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    Aug 13th, 2004 at 13:20:12     -    Valkyrie Profile (PS)

    I came back to Valkyrie Profile a few times last winter and spring, mostly for the combo system. The combos and dungeon explore mechanics are probably my favorite aspects of the game. (Though I still love some of the catch phrases, maybe once a month.) For better or worse, these mechanics are available in other titles whose narratives have a tighter hold. Combos make up a significant part of a number of console RPGs (especially tactical ones), so I tend to reach for Breath of Fire IV to satisfy my combo cravings lately. Probably my favorite instance of the exploration mechanic appears in Xenosaga, where, like in VP, your exploring actions can give you an edge or hinder you in the combat.

    I haven't played VP further since April, mostly because I was playing my roommate's copy, and I moved out at the beginning of May. (Incidentally, it was to get out of the dorms, not to get away from that roommate.)

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    Nov 28th, 2003 at 01:52:15     -    Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (PS2)

    Hard to believe my roomie and I were playing this for seven hours the other night. I haven't played a game for seven hours in ages.


    Anyway, not trying to show disrespect to Diablo, but Dark Alliance really does a better job of fitting my notion of an action rpg... more action, less rpg. DA actually gets to where it's really more an action game with developing characters more than anything else. Numeric development and powergaming (as well as dramatic inter-character interactions) take a back seat to old fashioned troll killin'. It was quite a trip.


    I'm kinda curious who modeled animated the barmaid that the inn where you go between missions while in Baldurs Gate though. She seems a bit... well.. oversexed. At times I'm not sure whether I'm reading in or crying wolf about something harmless, but she was a little too sexed up for my tastes. I mean, a little subtlety really wouldn't hurt.


    But then, I played the "elf chick", so what do I know. (My roomie grabbed the dwarf first, and who wants to be the bow guy. I want some spellage!)


    That said, one of the most fun bits was when we were both running around in scale armor... we looked like some kind of freaky twins. Stubby dwarf and tall elf running around in green and white pajamas fighting evil... with metal longjohns underneath. It was even funnier than when I was running around with a steel coif and worn leather everything else. Stupidest outfit ever!


    So in the end, Dark Alliance has taught me one important thing about digital rpgs (or at least their related action game cousins). Be careful how you accessorize.

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    Nov 27th, 2003 at 16:05:59     -    Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA)

    Well.. the anxiety's long past. The game's much easier than I'd anticipated. Of course, that makes sense given that one of the complaints people had about FFTactics on the PlayStation was that it was too hard, and this one's specifically targeted at the generally more casual handheld market.


    It's been a good time, though managing one's stable can e a challenge at times. Who do I send on that dispatch mission, how many second stringers do I put in to even out the team's experience?


    I even managed to find a losing battle.. Too many second stringers in, and a "No Swords" law which kept out my fighter. Granted, I could have changed her to something else temporarily. The real problem was that my second string black mage does too little combat damage. He kept almost killing a pudding, after which the pudding would slink off by another character and cast an area lightning spell, zapping my guy and healing itself. Oh well.

    Still having plenty of fun.

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    Nov 19th, 2003 at 06:02:25     -    Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA)

    Ooh the performance anxiety. The game's reasonably addictive, and having it in handheld form has helped me actually log a few hours of time on it. I think I've got the basic hang of combat, but I can see things getting tough in the near future, especially with rival clans showing up to cause trouble.


    From what I hear, this FFT game is less complex than the original PSX game, but I still feel like I'm lost at sea here. So many classes, and I have no idea what most of them do. So many abilities, so little knowledge. So a perfectionist like myself either spends a bunch of time reading FAQs on the net or shelling out $15+ for a hint book (assuming it's not already out of print). I really need to do something about that perfectionism. I'd enjoy a lot more games if I were more willing to just stumble my way along. Of course, maybe this tendency comes from playing too many adventure games with puzzles that make no sense. (Yes, Sam & Max, I'm talking to you and your wad of cash stuck in the mousehole in "Hit the Road"!)

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    Entries written to date: 15
      Game Status / Read GameLog
    1Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (PS2)Playing
    2Final Fantasy Tactics (PS)Playing
    3Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA)Playing
    4Final Fantasy X (PS2)Playing
    5Jet Set Radio (DC)Stopped playing - Technical problems
    6Jet Set Radio Future (XBX)Playing
    7Silent Hill (PS)Playing
    8Tokimeki Memorial: Forever with you (PS)Stopped playing - Got frustrated
    9Valkyrie Profile (PS)Stopped playing - Technical problems

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