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Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring (PlayStation)

75
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  Kyle Levesque (329)
Written on  :  Jul 12, 2010
Platform  :  PlayStation
Rating  :  4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars

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Summary

Complexity behind a flashy exterior.

The Good

  • Graphically AMAZING, better than many early PS2 fighting games.

  • FF7 fans rejoice, it's butt whooping' time. You see Cloud, Tifa, Sephiroth right off the bat - Yuffie, Zack, Vincent, and Red XIII (didn't expect that, did you?) as unlocks.

  • Not street fighter in the least! Wolves, logs, and land-mines, oh my!

  • You have bullets flying, grenades dropping, homing missiles circling - and the other guy is just a sumo wrestler with no long range attacks - But it's still fair. That is one heck of a balancing act.

  • It goes deep. When you start using reversals, the AI starts using them. This game goes as deep as you do, and always provides a challenge.

  • Lots of unlockables - costumes, characters, endings, music. This game keeps you playing.
  • Original characters - More than just a pretty face, these characters are interesting and mysterious.

  • Quest Mode. This is a game in and of itself. I'd pay $40 for this and be perfectly pleased.

The Bad

  • The ultimate moves (Omni-slash, etc.) have THE friggin' dumbest control scheme I've ever seen. The AI can trigger them only because it doesn't have thumbs. You have to first 'grab the opponent, fallowed by a quick 'tap all four shoulder buttons, press the four face buttons and move the analogue stick 360' '. I'm serious, try doing this in what the game deems as the right window of time, and without moving your character, which cancels it. Trying these will get YOU killed, but Sephiroth can grab you by the throat and impale you whenever he pleases. I've never played with anyone who could pull them off.

  • Blocking system. I'm going to go into detail in the bottom line, and there are points that I like to it - but what I don't like is the basic block set-up: L1: High block L2: Low block It's hard to know where an attack is going unless you know every combo-chain for every character. The fact that is sometimes doesn't seem to matter which block you use is also terribly confusing.

  • Two of the Mini-games are silly. Racing in a circle is silly. Infinity mode is silly, 'try your patience!' I understand you needed to have 4 games to flesh out this section, but a little more effort would have been awesome.

  • Where's Barrett? I kept asking myself this. No Aeris, I understand that. But you already have a large male character with a gun for a hand - How hard would it be to model a different character with several different moves? I beat the game twenty odd times hoping to unlock Barret, nothing.

The Bottom Line

I've wanted to review this one for a while, but I was holding out until I could contribute some screenshots to punctuate my points. Sadly my copy of Ehrgeiz won't boot in my near-sighted PS2. So the review comes first, and I promise to get around to it when I get a new console. Check back, you won't be disappointed.

Christmas, 1999. I got Ehrgeiz. This was a game no one else I knew had, and that was awesome.

Early game play in Ehrgeiz is button mashing bliss. From Tifa's rocket kicks to God-Hand's missiles you are just blasting out the most impressive stuff you can. The AI will match you in this. It makes for a fun game that feels like Toshinden off rails. But that really is just the icing on the cake - Ehrgeiz goes deep. While the initial impression is that the possible amount of moves is on par with Toshinden, playing further shows three starting strings for each character that can be expanded or combined - Chain from run, chain for stand, chain from guard. The throwing system has different options depending on whether you are facing the enemy, at the side, or behind, throws can be directed at walls, a grab and punch attack, or a wrestling move.

Every move in the game can be blocked, countered, reversed, or dodged. Your reverse can be reversed, which can be reversed once more. This is done by precision tapping a shoulder button right before a blow connects, and then countering with an attack button. The 'ultimate dodge' works on projective attacks and involves spinning the analogue stick quickly and tapping the same shoulder button. When you get good at this fights get complicated - the AI will match your skills and frequency of dodges and reversals.

You know the 'hesitation' present in UFC matches, where one guy knows the other guy will counter a simple punch and therefore doesn't punch? This is what it becomes - gone will be the care-free days of rocket-kicks and blasting away with impunity, this game gets into you the same way you get into it. You put this down and load that save file a few years later and you are going to get owned and frustrated.

The stages are comprised of platforms, which are involved in the tactics of play. Having the high ground will allow your projectiles a better path and stop an enemy from using jumping attacks like smoke bombs or grenades effectively.

The music is nice, with remixes of the entire soundtrack for when you get bored. The "Elevator Fight" where you face off with cloud on the elevator from Resident Evil 2 (don't ask, I don't know why) is a very nice remix of the FF7 fight music.

And Now For Something Completely Different:

Quest Mode. The second half of this game is a dungeon crawler complete with visible weapons and armour, materia, portals, and a host of enemies. The fact that Ehrgeiz already existed allowed the dev’s to give us this gem - and it really is a gem. I've easily spent more time playing this than the 'main game', and I think you would too. Swords, spells, secret rooms, randomly generated layouts, the ’blessing’ system that allows for weapon upgrading. Your armour and weapons wear out and can break, your ’hunger’ bar is constantly ticking down, traps are everywhere. This game is really good.

This is an action-adventure with two modes: Normal and Hard.

Normal: Welcome to story land. This is a tag-team effort between the male and female characters to delve the dungeon. You start off in town and can return here to top up on food and equipments. If one character is defeated in the dungeon (it's dramatic, they 'explode' their inventory all over) they drop a 'soul', that can be rescued by the other character. If both go down it's over. The town features several entrances to different levels of the 25 floor dungeon, but mainly you'll use a 'dragon wing' to create an escape portal to the inn. You can then re-enter the portal, returning you to your escape point. It then disappears.

Hard: Welcome to hell. No pretext, you start on the first floor of the dungeon, naked except for a butter knife and 'loaf of bread' shield. There is no town, no second chances, and you're alone. You need to scrounge for food and equipment, and the gold is only to pay for saving. That's right, you've got to buy that memory card space at a premium based on your level. You will find yourself crawling upwards in search of food you might have missed - trying not to starve. You'll create 'caches' of gold that you will have to relocate lower as you progress.

So the bottom line? This game made me expect so much more out of other games, and I’m amazed that it is relatively unknown.