playstation

Star Ocean: The Second Story

First Hour Review

Star Ocean: The Second Story CoverStar Ocean: The Second Story is an action RPG for the original PlayStation. The game allows the player to make many choices along the way, from what characters will be in your party to how difficult the secret final boss will be. Star Ocean is known for its fun and varied gameplay and its absolutely atrocious, but hilarious voice acting. It was released in the United States back in 1999 but since the first Star Ocean was never released outside of Japan, I'm not really sure how Enix expected it to performed. The game follows the story of two intergalactic strangers and their impact on the future of multiple planets. Let's get into the beginning of that story, as Star Ocean: The Second Story's first hour is about to begin.

Grand Theft Auto 2

First Hour Review

Grand Theft Auto 2 CoverGrand Theft Auto 2 is of course the game that came before Grand Theft Auto III, one of the most important games of the last decade. I always wondered what kind of games GTA1 and 2 were, and after playing them, it's obvious the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. GTA2 is essentially a top-down look at the Grand Theft Auto universe. Much of the core gameplay we know and love today is in GTA2, just from a totally different perspective. It's a great representative of the change from 2D to 3D as somehow it feels I could be playing the exact same game if it weren't for the view.

GTA2 was released in 1999 on a peculiar variety of systems: the Playstation, PC, the Dreamcast, and Game Boy Color. Every major gaming company got a version of this game, but I will personally be playing the PC version. Mostly because this game is absolutely free from Rockstar Games themselves. Yep, you can go to their site and download both GTA1 and 2 for free, not bad if you ask me. If you're one of those poor souls (like me) who doesn't own Grand Theft Auto IV, well, this may serve as a temporary replacement in your heart. Let's get to the first hour review of Grand Theft Auto 2.

Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen

First Hour Review

Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen CoverOgre Battle: March of the Black Queen is a console strategy game initially released on the Super Nintendo and then re-released on the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation. I guess the game is rare but I bought the Super Nintendo version at a rental store when they were going out of business for five dollars (also scored that day was Yoshi's Island). I consider myself lucky, too bad the battery has died since then. The game has seen a bunch of sequels including Ogre Battle 64, which I also own.

Decent non turn-based strategy games are tough to come by on consoles, but March of the Black Queen stands out as one of the first and best in the genre. I'm not so sure how the first hour will turn out though, as the game moves pretty slow. Well, let's just get right into it and find out. I'll be playing the Super Nintendo version.

Suikoden II

First Hour Review

Suikoden II CoverSuikoden II is a rare PlayStation RPG that can fetch some pretty ridiculous prices on eBay, with sealed copies climbing over $200. Expensive doesn't necessarily mean the game is any good though, as I've seen friends pay many bills for mediocre games that triggered the nostalgia portion of their brain. Either way, Suikoden II is a Konami developed role-playing game on a Squaresoft dominated system and thus never saw sales for this odd sounding game that came close to most other games. The Suikoden series is still being developed by Konami but many fans consider this as the best in the series.

The game itself features an interesting political storyline with highly memorable characters. This description reminds me of Final Fantasy XII, but the difference between the two games is that in Final Fantasy XII the characters seemed far removed from the political scheming where in Suikoden II our heroes are right in the mix of things. The battle system is unique in that your team of fighters consists of six characters in turn-based combat. There are also 108 total characters you can recruit to your cause, a number that seems way too high but is actually manageable and keeps the game entertaining. When not in use, all your recruits hang out in an ever-expanding castle that also serves as your home base.

This is all extra information mostly non-applicable to just the first hour of gameplay, but I consider myself a Suikoden II evangelist and will take any opportunity to push it to the masses. Now let's get started with the first hour of Suikoden II.

Final Fantasy VII

First Hour Review

Final Fantasy VII CoverFinal Fantasy VII is the fanboy's dream come true. Not only is it the best-selling Final Fantasy game (at 9.5 million copies sold), it has one of the longest Wikipedia entries known to man (at 92 kilobytes and over 7,000 words). This is the result of the rabid fanboyism behind the 10 year old game that Square-Enix has only realized recently that it can milk to death with anime, spinoffs, and pretending there is no remake in the works. I'm personally not a huge fan of the game, I'm more of a fan of the even numbered entries in the series, but I've played through it at least twice and have traveled through the very fun opening Midgar hours many, many times.

Final Fantasy VII celebrated its 10 year anniversary in the U.S. on September 7th, so it seems like an appropriate time to review its first hour. I have fond memories of a very enjoyable first hour, so let's hope that it lives up to my memories. Here's to another 2,500 words!

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

First Hour Review

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night CoverSymphony of the Night is known by Castlevania fans as the definitive game in the series. I personally see it as the turning point from when the series went from tired and mediocre to awesome and addictive. The catch is, I had never played Symphony of the Night! I own every single portable Castlevania released for the GBA and DS (and 100% them all), but I have never played the pivotal game, until now. Did Konami have any idea what they had when they released this game (probably not)? Does the experience live up to the hype? Well, a Night virgin is about to find out.

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