Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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Crash Jun 12, 2007

OK, here's the situation:  I have a mountain of games that I've bought but haven't gotten to yet.  Now that it's summertime, I almost feel an obligation to delve into some of these quality RPGs that line my shelf, and I would like some suggestions for which game I should tackle first.  Here's what I'm staring at:

1. Shadow Hearts (the first one): I've played the second one, and absolutely loved it.  I'm about 5 1/2 hours into this one, but there are so many other games I need to get to...

2. Disgaea 2: I put 400 hours into the first one, and around 200 hours into La Pucelle (which really grew on me), but couldn't get jazzed enough about Phantom Brave or Makai Kingdom to finish either of them.  I've been waiting to play this for some time, but still haven't even gotten around to opening the package.

3. Suikoden V: Bought it for the girlfriend, but she never really got into it.  I haven't played any Suikoden games, ever, but it seems like this is a very popular game choice around these parts.

4. Odin Sphere: Brand new, and waiting to be played.

5. Grim Grimoire: OK, so it hasn't been released yet, but once it is, it's coming to my doorstep posthaste.

6. Ys ~ The Oath in Felghana: I have two copies of this, but haven't installed it on my computer yet (mainly because the computer is being monopolized by Oblivion).

7. Ys Origin: See comment on Felghana, except there is just one copy of this.

So, given these choices, does anyone have any suggestions as to how I should proceed?

brandonk Jun 12, 2007

The Ys games are pure unadulterated high speed action gaming bliss..I would pair up one of the long winded RPG with Oath, and mix them up every couple of hours...then switch over to Origin when you're done with Oath (it will be over before you know it)...Alternative you can wait until the english patch comes out for Oath (I believe this is just around the corner), unless of course you are well versed in japanese, then the patch is unnecessary.

Subnote - is there really a point in playing Oblivion after the main quest?  If there is, I don't see it...

csK Jun 12, 2007

I've heard fantastic things about Suikoden and Odin Sphere (which I'm actually interested in!), but I'd also recommend Ys.  I haven't played either of these games but I've read they're similar to the last Ys game, Ark of Napishtim, and I absolutly LOVED that game.  I didn't know what to expect when I started it, but I certainly didn't expect it to be as high-intensity and on the wire as it was!  One of the best surprises I've had recently... just to let you know how much I liked the game, I'm committed to buying the limited edition set now, just cos I love the game!!

GoldfishX Jun 12, 2007 (edited Jun 12, 2007)

Of course I'm saying Suikoden V, but with a caveat: It's a really long game and you won't be able to really rush through it (especially if you're going to be FAQing for all 108 stars). So just make sure you save it for when you're ready for a great character-driven story that takes a long time to unfold in traditional RPG format (in comparison, Odin Sphere, Disgaia 2 and the Ys'are much more gameplay oriented). As an example, the game's extended opening takes roughly 7 hours of playtime, even though its' nice character introductions/development. It does have my favorite battle setup for a "traditional" RPG by far (six characters, limitless party setup options).

Ironically, the last 2 RPG's I've been able to sit through were Ys Ark of Napishtim and Suikoden V. And that's over a span of more than 2 years.

Stephen Jun 13, 2007

GoldfishX wrote:

Of course I'm saying Suikoden V, but with a caveat: It's a really long game and you won't be able to really rush through it (especially if you're going to be FAQing for all 108 stars). So just make sure you save it for when you're ready for a great character-driven story that takes a long time to unfold in traditional RPG format

Suikoden V has very long load times for battles and such, so it can drive one nuts over the course of an RPG.  The first 6-8 hours of the game are really slow, but the plot opens wide afterwards, and ends up being interesting.  It's a game that you have to set aside a lot of time for however.  It's about 40-50 hours.

Bernhardt Jun 13, 2007 (edited Jun 13, 2007)

Hah, you call that a mountain of games?! I have practically the PS2's entire RPG library to work through!

Depends upon how much time you have this Summer for games.

SHORT/FAST:

Odin Sphere plays quickly, and Shadow Hearts is relatively short as RPGs come (I logged about 22 hours after completing all side quests, and ending the main quest). Disgaea 2 also plays quickly and is comparatively easier than most SRPGs, definitely nicer than any of NIS's previous SRPG releases.

LONG/SLOW:

However, if you got a nice mess of time, which I imagine you would, being it Summer, and if you don't have classes or a job, then hit Suikoden V. Sources state that it takes about 50 hours to complete.

...

P.S. Anyone have a time estimate on how much voiced-over dialogue and FMVs are in Suikoden V? I wanna record that stuff.

GoldfishX Jun 13, 2007

Bernhardt wrote:

P.S. Anyone have a time estimate on how much voiced-over dialogue and FMVs are in Suikoden V? I wanna record that stuff.

Um, a shitload? The production values on that game (as overlooked as it was) were sick.

Brandon Jun 13, 2007

Crash wrote:

Now that it's summertime, I almost feel an obligation to delve into some of these quality RPGs that line my shelf...

What's the relationship between summer and playing games? When you're in school, sure, but when you have a year-round job, doesn't it make sense to play them in winter, when the weather's lousy?

No advice on the games; I haven't even played Felghana yet because I'm still hacking my way through the dense thicket that is the dialogue in Legend of Heroes VI.

James O Jun 13, 2007

I really wish a console version of Ys Felghana and Origin would come out... le sigh.

brandonk Jun 13, 2007 (edited Jun 13, 2007)

James O wrote:

I really wish a console version of Ys Felghana and Origin would come out... le sigh.

^in English^ ;-)

csK Jun 13, 2007

Well not the voice acting!  Man, if there wasn't the Japanese voice option in Napishtim I don't know how I would have got through it

(Ok, in fairness I only heard the English v.o. for the intro CG, maybe it got better in the game?)

Bernhardt Jun 13, 2007

GoldfishX wrote:
Bernhardt wrote:

P.S. Anyone have a time estimate on how much voiced-over dialogue and FMVs are in Suikoden V? I wanna record that stuff.

Um, a shitload? The production values on that game (as overlooked as it was) were sick.

So...more than 9 hours, maybe? I mean, of actually voiced-over dialogue and/or FMV?

GoldfishX Jun 13, 2007

It didn't have much (or any) FMV. A lot was done on the sweet ingame engine, since it already looked awesome. Definitely not 9 hours worth of cutscenes...Maybe 2-3 if you were to scrunch them all back-to-back. Again, they just used ingame dialogue a lot and the cutscenes were mostly for really important events. They were really effective, IMO. Normally, extensive cutscenes bore/annoy me, but they had me wanting more in that one. Even a year after not touching the game, I remember nearly all of them.

Crash Jun 13, 2007

Brandon wrote:

What's the relationship between summer and playing games? When you're in school, sure, but when you have a year-round job, doesn't it make sense to play them in winter, when the weather's lousy?

I have two reasons behind this.  The first is that I'm done studying for my (hopefully) last actuarial exam.  The exams take place in May and November, so I had very little time for RPGs throughout the spring and fall.  When summer and winter come, I have more free time to devote to such things.  The second is that I'm just used to playing RPGs in the summer; it's a holdover from when I was in school.  Summertime just seems like the right time to spend every free minute engaged in a worthwhile story.

Nemo Jun 13, 2007 (edited Jun 13, 2007)

Odin Sphere is gorgeous but bores the hell out of me and the story is 8-bit bad.  I'd recommend anything Ys.

GoldfishX Jun 13, 2007

Nemo wrote:

Odin Sphere is gorgeous but bores the hell out of me and the story is 8-bit bad.  I'd recommend anything Ys.

Really? Can you give more of a first-hand impression? That's one I'm planning on picking up later and I've seen nothing but positive press for it.

csK Jun 13, 2007 (edited Jun 13, 2007)

"Really? Can you give more of a first-hand impression? That's one I'm planning on picking up later and I've seen nothing but positive press for it"

Me too!  Tell me!  tongue  Really though, its the only game I've been interested in from this year other then Kiki kaikai 2 (which was cancelled today sad), so I'm very curious to hear why you didn't like it.

EDIT:  The sad emoticon doesn't do the statement judgement, by the way.  Just imagine instead of just frowning, it was crying and drowning in its own tears... that would be more accurate!

Red HamsterX Jun 14, 2007

I've only just made it to Book 3, "Fairy Land", in Odin Sphere, but I can't say it's disappointed me at all.

The game is, as everyone has said, absolutely gorgeous, and the soundtrack, while mildly repetitive at times (assuming Sakimoto oversaw all of it, his post-battle cooldown tracks haven't changed much since Vagrant Story), is incredibly well orchestrated and very pleasing.

The controls are fluid, and the synthesis system, which must be learned to have any chance of succeeding, is well balanced in terms of usability, payoff, and time consumption.

As far as the story goes, the game is broken into five "Books", each one with its own series of events focused on that book's protagonist, who you control. Taken individually, yes, their stories are pretty simple, though interesting, like classic fairy tales. However, they all occur on a coincident timeline; during a period of time when one character is, for reasons that might be considered spoilerish, unable to do anything, the other characters have events that affect the world once that first character is able to act again. On the whole, I'm expecting the story to tie together pretty well, and I am, for the first time in a while, unsure of how things will turn out.


The only criticism I can raise is the slowdown that occurs when you kill a lot of things, or when a lot of debris appears. All objects in the game can affect all other objects, and the sprites are super-high-res. So, not only is there a lot of collission detection going on, but there's a lot of redraw at any given point. It's all rendered very, very cleanly, but the action will drag, and you will notice it.
Honestly, though, it's not that bad. I've only died once because of it (and, when you die, you just restart on that map; maps typically take less than two minutes to clear), and it's saved me a couple of times.

I can post more information if anyone wants it, but this post conveys the majority of my thoughts.

Nemo Jun 14, 2007

GoldfishX wrote:
Nemo wrote:

Odin Sphere is gorgeous but bores the hell out of me and the story is 8-bit bad.  I'd recommend anything Ys.

Really? Can you give more of a first-hand impression? That's one I'm planning on picking up later and I've seen nothing but positive press for it.

csK wrote:

"Really? Can you give more of a first-hand impression? That's one I'm planning on picking up later and I've seen nothing but positive press for it"

Me too!  Tell me!  tongue  Really though, its the only game I've been interested in from this year other then Kiki kaikai 2 (which was cancelled today sad), so I'm very curious to hear why you didn't like it.

As mentioned the art is amazing, but the game is structured with a hub scenario and each chapter you go to a different area that is divided up into about 10-15 smaller levels.  The problem is each level is a circuitous field that looks exactly the same as the last with the exact same enemies.  Then you have a few bosses here and there which are ridiculously pointless (get behind them and attack).  And the whole time the gameplay is basically hack-hack-hack.  And it doesn't help that the story is your typical, cliche, Japanese narrative about some uber-powerful weapon that everyone is after but no one should possess-blah-betrayl-blah-blah-blah.  I'd rather play through an actual good 16-bit ARpg like Terranigma for the 12th time.

XLord007 Jun 17, 2007

Brandon wrote:

What's the relationship between summer and playing games? When you're in school, sure, but when you have a year-round job, doesn't it make sense to play them in winter, when the weather's lousy?

In addition to Crash's specific response, I'd also like to add that network TV takes the summer off, so that's one less entertainment choice plus the simple fact that there are less new games released in the summer months, so there's more time to play game you already have.

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