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  • ckim 7:00 am on February 10, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: chronotrigger, Final Fantasy VI, Phantasy Star   

    @mjpilon I played Chrono Trigger after the fact, although not quite as after the fact as playing it in 2012, and I am inclined to agree. My first exposure to the game was via the PSX version that came out with Final Fantasy IV. I’m told it’s a piece of shit and has terrible loading times, but I didn’t notice since I didn’t play the SNES version.

    At any rate, I agree that there is a lot to like. The combination attacks are done very well, and I feel like the whole “avoiding a fight by seeing enemies on the map” thing is just now getting the respect that it deserves. (Super Mario RPG did this as well, so you seem to have chosen well with your forays in to JRPGs.)

    Depending on what you liked about Chrono Trigger, I’m happy to offer a few recommendations. If the idea of combo attacks appealed to you, I would recommend Phantasy Star IV. It’s widely regarded as among the best 16 Bit RPGs, and it’s probably the only one that cracks the upper echelons and came out on the Genesis. I view it as the culmination of everything that was great about JRPGs of that era, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a devout worshiper of the first four Phantasy Star games. It gives you an interesting cast of characters, just like Chrono Trigger, but unlike Chrono Trigger you don’t have quite as much choice in who you use throughout the game. Though, this does change towards the end. The only downside I can point to, at least in terms of your post, is that you will probably forced to grind levels in a few places. It’s not as brutal of a grind as something like the original Phantasy Star or Phantasy Star II, but there are definitely some places where you won’t be able to afford new equipment without walking around in circles for an hour or two. It is, however, a pretty dope combination of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and I can recommend it for that alone.

    If you haven’t played it yet, Final Fantasy VI offers an almost overwhelmingly large number of characters to choose from, and the second half of the game is basically “go wherever you want, find adventure, make friends and influence people.” It’s probably the most open-world of all the FF games, if that appeals to you at all. FFVI is also generally considered the highpoint of JRPGs on the SNES (though some people would probably argue Chrono Trigger.)

    If you’re looking for something a bit more modern, there have been slim pickings for console RPGs this generation. Lost Odyssey is the only one I can point to and say that it’s worth playing, but it’s very much a traditional JRPG wrapped up in a pretty package. It does have very cool stories, though.

    Final Fantasy XIII has an extremely gratifying battle system, but a lot of people hate it, and the battle system doesn’t open up to its full potential for a long, long time.

  • mjpilon 4:13 am on February 10, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , chronotrigger, , , , ,   

    Okay, finally have a moment to relay my thoughts about Chrono Trigger. Wall of text incoming.

    Initial feeling: Holy crap I actually beat a JRPG! The last one I can remember prior to this was Super Mario RPG (I don’t count the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi Games as they don’t strike me as “true” JRPGs but I will leave that to the experts around these parts). I’m not sure how much the story really kept me going or if it was just my “Goddamnit I finally need to do this” resolve that the Giant Bomb Endurance Run spurned on. Not to say that the story wasn’t engaging (far from it) but there was a time where I completely lost track of what the heck was going on because of all the time traveling and the effects of what my party was accomplishing in each era. The fight with Lavos also felt strangely anti-climatic because I accidentally started the fight when it first becomes available to you, so I knew that in the end, I needed to remember the patterns of the “bosses” I fought previously. The march through the Black Omen felt more like the true final battle because I didn’t know what was coming with the Queen.

    The game mechanics are what really got me. I am amazed at how well the game holds up after 18 years. The active combat system keeps the pace lively but doesn’t rush you through the point where you can’t think about your actions as you go. I never ran into the need to level grind – the game kept things lively enough so that my party was never at a disadvantage with the enemies at any stage. That eliminated a huge sore spot for me that usually dissuaded me from most JRPGs. The armour and weapon selection and upgrade process was also nicely streamlined – there is never a spot where you are really unsure about what to equip. There is always a clear choice which eliminates much headaches and the classic “inventory overload” syndrome that hits me usually.

    There are things from the game that are clearly rooted in 1994 which took time for me to get used to again. First, no clear quest log – I really needed to keep track of my activities and my conversations with NPCs. Second, the need to speak with every NPC because certain mission elements (despite my understanding of where to go without the queue) won’t activate unless you have the right conversation. Third, the translation – the DS version appears to have been fixed somewhat (compared to what Ryan Davis and Klepek dealt with on the SNES) but some of the tech descriptions made ABSOLUTELY no sense. Finally, the DS version saved me with the map that it has on the bottom screen – made backtracking a little less frustrating (but not really – WAY too much of that in this game and unnecessarily so especially given the re-generating enemies that pop up)

    Anyway, I truly enjoyed my experience and finally feel a slight weight lifted off my shoulders. Not sure I tempted to play that many more JRPGs but I’m open to suggestions from you on where to go from here on that front. Next up, I’m going to try and finish Bayonetta because I have unopened copies of Saints Row 3, Revelations, Uncharted 3 and Ico/SotC HD sitting here waiting for me. All the talk on the board here has convinced me to try Katawa Shoujo. Just downloaded it and while I will probably be on the @Feenwager side of this one, I figure why the hell not. Not costing me anything except my time.

    Quick hitters to end this:

    I use this moment to comment on the awesomeness of the Double Fine Kickstarter project. So happy that people (me included – went 30$ although the chance to be in the credits almost got me to 100$) were willing to pony up for a point-and-click adventure game. Beyond excited for this – especially for the documentary that will film the process. Interesting game changer here financially – although I hope most developers realize that this is only possible in certain situations and with a certain long-term credibility attached to them. I can’t wait for “THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE” articles that we’ll get in the near future 😉

    Regarding the game scores topic, I have nothing to add to the debate except that you are all awesome and debates/conversations like that one are why I love the Squad 🙂

    Wall of Text complete.

    Off to bed I go…

  • mjpilon 6:43 pm on February 5, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: chronotrigger,   

    ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: Chrono Trigger Completed

    Longer post to come but it’s Super Bowl Sunday… I have other things to attend to 😀 and for @feenwager, I’ll be rooting for your Giants as my Bills fandom prevents me from picking the Patriots.

  • impynickers 3:59 am on January 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: chronotrigger,   

    @Redswirl I never beat XIII. I believe there are 13 chapters, I think I stopped around 9.
    The battle system was cool, true, but everything else was so flamboyantly uninteresting. If that is possible.

    @mjpilon Chrono Trigger took me almost 30 hours, but a normal JRPG player could probably do it in under 25. I am the smell the roses type sometimes. Great game.

  • mjpilon 3:52 am on January 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: chronotrigger,   

    Guess me and JRPGs still have a chance together: I am now 11.5 hours into Chrono Trigger on my DS (Start of part 29 for those following the Giantbomb endurance run) and am still inclined and motivated to keep going which is quite something for me – especially for anyone who knows my experience with JRPGs – i.e other than Super Mario RPG, there isn’t any because I usually quit within a couple of hours.

    Not ready to fully discuss my thoughts yet – other than to say, this is one JRPG where the mechanics hold up incredibly well for me and where the need to grind levels, other than on one occasion where I really needed a group heal tech I hadn’t acquired yet to beat a boss, has never presented itself. I have simply played through the game and the leveling has followed the increasing difficulty of enemies the whole way through. Well impressed so far…. more thoughts to come.

    Quick question to those who have completed the game: Anyone remember the approximate time for completion?? Just to get a sense of where I’m at exactly…. somehow I don’t think I’m very far :p

  • Shingro 3:16 am on December 6, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: chronotrigger   

    @mjpilon pish tosh sir, ‘Tis the season and all that jazz… Just figured I’d spread the Xmas cheer a bit =P

    Good luck on that CT, Wonderful game. Not a lot of media holds up decades after it was made, but CT I think does in spades

    Also: sorry for being somewhat absent, projects and moving put a bit of a dent in my time

  • mjpilon 2:53 am on December 6, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: chronotrigger,   

    So I’ve taken the plunge and decided I will play Chrono Trigger alongside Giant Bomb’s endurance run. 2 hours in so far and it’s got me interested… we’ll see how far I can go with this.

    Also to @shingro you are a gentlemen and a scholar, good sir!! Totally un-necessary!

  • RedSwirl 10:27 pm on December 3, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: chronotrigger,   

    @bowlisimo @feenwager @mjpilon I say go for it. I didn’t get to play Chrono Trigger until the DS version came out either. Even though I only made it a little ways into it until taking an indefinite break (that happens a lot with me and handheld RPGs), that game made me wonder what the fuck was wrong with every JRPG that had come out since.

    Seriously. CT on the DS felt like a JRPG that had been made that year (2009 I think). It wasn’t just the care with which they ported it to the DS (touchscreen UI is perfect), but a lot of the core design felt more progressive than most of the JRPGs I played on the PS2, and this game came out in 1995. The combat system feels fluid, the exploration is smooth, and the narrative is quite dynamic with around a dozen endings. When people keep talking about how JRPGs are old fashioned, they commonly talk about how most of them still haven’t surpassed Chrono Trigger.

    I don’t know if I’ve talked about it here, but one of the issues with JRPGs (and maybe Japanese games in general) is that they don’t iterate off of their peers a whole lot. Over here, Halo will come out and now every shooter since follows that game’s basic UI framework – regenerating health, grenade button, etc. Gears comes out and we got cover systems and horde mode everywhere. Our developers recognize an evolving general “language”. If JRPG developers had all learned from CT and iterated off of that game back in the 90’s we wouldn’t be complaining about them so much today.

  • feenwager 10:08 pm on December 3, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: chronotrigger   

    I dunno. Chrono Trigger is an amazing game, but I don’t know if you need to spend your 2011 time playing it. I think you be left wondering what all the fuss was about.

  • mjpilon 6:30 pm on December 3, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: chronotrigger,   

    @bowlisimo I am facing the same conundrum – I have the DS version just sitting next to me but just haven’t started it yet.

  • bowlisimo 5:59 pm on December 3, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: chronotrigger,   

    @unmanneddrone lol, love your style, man.

    @squad Giantbomb is a few episodes into their Endurance Run for Chronotrigger; a game people never shut up about. Am I doing myself a disservice on this one? Man up and play it? Or sit back and enjoy Ryan Davis as “Brono”?

    @angryjedi DD Sunday sounds good.

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