And now, it is five!
December 14, 2017

Now that I'm done with the second Avadon game (and the review is up), I only have five games on my current docket. My 360 game, my retro system/ROM game and my Android game, to go with two games from other systems (PS, PS2, Wii, DS, 3DS, Steam).

Since it of those latter two that I'll get from 5 to 4 and then move on (at least until I get bored with Kemco stuff and turn it into two games from the aforementioned six systems PLUS Android), we'll start with my progress there.

1. Dragon Warrior VII (PS): For a good while, I was stalled at the HellCloud fight for two reasons. First, it's a tough boss that not only has powerful attacks, but also regularly summons weaker allies that not only can add to the overall damage, but also can cast Sleep. In Dragon Warrior/Quest games, Sleep is a legit horrible status ailment to be afflicted with, as you don't know how long it'll last, since enemy attacks won't necessarily wake you up, as in most RPGs. Wrong guy gets Sleep'd and you might just be screwed. Secondly, this is the first tough encounter taking place after you lose Maribel for plot reasons and get Aira. Slight problem: Maribel has mastered Cleric and Wizard and was nearly through Sage, making her my main attack magic person. Aira comes with Dancer mastered and either Warrior or Fighter mostly handled. Meanwhile, my hero and Melvin were both melee-oriented and Gabo gets all the monster hearts for those classes and that's that. The only way to get past this fight was to grind a couple levels and, more importantly, master a few classes. But I finally persevered. And then cruised through the next region and am now cruising through the Coastal area with the lighthouse and stuff. Which is *big ass drum roll* the LAST tablet from the Ancient Fane, meaning that things might actually pick up from the standard "go to land, deal with a lot of story, go through one or two dungeons and wash, rinse, repeat" stuff I'd had for the entire 65-70 hours I've spent with this one!

2. Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS): All of which is great news...except for the annoying fact that after finally getting past my DW7 roadblock, this game gave me another one (and first in some time). Goddamn Kenji in the second alternate reality is pure hell. Three attacks per round; all of which are powerful and most of which are party-wide attacks. After 3-4 failures, I think my best chance is to grind until I can get at least one demon who blocks physical attacks in order to negate a couple of his turns. That still won't help against his one attack that gives everyone every status ailment, but it'll get me through a lot of the rest, I guess. Interestingly, I've noticed that the only benefit to using attacks he's "weak" to is getting extra turns and the opportunity to "smirk" for an auto-critical on your next turn, as he seems to have great magic resistance, as a heavy physical skill causes 5-6 times the damage. I might try having guys with great physical skills use them instead of their spells to see if that gives me the damage-causing capacity to get past him before grinding.

As a side note, someone at Atlus needs shot over the whole Charon part. The ability to negate a death at the cost of in-game money or those play coins you get for walking around with your 3DS is neat and all, but having to deal with a long-ass dialogue every single time (or skip through it quickly) you die in this game is annoying as hell. Especially when I tend to save whenever Burroughs give me the "tough monster ahead" warning, which means I essentially have to get through a minute or two of time-wasting crap just to restart the game. Makes it hard to be motivated to play when I know I'm fighting something that's likely to kill me a time or three hundred...

And as for the other three:

Seiken Densetsu 3: I'm in the final dungeon and through the first couple boss fights. Haven't played it in a while because I'm trying to get caught up on my review backlog before finishing another game.

Revenant Saga (Android): My latest Kemco project. It's another Kemco game (in this case by Exe-Create). E-C games are pretty similar. Superior production values than other Kemco groups, but all their games have a sort of "been there, done that" vibe to them. This one has decent dungeons and challenging battles with fairly tough enemies, but the world map is little more than a linear series of tunnels connecting towns and dungeons and there is just way too much dialogue for a 20ish hour game. Mainly because characters can be overly verbose at time with somewhat awkward language. Feels like an older E-C game in that regard. I'd like them a lot more if they employed a bit more brevity in their conversations.

Borderlands (360):: I beat the game once and am most of the way through a second playthrough, currently doing the Knoxx DLC. I've done the Dr. Ned DLC and at least sampled the Mad Moxxi one, leaving the Claptrap one as the only one untouched. If I have one major peeve with this game, it involves balancing. During my first playthrough, the game was really challenging up to about when I got to New Haven. At this point, by doing side quests and stuff, I realized I was a level or two above all my quests; something that hasn't changed. When you add the DLC, stuff can get broken badly unless you wait until playthrough 2.5, when everything scales to your level, to do them. And you have to about start each one instantaneously simply to find its level range in order to not be way underpowered or overpowered for them, as they have very specific level ranges. Like, I started the second playthrough and figured I'd open with Dr. Ned, only to find it started at L42 (I was at L36 or 37). Then I went back to the first playthrough and saw it scaled up to a max of L34 to start with, so I just did it while being slightly overpowered (challenging in areas, but fairly easy overall at that stage). For the second playthrough, Knoxx starts at L51, so it's kind of crazy playing something on my actual level for the first time since the very early stages of the game. Stuff is kind of tough when I don't have a 3-4 level edge on everyone, lol.

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honestgamer honestgamer - December 14, 2017 (05:02 PM)
I'm glad you're working through the PS version of Dragon Quest VII, because I am (when I can find the time) going through the 3DS version and may even review it if I finish it. I like the game a lot, but I have so little time to spend with games these days. I'm not nearly as far in the campaign as you are, but the 3DS version also has a handy feature built in that makes it easy to remember where you were when you come back to the game after an interruption.
overdrive overdrive - December 15, 2017 (10:18 AM)
From what I've read, the two version both have their strengths and weaknesses. The 3DS version streamlines the early-game parts, so it doesn't take an eternity to actually get to start fighting monsters; but on the other hand, includes all the "cute" word-play with the alliteration and punny names that, as I recall, often had me nonplussed when I was playing DQ IX on the DS.

But at least, when I finish this, I can say I've played the first nine Dragon Quest games on their original system, since VII was the only one I hadn't done before.
honestgamer honestgamer - December 15, 2017 (03:45 PM)
Dragon Quest VII doesn't streamline things all that much. I played through the opening areas in the PSX version twice, and it felt only marginally shorter on the PSX. Instead of streamlining, the game has some interface improvements, and monsters appear on the map so you can (in theory) avoid a lot of battles. I don't recall that being the case in the original.
overdrive overdrive - December 15, 2017 (10:40 PM)
No, the only visible encounters are bosses and the like. I did read somewhere that they altered the level cap for each region for when you stop getting class points from monsters to lower it about 4 levels. But that was kind of a non-issue, as the cap was crazy-high for the PS version. With the area I was struggling with, since I was grinding and knew I needed to master a couple classes to access some second-tier classes to have more powerful characters, I was worried my party of L24-26 characters wouldn't have enough time to get the classes I wanted before hitting the cap. Look online, and dang, the cap for that area is L37 for the PS version. So, yeah, it could stand to be lowered a good bit. Hell, I was L26-28 when I wound up beating the boss, I think. And because it takes so long to gain levels, that was a good 3 or so hours to get 2 levels and character and master 2-3 classes for each one.
joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - December 19, 2017 (03:55 PM)
I got the DQ7 remake for Christmas last year and I still haven't had a go at it. I'm not a fan of DQ9's encounter system, but any DQ is better than no DQ. My recollection of the original PSX version is that it's LONG. I think I logged about 200 hours after beating the game and doing all the post-game stuff. Sorry to say, but if you haven't fought Orgodemir yet than you've still got quite a bit of game to go.
overdrive overdrive - December 21, 2017 (08:38 AM)
Normally, I'd agree that any DQ is better than no DQ, but VII is coming close to making me reconsider that. It just doesn't "feel" like DQ for too much of the proceedings. Those games tended to give you a big world and, while a pre-determined path was set, you at least felt like you were exploring it. This gives you one small self-contained island after another that tends to have 1-2 dungeons, making the linearity the most notable aspect of things. And all the fluff! Some lands are nothing but talking and then you have to revisit every area after making it exist in the present world where you rarely do any dungeons, but definitely have to talk to a lot of people to get the shards you need to unlock more lands.

It's the most cumbersome DQ game imaginable and it's made that way by pure padding.
joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - December 21, 2017 (12:32 PM)
Yeah, there's a good reason that I never replayed it back in the day. It's basically a more bloated and less fun DQ6.
overdrive overdrive - December 21, 2017 (02:34 PM)
I really got that idea, too. After killing the monster turning people to stone, that town's sub-plot, which comes back later in the game, was a much more talky and bloated version of VI's love conundrum where one person ends up poisoning a dog by accident. And then you get to fight another underwater demon named Glacos. And then, for shits and giggles, you fight a second Glacos because why only have one big underwater demon when you can have two!?

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