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1. Star Ocean: First Departure – The Tail of Cinder-Roddick / Review / PSP / Released 2007 / 4.22.2013
Bizarre voice acting. Whipping up a Christmas turkey in a monster-infested dungeon. The disturbing tale of Cinder-Roddick. Whether you’re here for dungeon crawling, creating delightful joys such as lame earrings and rotting sashimi, or just have an obsession for tails, the first installment of Star Ocean has it all.
2. Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten – Sardines and Strategy RPGs / Review / PS3 / Released 2011 / 5.15.2013
What long-running strategy RPG series touts a quirky anime visual style, some incredibly addictive game mechanics, and massive amounts of off the cuff humor? If you guessed Disgaea, then you are correct. In this episode we tackle Nippon Ichi’s latest installment in this popular series, which includes a sardine-eating vampire, some frustratingly difficult DLC, and – yes – tons of intentional sexual innuendo.
Do you like maps? Do you like making maps? Well, we don’t either. But cartography is a must-have skill in this installment of the Phantasy Star series, and you’d better darn well use it.
4. La Pucelle Tactics – Behold Our Kitty and Crossbones Flag and Despair! / Review / PS2 / Released 2002 / 6.26.2013
The Kingdom of Paprica has a problem – a big problem. No, it’s not the giant, ear-busting mushrooms. Nor is it the balding men who create bizarre fur monsters due to a hair tonic gone wrong. No – the Dark Prince is destined to rise again, and it’s up to the demon-hunting church of La Pucelle to take care of business and support the Maiden of Light, a girl destined to fight the ultimate evil. Along the way, be prepared for a few laughs…such as routinely using the Holy Book to bean people, censored cigarette smoking, and yes, a band of kitty pirates.
At last, an Xbox 360 RPG! Follow the journey of Rush Sykes (yes, his name is Rush Sykes) as he fights hordes of baddies and tries to rescue his sister and take on the Conqueror, an unshaven cranky dude who appears to be wearing some very gaudy drapery. This game received mediocre reviews in its day, but in this episode we argue that if you can get past the annoying protagonist, there is more to this game than meets the eye.
Who is Hawke, the Champion of Kirkwall? In this western RPG, it’s all about choose your own adventure! Follow our exploits as Marian Hawke, a mage defending other mages, as she traverses the garbage-ridden streets of Kirkwall, the Cesspit of the Free Marches, and romances Anders, an apostate mage with an obsession for cats and and some multiple personality issues. Of course, this is not necessarily what everybody else did in the game, so tonight we will be a little more detailed than usual, discussing the game as we experienced it. We apologize for how long this ended up! Other things on the docket: speculations on Dragon Age III, how the game stacks up to Dragon Age: Origins, and the Great JRPG vs Western RPG Debate.
At last – we play something in the Final Fantasy series! In this episode we cover the NES version of Final Fantasy, though also with a segment on the PlayStation remake that was released in North America in 2003 (complete with the game’s intro music, which apparently has some cheesy sound effects). What party combinations are the best? We not only take on the exasperating questions, but we also warn any would-be wanderers of the Ogre Corridor of Doom. You have been warned. Yes, we later found out we that screwed up the “return the light” bit.
Did you know that you can get sick from eating potatoes but not raw fish? Additionally, are you aware of the fact that roaches secretly operate a cabal that prevents mice from getting to their cheese? These are two of the many lessons given in the first installment of the long-running Breath of Fire series. Join us in our ramblings as we discuss turn-based combat systems, decipher garbled acronyms, and question the fashion choices of some of the game’s leading characters. Hot pants, anyone?
Proudly holding its title as the granddaddy of console strategy RPGs, Shining Force even today has a lot to offer the average retro gamer, with simplistic but fun gameplay, an endearing art style…and a main character who adamantly refuses to wear pants. We are looking very forward to playing more in the series…but Sega, why oh why didn’t you release all of Shining Force III in English? Note of warning: we just got a new microphone, and we’re still tinkering with the settings. The audio quality is a bit different than usual – we’re working on it.
10. Tales of Xillia Part 1 – No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service! / Review / PS3 / Released 2011 / 11.16.2013
What do world maps (or the lack thereof), the symptoms of cocaine use, and Encino Man all have in common? Nothing, but we mention them nevertheless in our first episode of our two part Tales of Xillia series! Not only do we go wildly off topic at times, but we also discuss our first impressions, the game’s intricate battle system, and how the never ending quest for a porange almost caused us to go insane. Relatively spoiler free, except for the first ten hours or so (which is about what we put in before recording), and what we do have is nothing earth-shattering. More to come in Part Two! (Part 2).
For the past few hundred years, the world has gone to hell in a handbasket. Wars rage on, sickness and disease spread, and large, mysterious creatures called World Eaters threaten to ravage the land. And now it’s up to YOU, Revya, with a mysterious sword and a wise-cracking, foul-mouthed being named Gig trapped inside your body, to take out the World Eaters and bring peace to the land. Developed by the same folks as Disgaea and La Pucelle Tactics, we find that this game is more off the beaten path than other NIS titles, with a squad system reminiscent of Ogre Battle and a heavy focus on pre-battle tactical decisions. Variety is the spice of life, however, and we explain why we enjoyed this little diversion from the Item World before we move on to Disgaea D2.