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Old December 14th, 2012, 08:47 PM
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machomuu
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Machomuu's Holiday Mini-Reviews and Recommendations 2012

The Holidays are here and many people are still looking for gifts to buy their children, friends, siblings, and so forth. Are you one of these people? Well then look no further, because I'm here to help you decide on gifts that will be both cost effective and fun for those that you are buying them for. I won't pick on most of the 2012 big names because these are probably the first games people go to buy and, really, you can find a treasure trove of reviews about these games. Instead, I'll be looking at all sorts of games, most of them not from 2012 and some of them criminally obscure. Each day until the 22nd I'll be adding a one or two more games, so for those of you who are looking for fun games for the gamers or, heck, even the non-gamers in your family with the little time you have left, you've come to the right place! These reviews may be a bit lower quality than the official ones, but that's not to say that the games are. I'm your host, machomuu, and welcome to my Holiday Mini-Reviews and Recommendations!

DAY 1

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes

Genre: Crowd Fighting Action RPG
Platforms: Wii, Playstation 3
Developer: Capcom
Players: 1-2

There are few games that try to do what the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors do and actually succeed; Sengoku Basara is one such game to succeed and create its own unique experience. Developed by Capcom, Sengoku Basara is another take on the famous Sengoku period in Japan. There are host of characters, each with very unique playstyles and unique stories. One progresses through the story by facing hordes of enemies and completing objectives various objectives, ultimately fighting a boss at the end of each stage. The game heavily emphasizes story replays, as each character has multiple story paths, and because of how different the characters are from each other, the game will last you a long time.

The controls are very tight, making fighting very fun, even with the Wiimote and Nunchuk (my preferred playstyle). Each character has a large repertoire of moves, and the last thing the AI is is stupid. If one thinks they can get away with just tapping the normal attack button over and over and beating the game, they'll have to think again. The game urges the player to think before they act, and to strategize in combat, making the game less tedious and more interactive.

The opening of the game "Naked Arms" is in English, but is sung by the singer of the original Japanese version, and it sounds great. However, one thing to note about the intro is that, even on the Wii, the intro (and all of the cutscenes) look absolutely amazing. Also, for a song of its origin, the lyrics are surprisingly very good and coherent.


In-game graphics are great as well, the GUI and the environments are colorful, the characters look varied and just look great, and if you have a Wii, don't feel that you need to have a PS3 to play this at its best, it looks amazing on the Nintendo console. The music overall is great, ranging from traditional Japanese music to Heavy Metal, so there's really something there for everyone. As for the voice acting, for the most part, it's amazing. The voice actors that make up the cast of Sengoku Basara are the best in the business. While the lip syncing in the cutscenes isn't the greatest, the line writing is simply amazing and the characters are expressive and interesting. If you've ever watched the anime adaptation of Sengoku Basara, I can assure you that it is even better than that, so if you had any doubts, set them free, because there's nothing to fear.

All in all, Sengoku Basara is a wonderful and heavily underrated game. If you like Action games, Action RPGs, the Warriors Franchise, or the Sengoku era- heck, even if you don't like those things, you have to check this game out. It was truly a victim to poor advertisement, which is sad, because I dare say that this game has some of the best production value of any game to come over here from the east. Samurai Heroes is a great game that deserves to be in any gamer's library.

Dot Hack G.U.

Genre: Action RPG
Platforms: Playstation 2
Developer: Cyber Connect 2
Players: 1

Okay, okay, technically this is cheating, because it's three games (the art above is for the second game in the series), but I feel that it desperately needs to be listed, especially with the rising popularity of Sword Art Online. .Hack//G.U. (pronounced "Dot Hack GU") is a trilogy of games following Haseo, a member of an MMO called "The World". Haseo is an incredibly powerful player who is looking for Tri-Edge, a legendary Player-Killer ("PK" for short) that PKed his very good friend, Shino, and put her in a coma. However, when Haseo finally finds Tri-Edge, things go very, very wrong and he is forced to start his journey from the beginning.

.Hack//GU is the sequel to an anime series called .Hack//Roots (which is a direct prequel to GU) and a game called Dot Hack (the original entry in the series, which also had a direct prequel anime called ".Hack//Sign). Do you need to watch the show or play the game to understand the game? No. In fact, at least in the case of Roots (I definitely recommend playing the original Dot Hack game if you can), I feel that you should watch the show after playing the game, as there are a few surprises that are ruined in the game if you watch the show first.

.Hack//GU is an Action RPG created by Cyber Connect 2. It's a single player game, but it tries its best to emulate an online game...and good God does it do it well. The characters walking the streets of the towns talk like real people, they have relationships like real people, and most of all, they act like real people. Their dialog doesn't change all that often, but there are enough of them that it won't be too much of a problem.

The Voice Acting is...surprisingly poor in the first volume. It's not to say that the voice actors are bad, as two of the main voice actors are Yuri Lowenthal and Johnny Yong Bosch, two of the greatest voice actors to ever grace the dubbing world. So how can they screw up? By being given sub-par writing. Then there's the fact that some of the voice actors, though few, aren't particularly good (the best example of these are Kuhn's fangirls and Atoli, which you will find out about when you play the first game). Luckily, this is only a problem in the first game, the second game does a better job with this. A much better job. The voice acting in the second game is great, thanks to the improved writing. Actually, pretty much everything is better about the second volume, but I'll get to that in a second.

The game is part Dungeon-Crawler, but many times you will be fighting outside of dungeons, so there is something here for many RPG fans. As Haseo, you start out with Dual Blades and gain more weapon types as you go on, making gameplay very versatile and prompting the player to continue the game for the additions. There are two separate zones: Towns and Areas. In towns, you can accept quests, own a shop, run your guild, enter in the arena...this game just has a lot to do. Areas are where you go to when you type in a few phrases. Depending on the phrase you type in, you will get a different type of dungeon or field with a different objective. These are usually the areas you

However, the real crowning achievement of the .Hack// series, especially G.U., is its story. The individual games in this series aren't particularly long, but that doesn't stop the story from gripping the player by the heart and turning it upside down. The game builds its story more on emotion than anything else, it thrives on the idea that one can sympathize with the characters, and because of this, they can feel their pain as well. And this is a sad, sad game. It's not depressing or overly dark, but it will make you feel something when you play it. The story is also filled with twists and is deep without becoming convoluted. As for the endings...you'll like them.

The music is surreal and fitting. It feels like the type of music one would hear in an MMO, and it fits the environment that the game is set in (which is pretty difficult to actually relate to a real culture). The game does a great job of expressing emotion, which is integral for an emotion-driven story like Dot Hack (best example of this is Gentle Hands, the ending theme).


The graphics are very good for a Playstation 2 game. .Hack//G.U. is held back by the Playstation 2's power. It's almost a shame that it hasn't been given an HD remake like many other games, because this is one game that desperately needs it. It actually looks as if it were made for the next gen systems (or rather, as if it were made for next generation requirements) and was made weaker for the sake of being on the PS2. Still, G.U. is one of the best looking games on the system, and deserves to be recognized for it. The uses of colors in this game are pure genius. While in most portions of the game, the colors are vivid and varied among the various environments, the real genius, however, comes with the use of darkness and light, as well as shading. The characters often have to make decisions or struggle with themselves, as well as with the other characters. Usually, this conflict isn't about what is "good" and what is "evil", but rather, the morals of what is ethical and what isn't. Thus, the game uses the darkness and light to represent the struggles of the characters without explicitly saying them. This works great, especially with the game's Cel-Shaded graphics, as it makes the player better understand the character through experience and strife rather than through what is simply said.

Dot Hack G.U. is a fantastic series that, like the game above it, is heavily underrated. It has its shortcomings, but it tries to fix them with each new volume (and succeeds in doing so in each one). The characters, as one would expect from a Dot Hack game, are interesting and have conflicts that one can understand and sympathize with. The story is great, as are the graphics and the cutscenes. If you're looking for a game that will keep yu busy for a while with great mechanics, tight gameplay, and a good-sized story, G.U. is certainly a good Christmas gift that will keep people busy for a while.

DAY 2

999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Genre: Puzzle, Visual Novel
Platforms: Nintendo DS
Developer: Chunsoft
Players: 1

Let's say, for a moment, that the person you're buying for is into dark and completely realistic stories. Maybe they want something that tries their intelligence and at the same time puts them in a gruesome emotional story. 999 is the perfect game to sate a desire for such a game. The game is often compared to Saw, though it's not nearly as bloody and sadistic. This is a good thing, because death in 999 is used for the sake of realism rather than for the sake of creating a blood bath that is meant to scare you.

You play as Junpei, a young man who wakes up in an unfamiliar place. You don't know how you got there or even when you got there, but you do remember how you were abducted. A masked figure somehow managed to get into your room and knock you out with some sort of grenade. You soon find out that you are on a ship on the high seas and are far away from civilization. You also notice that you have a strange watch on with the number "5" displayed on it. You can't seem to get it off, and you don't really know what it does.

It's not long before you meet the eight other people on board, all of whom have a watch, or rather, a bracelet, just like you. Each of the bracelets also has a number, just like yours. You are told by the one running the operation, Zero, that you are and the others have only nine hours to escape the ship. To escape the ship, you have to find the door with the number 9. This can only be done by passing a number of trials and using the help of the others, and the escape cannot happen alone for reasons explained and shown in game. As you progress through the game, you will learn if you can truly trust these strangers and the story behind the event that is unfolding on board the ship and the history of the game that you are taking part in. However, the full truth of the happenings in the story will not be so easily explained with one playthrough. The game has several endings (one of which is the true ending), each of which is achieved by the different decisions that the player makes in the story.

As far as graphics are concerned, 999 is a very beautiful game. Few other games on the DS have such high quality sprites as 999 does and, as one can see in the cover art above, the character designs are creative and inspired. The environments are good looking as well, ranging from stark and gray to bright and pleasant. The game never tries to move away from the looming thoughts of desolation and despair, so the various rooms on the ship try to reflect that. The backgrounds aren't animated, but they are realistic looking and help to immerse the player in the game.

Does this mean that 999 is a completely dark and depressing game? Well, not entirely. In the beginning it may seem as if the game will be grim all the way through, but the game livens up, with the characters often cracking jokes, being friendly, and getting into comical situations. What's more, this is another game with a palette of colorful characters. 999 is almost as character-driven as it is story-driven, with the characters starting out as strangers and then steadily revealing their true personalities as well as their pasts to the protagonist.

The story is not at all simplistic. While it doesn't reach "Metal Gear Solid" or "Kingdom Hearts" levels of complexity it...no wait, it definitely does. The story in this game starts off far more simplistic than its conclusion, but the story is so well written that even those who normally can't wrap their minds around complex concepts will be pulled in. A lot of things that happen in the game may not initially make sense, but that's on purpose and it is a part of the fun. The creators emphasize that the character goes back, even after all of the endings have been reached, and try to make sense of the story with all that they've learned through their previous playthroughs. It's strange, because I've never had so much fun with a game when I was simply thinking about it.

The music in this game is mostly for ambiance. It is not meant for the pleasure of the player (for the most part), but rather, it is meant to emotionally affect the player, be it with fear, sadness, or anxiety. It does the job well, making the player feel more in tune with Junpei and his dilemma. It share's this trait with Horror games and movies, and in some senses 999 is a Fictional Horror game. Then there are songs like the song below, where you really need to hear the song in context to truly be hit by the emotion that the song portrays.


999, isn't underrated so much as it is overlooked. It is a great game that does something that very few games attempt to do, and many of the games that do what 999 does don't come to the West. I recommend getting this game for the readers or the story lovers in your life, just make sure they're not too young to comprehend the game and its setup. If they like this game, tell them to try out the sequel, "Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward" for the Playstation Vita and the Nintendo 3DS.

DAY 3

"Two T ratings and an M rating? I don't want my little Timmy to be exposed to such violence and morbid content, is there anything for him?" Well never fear, generic example woman, because today we'll be looking at three titles that are not only in the E10 to E range, but we'll be looking at games in the music genre specifically.

Theatrythm Final Fantasy

Genre: Rhythm RPG
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, iOS
Developer: indies zero
Players: 1+

Final Fantasy is one of the most well known and one of the most important game series in the history of gaming. With interesting stories, androgynous characters, and keystone RPG elements, Final Fantasy. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy...isn't really the same as the others. Theatrhythm is a side game in the Final Fantasy series that avoids having much of a story and emphasizes its rhythm elements.

The idea for the Theatrhythm is simple: place familiar Final Fantasy characters from the various games into a rhythm backdrop; it doesn't really get more complex than that. The game works similar to Beatmania or Dance Dance Revolution, beats move up one of four tracks and you have to use the touch screen to hit the beats with the rhythm of the song. Where Theatrhythm is unique is the use of the touch screen. Rather than simply pressing up, down, left, or right, Theatrhythm is completely controlled by the touch screen. In other words, buttons are seldom used, and when they are, it's not for actual gameplay.

The game is filled with songs, and I don't think I really need to tell any of you reading this how good the music is because, well, it's Final Fantasy. However, there may be those of you listening that don't know about Final Fantasy or what attracts people to it, and that's understandable. Final Fantasy is known for its music, among other things. Its composers are legendary, and the number of games out there that know how to give their games music as memorable as the ones by these men and women are not in heavy supply. Final Fantasy (as well as a other games such as Mario and the other early music giants) is largely the reason for most of the great memorable songs we hear in other games today, one such example is Pokemon; it taught developers that music in a game can greatly affect how the player feels about it, and as such the composers for games started to go out of their way to make memorable songs. Theatrhythm, rather than featuring remixes, uses the original songs from the original games. This was a little disappointing to me, as I would have loved to hear remade versions of the older games, given a contemporary coat, but the game uses the original songs to its advantage. It is meant to give a full sense of nostalgia to the players who played the older titles, and there was really no reason to remix the newer games. Because of this, it is probably the best fan-oriented game in the Final Fantasy lineage.

There are three different modes of play: Series Mode, which runs through five songs from each main Final Fantasy game; the Chaos Shrine, where you can take on a series of two-song challenges, featuring songs that are not available in Series Mode (and ones that are), and Challenge Mode, where you can play the songs you've unlocked or downloaded. The songs themselves are categorized into four styles of play: Opening and Ending Songs, where one simply taps the screen with the rhythm (this is available exclusively in Series Mode); Field Songs, where your character runs across an area from one of the thirteen games; Battle Songs, where you fight various monsters by tapping the beats at the correct times; and Emotional Songs, where a music video plays and you must follow the beats on the screen. If you are wondering if the game is easy or hard, no need to worry. Each song has an "Basic", "Expert", and "Ultimate", so whether you are a Casual Gamer or you like a good challenge, there's something here for you.

As far as graphics go, Theatrhythm is rather eccentric. It adopts a type of Super Deformed art style (as one can see on the cover) rather than the traditional art styles of any of the games. This is most likely because it is not made by the regular developers, and thus the new ones decided to have a little fun with it. That, and they wanted the game to be more whimsical than the other titles, and it definitely does just that. The game is lighthearted and in some cases goofy to appeal to all ages, and with its unique art style it certainly manages to stand out.

If you're a Final Fantasy fan, this game is for you, and it would make a perfect gift for that FF fan in your life. The various tracks from each game are sure to please longtime fans of the series, and even those who don't play Final Fantasy might have good fun with the game, especially if they are rhythm game fans. Theatrhythm is a unique and eccentric game, and its rather ostentatious presentation is sure to attract many a gamer, be they casual or hardcore.

Elite Beat Agents

Genre: Music
Platforms: Nintendo DS
Developer: iNiS
Players: 1-4

Though if we're talking eccentric games, Elite Beat Agents takes the cake. The sequel to the Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!, Elite Beat Agents is a unique yet tried and true music game that uses contemporary music to make a cult hit (at least, in the West). The game is about a group of people called the "Elite Beat Agents". These EBA's purpose is to help those who are in some sort of trouble, be it that they need to get to a destination on time or that they need to get off of a deserted island. They do this by...dancing. Yup, the EBA helps people out of any situation by dancing. It's not as ridiculous is it sou- uh...okay, it's as ridiculous as it sounds, but in a way, it makes sense. The dancing doesn't actually help them out of a situation so much as it does raise their morale, and that's really what EBA does: they help people help themselves.

The game is simple, on the screen appear bubbles with rings around them and numbers inside them. You have to hit the bubble the moment the ring hits outer part of the bubble. It's not so much as focusing on the timing as it is focusing on the part of the song that the beat is going with. There are four difficulties, which at their base mean "Easy", "Normal", "Hard" and "Insane". So, one will probably ask if the game is hard or not. The short answer is yes. The game starts off simple so one can get a feel for the game and then it gets dramatically harder. So it may sound strange when I say that this game is very accessible, just like the above game. If you start the game and you "suck" at it, don't worry, everyone sucks the first time they play EBA. This is normal, do not discourage yourself. You will undoubtedly get better at the game if you keep at it, that is where the game generates its fun value. It is the frustration that comes from losing to the song and the satisfaction that comes with overcoming the challenge that makes playing EBA just so fun.

There is a good selection of music here, which is quite interesting considering that the developers for the game are stationed in Japan. The reason this is interesting is because the selection of songs are songs that were popular in America in the 2000s (for the most part). There are songs from David Bowie, Avril Lavigne, and Queen. Oh, and there's the song that everyone identifies with EBA (since it's the first song) called "Walkie Talkie Man", and its covered by Jason Paige, who also sang a good number of Pokemon songs. There are also some classics, such as songs by The Rolling Stones and Jackson 5. I would go on, but this is one of those cases where I recommend playing the game and seeing how interested in the songs one is for themselves.


This game uses an art style that is a blend between manga and anime. The characters are actually rather normal looking...until the song starts, then they become hyperactive and exaggerated- in a good way. The way the characters are represented does well to add to the intensity of the song, as well as the situation at hand (and more often than not, the situations are "Mundane Made Awesome"). The colors are vivid and the art is simplistic and well done, all of it presented in a crazy yet suitable manner.

If you like music games or if you like touch screen based gaming, you will love Elite Beat Agents. Really, I feel that Elite Beat Agents is a game that is incredibly accessible for everyone and should be played by anyone that owns a DS; therefore, if you know anyone of any age that has a DS, buy it for them. The game is incredibly cheap, in most places. You have little to no reason not to have this game (unless you don't have a DS). Elite Beat Agents is personally my second favorite Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan game and, going on a tangent, if you like EBA then you will definitely like OTO and its sequel, both of which are sadly exclusive to Japan. Similarly, if you like EBA and want more music madness, you should try out the always great and always free Osu! for the PC (one of my personal favorite PC games). If you don't have a DS or like EBA and/or OTO, you need to give Osu! a try, it will last you for a good couple of months, if not a couple of years.

DAY 4

Today we'll be talking about a Free to Play game, because how can you get cheaper than that?

RaiderZ

Genre: Action MMO
Platforms: PC
Developer: Maiet Entertainment

Well, I did not all that long ago recommend Dot Hack, and Sword Art Online is very popular recently, so it would be something of a crime for me not to recommend this game. RaiderZ is a game that is often described as "Similar to Monster Hunter" or "the free TERA", and while it does have some emphasis on the former, it is far more like the latter with very little in common with MH. It's one of the first MMOs to be open and feature fast-paced Action RPG gameplay without being restrained to only having a few other people in the same zone as you at the same time.

The game plays as one would expect an Action RPG to play, tapping the left mouse attacks and holding the right mouse blocks. One can also dash to avoid attacks (allowing one to opt for light armor and be a speed-based character and even go solo while doing it, if they so choose) and one can activate their skills using one of the hotkeys or clicking the icons for the individual skills themselves. Probably the first question to come to one's mind is "How quick are the response times?" Luckily, the game is incredibly responsive, making the fast-paced nature work quite well and to make it seem similar to offline Action MMOs in terms of playability (which is a very good thing). The game, for the most part, revolves around completing quests, making weapons, and following the story; but there is enough variety that it doesn't become monotonous.

The music in RaiderZ...when there is some, is epic, and I mean that in the most literal way possible. For the most part, there is no music playing in RaiderZ other than in boss battles and the main menu. It's there, it's just usually not playing. This does not really detract from the experience; in fact, it is hardly ever a complaint...probably because few people actually notice, but again, that's not really a bad thing. In terms of the music that is in the game, it is orchestrated. What does that mean? Well, let's just say that when I described it as epic, I meant it. That's not to say it is the best game music ever, but it is truly grand and definitely does well to fit whatever situation it is played in.


RaiderZ is also a pretty good looking game, especially for a Free to Play title. Some monsters, for instance, have sheen and designs that are just beautiful, and seeing them in action, they're well animated and move smoothly. There's also a surprising amount of vegetation for a game that loads so much in a moderate amount of time.

The community is, for the most part, pretty friendly. One will have little to no trouble finding someone who wants to partner with them, and there is very little insulting or cursing. The only con is the spambots...dear God the spambots. Those are probably the worst thing about the game, polluting the cities with their advertisements. Luckily, one can simply block them so they no longer prove to be a problem. The Cash Shop is probably one of the best ones I've seen in a Free to Play. Why? Because the items available are simply items for those who want something extra. There is nothing that will almost force the player to buy the item or nothing there that advances the story or unlocks a normally locked part of the GUI, which is a godsend for someone with no income.

So, for that kid who's been watching Sword Art Online or Dot Hack recently, tell them to check out this game. Really, I recommend everyone who likes MMOs to try out this game, especially those who like ARPGs. Give it a shot, you'll be hooked all the way through the new year.

DAY 5-6

Xenoblade Chronicles

Genre: Open-World RPG
Platforms: Wii
Developer: Monolith Software
Players: 1

Far, far away, there exists a place called Japan. In this land there was a game that went by the name of Xenoblade, said to be one of the most revolutionary RPGs to come out in recent years and was to be among the greatest games of all time. People dismissed it as a myth, saying that such a game would have come outside of Japan if it truly existed. Then the rain fell, and a monolith appeared, and we knew, the game was real. We rejoiced and revelled in what was to come, and thus, Xenoblade Chronicles came into being.

Long ago, there were two life forms: Bionis and Mechonis. The two warred against each other day in and day out, until finally, they each struck each other down. As years passed, life began to prosper on the corpses of the two colossi. On Bionus, sentient lifeforms such as the Homs, the Noppon, and the High Entia developed. You play as a Homs named Shulk, an engineer living in Colony 9. His ordinary life is disrupted when, one day, the Mechon, inhabitants of Mechonis, attack the Colony and eat many of the inhabitants. What’s more, Shulk learns that he is the rightful heir to the Monado, the legendary blade that Bionus wielded prior to its death that allows its user to see into the future, if they are the chosen by it. Thus, Shulk sets out to avenge his fallen home and friends and defeat the Mechon once and for all.

This is just a small snippet of what the game has to offer in terms of its story. The game is quite long…or rather, it can be. I’ll get into why later, but just know that the game will keep you busy for quite the long time. While you don’t make any story altering decisions, the game certainly isn’t linear…well, it can be but…I might as well get into it now. Xenoblade has quite a few sidequests that one can pick up from the NPCs in the game. Along with that, it also has quite a few locations dedicated specifically to these sidequests. There are a lot of sidequests, and you probably won’t even find them all. To put it in perspective, there are at least 20 hours worth of sidequests, if not more. The game is made for those who want a story with quick pacing as well as those who want to take their time and see all that the game has to offer. As such, the game is technically as long as the player makes it to be, which really widens the appeal for the game quite a bit.

Xenoblade, despite its appearance and the fact that it’s on the Wii which is unjustly considered a “kiddy system”, is pretty dark and, as with many other games on the list, is heavily emotional and character-driven. Luckily, as with many of the games on the list, the characters are interesting and likable. Though, the interesting part of this game is that, at its base, the characters act like stereotypes, so it would be expected that they would be bland and generic characters. For instance, Shulk is the blond haired male protagonist that talks about power in friendship and the like, and Rein is the best friend who is more brawn than brain. So why, exactly, do these characters work? It’s because we feel their struggle and we can sympathize with them. In Shulk’s case, the mention of friendship truly holds weight because, of the power he is given and the losses that he has gained because of it. All he has is friendship, pretty much everything else is gone for him, and one cannot run on revenge alone. Rein, in his weakness, needs Shulk to supplement for what he doesn’t have, and it is in that that we see a truly interesting bond. The other characters face similar struggles, and how they deal with the struggles is what truly makes each character interesting.

As was mentioned, the game is an Open World RPG. Probably the closest game one could compare it to is Final Fantasy XII, as the games have a few similarities in terms of gameplay. This is not to say those of you who didn’t like Final Fantasy XII won’t like this, but it is an acceptable comparison. One simply targets an enemy on the field and attacks. There is an Auto-Attack function, so all you really have to worry about is the use of Skills. Battle is very strategic, and this game largely relies on hindering the enemy in some way, usually through chaining skills with teammates. You control one character while the other characters are controlled with the AI.

Each character is different, some characters being ranged attackers, others relying on a unique “magic” element that exists in the world called “Ether”, and others are close combat fighters that rely on either strength, speed, or defense.

The music in Xenoblade Chronicles…I feel almost like a broken record saying this…but it’s very good. Probably the most unique thing about the soundtrack is that it is mostly done by no-names, and very few of the tracks were done by Shimomura (the composer of Kingdom Hearts) or Mitsuda (a legendary freelancer). In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Xenoblade has one of the best ambient soundtracks in a video game, and it no doubt has the most beautiful track I've ever heard in a game (well, save for The Sims 1). More often than not, the songs when out in a location is grand, and in the cities and towns they fit the feel that the location is meant to present. I don't really feel I need to explain myself hear: you need to play the game and hear them for yourself.


All in all, I can't recommend this game enough. It is undoubtedly one of the absolute best RPGs to be created, and is certainly one of the best this generation, if not the best. Will it revolutionize the JRPG genre? Only time will tell. I do know one thing, though, and it is that you need to buy this for any gamer in your family or any of your gamer friends, because this game is an absolute masterpiece.



DAY 7-8
Chrono Trigger

Genre: RPG
Platforms: Super Nintendo, PlayStation, Nintendo DS, Mobile phones, Virtual Console, PlayStation Network, iOS, Android
Developer: Square Enix
Players: 1

Ah, Chrono Trigger; such a legendary RPG that lately has become more and more available. In fact, the game is so legendary that it is lauded by many gamers and game sites as being the greatest RPG of all time. So why am I covering it here if it's so well known? Well...it is for more in-the-know gamers and Super Nintendo gamers, but...it's not nearly as popular as it should be. Heck, I didn't even know about it until almost 5 years ago. That's sad. So, let's dive in to the Role-playing wonder that is Chrono Trigger.

Chrono Trigger is the tale of a boy named Crono who is accidentally sent to the medieval times when he meets a girl named Marle. Soon enough, he finds out that this girl names "Marle" is a revered princess! Returning to the present becomes the least of his troubles when he learns of a dangerous lifeform that threatens the planet. It then becomes up to Crono and his crew to travel through time and find a way to defeat this seemingly unstoppable foe.

Hear that? Sound generic? At its base, it does sound generic, and that might scare people away. However, stay a little longer, maybe even try it out; you might like what you see. Thing is, Chrono Trigger was created in 1995, and no one would just simply accept a game with a cookie cutter storyline, let alone name it one of the greatest RPGs of all time. Chrono Trigger is so much more than what I said and it has one of the most well thought out stories I've seen in a game. The characters are ones that you'll like, which is essential, because they have rather large parts in the story. Really, Chrono Trigger is a revolutionary game in terms of video game story telling as it featured foresight and scope only ever seen in the Ultima titles (one of the most legendary and revolutionary games in RPG history, a keystone in RPG gaming).

The game plays like some of the later Final Fantasy titles...kind of. Actually, the only real way that they are similar is because of the ATB (Active Time Bar), as well as the interface, but that's about it. The game heavily emphasizes the use of combo attacks, which is when two or three characters (three being the team max) get together and use a fantastic display of a skill. The combo attacks are always very creative and pleasing (and sometimes funny to watch). That is how the combat works, but the real attraction to Chrono Trigger is the utilization of Time Travel. The game heavily revolves around travelling through time to do various tasks, and this leads to some of the most non-linear gameplay of the time.

The music in Chrono Trigger...is...Backstory Time! Chrono Trigger gained quite a bit of buzz even before release. Why? Well, there were a couple of reasons for this, however the most relevant reason is the Dream Team, which is composed of some of the most profound developers and musicians in gaming. So, as you can expect...the music in Chrono Trigger is very, very, VERY GOOD. If Xenoblade had some of the best ambient music in gaming, Chrono Trigger has some of the best music in gaming. I can honestly say that, without a doubt, Chrono Trigger has one of the best and undoubtedly the most revolutionary soundtrack in gaming. 'Nuff said, but I'm gonna go on. Chrono Trigger is a game that encompasses a number of tones and emotions, and the soundtrack hits each and every one of them right on the dime. Dire situations feel heart pumping and incredibly hopeless; sad scenes feel will make you sympathize with the characters (and you will sympathize with the characters); and the surreal scenes...just play it.


You and whoever you will definitely be buying this for have absolutely positively no reason not to be playing or have already played this game. I believe that it is most definitely one of the greatest games of all time, and it has done an incredible service to gaming as a whole. Buy it, just buy it. You will be missing out quite a bit if you don't. Honestly, I feel that this masterpiece is the perfect way to end this list. Merry Christmas everyone, and happy gaming!
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Last edited by machomuu; March 7th, 2013 at 02:29 PM.
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