Metal Saga and Bumpy Trot

I am a games reviewer, and I don’t take offense at Kitsune’s statement. In fact, I agree wholeheartedly. Most reviewers I know are rather insular in their tastes: Either, they cannot tolerate Japanese weirdness and prefer “western” mechanics, as in focus on (binary) freedom for every genre except FPS, in which they expect relatively open-ended situations instead. Or, they absolutely adore “everything Japanese”, which means the few mainstream “weird” titles that trickle into the west. This would include Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, Shin Megami Tensei and various other JRPGs.

It seems a lot of game critics, as with all connoisseurs, like to limit themselves to a “field of expertise”, which they hold above everything else. Ask someone heavily into metal, for instance, to listen to hiphop, and you’ll get a look as if you were an idiot. Tell a hiphoper to have a look at this excellent goa you found, and he’ll probably ask why the hell you’re giving him trance. Same thing with game journos. The guy who was lauding the creativity and artistic endeavour of Fallout one day, will be rolling his eyes at Katamari Damashii the next.

I try to strike a middle ground. The only games I just can’t seem to get along with, are generic ones, the only music I can’t seem to tolerate is completely fluffy, generic pop … and Metal Saga sounds intriguing. Any chance of it ever hitting PAL, or will I have to go import-hunting to get a piece of hot, steaming heavily-armed canine action?

And is Digital Devil Saga 2 worth getting if I actually rather liked the first one?

I can’t speak for Druaga (but isn’t that a just another dungeon crawler?) but I haven’t really liked a Saga game since Romancing Saga 3 (uh, the SFC one). It does sorta feel like interest in games like Druaga and the Fushigi no Dungeon games have really waned over the years though. The new game with Yangus seems to be really underperforming in Japan despite the very positive reviews too.

I don’t think the PS2 is capable of anything over 480P, and even that’s pretty rare.

I don’t think the PS2 is capable of anything over 480P, and even that’s pretty rare.

Doesn’t Gran Turismo 4 output in 1080i (allbeit a hacked together 1080i)?

It is capable of 720p and 1080i, it’s just that nearly no games use it. I think gt4 may be the ONLY 1080i game. Most ps2 games incorrectly do widescreen as well (distort rather than just render more to the left and right) it’s really killed the system for me. It’s like sony doesnt want you to buy their nice TVs if you are going to use their consoels. buy a competing console (xbox1 or 360) and you get more support for their TVs features…

Get it for the story closure. It is more of the same (can’t go wrong with that, really), but the “sphere grid” is now a hexagon map, so it is now possible to get Zio<medium-suffix> without getting Zio first, for example. Hint: put basic heal on everyone…develop everyone…don’t leave anyone out…

I purchased Metal Saga and WANT to try it out…but damn those reviews paint a horrible picture.

So, has anyone, anyone here at all, played the english language version of Metal Saga?

Also: Can someone point to a good review? 1Up, Gamespot and IGN reviews I can find by myself, so maybe something more RPG-centric?

Kaofloppy: Then I think I will get it. Found it for about 30 dollars here in Singapore … I don’t know why, but somehow, the story managed to intrigue me. Possibly because doesn’t lean on every single JRPG genre convention.

Anyone else who thought that Buddha-meets-Hitler central computer was funny?

Rented it, played it briefly (about 20-30 minutes).

Firstly, ugh loading times. There’s about 30 seconds of black screen when you first load the game up, enough that I wondered if something was wrong, then there’s about 3-5 seconds of black screen every time you go to a new room or area, then there’s a noticeable pause and loading time every time combat begins. That’s really enough to turn me off the game there, sadly.

Secondly, when Kitsune said “turn-based combat with tanks” I was thinking it was like an SRPG where you actually move tanks around a map. Nope, it’s the typical Japanese RPG combat where characters line up on one side, monsters on the other, and take turns smacking each other around. Not that there’s anything wrong with that system, just a caveat for people who had the same impression I did. I have to confess I didn’t even get to where you get a tank, but that’s how the on-foot combat is, and since there’s a greyed out “Enter Vehicle” button on the combat menu, I’m pretty sure the tanks work the same way.

Thirdly, heh funny writing. Good translation, good localization, etc. In the first quest, when you’re looking for a tank in a junkyard, you come across a broken down one. Examining it the first time just says “What a piece of junk, you can’t use this.” or something. If you keep using it, it goes through things like “On second thought…nope, still junk.” “Maybe you can build a fort out of it!” “Seriously, there’s nothing hidden here, quit it.”.

So there’s my impressions after way too short a time. If the load times don’t ruin it for you, and you didn’t have your heart set on real tactical combat, then it’s worth a shot.

Yea I rented Metal Saga, and installed it to my old stock Xbox hard drive that had just been sitting in my PS2. The load times are almost non-existent.

I usually don’t like random battles, but they aren’t that bad in Metal Saga. Especially because you can hold the L2 button to skip animations during battles. Why can’t all RPGs have this option?

I really wish the game gave you a map; search the junkyard for the first vehicle was pretty tedious, as all the areas look pretty much the same.

The graphics aren’t as nice as Grandia 3’s, or as stylized as Dragon Quest 8’s, but they are quite clean, and I’ve read some describing them as “charming,” which I can agree with.

Picked this up too, though it’s in “the pile” until I finish KH2 and Oblivion. Sounds like I’ll need to bust out the HD-Loader I have collecting dust on the shelves…

You don’t even need the HD Loader; the game installs itself.

Oh! Good to know. :)

I picked up the demo for steambot today, and it came close to putting me to sleep. I like the idea of customizing your own bot, but exploring town is way too slow and boring. Having to walk around in traffic makes no sense. Also I noticed alot of slowdown on the demo near the beach, and the controls feel a bit sluggish as well.

I agree that Steambot Chronicles was quite substandard. The town was lifeless, the character interaction was simplistic, and the graphics were merely passable.

Still haven’t opened Metal Saga…

I’ve put about two hours into Metal Saga and it is surprisingly enjoyable! It definitely is an RPG that strays from the beaten path.I really love the game’s sense of humor. You never know what the NPCs will say. A few memorable examples this early in the game:

“Have you seen the mechanic in Junk Town? She’s a real M.I.L.F. Don’t get me wrong, young women are nice, but I prefer an experienced hand.”

“Stop talking to me! I hate you! I’m not sure why, but I do. I think its your stupidly big anime eyes.”

Most of the conversations with the NPCs are unnecessary, but at least they are entertaining.

As Kitsune pointed out, the game has a myriad of things for you to do at any point. You can explore the wasteland, go bounty hunting, search for treasure, search for new vehicles, play poker or video games, race frogs, join cults, buy furniture and gifts for people, etc.

Combat is your typical turn-based affair. You have the option of fighting on foot or in vehicles once you acquire them. Sadly, the enemies are very, very quircky, and have none of the charm of those seen in a game like Dragon Quest VIII. Fighting a giant sunflower or a tank with fishnet stockings is somewhat jarring considering the game’s environment. I would have preferred mutants, but I’m an American with standard American tastes.

The graphics are clean and fairly detailed, but they are roughly equal to those seen in a Late PS1 or early PS2 game. You definitely won’t mistake Metal Saga for Final Fantasy or Grandia III.

Overall, I’m enjoying the game despite its faults. For me, the main attraction is
that the game sets itself apart from the standard RPG fare with its mature sense of humor and wasteland setting.

I got it about a week ago, and have put in 8 hours. It’s good! I don’t know why all the hate on the review sites & magazines. It’s not Grrrrr-reat!, but it’s good.

I can say that it’s got some really really old-skool RPG vibes coming from it. It reminds me of Questron and Ultima 3, where you are just plopped into the world, and you have to travel and ask around to get a 1-line answer from everybody to infer the story from.

This is also the first RPG in a long time where I have to flee a battle, and flee actually works, even on “bosses”.

It’s about damm time that actually works. So is metal saga a free form rpg, or more linear?

free form