Which play re:(station1)?


I’ve only played Vagrant Story. I’m captivated with Yasumi Matsuno’s aesthetic. He carries an auteurist* aura, each game clearly showing a holistic, signature design. I think the baroque systems that players have to navigate are as much a part of that aesthetic as the political threads that web around the characters and the sepia-toned, history-leaden worlds those characters inhabit.

In a counter-intuitive way, the multiple spreadsheets involved with playing Vagrant Story help me to feel more immersed in the world. The numbers and systems are as daunting and labyrinthine as the catacombs you traverse. Moreover, it feels like I’m learning a lexicon, as if I’m forced to parse a Middle English text.

IDK, perhaps I’m being overly romantic, but I think the systems give it an arcane quality. As frustrating as it can be in practice, it does add to the atmosphere.

*sorry for cussin’


vagrant story is the polygonal videogame most deserving of a deeply researched and interviewed oral and visual development history i want every single minute and decision accounted for and all humans and their contributions catalogued and properly enshrined for the benefit of the species

huge oversized leather bound volume accompanied by hypertext digital multimedia encyclopedia

all participants required to theorize on what could have been done without restraints and where all finalized ideas could progress for future aesthetic archeologists to perfectly preconstruct with their deep memory algorithms


and then make a sequel for the PS5


I haven’t played Vagrant Story since release. So, I was in middle school. For me, at the time, the combat system kept me from feeling engaged in the game. I felt like I was fighting more with the systems, than the monsters themselves. And then on top of that, I found myself with super cool looking, crafted weapons, which did shit for damage. and I even knew to abuse the test dummy in the beginning, for extra human damage.

I might feel differently about the combat nowadays, I dunno.


i’ve never played a single one of these three games so i can probably at least make an attempt to assess them sans nostalgia?

that said, i’m scared away from xenogears due to everyone harping on its length and JRPG-ness, both things that generally don’t land well for me lol


It is too long, tis true, but I am the resident jrpg hater and: it’s one of the good ones.


this is the thing that like everybody knew, the thing the game puts up front and doesn’t go out of its way to tell you is either important or not-that-important, a thing which it turns out is actually not that important at all. creature class-damage is the least important stat for damage. so even if you have a human-based weapon, it’s not going to do shit against, say, the armored town knights, if you haven’t also equipped said weapon with the right type of hilt or also used the buff/debuff spells to break their defenses.


otoh, XG has that infamous last disc (a.k.a Video Disc) and some back-to-back bosses without chances for healing/restocking inbetween, which is hrrrrrrgggghhhhhhhhhhhh


The thing about Xenogears, as someone who played it twice as a teen and thought it was the bees knees, then again last year for a podcast and realized it’s kinda horseshit, is this: the visuals alone are worth the price of admission. The things it does with its sprite characters and 3d everything else is incredible, the cutscene cinematography is stunning, every locale is an impeccably detailed diorama, it makes film-esque use of matte backgrounds (i guess every prerendered-environment psx games technically does this, but it’s different when you’re combining actual 3d enviroinments with ALSO 2d matte, like in a damn star war) and miniatures… it just fucking rules and there really isn’t another game like it because the techniques it uses ddin’t matter once the ps2 came out

it’s not just the big, beautiful, dense towns or “believable as an actual place” science facility-ass dungeons: it’s the way a scene might take place on a model that is the “top” of an airship, underground, where just the top protrusion is modelled and the rest fades into darkness (for as filmic as the game seems to try to be, just as much of it evokes the stage). or the way Gears are sometimes sprites and sometimes models, depending on the scale, or, idk, the way a dramatic cliffhanger can cut to a room in a new, unknown location, and the room is filled with assets totally unique to that room, and also the whole cutscene there’s a fuckin treasure chest in one corner and you’re thinking “damn at SOME point my ACTUAL CHARACTERS are gonna be in that room and i’m gonna GET that goddamn chest” and then 10 hours later you totally forget


Thank you for this wonderful post



Bruce Lee moves


This, the trick is you abuse the test dummy after the first boss to unlock a lot of chain abilities which let you do stuff, perhaps most notably at that point the move that lets you silence, the second boss Dullahan is so much fucking easier when he can’t cast a life drain spell.


im a jarpeg liker and have never played xenogears

should i


Have you played Grandia 1?




When it comes to the general look, walking and talking half that’s not battling storyline or themes, it’s like a younger mildly steampunk fantasy cousin.

The other fav rpg from that era I think of when it comes to 2D sprites over 3d backgrounds, occasionally complex architecture. Xenogears has vast scale and intricacy, Grandia has some very exotic and nicely designed places but is generally closer to mixed jrpg fare.

Hmmm what FFs have you liked or not cared for, and other jrpgs in general?

  • Ehhh that may be too broad a question. If you like the idea of building from Chrono Trigger + FFVII’s base, then taken to a harder sci-fi spiritual 10,000 year epic, flirting with psychospiritual existentialism and mecha or 90’s OAV anime, it’s pretty much the must play.




I wish Breath of Fire IV had more architectural ambitions because its art is so lovely in the same way Xenogears is and if they just had a few overpass bridges in their towns…!

The most ambitious of my hobby projects is a dying world organizing/farming game with the Xenogears/Breath of Fire IV art style. Crocodile 3D was mentioned here and is the perfect art tool for these squared geometries.


now I wanna go back and finish Okage


I’ve never played this but yeah I would play this


Yeah BoF IV is gorgeous overall with some great town, temple, castle structures to navigate. You could rotate the camera much more than 3 (?) allowed, I just can’t remember if you get to see much of it from wider or zoomed out shots very often. Although Nina provides a look with her ability.