Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll
Can an ending ruin a game with an engaging gameplay, and a couple of clever ideas ? After playing this game from Tecmo Koei, my answer can only be "Yes, it can". Trinity it's a very brilliant mix of beat'em up a la Devil May Cry and a dungeon crawler. The gameplay is consistent and funny at the same time, and while the RPG aspect isn't exactly mind-blowing, it manages to get the player keep searching for another chest to open or completing another side-quest to obtain a new, shiny item.
Unfortunately, I happened to casually (not joking here, really) learn about the ending as I was halfway through, and my expectations and excitement went down in a single, devastating blow. I don't want to spoil anything to the player, but I feel the necessity to give a warning: this game's ending manages to deny the player its well-deserved glory and satisfaction in a most unexpected way. The final resolution wouldn't have been so bad if we were talking about a half an hour long horror indie game, but after 30 or more hours of monster bashing, exploration and level grinding, it really looks like a joke where nobody is supposed to laugh. I guess that for many others who played it all and went through it like I did, the conclusion was tragic and emotional in some measure. To me, it was a complete disappointment.
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 1&2
What can be worse than a big disappointment ? A consecutive, even bigger disappointment. I had great expectations from these games, as they are considered a "must play" for PS2 in the JRPG department. I admit that the fault is partially mine: I had no idea about what I was getting into. And let me assure you, I can't help but consider DDS nothing but a glorious mess, a beautiful disaster that every casual (and even not so casual, in my humble opinion) player should stay away as far as possible.
DDS is not just a very difficult game, it's frustration in its purest form - and it's really a shame. Because these games (which is actually one game "conveniently" divided in two parts) have great characters, a compelling story-line and an outstanding cell-shading presentation. Unfortunately, they both take together all the things I learned to hate about JRPGs and mix them together to form a deadly cocktail that sapped my will to play them bit by bit.
As I write, I am stuck inside the final dungeon grinding to get the level and the skill needed to beat the final bosses. The only reason that kept me play the second one so far (I quit the first one halfway through, and I don't regret that every single bit) it's a mix of "gamer's pride" (which I had to swallow in a good measure, considering that I have been using a walkthrough almost step by step for the sake of my mental sanity) and pure, unadulterated masochism.
Fortunately, Adventure Quest and Adventure Quest Worlds never disappoint. Both of these games required a decent amount of time and patience, but they've been always worth it. December was a bit lacking with events in both games (you know, game developers get some holidays too), but this gave me the chance to try out some new free to play browser games, which I'm going to list in the section below.
Other F2P games
Out of curiosity (and to take a break from the horrors of DDS) I've tried several games to select a few to get back later. Hero Town, Blade of Eternity, Tynon, Doomforge, and Outwar are games that I went into but decided to drop (some for an indefinite time, some others forever). Those who caught my interest are Tanoth Online, Moonstone RPG and Glory of Gods - all games which just require a daily login and don't need an excessive commitment to be enjoyed.
What could be next
Shining in the Darkness
Way of the Samurai