Four hours in and I’m about ready to “sing” a tune about Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure!
98 Degrees of JRPGs
Good day backloggers! Today feels like one of those days where you just want to stand up on stage, wearing an oversized bunny-bear suit and sing at the top of your lungs. You know, way out of tune and with questionably written lyrics. Oh wait, that’s Rhapsody! *ZING*
So, now that the wife and I are about 4 hours deep into Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure, I’m starting to make up my mind on how I feel about it. Going into the game, I had some preconceptions on what I was to expect when we finally got around to popping the disc into our PS1. I mean, my wife had already played it, but that was many years ago and our memories were a bit fuzzy at this point. But I was wholly expecting corny music, cute graphics and thought provoking dialog (that was sarcasm). That and some obtuse JRPGness that’s inherent to most games of its genre. And that’s pretty much what we got within the first few minutes of the game. Actually, we got a taste of its tuneless melodies even before we hit the New Game option! But the question is, how did it fair after an additional 3.5 hours of awkwardly mapped button mashing through turn based battles?
Left in the Back Streets
Well, apparently, Rhapsody wore all of it’s qualities on its sleeve and even after 4 hours it feels like nothing has changed! Aside from gaining new characters and progressing the story of course. If nothing else, it definitely isn’t suffering from an identity crisis. It knows exactly what it is and that’s exactly what you’ll get, for better or worse. But before I get too much further into my impressions of the game, let’s roll it back a bit to give you some context of the “where and when” of Rhapsody!
If we look way back, we’ll see that Rhapsody was released by Atlus (in association with Nippon Ichi Software) in 2000. Actually, it was originally released in 1998 in Japan. So, it was just around the time that the heavy hitting RPGs were landing on the PlayStation 1. Games like Final Fantasy VII, Xenogears and Star Ocean: The Second Story were stealing the show. So, it’s no surprise that Rhapsody was kind of left in the dust and forgotten by many RPG fans in North America. Which we all regret nowadays considering most games released by Atlus at that time have turned to pure collectors gold, apparently.
Really, it seemed like this game was for the niche JRPG fans that were looking for something a little bit different. But here’s the thing, Rhapsody doesn’t really do anything to set it apart from all of its other JRPG brothers and sisters. Not counting its musical numbers and blindingly cute graphics. To be frank, it does just enough to get by as an RPG. It has all the elements that you would expect, but it doesn’t really go above and beyond that. It has random turn based battles, it has a novel’s worth of dialog and it has a progression system (gain experience = gain levels). That’s about it.
And on top of it all it just seems too easy. Which is probably a result of you leveling up at a breakneck pace. Making you way over leveled and overpowered right out the gate. Most battles are done within a turn or two and that includes boss fights! Luckily, it is fun to collect the different puppets (your additional party members). And since you level up so fast you’ll get to see most of their abilities! But in the end it all just seems unbalanced, in your favor mind you. However, because of that you feel like you’re just going through the motions and bouncing between mind numbing scene after mind numbing scene. With very little variety in between.
Not Quite *NSYNC
Here’s the kicker though, Rhapsody is supposed to be a game focused on music. It’s in the title for dang sake! But it doesn’t seem to be the central theme of the environments or the characters, nor is it a focus of the story. Sure, the main character uses a horn and plays the occasional tune, but it’s always the same tune and it really only has a few uses in battle. The game’s soundtrack isn’t even that memorable. I honestly couldn’t hum a tune from it to save my life! No, instead, many of the elements in the game are either toy themed or food and sweets themed. It just seem a bit inconsistent in that regard.
The funny thing about all of this is that despite all of its downfalls (and there are plenty), I’m still having a blast playing it. It falls in that category of, “It’s so bad, it’s good”. You know like watching a super campy horror movie where its only redeeming quality is that it’s fun to make fun of. And I’ll tell you one thing, we’ve certainly been having fun making fun of it on more than one occasion!! But you know what? I’m really glad I finally have it in my collection. For one, because it’s an Atlus game and they’re a joy to collect and for another, because it’ll be interesting to revisit it years from now, if for nothing else than the laughs.
Nitrogen Comes To A Boil At 77 Degrees
Well my friends, I think that’ll do it for today’s edition of The Daily Backlog! I’m really looking forward to diving even deeper into this tone def adventure and report back to all of you. It’s like a train wreck that I can’t divert my eyes from! That may be a bit harsh…
Anyways, have a great rest of your day and I’ll see you tomorrow!!
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (PlayStation)
Mario and Rabbids (Switch)
Total Backlogged Games: 729 …The number of times I cringed listening to Coronet sing
Total Completed Games: 20 …The number of times my wife has said “You were warned!” In regards to Rhapsody
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