I BEAT THE GAME IN TWO DAYS. So, I figured I'd share a mini-review with you all. And my humorous escapades involving the not-so-final boss(es). XD
Okay. I'll take a spell to give my mini-review. I'm not gonna go into detail, someone else on fm_alchemist pretty much summed it up effectively.
Gameplay:Okay, I'll disagree with the previous review on this one. I thought the gameplay was probably the only redeeming factor of this game. I loved how it was so alchemically incorrect; God knows you can make a gun turret out of a water fountain and a copy of yourself from a tree. XD The camera angles did indeed kill my right thumb, though I found the other controls to be manageable. I can't say that I really bothered with controlling Al, sometimes he was useful and other times he just got in the way when I was firing my cannons and spent a while KOed. *shrug*
There definitely weren't enough puzzles or logic challenges, even upon reaching the final dungeon. There was one color puzzle that took about two seconds to decode. I also found many of the dungeons to be vast and mazelike, especially since it was quite diffucult to change your camera angles. I spent a lot of time getting lost.
Not much on the leveling-up system. Go play the Bouncer. It's the same thing there. Though I would advise keeping all your bonus points to yourself, it's not like Al needs them, that tank. XD Your Vitality maxes out at 200; I have no idea what your other stats max out at. If you want to have any hope of beating the final boss(es), then you'd better have a decent Defense stat. At least, that's what I observed.
Enviroments: *sigh* They were decently detailed, but so labyrinthine(sp?) that I wanted to commit suicide with the box. Unless you took note of the names that flash across the screen before you enter a place, prepare to wander around aimlessly killing shit until you get lucky and find your way to the next area. Handy advice - use the map. The exits are marked as yellow lines. And you can find out where the save points are.
You spent quite a bit of time rooftop jumping. It was exhausting, to say the least. Climb up. Climb up. Miss ONE JUMP and fall all the way back to the BOTTOM. Repeat until you either get it right or hang yourself from a light fixture. The enemies respawn every time you exit an area, which is great if you're a hardcore level up-er and awful if you're just trying to blast through the dungeons to see the (paper-thin) plot.
Plot:Oh, Christ. Since I've compared the leveling-up system with Square's other bizarre fluke, The Bouncer, I'll say without hesitation that this game actually had LESS of a plot. >o< People making chimeras. A new girl with a mysterious secret. The military is corrupt. Oh, yawn. At least The Bouncer involved a satellelite from outer space and genetically-enhanced pyschos.
This plot was easy to predict and the villains were easy to unmask. I was SO not surprised when the professor's assistant Greta turned out to be Camilla in disguise. And I was utterly HORRIFIED by two things:1.)the fact that Ed and Al COULD NOT recognize Hawkeye in HER disguise, and 2.)the fact that Ed actually took that annoying whiny girl as his APPRENTICE. *dies* That was so unbelievably OOC for Ed, I wanted to blame the whole thing on fangirls but could not. *grumbles for a bit on this tangent before continuing*
Characters:Ah. The professor who's acting suspicious. His daughter with a secret. The bombshell villain who seems to know a little bit of everything. Lame-ass recurring sub-bosses. And a fat military police chief who's planning on world takeover. Er, if you're looking for original characters, try Xenosaga. At least Albedo likes to snap little robot girls in two and rip off his own head just to watch it regenerate.
The main "heroine", Armony, is your typical strong-willed Mary Sue whom everyone ends up liking even though there is really nothing about her to like. Her presence annoyed me so much that when she joined your party for that brief spell, I tried to end her with a transmuted cannon(until I realized you couldn't, damn). Her father, Professor Wilheim, was a guy who was up to shady things but was only doing it for the sake of his daughter. His assistant Greta/Camilla was after a thing called the Philosopher's Catalyst so she could have eternal beauty. The nasty MP chief, Nemda, wanted combat chimeras to make his own Nemda Kingdom. I mean, what the hell? It was like Square cut these people out of a bad fanfiction or something. *replays the scene from Shadow Hearts where Yuri goes insane and destroys half of Shanghai* Now THAT is a character to remember. And he was the hero of the story, too.
Voices:Well, I didn't like them nor hate them. As mentioned in an earlier comment on an earlier review, God dammit they should've put this in dual audio. I wouldn't have loathed the cinemas as much if they had. Plus, the English VA for Roy scares the BATSHIT outta me. Every time he talked, I wet myself. :0 I was vaguely disturbed by Al calling Ed "Ed" instead of "Nii-san!" but WTF. *shrug* It wasn't important enough for me to quibble over. The cut scene lines were insanely cheesy;
Monsters:Enh. I've been spoiled by Sacnoth's creations, Square's monsters cannot compare. And most of them weren't even monsters, they were people. The in-game graphics weren't too bad, though. After all, you can't help but notice the graphics when you're spinning your right thumb wildly trying to hit a decent camera angle... *zooms in on Ed's crotch innocently* What? It's those damn camera angles, I tell you! X0
Overall:Oh, definitely not worth the market price of 40$. I even preordered the damn thing, too, oh what a waste of money. Either rent it(I beat it in 25 hours, you can do the same! Ganbai!) or wait until the price goes down. The plot was as thin as Deli-Select meats and cheeses, and I really wanted to electrocute the original characters with a broken lightbulb!Envy, except of course I wouldn't do that to our beloved mascot. XD I would replay this game perhaps for the extras(movies and graphics, moderately cool) or to perhaps beat the final bosses if you couldn't do so your first time around(which I did, so blah).
Now, about the final bosses. You don't have to beat them to finish the game, and you get the same ending whether you win or lose. I did it partially for the items, but mainly because the strategy guide kindly informed me that unless I was an insanely high level, I would be unable to defeat said bosses. Well, that sounded like a challenge to me. If you're curious and don't mind a bit of spoiler, then scroll down to read a mildly amusing step-by-step procedure that I followed to beat them into a bloody pulp.
---skip if you don't wanna know who the final boss(es) are---
"OMFG the final boss is Roy and Armstrong from the anime. And YOU CANNOT HIT ROY, THE #^%&ing BASTARD; HE DODGES EVERYTHING LIKE WOAH. Seriously. When you swing at him with a weapon or your handblade, he jumps back and says something akin to "it's no use!". The game's been programmed that way, you can't do anything about it.
Armstrong is moderately easier; you can hit him with shit, but he has about 1/3 more HP than Roy. (Duh.) And if he punches you hard enough to knock you onto the ground, then don't be surprised to see a massive chunk of your HP gone. Basically, he hits harder than Roy, and with more accuracy. Deadlier. Kill him first. It is easier, because you CAN hit him TO kill him. Unlike Roy, who is, as I've previously mentioned, a bastard with a scary-ass English VA. XD
It took me an hour and fifteen minutes to subdue the two of them. And in the end, my strategy(not really a strategy, more like a humorous re-telling of how my fight went) went as thus:
1.)Punch Armstrong like...3 times with my metal arm.
2.)Get punched by him 3 times in return, except HE can knock me halfway across the frickin' courtyard. >.<
3.)Punch Armstrong 2 more times then hit him with my spiky alchemical rocks.
4.)Watch HIM use HIS spiky alchemical HOMING rocks, which follow me around the battlefield and are virtually impossible to dodge.
5.)Repeat until Armstrong is knocked out (OMFG FINALLY).
6.)Focus on Roy, who has been this entire time, hopping HALFWAY ACROSS THE YARD IN A SINGLE BOUND AND CRAPPING OUT SPIKED FIREBALLS THAT HURT LIKE HELL WHEN YOU RUN INTO THEM.
7.)Become so incensed by Roy laughing at me that I fly into a rage, spinning around 800 times trying to hit him, and am rewarded with him dodging them effortlessly and informing me that indeed, "it is no use!". >.< Grr...
8.)Manage to get in a 3-hit combo on the bastard.
9.)His comeback is showering THE ENTIRE FIELD IN METEORS, but as long as you don't stand near him, they don't hit you. XD
10.)FINALLY realize that I can turn the frickin' lamppost into a cannon; and thus do so.
11.)Al(he's your ally, he just sorta stood there while I killed these guys) gets KOed. Dammit.
12.)Rush over to revive Al. FOR NO REASON AT ALL, BECAUSE HE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING.
13.)Trip over Armstrong(seriously, I'm not kidding) and realize that he drops an item, the Demon Fist. ^^;;
14.)Punch Roy 3 more times, and Al hits him with a giant hammer that for some inane reason does LESS damage than my metal arm.
15.)Remember my cannon and climb into it while Al sort of acts as a decoy. >.>;;
16.)Shoot Roy in the FACE until he DIES AT LAST!!! XD XD XD XD
17.)Watch the ending scene.
And so there you have it. Technically, you don't have to beat up the two of them to see the ending, but oh how I wanted to. They're supposed to be virtually impossible to defeat. Hah. Though I can see where people would get annoyed, what with Armstrong's homing rocks and Roy's ridiculous ability to leap halfway across a castle courtyard without breaking a sweat."
-written by me, in an earlier E-mail to a friend
---end mild game spoilers---
The game only took me 25-some hours to beat. Sort of wasn't worth my 40$. Should've rented it, but then again, I can always go back and SHOOT ROY IN THE FACE WITH A CANNON since I own it. I have never gotten more satisfaction out of anything than I did out of shooting Roy in the face with a cannon. Better than sex, I tell ya. I'm sure Ed feels the same. XD
BTW, if anyone wants a strategy on how to beat the last two boss(es), let me know. I was level 64 with maxed out vitality, 200-some defense, 300-some attack, and 400-some alchemy(though I don't recommend using alchemy. They're kinda immune to it, my stonespikes did a whopping 3 damage). I'll E-mail something to you or something.
*sigh* Finally! I'm done this long rant. Gomen nasai for taking up so much of your frickin' time. If a mod considers this to be a repeat of that earlier review from a couple days ago, feel free to delete. It's x-posted to my own journal anyway so :P.