Tag Archives: RPGs

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – The Art of Shalchemy

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It would have been easy for the Atelier series to just stick with one alchemy system and trot it out for every new installment. And people would have probably been fine if Gust had chosen to keep the exact same alchemy system for all the games in each of the franchise’s subseries.

But as we’ve seen numerous times by this point, that isn’t how Gust does things. Gust likes to experiment, refine, reinvent and occasionally revisit past ideas, all in the name of providing an interesting and varied experience — say, for anyone undertaking some sort of ridiculous mission like playing all of the Atelier games one after another.

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is one of those installments where Gust decided to reinvent the alchemy mechanics, rather than refining the systems we’d previously seen in Atelier Escha & Logy and Atelier Ayesha. And it presents us with an interesting new angle to this aspect of gameplay.

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Waifu Wednesday: Bianca Whitaker

Looking back over past installments of this column, I’m surprised I haven’t given Bianca any love yet. I mean, in Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, the game in which she first appears, she literally becomes your wife. Assuming you make the correct choices, that is.

Of course, you have two other options for who to wed in that game. But as someone who grew up as whatever the middle-class equivalent of a country bumpkin is, Bianca spoke to me right from the first moment I met her. And I knew right from that first meeting that I was going to wed her.

Them other girls dun’t matter, y’hear? Well, they do, but not right now. Bianca!

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From the Archives: A Life Less Ordinary – Living a Virtual Life

Video games tend to be regarded as an escapist form of entertainment, allowing us to switch off from the annoyances of everyday life and immerse ourselves in fantastic other cultures. So why, then, would you ever want to play a game that simulates the mundanity of a “normal” existence, whatever that is?

That’s because “mundane” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “boring,” of course. And the types of games collectively known as “life sims” prove this fairly aptly, as anyone who has ever enjoyed any of the games we’re going to talk about today will attest. Although the term “life sim” is used as an umbrella description, it’s actually a fairly misleading one, as there are a diverse array of different interactive experiences that fall into that category — some of which are more well-known than others.

Broadly speaking, “life sims” tend to be one of two different types: freeform sandbox simulators, and stat-centric life sims with a degree of “direction” about them, though there’s a degree of overlap in many cases. Let’s have a look at both categories, including some prominent (and not-so-prominent) examples of both.

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From the Archives: It’s Time to Admit Final Fantasy XIII Wasn’t Actually That Bad

Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t a bad game. Neither was Final Fantasy XIII-2. And neither is the conclusion to the Final Fantasy XIII saga, Lightning Returns. Don’t just take my word for it, though; plenty of critics agree.

In one of the last issues of the sadly defunct GamePro magazine, my former colleague AJ Glasser gave FFXIII four stars out of five. 1up.com gave the game an A- rating. Eurogamer gave it 8/10. And, despite a couple of outliers, the overall consensus at the time of release was that Final Fantasy XIII was a good game — not a perfect one, by any means — but a good one. The same was true for Final Fantasy XIII-2, which scored slightly lower on average, and while I’ll admit Lightning Returns reviews were somewhat more mixed — not everyone enjoyed the game’s peculiar mechanics and structure — there were still a lot of comments about how interesting it was, despite its flaws.

Which is why it’s so baffling that I find a lot of the online discourse surrounding this particular part of Final Fantasy’s history so overwhelmingly negative.

Continue reading From the Archives: It’s Time to Admit Final Fantasy XIII Wasn’t Actually That Bad

The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 38 – ATTACK MAGIC ITEM BURST

As my house gradually returns to normal from the building site it has been turned into, we find some time between the noise of sanding and angle grinding to record a new episode of the podcast — as always, featuring both myself and Chris Caskie of MrGilderPixels!

The MoeGamer Podcast is available in several places. You can subscribe to my channel on YouTube to stay up to date with both the video versions of the podcast and my weekly videos (including the Atari A to Z retro gaming series); you can follow on Soundcloud for the audio-only version of the podcast; you can subscribe via RSS to get the audio-only version of the podcast in your favourite podcast app; or you can subscribe via iTunes and listen on Spotify. Please do at least one of these if you can; it really helps us out!

Or you can just hit the jump to watch or listen to today’s episode right here on MoeGamer.

Continue reading The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 38 – ATTACK MAGIC ITEM BURST

Atari A to Z: The Temple of Apshai

I love role-playing games… now. Back in the ’80s, I didn’t really understand what they were, how to play them or how to enjoy them.

That’s why I’ve been particularly interested to revisit Epyx’s Temple of Apshai series knowing what I know now! Now that I well and truly “get” the genre, it’s been fascinating to discover one of the earliest examples of a graphical computer-based RPG and finally make some progress in it.

Today we’re playing the later Temple of Apshai Trilogy release for Atari 8-bit with enhanced graphics, sound and speed of play — but it’s otherwise identical to the original classic from the late ’70s, and just as fascinating an experience as I’d hoped!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 33 – The End of the Year Show

It’s the last-but-one day of the year, so what better way to round it off than to enjoy a couple of hours of chilled conversation between me and my good buddy Chris Caskie of MrGilderPixels?

The MoeGamer Podcast is available in several places. You can subscribe to my channel on YouTube to stay up to date with both the video versions of the podcast and my weekly videos (including the Atari A to Z retro gaming series); you can follow on Soundcloud for the audio-only version of the podcast; you can subscribe via RSS to get the audio-only version of the podcast in your favourite podcast app; or you can subscribe via iTunes and listen on Spotify. Please do at least one of these if you can; it really helps us out!

Or you can just hit the jump to watch or listen to today’s episode right here on MoeGamer.

Continue reading The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 33 – The End of the Year Show

Final Fantasy Marathon: Lali-Ho! – Final Fantasy I #6

In this sixth episode of the Final Fantasy Marathon, we take our legitimately gotten gains (courtesy of the Mystic Key) and take a trip to go and visit the dwarves.

Dwarves are another example of an aspect of Final Fantasy that was lifted from Dungeons & Dragons, though few can deny that the Japanese series puts its own unique twist on the dumpy delvers. Their catchphrase of “lali-ho!” (or variations thereof depending on who was on localisation duty at Squaresoft that week) became a recurring feature for a number of installments… and indeed at the time of writing the dwarves have most recently made a comeback in fanservice festival Final Fantasy XIV as part of the Shadowbringers expansion.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. I’ve got some Nitro Powder burning a hole in my pocket (quite literally) and I can’t think of anyone better equipped to make good use of it than a dwarf.

Atari ST A to Z: HeroQuest

I absolutely loved MB and Games Workshop’s HeroQuest as a kid, but I rarely got the opportunity to play it on the tabletop with real people.

Imagine my delight, then, when Gremlin announced that they were developing a computerised adaptation of the board game I’d come to love so much. And imagine my even greater delight when it turned out to be a very good game indeed — although arguably perhaps a little too true to the original board game for a computer version!

This is a game that still holds up pretty well today in both its tabletop and electronic formats. Gather a party of friends — or go it alone — and see how far you can get in the substantial campaign!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

New Game Plus: Mel Kishida Loves Stinky Feet – Atelier Rorona DX #10

As with Wednesday’s Warriors Wednesday video, I thought I’d make an effort to drop in some vaguely interesting factoids into my video intros.

As such, today you will learn that yes, indeed, Atelier Arland character designer Mel Kishida is indeed into stinky feet. But how is this relevant? Umm… Well… Oh, just watch it, will you? (And play Blue Reflectionit’s beautiful.)

Hit the jump to see how Rorona’s efforts went today… ignoring the pervy Japanese dude just waiting for her to take her boots off!

Continue reading New Game Plus: Mel Kishida Loves Stinky Feet – Atelier Rorona DX #10