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RPGTrek (Non-Square)

JCServantJCServant Certified PolygameistRPGamer Staff
edited January 2015 in Role Playing Games
Salutations!

As most of you know, my brother and I have been going on an RPGTrek... essentially playing through series of RPGs. We started with Dragon Quest, and ran out of steam at DQVI. You can find that full thread here. While we take a break (We will, likely, go back and knock them out soonish), we decided to tackle the "Tales of" series. Since its not a S-E game, I decided it would be best to start another thread here...for those non S-E games. If mods feel a better place would work, I'm totally open to it.
Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!

Comments

  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2015
    001 Fighting Bugbears.jpgWhile my brother and I take a break from our pursuit of completing the entire Dragon Quest series, we continue to press forward playing old RPGs and sharing those experiences with you! Today your favorite Utahn Polygameist (that’s me!) dishes out another chapter of witty chattery! And, this time, we fight the good fight with Tales of Phantasia! Originally released on the SNES in Japan, and later on the GBA over here, this game features a completely different battle system completely different than our beloved turn based franchise, Dragon Quest. But, does a faster battle system with more action necessarily make a better RPG? Read on and judge for yourself as we take you every step of the way on RPGTrek!


    For the record, I’m playing the SNES version with a fan translated patch. These guys did a great job and deserve a round of applause.
    We are first treated to a fantastic opening as the game boots up. And, for the first time ever from a SNES game, I heard vocalized music! Perhaps my memory fails me, but I could swear I never heard vocalized music in any SNES game. Wondrous!


    So we open up to a scene where some good guy heroes attack a really big bad guy. It appears that they lock him away or something. Not sure. What’s in the past is in the past, I say! Then, the scene changes to me, the hero, Cless. My friend, Chester and I go hunting in the forest where I get my first taste of the battle system. A refreshing change from the turn based combat of Dragon Quest, battles in Tales of Phantasia resemble side scrolling beat ‘em ups. I move left and right on a 2D plane, move up to an enemy and press a button to whack ‘em with my sword. Later, I gain more abilities and spells, as well as usable items, making it feel much more like an RPG.


    As we hunt in the woods, the town bell goes off. Oh noes! Our village is under attack!! Of course, we’re too late (what a shame! I was looking forward to fighting all those level 100 demons, myself). My parents died in the attack. Chester is heart broken and stays behind to bury the dead while I leave to go to the next town and get help from my uncle.


    Once I get there, I break the news to him. Strangely enough, he does not seem very heart broken that I just explained that his brother and sister-in-law have had a life extinguishing experience. Instead, he insists that I should rest after a long journey. Suspiciously, I accept his offer. Sure enough, he wakes me up surrounded by guards! He claims that they threatened to kill all villagers if he did not turn me over. Personally, I think he just did not want the responsibility of raising his brother’s orphan teenager. Evil. I’m thrown into prison. Oh, and they took my pendant. How rude! Mom..or was it dad…gave that to me!

    010 Evil never looked so good.jpgI sit in there for a while, singing, “Nobody Knows The Trouble I See.” Eventually, I hear a voice which slides me an earring allowing me to break through the wall. I find out that the voice belongs to a long, dead prisoner. Somehow, the ghost makes me promise to help her daughter. Several cells over, I find Mint, a cleric. She says we should rush to save her mom. Awkward! Eventually, we escape since, after all, jails in fantasy games have completely inadequate (or no) guards at the ready.


    Eventually, we run to her house and rest. An old man there explains to us that a dude, Malice, stole our pendant to awaken Dhaos, an evil king who waged war a long time ago. Honestly, I stopped at the word, “Malice”. After all, with a name like THAT, I pretty much jumped to the conclusion he did not have our best intentions at heart. The old man went off to confront that great evil, making us promise to stay, but hey, we’re youngin’s and we do opposite of what we’re told. He head off the ancient temple cave doohicky. Eventually, we run into the old man trying to stop Malice. We’re too late (of course) and a great evil bursts forth. First, it does something to Malice that wasn’t in the best interest of HIS health. Then, it turns to zap us! But, Chester the Cat…errr…archer, jumps in front and sacrifices himself. That affords us a brief moment where the old man casts a spell on Mint and I, teleporting us to a land far away.




    After we awaken, we head to the first town we can to find out that we are out of time. No, I do not mean the clock has run out. Rather, that the old man’s spell sent us back 150 years. Youza. Apparently, Dhaos…. Errr… wait…wait a minute… ! The sneaky bastards! They almost pulled the wool over my eyes! I see what they did! I was so focused on Malice (clearly, a bad guy if there ever was one), that I almost missed the greater evil here! Dhaos is chaos…just with one letter changed. OMG. And, hey, all heroes know just how hideous and destructive chaos can be! How much more terror could misspelled “chaos” unleash if left unchecked?? Ok…this guy has to die.


    Where was I? Oh, right, the elder of the town says that we need magic to beat Dhaos (I’m just going to call him what his really is from now on… Choas BBEG). He tells us to head north to find a young expert who might assist us. We eventually meet “Klarth,” who seemed very reluctant to join us unless we forked over a king’s treasury in gold. Thankfully, Klarth’s wife jumped in and told him to get off his high horse and assist us. Men, take note. The only men who have an ego are those who are not married.


    012 Why a way out.jpgFollowing his lead, we head over to a mountain where Slyphs reside, in hopes of obtaining their help. You see, Klarth cannot actually use magic without some contract with them. We then had to go through the longest dungeon yet (granted, its only the second one, but it felt like forever!) when we learn of not one, but two ways the developers tried their hardest to earn my spite.


    First, they gave me a magic using party member who could not use magic. For an hour, I had to watch Klarth pull up the rear of our line, picking his nose while Mint and I did our darndest not to get our rears handed to us. Second, they put in a very tough enemy (as part of the random encounter system), capable of killing my entire party with two spells. Oh, by the way, he’s immune to physical attacks. Yeah. I learned how to run, very quickly. Needless to say, other developers should NOT flatter Tales of Phantasia by mimicking those two particular design decisions!


    Eventually, we stopped some evil gas from driving the slyph crazy, and they agreed to help Klarth do magic. They also inform us that magic, itself, may run out in the world. We head south to address the issue. After all, we’re heroes. That’s what we do.

    Check out the full journal entry (with a dozen more pictures and jokes) here.
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs Wannabe Mistborn Lucario Administrators
    edited January 2015
    A note about the Super Famicom fan translation , although I'll admit this is hearsay: While it's a lot more entertaining than the localized GBA version, it apparently takes a few liberties and was made racier than the actually game is. The English GBA's translation is dull as dirt, but at least it's more accurate. Mind you, I'm not saying the GBA translation is better just because it's more accurate. :P Arche's dialogue manages to still be amusing despite the overall blandness of the GBA translation. Come to think of it, is the DeJap translation the only one for the SF version?

    Regardless, while this game shows its age compared to the Tales games released since Symphonia, I enjoyed it for what it was. The connections to the Symphonia titles help, heh.
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

    Twitter: BerryEggs

  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2015
    A note about the Super Famicom fan translation , although I'll admit this is hearsay: While it's a lot more entertaining than the localized GBA version, it apparently takes a few liberties and was made racier than the actually game is. The English GBA's translation is dull as dirt, but at least it's more accurate. Mind you, I'm not saying the GBA translation is better just because it's more accurate. :P Arche's dialogue manages to still be amusing despite the overall blandness of the GBA translation. Come to think of it, is the DeJap translation the only one for the SF version?
    .

    Racier? I've been playing it for six hours and haven't seen a single joke that I wouldn't repeat to a kindergarten kid. In fact, I'm playing it right now and... and... ZOMG!! Did this older, married character just propose screwing a 17 y.o. party members?! Using swear words? Zomg, he did! Wow! The ESRB rating for this game just flew up!! And the characters looks so cute!! I expect this out of GTA, but not SNES-era, chibi graphics JRPG! Wowzers!
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited January 2015
    That's was part of the issue with the fan translation. Archie is much more "adult" in terms of comments. And I thought Archie was little younger then 17
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    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2015
    She said she was 17 when talking with the captain. I think she was sincere since she was upset he treated her like a child.
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited January 2015
    Hmm. I played the fan translation of the PS1 remake (done by a different team), and don't recall that they took any unwarranted liberties with the script.

    I guess it's too late to make the suggestion, but you can get a Japanese PS1 copy of Phantasia on ebay for $20-$25. And when you consider the experience of patching it and getting it running, you'd be getting two adventures for the price of one!

    Apparently there is also a PSP remake of Phantasia, which is further improved, but it seems unlikely to be localized (commercially or otherwise).


    Some general comments:

    1. I've been working through the Tales series myself over the past year or two, but I usually alternate with another game or two in-between. Playing through all the games in a series consecutively...no matter how good they are individually...seems like it would be inviting burnout.

    2. Skip Xillia 2. I'm not kidding. I wish I was kidding. It's a bad game in its own right, and within the historical context of the series, it's little more than a cautionary example of the evils of sequels.

    3. Vesperia is not optional. Repeat, not optional. It is one of the best in the series. I don't have an xbox360 either, but I imported the Japanese PS3 version, and followed along with an online script. Despite my aversion to walkthroughs, it was worth it.

    Fortunately, it seems like the not-dead-yet Vesperia fan-translation group's multi-year effort is actually approaching completion, so you may have other alternatives.
    Only the livin' have the privilege of sayin' they'll fight ta the last breath.
    And words like conviction and resolve don't mean much to a dead man...
    --Raven (Tales of Vesperia)
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited January 2015
    Yeah but the as we discussed before when you posted about it Ironmage there are liberties they took compared to the official translation. Such as
    Estelize and Yuri developing feelings for each other rather then her ending up with Flynn, who's Lieutenant actually has feelings for. That's part of the reason why Yuri has such a hard time killing her at the Pinnicle scene. Cause he actually does care for her. Also during the credit roll that also plays into why she's always at his place during the credit roll. I could point out a few more
    sig.gif

    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited January 2015
    Yeah but the as we discussed before when you posted about it Ironmage there are liberties they took compared to the official translation.
    <Vesperia spoilers snipped>

    ...huh? What are you referring to? The Vesperia script I used was a "Let's Play" based on the official English xbox360 version, that included occasional excursions on how the PS3 version differed. I wasn't relying on a fan translation, especially not one that hasn't been released even now.

    So if you and I disagreed on some elements of Vesperia, that had nothing to do any unofficial translation, and everything to do with personal perception.
    Only the livin' have the privilege of sayin' they'll fight ta the last breath.
    And words like conviction and resolve don't mean much to a dead man...
    --Raven (Tales of Vesperia)
  • LassicLassic Member Full Members
    edited January 2015
    JCServant wrote: »
    Racier? I've been playing it for six hours and haven't seen a single joke that I wouldn't repeat to a kindergarten kid. In fact, I'm playing it right now and... and... ZOMG!! Did this older, married character just propose screwing a 17 y.o. party members?! Using swear words? Zomg, he did! Wow! The ESRB rating for this game just flew up!! And the characters looks so cute!! I expect this out of GTA, but not SNES-era, chibi graphics JRPG! Wowzers!

    To be fair, they are not married: She just helps him with his research...and other "things". ;)

    Arche's drunken ramblings in the bar afterwards are on a whole other level.

    This game is hilarious :D
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    My RPGTrek continues with Tales of Symphonia. After spending some time with the original Tales of Phantasia, I decided that I needed to move on to something a bit more modern. Critics and fans alike adored this title, so hopefully it will leave a better impression on me. We find out together as your next RPGTrek story is only a click away!

    JOURNEY OF A UTAHN POLYGAMEIST
    Tales of Symphonia - Part 1

    System: GameCube game played on Wii
    Started: 07.01.2015

    Welcome to another subjective look into a classic RPG! This time, I dive into Tales of Symphonia. As most know, I start each of these experiences looking through whatever collateral I have, plus any additional media I can find on the game via the web. The artwork, especially on the box, blew me away. While typical JRPG fare, the artwork has plenty of motion with bright, contrasting colors. The protagonists look focused and determine. They pump me up!

    Then I started a new game.

    All of the characters seem to have de-aged by about 5-7 years. Now, I understand that in years past, video game makers made larger heads because of limited pixel or polygon counts. But, by the GameCube age, that wasn't nearly as much of an issue. By all rights, the character models sport plenty of detail. I just dislike how they felt the need to make their heads disproportionately larger. This, in turn, makes them look a lot younger to me than their ages in the story. While I have little doubt that a large portion of the gaming population feels that this makes them look cute, it constantly bugged me.
    With that nitpick out of the way, we jump into the game. A teacher, Raine, asks a group of students a number of questions. At one point she calls Colette, who holds the title of "Chosen One." Interestingly enough, that did not seem to cause any amount of jealousy in the others. Not that I would want to be the chosen one. Unless it paid well. I like money.

    Our main character and hero, Lloyd, stands in the back of the class, practically falling asleep on his feet. Despite his lack of attention in class, Lloyd quickly shows, later in the story, to be a strong friend and defender of the weak. He got his strong sense of justice from his adoptive father, Dirk the Dwarf (*giggle*). Lloyd constantly watches out for his smaller friend, Genis, who also happens to be the younger brother of their teacher.

    Despite looking about eight years old to me, Collette approaches her sixteenth birthday, when destiny (or something) dictates that she must go to a temple to receive her quest to regenerate the world. As she approaches the landmark, however, Desians (i.e. elves with technology and attitude) attack her. Our brave hero and his young friend jump in to save her, but the enemy forces overpower them. Thankfully a mercenary, Kratos, shows up out of nowhere to give them a helping hand! Together, they work their way through the temple so Collette can receive her quest (Honestly, these people just need to download the new "Quests to Save a World" app!)

    Remiel, an angel, explains that Colette must go to four elemental temples to unlock the way to the Tower of Salvation or something. Honestly...I was not paying much attention. Why? Because Remiel, who reveals himself as Colette's father at some point, just creeps me out. I cannot recall ever feeling so freaked out by an 'angel' before. Even the 'evil' angels in Disgaea could learn a thing or two from this guy.

    After returning home and visiting his father, Lloyd discovers Genis going off the beaten path and follows him. It turns out that Genis visits ranch of human prisoners run by the Desians. Genis feels bad for one of the older women there, who the guards treat poorly. The ruffians spot the boys, however, and they quickly run away. When Lloyd recants the story to his father, Dirk speaks harshly to him, concerned that he might have caused trouble with pointed ear devils. Lloyd discovers that his mother was killed by the Desians because of an ex-sphere he possesses. At this point, he promises himself that he will accompany Collette to help regenerate the world, which they clearly do not want.

    In a wicked twist I never saw coming, once Lloyd returned to his home town, he found it set ablaze (/sarcasm). Honestly, boys and girls...for the love of all that is holy, listen to me. If you count an up and coming hero among your fellow townpeople, do not walk, but RUN away. It is only a matter of time before some calamity turns your village into a smoldering pile of ashes. I have decades of JRPG experience backing me on this.

    The Desian commander explains that Lloyd broke the non-aggression pact, by visiting the human ranch, which completely justifies his actions on the entire town. He forces Lloyd and Genis to fight a creature. Suddenly, the creature stops short and attacks the commander! It tells Lloyd and Genis to run, and at that point they realize that the monster used to be the old lady friend of Genis.

    The village banishes the boys for their actions, and they work their way to catch up to Collette and the other. However, at some point, the Desians capture Lloyd and Genis. They let Genis go, who eventually fetches the others to mount a rescue attempt. We succeed and with the party altogether, Lloyd makes his case to join the cause. Raine and the mercenary Kratos feel that they lack the years and experience to join such a dangerous trek (See, others think they are kids, too!)... but they eventually relent. With the team together, I decide to tackle my first true dungeon after spending a bit of time leveling my team with random encounters.

    Insid the labyrinth, I fight a deadly menace unlike any I have seen outside of Dragon Quest games. I do not refer to the nasty big boss monster found at the end of these mazes. No, I speak of the dreaded treasure chest. Or, to state it more accurately, the treasure chest mimic. Seriously, this thing killed my party more than all of the bosses in the game put together. To say I felt frustrated would understate my sentiment by a factor of 43.

    Eventually, I press on and terminate the most forgettable boss creature. Collette's creepy angelic father returns to give her wings. No, he does not give her a six pack of Red Bull, but, rather, literal angel wings which allow her to flutter around in the air. Daddy creepy angel gives us some general direction to find the next seal or whatnot, and we hit the road.

    To check out all the cool screenshots I did with funny captions, head over to https://jcservant.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/tales-of-symphonia-part-1/
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs Wannabe Mistborn Lucario Administrators
    I'm not sure if they ever used the super deformed chibis in Tales outside of maybe the 2D ones after Symphonia. Even Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World used more "realistically" proportioned character models.
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

    Twitter: BerryEggs

  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    I'm not sure if they ever used the super deformed chibis in Tales outside of maybe the 2D ones after Symphonia. Even Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World used more "realistically" proportioned character models.

    Oh...awesome. Something to look forward to...because, otherwise, I love the art. I don't know why the Chibi heads bother me as much as they do. I grew up on NES RPGs, after all. Maybe its having them in polygons characters. Hmmm. It also bothered me a bit in FF9, but not as much. I think its because those still looked like (mostly) adults...and here, it just makes them look like 8 year old kids. I don't wanna play kids! ROFL. Teenagers are bad enough. We need more 40-something protagonists! LOLz.
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited August 2015
    I think it has more to do with Symphonia using Cell-shading than actual polygons.
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    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • SpartakusSpartakus One Knight Stand Full Members
    Symphonia and Abyss are the only two Tales games I stopped playing for a while due to the main characters being utterly unrelatable. Of course, in the case of Luke it's deliberate and an essential pivot for his development as a character, but Lloyd is simply a dunderhead. Over time even he grew on me though, and that goes to show the strength of these games' character development. I'd still prefer Vesperia where almost every single character was likeable from the get go, especially the main character.
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