Replay Value: 9.4
One of Square's most anticipated new adventures has finally arrived. Vagrant Story is Square/EA's newest Action/RPG game. The game was released a few months ago in Japan and it received nothing but perfect and near perfect reviews. Sadly though the title didn't sell very well, Vagrant Story had everything in it including an awesome story, good visuals, a nice soundtrack and everything a game needed. But due to the lack of hype the game got, it was a poor seller. Square has finally departed from their beloved Final Fantasy series for awhile to start working on something new, there were also a few people who created Final Fantasy Tactics working on Vagrant Story, see what kind of bang you're in for by reading the rest of this review.
The artistic style of Vagrant Story is remarkable, I love everything about the visuals, whether it would be the backgrounds or character detail, Square has done a great job at pushing the PS to it's limits again. The environments are something to praise, excellently lit backgrounds bring out the whole dark and moody atmosphere in Vagrant Story. The backgrounds are real-time and not pre-rendered like other Square games, although they look incredibly smooth and polished. All of the characters look awesome, they aren't exactly smooth but the overall detail put into all the bodies is great. All the characters blink, move their mouth, and even show some facial expressions, this is one outstanding job that Square did. Unlike Square's FF games, Vagrant Story has real-time cut scenes. Special effects are big eye candies, whether it's an enemy dying or when you heal yourself, the special effects are stellar. Vagrant Story's great visual presentation will go down in the books as one of the best looking PS games.
Straying far away from the FF series, VS is a breath of fresh air. The game starts out with Ashley Riot (who is a guy), entering a castle where a few guards are searching for Sydney (who is the Sephiroth type). The game picks up from there, you will run around, learn the basics of the game and later encounter Sydney and a huge dragon. All of the battles are done in real-time, and there are no dimension changes like the FF games. The style of fighting is more realistic, instead of taking turns you can lock on to your enemy and attack a certain part of his body, and after you finish your attack if your are quick enough you can lock on to your opponent again. Just like any other Action/RPG you receive new weapons, shields and other equipment that will help you out throughout the whole game. The unique thing about VS is the Risk Meter. The Risk Meter is for pulling off guarding techniques and for also pulling off devastating combos, all done by timing. If you are having trouble with Vagrant Story you can refer to the game's help section by pressing Triangle. Ashley who is the main character is able to climb and even pick up objects such as crates. Words really can't describe Vagrant Story, Square has yet again outdone themselves by realizing yet another magnificent epic.
The soundtrack is probably the best I've heard. The tunes are so well performed that it almost feels like you are next to the orchestra. They bring out the atmosphere of the environment tremendously, if it wasn't for the great sounding soundtrack I'm afraid that the experience of VS wouldn't have been as pleasurable. Too bad that there is no voice acting, but that doesn't bother me at all because with all of this value crammed into one 650 MB disk I am fully content.
Control may take time to figure out, but luckily the inside help provided in the game is a life saver. The "Quick Manual" option is a big necessity for those having trouble with adjusting to the game and its controls. The analog and Dual Shock are both supported well and I have no more complaints on the control.
It will take approximately 25-30 hours to complete the game without using the Strategy Guide, but even with the guide you only knock off about 6-8 hours of the game. But if you want to completely enjoy the game play it by yourself, contrary to what you may have heard Vagrant Story does NOT last around 8-10 hours. It may but only for those who breeze through the game, I call that "cheating". If you spend 40 bucks for a game you should enjoy it, and Vagrant Story is worth the cash. If you are an RPG junkie or enthusiast you must pickup Vagrant Story, and that goes for the rest of you as well. Vagrant Story is one of my contenders for "Game of the Year"!