GAME DESIGN DISSECTION.

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We've all played commercial games that we like, and not only did we like them, we found them damn good. For different reasons, different games that fall under that category have succeeded in some area of game design that made it so good. The purpose of this topic is to take some of your favorite commercial games and dissect them to find out what made them so good and perhaps think about them in comparison to our own game making endeavors. I'll start.

SaGa Frontier


This one is kinda long. A lot of people don't like this game. The story is fragmented and sometimes nonexistent, the pacing is off, and the gameplay can be wonky and it's flat out unfinished in a lot of parts. Usually the game gets a mediocre to outright bad score. But, this is one of my favorite games. Why? Because although very, very unrefined, it has some of the best potential for gameplay I've ever seen. Ever.

First off, there's more than one selectable character, seven at that. With the exception of fuck ups like Lute, most of them have their own stories, stats, characters plots, unique locations, and so on. The characters can even meet and join up with other main characters. I don't expect people to really emulate this en masse, but it's a damn good concept.

Second, the gameplay itself is immense. There's over 30 or so characters that can join your party. Over 100 abilities. Tons of weapons and armor. Any character can do anything. Lots of towns that you can go to at will. One of the best things is the character leveling system. Every character has different stats and different talents towards skills and weapons (everyone can equip a sword, but not everyone will be good at it), and stats go up per battle as you do different things within battle. This method of stat progression has been seen in RPG Maker games such as Final Fantasy: Endless Nova so that makes me glad. There's also so much shit to do. The game pretty much throws you out there sandbox style "go do shit", and this can hurt it when you have no idea WHAT to do, but there's a lot TO do.

All in all the game has a lot of golden gameplay mechanics that they need to refine, but they manage to gay it up with almost every installment of the SaGa series. Please, I can elaborate on this if asked!

Final Fantasy 5


This FF is usually ignored because of its simplistic storyline, but ignoring that for a second, the gameplay is solid. For one, the Job system is one of the best FF systems to date that lets every character keep their individuality while letting players customize them. The key is, you can say, go from a Knight to a Black Mage any time you want, but you have to work to be any good at it. Getting good at a certain thing takes time, and that's what I like, contrary to FF7/8 when you can change abilities and talents like underwear with no work or effort.

Another gameplay element I like about it is how no bullshit the gameplay is. Unlike a lot of Final Fantasies, it isn't stupidly easy. It isn't crazy hard like FF4 can be, but in terms of difficulty and gameplay balance, it's usually just right. I'm not saying it's perfect, because it isn't. It could have been a little more complex, however, considering that I had to actually stop and think about what I was doing OR GET KILLED during many boss fights, and even random encounters, I'd say FF5 did it right.

Breath of Fire IV


My friend and I have a little inside joke when it comes to video games; among our usual opinions of story, music, gameplay, and etc, we also have a little known other factor we rate games; it's swagger factor. Now I don't know if you whiteys really know the context of swagger, but in this context, it means style, presentation, how 'cool' a game is. In that context, Breath of Fire IV has a lot of swagger.

I mean seriously the presentation of how badass and cool it comes across as is seriously half the game. The dragon transformation animation, Scias' attack animation, Everything that Fou Lu does (even his victory animation; he just walks away like he doesn't give a shit), the scenes and how they play out, the atmosphere of the game, and even the gameplay elements; the combo system, the dragon system, things like that. Breath of Fire IV has quite a bit of swagger, which leads me to believe that atmosphere is half the playability of a game. I have played through some otherwise not so great games, and loved it, because the atmosphere sucked me in. In the flip side, I have put down some supposedly good games because of the lack of atmosphere. Atmosphere, now that I think about it is usually what's missing in a lot of amateur games. Sure, they know how to make a game and even write a story, but the presentation and delivery is what's important. Presentation and atmosphere is a major thing, and BoF 4 has it in spades.

So yeah, I'm going to see how this topic goes. List your own dissections, and don't be afraid to discuss!

Aw, Saga Frontier was one of those games I loved for sentimental reasons, I guess.

I loved the sandbox style, and I loved the "Levels? Where we're going, we don't need... Levels" type attitude. It presented a significant challenge too, because the enemies were always evolving as you did. Lute's quest was my favorite BECAUSE it was the least linear of the 7! It's one of those games I know isn't a fan favorite, but I guess SOMEONE's gotta love it.

I hated every SaGa game after that, though. 2 had hideous timeline problems and made you not really give a shit about characters that had immense potential, the less that is said about Unlimited SaGa, the better, and Romancing SaGa was too little too late, and the SaGa bus had long left town by then.

FF5 was great except for the plot on the second planet to the end of the game. The mechanics were top notch, however. Tactics perfected what FF5 began.

As for BoF4... I played 1, 2 and 3... never got around to it.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9159
Now I don't know if you whiteys really know the context of swagger,

I am literally THE WHITEST PERSON you will ever find and even I knew pretty much exactly what you meant by swagger!

Also, good topic. But I mean, I needn't tell you that, you're obviously a mod for a reason!
harmonic
It's like toothpicks against a tank
4142
I'm with you on FF5. "No bullshit" is a perfect summary. It is probably the best balanced RPG ever.
Saga Frontier skill system is indeed awesome :)

Anyway, here are mine, starting with some of my top inspirations:
Phantasy Star IV
I can´t stress enough on how good this thing is from design stand point, sure it is not perfect, but from a game design overall it is the most perfect or less flawed game being very balanced in all aspects. Main weakness maybe being a Genesis game (being the console limited in colors) but even that the graphic designers turned on its favour.

Now what is so great? First it picks up the setting from previous games, which as always say, recycling settings is good because you add more depth and sense of "fake reality" to the setting. Howe things have changed greatly on the setting, but you can still find a lot of things you saw before.

As for what it has on it it´s own: The setting is really interesting, it starts making you think it is just your generic medieval RPG, then you space travel on cool ships, pilot (and fight) in vehicles, get androids into the party, visit satelites... How great is that? Characters are also interesting with a system for then to talk anytime via menu, good if you don´know where to go next or just want to some jokes and in-party interaction.

Systems:The system that is best integrated with the game´s "reality" (setting and plot) I´ve ever seen: Each character´s stats and every detail is portrayed in battle accurately, like androids are very resistent, ignore biological bad stats but are weak to machine wrencking ones, can´t be healed with cure itens or cure spells (they have their own skills of self repair and repair itens) this both adds to strategy and makes things more logical. Rika being antificial human with monster cells who grows and evolves fast gets twice as much exp per battle as other characters, still she suffers a bit on the skill side since her actual life experience was not vast. Also the game plot picks from the system like when a certain character is dying, another attempts to heal her with a cure spell and it is all clear that she can´t be treat for being hit by a specific spell (which is not used against other character in battle).

And another cool aspect are vehicles: first as in any game from the series you travel between 3 planets. So okay, not much variety on the planets, but it is still interesting nonetheless. Also you can visit other places in space like space stations and ruins floating about. Now the coolest vehicles are the ones you use on the world map, first cause you get 3, second because instead of fighting on foot or just not fighting when you move in a vehicle... you use IT to fight. In battle you see the vehicle control pannel as if you were piloting it and you use it´s weapons to crush monsters with cannons, missiles, drills, bombs whatever the bat-mobil-, mean, landhover, ice digger and hydrofoil has.

The battle itself is well presented, it gives you a front view system, but you do see your characters all the time and they are animated, as well as all enemies are. There are ways to combine attacks if you use certain skills in a certain order like using the equivalents of Fire, Bolt and Ice, makes the characters just strike with a Triblaster. It is kinda similar to Saga Frontier´s combos, just more exact (everytime you follow the order with the skills it will work on a combo).

It was long exactly because the game is well rounded, what makes it good is exactly that it it doesn´t have any big flaw, maybe some small things here and there, but still can´t say "graphics suck" or "story suck". It´s not just the best because it is good in all aspects, but not the best in any, Jack of all trades master of none I guess. Graphics are good, But Chrono Trigger looks way better, exploration is nice but Cy7ber Knight has way more variety on planets and places. So yeah, not perfect no lame in any spect, not very ambitious, just what the guys at Sega could do with low budget for a shitty console, I think it is a big role model for RM users with no budget and a simple engine.

The World Ends With You

The World Ends With You is a horrible mess of a videogame, combining a few of the worst aspects of RPGs--color-swapped enemies, endless fetch quests, and a battle system that almost seems to be complex for the sake of being complex--with a vast quantity of superfluous gameplay systems, some of which hardly even affect the game. But it's probably my favorite game on the DS, and arguably one of the best Japanese RPGs made in the past five years. I've been wondering for a while about how such an unfocused game can be so effective, and I've come to a conclusion:

Most games use gameplay to justify the story; for example, Bioshock was apparently founded on dynamics between AI characters, and later given a setting and a plot. The World Ends With You uses story to justify the gameplay. Nearly every feature in the game justifies the story's main themes, and every cliche present in the game is justified by the fact that the story takes place in Shibuya.

For example, the characters appear ridiculously over-accessorized because the game takes place in Shibuya. The characters shop for new equipment because the game takes place in Shibuya, is full of shops and besides, where else do they buy all those accessories? Your characters eat food to raise stats because they're teenagers, and they are hungry. The time span of the Reaper's Game--seven days--echoes horror movies like "The Ring". And so on.

The game's themes--that adolescence is confusing and dangerous, that the best way to survive is to open up to the world around you--ties into everything. The monsters you fight aren't just negative emotions, but the protaganist's emotions made flesh. It goes even deeper; since you are only allowed to eat certain amounts of food per real-time day, you are encouraged to spread the game out rather than finish it in one go. You gain extra experience by bringing your DS to friends who also have DSes. You even gain experience for taking breaks from the game! On the surface, The World Ends With You appears painfully messy, but take a closer look and you realize nearly every facet of the game is tightly focused on promoting a message, and presenting it in a way so that it's difficult to ignore.

On top of all this, the story isn't even that great! The writing is surprisingly good and the story is heartfelt, but the plot is also ridiculously convoluted. But it works anyway.
author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=2227.msg37797#msg37797 date=1223960840
Final Fantasy 5
author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=2227.msg37797#msg37797 date=1223960840
...lets every character keep their individuality while letting players customize them.
The characters have next to no individuality in battle. The biggest difference is about 3 points in a stat which makes a lick of difference. The class they are (for 3/4ths of the game) and the equipment they have (for the last part, and if it isn't the Chicken Knife then its still largely trivial) is far more significant than any trivial stat differences.

A better example of individuality while being customizable would be SD3, or at least Duran. The first class change is choosing between healing+tanking or saber+damage, both which use different strategies (unless you abuse the black market horribly. Then the choice is irrelevent since Shields don't completely work right). Duran is still Duran but you can choose how you want to use him. Not as much customization as FF5 though.

The rest of the cast don't have have same level of customization though IMO. Kevin still murders everything no matter what, Hawk gets stat downs or trash (well, his Wanderer class is pretty good but you get second classes so late), Lise gets buffs or debuffs, Angela gets variety x or y of magic (but the y variety is trash too until second class change). Carlie gets some customization, I think she gets sabers or damage magic (and a debuff with a second class) but her role is stuck as heal stick because nobody is as good as she is at it.


author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=2227.msg37797#msg37797 date=1223960840
The key is, you can say, go from a Knight to a Black Mage any time you want, but you have to work to be any good at it.
Bad example. The Black Mage learns nothing from AP that it already doesn't have. To be a good Black Mage all you need to do is switch classes to the Black Mage. If you want to have a selection of black magic spells you need to work at it. This was pretty much true for any of the spell casting classes, and the skills you learn are only really effective when you're another spell casting class since a character's stats are solely based on what class they are (with exception to Bare and Mimic which revolve around mastering 5-6 classes).

The physical classes are hit and miss for what they learn. Ninjas are just like spell casters, Samurai learn a variety of skills, Dragoons/Berserkers are trash, ect. I don't remember the various support classes, but the only one I ever used was Alchemist for the x2 item effect ability.

Final Fantasy Tactics is better at it than FF5 is. When you change classes, you have no skills for that class and possibly enough JP to learn a low level skill. The more time you spend as that class the more JP you get which lets you learn new skills. Not only that, you choose what you learn instead of having to slog through a mess of useless skills to get what you want, you also know what you can get, and there's different types of skills to learn and you can equip one of each type of skill instead of having one whole slot to learn another skill (except Bare and Mimic). The stat gains on level up are also partially determined by what class you are, but these gains are trivial and it makes almost no difference except in the long run. It'd help fighters be better fighters than mages who just switched to fighters (not counting JP/skills). Too bad its such a meager bonus its pointless.


I completely agree with how FF5 is balanced though. There's plenty of tough encounters and a variety of ways to deal with them including some very gamebreaking ones (four-shotting the first Exdeath with captured monsters/ Maxing out the Hunter class/ Chicken Knife). Plus Galuf's death is the best FF death to date.


I'd like to say Pokemon here, but Nintendo keeps shooting themselves in the foot. There's a lot of deep strategies available but its impossible to even look at them in the main game due to how the game is set up. See: HM Moves. Whoever thought that these would be required to play the game needs to be shot. (Plus only in the current generation did they weed out stupid design decisions)
The characters have next to no individuality in battle. The biggest difference is about 3 points in a stat which makes a lick of difference. The class they are (for 3/4ths of the game) and the equipment they have (for the last part, and if it isn't the Chicken Knife then its still largely trivial) is far more significant than any trivial stat differences.

I don't mean the characters themselves, I mean what you can make of them. That's what I meant by individuality, their classes and such.

Bad example. The Black Mage learns nothing from AP that it already doesn't have. To be a good Black Mage all you need to do is switch classes to the Black Mage. If you want to have a selection of black magic spells you need to work at it. This was pretty much true for any of the spell casting classes, and the skills you learn are only really effective when you're another spell casting class since a character's stats are solely based on what class they are (with exception to Bare and Mimic which revolve around mastering 5-6 classes).

Yes, that was a bad example, since magic/mages tend to work that way. I guess Knight/Ninja would be a much better example.

The physical classes are hit and miss for what they learn. Ninjas are just like spell casters, Samurai learn a variety of skills, Dragoons/Berserkers are trash, ect. I don't remember the various support classes, but the only one I ever used was Alchemist for the x2 item effect ability.

See, that's the thing. For example, Dragoons and Berserkers work just fine unless you're playing to break the game or playing for only the top not benefits and such. For the average FF5 player, there's better classes out there, but they're not bad. And the support classes are pretty awesome too, I remember the Geomancer being great (free spells), the Mime being damn near broken, and even the Bard being incredibly awesome for what he's worth. It's all in how you play.

author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=2227.msg37876#msg37876 date=1224005559
I don't mean the characters themselves, I mean what you can make of them. That's what I meant by individuality, their classes and such.
Ah, my bad. I agree, but it could've been better if being a Knight for half the game made them a better Knight than characters switching in. Plus at the end game my entire team was the same class with the same skills (Magic Sword and Rapid Fire for 4 hits of Flare Sword with automatic hits) but thats just me. I also grinded the hell out of Movers because I hate myself so I guess I kill my own argument.


author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=2227.msg37876#msg37876 date=1224005559
See, that's the thing. For example, Dragoons and Berserkers work just fine unless you're playing to break the game or playing for only the top not benefits and such. For the average FF5 player, there's better classes out there, but they're not bad. And the support classes are pretty awesome too, I remember the Geomancer being great (free spells), the Mime being damn near broken, and even the Bard being incredibly awesome for what he's worth. It's all in how you play.
I'll avoid arguing Dragoon/Berserker to stay on topic (I was pissed when I mastered the Dragoon class for the first time), but I agree with the rest. The variety of classes opens up a lot of potential strategies.
I'll avoid arguing Dragoon/Berserker to stay on topic (I was pissed when I mastered the Dragoon class for the first time),

By all means, share your thoughts! You probably know more on the matter than I.
author=GreatRedSpirit link=topic=2227.msg37870#msg37870 date=1224005194
Bad example. The Black Mage learns nothing from AP that it already doesn't have. To be a good Black Mage all you need to do is switch classes to the Black Mage. If you want to have a selection of black magic spells you need to work at it. This was pretty much true for any of the spell casting classes, and the skills you learn are only really effective when you're another spell casting class since a character's stats are solely based on what class they are (with exception to Bare and Mimic which revolve around mastering 5-6 classes).
I really gotta disagree here. The whole point of mastering spell casting classes is to use the spell caster as a sub-job, and there are some fine examples where you sub something like a mastered Gladiator/MagiKnight (depending on the version you're playing) into something like a Knight or a Wanderer with Two Swords and get an EVERYTHING DIES.

Also: A mastered Red Mage is about two hundred and twelve times better than a Red Mage of any other level because of Doublecast.
Mod endorsed nerg rage? I'll start with Berserkers because they're easy to pick on.

The very concept of Berserkers makes them a terrible class. You can't control them so you can't focus fire with them which is the core of most RPG strategies: A dead guy can't hurt you so kill them one at a time. At least, that's mine. The options you have with a berserker are very limited because of this. They can't use any abilities given to them (like White Magic) or Items, meaning you have fewer characters to work with if you need to heal in emergencies. They can use passive abilities such as the Knight's TwoHand ability which is handy since Berserkers can't use shields but any class can use these abilities so it isn't much of a pro as it is a not-a-con. FF5 also has a fair number of gimmick bosses where mass/random attacking is one of the worst things you can do. If you're playing the game for the first time and don't know when these bosses come up you will likely find having a Berserker very fustrating and its better for them to be dead than to actually contribute and if a class reaches that point its a complete failure. The gains you get from being berserked are meager and I think it slows the character down since once their action gauge fills up there's a pause for the AI to decide what to do.
In short: Not having control sucks seriously.

Now the Berserker only learns two abilities: Berserk and Equip Axes/Hammers. Berserk is a waste of 100AP for the reasons stated above, losing control is awful. Equip Axes/Hammers is also awful. Any class that has the strength to do physical damage can use a similar weapon and axes don't stand out compared to other weapons. They're even worse than Swords/Knifes since you can't use MagicSword with them. Mastering them for the max stat bonus to Bare/Mimic is also useless since other classes provide better bonuses and abilities. They only cost 500AP to master which isn't too expensive but that's 500AP you could put towards something useful, like the Hunter class. Or Ninjas.

Using a Berserker can only really be suggested if you know what you're doing and there's no upcoming dungeons/bosses where a Berserker is a very bad thing to be using. They can use the Death Sickle which random inflicts Death which is very useful in the early game (some bosses are even vulnerable to it!) but its a somewhat rare drop from an uncommon enemy that you'd only know to farm if someone else told you/you read it up specificly. Something most first time players won't do.


Dragoon's aren't as bad. You can control them and Jump can deal a lot of damage with the character being invulnerable during the 'charge up' time. Its not all happy and roses though, while the Dragoon can't be spammed by high power magic while in the air, the other characters on the ground can now get hit making any sort of tanking the Dragoon provides (simply by being a possible target that can take a physical hit) impossible. Not a significant issue since backrow mages can take a few physical blows and if the Dragoon avoids damage by jumping healing magic to the rest of the party is that much more effective as its spread across fewer targets. Also if the entire party jumps then nobody is a target on account that there are none which is nice if the party is setup that way. The big con with Jump is to do its x2 damage and make the jump worth it is that you need to have a Spear equipped. Spears are unremarkable weapons that can't be MagicSword'd and throughout the game Spears don't ever stand out like the Death Sickle does for Axes. Using Swords you can replicate the x2 damage of Jump with MagicSword->Flare late in the game or RapidFire earlier on. Jump is pretty unspectacular and its the only real move Dragoons have.

Ability wise, the Dragoon class is a dead end. They learn Jump, Lancet, and EquipSpears. Jump is learnt quickly which could make it an easy way of doing x2 damage late in World 1 but you need spears to do x2 damage. Too bad only two classes can use them: Dragoons which natively have Jump and Bare. So for Jump to be useful you need to learn Lancet and then get another 400AP to learn EquipSpears. Wait, you need EquipSpears to make Jump effective, but both take up your one ability slot. Jump has no use except to Bare and if you're using Bare odds are you have access to better abilities like RapidFire/MagicSword. Lancet recovers MP and HP at no cost and deals damage, but the amounts gained are trivial that you'd have to keep an enemy alive and incapacitated to make it effective. It'd only be useful for recovering MP but any class with a good magic score has a lot of MP and short of burning it all before a save point you won't run out of MP. Plus later in the game Osmose is a far more effective means of cheap MP recovery (or even better MagicSword->Osmose).

So in short the Dragoon class is, while handy for its x2 damage jump, gives you nothing over the 550AP cost to master it. Its abilities are useless for other classes and none of its stats contribute to the best Bare stats. The Dragoon class has one use in the mid-late game: To mass jump with dual Dragon Spears on that optional dragon boss.

*one preview later*
ffffffffffff... that's a lot of words.


Shadowtext: I was trying to say that to be a good Black Mage all you have to do is become one. You can make great spell casters by mixing and matching spell schools but except for classes with higher magic stats you won't be a better black mage by being one. You'll only be able to cast black magic without being a Black Mage with damage based on your current class' magic stat.

I agree equipping learnt abilities to other classes is 90% of FF5's gameplay. That's what makes stuff like Rapid Fire incredibly awesome. Learn it as a Hunter, change to a powerhouse class and abuse x2 damage with no miss chance to your hearts content!

*edit*
Lets hide that because that is a lot of words.
Craze
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar
15240
I've played FF5A. Dragoons and Berserkers were two of my favorite classes... a two-handing Berserker and a Lanceting Dragoon/Time Mage? lol ded

I think Lancet is more powerful on the GBA, though. I never got to the Dragoon class on the SNES version. :<



About TWEWY: I didn't feel that it was super-disorganized, but the message really is strong. I love how the entire game takes some cliches and builds them constantly and then BAM plot twist. The palette swaps weren't terrible since most have new tattoo appendages as well.

The "animated" scenes are also so awesome. The SQUISH SCENE (you know what I'm talking about) is so KJNEJGNSLVNLNSVLNLVNLNCLVNSDNOSNG:OSNGJSNVLSNVJLSvBSUGH#*$HT*#$HG*(WDNvSDN I HAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTEEEEEEEE YYYYYYYYYYYOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
that it breaks the page.



MY DISSECTION:

FFX-2
Final Fantasy X-2 takes an odd sort of mindset to enjoy: you have to want to be part of Yuna and company's life. Sure, there's Vegnagun or something that going to cleanse Spira? Whatever, I have a date with optional boss #57, who I have to coax out by helping an old friend catch her chocobo. After that, Yuna and I have to spy on rogue offspring from that boss, proving that it has been eating chocobos. Alternatively, I could frame somebody else.

After all that's settled, I think Yuna, Rikku, Paine and I are going to save a concert hosted by a little dorky guy, and sell tickets. As we sell the tickets, we're going to find women and the occasional manwoman to marry some guy's loser son to. Not only that, but we're going to gain rep with one of two gaming companies duking it out in the Calmlands! Chances are that we'll run into some rare monsters and unlock an old friend's new chocobo pen--now Rikku and I can decorate chocobos however we want.

What was that about Vegnagun...? Oh, right, I have to go save the Cactuars and defeat that crazy thing out the desert. Yeah. Those damn cactuars, always trying to duel me....

Ahem.

What I'm trying to say about FFX-2 is that it's better than all MMORPGs because its sidequests actually MEAN SOMETHING to the player/characters. The gameplay is good too, I guess.

Oh, Yunie, can we climb Mt. Gagazet today? I heard that the Ronso are rebelling against Kimahri....
No one in the corner got swagger like us
Swagger like us, swagger swagger like us
No one in the corner got swagger like us
Swagger like us, swagger swagger like us.


Great article!! I love the games you mentioned.
And yeah, BoFIV is just awesome in terms of presentation.

Also, the main difference between sidequests in an MMORPG compared to JRPG is that MMORPG sidequests usually serve to (hopefully) make your character stronger or better-equipped in some way.

Alternatively, JRPG sidequests can serve for storyline advancement/unlockable plots, as well as new equipment and skills.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9159
I fucking love that song.
Craze
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar
15240
Let's keep posting in this topic, please. ^__^
Diablo II

Blizzard did so many things right with this title that it's hard to know where to start (or what specifically to point out). A lot has to be said about Diablo II's replayability and the design decisions that lead to it.

  • There are 5 (7 with expansion) classes, each with their own playing style a myriad of different build paths
  • There are 3 difficulty modes, unlocked as you progress in the game (with greater challenges but also greater rewards)
  • Maps are randomly generated (for the most part)
  • Item drops and monster spawns are also random.

This is all just off the top of my head - I'm sure there's more.

There's also the satisfaction you get when you clear an area. Kind of like Asteroids, in a strict sense. Very addictive.
LouisCyphre
can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
4523
Adding to kentona's above:

-Of the seven classes, only one sucks balls (looking at you, necromancer.)
-Each class has three skill trees of ten skills each, of which you'll combined around 5 to 12 in a playthrough.
-Items are random AND scaled to your level.
-Enemies are diverse and require planning and thought to defeat, especially at later levels.
-The disc is coated in methamphetamines to increase addictiveness.
While I agree that Diablo II had a ton of good thing going for it (especially since it was my drug for years....) it was far from being without flaws. My biggest gripe was that there was no way to undo a poor skill choice which lead to your first character being absolute crap with his/her skills spread out over the three trees. Would a respec per difficulty been to much to ask for?

Either way the game was a great mix of dungeon crawling and crack!
SaGa Frontier had soooo much potential, but I hated having almost NO idea what to do and I thought it was utter trash as a kid.

Some of the characters were cool though. Blue and Asellus were my favorites, and Emilia was great too. I mean, it's been almost ten years since I've played it, so the fact that I even still remember them must say something about the game.
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