I recently replayed Illusion of Gaia.
When I was a kid, this was the most epic game in the world. The instruction manual basically had a journal/walkthrough to help you on your way, and you traveled across the whole world. It really felt like you had gone a long way in your travels. It was spooky and mysterious, and touched on some pretty heavy subjects like slave labor, death, and starvation.
Flash forward now, and I still kind of get goosebumps at times. What sticks out like a sore thumb is that this game really doesn't make any sense at all. They seemingly make things up as they go along and don't bother explaining the connections from A to B. The writing is very abrupt, likely the problem of poor localization.
Honestly though? I love its little quirks for some reason. Maybe it's nostalgia glasses, but I feel like this game is very dreamlike. People say such weird things, and you zip across the world with very little explanation why. Someone will just say "I hear there are some ruins to the north. We should go check them out," and then the screen fades to black as you go to your next destination.
But yes, I feel like it's kind of dreamlike, because people just don't speak in this game like they do in real life. And you don't really question it. You hear them and move on, and accept your current situation for what it is. It's kind of like in a dream when things don't make sense....but they do because you've already moved on and you're just focusing on the "now."
I also miss action RPGs like this
. I wish we had more games like this and Terranigma and Secret of Mana and old 2D Zelda games. For the most part I think the greater emphasis on action and lower emphasis on stats/numbers helps me focus on what's going on in the story, and not get bogged down by all this other crap I don't care about. I want to be fighting monsters, not managing my inventory.