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LONG BLOG

Love/Hate: Vagrant Story

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In 1998 in Japan, eventually releasing in 2000 in Europe, Squaresoft (which is now Square-Enix) tried a completely brand new concept that would change some RPGs for some time, and that game is more or less known as Vagrant Story. It changed the way we would play the RPGs in the future, and certain games more or less have a form of staple in it, but rather than go into details about exactly why, I'll just rave and eventually rant a little about it.

It is a PSOne title, meaning it will always look somewhat blocky but for some odd reason, when square maximised the power of the PS1 without going overboard, they really managed it. It still looks pretty, even if the polygons and textures still have squares all over the environments and characters.

It also had a unique plot, whereas you wouldn't EXACTLY know what would happen until it happens. Even if you've played it about 0, 12 or 99 times, it is still very well constructed that you may still want to watch them, or speed it up by skipping the scene altogether. I wouldn't advise it on the first playthrough as it still puts certain game's plots of recently (eg. Avatar) to shame.

It is one of the games that also had a unique concept: Rather than attacking one target, you had to attack their limbs, making certain elements more tactical than usual. It is also one of the games where everything is done in real-time, meaning that if you don't watch yourself in combat, you'll get killed...

And it will happen. A LOT.

One of the game's innovative features is also one of the most annoying and badly guided things, it's somewhat uneven difficulty curve. The firstmost annoying part is when you go through the Snowfly Forest, and it doesn't exactly indicate you on where to go, apart from a somewhat cryptic clue. You're there trying to get through the forest and you ALWAYS seem to get back to the area with the stairs. Not just that, but there are some enemies which seem to be completely unbalanced too.

In the first few areas, you can kill enemies with no problem, but when you get into the forest, it's thrown out of the window. When you start to chain a mob, about 3 times out of 5, this will happen: MISS. Bloody hell, even chaining will bring back the same results: MISS. MISS. MISS. And when you DO hit, you're at such a high Risk, you do no or next-to-no damage, and then the enemy kills you in one hit.

ARRRRRGH!!!!

It's not just in the Snowfly Forest, without checking walkthroughs there is no indication of where to go next, and being a somewhat newb to the game I went down a path that I'd realise I'd have to go back LATER, but a walkthrough was adamant to take me down there. I couldn't even hit the enemies for crap, and as above, I kept missing. Then I got owned by the freaking Dark Elemental.

Although saying that, I had it much worse... the Earth Dragon prior to events in the Undercity ALWAYS uses it's breath and kill me in one hit. It gets so bad at times, I nearly throw my PSP into a TV being so angry and annoyed, but after a while I still play it. I will probably complete it, but it'll probably be in my 30s before I EVER do.

So there you go, although I like Vagrant Story's plot and certain mechanics, I absolutely hate it's lack of knowable balance when it boils down to certain areas and enemies.
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About Xelviarone of us since 7:49 PM on 01.03.2010