An Affectionate Parody of the SNES-era Final Fantasy games, Tales Of The Drunken Paladin, as one would expect, pokes fun at absolutely everything you might have wondered about in those games, hangs copious amounts of lampshades anywhere they would go, and is just generally filled with jokes everywhere you look at: even in the normally identical barrels, crates, and other such places. And yes, throughout all that, it does manage to be a very funny game, the humor ranging from sophisticated to utterly nonsensical, with enough variety that mostly anyone is likely to laugh at some point or another. But is humor and laughs enough to make a game good? No, they are not: as funny as a game could be, it would never be enough to carry the entire thing by itself. Fortunately, Tales of the Drunken Paladin has much more than that going on in it. For starters, the plot is actually interesting and somewhat original, even when it is not being a parody and in spite of being fiercely tongue-in-cheek throughout. It's not all just laughs, having its sad moments, a bit of tension, a small romance subplot that never gets to the way of the rest of the story, and even a truly legitimate twist or two. The characters, in spite of being ridiculously exaggerated caricatures and stereotypes, also manage to have a fair amount of depth in them and are all strangely compelling and sympathetic. The game world is fairly small, but filled with interesting NP Cs full of their own problems and side-quests - which the player character naturally has to single-handedly deal with. Like in any Final Fantasy game, the character system is quite unique, and works well enough. Combat is more fast-paced, and there is very little level grinding involved, allowing the game to keep flowing smoothly from start to finish - and the special effects are pretty spiffy too. Plus there are a few little additions of convenience none of the original games had, like the option to skip through any wilderness area after they've been dealt with once. But inventory still gets cluttery very easily, and there are some other bits of frustration it inherits from the games it parodies, so it ain't quite perfect. But, if you played the older Final Fantasy games, and enjoyed them even while acknowledging their flaws, Tales of the Drunken Paladin is likely to be an enjoyable experience. Recommended.
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