The Escapist Staff's Summer Picks: John

The Escapist Staff's Summer Picks: John

John Funk recommends picking these games up during the summer doldrums.

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Interesting games, loving soulsilver at this moment. I am definitely thinking of picking up torchlight though, once it goes on sale again.

Pokemon and FF, I totally agree with.
I have had tons of fun with both of them! And, aafter ot having played Pokemon for so long it was great to get back into the game!

I agree, all three of those games are amazing. I just got to Pulse on FF, and it is breathtaking! I just love the art style.

I have yet to pick up T:WFC, but from the demo I can tell I will like it. I loved the combination of driving and shooting other players in the face, and I love playing the bad guys.

I need to get Torchlight, but for some reason, I expect that I would not like it. I have a weird relationship with isometric games, I guess.

Yeah. Waiting for the paradigms to unlock about 2-4 hours into FF was a pain. Once I had those...I was pretty much hooked.

Other people seem to think it takes the training wheels off about 30 hours it. Those people are silly. The last real tutorial message pops up that far in, but that's only because there wasn't a need for the side quest tutorial until that point.

I have a feeling you would also be adding Dragon Quest 9, if you'd played that, too.

So much fun!

Yes, Heartgold/Soulsilver are the best pokemon games.

Now if you don't mind, I have to go and capture Latios. I'll be damned if I let that thing get the last laugh.

Oh no. Torchlight is on the Mac. I'm getting my own Macbook Pro fairly soon. The temptation is so very strong....

Torchlight is good, but I didn't get addicted to it in the look-at-the-time-I've-been-playing-for-hours way. I did the mistake of playing it on Normal difficulty, and this may have to do with it. Also too much inventory management, not a big fan.

After having torchlight for weeks and playing it in short periods, I have played for around 13 hours. Not much, especially considering that with some games I played recently I got to more than 13 hours in a single week.

To be honest, I'm not the biggest Diablo fan either. They start fun but then I tire of the grind at some point. D2 was even more like this with the hordes and hordes of monsters you have to kill in each dungeon, and the fact that they respawn if you don't complete the dungeon in a single session.

John Funk:
1.) looks cool, 2.) feels great, and c.) works smoothly...

1, 2, c?
Really John?

That said, I've heard these are all amazing, though I've not played any of them except five minute bursts at friends' places.

Isn't Final Fantasy 13's "slow start" 20-25 hours long? No thanks.

I think I'm going to play Dragon Age: Origins again to tide me over until Mafia 2 makes me multiple-orgasm.

Beat Torchlight with every character already, and man is the Transformers game going to be awesome.

Onyx Oblivion:
Yeah. Waiting for the paradigms to unlock about 2-4 hours into FF was a pain. Once I had those...I was pretty much hooked.

Other people seem to think it takes the training wheels off about 30 hours it. Those people are silly. The last real tutorial message pops up that far in, but that's only because there wasn't a need for the side quest tutorial until that point.

I have a feeling you would also be adding Dragon Quest 9, if you'd played that, too.

So much fun!

It is 30 hours easy before you get to choose your party, your leader and start to play the game how you want and not how they dictate you too.

I can sort of agree with Transformers and Torchlight.

No idea about pokemon.

As for Final Fantasy... ugh. Every hour was as laborious and repetitive as the first. It amazes me that people can say "it gets better after 15 hours" with a straight face.

My Reactions:

Pokemon: Nope. Never really liked Pokemon and probably never will.

Final Fantasy XIII: Yeah, I'll buy it when I start hearing good thing about it. Like when it goes under the $10 mark.

Transformers: Plan to pick it up, just don't exactly have the money for it. (Will your reign of terror know no bounds Steam?!)

Torchlight: Already have it, but I got bored with it after the 7-hour mark. The game's a one-trick pony who's trick isn't even that impressive.

I disagree Funk.

Ive loved Pokemon games in the past, until... I bought a second and realised: they are all identical. I have already beat this game unless there has been a major overhaul.

FFXIII, I can't play for 30 odd hours to get to the good bit. 30 hours of hand holding and rail roading. Really? Thats almost like a week at work.

Transformers has got my attention. Then torchlight... can't I just wait for the new diablo?

I haven't got a DS, so I can't play HeartGold, and I cannot afford a DS either. :(
I haven't tried XIII yet, but when it doesn't cost a million NOK here in Norway, I will definitely buy it and try it.
Torchlight and Transformers, I'll probably check them out some time and see if I like them.

squid5580:

Onyx Oblivion:
Yeah. Waiting for the paradigms to unlock about 2-4 hours into FF was a pain. Once I had those...I was pretty much hooked.

Other people seem to think it takes the training wheels off about 30 hours it. Those people are silly. The last real tutorial message pops up that far in, but that's only because there wasn't a need for the side quest tutorial until that point.

I have a feeling you would also be adding Dragon Quest 9, if you'd played that, too.

So much fun!

It is 30 hours easy before you get to choose your party, your leader and start to play the game how you want and not how they dictate you too.

Ah yes, but at that point you can't just mash A for the whole fight. You have to start managing your paradigms. At the point you mention, you get party FORMATION customization, but you always had control over your paradigms, and with each character specializing in 3 classes, you had quite a bit of customization.

dragon quest 9 is so much fun. everyone should check it out.

Onyx Oblivion:

squid5580:

Onyx Oblivion:
Yeah. Waiting for the paradigms to unlock about 2-4 hours into FF was a pain. Once I had those...I was pretty much hooked.

Other people seem to think it takes the training wheels off about 30 hours it. Those people are silly. The last real tutorial message pops up that far in, but that's only because there wasn't a need for the side quest tutorial until that point.

I have a feeling you would also be adding Dragon Quest 9, if you'd played that, too.

So much fun!

It is 30 hours easy before you get to choose your party, your leader and start to play the game how you want and not how they dictate you too.

Ah yes, but at that point you can't just mash A for the whole fight. You have to start managing your paradigms. At the point you mention, you get party FORMATION customization, but you always had control over your paradigms, and with each character specializing in 3 classes, you had quite a bit of customization.

My experience is a different one from yours. Where you see customization I see plain old leveling with the illusion of customization. Sure you get to pick but if you want the fire spell you have to take the 20hp first. Sure you get to switch your paradigms but there is pretty much only one way to beat all the bosses. If you are lucky your strategy might work instead of following what they want you to do. And since the game moves far to fast you aren't given the time to decide on your own strategy so mashing the autobattle and praying is the only way (which even if you want to set your own actions is made mute by the fact you AI partners will still do whatever they want) I still don't see why they needed me in the first place.

bjj hero:
I disagree Funk.

Ive loved Pokemon games in the past, until... I bought a second and realised: they are all identical. I have already beat this game unless there has been a major overhaul.

FFXIII, I can't play for 30 odd hours to get to the good bit. 30 hours of hand holding and rail roading. Really? Thats almost like a week at work.

Transformers has got my attention. Then torchlight... can't I just wait for the new diablo?

Mr. Funk wasn't exaggerating - there's a ton of new content, on top of the already enormous 16 gyms. Gold was my favorite Pokemon game, and so far HeartGold has surpassed my expectations.

Torchlight, also, is fantastic. You're welcome to wait for Diablo III, but you'll likely be waiting a while ;-)

Pokemon HG/SS is odd. It has the great refined gameplay and expansive world of the previous generations, yet perhaps the worst story (for the main series Pokemon games.) The motivation was someone lacking. The Rocket conclusion was disappointing, facing off against some throwaway rather than an established villain (aside from Legendary events.) And something REALLY irritated me that you HAD to go fight Lugia, for no real reason, before facing the Elite Four.

On a side note I still have half a dozen dungeon crawlers to go through before touching Torchlight.

John Funk:
The Escapist Staff's Summer Picks: John

John Funk recommends picking these games up during the summer doldrums.

Read Full Article

I agree with your list more or less Mr. Funk.

Never played Torchlight so cant comment on that.

Only thing I disagree on is FFXIII, I wanted to love that game soo much, and I played waaay past the training wheels part, and felt it was still not good enough. But I am glad someone enjoyed it. To me the best FFs are VI, VII and X

Okay, I might just give Torchlight a shot. I was eyeballing it for some time now, but I guess i'll pick it up for the summer.

I have to agree with the trend on FFXIII.

While I didn't really have a huge issue with the core mechanics of it, I found the plot and character development SORELY lacking.

Gameplay felt a bit like an unholy union between a MMORPG and modern Console RPG, making a rather large portion of your game killing the same things over and over again to farm drops.

With only one exception that I can think of, side quests are simply about finding the right enemy and killing it with a BEST case situation being the addition of a cryptic entry to the encyclopedia and more frequently affording NO development of the characters, plot, or world.

And there was one glaring issue I had with the end:

That said, the game promotes both beautiful visuals and a great score, and for a person who prefers mechanics over substance it could be a solid buy.

Great list! I agree with all of them, including Transformers. My only problem with the game was the combat felt a little unsatisfying, but the mechanics were solid and the movement and transforming elements just felt...right.

wow nice
I'm actually gonna be working through FFXIII slowly with a friend come August
you know, just taking our time (I think she's played more RPGs than me, or at least recently, since I can't seem to get into them anymore. at least the western ones)
lol I currently have War for Cybertron rented and it's pretty awesome. the big final bosses with red glowing weak spots feels very retro which is appropriate...and I dread them so that's definitely something old school (modern boss fights tend to be less stressful/interactive cutscenes...e.g. SC: Conviction...Halo 3...BFBC2...MW2...)

I put 14 hours into FF13 and then gave up, boring characters and constant hand holding on rails dungeons.

Where are my shops? My NPCs my secret weapons my mini games. Edge magazine was right a 5/10

Now if I want an RPG i play Shin Megami on the DS or Chronotrigger rather than that pile of cack

squid5580:
My experience is a different one from yours. Where you see customization I see plain old leveling with the illusion of customization. Sure you get to pick but if you want the fire spell you have to take the 20hp first. Sure you get to switch your paradigms but there is pretty much only one way to beat all the bosses. If you are lucky your strategy might work instead of following what they want you to do. And since the game moves far to fast you aren't given the time to decide on your own strategy so mashing the autobattle and praying is the only way (which even if you want to set your own actions is made mute by the fact you AI partners will still do whatever they want) I still don't see why they needed me in the first place.

Wrong, especially the bolded part.

I've already played through the game twice and I didn't use the same strategies I used on my first playthrough and had no problem with any of the bosses.

I do wish you could switch party members in battle on the fly (stupid healer, cast cure not esuna...), but otherwise the companion AI is very well written and other than the healer glitch, I've had no problem with my AI party. And that's having over 120 hours of exposure to the system.

As far as everyone crying about the handholding narrative or depressing ending, guess what? Not every story has a happy ending, not every character is going to achieve their goal. I'll remember this story much longer than the typical sappy horseshit that most stories (in all forms of entertainment) offer these days. George R.R. Martin's epic series has clued me in to the fact that the best stpries aren't the ones that unfold how we think they should, they're the ones that unfold the way that they do with little regard to how you may feel about it.

But Funk, I can't agree with you lumping XIII in with VI or X. Those games were incredible top to bottom. XIII is solid, but far from incredible.

In my personal rankings the games are listed 6, 10, 7, 13, 12, 4, 8, 5 and then 9. I haven't played 3, and the first two are so outdated they're unplayable to me.

 

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