A summer of games 15-20

Usually autumn is the time for games but this has been a real
gaming summer for me, let’s get right to some of the beaten games:

-15 Inside-

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It was a long wait but the end result is one of the most polished games.
Of course, not a game for everyone but this really is the game I had hoped
it to be and all the things Limbo wasn’t. I know a lot of people was
disappointed by especially the ending and most seem to miss the fact that
there is a cool story told through the environments etc.
I would probably have missed a lot too but luckily me and my brother
spent 5 extra hours on analyzing it all after I beat it on his PC.

-16 Child of Light-

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I bought the PC version on release but sadly my computer back then
was too weak. Playing it now was beyond all my expectations back then,
I was sceptical about a “platform” game where you just can fly everywhere
and I was sceptical about all story being written in rhyme but somehow
it actually works and it turned out to be one of the better RPGs
in modern time. The music is of course a big part of that,
Aurora’s theme is a true masterpiece. I regret not choosing the
harder difficulty because the fights was far to easy.
Such a beautiful and gloomy world.

-17 I am Setsuna-

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It hurt my collector heart more than my wallet to buy my first
“digital” game at “full-price” but in this case the RPG heart won
since I really want to support Squareenix when they start a new
studio just to make RPGs like they used to be.
Everyone who has played it seems to agree that the big flaw is in
the variation, both in the music since all tracks are piano only and
in the environments since most of it is snow. Even the few real
dungeons look the same so you can’t blame the snow theme there sadly.
Adding to the low variation is the fact that I found a combo that ended
all but the boss battles instantly… so yeah, the main problem
is variation. Despite that, it did many things right and even if it
can’t live up to the old games it is trying to be it does
make a better job than most other games these days.
I look forward to see what the RPG Factory will do next.

-18 AM2R: Samus Returns-

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A project I have checked in on now and then for many years but never
thought I would be able to play! A really ambitious fan-remake of
Metroid 2, I don’t feel like writing too much about it, it is just
better to play yourself, a true Metroid game and a better remake
than Nintendo could ever hope to make.

-19 Evoland 2-

alltheheroes

What to say about this one, hm. It somehow feels like a dream and not
a game that actually exists,
a game I would have made myself if I could,
a game that is every game combined into an RPG,
a game that mixes resolutions, tiles and 3D and still gets away with it.
Maybe I am blinded since it is partially my dream game come true but I
REALLY enjoyed it.

Mostly the game is a simple action RPG, Zelda-style with levels but as
you play it just gets bigger and bigger, there is 2D platform sections,
Metal Gear style stealth, you get a ship and the game turns into both a
vertical and horizontal shooter, you travel trough time and each time
is represented by different graphic style, future is 3D, past 8bit,
present 16bit. My favorite part is probably when you replace the sword
with bombs and realize that you suddenly are playing a bomberman RPG
with levels etc!
There is so many references and sections from other games in here
that it is ridiculous. Usually I don’t like this kind of pointless
references about cakes of lies but in the end the game manages to
combine every game made into something truly unique, it even has the
best card mini game I have seen. Like I said, I may be blinded but this
was THE game for me, when you enter a factory, the battles turns into
ATB from Chrono Trigger and you find a tube with a Metroid in it,
it is just priceless.

-20 La-Mulana-

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Rumored as one of the hardest and most cryptic of games I have been
saving this and I probably like the thought of the game more than the
game itself. I always wanted to see for myself how hard it could be
and try to beat it without a guide.
After about 30 minutes of playing I was sure I had seen everything
and looked everywhere…
I did end up using a guide for a lot of things, my will was not
strong enough.
The rumors where true and it is a very overwhelming game.
Even with a guide it not an easy task to beat this.

About halfway in the bosses became a real problem and a
guide couldn’t help me with that, luckily my patience is near infinite
and fighting the same boss for 3-4 hours and 50+ tries is not
a problem that will make me give up.
This more or less became routine when finding a boss but after 42 hours
I FINALLY beat the game of mystery and hardship.

I later found out that I had accidentally activated HARD 1/3 into the
game and made more enemies appear, the bosses had faster movement and
sometimes made 5 times the damage… also, there is no way to deactivate
hard once activated…
Oh well, beating one of the harder games on hard feels like a good
accomplishment and I strangely miss the game already.
Quite the hate-love situation.

The PS2 collection is coming along

It has been so long since I made a post about the PS2 collection that you
probably have forgotten that is what I am collecting at the moment…

I thought this would be an easy project compared to the SFC collection but
thanks to the high shipping costs from the US and the
“global shipping program” it has been a bit of a pain finding some titles,
if a seller wants $30 for a game the shipping and import charges end up at
$40 for a total of $70 which of course is too much
to pay for a used PS2 game.

Also, many sellers have a different view of “good” condition so a few
titles needs to be replaced later.

Oh well, overall the collection is coming along nicely and
these are the latest additions:

SMT
I saved the Shin Megami titles for later but now it is later and here are
half of them, I had hoped to have the Devil Summoner 2 box by now but
sadly the seller decided not to send it to me… I finally have
the Digital Devil box at least, I always wanted that one!

FFX!
A pile of Final Fantasy XI, I already had the Chains of Promathia Expansion
but there seems to be a jungle of editions of the main game?
The outer sleeve on this copy is damaged and needs to be replaced.

GrDiDu
FINALLY, Dual Hearts have been a cursed game for me. Both me and a
friend have been looking for it daily for months before a complete,
nice copy with a reasonable price appeared.
Grandia Xtreme has also been a high priority… for years.

PS2 overview
Not as nice as the SFC setup but this is how the main part of the
PS2 collection looks at the moment. NTSC RPGs at the top and PAL
ones below, I will of course take pictures of it all once
the collection is complete!

Top 10 SFC Box art

I can’t believe it took over a year before I finally made this post!
Of course the blog needs one of these.

It took some time but I finally added separate pictures of all the SFC games
so feel free to scroll trough them all in the SFC section. At least this gave
me a better picture of which ones needs an upgrade in the future and also
reminded me to do this list.

Of course I only include RPGs, and this is my personal list, feel free to
write your own favorites as well!

We begin with number ten:

10. Milandra
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The art itself is not that great but the white frame and
the colors make it a really nice box.

9. Ancient Magic
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This one is just amazing, look at that looming death,
the tastefully clad characters and symmetry!

8. Verne World
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Again, what colors! The more realistic art style and that really cool
structure in the background (no, not the totem).

7. YS V
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This is mostly based on nostalgia mayhap since that statue really
symbolize RPGs for me, more on that another time…

6. Seiken Densetsu 2
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There it is! I suspect it wouldn’t be list without it. I always feel a bit
annoyed when people praise the US cover of the game that shows one-third
of the picture and puts a black frame around…
and some unnecessary text… and extra logos.
Oh well, a good example of why I collect the japanese versions.

5. Tenchi Souzou
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What to say, one of the ten best games also got
one of the ten best boxes, glory!

4. Estpolis II
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Feel free to look up the box for Estpolis (Lufia) 1 and compare it to
this, the funny thing is that the same difference is true for the
actual games as well, haha.

3. Gaia Gensouki
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Mmmm, hard to capture the golden letters in the picture but the
gold and blue just goes so well together, I also love how the box
is a giant spoiler, haha. But very symbolic for the game and
nice in every way.

2. Rudra no Hihou
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That is one ominous box! Compared to Chrono Trigger or the old
FF games where they just showed the characters on a white
background this is truly a masterpiece. I especially like the logo
since it feels like it has become a part of the picture and not just
been put there in a simple font afterwards.

1. Tales of Phantasia
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Who could have guessed! The box art that made me pay four times the value
of the game all those years ago. I don’t regret anything, still my favorite
and somewhat a symbol of all the good games we never got.

Sorry Final Fantasies, Star Ocean, Romancing Sagas etc!

Xenosaga III , the 10th anniversary!

Believe it or not, somehow ten years have passed since Xenosaga III was
released in Japan on the sixth day of the seventh month 2006.
Of course it would take another 14 days before I actually got the game,
or god materialized as I called it back then.
It was actually my first japanese game and a relative helped me to
import it through Playasia. I am eternally grateful.
The US version had not gotten a release date yet by then and seeing
how most RPGs took 6-12 months to get an english version on the PS2
it was a huge surprise that we only had to wait two months
with Xenosaga III. Still, I couldn’t help but to play the
japanese version, at least try it for a bit, I still can’t believe
how magical that one moment was and still is to this day.

Part of the story is of course that I still lived with my parents,
had my first job and spent all the money earned on preparation for Xeno,
I remodeled my room to be worthy of this godly game, I hid away
everything unnecessary and distracting behind black cloth, in fact I
covered every inch of the room in black, all that was left in the end
was the newly bought bed, newly bought receiver and speakers,
and of course the newly bought projector and screen!
Everything had to be perfect and working, I also bought an extra PS2,
extra copy of the game, isolated the room from sound, and when it was
time for the actual US release, I also bought food supplies for a week and
isolated myself completely. Yes all of this was of course extreme,
in the room next door my brother also played the game on his ordinary CRT
and without isolating himself and spending thousands of dollars on
the one game… At least it gives some hint at my passion or maybe
madness when it comes to Episode III.

While I wish that I had some big announcement, have found some
spectacular rare item or finally written something deeper about
the game, I have not. I had ten years to prepare for this day
but all I can say is happy anniversary!

I will at least enjoy it in the very same fashion as ten years ago, well maybe
not as extreme but I still use most of the equipment from back then:

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KOS-MOS lurking in the corner, hehe.

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Once again, in the same place. It has begun.

(And of course there will be cake.)

Some Xenogears items added

Yes, believe it or not something about Xeno and Xenogears no less!
Finding any of the Xenogears items is next to a miracle these days
and this is more or less a list of everything I have found
this year, and it is a lot more than I expected to find,
some of them are items that I have never seen for sale before.

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First up, 5 of the 8 laminated character cards, I only had 2 before so this leaves
me with one missing…

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Another card, phone card this time, not that rare but since it has Elly on it
it is quite sought after by fans, finally my turn to get it.

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These are just insane. I have looked forever and everywhere to find them,
a set of three mini guides released together with the V-jump magazine.
The really are mini, about 20 pages each, no larger than a game manual.
I probably paid around 10 times more than the real guide costs…
Crossing this of the list was a real relief.

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Another thing in the impossible category, a set of Xenogears stickers!
I like to say that they also cost me a fortune and in the world of stickers
they probably did but still in the range of a new game so it’s all
relative I guess. Let’s stick them everywhere!

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Lastly I just want to mention this one, a really small Fei pin, (about 1,5 inches).
I have never seen the other pins in the set for sale but I have seen them in
other collections and really hope to find them all, probably the hardest part
about completing the Xenogears collection and I will pay a
good price if anyone happens to have them!?

Beaten game number 10-14

There have been some intense gaming lately and here are
some short summaries. I had to borrow a few of the pictures
from the INTERNET but hopefully no one will mind.

-10 Energy Breaker-

EB

Ah, I have been looking forward to play this for years. Ever since I found out
that it includes a song from Lufia…and since I saw the gorgeous graphics to.
It is always a good sign when you see a SNES game released in 1996,
the few people who still made SNES games by then knew what they did.
I am so glad that the fan translation got completed for this game, it was
quite a large task to do since the text often shows up in “bubbles” of
different size and there is a lot of text outside of the story that is
easy to miss, great work!

I don’t feel like explaining the combat in detail but it is a classic
isometric strategy game with a somewhat odd system to learn new abilities,
once you understand how it works, it works fine.
Story is good and also remind me a bit of Lufia (both made by Tatio),
music is also good to great, hehe. The only real problem with the game
is the turn limit on battles… every battle have a limited amount of
turns and if you don’t beat the enemy within that limit, it is game over.
This not a problem in the first half of the game but by the end it is a
real pain and I am thankful that I played on an emulator, phew.

-11 Ittle Dew-

ID

A small Zelda “clone” with an interesting twist. The references are of course
everywhere and they make no secret about it. The interesting part is that you
can beat the main “temple” of the game in more than one way depending on
how good you are at solving the puzzles.
Not much to say really, a nice little game and for me the best part was the
option to play in swedish, you never get to visit Fiskbulleberg in
other games, haha!

-12 Metal Saga-

MS

Another PS2 RPG bites the dust! I actually had no idea what to
expect in this game, it is quite rare to see a copy of it in Sweden,
VERY few imported it and I don’t know anyone who has played it,
if so they have not mentioned it at least…

Starting the game you will be greeted with a quite strange intro,
nothing new in RPGs though, so I hit new game, watch a small conversation
with my mom and get to choose between two options, apparently I choose
wrong since the credits begin to roll… hahaha!
Next time I pick the other option and soon realizes that this is an
open world RPG… made in Japan… on the PS2…
AND released in english. Quite a surprise.

The world is open and you can go where ever you want but the
process is like this: Find a town, fight monsters until you can afford
the best tank parts the town has to offer (yes, you mostly drive around in
and fight with your tanks), buy the parts, equip them and find “outlaws”
which are wanted bosses that give a lot of extra cash for the next upgrades.
Repeat.
Somehow this is quite fun and once you understand how everything works it
is a very solid RPG. Sure the graphics are not great, no voice acting etc
but it does have a FAST FORWARD button for all battles that makes
Bravely Default battles look like a snail, haha.
The battles are classic turn based RPG battles with the addition that you
can go in and out of your tanks (a bit like Xenogears).

This game almost need a full review to cover everything, at least you get some
kind of picture from this… managing your tanks and searching the world for
outlaws is basically what you do until you stumble upon the little
“main” story there is.

I did like the game but since there is just so many good RPGs on PS2 I
can’t really recommend this unless you have played them all…

-13 Dragon Quest Heroes-

DH

I thought that this would get old and repetitive fast but I did enjoy it
all the way to the end, the battles worked really well and switching instantly
between characters is the best, the only sad part is that you can’t bring
them all at once, only four at a time and since the main character, Yangus and
Jessica where a must for me it only left one spot open for
experimenting with the others…
oh well, the worst part for me was not being able to zoom out when you fight
larger enemies, the best part was Healix the cureslime, I can’t believe
he got to me…

-14 Uncharted 4-

UC2

I didn’t expect to play this anytime soon and I already felt done with the
series but then my sister bought it and of course I had to borrow it!

First of all, the environments are just crazy both from a technical and
aesthetic view. I never thought I would see the level of detail that is put
into especially the vegetation of the game, this is as far away you can come
from the classic “MMO grass” where you just put to textures of
grass in a cross, haha.
If you are standing among the bushes and grass in this game and look down
you will first see a layer of plants with large leaves that overlap and think,
what a clever way of hiding the ground, but no, if you look beneath that
you will also see hundreds of actual grass straws blocking any view
from a boring ground texture!
It may seem a bit specific but seeing this and moving around in that
vegetation was just a level of detail I never thought we would see
in anything other than a tech-demo.

The environments alone is probably reason enough to put this
as number one in the series after all.
The pacing of the game and especially battles are much
better than in previous titles but without spoiling anything it felt like
something was missing in the story, it did have some really good scenes
but I was expecting something more from this “last” of adventures.

1% of the collection

I really wanted to write something but this will just be a short one.
There is just so much I want to do including something new with the
SFC-section and of course make the Xeno collection easier to navigate.
My fellow collector at: https://wingsofhepatica.wordpress.com/
just updated that site and I love how it turned out, really easy to
navigate the four different collections and get a good sense of
the size of each collection, feel free to take a look!

Besides that I also have a new and far to big cleaning project that I will have to get back to… A few beaten games that I want to write about etc, puh!

Anyway, the 1% refers to the games that I received today, I didn’t plan to get any of these games right now but when the price is right:

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My PS4 “collection” just doubled in size, haha. I have beaten Brothers before but the other two will be a good warm up of the console before Star Ocean is released!

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Umm, a good start to a SFC strategy collection?…

Seiken Densetsu 3 Demo

Yes, this the one item that I mentioned earlier, the Seiken Densetsu 3 demo!
It should be a big milestone for any SFC collector and especially
RPG collectors to finally have all three demos, Chrono Trigger,
Romancing Saga 3 and Seiken Densetsu 3.

At this point it was more important to finally add a complete copy than finding one in “perfect” condition, almost all copies are more or less damaged anyway,
It’s a bit hard to see the damage when the protective case is in place but overall I am very happy to finally have it:

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I did test the game and just like in Chrono Trigger you get three different save slots to show of different parts of the game including the intro of all six characters, I don’t know if it has any unique content like Chrono does
but still really cool!

I planned on updating the SFC-section during the weekend but I ended up with another console cleaning instead, a few controllers are now fit for use again including a really nice wireless PS2 controller and also I opened up a gamecube for the first time, there was a lot of parts:

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I managed to put it back together again and thanks to the cleaning it actually worked too, success!

A new SFC game added

This is just a short post and not really the item I mentioned earlier but I was just so happy to finally add something new to the SFC collection!

The game of the day is Esparks, one of the last missing titles, quite rare and not to famous but far from impossible to find, I was just waiting for
“the right copy”.

I am glad to finally have it and in a really nice condition:

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I beat the game last year and a good description would be a mix of Zelda and Secret of Mana, not as good as those two but a decent game with some of the worst backtracking I have seen, phew.

Just some printscreens I took:

ES2

ES

A demolished town

It has been a while since the last post, there hasn’t been much to report
regarding the collection lately since most of my money is spent
on a new computer… a boring but necessary investment.
Hopefully I will have something interesting to show in the
coming weeks atleast and of course the upcoming
Star Ocean 5 Collectors Edition is pre-ordered!

Another reason for the lack of posts is the trip I made two weeks ago,
I made the trip to meet up with some old “internet friends”, quite strange
to finally meet them after almost 9 years!
I don’t really like long trips or meeting a lot of “new” people at once
but I am still glad that I made the trip and it turned out to be a
successful one in the end! A few interesting conversations, some odd
games we tried out and I finally beat Dragon Quest IX thanks to
all that traveling time! Wo!

As the title says I finally grew tired of my old LEGO city and
DEMOLISHED it, usually I grow tired of my own creations quite fast but
this one has been with me for quite some years.

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After sorting out all the pieces the shelf was ready to house the items
that I originally had in mind when I built it:

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The console boxes! I don’t really collect them but they have become
quite a few over the years and I don’t want to fill up the game room.

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I’m not 100% satisfied with the setup but for now it is something
like a Nintendo VS Sony corner.