Monday, October 10, 2011

And Now, For Something A Little Different

One of the decisions that has percolated out of our guild due to the 4.3 rumblings is that our Sunday gearing runs are on hold until the patch drops.  We've all felt significantly frustrated with PvE gearing this expansion, and see the random dungeon finder as a small sliver of hope.  Sundays had been rough for us.  Since it was a "bonus" day (our progression day is Monday), we'd been having trouble filling out our ten.  Some of that was scheduling, but I believe a lot of it was a general lack of motivation to run this stuff.  And, while we could 9 or 8 (or even 7) man most of the old bosses, it starts to become a challenge.  Well, we don't want a challenge on farm nights.  That's what Monday is for.

In swoops the raid finder.  It'll not only help us fill out, but should also ratchet down the difficulty so that we can keep Sundays firmly in the fun and easy "farm" zone.  We'll see if it proves out.

As such, my play time has been diminished.  I raid Mondays, cap my CP with Fuu in 2v2 arenas on Tuesdays, and run rated BG's with the guild on Thursdays.  Otherwise I'm not logging in.

I'm pretty busy right now outside of gaming, but I always feel the urge to have a game "be there" when free time unexpectedly crops up.  Since I've distilled WoW down to a few easily achievable weekly goals, I wanted something else.  The new Assassin's Creed game isn't out yet.  Neither is Skyrim.  I got my pre-order for SW:TOR. (I'm pumped about it, but refraining from relaying the hype on here as there is probably already too much hype.  I'm keeping my expectations low.  So long as there are light-sabers in it, I'll be a happy fanboi.  I realize that probably makes me part of the problem).

So I went old-school.  There exists out there a somewhat fringe, cult game that I have secretly loved for many years now.  The simple, addicting gameplay has stuck with me over the years, and from time to time the memories pop back up and I think: Why didn't they make more games like this?

The game, my secret pleasure, is Ogre Battle 64.  If you've not played it, it's a simple little real time strategy J-RPG.  I guess you could say it plays sort of like a Final Fantasy with phased, turn-based combat, but it's all automated.  You're not choosing spells from menus or anything.  You simply gear your pawns, give them a strategy, and watch how it plays out.  The meat of the decisions are made in how you disperse your troops and where you send them to capture the various objectives.  It's actually pretty simple, and fairly easy.  I definitely wouldn't say it's super challenging.

Yet, it has stayed with me.  I love how it plays.  It's one of those games where I look up and... oops an hour has gone by.  Still.

So, I'm playing through it again.  There are six endings.  I've probably seen them all.  I like the story, though.  It's been long enough that I don't remember it all.  It can be cheesy at times, but I like the characters.  It's fun.

What I wanted to know is if any of you have played this game?  And no, I didn't bust out the 64 (mine is long gone... sold at a garage sale for some much-needed upgrade cash as a kid).  I have an emulator on my PC.  You can find them for free and they're pretty solid.  I'm not sure if they're strictly legal or not, but I don't see how else you do it.

If you're someone that has played the game... have you found any subsequent games that are like this one?  I'm talking everything about the gameplay.  The game-board like feel.  The long-ass cutscenes of story between missions (that actually tell a story, even if on-rails).  The fully automated combat (I'm not looking for menu driven Final Fantasy clones here).  If you've played, you'll understand the minute differences I'm talking about.  Is there anything else out there like this?  It's so hard to find, I think, because it's just atypical of the genre.  J-RPG's are dominated by controlling a character and running through towns and BAM... battle.  I really like the whole mission to mission thing in Ogre Battle 64.

Anyway, hit me up in comments if you know of something good.  I don't mind spending a bit of money either (so long as I don't have to buy an entire antiquated system).  I can already tell that this game isn't going to hold me until those new releases drop.


  1. It looks a lot like Final Fantasy Tactics...which i played a lot. Use to work 2nd shift with a high school friend and we would go to his place after work and play "Tactic" until the sun came up many nights. It was even fun to watch and talk strategy.

  2. Forgot to say, Final Fantasy Tactics is available for download on PlayStation Network...i am tempted to buy it for my PS3 on a regular basis.

  3. Yeah, oddly I've never played that one. I've played a lot of other Final Fantasies, but I just never did Tactics. Google has mentioned FF tactics after several of my searches. I may have to try it next.

  4. Does it have a good story? I like a decent story with my tactics :-).

  5. Yeah from what I remember its alright, i don't know how "good" it would be in comparison to Ogre Battle. As the name indicates its really the 'tactic' of the gameplay that is what kept me coming back more than the story, not sure if that dissuades you, but its probably worth a look.

  6. Nah, not really. Gameplay first, says I.