Monday, January 04, 2010

Life List

Star Ocean
  1. First Departure (PSP)/Fantastic Space Odyssey (SNES)
  2. Second Evolution (PSP)/Second Story (PS1)
  3. Blue Sphere (GameBoy Color, Japanese only)
  4. Till the End of Time (PS2)
Sadly, none of these are state of the art these days. I'd like to try The Last Hope but that requires a significant platform outlay, either Xbox 360 or PS3. Or the international version, due out February 9, if that materializes. Unlikely. I've gotten a lot poorer since retirement.

I played these in the order 4-2-3-1 and my favorites are 3 and 2. The first game is incoherent, but worthy. The last is fun, but eventually the total lack of facial expression begins to drag you down. By the end of that game, my suspension of disbelief had faded entirely and I had the unnerving sense that I was playing with dolls.

The only other JRPGs I've enjoyed are Final Fantasy XII, which is a masterpiece, and the first two games in the series, which (along with Zelda) defined chibi for me. The first in the series, Final Fantasy I, is very droll, especially deep inside some of the optional dungeons (like the dancing academy level.) Honorable mention to FF9.

Not bad for someone who was introduced to this genre by a Tomb Raider demo for Windows over a decade ago. The demo was a killer. The trick was trying to get Lara to move, and to figure out what the game was about (the demo was the Great Wall chapter of TR2, iirc). If you were being an obvious putz about it, she made a little noise like an exasperated sigh and shifted her weight from foot to foot. I was hooked forever.

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