Alright then, Mr. Glow Wheels. You're bowing out of
this role soon, so I'd better make sure you have one more
massive dose of content to keep the switchover from seeming
too easy! Here we go!
Let's start... actually with something you love. Put
Bruce Willis into an RPG!
An RPG sequel to
that terrible Bruce Willis game from Activision,
Apocalypse. Titled Apocalypse Gaiden.
Like the legendary Barkley Shut Up and Jam
Gaiden it will have little to do with the
previous game and be completely awesome. Just
think of the possibilities! It could be some
sort of strange Fallout-type game only
with lots of Bruce Willis.
I feel a further examination of this thing called Idea
Factory is warranted. I'm not deliberately trying to
stir up your blood pressure, nor do I want to give myself an
aneurysm, so let's keep the talk about certain titles to a
minimum. We've already said enough on them
anyway. Though I think noting that this developer was
started in October 1994 is very useful information, in that
it conveys how long these people have been around.
I have not played anything in the surprisingly large Spectral
Force series. I understand one of the DS titles
was never reviewed on our site due to its overwhelming
ineptitude. Anything to contribute?
1994? You have to
be kidding me. Idea Factory has been around
since 1994? How have they not been able to
improve their development methods in all that
I don't have anything to contribute as far as Spectral
Force goes. I think a few of the titles
in the series that were localized had okay
receptions. That's about all I can say on the
Now on the subject of Chaos Wars I actually have
some thoughts. After all, a game that resurrects
certain characters from Shadow Hearts (even if the
localization is the stuff of legend) and is ostensibly
tactical might be worth a look.
Might be worth a
look? Is this a joke? I don't believe I just
read those words. Let's see if they're words you
Or so I would have said until I tried a certain game and
learned firsthand what Idea Factory does. This just
seems like something that slipped through the cracks though,
from its legendarily terrible voice acting to it coming
across the Pacific from a company no one had ever heard of
that did no advertising and then wondered why its sales
receipts weren't stunning. Maybe - maybe - I'll play
it someday after the pain from my earlier encounter with the
company has had a chance to fade. What are your
I would avoid it
like the plague? I've heard some good things in
the past, other than the obvious localization
woes, so there may be a decent enough game
hidden in there. There are tons of great
tactical RPGs out there though, so is it really
worth spending time on? Even with characters
from Shadow Hearts?
All I know from a distance, given that I haven't played it
or investigated playing it, is that Cross Edge gave
our mutual acquaintance Mr. Willis a horrible time a number
of years ago. Can you elaborate upon the thing?
Also, can you offer a reason for why Wikipedia doesn't list
that game on its Idea Factory page even when the game's own
page clearly states its developer?
Oh Cross Edge.
What a steaming pile of dung. I can't elaborate
too much, as I don't think I played as much as
Phil. I can describe it as trying to play like Valkyrie
Profile and failing miserably, with a
terrible crossover story and heaps of technical
issues piled on top. Avoid at all costs.
Trinity Universe doesn't even prompt that much of a
reaction from me, though I certainly haven't heard that it's
good. What do you know of the subject?
Rather than go through the entire catalog of the company,
let's close with a unique question. Assuming this site
suddenly offered monetary compensation, what would your
demand for reviewing the follow-up to your own experience
with Idea Factory be?
I've never played
Trinity Universe, but I have heard that
it is far less terrible than Cross Edge.
I would require $100 an hour to review Mugen
Souls Z, or some kind of awesome swag. I
can always be swayed by awesome swag especially
relating to Final Fantasy and Dragon
Let's try another easy one (I think)... make a James Bond
RPG! No, not James Pond, since I never played those
even if the title caught my eye in old Gamepro
This one is
actually really easy. Alpha Protocol
showed the decent template for espionage RPGs.
With a bit of polish to that and some James Bond
flair it wouldn't take much to make a fantastic
RPG. The only hard part, assuming you were given
the power to choose, would be in choosing which
Bond actor to base the game on.
Now that I've played through every Arc the Lad game
(except the one on WonderSwan, since I don't have one of
those) I might as well tell you about them!
Unless you want to do pretty much everything in the second
game, you can skip the first. Sure it's short.
It also has a wonky difficulty curve, a plot that will
either make you laugh at the constant use of things that
were already over-familiar in 1995 or just bore you, and
some very nice sprite work. The length is purported to
be a positive by some, which is true: if the game was longer
you'd have an opportunity to get sick of it. Still,
its tactical ideas are used better in the sequels.
Yeah, I'm not too
sure I really see the need to tackle the first,
but at the very least it exists as a historical
piece. Even when things aren't necessarily worth
playing, best to have access to them anyway.
This is more true of games with updated versions
when you may want to see how the original plays.
Like the second game, which has an awful lot of stuff.
If you want to try capturing and cultivating monster
soldiers, you'll have plenty of time to try it. I did
almost every job and tried to complete all that I could,
winding up with something like 78 hours on the clock.
It uses that glorious Shining Force tactic of taking
away half your money if the enemies beat you instead of a
game over, which I appreciated after taking on a few
optional jobs with only one character and winding up with
very little money for awhile. The story is a mix of
the intriguing and some villains who might as well wear big
neon signs that say I'm evil! given what they say and
do. The final boss is a time-consuming jerk, but by
that point I wasn't about to let the fact that it was a 90
minute fight put me off too much.
A 90 minute fight?
That's cool, I've always been a fan of long boss
battles. They do a better job of making you feel
like you're taking part in an epic
confrontation. Sounds like Arc the Lad II
is the highlight of the whole collection by far
(I skipped ahead to your opinion of three). It's
a good thing that it can now be purchased
individually on PSN so people don't have to
track down the whole pricey collection.
The third game? I like the mission structure. It
let me see a bunch of goofy things like a family full of
would-be merchants who keep dosing your characters with bad
things - like something that's supposed to make them
stronger, but has such a strong reaction that you can't use
physical attacks in the battle that results. The
visuals are a rare use of sprites that aren't super-deformed
yet are in good enough resolution that you can discern
things they're doing - at least, I haven't seen many games
like that. Of course everything is a drab color
though.... It's a fair bit easier than the first and second,
though I enjoyed the sheer speed with which encounters play
Sounds like a step
back from two, but not bad by any means. I think
that was the one that spanned two discs as well?
Will be sure to go through that one at some
The fourth game (Twilight of the Spirits) is another
good one. A gridless tactical combat setup is
interesting and fun to play with. Having spells be
recharged by spirit stones you actually can find from
enemies, and being stuck with the same total of MP for the
whole game, is interesting. The plot is alternately
interesting and hilarious (don't you think someone who just
had wings, powerful enough to lift him off the ground and
into the air, would be just a little crippled after they
were torn out of his shoulders?) and the game deserves to be
remembered better than it currently is.
doesn't seem to be too much love for Twilight
of the Spirits. This was actually the
first Arc the Lad game I played
and I found it to be quite good, especially for
the conveniently cheap price I found it for.
Just another example of fans rejecting any kind
of change I guess? Oh well, this one doesn't
have a digital release but I believe physical
copies are still cheap.
The fifth game is where it all fell apart. We know
another tactical series that went action with poor results,
don't we? I guess one thing Sega never thought to
force into those later titles was online functionality
though, complete with not being able to pause. At
all. Man, that's a wonderful feature to have in your
action RPG, isn't it? Let alone having a theoretically
wide range of characters, but only being able to use Edda
(the guy on the cover) in story missions. Yeah, that's
awesome. Or only being able to dodge enemies if you
have the camera zoomed in so far that you'll never see
things right next to you. Yeah, this game deserved its
fate. Too bad it killed the whole series out of spite.
That's a shame, as
it just looked like some kind of fan game where
people could play as favorites from the series
and such. Too bad it ended up putting a cap on
the series completely. So that's another RPG
property along with Wild Arms that Sony
has done nothing with since the PS2 days.
Wouldn't these things make for great additions
to their slim Vita library?
just started playing something called Squid
Odyssey, which is a cute idea (bounce the cephalopods
around the screen using the touch screen - or the controls,
but this was made for iOS first) in tactical action.
Already I'm getting really ticked off that I can't tell
where my little squiddy friends are going to go
though. That necessitates perfect aim, or else they
might just get tossed off a cliff. Which is bad.
The game lets you keep whatever you got from previous
go-rounds in a level, but shouldn't a tactical game be
better about showing you your path instead of letting you
find out the hard way that your aim was just a smidgen
TO BE CONTINUED...
should be a bit more in the way of aim control,
but I suppose we can't expect too much from an
iOS port. Sounds like they have a neat concept
though, would love a more in-depth 3DS/Vita only
version if this port does well. Going to have to
give this a try.
Shadow Hearts and SH: Covenant. These games
need more attention.
I suppose they may be hurt
somewhat by being PS2 RPGs, as that system has
an incredibly deep library. That said, I see
them talked about a lot, especially any time an
unappreciated RPG list comes up. I don't think
they're completely lacking in attention. I've
yet to play them myself of course. I think
you'll find plenty of support for the games on
RPGamer. You should check out the relevant
episode of RPG Backtrack as well! Add them to
the list of Konami RPGs in need of releases.
Anyone that follows
on twitter will know that you already bought
both, but I felt it necessary to discuss this a
bit more anyway. Both Etrian Odyssey IV
and Etrian Odyssey Untold are great
starting points for the series, so really either
is a good choice. IV has a bit
more variety to it thanks to the balloon travel
and various side dungeons and objectives. Untold
has two completely different ways to play, both
of which use a more straightforward dungeon that
is a fine update of the original game in the
series. The good news is both have demos as
well, so it is easy to try them and see which is
more your fit. Etrian Odyssey is really
the best first-person dungeon crawling series
out there, so I can't recommend them enough.
Here are some hot topics I've seen around
- Dragon Quest :(
- Monster Hunter :)
- Someone please make CM Punk Gaiden the
- Does anyone read the hot topics?
See you next week!
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