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    jp's The Bard's Tale (PS2)

    [August 27, 2006 05:57:31 PM]
    Last night I finished making my way up to the top of the third tower and defeated its guardian. I was really dreading what was to come next: make my way all the way back down to the bottom again. The two previous towers involved fighting all the way up...and fighting all the way down. Sigh.

    Fortunately, that was not to be the case. I was whisked along to the 4th (and final) tower where I quickly made my way up 13 small levels until the final showdown.

    At last I finished the game. I actually saw all 3 endings (I won't spoil any surprises) though, to be honest, I'm not sure it was worth it. I'm actually feeling disappointed because, after 20 hrs of slogging through a game that was mildly entertaining at best I've only unlocked 1 special thing! (a movie..)

    There's a list of at least 40 odd things to unlock...I thought that seeing the end of the game would unlock a few at such luck and I'm definitely not going back over the whole thing again!

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    [August 20, 2006 12:15:20 PM]
    I've clocked in at 18 hrs and I'm about to start up the last tower. I assume that once this tower is taken care of, I'll another "tower-like" mission left before it's the end of the game.

    This is draaaagging on too much. Even the slightly amusing bits are starting to feel tired. For example, I just ventured into the "Obligatory Lava Level". The name of the level REALLy is something like that! He!

    One of the telling signs that this game should have ended already is that I've already maxed out quite a few of the bard's stats. The annoying thing is that once you've maxxed them out..well, future bonuses go to waste. For example, I just found some "super strength bracers" that give me +3. My strength was already there goes a wasted bonus. This is particularly shameful because the bracers are an "obligatory" item. You don't have to choose whether to use them or not...they're simply added to your inventory once you find them. To make matters worse, that isn't the first item I've found that has been wasted like that...what a shame.

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    [July 19, 2006 07:51:04 AM]
    More ho-hum....I think I've almost reached 20 hours of gameplay...which I usually find pretty impressive.

    Highlights of the last few sessions:

    a) Killed a giant flesh zombie thing...
    b) Killed zombie chickens
    c) Killed more stuff..

    You get the idea....there isn't really anything going on here and the game is starting to really drag.

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    [July 9, 2006 11:58:31 PM]
    Three words:

    Zombie, dance, face-off

    ...and then the Bard stole the words right out of my mouth.

    What the hell?
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    [July 8, 2006 10:50:03 AM]
    It's hard to write about what's happened lately in this game..because nothing really noteworthy has happened!

    I've just started Chapter X, but the whole chapters thing they have going in this game doesn't really make a lot of sense. Since chapters are tied to certain locations, I was able to play the chapters in the "wrong" order...go figure that out!

    Anyways, I'm getting a bit tired of fighting druids. Way too many druids. I don't know if it's part of the comedy of the participating in a talent show at a pub or jamming along with some drunks! (yes, I've done both of those). But it's still too many druids...and they die to easily now as well.

    I guess a nice way to sum things up would be to express the great joy I felt when I realized that I had to visit 3 towers instead of 4! Yes! Less not-so-interesting gameplay too look forward to! I still want to finish the game just to see where the story goes...
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    [June 19, 2006 11:02:08 PM]
    What a surprise!

    This game got fun again! For one, the combat got a lot easier, which isn't fun per se...but allows me to get to the "next" bits of the story faster. Thus, the overall experience is better (for me), since I'm mainly enjoying the story, dialogue and satiric elements in general.

    Highlights of recent hours:

    1) Floated down a river while sitting on an iceberg.
    2) Annoyed a Viking zombie enough for him to go berzerk and bash his way into Valhalla.
    3) Wasn't able to get invited to Valhalla (by a pretty Valkyre)
    4) Wasn't fooled by "dead" monsters that "spring" to life.
    5) Recognized an obvious trap, but fell for it anyways...'cause the story required it.

    Currently playing time is a little over 10 hrs.
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    [June 14, 2006 03:59:39 PM]
    The back of the box says "More I, less A." (as in more intelligence, less artificial).

    Hmmm. Strong claim....let me describe how I "finished" the Viking village a few days ago:

    1) Run in circles around a house with the vikings not far behind
    2) Summon friends to fight the vikigs as I run in circles
    3) When friends die, re-summon.
    4) If there is a chance, take a few shots at vikings...resume running

    It took a while, but I was able to succesfully win!

    I wouldn't qualify the viking behavior as "intelligent".

    Here's another bunch of examples of how I've approached combat in this game:
    1) Shoot arrows from far away. (far enough that the enemy takes the hits, but won't come after you)
    2) When badly wounded, run away. Enemies won't follow, even if you're still in sight! (it's almost like there is an invisible "turn back here" barrier they won't cross.
    3) Trap an enemy in a corner/against the wall. Button mash. The enemy won't be able to get a single hit. (I used this against the viking boss Silkbeard. I didn't take a single hit!)

    Combat is generally very unexciting, sad to say. At least in Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance there was a sense of urgency! (and the quick-heal/magic buttons helped ). In this game...not very exciting.
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    [June 3, 2006 09:06:35 AM]
    With a little over 4 hours of gameplay I've already found (and looted) two more "Chosen One" cadavers. Ha! Ha! Ha!

    I've already started to "game" the AI. A lot of the time I can shoot enemies that are barely off-screen. They'll just sit there and get hit, and hit, and hit, until they're dead. It makes things go pretty slow since I can't actually see them well enought to aim, but it beats being plowed over all the time.

    On the positive side, I recovered a new "lute" that allows me to summon two companions at the same time! Yay! I should last more in combat now!
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    [May 23, 2006 11:26:12 PM]
    It's kind of fun when a game recognizes the fact that you are assigned (narratively) contradicting missions. For example, I was recently tasked with setting a criminal free from a jail. As soon as I got back to town the sherrif got all huffy with me and demanded that I go and recapture him. Otherwise, I'd never be welcome back! So, I go out to recapture the delinquent...who is obviously VERY annoyed at me. He says something like "you must be really bored..or totally out of your mind".

    Hahahah! Classic.

    And then I run into a young adventurer who is certain that he is "the chosen one". Yeah right, says the monster and nails him with an arrow. Apparently there are a lot of teenagers wondering around convinced that they are "the chosen one".

    Hahahaha! Priceless.

    Gameplay is still very meh...
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    [May 22, 2006 10:58:07 PM]
    I've been curious about this game for a while and I know that it didn't get stellar reviews....but hey.

    It's a curious RPG-lite kind of game. I'm really enjoying the "lite" parts. For example, you don't need to manage any inventory since everything you find is immediately turned in to cash. This includes any weapons/items you may find. If they're worse than what you're currently using: instant money. If not, your old stuff is turned into instant money. Nice. I like that!

    My first (negative) surprise is that it bears no relation to the (classic?) Bard's Tale Games. I only played the first one and although it was a bit painful...I do remember the music quite fondly. Anyways, I was expecting at least a mention of Skara Brae! But no, as I recently found out (thanks Wikipedia), it's not a sequel, remake or anything like that. They just got the rights to the name, but none of the story, world, etc. Pshhhh... I feel kind of cheated by that, to say the least.

    Anyways, the game is "ok" so far. The combat system is kind of wonky. I've been able to cruise through most fights simply by running in circles. I do this while my summoned monster shows up...and then does most of the fighting. I haven't figured out if I get any experience points if my summoned monsters do the killing (I hope so!) but its proving to be an interesting way of indirectly handling combat. Since the bard is kind of wimpy, you sort of need to rely on summoned creatures to do the dirty work. I hope this gameplay mechanic gets pushed further as I play some more...for now, I'll make do with the funny commentary and entertaining voice work. Really's almost like watching Monty Python. Heh!
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    jp's The Bard's Tale (PS2)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 20 May, 2006

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 27 August, 2006

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    It's pretty funny, if you've played a lot of RPGs and don't mind the tounge-in-cheek humor. However, it rapidly starts to get stale...

    Rating (out of 5):starstar

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