Now Playing

A while back, I mentioned my quest to beat all the games by console generation, and how close I was to filling out the PlayCubeBox 2 generation that I’ve been working on for so long I really don’t want to admit it. Just as a means of keeping myself honest, I thought I’d run an update on that, as well as what else I’ve been up to gaming-wise. This might end up being like a regular thing. I don’t know. We’ll find out how much it amuses me.

The Recently Conquered

Tales of the Abyss

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Tales of the Abyss is fantastic. I mentioned that last time, so no surprises there. I used a guide this time, and nearly 100%’ed the game. Beat the super tough bonus boss, got nearly all the extra costumes and what not, still fantastic.

Story-wise, it’ll be the subject of an upcoming post. Just need some time to sort through my thoughts on it. Tales games always have unique and interesting twists on typical storytelling tropes, and Tales of the Abyss did not disappoint. So yes. We will have words on this.

Summoner 2: A Goddess Reborn

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I mentioned that I was pretty surprised at actually having a good time with Summoner 2. That kept up most of the game. The beginning is a giant dreg. When you start building up in power, though, and start getting a lot more options in combat, it starts getting pretty fun, and it stays that way right up until the end game starts through a bunch of bullhonky at you. It actually gets more fun as you get more and more overpowered compared to your enemies, as you get to do more than what the horribly clumsy battle system is equipped to allow.

Of course, the final battle did lose a lot of impact by the fact that both the boss and your character were too big for the dumb camera to actually show what you or it was doing. Playtest your games, people.

The Bouncer

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This came out in an era in which Square just was no good at making games that weren’t turn-based. And it shows. The Bouncer is clumsy and feels slower than its game-type should be. But I still love it. I’m pretty sure that all just comes from good memories. I was introduced to this game over the course of a rather long night co-oping with a good friend of mine, and it’s always been very charming to me since.

I think it also helps that the game is really not long, unless you play it through three times in a row like they want you to. If you had to spend more than a couple hours on it, the games problems would get to be a lot more irritating, but as is, you’re in and out before it starts to wear on you. Kind of like my love life, in that.

Half-Life

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I really tried with this. I wanted to finally beat it. And I did everything I could. Took it as long as I could naturally, then worked in the invincibility cheat, and continued on from there. Finished up the dumb rotating teleporter mazes and all. Then, just as we were about to hit a climax, I started running into a persistent bug that continually reloaded a corrupted save. Impossible to continue, I had to end it. They did really try with the PS2 port of it, but the controls weren’t really working for me, and the glitches ended up killing it. A shame.
Although in good news, the internet says I was forced out before the worst part of the game. So it’s not all bad, right?

Now Playing

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time

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I’d played this before, but apparently I never gave it a real chance. Didn’t realize it, but I got farther in this game than I ever had before in only two playsessions.

It’s a decent setting. A really heavy mix of soft political sci-fi with pretty classic fantasy. I’m really digging it. It’s getting my imagination going in a way that only happens occasionally in these games, mentally exploring the world beyond just what I’m shown.

That said, I mentioned last time I wasn’t too enthused for this game, and that’s held up. It’s the battle system, mostly. Reminds me a lot of the Tales series, except it’s really not as good. A lot more 3D, but your moves are more limited, and that Fury system they have governing your combat is just a pain. In short, attacking costs you Fury, standing still builds it back up. If your Fury is full, you’re immune to light attacks, but you get a heavy Fury penalty if hit with a hard one. Thus far, it’s a system that seems to be entirely in the CPU’s favor, when it impacts the battle at all

I’m hoping that this is a game that’s going to be like Summoner 2 was, in that it gets demonstrably better as I get more powerful and more options open up. It’s showing the initial signs of that, at least. It better. I’ve got another 30-40 hours to go on it.

Simpsons: Hit and Run

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I don’t really have much to say here that I didn’t last time. It’s better than you’d expect, but I think I might have had the old whatever-colored glasses on when I implied it was a particularly good game. It’s sound, but has it’s problems. Particularly with adding an arbitrary timer on everything. I didn’t notice it at the time, but that was a really common feature of its era. All sorts of games this console generation drop a timer on something with absolutely no justification other than gameplay. Not everything needs a failure state, folks.

Bonus Round- Planescape: Torment

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Not one of the console generation, specifically, but I picked up a number of classic games since I started this quest. I’m not requiring that I beat them before moving onto my next set of consoles like I am with all the rest, but I can’t say I’ve beat all my games without finishing these up, too, right?

In any case, Planescape and I had a rough start together. It plays a lot like Fallout, which I love like I would my own child, so that surprises me, but yeah, not a fun beginning. The opening area got to be a bit confusing as I was giving conflicting instructions on how to exit, and my opening class was chosen for me, and was the exact opposite of the one I specced myself for. You don’t have to fight very often, but when you do, it’s quite tense. Especially because it runs off of the Baldur’s Gate engine, and I really hated the combat there.

Getting a party started to turn it around for me. I’m still handling most of the situations diplomatically, but now that I can hold my own in a fight and don’t have to worry about being reset with every bad speech check, even though I’m still not fighting all that often, I’m relaxing a bit more and just enjoying the world and its quests quite a bit. I appreciate that its a game that seems built around dialogue and plot and creatively approaching problems, rather than just smashing your way through them. I really enjoy the nuanced approach.

8 responses to “Now Playing

  1. I think Planescape: Torment succeeds where Baldur’s Gate didn’t because while they share the same engine, the former doesn’t rely heavily on combat, which honestly struck me as one of the weaker aspects of the latter. It’s a bit strange because they didn’t really address the problem as much as they avoided dealing with it entirely, but I feel it worked nonetheless. I remember playing Baldur’s Gate and having to save every two steps, which doesn’t strike me as a sign of a particularly good RPG.

    • Yeah, I was doing the same thing in Baldur’s Gate. Save before combat, save in the middle of combat, save any time there might possibly be combat, I think I saw more of that save screen than I did the actual game. Combat turned brutal so quickly and actually navigating it was so cumbersome. It really ruined the game for me.

      I do find it interesting that Planescape barely even told you about combat. I wouldn’t know I could pause in the middle to issue orders if I hadn’t already played Baldur’s Gate. Even playing as a relatively peaceful, diplomatic character, I do find myself getting into more fights than is probably necessary, but ever since I got that Githzerai buddy, that’s been much less of a problem for me. I’m glad there is a reduced focus on fighting, though. It does avoid that weakness rather nicely, and lets the positive aspects of that engine shine.

  2. I’m excited to try the remastered version of Planescape, as the old one takes a bit to work on my computer. I think it has an iPad app now? Either way looks like you’ve made good progress!

    • Alas, that’s not my screenshot. I’m playing on the GOG version of the original. Barely in myself, been finding myself getting rather distracted with sidequests. I like to use marketing material or wiki screenshots when I’m pulling pictures, rather than grabbing from other blogs or articles, and the only ones of those I could find for Planescape were either of the enhanced edition or like 200 pixels wide. So, unfortunately, the screenshot above is not representative of my experience.

      • Nah, it’s been fine for me. I’ve been running vanilla GOG version, and I haven’t noticed any problems. The interface is a little clumsy, but I think that’s more due to the age than anything else.

  3. I enjoyed the Simpsons GTA clone back in the day. Glad to hear that you managed to complete Summoner 2 despite the rough start. Did you find the after credits clip amusing?

    • You know, I sat through the credits, and it dropped me back to the title screen after the end. No extra scenes there. I don’t think it’s in the Gamecube version. Which is an odd thing to leave out, but maybe they didn’t want to re-do things with the updated character models?

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