This is a story of a franchise that has grown with me overtime.
Video games can invoke all different types of emotions from joy to anger to sorrow. I want to talk about my favorite rpg series.........Tales of (insert crazy name here). Yeah i know FF is the most beloved rpg franchise of all time but that's not true for me. Every game i have played in this series is like a bookmark on the chapters of my life. So let me take you on a trip down memory lane.
Tales of destiny 2/ Eternia
We start off with my very first tales game tales of destiny 2. 2001 i was only a 12 year old kid but even then i was knee deep into rpg's. Christmas was coming up and i didn't know what to get and then my cousin tells me to get this game called tales of destiny 2. I had never heard of it but my cousin was a true gamer so i trusted him and asked my mom for it. So i got my wish and on Christmas day i popped it in and i was hooked from the very start. I loved the 2D sprites because it was so clean and crisp but what really grabbed me by the throat was the battle system. It was AMAZINGLY fun teaming with my party of 4 doing epic combos and flashy magic spells in real time. This was the first step in what was to become a long line of greatness.
Tales of Symphonia
On to my second tales game Tales of Symphonia this one was a doosey. Now 2004 i am a 15 year old young man and once again its Christmas. It was my first Christmas back in Chicago after moving to Minnesota the year before and my whole family was there. All my aunts and uncles were giving me money and then at one point i had enough money to get pretty much whatever i wanted. So i walked up to my local GameCrazy which was open on Christmas which is pretty awesome and i scooped up my second tales game. I was thinking about waiting till i got back home to Minnesota to play it but i COULD NOT wait so popped it in my aunts Gamecube and once again i was hooked from the start. At that time it was probably the best looking game i had ever seen it had a beautiful cell shaded look and a soundtrack to DIE for. This was the first rpg game to make me feel real emotion by what was happening i wont go into any details because i don't want to giveaway the story. Once again the battle system was deep and AMAZINGLY fun and for many years this was my #1.
Tales of Legendia
On to my third tales game Tales of Legendia this one was a little odd but awesome none the less. Now 2006 and I'm on the fast track to 17 years old and i just got a little side job at my local mom and pop game store. I was really waiting for this game to come out and my boss knew it too and he gave me a Tales of Legendia necklace featuring the main character and one of the main villains of the game and needles to say i was elated. The game came out in February and on release day it was a blizzard outside but i wouldn't let that stop me. I went up to my job / local game store and the game was already on the counter waiting for me because my boss knew that a blizzard wouldn't keep me away. I took it home and once again i was into it from the very beginning i was a little thrown off by the blocky graphics but it didn't bother me. The battle system was not on par with the previous games but it was still very fun and a unique story that has many twist and turns to keep you guessing it was not as good as the rest but a solid tales game.
Tales of the Abyss
On to my fourth tales game tales of the abyss such a great game. Still 2006 but at the end of the year i had just moved into a new apartment and didn't have a whole lot but i was looking forward to one thing a brand new tales game. The box art alone had be thinking greatest game ever and boy was it close. The visuals was beautiful and the environments were really refreshing but the battle system was AMAZING. AT this point this battle system was by far the best i had experienced so deep and elements would change your special moves completely and just gave you that much more to work with. For me the story was incredible you start in one place and you end up somewhere you would never expect it was my favorite tales story at the time. It also featured my favorite mage in ANY game to date Jade Curtis (the guy in the blue) play the game and you will understand how godly he really is.
Tales of Vesperia
On to my fifth tales game tales of Vesperia.......PERFECT. In 2008 i got this game and i didn't even have a 360 that's how bad i wanted this game. I got a 360 for Christmas that year and it was time to experience to perfection that is Vesperia. The problem at that time is that i had a small SD TV which made the game look weird and the text was almost unreadable. SO about a week later i was able to get my first HD TV and being the first game i will play in HD i didn't know what to expect. Once the intro started to roll i just stood there eyes wide open and mouth gaping i was literally blown away it was the most beautiful game i had EVER seen it was like a living anime. The battle system was taken up a few notches and added air combat and massive enemies to set the stage for epic battles. The story was kind of iffy but the pure charm and beauty of this game heavily out shines that and to this day it remains my all time favorite rpg game.
Video games are a form of entertainment for people and nothing else but for me they are so much more i look at my game collection and see a story of my life. From a small kid with a Playstation to a grown man living in the HD era i have grown and this franchise has grown with me. I hope i have inspired you get into this franchise or to share your life stories as a gamer. Do any games go side by side with events in your life any games hold a special place in your heart let us know.
We got on a trip back through time while I review this PS1 classic...
Back when the Playstation was big, Capcom came out with a game called Resident Evil. It was one of the first games dubbed "survival horror", and scary it was. With the success of the first Resident Evil, it was inevitable that Capcom would release Resident Evil 2. Resident Evil 2 was better than the game from which it got its name - not only did it do that, but its also superior to all of them that came after it.
Resident Evil 2 comes on two discs, and each disc contains the story for one of two different characters - either Claire or Leon. There is a feature where if you beat the game with one character and then start with the other, you'll play through that character's "B scenario". In other words, the game will be affected by certain things you did the first time through. As cool as this feature sounds, it's hardly implemented, which is a shame considering how cool it could have been if done to the fullest. The stories are pretty much identical anyways, so there isn't a whole lot of reason to play through it again unless you just liked it enough to do it.
You can play the game in original or arrange mode. In arrange mode, you start off with a Gatling gun and rocket launcher, both with unlimited ammo. This, needless to say, makes the game too easy, but it is nice if you just want to breeze through the game to kill a day or so.
The visuals are decent in Resident Evil 2. The backgrounds are pre-rendered, so they look nice, but that also means their static and void of any sort of life. The characters are okay to look at - not by any means hard on the eyes, but definitely not eye candy, either. Enemy design is well done. Zombies wear different clothes, and the other enemies look creepy as well. The biggest short-coming visually is the static camera (due to the pre-rendered backgrounds), which is faulty at best. The camera definitely isn't your friend in this game, although there are times when it is in a good location and doesn't obstruct any important points or, more importantly, enemies trying desperately to kill you.
Sound is excellent. Even today I think the music is eerie. It's subtle, but even at that, it's spooky. The moans and grunts of zombies are sometimes annoying, but definitely come in handy, because it can sometimes be the only means you have of even knowing there's a zombie around (see aforementioned gripe about camera angles). Voice-overs during cut scenes are well done, too. I'm not saying the audio isn't showing its age, but it's definitely some of the better music of the Playstation era.
Controls are the tank controls that Resident Evil abandoned with Resident Evil 4. Even though the controls are stiff (and that may be a compliment), I never find them particularly hindering. Despite gripes to the contrary, I never have any problems controlling the characters. The rest of the controls are simple and easy to work, so most people won't have any problems picking up this game and playing it.
Overall, Resident Evil 2 is definitely the best in the series. People who praise Resident Evil 4 as holding that title will argue until they turn blue in the face, but I think Resident Evil 2 was just a better game. With a story that is good but not intrusive, visuals that are quite strong for any Playstation-era game, and audio that is nostalgic but well-done, Resident Evil 2 may very well be the highlight of any Playstation game collection.
"If you're looking for a flat out good time, give Twisted Metal 2 a try..."
Twisted Metal 2 is one of those unique experiences. If you experienced it long ago when the Playstation was on top, you must have fond memories of killing every other car on the stage to advance to another stage to kill some more cars. Twisted Metal 2 is just one of those games - it's refreshing, and you're guaranteed to remember it long after you're done with it.
The visuals won't do much for anybody who hasn't played this game before, but if you remember how this looked in its day, you remember this game was excellent. The cars were a nice size on the screen and had some nice little details to them that only a child from years and years ago could possibly appreciate. In any case, some of the effects were cool when this game was new. The biggest problem is that the visuals didn't hold up well, and it didn't take them long to become outdated and pixelated in comparison to other games. While you won't fall in love with the visuals, a few of its aspects were quite neat. For instance, in the Paris level, if you shoot the Eiffle Tower enough, it blows up and the top collapses, giving you a nice little bridge to the rooftops. While the animations aren't increadible - some aren't even there...watch the top of the Eiffle Tower for the explosion, and the the tower's just suddenly toppled - the effects cover most of the animations that haven't held up to the game's age.
Sound is still pretty good. These effects wouldn't win any awards by today's standards, but the cars all sound good and most of the weapons have good, clear sound effects associated with them. Music is nice, too, but nothing in the soundtrack is really memorable. There's not much ambience, either, so expect to listen to a lot of engines and guns and not much else.
The gameplay in Twisted Metal 2 is where this game really shines, because it's just so much fun to play. There are a number of different weapons ranging from your basic machine gun to homing missles to napalm to each character's unique special, but some of it isn't as balanced as it should be. For example, some of the characters have a special you'll never use, while others have a super-powerful special that does massive damage. Mostly, though, you'll be distracted from this shortcoming by the sheer fun factor this game holds. The levels in Twisted Metal 2 are all around the globe, and they're all different enough and fun enough that you never mind fighting in them. The controls are sometimes too responsive, and you'll find handling some cars can be quite a chore until you're familiar with the controls and the sensitivity of each vehicle in the game.
At the end of each character's game, you'll get a brief ending scene. These scenes consist of hand-drawn stills with Calypso's voice over telling the ending story for each character. Of course since this is Twisted Metal, each character's wish will end up having a negative result, but half the fun is getting through the game to see all the different endings. Some are serious, while others are just flat out funny. The variety of endings gives the player something to look foreward to. It's just too bad there's no way to keep like a theater of the endings as a way of keeping track of who you've beaten the game with and also as a simple reward system (after you watch the ending, you're left with nothing to show for it).
Overall, Twisted Metal 2 is just one of those games that's a lot of fun to play. If you've never picked up this game, I suggest you do so while it's cheap. On top of how fun it is, it's also quickly becoming one of the Playstation's collectable titles. If you're looking for a flat out good time, give Twisted Metal 2 a try, and I can guarantee you'll be satisfied with it.
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