Vagrant Story

released on Feb 10, 2000

Adventure into a world of unparalleled depth and danger with SquareSoft's Vagrant Story. In this sweeping dungeon-crawling epic you play as Ashley Riot, a young assassin and spy for the organization known as Riskbreakers. Your goal is to unravel a deep and twisted plot and come to terms with the recent death of your wife and child. If this sounds a bit too cerebral never fear. Your path to recapturing your sense of humanity hinges on the destruction of countless vicious monsters and the exploration of dark and dangerous dungeons. Vagrant Story is awash in gorgeous scenery and features designs from Yasumi Matsuno and Akihiko Yoshida, the acclaimed artists and creators behind Final Fantasy Tactics.

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I ended up with some love for this in the end, I kinda just wanted to blast through this game but I was punished by the game hardcore and just straight up had to reset my save, I had a great time but there's many.. many things that hold it back for me personally, I'll start with my positives. I absolutely love the settings, character, and enemy designs. Instantly recognizable and lovingly designed. I love how expertly detailed everything looks. Looting weapons and assembling new ones was pretty satisfying although a little overwhelming. The music perfectly sets the mood for many scenes and the ending is phenomenal. The things that hold this game back for me is it's gameplay. This is a 20 or so hour game (at least when I beat it) that feels like 40. Everything is so slow, as slow as molasses in some cases. The combat is also fun but in the midst of combat are super slow moments. For example, if you're tackling more than one enemy and each enemy's affinity demands different weapons, you have to quickly take out one with your current weapon, go through several menu screens to equip another weapon, and then you can do damage. It's definitely not on-the-fly at all and I wish there was a way to just quickly switch weapons. Most bosses were a joke given the right preparations and shredding through them was super satisfying once you find out what they are weak to. But I do have to talk about the final one, genuinely the most asinine, archaic experience I've had in this game. I almost hated it, only plus I give it is that it doesn't overstay it's welcome. I enjoyed backtracking to past areas with keys to previously locked doors to retrieve strong weapons, I felt badass, and when taking down multiple enemies with multiple weapon weaknesses, I felt super triumphant, and the story held my interest. Overall, a great experience that takes way, way too long to learn. once you get the hang of it though the game doesn't stop momentum at all even with all the complaints I had with the slow animations and menus.

Oh what a unique game.
I never beat this game as a kid and now i see why, this game is hard and there's no holding hand here, the game expect you to learn and explore by your own. That's just so good and rare compared to today's industry.
The story is mature, cryptic, convoluted and is presented with a strangely good camera work for PS1 generation.
Only two things I would have liked to be better: first, I would have liked the armor changes to be reflected in Ashley appearance, just like weapons do. And more important, this game NEEDS a quick weapon swap! The game demands you to have the right weapon for the right enemy, you need at least 3 different affinity weapons at all time and it's a pain to be changing weapons on the normal menu, this game needs a d-pad quick weapon swap.
I can't believe Square just forgot about this gem, it totally deserve to have a sequel. I think i'm even going to do NG+

Vagrant Story was a huge breath of fresh air and one of the best games I've ever played. The combat is on-field and you can stop time to go into your menu and pick your action. The combat also rewards equipment preparation and allows you to change equipment during battles in order to adapt and counter the enemies you are facing. This game offers so much utility in combat and continues to get better as you gain more abilities and magic. The soundtrack is beautiful, and the story along with the characters are very interesting. The character designs themselves look very inspired.
This game opts out of using a tutorial and throws you in with absolutely no explanation of any of its complex mechanics. Most of it is explained in the in-game manual, which I thought I would point out. I prefer this method of explanation instead of the game treating you like a baby whenever a new mechanic is introduced. If I ever had questions, I could cite the manual whenever I needed.
I can't recommend this game enough. Anyone should try this if they're looking for a non-traditional JRPG, or just a good game in general.

Tout simplement le meilleur jeux Playstation ! Un système de combat excellent(Parasite Eve), une histoire prenante! Son seul défaut, sa durée de vie (je veux un remaster!!!)

First GOTM finished for May 2023. I'm conflicted on this game. This game has no desire to teach you any of its mechanics, and can be painfully obtuse at times. The crafting/affinity/elemental system is a complicated barrier to entry, the menu system is convoluted and has to be accessed constantly to change weapons, and the act of storing and removing items from the chest is painfully slow (as is saving in general). Obtaining and casting spells through the Grimoire mechanic feels unnecessarily complicated, and offensive magic as a whole feels unwieldy and unpleasant to use. However, I felt incredibly satisfied once I got the weapon and affinity system down, and once I figured out how to chain combos the combat really opened up. The menu was still clunky, and I'm still not sure what happened with that story even after finishing the game, but it felt good to wail on enemies and bosses using the full weight of the affinity and crafting system behind me. Despite Vagrant Story often actively trying to change my mind, I left feeling like I had an overall pleasant experience with this one.