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Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth

Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth
by ATLUS USA INC

Platform: PlayStation
ESRB Rating: Everyone
ASIN: B00005NIT9

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Customer Reviews:
Can't say it was wonderful, September 17, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from Seattle, WA USA
Yucki poo.
That's the simplest way i can write this. Hoshigami is just not a game i like. The fighting sequences are very predictable, confusing, and L--O--N--G. Also, when equpping, and even hiring characters/mercenaries it can get very confusing and muddled. The only thin i liked(and the part that stopped me from giving this game a zero) were it's very nicely drawn characters.

If you played every Shining Force..., July 21, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from San Antonio, TX United States
I love the strategic battle format. I've played every Shining Force, FF Tactics, both Vandal-Hearts, and was so happy to find Hoshigami. At first I struggled with the play control. The in-game tutorials are not all that clear, and the enemies were pushing my troops off their spaces and I couldn't figure out how they were doing it. But I stuck with it, found out how to level up my spell-casting coins, how to shoot enemies into a session attack, how to check out the enemies' magic and gear and use session attacks on the ones that had stuff I wanted them to drop. One of my characters has earned the ability to detect hidden prizes on the battlefield. Now I'm addicted. My only regret is that you can't save your game mid-battle like in Shining Force. This is no starter strategy. Experienced generals will love it.

Ultimately frustrating and unrealized., April 22, 2002
Reviewer: Lord Chimp from Monkey World
I desperately wanted to like this game. As a strategy RPG, Hoshigami occupies a very niche corner of the video game world. Truthfully, I'm obsessed with strategy RPGs, and I'm always eager to devour new ones (which are rare, you see). Games like Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics, two titles which heavily influence Hoshigami, are some of my all-time favorites. I love them for their exciting battles and elaborate character micromanagement systems.

So, when I started up Hoshigami, I was impressed. It looks pretty good (along the lines of Final Fantasy Tactics), the story is interesting, and it seems intelligently designed, intricate, and difficult. I love a challenge. But I was betrayed...as I played further, Hoshigami became a chore, subject to a stupid loophole in the gameplay that made the entire thing quite ridiculous (I will explain below).

The big 'innovation' here is the RAP system. Each character has RAP points, which are consumed by executing actions (movement, attacks, etc.) I can see how a system like this could be applied to enhance the game's strategy, but something went wrong. In the end, the system only empowers certain characters to make an extra attack or move a few more spaces every turn. All that really happens is you end up pressing the button a few more times every turn, which makes already slow battles slower. Oh my. Why not just give a character more movement? More attacks?

Spells appear on little goodies called Coinfeigms. You can equip characters with Coinfeigms, and elective magic is an idea I really like. The number of Coinfeigms to be collected is very impressive, too. However, they are entirely useless. For all the game's difficulty, spells imbued in Coinfeigms are hopelessly underpowered. Further evidence that spells are completely unavailing is found in the fact that as I played through the game, none of my characters were ever slain by an enemy's spell.

In Hoshigami's polytheistic world, your characters develop skills by following a specific god and gaining powers through devotion. Devotion levels rise just like experience levels, so fighting makes you more devoted, getting you more abilities...right? Right. This was a very intriguing idea (unique skills according to different gods), but the developers messed up. Firstly, it takes forever to raise your levels. The stretches between levels are long, long, LONG. Secondly, the skills you earn with higher devotion levels are almost always useless. These two things make the game very difficult.

And I mean VERY difficult. Anyone who plays Hoshigami is sure to get slaughtered several times in the first few battles. The enemies are far more powerful than your team, and you are almost always outnumbered. Plus, if a character dies, he's dead -- resurrection only becomes possible much later in the game. Initially, I was glad for a challenge, but there is a fine line between "challenging" and "morbidly frustrating"...and Hoshigami crosses that line.

The only _apparent_ way to strengthen your party is to enter the Towers of Trial, which serve as training grounds for your characters. The Towers made me want to kill myself, quite honestly. They are stunningly boring, with repetitive battle maps, monsters, and everything else. I didn't want to train in these Towers, which were degenerating my sanity, but how else could I be match for the game's ridiculously hard battles?

So I discovered the "stupid loophole" I mentioned above. Instead of using a full team of characters, I used just two: Fazz (the main character) and one other mercenary. My mercenary would be a dummy fighter to draw enemy attacks while Fazz did the fighting. Usually my mercenary would get killed quickly, but I could always hire a more powerful one later. Even if the mercenary survived, any experience he gained would still leave him at a level lower than another mercenary I hire, so there was no point in keeping him. The beauty of it all? Fazz accrued 99% of the experience and became a death machine. It was mildly difficult at first, but soon I was able to kill most enemies in one or two hits. It became even easier when my weapon of choice became a bow & arrow so I could kill from a distance.

Suddenly, a viciously difficult game became mindlessly easy. I must say, I don't like strategy RPGs to be "mindless." I pushed on to the end to see what would happen in the moderately entertaining story, but the gameplay was probably making me stupider with every battle. Granted, the fact that I could defeat 15 enemies with just two characters was somewhat amusing for a few battles, but it became very boring, very quickly. A game that is too difficult is not fun. A game that is too easy is not fun either. With Hoshigami, it's either too easy or too difficult -- either way, it's not fun.

Get Tactics Ogre on GBA and skip Hoshigami.

Hoshigami is a great game and horridly UNDERRATED!!!, April 11, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from South Dakota
Hoshigami is one of the best games ever. I have beaten it two times. Unlike Final Fantasy Tactics, an incredibly easy game after the second or third time through it, Hoshigami is not. It is much more realistic considering in the beginning you CAN NOT raise your characters after you die. The other aspect of the game that sets it apart from other games in this Genre is it's RAP gauge. The game is not a cheap rip off of tactics either. Atlus helped develop the game. Read the credits. I would recommend this to only a true gamer that wants an extreme challenge Only

Hoshigami stinks, April 4, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from Bellefontaine, OH
You may have heard that Hoshigami is another Final Fantasy Tactics. Perhaps if you just glanced at the jewel case you'd think so, but five minutes of play time will tell you that is no where close. I thought IGN was being hateful giving this game a 4/10 but after playing it, I can assure you that was a generous rating.

The graphics are nice, and the interface isn't too bad once you turn all the navigation menus off. But that's where the similarity ends.

The story isn't as interesting, and the battles are longer, more tedious and massively, massively tougher. Mix that with the fact that your only hope of staying ahead is fighting countless battles in the so-called Tower of Trial, and you get one completely frustrating and boring game. (Every single level is the same, a few enemies in a big square room. With maybe some holes in the floor thrown in. Big fun there.)

It *IS* possible to beat hoshigami, but after an hour or two, you'll probably be like me and start wondering why anyone would bother. Essentially, if you take FFT, strip out the music, the storyline, the random battles, the various monsters, and the class system, and then make it so hard that every battle is a mix between tedious and maddening, you'd have Hoshigami.

Don't buy this one, don't even rent it. You'll regret it. The whole point of gaming is to have fun isn't it? Somebody should remind Atlus.

People complain too much., March 31, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from Freehold, NJ United States
...Hoshigami is a good game on its own rights without all the comparisons to FFT that turn it down. I don't see what was so great about FFT, but Hoshigami is definetely a great game. Difficulty is just right. I can finally spend over 50 hours or so on an RPG. Too many easy RPGs these days. Hoshigami is just right... FFT is hack and slash. This people is a real strategy game.


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