This shrine was created in September 2015 and is my first video game as well as my first big character shrine.
This is how things went down:
- To make this shrine, I played the game for a second time, investing over 37 hours into it even though I really didn't want to replay the game because I remembered all the elements that I loathe about its time-consuming and repetitive gameplay (that encounter rate, those long battles, all the boss fights that take forever, the infuriating item limit that I cannot explain, etc. – see my review for more).
- It wasn't until I was 36 hours into the game that I discovered you can change camera angles in battles, which would have helped with some screenshots.
- I finished the game within one week – the week the new university semester started again for me, wow. I fell in love with all the elements I used to love again, and emerge with severely more dislike for the elements that used to annoy me.
- I lied: I didn't finish the game – this time around, that is, since I had no trouble last time. I had the brilliant idea to put both Meru and Rose into my final party (reason being that hello!! I'm shrining Rose, so she'd better be in the endgame party!!) even though the consensus is that Rose is a below-average party member by the end of the game, and at any rate, Meru and Rose most likely shouldn't be in the same party because they're both very frail. The last dungeon takes forever, there are twelve bosses within, and the four or five final bosses are fought in a row (as in, no saving inbetween). I was out of recovery items, didn't run the only character who can resurrect other members in my party and died at the final form of the final boss after an hour of punching its face, so I decided to do my sanity a favour and ragequit.
- I revisited the game about two months later (as I was still writing for the shrine) to finish my work since I had yet to take screencaps of Rose's later spells as well as screencaps of the ending FMV. I backtracked to the shop to stock up on resurrection items, spent another hour at the last boss with the same party (because I'm sure I used this setup last time around and I love the party), but different itemization, and defeated the boss easily. Turns out my screencaps of the ending FMV are of lower quality than the ones I faked via YouTube screenshots.
- Bottom line: If all of this isn't love, I don't know what is.
I've always wanted to make a shrine for Rose due to her being my favourite video game character and The Legend of Dragoon being one of my favourite JRPGs (even though it sure doesn't sound like it from all the ranting I've done), but I never felt like replaying the game and wasn't sure whether I'd be able to do them both justice. All my shrines so far were made because I liked the subject and knew I had something original to add or something substantial to say on it, but I couldn't tell in advance whether that was the case with Rose. In the end, this is my first shrine to a subject I passionately love first and foremost, and the thinking and structuring came afterwards – and if it weren't for the BAB Challenge, I never would have had the courage to seriously consider making the shrine.
I've also always wanted to shrine a video game character, and start making large character tributes (my first character shrine before this is considered an accident; it's also less elaborate), so I'm very happy that this first step was made with Rose. I'd love to shrine an old school video game character again because working with the game script as described below is very, very fun.
Some more trivia because rambling totally is my reward for creating this shrine:
- This shrine's layout was finished within a day – THE POWER OF LOVE. (I usually take forever.)
- This is the most organized that I've approached a shrine, I feel, particularly due to it being a video game character: As I played, I took screencaps of things I knew I would use for the shrine (and ended up with over 1300 as I took environment screencaps too), copy pasted the game script and cut it down to only contain content pertaining to Rose, her relationships or worldbuilding, and colour-coded specific lines accordingly. As with other shrines, I continuously wrote down my thoughts in an Evernote file, which I then assigned to the respective section of my shrine outline.
- I most looked forward to writing the Rose/Miranda, Rose/Shana, Mechanical Design, The Protagonist Role and Theme Song pages of the shrine because the topics fascinate me and I think they're some of the most original pages on this shrine, having read a lot of game-related discussions and not seeing these topics analyzed in-depth.
- I'm disproportionately happy about the Group Dynamics, Former Comrades and Ruins of Past Glory pages design-wise, as they allowed me to include all the pretty screencaps I had taken and planned from the start.
- I severely dislike the Catching Up page because it's almost entirely factual, thus containing very little analysis or my own opinions, but it is a necessary intermission to weave together past and present – of the game and of the shrine. A big part of the difficulty was the indecisiveness regarding the placement of Zieg's page: firstly the choice between The Survivor, which covers the past, and The Comrade, which covers Rose's relationships – her present relationships; secondly the choice between before and after Catching Up.
- I wrote this shrine mostly in the order it's presented in, and had the biggest motivation block due to Dart's page, which kept me from advancing past The Comrade section for several weeks. I wanted to do their relationship justice, but I knew it'd get very long due to the sheer amount of scenes pertaining to both characters and my analysis on top of that. In the end, the length of the page makes it look awful design-wise, but I don't think I could have written it in any other way.
- What I love the most about The Legend of Dragoon aside from Rose is the way legends and myths are born, passed down and develop, each version having its own twists, focus and omissions – the way they are always present in the minds of the people of Endiness, yet never completely true, how they go on to become part of the world's creation story, history or religion, and even the way things are gradually forgotten in legends. I could have written a shorter summary or limit myself to the truth in the pages under The Survivor, I could have written this shrine from an ex-post perspective starting with the past, but that would have killed what continues to fascinate me about the game after all this time. I am really proud of the shrine structure that I came up with, even if I'm worried that it may be slightly tedious to navigate.
- My favourite character, of course, is Rose – followed immediately by Miranda and Shirley, the first being perhaps the most complex character in the game right after Rose (in my opinion). I also like Meru's writing, and think she's got quite the big role compared to characters of her type in other JRPGs (though many of them have character arcs revolving around their village, which is always a minority of some kind). If there were a sequel, I'd look forward to seeing Damia the most.
- I adore Lavitz and think the pacing and tools used to characterize him are amazing, which includes intermissions during the journey, statements by NPCs in his city as well as optional dialogues with NPCs along the way – the many mentions and interactions with his mother above all.
- My favourite party member is Meru for her unparalleled speed, high magic stat, status ailment recovery and healing and the versatility that the combination of all that brings.
- The most beautiful Dragoon armour to me is the White-Silver Dragoon armour as worn by Shana.
- My favourite "dungeon" of the game is Temple of Shirley due to its design and colour scheme (Final Fantasy XIV's Bronze Lake heavily reminds me of it), my favourite cities Bale the Capital City and Furni the Water City – they're both amazing design-wise, with screens and buildings all being linked by water and the way you need to navigate the city on water in order to discover all the hidden Stardust. It's just... so much unexpected depth for a PlayStation JRPG and JRPGs in general.
- Rose-centered and story-relevant scenes aside, my favourite parts of the game are the Dragoon Tower sidequest and the hour spent on the Queen Fury; I've played the game twice, and both times I insisted on spending all that time doing nothing to advance the game just so I could run back and forth on the ship to speak to each party member with each controllable character. The optional dialogues are amazing in how much they add (this also being the only instance where you get to run around as each party member), and this kind of optional thing is exactly what I'm looking for in JRPGs. Needless to say, I think information and characterization are the best kind of sidequest reward.
Valkyrie won Amassment's Shrine Spotlight in September 2016!