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  1. #11
    Afterburner guy approves! Awinnerwasyou's Avatar
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    Never actually played PSO, and I only ever played a demo of JSR, so I can't really comment on those two. Skies Of Arcadia, on the other hand, I can give an honest opinion about.

    I liked it. I really liked it. But I could never say I really loved it. There wasn't much wrong with it, but what few flaws it did have were enough to stop it from being one of all time greats for me.

    It was mostly the battle system that really bugged me. The fact that you had to select your commands for your whole party one after the other, then watch everything unfold would have been so much better if everyone moved a lot quicker. They just moved far too slowly for my liking. Having to fight a large group of enemies, especially, often felt like torture, since it took ages for even one round to finish. I got so bored watching everything, that I often wished that I had the option to skip not just the animations for the special moves,but the animations for the entire round full stop. I found some of the bosses to be a bit too cheap as well, particuarly the bosses in Valua City. The whole Moonstone thing was a nice touch. I liked being able to switch elements on the fly, so if I was using an element that wasn't working against an enemy, I could change it to a more effective one. However, there was one thing that really bugged me about it in the early stages in the game- when Drachma first joined your party, it was impossible to see what colour Moonstone he was equipped with while he had his default weapon. That meant I had to either guess what colour he was using, or squint at his icon on his status, as the background of that also changed colour according to what Moonstone you currently had equipped. And I didn't always find that very helpful either. Thankfully, Drachma's later weapons did show you the Moonstone equipped on them, so you could switch them and know what they were, but that didn't change the fact that I found switching Moonstones with him in the early stages of the game were a real pain in my opinion.

    I didn't find the ship battles much better. Sure, they were impressive to watch, but god, did they take a long time to play out. Again, selecting my commands for the round, then spending five minutes watching it unfold wasn't really my idea of a good time. Also, once you had enough money to max out on the best repair kits, there was little to no strategy involved. Just attack on the red squares for maximum damage, then heal yourself right afterwards, and that's all you really needed to do to win. Once again, they were technically stunning, but I felt it just got so tiresome after a while.

    Then there was the game world itself. For most of the part, it was great. Extremely vast, with lots to see and do. But there were a couple of points in the game where the entrance to the next destination in the game was extremely hard to find. There were times where I found myself aimlessly flying around the area trying to find the point where I had to enter the next dungeon, and that got really annoying, especially when you had random battles to worry about as well. Along with the battles, this point really spoiled my enjoyment of the game for me.

    For all it's faults though, there was a lot I loved about it as well. Despite the problems finding my way at times, the game world was very impressive, and I liked the amount of sidequests to do. I thought having to recruit crew members for your ship was a great touch, and was executed brilliantly as they all had their own uses. The dungeons themselves were great to explore, and I enjoyed the puzzles, especially in that area where you had to switch between Vyse and Aika in order to progress. The graphics were also well realised, and the soundtrack was great.

    The characters were certainly cliched. You had your spirited leader who's always cheerful, the tomboyish girl, the mysterious girl from an ancient race, the gruff but ultimately good hearted old man, the ladies man, etc. But they were all so likable that none of that mattered. What I really liked about them was the fact that these were characters you would genuinely want to go on an adventure with. There's very little, if any, angst or whining, which made a refreshing change from your average Final Fantasy game. Even some of the villains actually came across as sympathetic, which is always a good thing in an RPG if you ask me.

    The story was also cliched, but again, that didn't matter. It's hard to make an original RPG storyline anyway, and Skies Of Arcadia's story was very good. Everytime I switched the game off, I couldn't wait to boot it up again to see what happened next. Compare that to Final Fantasy IX, which was the other big RPG that year. The only reason I ever completed FFIX was because I forced myself to. I didn't care about any of the characters, I found the story extremely boring, and I really didn't like it. Arcadia, on the other hand, despite what I thought were serious faults, kept me hooked from start to finish- I genuinely wanted to finish it. And that, I think, is one of the most important factors in an RPG.

    There's a bit more I could talk about, and maybe I'll touch on a few more points later, but writing all this has taken me an age, and I'm getting a bit tired. So I'll just say that while I disagree that SoA is one of the best RPGs ever, I do think it's a very good game, and one that's well worth playing.

    Definitely looking forward to Friday's show!

  2. #12
    Member Tru's Avatar
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    My wonderful nostalgia is crushing before my eyes, Awinnerwasyou

    It was certainly a typical JRPG, but it had so much cheeriness about it, and was so light hearted, that I couldn't fault it for the clichés it did have, plus the sky-based world was really unique to me at the time. The battle system was somewhat basic at times, but I really did enjoy the ship battles, they felt massive, epic and were so much fun.. They were actually too easy compared to some of the boss battles in the game.

    My only gripe with Skies were the random battles. I actually liked flying around the world, and later on easier routes became available, but random battles did get really frustrating at times, especially when you're trying to get from A to B, although it helped when you could fly above and below the air currents to avoid them all together.

    Times change and gameplay experiences have changed with it, but I still enjoy playing through the game loads. More so than PSO, which has become too repetitive now.

  3. #13
    Host of Saturday Night SEGA Gavvie's Avatar
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    I still love Phantasy Star Online to this day, and if I had a cable extender for my Dreamcast I'd be playing it a lot more.

    I actually bought PSO v2 for the added bits and bobs a while back, and started to make my way through that. It's my first MMO, although admittedly I didn't play it online until I got a PC version hooked up to a free server years later.

  4. #14
    Member Tru's Avatar
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    I think it's more fun with friends. I played every version I could get my hands on and my best experience was with Blue Burst on the PC due to the 'team' guild system they had, which really encouraged you to work together. Admittedly, Phantasy Star Universe is probably my most played game to date, totalling hundreds and hundreds of hours, but I wouldn't have played so much if it wasn't for a good group of friends that met up regularly.

    I like PSZero, but I haven't found anyone to play online yet, thus I've grown somewhat bored already.

    I'm looking forward to Phantasy Star Portable 2 though, it looks like it's gonna be a fun game, even in single player, now they've fixed some of the repetition of the first one!

  5. #15
    Afterburner guy approves! Awinnerwasyou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnCloudchaser View Post
    It was certainly a typical JRPG, but it had so much cheeriness about it, and was so light hearted, that I couldn't fault it for the clichés it did have, plus the sky-based world was really unique to me at the time. The battle system was somewhat basic at times, but I really did enjoy the ship battles, they felt massive, epic and were so much fun.. They were actually too easy compared to some of the boss battles in the game.
    Yeah, I didn't mind the cliches either. After all, it's not those that make a bad story, it's bad writing. And like I said in my last post, it was enough to keep me wanting to play. I actually had a walkthrough, so I knew where the story was going to go, but I still wanted to see what happened next anyway, which just goes to show how good the story was in the first place. As for the ship battles, I respect your opinion on that. They did have that epic sense of scale. I just got a bit tired of watching them after a while, and I felt they dragged on a bit. I think we can agree to disagree on that one.

  6. #16
    Sonicbandicoot sonicbandicoot's Avatar
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    Oh gosh, Phantasy Star Online has always been such a big thing for me. Especially in Episode one when beating the final boss. Sadly, never got the chance to go wi-fi, and it really took a while to level up. But none the less, very very fun :3

  7. #17
    Host of Saturday Night SEGA Gavvie's Avatar
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    I'd love to play PSU online, but I can't be bothered to pay a monthly fee for a PSO-like game, especially when PSO was free.

    Sucks even more when you see that the expansion is now free on Xbox Live as well!

  8. #18
    Member i need fruit's Avatar
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    I had the Demo for PSU, its quite good. It got to the point where I started feeling I wanted the next weapons/spells, so I had to stop.
    Host of ClubSEGA - A show about the arcade scene and SEGA arcade games.
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  9. #19
    Member Tru's Avatar
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    PSU is much better with the expansion because it adds many PSO elements, including the just attack and just counter, PSO weapons and clothing, PSO enemies like the Booma and the Forest makes an appearance too. But, it's also kind of lazy as well.. Enemies and bosses are re-skins of each other, and the most recent update will probably be its last. It's cheaper than most MMO's a month, plus I don't need my PC to play it, so I would be tempted to go back myself.. But in order to cancel, you need to ring Microsoft themselves, and that is such a pain.

    But! We do have PSP2 coming out soon, which uses the gameplay of PSU ONLY BETTER! And it'll be free online too. If you have a PSP, you really don't have an excuse to not get it!

  10. #20
    a.k.a. Cobradabest Cobra!'s Avatar
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    The closest to a "memory" I have with these games is Jet Set Radio a couple of years ago. When I got my Dreamcast, it came with 4 demo discs, only 2 of them worked though, but one of those working demo discs had Jet Set Radio, and it was amazing, I just knew I had to have this game, so I got a copy off Amazon (It didn't come with the case, but still worked) and have since completed it 2 times.

    I absolutley love this game, the most fustrating part of it though were the Combo and Cube levels, I used to always shout and swear at the TV out of fustration, the levels where you tag the rival gang members on the back were also annoying.

    The music was awesome too, I used to replay levels just to hear some of the music again, that was before I descovered you can listen to the music via the menu.

    I'm hoping to get the sequal, and if I can find it cheap, the GBA version of JSR as well.
    Don't you EVER forget the "!" in "Cobra!"! Unless you're refering me as "Cobradabest".


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