fans that speak Japanese might have a word or two with me here on the PS3's behalf. Have not played the PS4 version of Resonance of Fate at this point either.

https://emulation.fandom.com/wiki/List_of_notable_SNES_ports_and_remakes has some more though I will note a lot of the GBA stuff has patches.

Enough waffle for now.

SleepyFist

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2021, 11:01:48 pm »
Enough waffle for now.
XD Thanks for that waffle.
I kinda want to play a more definitive version of Chrono Trigger since I've only ever played the DS version and quite liked it, same with FFVI GBA.
as for the Phantasy Star series, I wasn't even aware of the GBA ports, and own a Genesis MK 1 and Phantasy Star 2 so I'll probably go that route.

I actually intend to at least try to play the Dept Heaven series so uhhh, yeah Riviera.

At this point I'd consider PS3/360 suitably vintage, although hacking for those is still in it's infancy afaik, so not many improvement patches unfortunately.

Jorpho

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2021, 12:07:29 am »
It's definitely a good question; there's a bewildering variety of options these days for some games, especially factoring in all the bugfix hacks.  I think I'm going to stick with plain-vanilla FFVI on my SNES classic if I ever get around to it.

I kinda want to play a more definitive version of Chrono Trigger since I've only ever played the DS version and quite liked it, same with FFVI GBA.
The DS version of CT is fine, by my understanding – the extra game content is decidedly amaeturish, but it's not like it severely impacts the rest of the game.  And it's not like the GBA versions where you have to worry about sweeping changes to the graphical palettes, music, or coding in general.  The only real concern is some of the localization changes in the script.

I suppose if you were going to play the game again anyway (and why wouldn't you?) then the SNES version is the obvious choice. I see there are a bunch of bugfix hacks, but I can't really recall encountering any severe bugs.
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KdstsMgsts

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2021, 01:45:16 am »

Are we counting PS1 as classic for these purposes? Because I am not sure what I would do about Final Fantasy 7 through 9 there now with various vintages and versions of PC ports that were the base for a lot of very good hacking work (and drama), never mind the recent remake (which I have not played -- was waiting for it all to be out first).

Something to bear in mind about FF7 is that even the modern steam version and the hacking community still haven't fixed all the bugs from the PC port.

The most significant one is the lighting issue:

https://forums.qhimm.com/index.php?topic=20540.0

Essentially, the PC port doesn't calculate lighting information properly, which means that many of the textures are too dark and the character models look far too harsh and angular.

The FF7 and FF9 ports also suffer from a common problem associated with upscaling games from that era (where 3D characters move around on 2D background textures), which is that the upscaled models seem to "pop out" from the background texture (which doesn't respond as well to upscaling), as if they're somehow suspended in the area and the ground they're walking on is far away in the distance.

Playing the PSX versions with retroarch gives you access to CRT shaders that eliminate pixellation while avoiding many of the common problems with upscaling.

Of course, as you point out, the PC versions are generally easier to mod (although extensive modding on PSX versions is certainly possible).

SleepyFist

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2021, 12:11:19 pm »
I haven't extensively played FFVII on anything but PC so I didn't know about the lighting issues, I'm following the Reunion Project which is a comprehensive retranslation and bugfix, but afaik even they haven't touched on the lighting.

November 10, 2021, 12:17:55 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
It's definitely a good question; there's a bewildering variety of options these days for some games, especially factoring in all the bugfix hacks.  I think I'm going to stick with plain-vanilla FFVI on my SNES classic if I ever get around to it.
The DS version of CT is fine, by my understanding – the extra game content is decidedly amaeturish, but it's not like it severely impacts the rest of the game.  And it's not like the GBA versions where you have to worry about sweeping changes to the graphical palettes, music, or coding in general.  The only real concern is some of the localization changes in the script.

I suppose if you were going to play the game again anyway (and why wouldn't you?) then the SNES version is the obvious choice. I see there are a bunch of bugfix hacks, but I can't really recall encountering any severe bugs.

I tend to hear a lot of people going off on the GBA FFVI, for color and music issues, and Chrono Trigger DS for altering the dialogue, but in that case it seems like people are nostalgic for the slightly looser version of the script. So far FFVI Ted Woolsey Uncensored is the best version of the game I've played yet.And I've picked up the Chrono Trigger Bugfix but have yet to install it on my 3DS.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2021, 12:17:55 pm by SleepyFist »

PowerPanda

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2021, 10:13:45 am »
The DS Version of Chrono Trigger should be considered the definitive version. The re-translation makes everything feel just right, the bottom-screen maps are beautiful and detailed, and there are no sacrifices in quality for the visuals or audio. The only knock against it is the bonus content, which does not intrude on the main game at all. You can seriously just skip it. I've been wanting to play the romhack Chrono Trigger Plus though; that seems like it might easily become the definitive edition in my mind.

For Final Fantasy VI, the definitive version is probably C.V.Reynold's Bugfix compilation patch, available on this site. Then there are a host of re-translations. My preference is for the ROSE (Revised Old Style Edition) patch, which if memory serves me includes the bugfix patch.

For Final Fantasy Tactics, the PSP version with the Slowdown Removal patch is my go-to for the definitive version. However, there has been a lot of interesting work on the PSX version that is worth investigating.

Final Fantasy VII, whatever you do make sure you take the Spirit Stat bugfix. For Final Fantasy IX, make sure to take the Thunder Slash bugfix.

For anything released by Working Designs, like Lunar or Arc the Lad, check out the "Unworked Designs" patches on this site. They keep the awesome translations from Working Designs, but revert the other gameplay changes to the Japanese originals.

Jorpho

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2021, 09:41:39 pm »
For Final Fantasy IX, make sure to take the Thunder Slash bugfix.
It seems to me the modern ports of FFIX would definitely be the way to go, as the slowdown in the original PSX version is really kind of bad. The "Moguri Mod" for the Steam version sounds very compelling. But I'm still not clear whether it fixes the world-music-restart bug that so many people were complaining about when it was first released.

I might add that someone pointed out recently that apparently there's still no support for analog control or rumble in any of the later ports of FFVIII.
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Chronosplit

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2021, 02:16:13 pm »
The original Pokemon games are worth addressing at this point, now that the disassemblies are big.  I'm only going to discuss ways to play the original game, not the "Dynamic Pokemon Expansion with the Complete FireRed Upgrade engine" types that are everywhere.  If you want that, try Radical Red I guess.

1. If you want to play the original Game Boy version with those Red/Blue sprites, pick up Shin Pokemon Red and Blue.  This is Red and Blue with all those bugfixes you've been hearing about, everything available in the game, a color mode backported from Yellow (with super game boy still intact unlike the other full color patch which works more like Super Mario Land 2 DX), and optional backsprite updates.

2. If you don't care about that, I wholly recommend FireRed and LeafGreen+.  It's both games in one package, switchable at any time you wish, with optional challenge/nuzlocke modes and a postgame that's actually worth looking at to boot.  This is not quite the Sonic 3 Complete of Pokemon however, as obviously Emerald cannot be in this version and you will still need to trade to complete your dex.  But these aren't really here here for your 386 Pokedex and are here for playing right down to your version exclusives.

3. If you don't want to switch versions on the fly and want slightly more customization, Pokemon Throwback is still available.  Last I checked it's in the process of being remade in the disassembly (which would mean big things for the GB Player's use in other projects I'm sure).

4. I just realized, I should address Emerald on the way out. Emerald Final is a highly customizable version of that.  One is with original mechanics and one is built towards Gen 4. You can even play these with the original game's pokemon availability+version exclusives.

None of my hacks are on this list.  They are old and have more bugs than these.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2021, 08:37:37 am by Chronosplit »

Piotyr

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2021, 06:54:51 pm »
This is one of my hobbies so lets settle in.

Lets start with final fantasy

1 is hard since there are two ways to play basically, Original spell system and new.
Original spell system you either have the playstation/pixel remaster (depends on the difficulty you want) or the supposedly wonky gba vancian spell patch for post game included (can't vouch for how playable it is since its suppose to be used as a base for other hacks). For the new version with post game get the psp version, the arts fantastic.

FF2 imo the psp is the most complete and best looking version

FF3 again new version vs old version. Original version go pixel remaster, the remake play the pc version with various mods like the ui mod.

FF4 the psp version looks the best and plays like the dawn of souls remake while the pc version has a harder difficulty and new systems. Make sure to get the 20fps in battles frame rate mod for pc.

FF5 is the old pc version with mods, the psp style sprites mod and some upscale fixs do wonders. It gives you all the gba content. If you don't care about post game just get the pixel remaster (when the keys sell out at humble it will be your only choice)

FF6 I consider either FF6 retranslated for snes here or the gba version with color restoration. Like FF5 the old pc version is getting modded to become the best version but I hear post game isn't anything to write home about so pixel remaster sounds like the way to go when that hits

FF7 has so many mods really its about personal preference but the steam pc version is your base. Just start researching and you'll find a mod pack for you (note FF7 remake is a whole different game in my eyes)

FF8 the remaster on steam, watch for retranslation and map upscale mods, not sure if those are finished but its the only flaws the remaster has.

FF9 is rumored to get a remake but the remaster on steam is the way to go for the original experience

I don't care about ff10 and the 13s so you'll need to see if they have any enhancements for those but 12 has a systems overhaul mod called the struggle for freedom thats quite good.

FF15 I haven't looked into

Spin offs

Final Fantasy Tactics the PSP version is the best bet with the quality of life patch on this site. Note the psp emulators upscaling does not agree with fft so if you can't stand blurry or always changing graphics the lion war for psx ports everything from the psp version and more BUT it uses the original flawed translation. People intend to port the psp script in the future but heard nothing so far.

Crystal Chronicles if you want single play go the new remaster but if you want to multiplay it dolphins the best way.

Next post Dragon Quest

Jorpho

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2021, 11:42:54 am »
How about Star Ocean?  Also at this point I am increasingly confused as to what the best way would be to play Seiken Densetsu 3.

And do you think plain vanilla Secret of Evermore is decent, or does it only make sense to play it with a bunch of patches?
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Piotyr

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2021, 12:34:06 pm »
How about Star Ocean?  Also at this point I am increasingly confused as to what the best way would be to play Seiken Densetsu 3.

And do you think plain vanilla Secret of Evermore is decent, or does it only make sense to play it with a bunch of patches?

No idea about Star Ocean but Seiken Densetsu 3 get the trials of mana official translation floating around online (also make sure to buy the collection to support it, or just play it in the collection, but I like emu festures) the remakes an entirely different beast so it comes down to do you want the gameplay from the original or the new one? Or just play both.

Evermore I hear the various rebalance patches are very good but its fine by itself if you don't mind weapons being wonky stat wise (apparently when you get a new weapon your old weapons still better because you leveled it)

Recca

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2021, 03:37:23 pm »
Chrono Trigger: Schala Edition or Chrono Trigger+

Secret of Mana: Relocalized

Lufia & the Fortress of Doom: Restored

Lufia II Rise of the Sinistrals: Frue Lufia

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance: Anarchy

I've also heard a lot of good things about the Sin of Mana hack for Seiken Densetsu 3, but I've yet to try it out myself. The creator of this hack has also released some other ones as well for the same game that might be worth checking out as well. Though they only seem to be compatible with the fan translation only, not the official one. But that's alright for me as I prefer the original fan translation more anyway, due to both the translation itself being better (at least in my opinion anyway) and because of the better looking font that was used.
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Piotyr

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2021, 06:50:23 pm »
Ok on to Dragon Quest!

Dragon Quest 1 and 2
Ok this is a choice of visuals vs script. 1+2 on Snes looks better but the switch version has an updated script

Dragon Quest 3
Ok Snes has better graphics and battle animations while gameboy color has an extra dungeon (I hear its super grindy) and of course theres a new version coming out soon which could be better.

Dragon Quest 4
Ok this ones a pain, DQ4s Ds version sadly cut out a ton of party banter, theres a port of the translation to the Japanese DS version but that refers to everyone as he even if female. So your best bet is emulated android version with bluestacks or just play it on phone.

Dragon Quest 5
Do you like Deborah? If so DS if not Ps2

Dragon Quest 6
I think the DS versions the only choice. I heard the Snes version is actually better but last I heard the translations incomplete. Please tell me if I'm wrong

Dragon Quest 7
3ds version with music upgrade patch, Citra says it runs perfect so go for that

Dragon Quest 8
3ds with music upgrade and uncensor patch, Citra says it runs perfect

Dragon Quest 9
DS is the only way and you need to deal with online no longer working somehow. I know there are a few different workarounds from save editing to hosting a rerouted private server emulation. I haven't looked into it much.

Dragon Quest 10
There is a translation project going that intercepts dialog and either uses google translate or a real translation.

Dragon Quest 11
Definitive edtion, Pc version is getting mods give it time.

KdstsMgsts

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2021, 10:01:58 pm »
I haven't extensively played FFVII on anything but PC so I didn't know about the lighting issues, I'm following the Reunion Project which is a comprehensive retranslation and bugfix, but afaik even they haven't touched on the lighting.

It's the kind of thing you wouldn't necessarily notice at first, since it's an old game and you'd expect the graphics to be pretty poor. Even people who played it in the 90s or 00s might not pick up on it, since their memories will be fuzzy.

imo, that's what makes such bugs so hard to deal with. People often don't immediately notice anything is wrong, or they assume that it's supposed to look like that, so the bug doesn't get fixed. But even if it's a small bug, it still damages the gameplay experience (a big part of what makes games immersive is the stuff that you're not consciously aware of).

KingMike

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2021, 02:03:34 am »
Dragon Quest 4
Ok this ones a pain, DQ4s Ds version sadly cut out a ton of party banter, theres a port of the translation to the Japanese DS version but that refers to everyone as he even if female. So your best bet is emulated android version with bluestacks or just play it on phone.
Is that, as I hear, the Japanese version originally had a beta English translation buried in the ROM, which some people figured out how to hack it to work.

DQ10 fan translation?
Isn't there now a possibly of the recently announced offline version being officially translated?
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Jorpho

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2021, 10:26:21 am »
Is that, as I hear, the Japanese version originally had a beta English translation buried in the ROM, which some people figured out how to hack it to work.
Wow, that's rather compelling.
https://github.com/concreted/dqiv-nds-en-script-patcher
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Piotyr

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2021, 10:00:17 pm »
Wow, that's rather compelling.
https://github.com/concreted/dqiv-nds-en-script-patcher
This is the patch I mentioned with this issue

Since we are forced to pick a single plural/singular substitution, sometimes the text will not have the correct plural/singular word choice.

tvtoon

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2021, 11:23:56 am »
Most good stuff can be found on cellphones these days, however here are some tastes...

Star Ocean First Departure: run from it like the plague, the SO2-like battle didn't do much to the overall damage. If you want something new, better pray for some SDD1 removal with improvements.

Dragon Quest 7: I don't like the 3DS remake at all, the graphics look weird with the 3D battle, plus the extra content didn't do any good for a game with plenty of content, just when you remove one of the most interesting aspects of the game: monster jobs.

About Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster, I didn't know they removed the extras from previous remakes, that is a shame. I still seriously consider FF3PR the best one, and the music is great, it took them 10 remakes to do it but it is done! :)

PowerPanda

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Re: Definitive versions of classic RPGs
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2021, 05:32:21 pm »
I have to disagree on Star Ocean: First Departure. IMO, it is the definitive version. Going from the PSP version back to the SNES version makes everything feel so cramped. The PSP version gave everything room to breathe. It's also really nice to be able to play SO1 and SO2 in the same engine, back to back.