I can't believe I almost forgot about this game. Next to FF VII I consider this game to be an outright explosive and second best role playing game for the PS1. Don't let the mediocre graphics fool you. This is one addictive and diverse title. There is so much to it. To begin with, it has 99 different possible endings! You may be wondering how it's possible to have that many endings. The answer is simple. Every action you take like talking to townsfolk, answering multiple choice questions, how you treat your party members, etc. is going to impact your ending. The more brownie points you earn with your other party members the more they will like you. Think of it like this. Every good or bad action you take is being calculated by the game in the background so to speak. Kind of like an antivirus program for example. It's running in the background while you are surfing the web. The game is constantly keeping track of your conduct during gameplay by way of math. Moving on...
The game has two discs. At the beginning you are given a choice to pick the hero that you wish to play the game with. Claude or Rena. Claude is basically a fighter class. Rena would be considered a dual class Fighter-Mage. Her physical attacks do decent damage, but not quite as much as Claude's does. Rena does have spells. Claude doesn't. Her spells are more curative and supportive ones. She does have a few attacking spells though. One important thing to remember. This game has twelve different playable characters. Depending on how you conduct yourself, some will join your party, others won't. For example: If you choose Rena as your hero at the beginning, some characters will not join your party, while others will. The same thing if you choose Claude. The battle system can be a bit tricky though. You control one character and the rest are by AI. By pressing the "O", you can choose any of the other characters in battle and control them if you wish. From my experience, the AI is really supportive. The magic users will detect your low HP and heal you. AI in this title seems to help you out in a truly fantastic and reliable way.
Aside from standard attacks each character has "Skills" that they can use in battle. These are executed by using the L1 and R1 shoulder buttons. The cool thing about skills and spells in this game is, the more you use them in battle, the stronger they'll become. You will notice that the more you use them, the more damage they deal. Here's the cool part. The animation of the skills and spells also changes the more you use them. They get bigger and cooler looking as you continue to use them. Every time you use one a point is added to your current number of usages, up to a max of 999. In your main menu you can adjust your formation for battle and assign your party member's actions in battle also.
The biggest feature in this game is the Item Creation. Each character comes with a randomly generated set of skills and "Talent". You can use Item Creation to make food, weapons, jewels, armor, accessories, etc. and much more. With the exception of the skills your characters come with, other skills are bought from "Skill Houses" in almost every town. For a price, you can buy new skills. Every time you level up you receive skill points. It's up to you to assign the points to the skills that you wish to pump up. Skill level is very important in item creation. If a character has a high "Metalwork" skill for example, the chances of creating a powerful weapon are much better than another party member with a lower metalwork skill level. When you go to assign points to any given skill, the game tells you the effect it will have on each skill. I could add more info on this but it's a review, not a strategy guide. lol There's just so much to explain with item creation. The Wiki link below the last set of images will fill you in on all of the rest of details on item creation. Another important feature is "Private Actions". Before you enter a town, a window will pop up giving you the chance to perform a private action. This is basically a glimpse into the character's actions in between main game missions. Should you choose to select the private action, the party immediately breaks up and each character goes to their own special spot in the town. Talk to them during these private actions. It's important for the flow of the game. Some new characters will only join your party during a private action. No other time. Sometimes, you will receive rare items and stuff depending on who you talk to during a private action. Your members and townsfolk. Private actions can be dull at times, but well worth it. Think twice before you decline the option to perform a private action.
I was pretty impressed with the music. Soft yet powerful when it needs to be. Getting used to the skills and spells takes a little getting used to, but before you know it, you'll be dominating! During the beginning, the game allows you access to parts that aren't meant to be dealt with until much later. Be careful. The graphics aren't exactly supreme, but the gameplay
and many other features will have graphics become the last thing on your mind. This game is full of tricks and secrets. Especially after you complete it and start another quest. Who knows, maybe after beating the game you can play again and recruit the party members you couldn't get the first time around. This game is incredibly long. Each new game the characters will start with a randomly generated set of skills and natural talent. If you don't like what you see when you first begin, just reset and start over. They will have changed. Keep doing this until you are satisfied. If you ever get the chance to buy this game. BUY IT!!