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’