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  #181  
Old 09-24-2017, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Deptford View Post
Alright, years later, and my third real attempt at this game, and I get it now.
I recommend keeping notes, because I had it all down once and have since forgotten. And if you want to write them down here so I can maybe play this game again, I won't say no...
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  #182  
Old 09-24-2017, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Exhuminator View Post
It's not the final boss you should fear, but rather the rooms full of block puzzles. If you can get past those, you're golden.
Every time I think I want to replay this game, I remember the block puzzles and stop.

I'm glad eventually people came to an agreement that not every game needed a block puzzle element.
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  #183  
Old 09-24-2017, 09:28 PM
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Key is overwhelming the defense of the vast majority of foes by stacking as much damage into a single element as possible. Whatever you can make with the biggest number in a single physical or magical element is the best weapon you have right then. Occasionally you might have to switch when you run into an elemental or a knight that randomly has the perfect armor to counter you, but it shouldn't be too onerous. Don't sweat Affinities too much. You still have to spend a fair amount of time re-combining blades and handles in the early game, and forging good stuff later on. A lot of the weapons you find have a really badly matched handle on them.

Also, spells and Break Arts are good. Maintaining a high quality staff is a good idea. Spamming these abilities and the necessary recovery items is a perfectly fine way to get through a tough boss fight. Status magic is incredibly useful in Vagrant Story. Many of the bosses are meant to be tackled with recently acquired spells, as demonstrated by the second boss, Dulluhan.

There's an attack that is based on the difference between your current and max HP. I believe this ignores defense values and it can get you through if you seem to have no other way to deal damage. You can use break arts to lower your HP to your desired level.
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  #184  
Old 09-24-2017, 11:20 PM
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I finished the the game without using a single Break Art my first time around (just because I wanted to see if I could - didn't know the game gave you a badge for this) so I can vouch that you don't need to use every system to get through the game. I didn't find it that hard but you really need to pay attention to the systems you are using - and I did spend quite a bit of time forging.

The two most useful things I learned is that mannequins are awesome to round up weapons - they have enemy type, so you can create a dragon killer by attacking a dragon type mannequin - and Phantom Pain is OP (burns every Phantom point into 1:1 damage and ignores defense, so it's useful as a desperation move)
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  #185  
Old 09-25-2017, 02:15 PM
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There are two ways to enjoy Vagrant Story:

Get really into at least one or two of the deep systems and make them really work for you.

Or borrow someone else's New Game+ save with good weapons already built. I will never fault anyone for this, especially if you're playing on a platform that can't speed up the load times for the weapon workshops because goddamn.
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  #186  
Old 09-26-2017, 12:06 AM
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Vagrant Story is the most in-need-of-a-good-editor game I can ever recall encountering.

Any given one or two of its systems would be just fine if they focused on it and designed the rest of the game accordingly, but instead it's this game that by all rights should be quick, fast paced, and reward careful planning, but is instead a muddled grindy chore.
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  #187  
Old 09-26-2017, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estragon View Post
Every time I think I want to replay this game, I remember the block puzzles and stop.

I'm glad eventually people came to an agreement that not every game needed a block puzzle element.
Vagrant Story is my all time favorite PS1 game, but even I didn't appreciate the block puzzle parts. They felt out of place, and the experience would be just fine (if not a little better) without them.
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  #188  
Old 09-26-2017, 07:45 AM
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Look, Mullenkamp was a huge clean freak, and if she built her entire city around the concept of properly organizing a mess of crates and boxes (as opposed to popular theory, that she built it as a wellspring for the Dark) then that's her prerogative.
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  #189  
Old 09-26-2017, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Googleshng View Post
Vagrant Story is the most in-need-of-a-good-editor game I can ever recall encountering.
If I recall correctly, the game was basically doubled in length by Squares mandate because an RPG had to be X hours long.

Hence the box puzzles and repeated areas.
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  #190  
Old 09-27-2017, 02:59 PM
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Box puzzles are fine. I'm talking about the mechanical gimmicks.

- With good timing you can chain up infinite attack combos where the enemy doesn't get a turn.
- You can attack as often as you want but your defense drops until you back off.
- Weird inventory limitations where you're encouraged to break weapons down into smaller components and assemble them in the field like some dramatic prep montage in an action movie.
- Different weapon types work better on different monsters.
- Specific weapons can grind affinity to work on certain monster types.
- Specific weapons can grind affinity against monsters' elemental weaknesses.
- Weapons have durability that needs repairing now and then (I think? Been a while)
- YOU have elemental affinity... not just overall but based on a hit location table.
- Spells and attacks target in ranges measured with a true sphere around you.

On their own, any given one of those is a perfectly fine concept you could easily build a game around, but some are inherently at-odds with each other, and the overall design of the game really doesn't factor any of them in properly. You're going to end up with a 100% light-aligned head, which doesn't actually matter beyond... 2 boss fights? Grinding up an ideal weapon before a boss fight generally isn't a thing you can actually do based on what's in the area, and is so gradual it's tedious when you can, and people who do new game+ runs usually just use the same pre-grinded weapon for everything so.... yeah. Cut back to focus on one or two things.
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  #191  
Old 09-27-2017, 03:02 PM
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Obtuse mechanical bloat is kind of par for the course for Matsuno games, to be honest. The original Final Fantasy Tactics is a weird outlier.
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  #192  
Old 09-27-2017, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Googleshng View Post
- Weird inventory limitations where you're encouraged to break weapons down into smaller components and assemble them in the field like some dramatic prep montage in an action movie.
I mean, have you watched the intro video? This is clearly what they were going for.

My only problem is the saving. They should have saved when you entered a weapon shop and saved when you exited instead of when you used the chest.
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  #193  
Old 09-27-2017, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Destil View Post
I mean, have you watched the intro video? This is clearly what they were going for.

My only problem is the saving. They should have saved when you entered a weapon shop and saved when you exited instead of when you used the chest.
Or, rather, let the player do it manually. The way the game does it, it's as if a Megaten game forced you to save every time you pulled a demon/Persona out of the compendium to fuse it into something new. And considering the sheer number of weapon/grip/material combinations it's no wonder very few people have the patience to experiment.
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  #194  
Old 09-27-2017, 06:36 PM
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The save time in Vagrant Story is the true Blood-Sin.
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  #195  
Old 10-06-2017, 06:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishi View Post
I recommend keeping notes, because I had it all down once and have since forgotten. And if you want to write them down here so I can maybe play this game again, I won't say no...
This is a good suggestion, and especially something I'll probably do in a bit because I think I might take a li'l break from the game and come back to it later, give it a chance to regain some freshness.

Because after all this time, I've come to the disappointing realization that...now that I finally DO more or less understand the game...I actually find it kinda repetitive and samey! Which is a bummer! Earlier on, the sense of discovery and figuring stuff out was invigorating, and "ah-HAH!" breakthroughs like realizing Instill and Temper meant I never had to settle for DP or PP being sub-par on any of my weapons (and honestly, realizing the importance of Phantom Points in doing damage, and the significance of having to flush them out of a weapon to repair it in workshops so NEVER ACTUALLY DO THAT, JUST USE TEMPER IN BATTLE INSTEAD was maybe my most important step in having the game click into understandable focus; also, realizing that despite the prominence of them in the stats, a weapon being good against dragons or beasts or undead or whatever is nowhere nears as important to doing good damage as elemental weakness or weapon-type weaknesses, that is, blunt or piercing or edged), but since then, improvement is more a matter of just upkeep and 'make numbers go up if you can' as opposed to exciting insights.

And the endless battles all just end up feeling utterly identical to each other, with no real room or opportunity for varying strategy or differentiation between them except rote and obvious actions like 'does this boss have an element in their name? then cast an enchantment of the opposite element on your weapon for extra damage', and it's bogged down by how long every little inconvenience like strict inventory management, or switching weapons, or saving takes.

It almost feels like figuring out the game is the fun part, and once you do, actually playing it is more a mere formality or obligation. I dunno. I'm not saying this is my final judgment of the game or that I'm definitely right about this or anything, it's just sort of how I feel right now. I still adore and respect the hell out of the atmosphere and storytelling, but the gameplay is starting to feel a bit like a "the emperor has no clothes" type situation.
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  #196  
Old 10-06-2017, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deptford View Post
This is a good suggestion, and especially something I'll probably do in a bit because I think I might take a li'l break from the game and come back to it later, give it a chance to regain some freshness.

Because after all this time, I've come to the disappointing realization that...now that I finally DO more or less understand the game...I actually find it kinda repetitive and samey! Which is a bummer! Earlier on, the sense of discovery and figuring stuff out was invigorating, and "ah-HAH!" breakthroughs like realizing Instill and Temper meant I never had to settle for DP or PP being sub-par on any of my weapons (and honestly, realizing the importance of Phantom Points in doing damage, and the significance of having to flush them out of a weapon to repair it in workshops so NEVER ACTUALLY DO THAT, JUST USE TEMPER IN BATTLE INSTEAD was maybe my most important step in having the game click into understandable focus; also, realizing that despite the prominence of them in the stats, a weapon being good against dragons or beasts or undead or whatever is nowhere nears as important to doing good damage as elemental weakness or weapon-type weaknesses, that is, blunt or piercing or edged), but since then, improvement is more a matter of just upkeep and 'make numbers go up if you can' as opposed to exciting insights.

And the endless battles all just end up feeling utterly identical to each other, with no real room or opportunity for varying strategy or differentiation between them except rote and obvious actions like 'does this boss have an element in their name? then cast an enchantment of the opposite element on your weapon for extra damage', and it's bogged down by how long every little inconvenience like strict inventory management, or switching weapons, or saving takes.

It almost feels like figuring out the game is the fun part, and once you do, actually playing it is more a mere formality or obligation. I dunno. I'm not saying this is my final judgment of the game or that I'm definitely right about this or anything, it's just sort of how I feel right now. I still adore and respect the hell out of the atmosphere and storytelling, but the gameplay is starting to feel a bit like a "the emperor has no clothes" type situation.
I can almost agree with this. I'd have to replay it a little bit again to be sure. When I first played it I did what you're talking about used all of my buff spells to circumvent the minutia of slowly upgrading a weapon's properties and it was an enjoyable RPG experience. I'd say the only component in the game to counteract this sense of "sameness" is the combat system -- since everything is timed hits and the timing is still pretty tight even when you get used to it, I think it helps to create a sense of variation. Although I did settle in to only using a few Risk Arts for the most part, but I kept trying other ones too. So yeah, how much enjoyment you get out of mechanically playing the battle system goes a long way to alleviate that feeling.
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  #197  
Old 10-06-2017, 09:31 AM
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I vacillate on whether I really wish this game would get a full-on HD remake or if that would be a terrible idea and lose all the magic. There would be some difficult decisions in just how much of all the fiddly systems and sub-systems to keep. Though of course obvious things like eliminating load times in workshops would help immensely.

Then there's also the fact that it did amazing things with the art direction within the strict limitations of the PS1. Replicating the feel of the place in HD would be another difficult task.
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  #198  
Old 10-06-2017, 09:40 AM
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chain (cool!) chain (awesome!) chain (radical!) chain (nice!) chain (perfect!) chain (great!) chain (sweet!) chain, then chain some more. You can ignore most of the game's excess this way and it remains tense because stringing long chains together is never a guarantee.
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  #199  
Old 10-06-2017, 09:50 AM
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I beat many a boss with bad weapons but ridiculous chains. I remember pecking away with a crossbow on one boss, because I had the timing down to an art; even though it took a while, he dropped.
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  #200  
Old 10-06-2017, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Sarge View Post
I beat many a boss with bad weapons but ridiculous chains. I remember pecking away with a crossbow on one boss, because I had the timing down to an art; even though it took a while, he dropped.
I did this to the *last* boss, which was great because I didn't have to chase his teleporting ass around.
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  #201  
Old 10-06-2017, 02:17 PM
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When I first played Vagrant Story when it was new, I was like ten years old, and I'm sure I barely understood any of it. My personal epiphany came years later, after which the game never really intimidated or troubled me again on part of its mechanics and systems, including when I revisited it earlier this year to catalogue it.

The easiest way to play the game is probably to only use one-handed weapons which share attack animations, so there is only one set of those to internalize and learn. Then, have one each of a sword/axe, rapier and mace, to cover the edged/piercing/blunt blade types, by far the most important aspect of enemy weaknesses. Sticking to one-handed weapons also allows to keep a shield equipped at all times, which are simple to upgrade, and quickly negate almost all damage Ashley would otherwise take. After all that, it's just proper situational application of elemental affinity and (less crucially) enemy class gems, and buff and debuff spells while in battle. If you really want to optimize, devote one weapon each to fighting Human/Phantom, Beast/Dragon and Undead/Evil enemy classes, since these combinations synchronize in that as they gradually accrue effectiveness, they don't power down their paired class at the same time. Any other combination will.

If I read what I just wrote, it comes off as a load of nonsense, but in my experience Vagrant Story always sounds more complicated than it is in practice. I hope people will brave its minutiae. Also, I don't really want a remake or remaster of the game, because its appeal for me is tied up with the specificity of the PS1 hardware and its limitations.
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  #202  
Old 10-06-2017, 05:11 PM
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Yeah, one-handed weapons are where it's at. Remember to sheathe your weapon while healing - your shield may be resistant to light magic.

Which ties into my epiphany: enemies do not have weaknesses and resistances in Vagrant Story. They have lower and higher defense stats. So a fire enemy isn't resistant to fire, it has a high fire defense. Taking this into account, my style is using a single one-handed sword for the whole game. I gem in whatever element I have the most of, and if an enemy gives me trouble, buff that element. Since there isn't a percentage in play, a sufficiently strong fire weapon can deal massive damage to even a fire elemental.

Vagrant Story, for me, is all about making your biggest number bigger.

Also apply Break Arts and spells where necessary - you probably want to be shooting ghosts, at least, with magic.

EDIT: oh, Traumadore said pretty much the same thing on this very page. Whelp.

Last edited by LancerECNM; 10-06-2017 at 06:02 PM.
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  #203  
Old 10-06-2017, 07:52 PM
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But you said it better!
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  #204  
Old 03-13-2018, 08:59 AM
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So few days ago I just beat Vagrant Story. Great narrative. Great direction. I really appreciate how they confront the gamer to think hard not only on the gameplay, but also the story and the psychological problem--at a level I've never seen it done in any other game before. I gave it 9.9/10 and rounded it to 10/10 because they finally covered poor Agent Riot's butts at the epilogue, and there's this evil stone golem in tutu shoes.

Also, fuck these armed oversized bats.
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