Added 2024-04-09

Up until a few months ago, I had a personal rule that I have to finish a game (see the credits roll at least once) before I post a review of it. Kingdom Hearts being the only exception before getting moved here. I forgot ffx. Its here now too lmao

It turns out this is a dumb rule. Video games by their nature asks players to invest a lot of time playing them. The reasons not to complete a game are just as worthy as any other experience.

I want to clear up a few things about what The Bin as a catagory actually means.

TL;DR The Bin is a catagory of unfinished games and are here for my own benefit and nothing else.

PlayStation 2

It took me a while to warmup to this game.

This is a highly polished game with a beautiful and vibrant art style by Akira Toriyama (best known for Dragon Ball) and a sweeping orchestral soundtrack. These bits won me over basically Immediately. The best song in the game imo is called "Rememberance" and I added it to my playlist basically immediately. It's so moving it' shard not to get all misty-eyed listening to it.

Unfourtunately, dq8 suffers from the same problem as ffx. The initial transition from 2d to 3d had turned snappy, responsive turn-based games to a series of repetative, unskippable, long attack animations. It doesn't help that this game is on the grindy side.

I was getting super frustrated at around the 36 hr mark. I guessed I was at the midpoint of the game but I wasnt entirely sure. Then i looked up the average playtime to beat the game. Its about 80 hours. Twice the length of what i would consider a standard JRPG. It was like a switch. Almost immediately after seeing that, i started enjoying the gam again. Unfourtunately, I kept hitting more gridy bits that i decided to drop the game.

(As an aside, I also looked up the average playtime for ffx and its also around 80 hrs. In hindsight, I probably shouldnt have been pushing to try and beat the game in under 50 hrs on a first playthrough. That might have been why the final bosses were nigh unbeatable. Then again, I wasnt really enjoying the gameplay much to begin with so its not like a huge loss. ¯\_(σ ‸ σ)_/¯)

There's still planty that I liked about the game. It has a very clear episodic structure to it's story telling that I really liked. It gave me nice clear places to take a break from the game. The way the game gently nudges the player in the right direction feels very natural. It helps that the game puts a lot of effort in its character interactions. There's a function that lets you talk to your party (a great "remind me what im doing" function, and character building tool). A lot of NPCs will change their dialogue as the story progresses as well. It makes the world and characters feel much more alive. I enjoyed that aspect o the game a lot.

I did not like the alchemy pot. It was useless to me without a guide. Im not sure at all how a player is meant to intuit the more vague recipes. Sometimes a hint is like "some sort of hat" when there are many hats but the game only accepts exactly one (1) specific hat.

Edit: It only occurs to me now that I'm revisiting this review that that may have been on purpose. This was the era of paying for official game guides to get otherwise locked content.

I think it might be a while before I give dragon quest another go. It doesn't help that copies of the game tend to run on the more expensive side. we'll see.

The box/cover art can or could be obtained from Level-5 and Square Enix., Fair use, Link

PlayStation 2

PAIN. I do not like this game. Rare instance that I quit so deliberately. Bosses are too gimmicky with little to no chance of beating them blind. This would be less of an issue if the game wasn’t so. Goddamn. SLOW. Not just cutscenes (which are unskippable btw), but battle scenes are slow and really spaced out.

It takes like 3 hours before the game proper starts. Insanity. The save file says I’ve clocked 30 hrs but the actual number is probably over 40. Play this on an emulator at 2x speed for a reasonable pace.

The story suffers from the problem where every other character is more interesting than the protag. Protag is a standard shounen protag w nothing else going on. Special shoutout to John DiMaggio for turning Wakka into the most endearing character of the bunch. Love that guy.

As an aside, what is up w this era of Square Enix and making insufferable final boss runs? Kh1 had a similar problem.

Anyways, piss tier. This game is piss tier.

By The box/cover art can or could be obtained from Square Soft, Fair use, Link

PlayStation 2

Upsetting!!! This is now my go-to example for shit final boss.

The combat is decent considering the era. Camera and navigation can be potentially obnoxious. The plot is fine. Riku is an idiot. He’s got the emotional intelligence of a 6 yr old it’s actually funny how dumb he is.

The final boss is absurd!!!! Okay, it’s fine for a final boss (or any boss, really) to have multiple stages. What's not fine is when those multiple stages are not apparent to the player from the get go. Extra bad when there are twelve final bosses in a row with no breaks! Twelve!!! It takes a player who knows what they’re doing an hour to beat the final bosses in all their iterations! It doesn’t help that the lead-up to said final boss has plenty of moments that seem to register as "definitely the end final boss of the game". I blew through so many resources that cannot be purchased thinking i was fighting the final boss only to find out the final dungeon just. Keeps. Going. (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

I invited a friend over to experience the final dungeon with me in my last bid to try and beat the game. By the time I got to the final boss gauntlet, I was so exhausted I just put on some youtuber’s let’s play and let that that run in the bg. When that vid ended 45 minutes later, he congratulated me for “definitely beating the game” lol.

This experience has been so negative for me that I am dropping the whole Kingdom Hearts franchise in its entirety.

Added 2024-04-10

Okay, Kingdom Hearts is a much better game to watch rather than play imo.

The disney/squeenix crossover is as much absurd as it is fascinating. Listening to an extremely anime villain say anime shit while Goofy noises happen in the background does something to your brain i swear. (ᗒᗣᗕ)՞

It's been a few yrs since i played kh and ive come to like the plot. Funny enough, as much as I love disney renaissance movies, the thing that drew me in is all the "anime" aspects of the game. That JRPG style storytelling where friendship is powerful enough to kill a god is the good shit.

Still hate the gameplay though.

A lot of high level spells and equips that are usually pretty accessible in other squeenix games are locked behind tedious quests or collectathons. You don't get curaga until you talk to Aerith THREE times. Apparently I'm not alone in thinking the game is overly hard. I've met a few kh fans who have never beaten the game. Thats pretty validating.

I might MIGHT give the kh series another chance down the line. Dont count on it though.

The box/cover art can or could be obtained from Square, Fair use, Link