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YMMV: Vagrant Story
  • Complete Monster: Romeo Guildenstern of Vagrant Story at first seems to be a deeply pious and righteous man, but as the game goes on, he is revealed as a ruthless, power hungry would-be tyrant who is a servant of darkness. The Foreshadowing begins when he slaps his lover hard enough to draw blood from her after a psychic link is in her head, and proceeds to display no concern for her after. He later murders her, a woman who genuinely loved him, as his sacrifice to the Dark. Once this is done, Guildenstern takes the power of the forbidden city, Lea Monde, intending to establish a bloody dictatorship as the world's eternal tyrant. Charismatic, calculating and utterly ruthless, Guildenstern is one of the greatest villains in Ivalice's history.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The ending theme.
    • And the opening!
    • And the Undercity West theme. It's seriously creepy.
    • The Limestone Quarry is badass too, and The Atrium is just plain tearjerkingly sad.
    • The Prologue theme "Climax of the Greyland Case", "Large Chapel", and "Ifrit".
    • The Great Cathedral. Awesome Final Dungeon music, the music sets up the mood of an invincible Ashley on a mission that is nearing its conclusion, just a few minor Block Puzzles and fools stand in his way...
    • Aw hell, the whole thing is a Crowning Soundtrack of Awesome. All the tracks are perfectly engineered to rouse the appropriate responses from your heartstrings. The panic and speed of the battle themes, the unease and haunting melancholy of each dungeon area and most importantly the way all the unique scene-specific pieces capture and enhance the feeling of that moment for you to live over again.
  • Evil Is Sexy: The CG intro depicts a Belly Dancer from folklore, Mullenkamp, which the cult is named after. And boy does she got some moves, mmmmm....
    • Whether or not she's 'evil' depends on how much of the Iocan church information on her you take as truth. Which, given the nature of the game...
  • Fridge Brilliance / Fridge Horror: In the Snowfly forest, there's an area where you fight two zombie knights. If it strikes you as odd that you're encountering undead in an area mostly populated by beasts, consider the fate of Faendos and Lambkin, the two knights who entered the forest with Grissom and got lost in the woods...
    • Much ado is made about what a Bad Ass Ashley is, but it's entirely possible to get through the game without unlocking even half of what he's capable of. And since all of his abilities are reclaimed from his lost memory, what a monster of a Bad Ass he must have been before he lost it all.
  • Game Breaker: Absorb Damage. Absorb Magic. Raging Ache. Have fun. Want proof? Here's a guy finishing the game in under two hours.
  • Goddamned Bats: Aside from actual bats (which are easy to dispatch) the Imp and Gargoyle enemies are horrendously difficult to hit with anything but crossbows, wield high-level magic, and are tiny and fast.
    • Really? The Soul Kiss dagger (piercing weapon, high Light affinity if you whack enough zombies with it) seems to do the trick just fine. Also, Vulcan Lance.
  • Ho Yay: Pick a pairing. Pick a pairing. The evidence is there for it.
    • Guildenstern refers to Rosencrantz as a 'harlot', which - of all the insults he could have chosen, why that one? Unless Romeo's aware that Jan's a quintuple agent of some sort, which is unlikely, you have to wonder.
      • There is an archaic meaning of "harlot", however, which might apply: a low-born, churlish man. Even so....
    • From the translated guide, Sydney and Hardin are each the only one the other trusts, and any doubt between them is always short-lived, no matter what. Considering what kind of Hell they go through, and how Hardin finds out Sydney was lying to him about the "key" the entire time, but forgives him anyway, it's hard not to see it.
    • Just for the record, Ashley goes through the entire game in high-cut briefs and assless chaps.
    • The Ho Yay is so omnipresent in this game that some fans theorize Callo was only included to make it seem less homoerotic.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Sydney although he could not prevent Guildenstern from taking the power of Lea Monde at the end.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The enemies called "Quicksilver". You meet them in the Undercity, which is dark, damp and claustrophobic. Then you suddenly hear giggling and large dolls resembling children stumble towards you, holding knives. In fact, the in-game monster manual says that these dolls are possessed by the souls of dead children. If that is nothing to you, then the variety in the Iron Maiden sub dungeon will make you squeem.
    • Another enemy from the same area is Harpy, a big flightless bird that would look quite normal, if it wasn't for a giant human face protruding from it's chest.
      • You wouldn't think a big chicken with a face on its gut would be frightening, but IT WORKS. To make matters worse, daring to fight one could potentially end your game by turning you to stone, and your first Harpy fight is mandatory.
    • The Iron Maiden dungeon room names. Hint - they are not named after Heavy Metal bands. This pagecovers more than a few of them, try not to think too hard about the others.
    • The terrifying gleeful/insane expression on Guildenstern's face in his first boss form. Oh lord, son, the man ain't right in the head.
    • What happens to Grissom is especially frightening.
    • Asura in Iron Maiden B3. All three of its faces look at you and has a very creepy laugh.
    • The final boss' final form.
  • Rescued From The Scrappy Mechanic Heap: Much of the game's atmosphere and mechanics originated in the RPG segment of Ehrgeiz, which was truly terrible. Vagrant Story makes something gorgeous out of them.
  • Scrappy Level: Did anyone enjoy the Snowfly Forest?
    • And then there's that bit where you're traversing a maze. Full of traps and Goddamn Bats. In the dark. With a time limit before the exit closes. Which results in being warped back to the starting point with several tough enemies spawning around Ashley that all require different tactics. And several of the rooms in the maze are trapped. Heavily. And the boss at the end of the maze is hard, and isn't even the very end of it. And you'll need to go through it twice or thrice for One Hundred Per Cent Completion.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The Risk meter. As you attack and perform combos, your Risk increases. The higher it goes, the lower your accuracy, and the more damage you take from enemy attacks. Fights against later game enemies tend to send the Risk meter skyrocketing, and at 100 Risk even the slightest attack can one-shot you. There are items to lower your Risk, but it's still the game punishing you for doing too well.
    • On the plus side, you also recover more health with healing abilities/items when you have a higher Risk.
    • On the plusser side, a risk of 100 can set off a chain in which each consecutive chain attack does damage according to the number of chains you're, er, chaining. If you hit 20 times in a row with 100 risk, you do 20 damage, then 21, then 22, then 23... in a game where doing even 5 damage to a boss is an achievement, this comes in really handy at times.
    • The entire game is about managing risks. Take the RISK to lower your accuracy but heal faster and crit bigger? Take the risk to cast from HP and use Break Arts to exploit an enemy's elemental weakness better? If it's a Scrappy Mechanic to some players, that's probably because they're taking bigger risks than they're comfortable with.
      • It lends a certain poetry to the name "Riskbreaker", doesn't it? Running around with high Risk, or regularly chaining enough to get to Risk 100, will get you titles like "Berserker" and "Daredevil", often to the exclusion of all others. In many cases, it's worth it to start an attack with 100 Risk, because you'll actually do more damage with the chain attacks (Raging Ache and Crimson Pain in particular) than you would have if the initial strike had hit in the first place... of course, that does leave Ashley extremely vulnerable, and it's not to everyone's taste.
    • And...let's just say you'd better hope you enjoy block puzzles. Fortunately you can turn them off after one playthrough.
    • The freaking item management system. Not so much how it works (even if it's based a bit too much on luck), but how it has its own save file. Workshops are an utter pain in the ass to utilize due to how much saving and loading the game has to do.
  • Squick: One of the most horrifying scenes in any RPG, even if the worst part takes place off camera: after capturing Sydney in the Temple of Kiltia, Guildenstern strips the skin off of Sydney's back to get the Rood Inverse tattoo, the key to the Dark power, and wears it on his own back.
  • That One Boss: The final boss, for starters. All but a very few of your abilities will deal absolutely pitiful amounts of damage to him, and finding the ones that will work is very much a matter of Guide Dang It.
    • It doesn't help that Evil is one of the hardest affinities to raise on a weapon, and unless you were fortunate enough to have collected the right type of gems, you're unlikely to have a second chance to do so until after it's too late.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Grissom's Came Back Wrong storyline is tragic and full of narrative potential. And lasts all of two scenes.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: This was one of the last games ever made for the Playstation, and is clearly one of the best-looking. It's aged remarkably well, too.
  • Woolseyism: Vagrant Story is good evidence that this trope should be named after Alexander O. Smith, in whose capable hands the fairly mundane original script was turned into some of the best quasi-Shakespearean of our time. Oddly appropriate both to the setting as well as the overall mood of the game, the localization is pretty much touted as one of the best ever. It's true!


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