It’s yet another good news/bad news type of day for the Nintendo’s downloadable services. We’ll start with the good. To be fair, the good is really good news.
Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber
Original System: Nintendo 64
Original Release Date: October 7, 2000
Price: 1000 Wii Points/$10
Mark B: Ogre Battle 64 was… wait, Square-Enix? Wow, that’s weird. I hope they paid Atlus some sort of settlement to use their translation of the N64 game, because the alternative, a complete retranslation by Square-Enix, doesn’t exactly fill me with hope for the game.
Anyway, Ogre Battle 64 was, as I understand it, the last game in the Ogre Battle part of the Ogre game series (consisting of Ogre Battle and Tactics Ogre), so it’s fitting that it was probably the best of the lot. When the game came out way back when, it was about seventy dollars (cartridges are expensive, y’know), so between the incredibly high cost, the fact that it was on a less than well received console reaching the end of its life span, and the fact that it was a niche title to begin with, you would be forgiven for having never played it. That said, if you are even a little bit of a fan of strategy RPG’s, you officially have no excuse for not playing this as soon as you have a chance, because it is one of the best strategy RPG’s ever made.
Despite the “strategy” notation I’ve made when describing the game, Ogre Battle is a completely different animal from Tactics Ogre and other, similar turn-based strategy titles. It’s more of a semi-real-time strategy game where you send teams of characters off to smear other teams of characters with the intention of liberating towns and castles from the clutches of enemy forces, which is done in a standard RPG combat format. The game is lengthy and involved, the mechanics are interesting and well implemented and there are few games on the market that do what Ogre Battle does as well as it does it.
Alternatively, if you’re the sort of person who read that and said “But does it have cutscenes?”, the story is pretty solid and the game was developed by the same folks who made Final Fantasy Tactics, so you should buy it too.
Alexander Lucard: Although the Ogre series has one world, continuity and so on, there are two very different gameplay styles.
You have the Ogre Battle series which is an odd (but awesome) combination of real-time-strategy, turn based RPG’ing and kingdom management simulation. Then you have the Ogre Tactics branch, which is straight up SRPG goodness. Now I prefer the Tactics series, and consider The Knight of Lodis the best game in the five piece Ogre series, but the Ogre Battle series is still awesome and worth playing through.
Ogre Battle 64 is easily the best of the three Battle games, although Ogre Battle NGPC just might have held that spot had it been in English and thus accessible to non-import gamers. It’s a wonderful game, and probably my favorite title for the N64. So to get this for ten dollars is an amazing deal that each and every one of you reading this should go out and get. Seriously. Go download it now. It’s that awesome.
Christopher Bowen: I didn’t get much into Ogre Battle 64 when it was new, mainly because 1) I was in the service by then, and 2) I didn’t buy crappy systems, which I judged the N64 to be. In fact, I didn’t get into the series until I picked up Tactics Ogre: The Knights of Lodis which, along with Fire Emblem, pretty much got me through my last year of SITREPs. After I got out, I was able to play the first Ogre Battle for the Super Nintendo, and I was blown away. Overpowering your party is ultimately detrimental? Recruiting the wrong person affects the ending? Wow, this is novel!
As I haven’t played the N64 version too much before this, I can’t really go on much, but this is almost universally praised as the best game in an outstanding series. Furthermore, prices on eBay are astronomical. I can recommend it on those grounds for anyone who likes RPGs that doesn’t mind changing the script a little bit.
And if you ARE one of those people that go “are there cutscenes”? You’re a fool.
We have two WiiWare releases, both of which carry big names but only one of which is deserving. WarioWare: D.I.Y. Showcase really speaks for itself: a bunch of minigames that use the Wii’s control scheme. I personally wonder what took so long, but there’s some other neat things – such as WiFi Connectivity – that make this package special. It’s $8, and unless something went drastically wrong, worth every penny. Also out is Diner Dash for $10, yet another version of the game that has seen a release for every platform under the sun.
The DSiWare has five games, but frankly, the big news is that Nintendo has confirmed that anyone who bought titles for this system got taken for a ride. When the DSiWare first came out with the original DSi system, it was announced that DSiWare games were tied to their system of purchase; if you got another system, you were screwed, and had to repurchase all of your games/apps at full price. Now, with the release of the DSi XL, you would think that Nintendo would incorporate a DRM transfer system for people that traded up? Wrong. Purchases are still tied to the system, anyone who upgraded and bought DSi games got screwed, and Nintendo laughs all the way to the bank on a system that already has been thrown under the bus by the 3DS. Of course, when people purchase the 3DS, they’re not going to be able to move their purchases over to that system either, unless Nintendo somehow has an epiphany. They won’t, because people aren’t smart enough to put their credit cards down.
So what can I do when I can’t recommend any DSiWare game from here on out based on this principle, yet I’m supposed to go over DSiWare games weekly? I show the same respect for Nintendo that they show for their customers: none.
Disney Fireworks is essentially Fantavision with Disney characters for $8. Super Yum Yum Puzzle Adventures is also $8, and is yet another puzzle game. Save the Turtles is also a puzzle game, but it costs $5, seemingly the only difference between it and the other puzzle games that make up the virtual entirety of the DSiWare’s library. The only two interesting things to come out are Nintendo DSi Metronome and Nintendo DSi Instrument Tuner, which are instrument and beat instruments with themed minigames based on old Nintendo games Donkey Kong and Balloon Fight. They’re both $2, but seem about as efficient as farting into a balloon to make it inflate. However, the less money you spend on this, the more you can spend on Ogre Battle 64, an actual, quality game.
Until next time, this is Christopher Bowen, who’s still working with his first generation DS.