Category:  RPG Treasure Chest

By Maxwell Coviello, March 15, 2014 0 Features, RPG Treasure Chest

(Editor’s Note: With the game industry being populated with so many RPGs, it’s easy to lose sight of the hidden gems. Open up the RPG Treasure Chest, where we focus on those titles that deserve more attention.)

Take a moment to ponder the following: not many RPGs take place during modern times.

This is possibly because the roots of the genre lay in medieval fantasy tropes and stories set in imagined worlds. So it’s no shocker that an even rarer lot takes place in our world during actual historical periods. These games are most often set in Japan or Europe.

But virtually no RPGs take place in the good ol’ US of A. Nautilus and XSEED Games’ Shadow Heart’s final PS2 entry in the series changes that up. After a “prequel” title set in a haunted Welsh manor in the late 1800s, pre-war China, and a Europe embroiled in World War I, the final Shadow Hearts takes us to another world.

The new world.

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By Maxwell Coviello, March 4, 2014 0 Features, RPG Treasure Chest

(Editor’s Note: With the game industry being populated with so many RPGs, it’s easy to lose sight of the hidden gems. Open up the RPG Treasure Chest, where we focus on those titles that deserve more attention.)

Once when I was but a youngling, I walked into a now-defunct Kay-Bee Toys with my grandmother and my older brother. I was allowed to choose one toy, and since I had just come into gaming, that “toy” was an SNES cartridge.

After asking the cashier which title I should go with—and with some keen direction from my brother, a SNES connoisseur—I walked out with what would become the first RPG I ever purchased for myself.

That RPG was The Secret of Mana.

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By Maxwell Coviello, September 3, 2013 0 Features, Retro, RPG Treasure Chest

To this day, Shadow Hearts: Covenant remains one of the most underrated role-playing games of its time. As the sequel to Shadow Hearts, this excellent marriage of story and gameplay is technically the third title in the series.

Not only did SH:C  drastically improve on the gameplay of its predecessors it provides one of the most engrossing, funny, heart-wrenching and unique RPG experiences on the PlayStation 2. This iteration helped the series as a whole come into its own.

Though, fair warning, it will take you forever and a day to beat…

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By Maxwell Coviello, August 20, 2013 0 Features, RPG Treasure Chest

Billed as being part of Square’s “Summer of Adventure” lineup back in 2000, Threads of Fate (known as Dewprism in Japan) is a PSOne title frequently cited as one of those games that should have gotten a sequel.

Well-received and fun to play, ToF is a challenging platformer/RPG that holds up to modern gaming standards…minus a hefty dose of replayability and exploration.

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By Maxwell Coviello, August 13, 2013 0 Features, RPG Treasure Chest

The 90s were a great decade for precisely two reasons:

1. Some of the best RPG’s ever made came out between the years 1990 and 1999.

2. Sailor ‘Effing Moon.

To this day, Naoko Takeuchi’s influential manga and anime remains one of Japan’s most famous exports to the U.S. – Sailor Moon. The show rode on the wave of the late-90′s “girl-power” movement was one of the first major serialized anime to become a smash hit in the States that was popular with both girls and boys.

For the uninitiated, Sailor Moon followed the titular heroine and her planetary-themed friends as they used their elemental powers, brains and friendship to fight off intergalactic foes.

It was shiny. It was campy. It was great.

Along with a few side-scrolling beat-em-ups and 2D fighters, Sailor Moon inspired some great SNES video games. But what you may not know is that Sailor Moon had a fairly decent role-playing game as well.

Sailor Moon: Another Story stands out, not only for the way it blends the show’s mythos into RPG form, but for its honest representation of the show’s characters.

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By Maxwell Coviello, July 23, 2013 0 Features, RPG Treasure Chest

(Editor’s Note: With the game industry being populated with so many RPGs, it’s easy to lose sight of the hidden gems. Open up the RPG Treasure Chest, where we focus on those titles that deserve more attention.)

What to call this gem of a game? Seiken Densetsu 3? Final Fantasy Adventure 3? Secret of Mana 2? Or do we just call it a tragedy–because it isn’t an instant RPG classic?

Whatever the case, Seiken Densetsu 3, affectionately referred to by Americans as Secret of Mana 2, was one of the first Square RPGs to be released after the success of Chrono Trigger. SD3 has stood the test of time, even if it’s never actually been released overseas.  (more…)

By Maxwell Coviello, July 10, 2013 0 Features, RPG Treasure Chest

(Editor’s Note: With the game industry being populated with so many RPGs, it’s easy to lose sight of the hidden gems. Open up the RPG Treasure Chest, where we focus on those titles that deserve more attention.)

I intend to cover the entire run of the Shadow Hearts series for the RPG Treasure Chest. Not only is this series so incredibly innovative, it’s also so damn weird and fun. To kick off what I started with Koudelka, I present to you Shadow Hearts, the first proper title of the series.

Shadow Hearts follows Koudelka, but the plot connections, while important, are minimal enough that you don’t need to have played the rare PS1 predecessor in order to appreciate the plot. Set years after the first game, Shadow Hearts drops us into a parallel version of the Edwardian Era: 1913 to be exact. In this era, history has played out exactly the same as in our world but everyone is cognizant of the existence of monsters and magic. We start out in rural China, where roguish hero Yuri finds himself drawn to protecting runaway exorcist, Alice.

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By Maxwell Coviello, June 18, 2013 0 Features, RPG Treasure Chest

(Editor’s Note: With the game industry being populated with so many RPGs, it’s easy to lose sight of the hidden gems. Open up the RPG Treasure Chest, where we focus on those titles that deserve more attention.)

When it comes to long running role-playing franchises, it’s easy to rifle off titles in the Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest series as integral pieces of gaming history. And while that wouldn’t be wrong, the Megami Tensei series should be in that discussion as well.

Spanning a number of consoles from the Super Famicom in 1992 to the PlayStation Vita earlier this year, it’s an often overlooked series with amazing RPG titles like Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers.

Soul Hackers is a relatively new release for the Nintendo 3DS, but is actually an enhanced port of a Sega Saturn game from 1997. The second of the Devil Summoner spin-offs, Soul Hackers is widely hailed as one of the best entries in the SMT metaseries and this new release brings it to American shores for the first time.

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By Maxwell Coviello, June 4, 2013 0 Features, RPG Treasure Chest

(Editor’s Note: With the game industry being populated with so many RPGs, it’s easy to lose sight of the hidden gems. Open up the RPG Treasure Chest, where we focus on those titles that deserve more attention.)

Do you remember when Square, hell, ANYBODY for that matter took risks with their RPGs? The 90s to the early 2000s is considered by many to be the “The Golden Age of the RPG” simply because so many companies wanted to shake-up the “turn-based” and “decisive” combat formula that we had come to know so well by the release of Final Fantasy VI and Dragon Quest IV.

I’d rather save the name-dropping for actual articles, but Xenogears and the SaGa series are all fine examples of sticking it to convention. But for all the Parasite Eves and Lufias out there, there are also the Shin Megami Tenseis and the Secret of Evermores. And then, somewhere in between Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger, there is Live-A-Live, perhaps one of the most iconoclastic RPGs you have never heard of.  (more…)

By Maxwell Coviello, May 28, 2013 0 Features, RPG Treasure Chest

(Editor’s Note: With the game industry being populated with so many RPGs, it’s easy to lose sight of the hidden gems. Enter the RPG Treasure Chest, where we focus on those titles that deserve more attention.)

The Shadow Hearts series as a whole can be be described as what would happen if the cast of Downton Abbey got drunk with H.P. Lovecraft after marathoning Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. And yes, that is a totally accurate description of this series.

The game is one of the more underrated and under-the-radar PlayStation 2 RPGs out there, having been created by an ex-Squaresoft employee who was tired of seeing the potential of the JRPG fall into a pattern of “safe clichés.”

Taking a unique approach to RPG gameplay and storytelling, Shadow Hearts remains one of the best RPGs that nobody has ever played. It is criminally underrated and one hell of a good time. As I consider it one of my favorite game series, I plan on examining all four titles. Today I focus on the 1999 PS1 RPG Koudelka—which is technically the first or prequel game to the Shadow Hearts trilogy.

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