Yeah, been a while since I’ve done one of these. I think it’s mostly because I really like doing these, but it can be hard to pick out an individual scene, situation, or dungeon that demands the modern gamer’s attention. All the same, if I think of even ONE, I try to force myself to write immediately. As usual, there are embedded vids on the images. Enjoy!
Shenmue – Mad Angels Brawl
Shenmue is a great game, but the pacing is absolutely terrible. Part detective story, part revenge story, and part brawler, the intentions are there, but ultimately it seems like everything gets in its own way at times. Still, especially for the time it was released, it had great graphics, lots of fun events, plenty of optional stuff, a metric fuckton of exploration (most of which was wholly unnecessary), and just plain lots and lots and lots of content.
However, the one thing we all wanted always seemed to be just out of reach: a gigantic brawl the likes of which would make any oldschool brawler fan happy. Then it finally happens. You go down to the docks and BAM, 70 man brawl. This fight is long, insane, cheesy, and ridiculously fun. This right here is every brawler’s dream…just a huge fight for the sake of fighting.
The only unfortunate aspect is this only happens once and most of the fights up to this point are weak ass boss fights or a fight with only a few people that only barely breaks up the tediousness of the rest of the game. Thankfully Yu Suzuki learned from his mistakes and went on to do much better with Yakuza…but here’s to hoping that eventually he’ll get around to at least finishing up the story of Shenmue.
Breath of Fire 3 – Emitai
Breath of Fire 3 likes to put you into a lot of interesting situations. Most RPGs are good just giving you a dungeon, slapping together a reason for going there, then repeating ad nauseum until you either get tired of it or beat the fucker. That’s not to say BOF3 doesn’t have those moments, but a lot of well crafted story elements are present, often making you feel happy, sad, angry, or just plain unsure if what you’re doing is right.
Case in point: Emitai. At first, Emitai introduces himself to you as a lowly wizard that would normally be a great competitor in the arena…but the next match is a non-magic round. He begs you to throw the fight as his family is in poverty and if he doesn’t win, well…things may go from bad to worse. Of course, there are very, very good reasons why you can’t do that (yeah, spoilers), so you decline.
He then proceeds to cheat like a dirty motherfucker. This is sucky for three reasons. One, now he has two powerhouses to fight for him. Two, Nina is primarily a magic user…so you were already at a disadvantage. And three, you’re still unsure if beating him is the right thing. It totally is the right thing, but I won’t reveal why. You’ll just have to find out yourself!
Breath of Fire 3 – Dolphins and Fairies
Yup, two of em back to back. So at one point you have to go to a lighthouse to relight the beacon. I can’t remember why, but I’m assuming it has something to do with ships…just a hunch. Anyway, as you light the beacon, you get chastised by a fairy. She claims they messed up the lighthouse beacon because it was attracting a monster that has pretty much destroyed their village.
Being a good lil hero, you offer to go to the village and whoop the monster’s ass. You brace yourself aaaaaaaaaand…it’s a dolphin? Well, that’s what it seems like at first. It’s actually an arrogant asshole aussie angler…ayup. So yeah, after a rough battle, you get to see the fairy village…and it’s kind of a piece of shit now.
At first, that’s all it seems to be. Later in the game, however, you return to the village and you can actually affect the growth of the village, how it’s built, etc. While it’s not as interesting as BOF2’s town creation method in that you don’t seek people out for your village, it is fairly interesting in that it’s more complex and engaging, requiring you to come back often to see what new stuff is available.
The Last Story – Pirate Ship
So, Final Fantasy seems to have a thing for pirates. Now no, this isn’t Final Fantasy, but remember that The Last Story was created by the original creator of Final Fantasy. Almost anytime FF does something with pirates, you know it’s going to be awesome. In the case of TLS, you board a gurak ship (yes it’s a pirate ship), then proceed to start taking it over.
Initially you start out in stealth, opting to save human captives and whatnot…then you immediately turn to free for all brawls. Eventually it ends with you having to take down a pirate captain, which is ultimately a truly epic battle. Pretty much every element from the sneaking around to the brawling to the types of enemies and situations is spot on here.
Persona 4 – The Bit Dungeon
So the Persona series already gets high marks in my books (obviously), but Persona 4 did something I didn’t expect: they made a blocky, bitisized dungeon for you to go through. The best part is not only is it awesome, but it totally doesn’t feel like they just threw it in because they fucking well could. It actually does match the personality of the character…who again, I won’t mention due to spoilers.
Hopefully this will provide the push I need to keep this series going as I truly enjoy putting them together. If you have any suggestions, definitely feel free to put them in the comments area and I’ll immediately research it if I don’t know what it is already. Thanks for the read!