Editorial Miscellany: The Classics

It controls competently for an inferior control method.

This is certainly the way the game looks!

I have been told to continue to wait for copies of Hyrule Warriors and Smash Bros and not to buy them myself, but as they still have not arrived, I cannot write about them today! Instead – and do not get too excited, LusiPopCans – I am going to talk about RPGs that are nearly three decades old. Yaayyyy!

Dragon Quest for… Android?!?!?!

As a relatively new fan to the Dragon Quest series and as somebody who would still consider himself a ‘moderate’ fan of the games, I am not as well-versed in the older entries in the series. Although my completion rate of the Final Fantasy series is still embarrassingly low, I have at least played every offline game in the series and – in most cases – have completed at least over 75 per cent of the title. Also, the fact is that playing older games in the Dragon Quest series is generally a more difficult task than finding one of Square Enix’s one hundred and twenty six thousand remakes of their older titles (more on that in a bit).

I found a cheap copy of Dragon Warrior that I could play on my girlfriend’s NES, but it never really grabbed me. To be honest, I think I knew from the beginning that the only way I would be able give the game a proper try would be if I had a handheld version of it. Well Square Enix responded to my request! Well, they sort of did. They did not specifically respond to me, and their decision was a little unexpected. They released a mobile version of the game. To illustrate how this felt, let me represent the situation through a hypothetical conversation about cream of mushroom soup.

“Hello there, I would like some cream of mushroom soup please! I will gladly pay for it.”

“Here is a cream of mushroom soup pill! It is cheaper and tastes pretty much the same.”

“Well, that is nice I suppose for people who prefer pills to soup, but I would like soup please.”

“No, just the pill. Three dollars.”

I do not see anything inherently wrong with a mobile version of the original Dragon Quest (I am far more skeptical of the mobile version of Dragon Quest VIII), but it does baffle me that it does not exist on the 3DS or Vita, even as a repackage of the Game Boy Color combo with Dragon Quest II. I do not work in business marketing strategies, but it seems to me like it would be a relatively easy move, especially considering the existence of said mobile and Game Boy versions. Anyway.

The game itself is much as I expected; it is satisfyingly simple. One party member, not a lot of direction outside of exploration, and Dragon Quest‘s typical brand of resource management. I love deciding if I should risk taking a longer trip into the wild or if I should grind a little first. Of course the former is more appealing, but it is also more risky. Still, I tend to not get more than ten minutes of gameplay time in during one go because I want to use my phone for something or I do not want to drain the batteries or I get annoyed that I am playing an RPG on my goddamned phone.

Poor Erdrick.

Give me this on Vita!

Final Fantasy I

Am I blind, LusiEyeDrops? I thought that there was a better remake of the original Final Fantasy available on the PlayStation Store that was not the Origins package. Granted, I had already paid for Origins, so it was a matter of a download and not a purchase, but I really would prefer another version. I am tempted to play the original original version on the Virtual Console, but then I return to the problem of playing a game like that on my large television, and that is just not something I am terribly interested in. To be perfectly honest, my first choice would be to play the original original version on my Vita, but I do not believe that is a possibility. Am I missing something here? I am enjoying playing the first hour for the one billionth time, but if there is a better way, then I would rather switch now than get too far deep into this Origins version.

Why?

Oh yes, I suppose I should answer just why I have been playing RPGs from around the time when I was born. It is not just a completionist mindset, but also a curiosity into the games that so thoroughly shaped my favourite genre. A time when the genre was in its more elemental form as a video game. It is interesting to see the evolutions (or lack thereof) that sprung from these old games and how the genre is better or worse served by having very little else to compare itself to. I am describing all this in very vague terms because I would rather play more of these two games specifically before I start making an analysis. But I would like to do so properly!

The Rest

I played more Shadows of Morder and while it is still strong, it does not really have a good gameplay arc. Powers are added and they are well-implemented, but it is fairly meaningless in terms of what makes the gameplay great (which is to say interacting with Uruk politics, constructing plans of attack, and building a relationship with the game’s surroundings). I also downloaded Persona 4 Golden because I figure that I should at least give that series a proper try. Also on that list is Disgaea, although I did not also buy that. I need to limit my purchases. I also finally beat Rogue Legacy and while I am enormously tempted to go for a platinum trophy, I know that I do not have the time in relation to the payoff.

Final Thoughts

Will this be the week I finally get to try Hyrule Warriors and Smash Bros? Or will I get my hopes up again for nothing? I have enough on my plate as it is, but I would be able to squeeze those two into rotation. I have dropped Curtain Call from said rotation. Not worth it. Everybody comment except for Mel. He has to extra comment.

15 comments on “Editorial Miscellany: The Classics”

  1. I was in my first year of middle school when the first Final Fantasy landed, and the only person I knew playing it was a fellow social outcast who would later go on to kill himself in highschool. Not exaggerating. I remember him drawing little maps and airships and talking in hushed tones with his only friend and being very standoffish when I asked him about it.

    I tried to play it myself, next time I was afforded a game rental and realized at once that it was like that other game Nintendo had given away with a subscription to Nintendo Power, Dragon Warrior. Something that although I loved Zelda 2, I had trouble grasping the appeal of at the time. I didn’t go much further with it and wrote it off as a curiosity. One I’d revisit and fall in love with via Lunar for the Sega CD.

    It’s odd looking back at these old titles, even through the eyes of another. I feel like I never gave them a proper chance, but I always know that they’re the prototypes for what became my favorite genre. I don’t know that with my limited time and finances today I’d revisit them. But it’s always neat to read articles like this and see someone doing just that. Cheers.

  2. Back in my Freshman year of high school when I was first getting into RPGs (yes, FF VIII was my FIRST RPG ever), I went to the local Funcoland to find a new game to play. I picked up both Vagrant Story and FF VII and asked the employee which game I should buy, as I heard good things about both. He recommended VII, which I purchased, which I am now very grateful for. As I’m playing through Vagrant Story for our podcast and I hate it.

  3. I sank countless hours into Dragon Warrior III back on GBC. That game kept me playing my color long after the advance game out with better looking games and shoulder buttons.

  4. Final Fantasy was the first RPG I ever played, when I was six. I remember seeing the strategy guide somewhere, and it looked like the coolest thing ever. But I could never get enough gold to equip the fighter and get spells for the mages to go into the Elf Cave (where I’d get mangled if I didn’t) before losing interest. I want to try it again sometime with 3 monks and a white mage.

    Dragon Warrior I – IV probably made the rest of my first 5 RPG’s. I liked them better at the time because of the way magic worked (you learned them with levels instead of buying them and actually had MP), equipment prices seemed fairer, and the quests were more fair – well, I never got stuck at the same part in any of them. I remember beating III and IV, but that might have been because I’d rent them so many times, and start off from someone else’s save point. “SLAYER!! hast been promoted to the next level!”

    I would like all of the above mentioned games on 3DS Virtual Console; preferably in their original forms, but at least in some form. As for now, cut the shit and play Persona 4 Golden.

    Oh yeah, I bought Curtain Call on a whim and a coupon. It was really fun for four days.

  5. Extra comment? What, like this:

    IS THIS RIGHT? OK, LETS TRY IT THIS WAY. SO I WROTE IN THE PODCAST THREAD THAT MY FIRST RPG WAS SUPER MARIO RPG, AND INDEED I THINK THAT WAS AN IDEAL WAY TO LEARN THE INS AND OUTS OF TURN BASED COMBAT. BEFORE THAT I HAD NO IDEA WHAT TURN-BASED EVEN MEANT. THE GAME’S STORY AND COMBAT AREN’T THE BEST, BUT IT’S PROBABLY AS CLASSIC AS CLASSIC GETS FOR ME.

  6. What’s the problem with the Origins version? If you’re not going to play the original, that’s the next best thing.

    You can play the original on NES or Wii VC. It looks fine. If you are upset about how it looks on your TV, then I suppose you can’t play any NES/SNES games on your TV. In any case, I’ve played through the game in the VC version because YOU BOUGHT IT FOR ME WITH MY OWN MONEY, and I have played through the original NES release countless times. It’s the only physical NES game that I still own, for precisely that reason.

    You can play the Origins version on a PS1, PS2, PS3, PSP, or Vita. It’s available on PSN for PSN-ready systems. If you adjust the settings accordingly, you can make it more or less identical to the NES version. Or, you can turn on a handful of ‘updates’ to the gameplay, like a dash button, the ability to use Life in combat, etc.

    You can play the PSP version (like origins superficially, but MUCH MUCH easier, more ‘updates’, and MP replaces the S.P.D. system) on PSP. It is only available in UMD (just like the release of FFII).

    You can play a horrible, shitty mobile version on iOS and probably Android, but you shouldn’t do that. This is the only FF game I own for iOS. It is as attractive as a flexing anus, and roughly as fun to play with.

    Also: that screenshot of Dragon Quest for Android looks fucking hideous.

  7. Nice article and topic.

    My story is identical to @mattdance, Final Fantasy 1 was my first RPG at six years old. I was so new to RPG’s back then; I remember my first playthrough and somewhere shortly after beating Garland I lost two of my party members. I had no idea how to bring them back. I came to the conclusion I couldn’t and that the game was broken and I didn’t play for over a week. My friend had to educate me on my stupidity and drag me to the Church.

    @lusipurr I always found the Origins version easier, if only because it had several Quality of Life improvements. You could Dash, and I do not recall the monster encounter rate increasing if you did. It very much felt like you got further ahead with less random encounters. This made a huge difference in, and I’ve used these examples here before, the Lich cave and Ice cave. Another improvement, but made things far easier, was turning the magic system of the original FF1 over to MP. Instead of having to carefully manage your magic like you must in FF1 nes, you had a bunch of MP and MP restoring items that made that micromanagement unnecessary. I do think the Origins version is better at the end of the day but if I want a challenge from that game I would stick to the original version.

    I picked up Dragon Quest 1 a couple weeks ago for something to do during down times at work, was worth a playthrough for $3 but those controls are nasty. I also grabbed DQ4 and just beat it. Controls are equally as nasty and it is not more apparent then when this old man in a town asks you to push him to the Church. Classic get behind the npc and move into him to drag him. I gave up pretty quickly, it just doesn’t work.

  8. @Savante writes: I always found the Origins version easier, if only because it had several Quality of Life improvements. You could Dash, and I do not recall the monster encounter rate increasing if you did. It very much felt like you got further ahead with less random encounters. This made a huge difference in, and I’ve used these examples here before, the Lich cave and Ice cave. Another improvement, but made things far easier, was turning the magic system of the original FF1 over to MP. Instead of having to carefully manage your magic like you must in FF1 nes, you had a bunch of MP and MP restoring items that made that micromanagement unnecessary. I do think the Origins version is better at the end of the day but if I want a challenge from that game I would stick to the original version.

    I think you’re confusing Origins with either the PSP release of FFI, or the Dawn of Souls GBA version, or another mobile release. I was playing FF Origins yesterday, in fact.

    1. You can turn off the ‘quality of life’ improvements in FF Origins. There are only a few (three or four) of these.
    2. Encounter rate is the same as the original (in most if not all cases), and does remain constant, so if you run, you will get into battles more quickly.
    3. FF Origins does not use MP. It uses the spell per day system from the original. There are no MP or new MP restoring items.
    4. Gold and XP rewards, and XP to next level, are unchanged.

    Ergo the FF Origins release is essentially the same as the original (with bugs fixed), once the QoL improvements are disabled.

  9. @lusipurr I may indeed be confused, and thus I shall retire to my bottle for the evening to contemplate my further existance.

  10. @Savante: No, you should retire to FF Origins! It’s worth playing!

    Time to start plotting my FF2 site playthrough…

  11. @lusipurr are you sure Lusi? I was there during Eureka and the Crystal Tower for FFIII. I have never heard you that upset before. I almost wanted to call your local 911 in order to save your life.

    I will be there for FFII. God bless.

  12. Just worried about your blood pressure. Echidna is nothing compared to the nonsense in FF2.

  13. FF2 I’ve actually played through twice before. I can confirm that it is significantly worse than FF3 in every conceiveable way.

    I was cross with FF3 largely because there are some things in the game that are manifestly unfair (as we saw), and my emulator gave me no real way to circumvent that by backing up. I don’t use cheat codes or anything else when I play games, nor do I use exploits, but for games where I cannot save frequently, and where death results in being kicked back to a very far-away save point, I really do need the ability to rewind and have a rethink. I simply do not have the time to constantly redo things because of random deaths. If I weren’t working 70+ hours a week, I might feel differently.

    I also consider that people on the stream aren’t terribly interested in watching me trudge through the same dungeon ten times, and die ten times to random deaths, over and over again. That makes for a boring stream, I think.

    On the topic of streams: all being well, those will resume in the first week of November.

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