Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

HLD7- Forcetivus

The Holiday spirit! Or Holiday shade as the case may be. Getting drunk and threatening people much, much larger than you. Skimpy costumes. Binging. Being horribly, horribly mean to people that you just don't like. At least it's the one time being short works out in Envy's favor. He looks like a little kid so nobody is going to freak out when she finds him staring at her butt. He's just a sweet innocent child, so surely there's no oggling going on.

Today is the 666th update! Given the demonic nature of our cast, I felt that was worth mentioning.


Long, Your clothing is entirely unpractical Review: Cross Edge-
Cross Edge is the most needlessly complex game I've ever played. You can't just fight a battle. You have to position characters in certain places on the field or else you won't even be able to attack the enemy, only certain moves hurt certain enemies, there are multiple gauges you have to track, there are combos, guard breaks, team attacks, special moves, and it's not enough to just kill your enemy, you have to "overkill" your enemy by attacking it for its current HP plus it's total HP to get the full reward out of battle which you may not even get if your levels and the enemy's level don't match within a certain degree. You can't even just buy items in a shop either. At the end of the game, the only healing item for sale in the shops was the very first super weak herb you get at the very start of the game. To buy decent items, you have to find the components of the items, then find the recipe, and then grind sales until your shopkeeper has a high enough level to make items. You have to grind your effing shop!You can equip all kinds of skills to your characters but only if the skills meet certain requirements and then you can level up those skills, moves, and your equipment, but once it's leveled to a certain degree you can turn it into something else but you might lose an item in the process and you don't have much information on what you're turning that item into to know if it's even worth it. Games like Valkyrie Profile and Grandia screw with that standard battle formula but they only did so within a certain bound and both of those games are fantastic and fun to play. Cross Edge gives you something that appears to be normal and likable at first glance and then just obfuscates the hell out of it by throwing in just about every style of RPG play into one game without bothering to check to see if it works together or if it was even remotely fun. It would be worth putting up with if the game was special or really interesting, but it's not. For as much as it tries to be unique with its fights, the story, characters, and world fall into every tired RPG cliche you can think of. Tons of random battles, long move animations which are repeated for different moves just with a different name or color, characters that don't know when to shut up in battle (every single move has a damn vocal sample tied to it and you hear them over and over), dialogue sequences that go on for five minutes too long (why say something in one sentence when you can drag it out into six paragraphs?), items and moves with truly baffling names that don't indicate what they'll actually do, when you find an item you aren't told who can use it or if it's better than an item you found earlier, hundreds and hundreds of different items and widgets that clutter your inventory but aren't even remotely distinct enough that they all couldn't have just been the same item, enemies that spam magic or status effects, and a slew of seemingly useless items that you have to mash together with other items to do something with them. There's no balance to battles either. In the first hour of the game, I went from handily whipping on all that opposed me to a single enemy that wiped out my party with one move. There was no warning or indication that this enemy was fifty times stronger than the enemies it appeared in battle with, it wasn't a boss, and nobody bothered to say "Hey, you see that green thing? It will kick your ass.". Regular enemies can kill you in one hit just as a counter attack so even hurting them can kill you. Enemies also have instant death attacks that seem to work 100% of the time. I had to keep replaying one battle until the boss didn't use it on my good character. You'll encounter story battles without warning and be forced to use a certain character (I got into one battle and wasn't given the chance to reequip my character, so I went into the fight with no items, no weapon, and couldn't attack), forced to use characters you haven't touched since the start of the game, or the game changes your party without giving you notice or a chance to change it back. The platforming dungeons are a neat idea, but I was expecting them to be like Valkyrie Profile's where the platforming sections had unique gameplay and you didn't just run and jump from one screen to another. You can even get into random battles while in mid-air and that cancels your jump, causing you to fall to the ground and likely have to do a section all over again. The game doesn't even let you just explore in peace or play the game with any flow. You're given a big map with nothing marked on it. You have to wander around and press a "search" button every few steps. This will cause anything hidden around you to appear so you play the game by running a few steps, searching, running some more, searching, over and over. And your search changes over time, so you have to keep coming back to previous areas and searching through them again to find new things. It's not uncommon to spend more time searching for your next objective or dungeon than it takes to actually complete any of the levels. The game is a string of "what the hell am I supposed to do next" and "where the hell am I supposed to do it" moments. And if you miss even one by not searching in the right place or not having a high enough search level, you can get screwed over for the rest of the game because you only have a limited time to find things. Somewhere along the way I didn't backtrack to a previous stage to search an area I had already been through, so I wasn't allowed to see the end of the game. I could beat it, sure, but unless you perform 28 events in exactly the way the game wants you to and exactly when the game wants you to (without the game actually indicating that these things need to be done), you're locked out of the ending. If you don't know the characters from the games that spawned them, you're going to be at a loss for a lot of the story. I really only knew the Disgaea and Darkstalkers characters, but even they're flubbed around quite a bit. Felicia has gone from fun living and energetic to dumb as a bag of hammers and Morrigan is apparently now a bisexual whore. The Prinnies kind of universally work though. The game may not explain why they spontaneously combust, but it's hard to make them not charming. But if you don't intimately know the characters and the franchise they're from, practically every guy and most of the female cast have the same personality. It's not really a specific failing of Cross Edge, more so an indictment of how terrible most JRPGS are. The characters that are fleshed out the most aren't even from an RPG, they're fighting game characters. That's just sad. CE is iffy in how it even looks. The battles are a mix of 2D characters and enemies and 3D enemies in a 3D environment that's straight out of a year one PS2 game. Your 2D cast of heroes can be fighting a giant 3D monster that has 2D bat minions that don't layer properly so bits of the 2D sprites will clip through the 3D characters. It's a shame too because the 2D animation is fantastic. The sprites are well drawn and move fluidly. A lot of time and effort went into them so to see them plunked together with bad 3D makes you feel sorry for the team that actually put real effort in an otherwise half-assed game. The main characters and different enemy types actually have unique sprites if Demetri uses Midnight Bliss on them. That's some dedication! So why is the rest of the game bad?
Cross Edge is a game of repetition. Characters act out their specific cliche in every cutscene. Morrigan will always hit on somebody, the two main characters will always bicker, the alchemist will always mess up her potion, the bossy girl will always smack her slave over and over. You'll fight constant random battles as you repeatedly search the map for what to do and where to go.
Sins Committed: Bad characters, Bad story, Bad dialogue, Bad gameplay, Bad design
Virtues Enacted: Your health refills after random battles outside dungeons, Great sprite work, Colorful