[Review] Vagrants story

Published on November 12th, 2013

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I love to write about old games from roughly the N64 era onwards. With this particular game though I struggle to explain the content of the gameplay because it was so ahead of its time for me, all the unique little parts that were so entailed within its gameplay were vast, at the time of course. The gameplay included weapon/armour choices, a dash of magic, break arts, chain/defensive abilities and the risk bar which together was a whole pallet of different elements to boggle the mind.

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Now for me this game blew my mind, the story itself did not in any way play a part in the blowing at all. The main focus that had me coming back for more was the gameplay. The game at heart was an action/adventure roleplaying game with some skill and puzzle solving involved. The story, which I will only briefly cover, was about the character you played, called Ashley Riot, and is set in a land called Valendia. Ashley is an elite agent known as a Riskbreaker who must travel to a ruined city called Lea Monde to investigate the connection between a cult and a Valendain parliament member called Duke Bardorba. You are then blamed for this murder and the game unfolds. It is all told in what I can only describe as a sort of comic book caption style. I could go into much more detail but for me the story wasn’t of huge significance as the gameplay was the major attraction here.

Now in game there were no shops to buy items and not much in game interaction with other characters but more revolved around exploring the catacombs and other areas of the city. To begin with there were a lot of weapons and armour to use and customization of these items could be done not to mention grimoires to collect and puzzles to solve.

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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/da/Vs-ashleyblade.jpg

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The combat system worked on a real time basis, enemies would be lurking in areas you would wander into and you could engage by effectively pausing the game while a wire sphere would appear on screen, with the size and range depending on what weapon was equipped, and anything inside the sphere could be attacked. You had an MP bar, HP bar and a risk bar. The MP depleted with use of magic attacks which could be learned by defeating enemies and receiving grimoires from said enemies. Magic attacks ranged from straight up damage infliction on enemies to buffing and debuffing yourself. Many weapon attacks were also on offer here, you had basic attacks which did not increase your risk to chain attacks(rhythm style element were you would time a button hit to continue the attack and increase damage with each attack) and defensive abilities which did increase risk. Risk was accumulated and the trade off from this game element was the higher your risk the more damage sustained from enemy attacks but the higher chance of critical hits, with every successful critical hit hp would be gained.

With this risk element also came break arts which were attacks that could be selected to use and instead of increasing risk or using MP would take HP to use. With all these elements combined the game became very tactical indeed, being able to increase risk to then gain HP and use break arts or instead pause real time evaluate use that spell you just learned from a grimoire to weaken the enemy then basic attack the thing to death to make sure your risk stayed nice and low, the possibilities seemed endless.

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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0b/Vs-ashleywyvern.jpg

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The exploration was also a great part of the game, almost a small free roam element, moving from area to area and as you did unlocking more of the map that was saved forever to the start menu. Here lies the puzzle element for as well as being a 3D platformer game you could also pull and push blocks which you would have to move in certain ways to get through certain areas or unlock doors to progress. The puzzles were sometimes rather complicated and kept you firmly on your toes. Boss battles were also offered in certain rooms to add to the tension of the game and it was never dull, always engaging and just so damn fun. One small detail I loved about the game, was that whatever weapon you chose you would see it in use in your hand. A silly concept now I will admit but at the time you would be surprised how many games this was not the case with. From bows to lances I loved changing it up just for the different animations and looks it brought, not to mention the tactical advantages for each weapon.

To summarize, I loved this game, it opened my whole world to the actual possibilities of tactical gameplay within a platform game, something rather lacking at the time but for a few exceptions. The game was also re-released on the PSN network so if you have an old PlayStation or a new one then why not pick up a copy and give it a go. I can almost guarantee that it will surprise you just how well the game plays and the challenge it presents. If you own a PlayStation, you have read this all the way down and you are not even considering having a look at it then I roll my eyes and bid you good day.

 

Available through PSN store for the PS3, PSP and PS1. http://uk.playstation.com/psn/games/detail/item251674/Vagrant-Story%E2%84%A2/

Bradley Malloy: One of the newest additions to the ReadyPlayer2 Crew.
This Scotsman will be delivering the best of gaming’s past, so keep tuned.

Find more of Bradley’s reviews here: http://ex-gamerchronicles.blogspot.co.uk/

Comments

  1.  Posted by Zebwen on November 20th, 2013, 16:43 [Reply]

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