Growlanser memories (or, the lack thereof)

Seldous I liked Growlanser: Heritage of War. At least, I think so. It was a pretty solid game, maybe a little bit cliched, with a fairly complex plot, a few likeable characters, decent voice-acting for most characters, and so on.

The thing is, I sort of forgot I played it. There was this blank in my mind and I was wondering what I’d played after Wild Arms 5. I couldn’t think of much, so I figured I just hadn’t been playing any RPGs or something. After a while, I remembered that it’d been Growlanser. What is it that makes Growlanser so much more forgettable to me than Wild Arms 5? The characters are arguably more interesting, the plot more complex, the battle system more tactical (although with is less difficulty)… the only things WA5 has on Growlanser are difficulty and music, really.

As much fun as it would be to try and chalk it up to quality of music, I think the fact is that Growlanser is more seamless than WA5. Overall, it might be a better game – but there is very little in the plot that requires you to think. I remember one moment where I thought to myself, “Holy crap, that really sucks”, but otherwise, I didn’t get very engaged in the game. Even character interaction often has options that boil down to “be nice”, “be angry”, “be badass”, “be irreverent”, and by the end of the game your “personality” is mostly decided so you can’t use most of them.

There are practically no load times, so there’s no downtime either. Combat requires setting up an initial strategy (mostly character placement) and then carrying it out. “Knacks” or skill-type special abilities have very little effect most of the time, so it gets to be very mindless.

It’s not like Growlanser’s a bad game, it’s just highly forgettable.   It’s like watching a cliched, fantasy anime – not a whole lot of thought required, just good clean somewhat-cheesy fun.  That makes it nice for a quick, low-intensity game… but I’m not sure if I’ll ever play it again because that means I’d have to remember I have it.

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