Saiyuki: Journey West Aug 19, 2011 9:35:55 GMT -5
Post by Bytor on Aug 19, 2011 9:35:55 GMT -5
OK, well obviously next-gen fanboys are going to despise these graphics, which is certainly their problem and also certainly their lose. These graphics, while obviously dated, are extremely vibrant and simply extremely well done. Now of course being sprites they do not look wonderful up close but overall they do look wonderful. The various characters themselves are all very individualistic and have appearances which certainly fit thew motif of the game. The few animations (cut scenes) look nice as well and the backgrounds were all drawn simply wonderfully. I swear I would honestly believe I was in China and India viewing these scenes! Yes, it's that good and more so than simply ascetic beauty the graphics fit the game perfectly, and what more could you ask. The various special attacks and Were transformations are also well done, very bright (almost garish, lol) very colorful and while obviously dated show a wonderful attempt at truly making a special attack look special.
The various battle themes are all well done and certainly sound as if they are from the period the game portrays. In other words they sound like they could have first been produced in the oriental a few hundred years ago. The few voice overs which exist are also well done and I believe they fit the characters personalities very nicely as well. Now, the theme song in the beginning, well...to each his own I guess, I mean I imagine someone likes it, somewhere...perhaps...maybe, lol.
The game could be labeled a SRPG but I'd label it more of a tactical RPG. Basically we're splitting hairs because the differences are often so minor, however, I felt the game relied more on brute strength and strength in numbers as opposed to a more strategic game which would require more thought in placement of allies and more thought in the usage of their various attacks. Here it is much more straightforward, surround and attack and don't be surrounded and attacked. And while terrain does play a part way too often it simply bottle necks the battles into simple battles of attrition. having said all of that with a couple of minor annoyances the battle system is done very well. Each ally, other than you (Sanzo), has the ability to "were" and change into a new form which has added special attacks, although honestly these attacks are not always as good as simply ganging up on an enemy and bludgeoning it to death. Now, the annoyances. For one you are constantly and always outnumbered, that in itself would be forgivable but once battle starts you will find your turns somewhat limited while the enemy will get to attacks non-stop. I actually had a battle end once because the enemy attacked Sanzo four straight attacks, two of my characters only fot to move once each. In another battle the enemy attacked seven times, I got to go twice and then they attacked six more times. It really does happen way too much and makes battles which should be straightforward way too time consuming and to be honest simply annoying. The AI will also target an enemy, no lie, in one battle the boss paralyzed Reiken six out of seven turns, now...that's a little extreme in my opinion. Still, overall it's not a really difficult game, and you should win most battles pretty handily, just be ready to spend some time doing it, and not time spent strategizing but instead attacking, healing, attacking, healing etc etc etc. After a few battles I admit I got terribly bored of the time consuming battles (slow animations didn't help, although they can be turned off) and wished for a more SRPG orientated system.
The story is actually loosely based on a classical Chinese novel called Saiyūki (西遊記), which roughly translates into Journey to the West which was written in the 1590's. The story focuses on a young Buddhist monk who undertakes a journey to India and the adventures he experiences and the colorful and interesting "people" he meets and befriends. The story, is from what I've read somewhat simplified and cleaned up a tad but it still focuses on personal struggles while infusing a large mythos concerning the possible destruction of the world. Overall I found the story to be enthralling, although some may find it cliche, BUT, this was written 500 yrs ago, so....but what really made it great was the various characters, they are simply wonderfully fleshed out personalities with individual desires, thoughts and fears. Simply a well told game.
Overall this is a really fun game, and with a better utilized battle system it would no doubt be a great game. The visuals are rendered nicely, especially for the age, the characters are simply wonderful and they live in a mystical world which is complex and convoluted (even some of the enemies are really evil). However, the tiresome and at times seriously annoying AI and battle system makes the game fun and entertaining, and I'd certainly recommend it, but I'm not sure even the great characters and story will be enough to take most people all the way to the end. A shame really, might be nice to see this redone with a better, more strategic battle system. Anyone interested, lol?