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Monday, September 21, 2009

RPG Madness

I spent a lot of time this weekend playing role-playing games, shopping for role-playing games, and thinking about role-playing games. The more I think on RPGs, the more I've come to appreciate just how much I prefer them of any other form of video game. Adventure games, such as the Monkey Island series and Indigo Prophecy, come in a close second.

If you've been a regular reader of this site over the past couple years, you'll know that I like to plan out my gaming time and gaming dollars well in advance. Nothing beats playing games - though shopping for games is quite exciting in its own right. Today I thought I'd take a brief look at the RPGs I own, the ones I'd like to buy, and just how I plan to play through all these games over the coming months and years.

I'll start with the list of RPGs that I'll be playing for my Pounds for Pixels challenge. I've discovered that many of the PS2's more memorable role-playing games are both rare and expensive. For example, the Xenosaga Trilogy comes in at $80 while Tales of the Abyss comes in at no less than $70. These prices aren't too bad except that these prices are for used copies and these games are for a last-generation console. Pretty crazy.

Despite the difficulties I've encountered in procuring many of the titles on my PS2 list of role-playing games, I've still managed to secure some good ones that should keep me busy for some time. I'll also list the price I paid for those of you curious about these types of things. These games are listed in the order in which they'll be played:

  1. Final Fantasy XII ($25, EB Games)
  2. Dragon Quest VIII ($15, EB Games )
  3. Rogue Galaxy ($20, Loblaws)
  4. Odin Sphere ($20, eBay)
  5. Dark Cloud 2 ($15, EB Games)
  6. Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits ($5, EB Games)
Although Arc the Lad was not on my original list of PS2 RPGs, I couldn't pass up the game given its $5 price tag. All in all, I think any RPG afficianado would agree that I've got a pretty good start on tackling some the best RPGs offered on the PS2. I'm currently two and a half hours into Final Fantasy XII. I should have played twice as much by now but I failed to use my exercise bike over much of the weekend. Unfortunately, this also translated into 2 lbs. gained over the course of last week. Darn...

My list of role-playing games that I'm playing "for fun" on our big screen LCD TV is growing as well. All of these titles are on my Xbox 360 and I plan on playing through these RPGs before buying any more:
  1. Lost Odyssey ($30, Blockbuster)
  2. Infinite Undiscovery ($20, eBay)
  3. The Last Remnant ($27, eBay)
  4. Blue Dragon ($30, Blockbuster)
I also have Two Worlds ($20, Blockbuster) and Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom ($30, Blockbuster) sitting on the sidelines. I'll tackle those games at some point but I have bunch of other role-playing games that I'd like to buy and play first.

Speaking of upcoming role-playing games, I've put together the beginnings of a list of my most anticipated RPGs below. I'm not sure when I'll finally play any of these games but I'm not going to concern myself with details at this point in time. While I've tried to list these in order of preference, I am most excited about Final Fantasy XIII and Valkyria Chronicles.
  1. Final Fantasy XIII (PS3): This is a must-play game for me. I'll likely play it on the PS3 because I'll always associate Final Fantasy with Sony - even more so than with Nintendo.
  2. Valkyria Chronicles (PS3): I've heard so many great things about this title that I'd be silly to pass it up.
  3. Final Fantasy Versus XIII (PS3): I'll take any chance to spend my money on Square Enix RPGs, including quality action-RPG titles like this one.
  4. Mass Effect 2 (360): I loved the first Mass Effect and I'm looking forward to its sequel. The only factor that may force me to abandon this series depends solely on some of the game's content (sex, nudity, etc.).
  5. Dragon Age: Origins (360 or PS3): I loved the Baldur's Gate series on PC back the 90s. The only thing holding me back from getting Dragon Age will be the sheer amount of nudity or sexuality in the game. Although I have nothing against developers making games for adults, I still stay away from games that come across as overtly sexual out of respect to my role as husband and father. I don't have anything against nudity and sex but I wouldn't feel comfortable playing such games with my wife or kids sitting beside me either. I can only hope that Dragon Age keeps things a little clean. And if the game is as "bad" as I suspect, I can only hope that developers will one day put in-game filters that will allow players to filter out sex and/or nudity in much the same way that other games, such as Brutal Legend, allow for the filtering of language and gore.
  6. Borderlands (PS3 or 360): Although not a typical RPG, Borderlands still sounds interesting and looks fantastic. I'm still awaiting reviews on this game before I make a final decision. If Borderlands is more shooter than RPG, I'll pass.
  7. Alpha Protocol (360 or PS3): Alpha Protocol sounds good in theory. But there appears to the presence of exotic dancers and a scantily-clothed Villain who mounts the main character. Of course, no nudity or sex so I may give Alpha Protocol a try depending on its review scores.
  8. Star Ocean: The Last Hope (360 or PS3): Another Square Enix game that looks terrific. I've never played a game in the Star Ocean series but I figure that The Last Hope is a good place to start.
  9. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (PS3 or 360): Although the reviews don't paint MUA 2 in the best light, I'm a big fan of super-hero games. I really liked the first Ultimate Alliance: I'll probably like the sequel too.
  10. Tales of Vesperia (PS3 or 360): I'd like to play this "Tales of" game simply because it's your standard J-RPG on a current-gen console. I've heard pretty good things about the game and it looks rather nice.
  11. Folklore (PS3): I find something about this game intriguing. I don't know what it is but I'd still like to give it a shot. Of course, I'll wait for the price point to drop since I'd be hesitant to pay out any more than $20 - $30 for a mediocre near-launch title for the PS3.
  12. White Knight Chronicles (PS3): Angst-filled teen, magic dagger and gauntlet, giant knights battling giant monsters? Yes please!
There seem to be many more RPGs on the horizon for both PS3 and Xbox 360. I'd list them all here but I'd need a little more information before I'd consider adding it to the list. And I've got more than enough titles to keep me busy for a long while, wouldn't you say?

Tonight, the adventures continue in both Final Fantasy XII (break into the palace treasury) and Lost Odyssey (speak with the King of Gohtza).

Have a good one!