Summer Gaming Challenge #2 – The Legend of Dragoon

It took a while, but I finished the second game of my Summer Gaming Challenge!  The Legend of Dragoon was a pretty long game (sitting around 35 hours), so it doesn’t feel like I’ve made a lot of progress in my challenge, but beating a big RPG is a good accomplishment!  Beating this PS1 game also marks my first beat game for my Console Elimination Round this year… which is actually a little sad, since I was trying to work on that for six months, and this is the first game I beat.  But, I digress…

To me, The Legend of Dragoon was a bit of an unusual experience.  At first, I was excited to get into the game and world and even the interactive battle system, even with the awkward translation.  However, certain problems with the game really left me wanting more from the game in the end, and it was something that a new IP that wasn’t given enough attention could deliver.

No, no, this isn't a spoiler.

I honestly feel the story could have been so much more–it feels that many aspects of the plot were merely skimmed over, or just pushed aside entirely.  This probably was to save a bit of space on the 4 disc game, but many of the interesting side stories are just left to the wayside, and as such the plot doesn’t go in any kind of interesting direction.  Mostly I’m left a bit disappointed, and even a little annoyed that the game decided to wait until the very last dungeon to give most of the characters any development.

Then, there was the battle system.  While I’m still thankful that it was interactive, the way the system worked made it very predictable in the end.  I always knew that if the enemy were to counterattack on the Gust of Wind Dance, it’d be the second or third hit; that I somehow really sucked at Haschal’s combos; that most people’s magic kind of sucked.  After getting the hang of everything and everyone by the middle of Disc 2, the rest of the game battle wise felt like a slog.  I used the same two party members and strategy for the vast majority of the game, and it worked (except for the three or so battles where Dragoon powers are reduced).  It felt like just more wasted potential, but unlike the feelings I have for Legend of Legaia’s battle system, I still found it rewarding and fast-paced enough to not make it all too bad.

Everyone's just a little beat up.

Despite my complaining, though, I don’t find The Legend of Dragoon to be a bad game, not at all:  I find it to be more just unrefined, not getting enough time and attention to really shine.  This is one of those titles that absolutely begs a remake we’ll probably never see… having the game’s system revamped and given a fresh coat of paint would do wonders, but it’s a risk that I doubt any publisher would take.

Summer Gaming Challenge #1 – Klonoa

Box art!

Klonoa, in a word, is fun.  It’s (for the most part) an easy, cheerful platformer.  The mechanics are easy enough to understand, and most players won’t have too much on an issue getting through the game.  The story is entertaining, if a bit cliche, and it was a nice romp for my first Summer game.

…I guess I have to write more than that, do I?

This really is an endearing game.  It’s cute, and colorful… but much like the Kirby series, there’s a dark edge to the story.  Things start to get pretty bad after the halfway point, and even the ending is bittersweet.  I did have a bit of a clue what was coming, having played Klonoa 2 and knowing the general theme of the series, but it was sad nevertheless.

There's a lot going on here, isn't there?

The game mechanics are pretty simple, but some of the things you have to do get complex.  Having to blow up and jump on multiple enemies in a single leap, advanced puzzles that involve shooting and jumping precisely… it only gets tough in Vision 6 (the final set of real levels), but it adds a bit of challenge and a little bit more fun to the whole platforming game.

Compared to Klonoa 2… it’s still a good game, but I enjoyed the sequel a bit more.  The level design in the second game was a bit tighter, and the boarding levels were pretty fun as well.  This Wii remake suffers from a bit of a balance issue (why is Vision 6 so hard?), instead of a natural progression, and the PS2 sequel had some more inventive settings as well.

Still, for how cheap the game’s going for, it’s certainly worth a try.  Regardless, my challenge is off to a good start!

Gaming Overview – May 2013

Whew, it’s been a while since I did one of these!  I was a little too busy to write them, but now I’m back in business!  This month I was doing alright on game purchases… but then the Humble Bundle site ruined everything.  Also, I played games.  Of course, I get my stats from my Backloggery page.  Let’s get crackin’!

ANY NEW GAMES?

Yeah, though I thought there weren’t going to by many at first, but then… well, you’ll see.  I won Dragon Warrior III (which I beat!) in a contest, and Penny Acrade was giving out some codes to On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 (slippery!), so I got that as well.  I also got Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk (alchemy!) for doing some work.  As for normal buying, I got Star Ocean: The Last Hope International (worldwide!), Doritos Crash Course 2 (Need Gold to play!), Strike Suit Infinity (half off!), Crimson Shroud (only $5!), Super Metroid (thirty cents!), Tales of Legendia (completionist’s sake!), Super Mario Sunshine (I beat this already as well!), Last Window: The Secret of Cape West (the sequel to Hotel Dusk!), Publisher Dream (review copy!), Actual Sunlight (also a review copy!), and Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (atmosphere!).  Then, I bought the Humble Indie Bundle 8, which added Thomas Was Alone (lonely!), Little Inferno (hot!), and Proteus (uh!).  Then, I decided to buy the Humble Bundle sale of the week with Telltale Games, nabbing me all of Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse (come play!), Hector: Badge of Courage! (!!), Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventures (not on Steam!), and Poker Night at the Inventory (poker!).

…Okay, maybe I was bad off even before the bundles.  I certainly went overboard this month!

WHAT DID YOU BEAT?

Stuff!

  • Pandora’s Tower (5-10) – Pretty great overall, though I ran into some frustrations.  You can check out my review below.
  • Mark of the Ninja (5-16) – I thought this was pretty awesome.  I can’t stress enough that everyone should give this a try.  I played it for the Backloggery Game Club, so you can check out my post about it here.
  • Tales of Vesperia (5-20) – This one went on way too long for its own good.  Way too long.  Also, the skill system was a little too vague to be helpful.  Still, it wasn’t terrible.
  • Publisher Dream (5-24) – Overall decent, but there were some design choices that were honestly really bad.  I wrote a review for this one, but it won’t be up until next month.
  • Klonoa (5-26) – Pretty fun, and my first game done for the Summer Gaming Challenge.  I’ll have a post about it up… soon, but for now check out my first impressions.
  • Actual Sunlight (5-30) – Deep and thought-provoking, though it’s a little hard to consider it an actual game, since you just walk around a lot and read.  I need to write a review for it, so hopefully it’ll be up next month.

That’s all!  In all honesty, it’s pretty good progress this month, even if it’s lost amongst all the new games.

WHAT OTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS?

Well, hmm.  These are the official articles I’ve put out this month on Game Podunk… it’s only three, but check them out!  [Review: Pandora’s Tower, 4 Odd and Unusual Controllers From the Game Industry’s Past, Memory Lane: The Biggest May Releases Throughout the Years]  It wasn’t many, but I have a lot of articles in the queue, so next month I should have a lot more to share!  As for The Dusty Corner, I hadn’t actually written anything worth sharing, but hopefully I’ll have a post or two next month to bring up.

As for gaming stuff, as you can see, I started my Summer Gaming Challenge for this year.  You can check out the link, and list of games I’m playing, here.  I’ve gotten though one game already (Klonoa) and it’s pretty likely that I can get through most of the Wii games pretty quickly if I wanted to.  I’ve also make good progress in The Legend of Dragoon, another Summer game and also part of my Console Elimination Round.  The PS1 side has longer RPGs, so that’s gonna be the bulk of my challenge!

Also, WhiteLayer has put an official end date to his A-Z Challenge–July 31st, so two months from now.  I still have three games left on my challenge, and I intend to beat all three (even if I might have to change what games I’m playing for said letters).  Expect me to make some progress in that soon!

And, well, I’m still playing Fire Emblem: Awakening on and off.  I love it so much, but I can’t focus enough to actually finish the game.  I blame sidequests and random Tacticians appearing everywhere!

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That’s all for this month.  June has by birthday and a slew of summer games… as well as E3, so let’s see what happens!