Sunday, November 20, 2011

Theoretical Sounds

In my previous post on Raidou 2, I only gave a passing mention to the music of the game, noting that the first game had a far superior battle theme.  What I also neglected to mention was that one of the boss themes did a good job of captivating the sometimes eerie mood the game had:

However, this isn't a post that merely reminisces about how much the soundtrack of Soulless Army  is as opposed to King Abbadon:  It's not.  Both have admirable soundtrack composed by the same person (Shoji Meguro), and most of the Soulless Army tracks find their way into the second game (Remember what I said about the Arakana Corridor in the previous post being a trip down memory lane?  You'll find the above theme playing their as the regular battle theme). 

Furthermore, while maintaining many of the key themes from the first game, Raidou 2 adds a few new ones that perfectly suit the mood of the game.  For example, there's the foreboding theme of parts of the Tento Caverns, where many of the mysteries surrounding the Tsukigata clan's ties to the supposed deity these woods are named after:

Also, even though I found Geirin's constant use of "theory" "conjecture" and "process" ungodly annoying, well, there's no denying the guy has a pretty catchy theme:

Speaking of annoyance, remember those Fiend battles I mentioned?  The ones that made me put down the game in frustration?  I also mentioned that I came back quickly.  Yes, a better part of it is sheer stubbornness.  The other part is that if I'm going to get my ass kicked in a game and come back for more punishment, it'd better be to a damn good theme:

Of course, the game also does laid back themes pretty well.  One thing that I'm glad remain unchanged between the games?  The theme of the Narumi detective agency, aptly named on the soundtrack "The Lazy Detective Agency":

Whether you're playing the first or the second game, you're in for a musical treat if you play either.  Even if you don't particularly care for Shoji Meguro's compositions, it's pretty hard to argue against the fact that he always manages to find a score that suits the mood of his games.  On that note, I leave you to reflect with this theme, played during some of the more somber turning points of the game:

Considering how bizarre the MegaTen universe is, finding music that suits the mood certainly makes Meguro a musical genius, wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

No theories were conjectured in the process of writing this post: Devil Summoner 2.

Well, that's done.

After a long, arduous struggle, I've finally  finished Devil Summoner 2:  Raidou Kuzunoha versus King Abbadon (hereafter referred to as Raidou 2, because screw typing out that long title).

Let me clarify something first:  On many levels, Raidou 2 is vastly superior to its predecessor, Devil Summoner:  Raidou Kuzunoha versus the Soulless Army (hereon referred to as Raidou 1, because screw typing out that long, yet awesome, title).  The combat's been refined and polished, the demon roster and fusion options have been vastly expanded, there's access to a greater variety of equipment, multiple endings, plenty of sidequests, and a return of demon negotiation.  Yes, on many levels, Raidou 2 is a much better Shin Megami Tensei game than Raidou 1.

Unfortunately, it's not as good of a -Raidou- game as Raidou 1.

Wait, what?

While Raidou 2 is certainly an enjoyable game to play through, in the process (..I've come to loathe that word, and you will see why) of attempting to return to its MegaTen roots, the game's creators churned out a product that is superior in many ways to the first, yet loses a great deal of the spirit of what makes a Raidou game, -Raidou-.  This is a problem further compounded by a somewhat stiff translation in some parts, as well.

Read on to find out more about my experience playing, as well as why a nervous tick happens every time someone mentions the word "theory" "conjecture" and "process".

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Emasculation Quest Part 1 - Ys: The Oath in Felghana

Some time ago, I had the pleasure of finishing Ys:  The Oath in Felghana.  While the game itself is fairly short (you can probably complete the entire thing -- particularly if you've played previous incarnations -- in about 6-8 hours), I hit a few snags along the way which delayed its completion.

Namely, hubris.

Ys:  Oath in Felghana is an upgraded version of Ys III:  Wanderers from Ys.  The game originated on the PC Engine CD, and since then, has been ported to a number of consoles:  Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and PS2 to name a few.  Years later, Falcolm upgraded the engine, changed some gameplay mechanics, and pretty much remade the entire game for the PC, which was later ported to the incarnation I played -- the PSP version.  Ys III has been around the block more than a few times, in terms of ports.

Yes, even more than Lunar.

I played the game back in its Super Nintendo days quite a few times.  I knew the story, I knew the basics of which points I had to go to next, I remembered most of the bosses.  As for the upgraded and change in gameplay mechanics?  I was told that the game played closer to Ys VI:  The Ark of Naphistim.  No problem!  I finished that game (amazingly) in a weekend and had a blast.  What else could have changed?

Quite a bit, actually.

Namely the difficulty.

If you go in playing Ys:  The Oath in Felghana assuming that this a similar game to the Wanderers from Ys game you played in your youth, then you'll be sorely mistaken.  Even on some of the lower difficulties the game can be a humbling experience, but if you manage to tough it out you'll be rewarded with a game that has an amazing story, well-written dialogue, and, per norm with Falcom, one of the most amazing soundtracks ever.