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LONG BLOG

Shiny sealed new

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Hey!

I stumbled onto destructoid from DP (digital press) a classic gamers site ;p I used to blog on gametrailers but kinda just faded away from there I guess. But I've always wanted to try go on blogging, and this seems like the perfect place for it ;p

I dunno how it all goes here but I guess I'm gonna start off with a bit about myself ;p

(Pic of me for the kotaku ace combat 6 contest, sadly I did not win :/)


I have a game collection ;p I only collect games I like though, and while I haven't played every single one to the finish I have played them all at least a few times (except the uncommon few that I got in a pack like G Police and Sting!) I'm currently in the process of moving it around so I'll post some pics some other time ;p

My website: www.freewebs.com/diecake/
A joke site I made a long LONG time ago, hasn't been updated since, use it as a database of sorts now ;p a joke remeber a joke....

My aim: Dao2 SKP
xfire: dao2skp

Feel free to hit me up! Specially about skies :P
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Current Playing:

Company of Heroes - A fantastic RTS, recommended to anyone that actually wants to use actual strategy and tactics in their RTS games :P

Team Fortress 2 - Plain good old fps fun, when you need to relax or blow off some steam what's better? Don't answer that -_-

Favorite game of all time: Tie between Skies of Arcadia and Chrono Trigger

Trigger - Come on it's trigger, it's self explanatory....

Skies of Arcadia - Without a doubt my most loved game, I live and breathe Skies of Arcadia.

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Well since this is my first blog and I've mentioned Skies, I think a bit of recycling is good for the beginning ^^ Here's a "look-back" (I guess I should call them retrospectives like GT does now ;p) of Skies of Arcadia! I hope someone decides to pick up the game because of this ^^

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Original released for the Sega Dreamcast by Overworks Studios and Sega, Skies of Arcadia got little attention due to the failure of the system. Hoping to bring it back into the gamer's eye (and probably make lots of money!) the game was ported over to the Gamecube and was called Skies of Arcadia: Legends. Legends added quite a few new features considering it's just a port not a remake or anything, but despite the claims that the graphics were supposed to be better most people said the textures where grainier. Also for some reason the sound quality took a nose dive but overall the game was enhanced through the port. Sadly Legends also fared very badly and dashed all hopes of a sequel. While many RPGs had come out around that time Skies strove like all great RPGs to be different, and managed to succeed in many ways.

The game is of course set in it's own universe. The world is made up of
hundreds of floating islands and continents where people make their living.



And unlike most other RPGs airships were the center piece of this game,
there wasn't just one of them like in most of the Final Fantasys but
there were thousands, and numerous different types. The game did have a
standard world map that you had to use to get around places, but instead of being on-foot you had your own airship and used that to move around the world map.





In a refreshing twist you got to customize your own airhip's weapons
and armor and this of course means airship battles! While not as
numerous as tradition onfoot battles airship battles were a blast. They
were tactical battles where the player had to choose 4 turns in advance
instead of the standard one and watch how the battle played out then
choose the next 4 turns after that. You own 2 different airships throughout the course of the game but I of course don't want to ruin it for anyone that decides to play so I'm going to refrain from putting up those pictures!

And as afore mentioned there are ground based onfoot battles that are
more like normal rpg fights. There is a max of 4 characters in your party at one time. Getting into battles was the standard
random battle feature that was and is common in most RPGs. But the battles themselves weren't the standard fare, there is the normal attack, guard, item, and magic that is in almost every RPG out there the spirit system was added in to spice it up. To intiate magic spells and use special moves you had to have enough spirit in your spirit bar. Spirit was gained automatically at the beginning of each turn (based on the spirit level of all the characters in your party) and also but using the spirit recharge which used up a characters turn to generate a few spirit points (again how many spirit points is based on the
characters spirit.)

Normal attacks, guard, and items did have any
spirit consumption so could be used freely. Ontop of all this all this your weapons react to moonstone crystals. There are 6 different types of moonstones in the game (blue = water/wind, green = life or something, red = fire, silver = hard to explain, purple = ice, yellow = lightning) and you could equip each character's weapon and change it on the fly. As I'm sure you've guessed each crystal will give that weapon its damage type, blue crystal with it's own type of damage and so on. This is also how you gain magic experience to level up your magic, you gain magic experience based on what crystals are equipped at the end of the battle.

Another addition that I briefly mentioned was special moves. Each character had a number of special moves that could be unlocked by using moon berries, an item that you got from treasure chests and also had a chance from some
enemies. Each special move was different and were suited to the character (such as massive attack, area attack, healing, and so on). When special moves were triggered a in-game cutscene (like FF summons) started up and you would watch the special move unfold (which could be skipped, a very good thing because you will probably use special moves a great many times)



And while unlike most other RPGs your characters didn't just stand
around on one side and the enemy the other they walked around the
battlefield hitting and guarding against other enemies this was purely
for aesthetic reasons and does no actual damage. While this might seem
stupid I appreciate small things like these that add to the detail of the game.



Magic wasn't greatly different then most other rpgs, the small diffrence I already told you about was the magic levelling up system. Each magic type had a few number of spells and some had upgraded forms (pyri, pyrum, and so on) Like I said using magic used up spirits point also used up the characters MP.

When not in battle the player was either walking onfoot in a town or
dungeon or like I said before moving about the world map in their ship.
When walking around you controlled you main character in a 3rd person
view with camera control (you could spin the camera around in a full
circle) instead of the normal top-down frozen screen view.



When in the world map you flew around in your airship on the world map
it was much the same except without the full circle camera control, you
could view the airship from different angels but this was generally for
cinematic effect not for any use. But both the camera for the onfoot
and in-airship worked out perfectly and I never found myself cursing
about a bad angle.



The towns were ranged from small to large and where very detailed and
fun to explore. Ontop of that many objects had a little description
that could be activated by walking up to it and pressing A, again this
is a small touch and I found myself doing it a lot even if it sounds stupid....




Compared to other RPGs the world map was HUGE. I don't know how to
explain it but it was pretty big, but not so big that it took forever
to get around thanks to your airship. But don't think you could just go
anywhere because your flying! There are hazards that you can't pass
such as sky rifts, rock fields (I forgot what they're actually called :|) The dark rift, and also your ship also could only go up and down so much otherwise the engine would blow apart because of the pressure. All
of these aspects could be upgraded and were done so by progressing
through the story. And while exploring is something many people want to
do but find no point in an RPGs world map because it is generally
bland, Skies of Arcadia's map has a number of islands that your travels
of the main story don't take you through.

But Overworks didn't stop there! Knowing that people would love to explore the big beautiful world of Arcadia they added discoveries into the game! Discoveries were dotted around the map and tottalled 64 in number, and I think 88 in legends (not sure on either of those numbers :|) Some were easy to find, others very difficult and they weren't all the same either. Some
were visible, some were invisible, some had their own island that couldn't be seen till found. They were all at varying altitudes and some of them even moved around the map adding to the difficulty of finding them. Don't worry though finding them isn't impossible, you were aided by the compass which started spinning when you were in close proximity of of a discovery and you could also buy a hint from the sailors guild for a small fee.

Each discovery had it's own little story that came up when you found (and added itself to your log if you wanted to read it again, which I found myself doing many times ><). You could also sell the information to the sailors guild for a tidy sum to help upgrade your weapons and armor of your characters/ship. But the usefullness of discoveries didn't stop there! They also added to your swash buckler rating.



Swashbuckling was another nice touch to the game which not only was fun to get up it also added to the game! You got your swashbuckler rating up in a number of ways, by saying the write thing when you got to decisions in dialogue, by finding discoveries, getting crew members, defeating enemies in battles, finding treasure chests, and also some small boosts by going through the storyline. Though it doesn't always go up, if you run away to much you will be known as "Vyse the ninny," not a name you want to be known by :o The higher the swashbuckling rating the more items, weapons, and armor became available to you and how the NPCs reacted to you. The ratings are as follows

-1 Vyse the Ninny
1 Vyse the Unimpressive
2 Vyse the Blue Rogue
3 Vyse the Competent
4 Vyse the Determined
5 Vyse the Respected
6 Vyse the Admirable
7 Vyse the Bold
8 Vyse the Valiant
9 Vyse the Daring
10 Vyse the Dashing
11 Vyse the Fearless
12 Vyse the Hero
13 Vyse, King of Rogues
14 Vyse the Legend

There are a few additional ratings that become available when you become Vyse, King of Rogues. You get these by doing the tasks attached to it. One example is that if you defeat all the monster airship battles and and a number of none storyline airship battles you became Vyse, the Sky Battle King.

Another really cool addition is the crew for your airship! Later on in the game you get the chance to get a crew for your ship (theres a total of 22 crew members) and there are 11 crew positions. There are 2 possible crew members for each position and each have their own unique bonus which, this forces you to pick and choose which one you want to suit your flying style best. Some have passive bonus' others have have abilities that can be called upon during airship combat. Additionally when you have a crew and 4 members in your party with your spirit bar full you can call upon your active crew for a "Crew Special" where they all come in at once and attack or do whatever they specialize in.

So far I've gone over a lot of the cool things and the mechanics of the game, but haven't gone over the most important part of any RPG, the story! I've been putting this off because I don't want to ruin it for anyone that might happen to try it out but also do the story justice. Well Here it goes....

You play as Vyse, a 19 year old boy that wants to become an Air Pirate and with his trusty sidekick and childhood friend Aika go out raiding with their Vyse's father Dyne.

The game starts off with a cutscene of a small sleek looking airship piloted by a girl being pursued by a large iron warship. Just as the warship catches up to an captures the girl the air pirates lurking in the clouds strike. You board the ship along with the rest of the crew and take the ship from the Valuans and unwittingly save the girl. After you've tooken all the loot from the ship you had back to your home and during the voyage the mysterious girl wakes up. She says that her name is Fina but hides her past. After an attack by the Valuan Empire on your home to try and recapture her and a rescue she finally explains her origins and the quest she is sent on to retrieve all the moon crystals so that Valua can't get their hands on them. What follows is a great fully fleshed out story that has a few twists that you would never have guessed in the beginning. (I don't wanna ruin the rest ;p sorry if you wanted to hear more, just go play it!)

While there are other features that I'm missing I'm sure this is enough to entice you and some of them would spoil the game for you so I'm just going to go over the stuff that was added with Legends and a quick overview of the graphics and sound!

Like I said before legends added a fair bit to the game and all of those additions were fun so heres a quick run through of them.

The first addition was the bounty list. Now throughout the world are some extra very-hard pirates/criminals that give you swash buckling boosts when turned in and of course a nice tidy sum of gold :D



The next addition is moonfish and the Piastol storyline. You get to collect moonfish and turn them over to the doctor that is collecting them for some rewards and also advances the Piastol storyline (obviously I don't want to ruin that so...) Piastol is one tough bounty hunter and the battles are fun and give you some nice items and to top it all of the story line is failry entertaining. (and it also must be completed if you want to be Vyse the Legend)



Also like I mentioned there is an added number of discoveries, 15+ but I'm not sure of the exact number.

One thing that I'm not sure is actually in the original or not is the Elacian battle, an extremely tough black looper that is in the dark rift.

The final addition is the "3 secrets" which become available towards the end of the game when you become Vyse the legend. (Well actually you can not be Vyse the Legend and unlock them, but you have to be at least Vyse, King of Blue Rogues and have a few of the titles that go with it, being Vyse the Legend ensures that they have been unlocked). They add a new discovery, a n extremely powerful weapon for vyse, and a very tough battle with a surprise return of a past character.

There are also a number of small gameplay changes such as a reduced random battle chance and the increased difficulty of getting Vyse The Legend

Now to the graphics and sound! Like I said before the sound quality in Legends took a hit and the graphics are slightly worse (though you really have to look hard to tell.) Despite being such an old game the graphics are simply AMAZING. Or to be more accurate the art direction in the game is the best I've ever seen. It has a anime-like look that I found very appealing and allowed it to have some very expressive faces instead of the deadpan faces you see in gaming still today. I still love looking at the game, low poly count or not and all the effects look very nice. Everything has a high level of detail, the textures are very fighting, and everything is vibrant and colorful.





The sound Skies of Arcadia is also an achievement especially or its time. The musical score would do any RPG proud and I love listening to many of the songs (unlike most RPGs.) The sound effects are also done nicely. There is no sound for the characters beyond some grunts a "YEAH!" or two and some cheering. This is the only aspect of the game I don't like, whenever I hear those stupid sounds coming from them I cringe. But otherwise the sound is great.

Overall the entire game is one of the best I have played only being matched (matched ;p not beaten) by Chrono Trigger (for me at least ;p remeber this is an opinion all you ff7 fanbois) and would recommend it to anyone who likes RPGs. While the Dreamcast version is getting harder and harder to find the Gamecube Legends version should be readily available on ebay and possibly your local gamestore (I picked mine up at my gamestop store, but I just checked gamestop.com and they have some used copies in stock ready for ordering)

Alright well thats it I guess, sorry it was so long but the game deserves it! And be easy on me I've never written anything like this and I tried my best but theres probably numerious mistakes ><. LONG LIVE SKIES OF ARCADIA!!!!



it looks so much shorter then I thought it would be :( it took me like an hour or two too write! dammit! ;p

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If you have a Dreamcast or a Gamecube and you haven't heard of or played this game I urge you to please try it!

added: I almost made a video after I posted this in spirits of thread/blog so here it is! I'm not amazing at video editing and whatnot but I don't think it's to bad ;p I don't know why it skips I rendered it twice and same thing... *sigh*


Gametrailers Link
Youtube Link

I hope you all liked it!!

Play skies :| ;p
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About Dao2-SKPone of us since 1:51 AM on 06.29.2008