Community Spotlight: Kiseki/Trails Community|OT|Familiar faces~, Zemurian places—SPOILERTAGS OR DIE!

Xagarath

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,432
North-East England
I need to get back to 3rd. I was enjoying the story but found managing so many characters a bit tedious, especially when you need to keep swapping Orbments out. Having the option to save setups would be a significant QOL improvement there.
 

Lozange

Member
Oct 25, 2017
360
Sky SC isn't the worst game in the (non-gacha) series, because that honour goes to Tokyo Xanadu. :P
... But seriously. I've thoroughly dunked on SC in the past, and it's mostly deserved. CS2 is, imo, Sky SC done right in most respects that aren't character related (and even then it's not quite that clear cut, even if SC has the advantage). But I dunk on it because I love it anyway, warts and all. It's a great climax of the Sky trilogy? And that it manages to make a game that's twice as long as Sky FC with mostly the same assets is... technically impressive if nothing else.
That being said, 3rd's asset reuse is just better all around. Either the reused areas are just for cutscenes, or the areas are dungeon locations that have been given a coat of paint/weren't dungeon areas before. And they're nice enough to give you new areas every other chapter.
 

Mivey

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,185
SC being the "best" by pretty much any stretch is untenable.

It's a good sequel but a mediocre RPG.

If you don't like SC, then I really don't understand why you like any Falcom RPGs. It's like the pinnacle of their RPG design. Its only downside is that it needs another game to be fully enjoyed, but hey, that's true to a larger degree to almost any Kiseki title.
 

zrk

Member
Nov 2, 2017
70
Different people appreciate different trails games for different reasons, I guess. To each their own.

I for one like the 3rd the best, due to some of the doors really having stellar writing and lore building. Basically, I think it is fan service done right (compare with fan service in CSIV, for instance... So far--finished act 1--not really interesting IMO).

I also hold SC really low in compared to most people: a bit higher than CSII, which is my least favorite trails episode (3rd > FC > CSIII > CSI > SC > CSII, chances are that Zero is going to be high enough too when I'm finally done with it). Contrary to many, I was not bored a single second in FC, I found the more humble stakes to be refreshing for a JRPG. Chapter 2-4 of SC felt rather weak in comparison, and I just couldn't forgive how they handled the tetracyclic towers... Same with CSII and the shrines, but I found the writing and the characters had less appeal in CSII.

Meanwhile, I appreciate watching again the best moments in the games... To do so, I watch let's plays on a channel I like: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZUIFBXcku0iMlmyZPGEYlA/videos. I just find this guy a very congenial youtuber.
 

TheMrPliskin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,218
Wrapped up the prologue and Chapter 1, also played the first 10 mins of Chapter 2.

I'm definitely enjoying this more than CS1 and maybe even CS2 so far. I'm just finding the characters to be a lot more believable and the game is frequently spending time to have interactions between characters that either give more insight into them or are just entertaining, like Olivier and Schara drinking at the inn. I'm not a fan of a fact that it looks like I'll be switching out two party members every chapter since that runs the risk of raising the same issues I had with the CS games but I guess this is just a Trails thing and I think this game has already done a better job of making me care about Olivier and Schara than CS1 ever did with Class 7 during its numerous group changes. It also helps that Estelle and Joshua are far more compelling leads than Rean was, even individually.

I remember hearing a long time ago that the game is pretty slow early on and it eventually picks up but I'm not really having any issues with the pacing so far, I actually think CS1 had far worse pacing. Alongside getting me to latch onto it's characters FC has also given me overarching personal goals that will presumably be woven into each chapter that serves as that extra push to keep me motivated to press on.

I'm also enjoying the combat more here after finding it to be a slog in CS1/2. I don't necessarily love it, but I'm finding that attacks have a lot more impact than they did in the CS 1/2 and the skills I have are more fun to work with.

It's also really interesting seeing Olivier here after how he's presented in the CS games, seeing him more is probably one of the most exciting aspects at the moment. Though the homophobic shit when he first turned up at the military checkpoint was kind of a bummer, hopefully there isn't more of that.
 

Rean

Member
Oct 27, 2017
814
i kinda wish they wouldnt mention alcohol so often. like literally everytime schera/oliver are on screen, it involves nothing else but talking about alcohol and being wasted. it kinda diminishes their characters making them seem like 1 dimensional drunkards. until 3rd we know nothing about Aina other than that she can drink a river of vodka.
 

PK Gaming

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,339

If you don't like SC, then I really don't understand why you like any Falcom RPGs. It's like the pinnacle of their RPG design. Its only downside is that it needs another game to be fully enjoyed, but hey, that's true to a larger degree to almost any Kiseki title.


Good rebuttal, I definitely realize now that my post was completely nonsensical.

I get being enamored with a game to the point of overlooking its flaws, but calling SC the "pinnacle" of their RPG design is a bit rich when the things fundamental to good RPG design (pacing, dungeon design, gameplay) are mediocre or average at best in the game. You can't just "handwave" chapter 7 and 8 because the finale is good.

Sky SC isn't the worst game in the (non-gacha) series, because that honour goes to Tokyo Xanadu. :P
... But seriously. I've thoroughly dunked on SC in the past, and it's mostly deserved. CS2 is, imo, Sky SC done right in most respects that aren't character related (and even then it's not quite that clear cut, even if SC has the advantage). But I dunk on it because I love it anyway, warts and all. It's a great climax of the Sky trilogy? And that it manages to make a game that's twice as long as Sky FC with mostly the same assets is... technically impressive if nothing else.
That being said, 3rd's asset reuse is just better all around. Either the reused areas are just for cutscenes, or the areas are dungeon locations that have been given a coat of paint/weren't dungeon areas before. And they're nice enough to give you new areas every other chapter.
Yeah CS2 is actually a good RPG but that might be too spicy of a take
 

Erpy

Member
May 31, 2018
602
Though the homophobic shit when he first turned up at the military checkpoint was kind of a bummer, hopefully there isn't more of that.
To be honest,

I personally thought Estelle calling Olivier/Olivert a pervert for sexually harrassing Joshua wasn't any more homophobic than Fie calling Angelica a creep for that come-on involving the latter's delicates and the former's ironing board. :P
 

Shanaynay

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,207
As expected my original thoughts on 3rd changed.
I'm VERY into it now, after reading thoughts and opinions on here and elsewhere it definitely helped out. I'm now invested in the main plot a lot more and, of course, the sidestories.

Last I played I had just finished doing the split road segment in Chapter 3. Kevin's side was much easier and generous with all those weapons upgrade for the party. Ries side was mainly just accessories and a much more challenging boss fight. Then the group ended in Le Locle,at the start of Chapter 4, where I got EVEN more party members. Anelace, Olivier, Zin, Schera (sporting an awesome new look), Agate and FINALLY Estelle! Kevin had to bail us out of a potential death with his stigma so now he's out cold and Ries is the current leader. Estelle is NOT leaving my party now, ever, though this will SEVERELY limit my group setup considering I struggle deciding who the bring... (in a good way)
Speaking of struggling...I also got Richard AND Renne to join my party during Chapter 5! Did I already mention i'm struggling to pick a party? I beat the spiders boss and now chapter 6 is upon me.

Sidestories wise I did a couple more! I went through Kloe's, it was nice to see her situation when she transfered to the Jenis college. I was very surprised to see Lechter too! I remember seeing him in Cold Steel, so that's what he does nowadays...

I went through Zin's story as well. (and the coliseum minigame, at least the first set of rounds) I went through part 2 of Tita's story which involved Agate, man Erika is quite huh...the person. And I guess Dan is super badass too! I'm surprised even the 3 goons from the Ravens had their own story where you played as them, I liked it though haha. Anelace's story was fine as well, good to learn she's related to Yun Ka Fai, which makes me wonder if Rean doesn't reference her in Cold Steel now that i'm thinking about it...

Next I did Schera's story and man she had quite the attitude back then...once that was done holy shit that story about her and what she did to survive...to eventually get kicked down and stepped on. The artwork displayed was quite in your face and just amplified the sentiment...

Last but not least I went through Estelle and Joshua's door which covered their childhood and how it was when Joshua arrived, it almost moved me to tear, with a smile, just seeing how nonchalant Estelle is, fully knowing something is tearing Joshua but she's just being the bright sun she's always been. Especially near the end where, although her life was in danger, she was just happily showing him "The Bug of Legend". Of course it wasn't enough so she just left like it was nothing, haha.

I pretty much stopped after knowing the ghost identity and I look forward to see more later. Although it feel like i'm close to the end...unless somehow there's a SUPER long chapter incoming...that and there's a lot of doors I still haven't discovered and I explore everywhere.

This does it for now, I probably missed some stuff but feel free to toss questions my way, although I tend to give some basic responses I hope you appreciate them!
 

Erpy

Member
May 31, 2018
602
As expected my original thoughts on 3rd changed.
I'm VERY into it now, after reading thoughts and opinions on here and elsewhere it definitely helped out. I'm now invested in the main plot a lot more and, of course, the sidestories.

Last I played I had just finished doing the split road segment in Chapter 3. Kevin's side was much easier and generous with all those weapons upgrade for the party. Ries side was mainly just accessories and a much more challenging boss fight. Then the group ended in Le Locle,at the start of Chapter 4, where I got EVEN more party members. Anelace, Olivier, Zin, Schera (sporting an awesome new look), Agate and FINALLY Estelle! Kevin had to bail us out of a potential death with his stigma so now he's out cold and Ries is the current leader. Estelle is NOT leaving my party now, ever, though this will SEVERELY limit my group setup considering I struggle deciding who the bring... (in a good way)
Speaking of struggling...I also got Richard AND Renne to join my party during Chapter 5! Did I already mention i'm struggling to pick a party? I beat the spiders boss and now chapter 6 is upon me.
Yeah, picking a party's tough at this point. Estelle is actually considered fairly low-tier at this point since you by now have so many specialists you don't really need a jack-of-all-trades that badly anymore. Richard, on the other hand, is a battle god whose ludicrously low craft delay can make him triple-turn bosses as long as he has the CP and he's a solid caster on top of that. Renne's simply the most flexible mage in the series who's fairly fast, has a fairly strong second S-craft and an adorable hidden victory pose that randomly pops up.

Little note; the ending of this game makes you use EVERYONE, so it's a good idea to still swap folks around every once in a while and keep their orbments up-to-date.

Sidestories wise I did a couple more! I went through Kloe's, it was nice to see her situation when she transfered to the Jenis college. I was very surprised to see Lechter too! I remember seeing him in Cold Steel, so that's what he does nowadays...
Well...about that… Did you finish Olivier's Star Door on the fifth plane already? Presumably not. That door and this door have a connection.

I went through Zin's story as well. (and the coliseum minigame, at least the first set of rounds) I went through part 2 of Tita's story which involved Agate, man Erika is quite huh...the person.
Depending on your tolerance for her shenanigans, she's either one of the most amusing or one of the most obnoxious characters. Remember what she looks like though. Her hair style will catch on with a certain someone later. Oh, and the reward for that door now allows Tita to freely switch between her usual rando-blasting mode and boss-murdering mode. (where she was lacking before) The only reason her last craft isn't the most broken thing in the game is because playable character number 15 was added to the roster. It's still extremely powerful and fun to use.

And I guess Dan is super badass too! I'm surprised even the 3 goons from the Ravens had their own story where you played as them, I liked it though haha.
When you played the second part of Tita's door, Agate actually referenced to the events in that door in one of his dialogues with an NPC. The various post-SC doors have just enough info in them to allow players to construct a rough timeline of them.

Anelace's story was fine as well, good to learn she's related to Yun Ka Fai, which makes me wonder if Rean doesn't reference her in Cold Steel now that i'm thinking about it...
He doesn't, though it's fairly probable he HAS heard of her, seeing that he references a Crossbell character who's part of the same school in CS1.

Next I did Schera's story and man she had quite the attitude back then...once that was done holy shit that story about her and what she did to survive...to eventually get kicked down and stepped on. The artwork displayed was quite in your face and just amplified the sentiment...
Yeah, that one was rough and there's an even rougher flashback coming up later on.

I pretty much stopped after knowing the ghost identity and I look forward to see more later. Although it feel like i'm close to the end...unless somehow there's a SUPER long chapter incoming...that and there's a lot of doors I still haven't discovered and I explore everywhere.
Chapter 6 is the longest chapter in the game, but one afterwards is super super short. You're not close to the end yet, but you're well past the half-way point.
 

Rean

Member
Oct 27, 2017
814
i also just beat chapter 5, dungeon parts are really the weakest side of the game. its just boring.
and i hate stat distribution in this game, its like they went completely nuts. gear that literally doubles your stats (like a certain sword) is just absurd, they pulled out all the stops. its like you are either doing 0 or 3000 damage with your attacks and arts depending if you are above or below certain threshold
 

Mivey

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,185


Good rebuttal, I definitely realize now that my post was completely nonsensical.

I get being enamored with a game to the point of overlooking its flaws, but calling SC the "pinnacle" of their RPG design is a bit rich when the things fundamental to good RPG design (pacing, dungeon design, gameplay) are mediocre or average at best in the game. You can't just "handwave" chapter 7 and 8 because the finale is good.
I will readily admit that I haven't played the CS games, yet, though from what I hear from them, they suffer from quite a few issues with pacing and dungeon design as well. After all, I said it was the pinnacle of Falcom's RPG design, not somehow the best of the entire genre. So you think SC is so much worse than their later Kiseki games?
 

Erpy

Member
May 31, 2018
602
I'd say dungeon design in CS1 and CS2 is actually an improvement over the Sky games, since you always have access to a rotatable dungeon map that shows nearby monsters, switches and exits, meaning it's a lot easier to see where you're going and where you need to go. Pacing in Trails games is always on the wonky side.
 

Yunyo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,365
With the Sky games you get access to a quartz very quickly that makes you invisible to monsters, and there's so much available space for you to move, it's not difficult to pick your fights. CS doesn't have an invisiquartz but you have a lot of free movement, even without the map showing the monsters you easily avoid close to 100% of the monsters in the game.

I feel that the dungeons in the Sky and CS series are actually quite convenient in terms of design. I think Zero might be the outlier for having a dungeon that doesn't let you move through it freely with little trouble. That and SC with the one dungeon with the slow teleporters; though with speedup that's not a problem anymore. CS2 has one dungeon with very slow elevator animations but with the PC and PS4 speedup that's not a problem anymore either. So yeah, just Zero.
 

Shanaynay

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,207
Well...about that… Did you finish Olivier's Star Door on the fifth plane already? Presumably not. That door and this door have a connection..
Nope but it's one of the first door I'll be checking out. When I discovered it it was already super late (or early) so huh, I had to go to bed.



Depending on your tolerance for her shenanigans, she's either one of the most amusing or one of the most obnoxious characters. Remember what she looks like though. Her hair style will catch on with a certain someone later. Oh, and the reward for that door now allows Tita to freely switch between her usual rando-blasting mode and boss-murdering mode. (where she was lacking before) The only reason her last craft isn't the most broken thing in the game is because playable character number 15 was added to the roster. It's still extremely powerful and fun to use.
She's pretty crazy but I don't mind her, it make me laugh at times. I'll have to try out Tita more then!


When you played the second part of Tita's door, Agate actually referenced to the events in that door in one of his dialogues with an NPC. The various post-SC doors have just enough info in them to allow players to construct a rough timeline of them.
Yup, I picked up on that, I believe it's an exchange with Gundolf or Wong but he definitely allude to new recruits and we know who it end up being.
 

Rean

Member
Oct 27, 2017
814
15th door really goes in stark mood contrast with everything across 5 games that i've played
 

Erpy

Member
May 31, 2018
602
Well, the Hamel incident, Salt Pale disaster and some characters' backstory can be pretty dark, but yeah, Star Door 15 is in a league of its own.
 

Lozange

Member
Oct 25, 2017
360
Before I played 3rd, a lot of people who had played it in Japanese described it as a "behind the scenes" sort of game. An opportunity to examine things that are otherwise kind of glossed over.
I think this only really applies to parts of 3rd? But I also think it's pretty accurate. There's absolutely no way that the details of star door 15 would ever have truly come up in the regular narrative for example, and that's where the value of the doors truly shines. There are a couple of other doors like this, but star door 15 is absolutely the go to example.
Any scene where Renne goes "Ok Estelle, here's my incredibly fucked up, traumatising backstory in great detail, that I probably want to forget", just wouldn't have worked imo. And even if we learned about it from another character, it would probably just be broad strokes, like how Renne described her backstory in SC, so that wouldn't have really worked either.
 

Rean

Member
Oct 27, 2017
814
and i beat it,
never playing 3rd again but it was definitely worth playing just for the lore
zero patch cant come soon enough
 

PK Gaming

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,339
everyone is entitled to their diarrhoea-level opinions, don't worry
The only diarrhea-level opinions are the mindless group-think takes folks like to subscribe to in this thread

Like CS2 can't possibly be good (as an RPG) "because it's the bad one" vs SC which is just this immaculate, flawless Kiseki title that doesn't suffer from any design flaws despite being being a relatively old ass RPG
 

OskarXCI

Member
Nov 11, 2018
195
I’m at the point of no return in Sky the 3rd. I’m wondering, do I need to have all of my party members at a decent level or can I stick to my 4 highest leveled and prefered members.

Will there be any instances were the group splits up and take on seperate bosses? Some JRPGs tend to do that at very end.

Feel free to spoil it (with tags of course).
 

nivorae

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,295
The only diarrhea-level opinions are the mindless group-think takes folks like to subscribe to in this thread

Like CS2 can't possibly be good (as an RPG) "because it's the bad one" vs SC which is just this immaculate, flawless Kiseki title that doesn't suffer from any design flaws despite being being a relatively old ass RPG
oh they're both iffy, CS2 is just worse because it doubles down on issues of SC AND it has been years since they could have been learning from SC
 

Tibarn

Member
Oct 31, 2017
7,472
Barcelona
I see all the talk about The 3rd, I remember it as an amazing game and I really hope that the next entry takes inspiration from the game, as I know that CS III and IV are not like that at all.

Really hyped to play CS II in a couple weeks and Zero when the fan translation is released, I would like to be up to date with the translated games next year at the latest.
 

Psxphile

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,008
I’m at the point of no return in Sky the 3rd. I’m wondering, do I need to have all of my party members at a decent level or can I stick to my 4 highest leveled and prefered members.

Will there be any instances were the group splits up and take on seperate bosses? Some JRPGs tend to do that at very end.

Feel free to spoil it (with tags of course).
You've played Final Fantasy VI (III)?
it's like that for the final dungeon, but only the main team will be able to challenge the final boss. So yes, equip everyone appropriately but keep your best units on what the game tells you is the "main" team. You won't have a chance to change around members after the attempt is made without restarting the entire dungeon from an earlier save point.
 

Erpy

Member
May 31, 2018
602
I’m at the point of no return in Sky the 3rd. I’m wondering, do I need to have all of my party members at a decent level or can I stick to my 4 highest leveled and prefered members.

Will there be any instances were the group splits up and take on seperate bosses? Some JRPGs tend to do that at very end.

Feel free to spoil it (with tags of course).
The final dungeon makes you use EVERYONE and each team fights a boss at the end, but only the main team with Kevin fights the final boss, who's quite a bit tougher than the others. You actually needn't worry about levels TOO much. The randoms in the final dungeon give obnoxious amounts of experience, to the point where characters who are significantly behind will be hitting the experience cap after every fight until they're caught up. Just make sure you have 2 or so members per team or so who can carry the rest. You want to give each team member some decent gear. Each of the routes has chests with equipment suited for the characters on those teams, you just want to make sure your team members aren't too handicapped until they start collecting stuff. You DO want everyone's slots to be completely upgraded and outfitted with the best quartz you can afford (spiders in the abyss drop random level 5 quartz if you need to increase your overall collection) because sepith drops in the final dungeon don't scale.
 

Rean

Member
Oct 27, 2017
814
I’m at the point of no return in Sky the 3rd. I’m wondering, do I need to have all of my party members at a decent level or can I stick to my 4 highest leveled and prefered members.

Will there be any instances were the group splits up and take on seperate bosses? Some JRPGs tend to do that at very end.

Feel free to spoil it (with tags of course).
you'll make 4 teams of 4:

the way i did it was:
send 2 most op characters with kevin for final boss (you really want either joshua for final boss due to his S-Craft, or Renne with Genesis barrier)
send one of other overpowered characters into each team
fill the rest with 1 arts user (healer) and rest whatever

that one OP character you sent into each team can pretty much solo carry entire team, in my case it was joshua/richard/zin
joshua with 2 belts just spams phantom raid
richard with belts spams crafts with no delay
zin with speed buff just decimates

all of your underleveled characters will catch up real quick, and each of them will get a weapon during final dungeon to do enough damage. just stack some armor on them and you are good, just keep your main carry alive
 

PK Gaming

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,339
oh they're both iffy, CS2 is just worse because it doubles down on issues of SC AND it has been years since they could have been learning from SC
I don't really think that's accurate, and i'll explain why using my previous points:

-Mediocre pacing (Chapter 7 slows the game to a crawl)

CS2 also has its pacing issues, but they're nowhere near SC's level. The fact that you can mitigate backtracking via fast travel is kind of a big deal (with quests letting you backtrack as well). The faster pace of the battles lend and quest markers on the map overall lends itself towards a game experience that's less of a slog as well.

-Too much backtracking

See above. SC's backtracking is egregious even for RPGs for its time. CS2 is the polar opposite.

-Very little gameplay incentives for new players to get excited over. You get the same protagonist that's barely changed, with orbments that are barely changed and a party that's barely changed. The new party members join at the endgame and Anelace leaves early on. Samey doesn't even begin to describe the gameplay experience. Chain's could have been better.

No contest, CS2 absolutely destroys SC on this front. CS2 Rean is a massive improvement on his CS1 incarnation, with 2 new fun mechanics tied to him alone. SC Estelle is FC Estelle but arguably worse due to the morale nerf. Every party member in CS2 gets a new craft, and there are 3 more party members to use in the main game.
The postgame goes all out and gives you 8+ new characters to mess around with
CS2 also throws in a bike that greatly increases field movement speed, optional superbosses, lost arts, and fast travel.

-A mundane first half. There are definitely some terrific character moments, but nothing really drives the story until Chapter 5, and that's pretty damn far down the line. SC feels more like a new adventure as a Senior Bracer rather than FC's direct followup for most of it (which would have been fine if it didn't come after SC)

CS2's first act is pretty slow, but the pace quickly picks up once you're on your way since there's a war driving the cast. Now before anyone gets on my case, i'm not necessarily saying CS2's first half is better, but saying its "SC, but worse" is a massive misread

-Reused dungeons are ass

I forgot to also mention that SC's dungeons (specifically in Chapter 7) range from mediocre to mega garbage. CS2's main game dungeons aren't anything to write home about either, but they're a largely painless affair.
The postgame has a good dungeon as well

-Weakest quests in the series bar none. Too much "go here, do that" and less shakeups

Self-explanatory. With the exception of the Ruan mystery quest, I enjoyed CS2's quests a lot more.

 

Rean

Member
Oct 27, 2017
814
i disagree with complaints about later SC chapters just due to 1 particular thing: you can speedrun all the problematic parts with cloak in like 20-30minutes (probably even less if you skip towers), thats hardly an issue.
boo, 20 minutes of 50hour RPG are boring, what a colossal failure

speedrunning openworld of CS2 takes forever though, with all the shitty fetch quests. not to mention as soon as you are given freedom in CS2 most of your time is devoted to busywork rather than interesting plot, which cannot be said about SC at all
 

Lozange

Member
Oct 25, 2017
360
re:speedrunning through problematic parts. I think an important thing to keep in mind for both games is that neither of them had turbo mode on launch, but do have turbo mode now (Although both CS games allowed you to skip combat animations with the start button).
So in that sense, both games have pacing issues greatly mitigated compared to how a lot of people originally experienced the game, and indeed I have yet to replay the sky trilogy since beating the games when they all originally came out on pc, so I can't really comment specifically on how long it takes to beat each section nowadays.
That all being said though. For all Trails games, I don't consider "if you just skip as much as possible, you'll be fine" to be a positive. Because that's not how Trails games are played, you know? This is the series where you can have an important plot point play out, and then you can run half way across the country to somewhere else and get some new NPC text, or maybe even a sidequest if you're lucky.
For fighting enemies, it's true that I personally probably skip more fights than perhaps I should. I'm always underleveled for most of the game, and often I pay for this dearly. But I'd never equip the cloak quartz as a matter of principle? I wanna see all the new enemy types and formations if nothing else! It's new gameplay stuff and I like that.
So ultimately,
You go through 4 near identical dungeons of decent length relative to the rest of the game, with the only notable events being the boss fights at the end and the lore dump files
and then
you travel around the country you're already INCREDIBLY familiar with by this point, do a bunch of admittedly cool sidequests that are held back by party limitations, and get very little real plot progression despite all the cool world building.
Regardless of how much you *could* skip, it's clear Falcom didn't want you to do that. Chapter 8 especially had a lot of work put into it, and that doesn't happen for a one off, throwaway chapter that's just there to be the calm before the finale. As for chapter 7, like it or hate it, it's certainly been set up for from the beginning, so some variation of this was likely always planned. It's just these two chapters... aren't as well done as they could be.
CS2 also has similar issues, but it also has a few subtle things that make it more palatable.
In Act 1, if you're on your sidequest game you can finish the first half of each shrine before they're relevant, and get some lore out of it. The rate at which you encounter the shrines is also well paced enough that you're not doing it all in a row. Yay player choice! The shrines existing are also telegraphed enough with sudden massive changes in the map that it's not like "well you see if you just already played the game then you'd know how to make best use of your time". I've never been a fan of that argument. Realistically, the player will probably do at least a couple of the shrines, even if they don't do them all, because they're there and mysterious.
In Act 2, you clear one shrine, and then plot stuff happens! So you only have to do three similar dungeons in a row compared to SC's four, even if you completely missed the shrines in the first Act. The bosses are admittedly less interesting until shrine 4 when Vita shows up. But also you could hypothetically pace out the sidequests for this section to give yourself a break. In SC, you're all aboard the plot progression train until chapter 8.
I think this somewhat goes without saying, but having an airship and all your party members ready and waiting to contribute what they've always been able to, is vastly more fun than the limitations placed on the player in SC's chapter 8. The only real limitation is that you need to have Rean and *insert plot relevant character* in your party, and thanks to the reserve party member system you can effectively bench both if you want.
If someone disliked both CS2 and SC's takes on this particular gameplay concept, that would be totally fair and valid, but if it's a comparison between the two I am all aboard the CS2 hype train.
 

OskarXCI

Member
Nov 11, 2018
195
There. Done with Sky the 3rd and the whole trilogy. Now I will probably take break from the series until Cold Steel III is out. Will eventually get the PS4 versions of CS1 & 2 but only once they are on sale.

I’ll wait with Zero and Azure until the fan translations are more complete.
 

TheMrPliskin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,218
Another chapter down and my opinion of the game continues to improve.

My previous two attempts to play FC I ended up bouncing off fairly quickly due to the games pacing but now I'm actually loving the really slow pace of the game to the point where my favourite chunk of the game so far has been the academy segment of this chapter.

I think this chapter was also the first time that I really enjoyed the combat in any of these games with Kloe having a lot of really strong support artes to use and Agate being a monster the few times he was in the party, it just made for a fun mix that felt like it opened up the combat a lot more. It's kind of a shame that Agate wasn't around more for this chapter but it made sense why he wouldn't be and I appreciated that the chapter ended up being largely focused around Kloe, the stronger focus on the temporary party members really removes the sting from them only being around for a chapter.

In terms of the overall narrative, I'm really enjoying the slow reveal of how big a deal Cassius is. For a character that has only had maybe 10 minutes of screen time they've done a good job at making me care him without the need for any forced attempts to make me care. Simply having the odd comment here and there from people that shows how known and important he is while making it clear that he kept this a secret from Estelle communicates a lot about his character while saying very little.

I'm also very curious to see who the masked gang is that seems to be pulling a lot of strings at the moment. I have a guess based on the CS games, but we'll see.
 

Shanaynay

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,207
Woowee what a wild ride it has been since I last played. Last update was when I stopped before knowing of Celeste's identity. Since then A LOT happened! In term of story, more and more happened as we heard about Kevin's past. I ended up also being joined by Richard and Renne and they're both insanely powerful so they're definitely part of my final party. It was nice fighting so many familiar faces though and man, Cassius kicked ass as you'd expect, he defeated me quite a few times. Although, I can't help but feel the game pity you if you die (even without selecting easy) he just feel less savage with his turns and attacks. Loewe was also slightly challenging, excluding the "immune to stat debuff" trope aside that I hate in JRPGs.

Holy shit though, Kevin's past about his mother and Rufina, just...woah. Once you know more how Phantasma work though the lord of phantasma twist ain't really impactful, personally, you sorta guess it. But the game definitely gets dark...and speaking of dark.. I've done every doors I came across and man...I wasn't prepared for Star Door 15, jeesus. It's easy to see why it got censored outside of PC, especially THAT artwork, you know the one...this explains so much about Renne and man she deserve so much happiness. This whole door is so fucked up, from the disorders, the "would be my pleasure" to just...well EVERYTHING. This will definitely be one I'll remember and if someday there's ever a thread about "character with tragic past" you bet your ass she'll be the first I think about.

I decided that I probably won't bother with completing one stage of the remaining minigames for Star Door 14, I'll most likely look it up on YT. Currently I'm just leveling up in the abyss a bit while killing every bosses in one run, I suspect something awaits me at the end.
 

Erpy

Member
May 31, 2018
602
Another chapter down and my opinion of the game continues to improve.

My previous two attempts to play FC I ended up bouncing off fairly quickly due to the games pacing but now I'm actually loving the really slow pace of the game to the point where my favourite chunk of the game so far has been the academy segment of this chapter.

I think this chapter was also the first time that I really enjoyed the combat in any of these games with Kloe having a lot of really strong support artes to use and Agate being a monster the few times he was in the party, it just made for a fun mix that felt like it opened up the combat a lot more. It's kind of a shame that Agate wasn't around more for this chapter but it made sense why he wouldn't be and I appreciated that the chapter ended up being largely focused around Kloe, the stronger focus on the temporary party members really removes the sting from them only being around for a chapter.

In terms of the overall narrative, I'm really enjoying the slow reveal of how big a deal Cassius is. For a character that has only had maybe 10 minutes of screen time they've done a good job at making me care him without the need for any forced attempts to make me care. Simply having the odd comment here and there from people that shows how known and important he is while making it clear that he kept this a secret from Estelle communicates a lot about his character while saying very little.

I'm also very curious to see who the masked gang is that seems to be pulling a lot of strings at the moment. I have a guess based on the CS games, but we'll see.
There's a popular saying among Trails fans when pushing people to stick with FC to the point where they warm up to it: "Play until the play". (or rather the events the come immediately after) Good to hear you've been enjoying the pacing. You're slowly approaching the part where stuff starts coming together.

As far as the narrative is concerned, you've actually picked up on something that's one of the main themes in the game (even if it doesn't seem that significant right now) namely what it means to be following in the footsteps of a living legend and how to deal with the high bar that that person set in the past. So keep it in mind for the later parts. Aside from being an important narrative theme, it also makes for a great running gag as

Estelle essentially goes through the five stages of grief acknowledging her dad is Zemurian Jesus, from denial her slacker dad is a big deal to anger about being kept in the dark to bargaining (I'm not the only one who was unaware all this time. Joshua was too! Right, Joshua? Right? Joshua, say something!) to acceptance.

If you played Cold Steel I and have a memory for names, you ought to already know Cassius is a big deal before the Sky games repeatedly spell it out for you.




I decided that I probably won't bother with completing one stage of the remaining minigames for Star Door 14, I'll most likely look it up on YT. Currently I'm just leveling up in the abyss a bit while killing every bosses in one run, I suspect something awaits me at the end.
If I recall correctly, you don't need to actually complete all Sun Door sections in order to access Star Door 14, you just need to complete the first stage of each door. I'm guessing the one you're dropping is the Sun Door featuring Estelle? It's generally regarded as a doozy and the reward isn't that good.
 
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Kromeo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,038
The section with Khloe and the school leading up to the play is the least interesting part of the series imo, if you can get through that it does get better

I honestly never really had any interest in the story in Sky until right near the end of FC
 

Lozange

Member
Oct 25, 2017
360
The play in FC is low key one of the best moments in the series, change my mind.
It had far too much effort put into it, it's great.
 

Yunyo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,365
Woowee what a wild ride it has been since I last played. Last update was when I stopped before knowing of Celeste's identity. Since then A LOT happened! In term of story, more and more happened as we heard about Kevin's past. I ended up also being joined by Richard and Renne and they're both insanely powerful so they're definitely part of my final party. It was nice fighting so many familiar faces though and man, Cassius kicked ass as you'd expect, he defeated me quite a few times. Although, I can't help but feel the game pity you if you die (even without selecting easy) he just feel less savage with his turns and attacks. Loewe was also slightly challenging, excluding the "immune to stat debuff" trope aside that I hate in JRPGs.

Holy shit though, Kevin's past about his mother and Rufina, just...woah. Once you know more how Phantasma work though the lord of phantasma twist ain't really impactful, personally, you sorta guess it. But the game definitely gets dark...and speaking of dark.. I've done every doors I came across and man...I wasn't prepared for Star Door 15, jeesus. It's easy to see why it got censored outside of PC, especially THAT artwork, you know the one...this explains so much about Renne and man she deserve so much happiness. This whole door is so fucked up, from the disorders, the "would be my pleasure" to just...well EVERYTHING. This will definitely be one I'll remember and if someday there's ever a thread about "character with tragic past" you bet your ass she'll be the first I think about.

I decided that I probably won't bother with completing one stage of the remaining minigames for Star Door 14, I'll most likely look it up on YT. Currently I'm just leveling up in the abyss a bit while killing every bosses in one run, I suspect something awaits me at the end.
You can finish the minigames in the 3rd pretty quickly. Plus I found that the Arena was actually a lot of fun, especially the final stage. I wouldn't be so quick to skip them.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,891
Star Door 15 is about one of the only instances ever of that storytelling device used well. Its incredibly painful, and just gets worse as the layers unravel. It really sells the character you already know and why they are who they are, without ever feeling cheap.
 

Eppcetera

Member
Mar 3, 2018
244
There's a popular saying among Trails fans when pushing people to stick with FC to the point where they warm up to it: "Play until the play". (or rather the events the come immediately after) Good to hear you've been enjoying the pacing. You're slowly approaching the part where stuff starts coming together.
Ha, I tell people to play until they reach the superior sequel (or to just start with Cold Steel). Still, I view a game as problematic if it takes about 25 hours to warm up to it, which is why I understand people bailing on the game. I was over halfway through the game by the time I reached that scene, and nobody who's struggling with a game wants to hear that it takes that long to get better.

The play in FC is low key one of the best moments in the series, change my mind.
It had far too much effort put into it, it's great.
I doubt I'd change your mind, as I don't even think it's a bad moment. However, I wouldn't call it one of the best when the series has so many scenes that I think are much better. That said, I'll give the play credit for being much more enjoyable to watch than the cringe-worthy rock concert in Cold Steel 1.
 

Rean

Member
Oct 27, 2017
814
personally, i think the FC boredom struggle as real, and its much easier for someone to go through with it if they are already invested in the series after playing cold steel
 

Thuddert

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,618
Netherlands
Yeah, I hate saying wait till X, then it gets good, because that changes expectations.

And it invalidates anything before that as "not good".

People can learn to appreciate how the games work and pace themselves or they'll never will. Even if you enjoy the big moments, the smaller ones are lost on you.
 

TheMrPliskin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,218
I definitely recall being told to try and push through to the play back when I originally played FC but I fell off way before I even got close to that point.

It's really encouraging to read that's a pretty common sentiment though, if I'm enjoying the section that people often need a bit of a nudge to get through it bodes well for the upcoming chapters.
 

Lozange

Member
Oct 25, 2017
360
Some day I'm gonna replay FC and then YOU'LL ALL REGRET YOUR WORDS AND DEEDS
...My backlog is massive so that's a while away BUT STILL

It's a game of slow paced but thorough world building, with an emphasis on character building. I would never claim "Wait until it gets good", because imo it's good from "Why is my present a boy". It's a microcosm of the Trails experience as a whole, with a lot of political stuff happening in the background, but ultimately the focus being on the people involved.
Also the play is good because it's fun and goofy, the plot would probably be a book series in any other trails game but is instead fully animated, and it has its own cute 8 part soundtrack. AND it doubles as a character thing for the actors, instead of just being just a random story in the Trails universe. Really the only thing I'd selfishly want from it is more, but it gives so much already that I can't really complain.
 

Erpy

Member
May 31, 2018
602
Some day I'm gonna replay FC and then YOU'LL ALL REGRET YOUR WORDS AND DEEDS
...My backlog is massive so that's a while away BUT STILL

It's a game of slow paced but thorough world building, with an emphasis on character building. I would never claim "Wait until it gets good", because imo it's good from "Why is my present a boy". It's a microcosm of the Trails experience as a whole, with a lot of political stuff happening in the background, but ultimately the focus being on the people involved.
Also the play is good because it's fun and goofy, the plot would probably be a book series in any other trails game but is instead fully animated, and it has its own cute 8 part soundtrack. AND it doubles as a character thing for the actors, instead of just being just a random story in the Trails universe. Really the only thing I'd selfishly want from it is more, but it gives so much already that I can't really complain.
Its theme of a power struggle between nobles and commoners with each faction represented by a colored knight who end up doing battle is also a nice piece of foreshadowing for later games in the series.
 

Shanaynay

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,207
If I recall correctly, you don't need to actually complete all Sun Door sections in order to access Star Door 14, you just need to complete the first stage of each door. I'm guessing the one you're dropping is the Sun Door featuring Estelle? It's generally regarded as a doozy and the reward isn't that good.
You can finish the minigames in the 3rd pretty quickly. Plus I found that the Arena was actually a lot of fun, especially the final stage. I wouldn't be so quick to skip them.
I did the first arena tier and the shooting one upon finding them. I didn't try Estelle's game enough and I haven't tried the other two...though i'm tempted to check out the quiz.
 

Erpy

Member
May 31, 2018
602
I did the first arena tier and the shooting one upon finding them. I didn't try Estelle's game enough and I haven't tried the other two...though i'm tempted to check out the quiz.
The Estelle one involves fishing and requires both fairly quick reactions, some memorization of which fish can be used as bait for which fish and quite a bit of luck. The rewards are eh...

The final arena gives a very nice piece of quartz and the battles are just fun, especially the last one.

The quiz has the almighty time gem (large nerf to att/def/ats stats but cuts the charge time of your arts by a whopping 95%) as its final prize.

The card one is good for world building and especially worth doing if you read the Gambler Jack novels in SC. (Cold Steel II's collection of books is Gambler Jack II and Jack and Halle are almost guaranteed to turn up in the Calvard arc at some point)