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Vagrant Story

  • May 17, 2000
  • February 10, 2000
  • June 21, 2000
A 62 total ratings
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The Medievil Masterpiece

A Vagrant Story review Author: alrightya Published: April 26, 2004
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The year was 2000, Square was in the middle of it's biggest year in history. Front Mission 3, Final Fantasy IX, Chrono Cross, Threads of Fate, Legend of Mana, Saga Frontier 2, Parasite Eve II, and in May, Vagrant Story was released. Vagrant Story, one of the best games ever produced for the Playstation was also one of the most overlooked by consumers. This game, to me, was the pinnacle of Square's year. It was one of only two non-sequels released, and Vagrant Story proved that Square could still come up with new games instead of just sequels for it's already established series.
Vagrant Story is not a turn-based rpg, not an action/rpg, and not a strategy rpg. It's more of a hybrid of a turn-based and action/rpg. You can run around during battles, but when the enemy is attacking you can't do anything except try to counter. You don't have a gauge like most rpgs that determines when you attack. When an enemy is in your target range you can attack, if it's not in your range then you must get closer until either you or your enemy are able to attack.
The system is a little hard to explain, and it does take a while to get familier with it. It's a very deep and involving system, but by no means is it too complicated to fully enjoy. Unlike most rpgs where you just pick an enemy to attack, in VS, you must decide which enemy to attack, and then decide where to attack. There's the head, body, neck(on some), left arm, right arm, left leg, and right leg. Before you pick which part, a hit rate will show how much damage you might do, and the % of your accuracy. You will use that information to determine which bodypart to attack.
Risk points will determine how effective you are in battle. With each attack you do, your Risk Points raise and if you do a special attack, they raise even more. The higher your Risk gets, the lower your hit rate will be making you weaker in battle. To lower your Risk level, you just need to walk around a little bit and avoid battles, easier said than done, as battling is Vagrant Story's best aspect, you will want to rush into battle any chance you get. It's that good.
Another battle feature is Chain and Defense commands. Chain commands are attacks you string together by hitting a corresponding action button at the precise moment one of your attacks lands on the enemy. If done right, you can do a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on as long as you keep hitting the buttons at the right time. Defense commands work the same, just you hit the button when an enemy lands an attack on you. Defense commands can either counter-attack to give the enemy damage or decrease the damage you take.
One of the main aspects of battle is the Class/Afinity of each type of enemy and what weapon will be best. If you use the same axe on a lot of Beast class enemies, that axe will become more powerful against beasts. If you use a sword against a lot of human enemies, the sword will be more powerful against human enemies. Overall, Vagrant Story contains the best and deepest battle system ever implemented in an RPG.
For the completists out there, you can not get 100% the first time through the game. A couple sections are only made available after you've completed the game at least once. That adds even more gameplay and gametime to an already addictive game.
You play Ashley Riot, a Riskbreaker from the VKP(Valendia Knights of the Peace). You arrive at the Bardorba Manor as it is being attacked by Mullenkamp, a cult named after a high priestess believed to have engineered the construction of the magical city Lea Monde. You infiltrate the manor and battle your way through it's halls. you make it to where Sydney, leader of Mullenkamp, and Hardin, a member of Mullenkamp are discussing their plans.
Once Hardin leaves the room to find the Duke's son, you enter, and using your crossbow, you put an arrow through Sydney's heart. Once Hardin returns and sees Sydney's been shot, Sydney suddenly stands up as if nothing has happened. He tells Hardin to run to Lea Monde, and as you approach Sydney he calls D'Tok, his Wyvern to his aid. Once you take down the mythical creature it's off to Lea Monde in search of Sydney, Joshua(Duke Bardorba's son), and the "truth" to why the manor was attacked.
Along your way you will meet a fello VKP member, Callo who will attempt to aid you in your quest. You will also meet members of The Order of The Crimson Blade, who are under the direct control of Cardinal Batustum. They are opposed to the Valendia National Parliament, which Duke Bardorba is involved with. The cast of characters are great and each character adds an important element to the overall story.
The story has many plot twists. It is very political and involves many backstabs throughout the game. Combine that with one of the best translation jobs ever, and you have a great, compelling story that will never grow tiresome.
Wow, that's all I thought when I first turned the game on. The opening cinema is one of the best you'll ever see. There are no FMVs in this game, but you won't ever miss them. Some of the best graphics for the Playstation. Different than any other Square game before it.
Character Designer Akihiko Yoshida(Ogre Battle, Ogre Tactics, Final Fantasy Tactics) really outdid himself this time. The character models are brilliantly animated. Only topped by the many bosses you battle along the way. The are maps are very detailed and the cut-scenes, which use the in-game engine, are some of the best cut-scenes you will see. The fact that the in-game graphics look as good as the cut-scenes is a true testament to the development staff who did an outstanding job.
Some of the best graphics ever in a console game, not even the mighty FFIX or Chrono Cross can top Vagrant Story in terms of Graphics.
Hitoshi Sakimoto(Final Fantasy Tactics) was the creative mind behind the soundtrack for Vagrant Story. The music is very appealing and it never gets old. Each scene has an appropriate music track and the sound effects are second to none. From walking, to battling, and every other sound effect included, it gets no better than in Vagrant Story.
Replay Value
Plain and simple, this game is addicting. The simple fact that you can't get 100% until you go through at least a second time is enough for replay value. Add to that the gameplay, the story, and one of the greatest gaming experiences you will ever have, and you have a game that you will want to play over and over again.
Whether you are an RPG fan or an Action fan, this game is for you. You will not be disappointed. Vagrant Story is one of those games that will have you praying for a sequal.
Also included with Vagrant Story was Square's 2000 Collector's CD vol. 3. It was a demo disc which features playable demos of Threads of Fate, Front Mission 3, and Chocobo Racing. It also included non-playable video footage of Chrono Cross, Legend of Mana, Saga Frontier 3, and Chocobo's Dungeon 2.
The demo disc is a nice addition to this game, especially the footage of Chrono Cross and Legend of Mana, although Vagrant Story on it's own is enough for me. Vagrant Story did not need a demo disc to make it more enjoyable, because Vagrant Story is as good as a game can get.
Editor's Grade
dotted line "The best Playstation game ever made. Tops all the PS Final Fantasy games, Metal Gear Solid, and Chrono Cross. A must-have for EVERY Playstation or Playstation 2 owner."
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Vapid Buttmunch
Member since October 27, 2003
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