So I’m making my way through Ys II. It is an improvement in every way over Ys. It introduces magic, varied equipment, the characters are better (but still basic), and even has something of a cute mascot creature (a Roo) that succeeds at being more moogle than… what’s an annoying mascot? I like DQ’s slime, and even Shin Megami Tensei’s Jack Frost isn’t that bad. So I guess that’s sort of the point, they’re all pretty much the exact same and this little guy is more of that (or technically you can transform yourself into one and then talk to the game’s monsters).
*The rest of this is a seriously nerdy argument, so keep a strong screen on the situation when you debate something like this. If you ever feel you should talk about this with someone you have a crush on, don’t.
When I went to look up Ys on wikipeida, and hopefully eventually find a sketch of one of these “roos”, it instead first took me to the page of a “real” mythical city that was supposed to exist off the coast of Brittany until it was swallowed by the ocean. Wikipedia tells us it looked something like this (Flight of King Gradlon, by E. V. Luminais, 1884):
Seeing the picture took my mind off of “roos” and reminded me how art should be used more often as inspiration for videogames. And I’m not talking about the ability of games to be called art, or have characteristics of art, or even to look like art, but simply the visceral nature of art. When I see Caravaggio’s art, I see the possibility to transfer that raw emotion into an amazing game:
Recently, I felt a few moments of this when playing Tactics Ogre. They often came at visceral moments, but also at strange times (the background of the shop screen had so much personality that it gave me a strange feeling as I waited for the words to scroll past on the screen).
I finished Ys I. It took my much longer as a result of being by the bedside and letting it sit for a week while I played iPad games. Not even really great iPad games, but very effective at pick up and play (which was important because I was traveling). The game I played the most was called Legendary War. Low budget, but it has charm and can keep you sucked in for awhile.
As for Ys, well… I enjoyed it from beginning to end, but was underwhelmed by the final boss. He is set up for most of the game as this sort of cape wearing mysterious man, so he must be more than that, Right? … and the name Dark Fact is not really a name at all.
I started the summer with Ys I. To say it’s simple is an understatement, but I find myself playing it as if I wasn’t a cynical asshole with RPGs. It’s also extremely enjoyable to play through, as each level you gain makes you exponentially stronger. So while the game world is somewhat open, you mostly get rocked if you’re not at the right level. When you do actually find where to go, it’s satisfying in the way that solving a puzzle is. Only change I would make is to select Hard for the difficulty, I feel like a truck the way the red-haired little main character runs over enemies.
I still haven’t made up my mind on the music yet. I know it is supposed to have some of the greatest music of all time so I will wait to make a judgement.
I have to be honest, the idea for a summer game challenge came from another site http://rfgeneration.com/blogs/noiseredux which apparently itself came from another site. Still, I can’t let the lack of originality prevent me from introducing my own challenge. Ideally you’re supposed to pick 10 games, however since I don’t think I can have the time for ten games this summer, or the ability to get my hands on ten I would want to play, I will keep the potential roster to what I brought with me to Europe. Games to beat, in no particular order:
Ys I&II (PSP)
God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)
Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS)
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo (PSP)
9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (DS)
That’s the list. I’ve actually completed most of the Curious Village, but I feel I need something to compel me to finish it. And Supper Puzzle Fighter II is actually part of a PSP collection I bought for cheap at the Euro equivalent of 7-11.
There is also a pretty good chance I will play Tactics Ogre again, however I will keep this separate.
So I’ve decided to start documenting my experiences with video games, if only to help justify the amount of time I spend playing them as a fully grown adult. Also I thought there would be many peripheral benefits: a summer game list, a place to post articles, and an outlet for those moments of nostalgia. I’m living abroad right now, so my choices of games are limited (specifically what I have for the DS, PSP, and if I decide to consider my iPad and Mac sources), but I will make a list. Sadly I’ve already finished Tactics Ogre so I won’t include it, and I’m not in a state to try and re-beat the game under the extreme circumstances needed to get all the medals (it will come around, but I need a break for the moment).