Vagrant Story

Just picked up this game for 40 Canadian bucks, non-GH. What should I expect from this game?

Is it really that complicated?

The game isn’t complicated on it’s own, but the weapon/armor smithing system (which is vital to survival) is heinous. There is very little actual story, just small tidbits to keep you going. It is kind of like most Tri-Ace games: if you don’t know the tricks of the various systems then the game is extremely hard, but if you know them and take the time to exploit them then the game is quite easy.

Story-wise? No, it’s never truly clarified, so it’s useless rattling your brain about it. Gameplay wise is a pain in the neck:

Basically, your weapons evolve as you use them, but as they become stronger in some fields they become weaker in others. Each weapon has three attributes: What enemy it is good against, what element it is good against and how does it strike (Slashing, Piercing and Blunt).

What you have to do is balance your weapons so that they are of use against a few enemies each, and continuously (As in “The Equip screen is burned in my fucking retinas”) change them depending on the enemy.

The enemy types are Human, Beast, Undead, Ghost, Dragon and Evil. Usually I keep a sword for Human and Beast, a blunt weapon (Mace works well) for Undead and Ghost and a Spear for Dragon and Evil. It is important that you consider these pairings while deciding your equipment, because while you train a weapon to affect one enemy, it’s effectiveness with the other will decrease, HOWEVER, these pairs are the most compatible (That is to say, it’s easier to keep Beast and Human levels even than Beast and Ghost).

Once you have weapons that can fight correctly against each type… you are still going to get buttfucked because it’s IMPOSSIBLE to have the correct elemental attributes all the time. You can have a Mace that’s awesome against Ghosts, but there are ghosts with Water attributes and there are others with Fire so all you can do is grit your teeth during those fights and deal as much damage as you can (If you can do two digits per strike consider yourself extremely lucky).

Then there’s the strike type. These are usually given (Sword=Slash, Mace=Blunt, etc) and the enemies are weak to these default types (Skelletons [Undead] are weak against Blunt, for example) but you will occasionally find enemies that will screw you over like a giant crab [Beast] with a pretty big defense against Slashing.

What do you do? Well, half the game you will spend practicing Blacksmithing. That’s merging weapons to get different results, but I’ll let someone else explain that.

Once you get a good ways into the game it becomes easier to deal with elemental attributes due to access to gems and spells that alter them. For the most part it doesn’t matter too much how high an attribute is so much as what attribute is the highest.

Although it’s funny how you always get the gems and spells a bit too late. For example, the spell that allows you to temporarily rise a weapon’s Air attribute (Which is good against Earth), is given to you immediately after you spent fifteen minutes doing one-digit strikes against an Earth Elemental enemy.

I should also mention that nobody EVER explains any of this in the game. There is a tutorial, but it’s just a big text screen that doesn’t really clarify it and you might even miss. I honestly can’t believe these are the same guys who made that awesome interactive tutorial for FFT.

Yeah, Seraphim’s dead on about the gameplay. I even had the exact same weapons (except I used a silver Dagger for Undead/Phantom). It’s true that gems and spells make the going a lot easier later on.

And while there isn’t much story, what story is there is breathtaking. This stuff is pure poetry. It’s the closest thing you’ll ever come to playing a Shakespeare game. And the direction is masterful.

I usually don’t like serious, political storylines (that’s what killed FFT for me…), I really, really liked Vagrant Story’s. Cid’s right on with the Shakespeare comparison… half the characters in the game are named after Shakespeare characters too. =P

The whole game was a blast, even with all the micromanagement required with the weapons. Although I never had nearly as big of a problem with them as most of the people on the internet seem to…

And 40 bucks? That’s kind of expensive, I think, even if it is Canadian. I bought a non-GH copy of the game for 15 bucks (American) brand new back in the day. But it’s a wonderful game, nonetheless.

It’s like Lunar, except without the comedy in it’s execution. I get the same sense I get when I play Lunar; the people who made this were totally focused on what they wanted to do, and they went with it. I feel like the amount of focus that was placed on it, and the execution involved, is something that…well, I don’t sense from Square’s other work.

I got my non-GH copy for thirty or twenty dollars when it first came out. The tag said “Jackie Chan” and I got the guy to sell the game for the same price as the Jackie Chan game.

It does have a very finished feel to it. Although that’s got to be the first time anyone’s compare VS to Lunar in any way, shape, or form… it’s pretty hard to get two games so remarkably different to each other. 8p They’re barely the same genre.

I actually felt a bit strange for saying it like that and almost changed the sentence, but then decided that it does make sense really. As much as I like Lunar 2, I know it’s a rehash of any other RPG back in the day. The only difference is that it’s a mediocore RPG that was placed in the hands of people who were either very experienced in videogames, or were very, very focused on making it the best mediocore RPG it could be…or, you know, both.

Parasite Eve doesn’t really shimmer with the same focus as those two games, but it’s obvious that the people in Square who made knew what they wanted to do. I might never go to New York in my life, since, you know, I live in Texas and all, so seeing them put Carnegie Hall and other real places in the city really turned me on to the game. I really think that’s something. I haven’t felt that a game from Square really achieve it’s purpose or seem like it’s so darned finished as VS in a long time. I want to see the next cutscene in that game because I know it’s really going to be something I’m going to like. There not just thrown in to milk a plot point. I just…really dig it.

I’m kind of going on and on, so I guess I’ll just end it with that.

I actually did visit most of the places PE took place in. While of course the actual layout is different, they got the style of pretty much all those places bang on. I always wish they could put more RPGs in the real world… there’s almost none of them out there (Shadow Hearts and Shenmue being the only real exceptions I can think of).

So far, I am not having any problems at all. Just beat the first dragon, you know, the one right after the first golem.

Just a few questions:

What does PP stand for?

How do I learn more break arts?

What’s the point of analyse? I don’t see any difference when using it.

  1. Phantom Points. The more you use a weapon, the more PP it gains. The less you use it, the more PP it loses. As a rule, weapons work better with more PP.

  2. Kill enemies with that weapon. Select Break Arts in the menu and it should tell you how many enemies you need to kill with that weapon to gain the next one. IMPORTANT: be sure to learn the Sword Break Arts, they make the final boss a whole lot easier.

  3. After casting Analyze, check the status screen (Where you can check Ashley’s condition) and press R1 or something like that. You will be able to see the exact same screen with the enemy’s data, quite useful if you want too know what part is the most likely to break and what affinities it is weak against.

‘Analyze’ is almost a must-have to fight bosses, unless you played it so much you know it already. I consider it the most important spell in the game, second being the healing spell.

As to which weapons make which weapons which make the other weapons, etc etc etc etc etc, go to the RPGClassics shrine on Vagrant Story. Very informative, in my opinion.