This idea has been bouncing around in my head for a while now, and I decided the other day to make an article out of it. First off, I will warn everyone that this is a review, thus a lot of the content of this article will be heavily opinion-based. Now, that being said, this isn't going to be your typical game review; I'm going to be focusing more on the theme of the game in question. These are games from my childhood that hold a special place in my heart.
First off, we have Legend of Dragoon, a masterpiece of a game if I do say so myself. That being said, it's not a game that has aged very well, which is part of the reason I chose to focus on the overall theme and setting here.
Legend of Dragoon can really be summed up in one word: dragons. The theme, the plot, the background, the setting, everything revolves in one way or another around dragons. If you take dragons out of this game, the game literally would not exist as anything more than a shell. This is but one reason why I love this game so much, because dragons are something that have always fascinated me, and I think Legend of Dragoon just pulls it off so amazingly well.
As an example, look at a game like... well, let's pluck one from the ether here, the Dragon Age series. There's obviously a pretty significant gap in when these two games were released (Legend of Dragoon being for the PSX, and Dragon Age: Origins being for the Xbox 360) but let's look at the theme. DA:O -- as its name implies -- is a game that involves dragons, but they are nowhere near as central to the game's identity as they are in Legend of Dragoon.
In the Dragon Age games, you fight a dragon every now and again (the final boss of Origins in particular), but they are not central to the plot. If you take them out, the game is still Dragon Age, they can be replaced with another creature rather easily. However, the same cannot be said of Legend of Dragoon. Dragons permeate every inch of that game, from the lore to the characters to the setting, and the gameplay as well. If you took them out, you would have to completely redesign the entire world of the game, not to mention the vast majority of the plot.
I enjoyed the love story in LoD as well. It's kind of traditional if you want to call it that, yes, but I for one really enjoyed it. It was one of the things that pulled me in. That element was one of the many parts of the game that made me feel things. Like when Shana didn't know what she was, why she had certain powers; when the White Silver Dragoon Spirit rejected her and instead chose that tool Miranda; and especially when Zieg (I think it was Zieg; it's been a while) took Shana away in order to make her into the God of Destruction.
One of the fights that really always kind of instilled me with a feeling of dread was when you had to fight what can only be described as a flying, six-winged specter of death, the King of Dragons, the Divine Dragon. The fight itself I don't think was too difficult (I'm sure if I did it now, I'd breeze through it), but just the whole build up to that fight with the story, getting the Dragon Block Staff and whatnot really made it powerful. It wasn't a hollow experience; you could feel just how powerful and feared this ancient being of destruction actually was from dialogue within the game.
There's certain parts of the story (the Black Monster in particular; if you've played it you know exactly what I'm talking about) -- plot twists -- that, at least when the game was new to me, felt really powerful and done well. It wasn't just something sprung on you at the last minute, there was a constant build up to it. The characters were also very memorable too; they weren't just characters in a video game, they were like actual people. One part that really kind of pulled at my heartstrings was when Lavitz was killed. :okay:
I thought the lore between the Winglies, Humans, and Dragons was pretty interesting as well, but I'm at the point where I'm almost ranting, so let's move on to a different game.
Final Fantasy VIII. I'm well aware that the majority of these boards hates Final Fantasy VIII, but this was another reason I am not focusing on the gameplay. I thought the setting of Final Fantasy VIII was pretty nice; I liked the way they blended medieval elements with modern (and even futuristic, in some cases) technology.
The story, admittedly, was... let's say less than ideal. However, one thing that to me was very powerful about the story was the romance between Squall and Rinoa. To name some particular parts, when he broke her out of that... prison, I suppose? When she was essentially being locked up because she was a Sorceress. The main part, however -- and I cannot stress this enough -- was when she was floating out in space, running out of oxygen, and you had to get to her to rescue her. That, to me, was probably the most powerful moment throughout the entire game. It really hit me hard.
I'll talk a little bit about Breath of Fire IV, because some of its theme it shares with Legend of Dragoon. Oddly enough, the series does revolve around dragons, but to me it doesn't feel that the concept of dragons is as deeply intertwined with it as it is with LoD. None the less, it's still a big part of its identity.
A lot of people prefer the third installment to the fourth, but this is just my personal preference. I haven't exactly beaten BoFIII all the way through, I will admit. One of the things I really liked (aside from its art style, which I really loved) is how the main character was literally a God. Or rather, half of one. Breath of Fire IV, to me, had a lot less serious feel to it than the other two games I mentioned, but it's still one that I do enjoy playing even to this day.
Again, I will state that this is heavily opinion based. This isn't exactly an article written with the intent to spark a debate, it's just something that's been spinning around in my head for a little while and wanted to share.
Edited by Kyrios