At The Height of Evolution – Sony Playstation – Parasite Eve – 1998

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Parasite Eve
Sony Playstation
Squaresoft
1998
Genre: Horror Action RPG

Some gaming companies are a bit better known for taking chances. This tends to take place before a company establishes itself and its niche. Square, if the stories are to be believed, took a huge chance with Final Fantasy to save the company. Clearly, this paid off more than some other deviations from the norm for other companies. This also may have given the company more motivation to take the occasional step outside of the comfortable.

Parasite Eve is an earlier role-playing game from my Playstation novice years. While this tends to be the case with a lot of my earlier role-playing experiences, I truly felt that as I played through this game again with some years under my belt, I appreciated this game much more than I had back in 1998. As the company’s first game to achieve a Mature rating from the ESRB, this is probably an obvious statement to make, since the game is almost 20 years old at this point, but this brings up the question as to how has the rest of the game has aged. Even more, how does it look against the rest of Squaresoft’s library at the time and since it became Square Enix?

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Quick Draw Champions – Sony Playstation – Wild Arms -1996

 

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Wild Arms
Sony Playstation
Media.Vision
1996
Genre: Western Fantasy Role-Playing

The genre of the ‘western’ has appeared in many mediums. Cinema used to be rife with John Wayne movies and tumbleweeds aplenty. Themes of cowboys and gunfights have permeated plenty of popular literary pieces and even some action packed video games. Role-playing games, however, tend to have fleeting sequences of Wild West tones in them. When I was younger and found Wild Arms, a Wild West game with elements of magic and lost technology, I was obsessed almost immediately, even having not been a fan of Westerns in most other formats. The series, now five strong in its main stable, has been around for some time now, despite the fact that most people don’t know much about it. Is it a series that is even worth looking into, though?

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Monster Rancher – An Overview – Part 1

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I’ve been mulling it over in my head for awhile now. I wanted to do a review of a series, and preferably one that I loved for years. This is one series that I think my cohort isn’t as familiar with, and while it crossed the paths of gamers in a few different genres, it seems to have flown under the radar, except for fans of the franchise.

Today, I talk to you about the Monster Rancher series. Continue reading

The Best Legends are Complicated – Sony Playstation – Legend of Mana – 2000

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Legend of Mana
Sony Playstation
Squaresoft
2000
Genre: Action Role-Playing

As we’ve seen in the past, when a series tries to do something drastically different, it winds up creating two schools of fans in its audience. There are the people who wish that the series had stayed on the same track because if a formula is working for something, why try to mess with it? Then, there’s the group that believes the company behind the game was attempting something innovative and, for better or worse, they are happy that there was attempt to make something greater than the source material.

Legend of Mana tends to fall into this category of sequel. While most seasoned gamers could tell you about Secret of Mana (and possibly Secret of Mana 2 a.k.a. Seiken Densetsu 3), when it comes to Legend of Mana, many people have either heard of it in passing, remember trying to play through the game and giving up out of frustration or will gush about the game any time the chance arises. Being that I have now watched the game played through multiple times by people in my apartment, I decided to pick it up and play through it myself. I have to say that I definitely fall into one of the above schools of thought. Can you guess which one?

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An Erudite Adventure – Sony Playstation – Xenogears – 1998

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Xenogears
(c) 1998
Square
Genre: Sci-fi Fantasy RPG

The Playstation was a system known for its RPGs.  Many were good.  Some were bad.  A few were flat out flops, and still others were fantastic, really a cut above the rest.  They spanned all genres, though fantasy and sci-fi fantasy tended to rule the day.  When Xenogears was released, there was a new trend happening in Japan – there was this thirst, this desire for religious and intellectual themes, psychological references and some really heavy topics.  Two anime come to mind in particular that exemplified this, Ghost in the Shell and Neon Genesis Evangelion.  Xenogears is one of the few games I would honestly recommend someone brush up on their humanities before diving into it. Continue reading