Monday, June 1, 2015

Dragon's Crown Review

Vanillaware is an example of an auteur game company that more companies should aspire to be.  A company whose games are filled with love, care and everything that the developers like that, by extension, a good portion of players like them should like as well.  Indeed, I have liked Vanillaware's games in the past.  Odin's Sphere and Muramasa: The Demon Blade were both excellently-presented fantasy action games with substantial stories and simplistic head-on combat that only needed a few buttons at their core.

With Vanillaware's latest title, Dragon's Crown, I don't think me and the developers share the same tastes as well as in the past.  Everything in its core is the company's enjoyable signature, but the smaller aspects around it keep Dragon's Crown from reaching greatness.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Top 10 Final Battles: #8: Final Fantasy 6

A Final Fantasy finale on this list was inevitable.  It was never a question of "if", it was a question of "which one."  The Final Fantasy franchise has built itself a reputation for a number of different traditions, one of which is ending with an intimidating and difficult final battle with a villain invoking a freakish transformation using godlike power.  Just like the games themselves, everyone has a favorite, and this one is mine: the final battle of Final Fantasy 6.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Top 10 Final Battles: #9: Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga

My favorite brand of RPG is the Mario RPG (that doesn't have the word "sticker" in it).  They're self-aware, imaginative and hit the right balance of simplicity and complexity by rewarding both strategy and reflexes.  The imagination and challenge is shown through the many bosses that rarely appear outside of the RPGs, with big baddies like the Lava Piranah, Rawk Hawk, Midbus and Sunnycide.

But Mario RPGs have always stumbled when it comes to their final bosses.  There's usually something about them that makes them unmemorable.  Paper Mario's is just Bowser, the first Mario RPG's on the Super Nintendo and Bowser's Inside Story's weren't established well and the final boss of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door comes right the hell out of nowhere even with foreshadowing and drags on for far too long.

Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, even though it's one of the earlier RPGs, does it right.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Top 10 Final Battles: #10: Banjo-Kazooie

The (pre-Xbox 360) Banjo-Kazooie games are what any action adventure gamer wants.  It has large explorable worlds, a gleeful googly-eyed style and humor that can be fun for all ages,which is kind of a rarity nowadays where the best games are rated T or M.

With the exception of Banjo Pilot, these games mostly focused on the exploration aspect through collecting items like musical notes and jigsaw pieces for opening paths to new worlds.  They're as much action games as adventure games though, with a variety of different moves to break objects and enemies during your travels.

However, bosses in the Banjo-Kazooie games weren't particularly prominent until Banjo Tooie, the second one.  The first game only had a few enemies that could be considered bosses, but its final one is so brilliantly done that it beats every other one in the franchise.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Introduction to Top 10 Final Battles

A climax is defined as "the point of greatest intensity or force in an ascending series or progression."  In any story in any medium, it's the point where the plot goes all-out and the ultimate conflict plays out before the final resolution.  It's what you likely remember the most when you walk out of a movie or finish reading a book, assuming there weren't any awkward moments that eventually became more remembered than anything else in the story it came from.

They can be done through a grand battle like the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars or can even be a conflict of wits and unfolding plans like in Death Note or A Most Wanted Man.
But game stories have always had a preference for combat to keep the player interested, involved and empowered.  In fact it's rather hard to think of many games with stories to tell that don't have combat of some sort in them.