Steambot Chronicles | Retro Game Review | JRPG | RPG | PS2 | Playstation 2

I hope everyone had an excellent holiday. Today I’m reviewing Steambot Chronicles for PS2. This is one of my favorite games because of the amount of things to do and see as well as the unique steam punk setting within the game.

Title: Steambot Chronicles

Publisher: Atlus

Platform: PS2

Release Date: 2006

Where to Buy: Amazon seems to be the only way to go (aside from ebay of course). The game was a commercial failure in north america, so not many copies exist; and it was before Atlus “struck gold” (and attainted a cult following) with games like Persona 3 and 4. There are currently 2 copies available on Amazon at time of this review for $90 – $120. You can keep checking back. Here is the page for the game on Amazon right here. Edit: Actually there appears to be 2 pages on Amazon; and this one has 11 copies of the game available; some for only $45 – You can check this page also for where to buy Steambot Chronicles on PS2.

Geeky: 

Sweetie: 

Overall: 71/80 89% B+ “Very Good Game For Girls”

Concept: 10/10 Steambot Chronicles combines traditional JRPG elements with a rhythm game. Mechs also play a huge role in the game, as the player can buy or find new mechs, new parts, and customize their mechs to their play style with either fast moving, but weaker mechs, or more heavy duty but slower mechs. Similarly, you can customize your concert experience by purchasing new instruments. You can also find and purchase new outfits and accessories for your characters as well. At the beginning of the game you can customize your hero’s personality by taking a personality test (similar to Tactics Ogre – which I have reviewed here) which will change some of the dialog throughout the game in terms of how the other characters will interact with you. The game is mostly linear with the illusion of choice, with lots of options for you to choose but often resulting in similar outcomes; except for one important choice near the end of the game. In all, the game has a total of 3 different endings. There’s also cooking, dating, and minigames that add to the depth of the gameplay as well.

Gameplay: 10/10 Gameplay is really two fold – the main focus of the game is battling in mechs similar to games such as Xenogears or Robopit. Combat is in real time and you can run, jump, and try to out maneuver your opponent. You pilot your mecha with the two analog sticks and issue commands with the controller buttons. You work on upgrading your mech or can purchase or find new mechs and parts throughout the game. Mechs are used for everything, from travel, to battle, to even mini games. The other main focus is on music, you, and the other members of your party travel around the world putting on concerts. During these events, you, the player, interact with the game in a rythym game that’s similar to games such as Parrapa the Rapper and Umjammer Lammy. There are also other interesting “side” elements to the game such as a stock exchange, dating simulator, city building / interior decorating, cooking, arena battles, and dungeon crawling. There’s also day/night cycles and other elements which make the game feel more lively and immersive.

Story: 6/10 I’ve only played the “good” side. You can also be evil in this game, if you want to, which drastically changes the second half / end of the game. In both sides, the story focuses initially on helping a girl named Coriander whose mother is very sick. This prompts you to join a band with the young girl and several other quirky characters who become your comrades and orchestra members. Most of the conflict and drama in the game comes from rival gangs which are taking over the cities and causing corruption. In the evil side, you cut ties with the band in order to join one such gang in exchange for profits and power. Police will be chasing you and most of the missions will involve things like stealing or breaking and entering. In the good side, you stick by your band members, but like most bands, there are growing pains, and conflicts arise which cause the band members to eventually go their own way. The ending is left somewhat “open” and you can continue to play in sandbox mode after completing the main story. The story is at times heart warming, and even heart breaking, but it takes a back seat to the gameplay. This is not really a game that you play for “story”. The story is not bad of course, but in no way is it the main focus of the game.

Characters: 10/10 Each of the characters are truly unique and it shows through deep attention to detail in character development and the way in which they are all connected through a tragic backstory. It throws a few punches and has a few surprises in store for you when the story is played out and the cards are on the table. The band as mentioned above, has some “growing pains” and the cast who were once all childhood friends, face losing these friendships, or learning that perhaps certain people were harboring dark secrets all along. Actually you become very attached to the characters and when it throws its punches as it will, it will break your heart.

Music: 10/10 – Music plays such a huge role in this game. Similar to Atlus’ other quirky musical rpg (Rhapsody), the localization of this game, in terms of voice acting and singing, is actually very well done. I am usually anti-dub, but I guess when it comes to musical games like this, I enjoy a game where I can “sing along” (in my head lol). I really liked all the tracks in this game, and the way it engages the user with the rhythm game aspects which makes you really pay attention to the music and appreciate it that much more. Also the music itself ties into the storyline and helps you feel closer to the cast of characters.

Voice Acting: 8/10 – The voice acting is good, for a dub. I would have preferred the option left in for Japanese voice acting; but to be honest, not sure I would have played it in Japanese, because I prefer to play similar games such as Rhapsody in English (the later released portable edition of Rhapsody removed the English tracks; and kinda “ruined” the game for me). I think when it comes to a “musical” rpg it just “helps” to have it in your native language. I do listen to jpop and kpop music and enjoy it; but in this case, in Steambot chronicles, the music helps explain the story and helps tell key scenes or helps you to sympathize with the characters. So it’s one of those rare cases where I feel I’d probably enjoy the dub more than the sub. Rhapsody and the upcoming SMT X FE # are two other cases where I could see myself playing the dub more often. I think dubbing it was a smart move in the case of Steambot Chronicles. The dub is not “bad”. It had some big name Anime Voice Acting talent of the 90s.

Graphics: 7/10 – The game is cel shaded and done in a cute and colorful anime style. You can see your outfits which gives it a sorta dressupgame style. You can see the customization to your mech too. The world is lively with traffic in the cities and day and night cycles. The overworld is large with mountains and bumpy terrain (the original japanese title is Bumpy Trot). There’s lots to see and lots to do. But the graphics have some pretty poor textures and the special effects in combat leave a bit to be desired. Still, overall it’s cute with lots of customization, so it gets high marks on graphics from me. The cel shading is not of the quality of say, Catherine (which I’ve reviewed here); but it is also one generation older than that, and a PS2 Game. I think given it’s timeline, the graphics in Steambot Chronicles are quite adorable and vibrant.

Overall: 71/80 89% B+ “Very Good Game For Girls”

Steambot Chronicles | Retro Game Review | JRPG | RPG | PS2 | Playstation 2 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

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Her Story – Multiple Personalities Or Twins? My Theory, and Supporting Evidence

Her story is an awesome “game” – though it’s not really a game in the traditional sense. You watch some video clips and pick up on key words or phrases in those clips to find more video clips to watch. The premise is that a woman has murdered her husband, and you have to figure out her motive. While “playing” the game, you interview the woman over the course of several days. Each clip is only a few seconds long; and they’re never in chronological order, or make much sense out of context. It’s up to you to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and form your own conclusion. You learn pretty quickly; that there are 2 women being interviewed, Hannah, and Eve. But are Hannah and Eve; really two people? Or are they one person with a Dissociative Identity disorder?

When I started this game; I thought I had it ALL figured out within the first hour of play; this HAD to be a case of Multiple Personality Disorder. BUT then the more clips I watched; the more confused I became. The more I started to believe that it could possibly really be two people.

Namely the tattoo; in ALMOST all of the clips; Hannah wears sleeves JUST long enough to hide any tattoos; BUT in a few clips she is almost sleeveless completely; and there’s no tattoo… They are:

ClipD132-A.MPEG
ClipD133-A.MPEG

ALSO the Lie detector scene… Eve says her name is Hannah, AND that is the only question she fails. It could be argued that it’s because she genuinely believes she is Eve at that moment. But later; I realized the truth. (More on that in a bit)… The lie detector clips are:

ClipD181-A.MPEG
ClipD183-A.MPEG


On my first play through of this game, with over 50% of the clips watched; I felt COMPLETELY divided and torn as to if they were one person, or two people. I was literally 50/50 and completely unsure…. BUT I just replayed it again and NOW I’m 100% SURE that it is one person with a personality disorder… And that that person’s legal name is Eve, not Hannah.

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How Can I be so sure?

ClipD154-A.MPEG Date 30/06/94 With “Hannah” Detective asks if she ever cheated on Simon; she gets angry and says no she’s never been unfaithful.

ClipD162-A.MPEG Date 01/07/94 (the day after the clip above) — This one is with Eve. Detectives ask have you ever cheated on Simon. She says “You asked that question yesterday”.

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These clips can be accessed with search term “cheated”

Also in clip D188-A.MPEG (search term arrest) Hannah says “can you arrest someone who doesn’t exist?” which would also align with the multiple personality theory. – Hannah does not exist / is not a real person. THAT’s why it’s the only question in the lie detector scene that Eve fails. Eve’s real name is Eve! Hannah is the personality that she made up due to her neglect/abuse as a child. ALL the crazy fucked up shit about being locked in an attic and not allowed to leave the house, all of that shit is 100% true. She created Hannah as a way to “cope” with her reality. When she was Hannah she could pretend she was someone elses’ daughter, someone who was loved, celebrated birthdays, went on adventures, etc.

The other thing that I think really supports them being one and the same is the fact that both personalities are pregnant during the interview – INITIALLY this confused me. I thought Hannah for some reason could no longer bear children. I saw the scenes of Eve talking about how she couldnt drink coffee and was pregnant, but then I saw scenes of Hannah drinking coffee…

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BUT THEN I found a clip I had not seen, in which Hannah says her husband is dead, but that he will live on in his baby, she then pauses and with emphasis states OUR baby.

I thought that “Hannah” was infertile but in ClipD155-A – she says “Simon is dead, but the baby, that is how he will live on… Our baby”

ClipD155-A.MPEG

AND a scene in which EVE claims to be pregnant.

ClipD161-A.MPEG

This leads me to believe they are one person with multiple personalities.

SOOO My final verdict is They are One person who’s name is Eve, who really did have a fucked up childhood of neglect and abuse, and created her “sister” as a way to cope with and escape from all of the trauma.

I feel quite satisfied having arrived at my conclusion. But I urge you to play the game for yourself and form your own conclusions :)

Her Story – Multiple Personalities Or Twins? My Theory, and Supporting Evidence was originally published on Geeky Sweetie