The votes are in! I shall play Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga for exactly 1 hour, writing as I go. Poor Odin Sphere. Removed from my PS2 well before its time.
The timer starts when I start a new game!
5 minutes: It began with a standard disclaimer that all these people are fiction. Really necessary in a game like this. Really. Next is vague text about fury of the demons or something. I see a tower and some ruined buildings. People taking cover behind rubble. Reasonable attractive pink haired girl, dorky looking white haired guy. Plot stuff.
I think they're all trying to get at this weird...egg thing before the rival gang does. Wtf, cat thing. Oh. It's a surveillance cat. Kay. Slow motion. More slow motion. Shooting crossbow bolts out of the air. Egg thing has tentacles. Voice saying to...both gangs I guess to recover the egg thing? Egg thing exploded. Things coming out of egg thing seem to be turning people into weird monsters. First person view of someone being told to "Eat Them All". Violence. 5 mins is up!
10 minutes: Blue skies. Still the intro cinematic. White haired doofus and company woke up. Glowing crater where egg was. Naked girl in...boy? Naked androgyny in crater. Oh. It's a girl. Doofus says it's a girl. "I want to know more about her." ...Gee. You want to know more about mysterious naked girl in the GLOWING CRATER? Kay..game engine kicking in finally, some kind of city. All gloomy and science fictiony. Everyone who got zapped by the egg have silly tats and are discussing.
Blue haired dreadlocks person I thought was a girl has a male voice. Dammit, Japan. Okay. They're all going to investigate. I'm FINALLY in control. Exploring! There was the usual RPG talking about something I as the player know nothing about. There's some kind of...thing in the top left of my screen that says 3/8. I have no idea what it does. Maybe I should have read the instructions.
15 minutes: Now the circle says "Half". I don't know why. I walked in some place...cinematic started playing. I don't know what's going on. Oh. It's a vendor. An elaborate vendor. I guess this other room with another cinematic is the save area. I REALLY hope this crap doesn't play every time I shop or save. Can I skip it? Guess I'll find out later. My save was successful! ROCK! To the next area...outdoors. It's raining. No minimap for exteriors. Circle says MAX. I don't know why!
Guy says after the 'light' from the egg did its thing this mysterious wall appeared. Yay. Enforced linearity already! MY CIRCLE WENT DOWN TO 7/8! OH NO! 6/8! What's going on!?
20 minutes: Someone just said that they'd never seen someone with black hair like mysterious naked girl. No black hair? Ever? Eesh. 5/8. Someone explained the basic plot of the game to me. Yay! World map is...a menu. I want to go to Ground Zero! Not where I'm supposed to go, but I like to explore! My team is hungry? ...kay. Down to 1/8. Going to Svadhisthana. How the hell do you say that? Loading screens help me type! Looks like a Buddhist temple of some kind.
25 minutes: Interior hardly matches exterior. No more save cinematic, but costs money to restore health. Gr. Is this one of those JRPGs that adds things that pointlessly make a game more aggravating to increase 'challenge'? Empty rooms...Oooh. A switch! Wall goes down! Another save point..Kay. I'll save...People cowering. Asking us not to eat them. Symbols are glowing. People changing into monsters. Harley is running away. My party is turning into things. ...WHY THE HELL DO HER TITS HAVE MOUTHS? ...Okay. They look kind of silly. Standard turn based hooey. Easy enough fight. Kind of boring.
30 minutes: Level up screen, distribute points. They're debating eating the monsters now that the team became human again. Girl refuses to eat, doofus and redheaded jerk ate. Redhead is totally into the eating people thing. Random battles? URGH. No indication of where I am supposed to go. Every room is like the one before it. Dead ends abound. More random battle. Game seems to warn me before tough fights at least. Huh. Wasn't a fight. Was just a cinematic.
35 minutes: Doing backtracking now. Woo. Kind of bored of these fights already. Guy turned into monster. I have to fight him. Bird monster weak against ice. Dead before even getting attack off. OH HAI SAVEPOINT! More monster people.
40 minutes: Harley again. Will he run away this time? Yep. There he is again. There he runs again. Lots of random battles.
45 minutes: Getting kind of bored. More random battles. Harley runs again. Save point. Redhead is an asshole. Instead of logical diplomacy he just got my ass into a bossfight against Harley, the bipedal, armless zebra.
50 minutes: Finally at the freakin' boss fight. Weak to ice. That helps. Void fire attacks. Yawn. Oh. He has arms when he attacks. Jut keep voiding fire. He's dead. I just kept doing the same thing over and over. Pink haired girl says she feels so weak. Probably cause she isn't eating people.
55 minutes: Because I killed their leader all the goons are now my goons. Woo? Back to the world map menu. Back to base. Monster attacking people. Black haired girl is clothed, starts singing, calms stuff down. Singing song about love and...stuff. The people seem confused by the concept of a 'song'. Monster turns back into dorky looking human. Black haired girl says she's there to help everyone. They all claim to have heard her song before.
60 minutes: Some kind of hologram is demanding that tribe leaders go to some kind of temple. Kay. Saving. Huh. That cat again. I guess it wasn't a surveillance cat for Doofus. Opening cinematic was deceptive! Meeting. Female tribal leader looks like she'll either join me or be a typical "You're good, but I have to kill you" fight later in the game. Weird eye called Angel explaining things. They're demons now, they gotta eat things. Eye telling them to kill everyone else so they can go to Nirvana. Time's up!
All in all I think I would enjoy DDS if I hadn't been exhausted by random battles ruining my exploration urges years ago. The plot seems rather interesting, even if the demon designs are more silly than disturbing (Bitey-Boobs). The battles are nothing to write home about, though I did play 10 minutes more and found that the game has a sort of sphere grid knockoff system going. Might add a touch of depth to the otherwise standard turned based bore, but it didn't get a mention in the first hour of the game.
Wellp! So ends the first installment. I'll start up another round of voting in a few days. Feel free to suggest games available online (for free, as I am cheap) that I can add to the voting pile!