Saturday, July 27, 2013

Vanillaware: Top 5 Games

So, this'll be the last post for Vanillaware Month. Dragon's Crown comes out in a little over a week, and I can't wait for it to take up a all of my time. 'Till then .......


5) Oboro Muramasa

Despite the fact that I enjoy the game, I have no problem admitting that Muramasa is Vanillaware's weakest game. The main reason being that the game didn't deliver in gameplay depth nor story; two areas that Vanillaware games often excel at. The game is still beautiful and has an amazing soundtrack, but it was really hard to "get into" Muramasa when I didn't care for the characters and the repetitive style of the gameplay stuck out quite a bit after a while. Still, I can cut Vanillaware some slack here, as the game had several development issues and the final product is simply a small piece of the game's original vision.

4) Grand Knights History

After playing Muramasa, I was really hoping for Vanillaware to make a traditional turn-based RPG; the main reason being that Vanillaware had really impressed me with how they took established genres and expanded upon their gameplay in interesting ways, and with GKH, I was not disappointed. The battle system Vanillaware crafted with GKH is interesting and deep, and when you combine that with the huge amount of customizable classes and online multiplayer, you get a game that never gets old in both single-player and multiplayer forms. All that on top of beautiful visuals and an amazing soundtrack make for a superb gameplay experience. The only problems I have with the game come from the fact that I don't understand Japanese, so I couldn't get the most out of the story and systems.

3) Princess Crown

Like GKH, Princess Crown never got an english release, and thus I couldn't get the most out of the story and systems of the game; regardless, PC is an experience to remember. The graphics are beautiful, the gameplay is tense and very satisfying, and the story is interesting and surprisingly large in scope (I was able to find a translated story script that I read as I played). While several of PC's game systems would be further sharpened and expanded upon in Odin Sphere, Princess Crown still stands strongly on its own with some great unique features, the most prominent of which being its unique and satisfying battle system.

2) Grimgrimoire

Grimgrimoire is perhaps Vanillaware's best game in that it has virtually no flaws. The bets aspect of GG is its RTS gameplay, which is incredibly deep and satisfying while being very accessible for newcomers. The rest of the game is equally as impressive. The story is amazing and complemented by some truly amazing writing, the graphics and character designs are striking, beautiful, and presented very stylishly, and soundtrack is simple yet beautiful. Truly one of the greatest games I've ever played, and a clear result of what happens when a talented game developer makes what they want.

1) Odin Sphere

Truly Vanillaware's magum opus. An incredible combination of beautiful visuals, emotional orchestral soundtrack, epic Shakespearean story-telling, and a deep and satisfying action-rpg gameplay system. All of this coming together with an absolutely incredible execution. I've already said so much about Odin Sphere, so I won't drag on here. I will simply say that Odin Sphere is quite simply one of the most impressive games I've ever played, from story to gameplay design to visuals and music; Odin Sphere is an absolutely unforgettable experience.

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