RPG Community |OT| Take the Epoch to a New Era

Oct 25, 2017
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Using Discord instead of a forum is something I will never understand, maybe that's an age thing.
I like being able to post a thing here, then come back 3 hours later and see if people have replied. Or catch up on an interesting conversation. Discord just stresses me out. I believe the kids call that FOMO.
If you've used IRC in the past it's...pretty much just pretty IRC. However, it's not really suited for in-depth/long-form posts.
But being stressed out/uninterested regarding it isn't uncommon, so I wouldn't sweat it.
 
Oct 26, 2017
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I've wrapped up Dragon Quest XI (I confess to using a trainer for easing up the grinding and those damn pep quests), great game all around, but I just wish it wasn't so cutscene heavy.
Not something I've expected ever to say about a Dragon Quest game, but here we are. It almost felt like a standard JRPG at times - 5 minutes cutscene, walk in a corridor to the next room, bam, another 5 minute cutscene, followed by cutscene, and then another one to boot.
The fact that the devs couldn't bother to add auto dialogue progression for them, was painful as well - you had to manually click through every line/grunt/whatever else.
Performance in towns was terrible as well, although that may just be my crappy (well, 4790K) CPU.

Strongly considering which game to play next. I'm in for a Golden Sun replay sooner or later (never finished The Lost Age as well), but that works well in a portable format. I'm torn between playing it on a 3DS (bilinear filtering, so looks terrible or takes 40% of the screen, but with my battery mod it should last forever) or Win 2 (looks amazing in Retroarch with shaders, but eats through battery like water - 2-3 hours per full charge).
 
I've wrapped up Dragon Quest XI (I confess to using a trainer for easing up the grinding and those damn pep quests), great game all around, but I just wish it wasn't so cutscene heavy.

).
Trainers have been the saving grace of gaming for me. I made a thread a long time ago about how I love them lol. Some games you just wanna experience at your leisure or not grind gold/crank the xp just a tad higher. Makes me really sad DQ11 and Tales of Berseria (heck all tales) are not on PC here in Japan. Been holding off on buying both because of it. I love me some RPG's but if a trainer can shave off a few hours or a few dozen in some of the PS1 era, I'm all for it. Then again my backlog so to speak reaches into the PS1 days so I try to get through things at a decent pace.

But anyway. Those will have to wait til I finish Persona 5. It's a pretty good game but I feel like I'm rushed or being pushed to do things not at my own pace compared to the others. There is so much to do that is front loaded into the games' things to do in a day system in the opening hours. But just finished the second castle and looking forward to getting back into it after a short two week break for some Soul Calibur and Dark Souls 3.

SaGa Frontier is my handheld game at the moment, but also tempted to play some more Pokemon Ultra Sun and even restart Y or Alpha Sapphire.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,390
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Trainers have been the saving grace of gaming for me. I made a thread a long time ago about how I love them lol. Some games you just wanna experience at your leisure or not grind gold/crank the xp just a tad higher. Makes me really sad DQ11 and Tales of Berseria (heck all tales) are not on PC here in Japan. Been holding off on buying both because of it. I love me some RPG's but if a trainer can shave off a few hours or a few dozen in some of the PS1 era, I'm all for it. Then again my backlog so to speak reaches into the PS1 days so I try to get through things at a decent pace.
Recently I noticed I maony use Trainers/CheatEngine to speedhack games (mainly for walking speed, long animations in turn-based games are a bonus). I really have no patience for slow walking speed in games anymore.
Berseria was really bad at this. Fine in cities, but way too slow in the open areas. Hell, I was looking forward to the hoverbord, only for it to be slower than my default faster walking speed... (and the CheatEngine-table didn't work for the hoverbord...).
Gates of Firmament is another candidate. It starts fine but at one point the areas just get bigger and bigger. And speedhacking through trashmob encounters that don't require any strategy was certainly much appreciated as well.

In terms of this thread and Discord: I joined the Discord server a while ago, but I'm honestly not actively following it. I mainly use Discord for off-topic talk, the general channels generally move too fast for me to want to keep up and with multiple servers I only have enough time/willingness to have 1 I'm primarily active in (but only if it doesn't move too fast either).
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Hmmmm....Think I will probably play Phantasy Star Switch concurrently with Trails in the Sky Second Chapter.

I've only played Phantasy Star IV before (and not too long ago), so I am excited to dig deeper into the franchise.
 
Oct 25, 2017
419
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Vienna
Haven’t managed to play anything seriously in months really, but I’ve been playing Classic Everquest on and off since last year and made it to level 45 on my Bard some while ago.

I’m still super in love with the Bard kit in this, and there are things still waiting further down the line that will make the class even cooler. (Hard to believe, I know) …although I’m not sure if I will ever push to the level cap of 60. The grind can really wear you down at times, mostly because there isn’t that much else in between to break it up. It helps that the group leveling experience is very satisfying, at least as a Bard. The irony is, that Bards level much more efficient going solo aoe farming. So a grouping Bard seems to be somewhat of a curiosity, according to what I could gather talking to people in the beginning. I’ve seen „many“ more Bards around the last time I played tho, so that’s good - I guess.
Last time I played I’ve been mostly solo fear kiting Spectre in Feerrott or doing groups in the kobold throne room of Nagafen’s Lair, which seems to belong to some dragon lord named Nagafen. It makes sense I suppose, the place being located within a vulcano and all that. There was also a temple where I was able to proclaim some parts of the first class armor set. Of course only after messing up the quest hand in twice, and losing a lot of hard earned resources in the process. Good for me that a bard can solo farm these hill giants, which carry a lot of coin for some reason.
But make no mistake, the game is still pretty brutal. Messing up alone and deep into a labyrinthian nightmare of a dungeon might as well be the end of that particular character. Luckily most people playing tend to be very helpful and understand that no Bard could resist the call to glorious adventure. It helps that by now, everyone seems to know someone having a high level cleric somewhere. The serverwide druid and wizard teleport taxi service also doesn’t charge when on a corpse run, so that’s nice, too. I hope there are veterans out there that appreciate the fact, that there are still newbie Bards getting mauled by town guards because they forgot to stop singing that area damage song…

Lost many screenshots when I reinstalled the game, but here are some vacation slides you have to suffer through now

Looking down a cliff in Emerald Jungle. I'm a Bard so I sing a levitate song and simply glide down.


Watching a shaman kill ice giants. I never managed to find this spot unoccupied..


Overlooking the entrance to a gnoll dungeon while trying to hunt down a pegasus that drops a cloak with levitate spell on it. Not that I would need it of course.


My group and I getting powerleveled by a level 60 Bard at the entrance of Mistmoor Manor. Cool!


Wearing the new shiny class armor vambraces. The chest armor has accompanied me ever since someone just gave them to me during my first week or so. The head piece was dropped from some kobold lord that I got myself by sneeking into his room and working my Bard magic.



A collection of local arts:

A mural at the City of Mist, a long lost city of the lizard people, and a grouping hotspot for levels 40-50.


A dwarven head statue in Butcherblock Mountains.


A graffiti somewhere in Guk, city of the frog people.


Pretty sure that's a shrunken Ogre in Nagafen's Lair.
 
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May 23, 2018
12
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I have fallen into a Shin Megami Tensei IV (+ Apocalypse) shaped hole for the last couple of months and I enjoyed both of them a lot, although for very different reasons.

As a newcomer to the SMT franchise SMT IV felt very foreign and frustrating to me and I actually quit playing it after getting lost on the world map a few years back. Now that I knew what I was doing I could kind of speedrun through that whole first part and I was really getting into it. Everything looked so cool and mysterious, especially the Demonica armor is one of the coolest designs I have ever seen. The world is a lot of fun to explore and seeing new demons (and reading their lore after befriending them) is always a treat.

But unfortunately the battle system is, while still enjoyable, kind of terribly balanced. The battles in the beginning can be frustratingly hard, while the battles later on can be laughably easy. There is a lot of trial and error in the beginning, when you don't have the resources to make a balanced team. So I would save in front of every boss to find out his weakness and main method of attack and then pummel him on my second try. Sometimes my team of glass cannons would get randomly ambushed and absolutely destroyed by some trash mob, so I had to use my play coins a lot to pay off the ferryman so he could complete all his StreetPass puzzles or something...

So I loved the atmosphere and exploration aspects, but am kind of iffy on the battles. In comes Apocalypse and the opposite rings true. Apocalypse feels a lot more like a generic JRPG mostly because of its lighter atmosphere and more streamlined design. Which some may see as a negative, I actually enjoyed because it differentiates Apocalypse from its predecessor and makes room for battles that are actually really fun. Demons feel unique because of Skill affinities and everything feels a lot more polished and balanced. The final battle is especially great and was one of the most epic fights I had in a videogame in a long time. The battle goes on for a long time and I can sense that he has to go down soon and then everbody from my party goes down but one guy with 6 HP and no MP. I feel the despair creeping up, but I put all my hope in that last attack and I take him down with that final punch. So satisfying.

The more streamlined nature and recycled environments make exploring less fun, so I played this game in a more relaxed way and tried to complete my demon compendium a lot more.
So yeah I loved both games in different ways and I think they complement each other quite nicely in the kind of experiences they provide. Definitely recommended!

Also it feels incredibly weird to play this game on the bus and cheering on your demons internally, while a nun sits next to you...
 
Oct 27, 2017
472
0
Haven’t managed to play anything seriously in months really, but I’ve been playing Classic Everquest on and off since last year and made it to level 45 on my Bard some while ago.

I’m still super in love with the Bard kit in this, and there are things still waiting further down the line that will make the class even cooler. (Hard to believe, I know) …although I’m not sure if I will ever push to the level cap of 60. The grind can really wear you down at times, mostly because there isn’t that much else in between to break it up. It helps that the group leveling experience is very satisfying, at least as a Bard. The irony is, that Bards level much more efficient going solo aoe farming. So a grouping Bard seems to be somewhat of a curiosity, according to what I could gather talking to people in the beginning. I’ve seen „many“ more Bards around the last time I played tho, so that’s good - I guess.
Last time I played I’ve been mostly solo fear kiting Spectre in Feerrott or doing groups in the kobold throne room of Nagafen’s Lair, which seems to belong to some dragon lord named Nagafen. It makes sense I suppose, the place being located within a vulcano and all that. There was also a temple where I was able to proclaim some parts of the first class armor set. Of course only after messing up the quest hand in twice, and losing a lot of hard earned resources in the process. Good for me that a bard can solo farm these hill giants, which carry a lot of coin for some reason.
But make no mistake, the game is still pretty brutal. Messing up alone and deep into a labyrinthian nightmare of a dungeon might as well be the end of that particular character. Luckily most people playing tend to be very helpful and understand that no Bard could resist the call to glorious adventure. It helps that by now, everyone seems to know someone having a high level cleric somewhere. The serverwide druid and wizard teleport taxi service also doesn’t charge when on a corpse run, so that’s nice, too. I hope there are veterans out there that appreciate the fact, that there are still newbie Bards getting mauled by town guards because they forgot to stop singing that area damage song…

Lost many screenshots when I reinstalled the game, but here are some vacation slides you have to suffer through now

Looking down a cliff in Emerald Jungle. I'm a Bard so I sing a levitate song and simply glide down.


Watching a shaman kill ice giants. I never managed to find this spot unoccupied..


Overlooking the entrance to a gnoll dungeon while trying to hunt down a pegasus that drops a cloak with levitate spell on it. Not that I would need it of course.


My group and I getting powerleveled by a level 60 Bard at the entrance of Mistmoor Manor. Cool!


Wearing the new shiny class armor vambraces. The chest armor has accompanied me ever since someone just gave them to me during my first week or so. The head piece was dropped from some kobold lord that I got myself by sneeking into his room and working my Bard magic.



A collection of local arts:

A mural at the City of Mist, a long lost city of the lizard people, and a grouping hotspot for levels 40-50.


A dwarven head statue in Butcherblock Mountains.


A graffiti somewhere in Guk, city of the frog people.


Pretty sure that's a shrunken Ogre in Nagafen's Lair.
Good times. My username is the name of my EQ bard. Although I started as a Vah Shir (the cat person race introduced with the Luclin expansion), I still wanted to level in the old world zones. But since the new characters models had 3 times the number of polygons as the original ones, I would get tells as soon as I entered zones to stay away since I would slow down or even crash their games if they could see me because they had older gaming PCs.

That’s fine though, since I could just twist in my invisibility song. And I rushed to get the Mask of Deception, so I spent most of my time under a permanent illusion as a dark elf.
But still anyone was surprised that a Vah Shir would level anywhere but Luclin.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,457
0
I've only ever played post-WoW WoW-likes but having enjoyed those experiences, I came away with newfound curiosity about divergent and earlier MMO experiences. I think MMOs are, or at least can be, quite interesting. It is neat reading about Everquest.

(Makes me wish I hadn't written them off as a child tbh).

I started Nocturne first but SMTIV and Apocalypse were my first two mainline SMT games also. They were the tip of a quite deep rabbit hole I am still descending into :P.

I think Nocturne is going to be recommended a lot--definitely play that if you enjoyed IV and IVA--but also keep the other titles in mind, e.g. Strange Journey but also the SNES games--OG SMT and SMT2 are phenomenal. That's where I am personally at but I need to play MT1&2 yet as well, with MT2 in particular being pretty highly recommended.

And then of course there are all the other MegaTen games lol So much stuff.
 
Oct 25, 2017
730
0
Puerto Rico
I have fallen into a Shin Megami Tensei IV (+ Apocalypse) shaped hole for the last couple of months and I enjoyed both of them a lot, although for very different reasons.

As a newcomer to the SMT franchise SMT IV felt very foreign and frustrating to me and I actually quit playing it after getting lost on the world map a few years back. Now that I knew what I was doing I could kind of speedrun through that whole first part and I was really getting into it. Everything looked so cool and mysterious, especially the Demonica armor is one of the coolest designs I have ever seen. The world is a lot of fun to explore and seeing new demons (and reading their lore after befriending them) is always a treat.

But unfortunately the battle system is, while still enjoyable, kind of terribly balanced. The battles in the beginning can be frustratingly hard, while the battles later on can be laughably easy. There is a lot of trial and error in the beginning, when you don't have the resources to make a balanced team. So I would save in front of every boss to find out his weakness and main method of attack and then pummel him on my second try. Sometimes my team of glass cannons would get randomly ambushed and absolutely destroyed by some trash mob, so I had to use my play coins a lot to pay off the ferryman so he could complete all his StreetPass puzzles or something...

So I loved the atmosphere and exploration aspects, but am kind of iffy on the battles. In comes Apocalypse and the opposite rings true. Apocalypse feels a lot more like a generic JRPG mostly because of its lighter atmosphere and more streamlined design. Which some may see as a negative, I actually enjoyed because it differentiates Apocalypse from its predecessor and makes room for battles that are actually really fun. Demons feel unique because of Skill affinities and everything feels a lot more polished and balanced. The final battle is especially great and was one of the most epic fights I had in a videogame in a long time. The battle goes on for a long time and I can sense that he has to go down soon and then everbody from my party goes down but one guy with 6 HP and no MP. I feel the despair creeping up, but I put all my hope in that last attack and I take him down with that final punch. So satisfying.

The more streamlined nature and recycled environments make exploring less fun, so I played this game in a more relaxed way and tried to complete my demon compendium a lot more.
So yeah I loved both games in different ways and I think they complement each other quite nicely in the kind of experiences they provide. Definitely recommended!

Also it feels incredibly weird to play this game on the bus and cheering on your demons internally, while a nun sits next to you...

Congrats on beating SMT4 and SMT4a! And welcome to SMT!

It's actually pretty crazy how much SMT4 and Apocalypse complement each other, where one falters the other excels. SMT4 has some of my favorite writing and atmosphere of any game period. Talking to the npc's and getting a sense of culture from both Tokyo and Mikado was a gratifying experience that truly added weight to the events Flynn goes through. It also has probably my favorite ending of the entire franchise in the white ending. In fact I like how all of the endings are presented, logically sound but morally corrupt. The weakest parts of SMT4 are what you already mentioned, the insufferable game over cutscene and how the game manages difficulty. Towards the later parts of the game bosses just stop having weaknesses which cheapens the impact of the press turn system, basically removing what makes the system so amazing in the first place. Pacing is another problem as well, it takes a while for the game to truly get going, as you probably noticed when you speedran the first part of the game.

Ironically, pacing is probably Apocalypse's greatest strength. The stakes start high immediately and continuously get higher. The plot moves along at blistering speeds making every minute of gameplay seem meaningful. Dungeon design is great as well, the final dungeon is a big highlight. Demon negotiation is the best it's ever been even if SMT4's is pretty good too. But wow is this game's writing awful. Some of the worst characters in the entire franchise with some specific moments that honestly come off as fan fiction. While SMT4 had some of the best endings, SMT4a has far and away the worst. Either way I had a blast with both games and I consider them to be worthy successors to the SMT franchise.
 
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ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,451
0
Fuck, man, I'm really not feeling DQ XI for some reason :(

I'm probably 10 or so hours in. I absolutely love the world (so many nooks and crannies to explore!) and I really like the characters and I'm genuinely interested in seeing where the story goes, but I'm bored to death actually playing it. I guess I'm just done with super vanilla turn-based combat. Typically with these I derive enjoyment from breaking the game, but the systems in DQ XI are somewhat simplistic and I feel like "breaking the game" in this case just means grinding until you wreck everything. Doesn't help that the game is really easy to begin with. Well, at least it doesn't have super strong anti-grinding garbage in it like wild exp curves and enemy exp (or level) scaling.

I might try restarting with some draconian modifiers on, but frankly I don't see myself actually finishing the game with those. They seem to make the game hard, in which case it'd take me months to finish and I'm not the type of gamer who can play the same single-player game in small bites every day for months and months, especially when those gameplay sessions would probably mostly consist of fairly uninteresting and repetitive but difficult dungeon crawling.

Maybe I'll drop it and spoil the story for myself so I won't constantly wonder. Plenty of games to play, anyway. Wrt RPGs alone I have Pillars of Eternity 2, Kingdom Come: Deliverance and Pathfinder: Whatever to play.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
7,512
0
Austria
I'm probably 10 or so hours in. I absolutely love the world (so many nooks and crannies to explore!) and I really like the characters and I'm genuinely interested in seeing where the story goes, but I'm bored to death actually playing it. I guess I'm just done with super vanilla turn-based combat. Typically with these I derive enjoyment from breaking the game, but the systems in DQ XI are somewhat simplistic and I feel like "breaking the game" in this case just means grinding until you wreck everything. Doesn't help that the game is really easy to begin with. Well, at least it doesn't have super strong anti-grinding garbage in it like wild exp curves and enemy exp (or level) scaling.
I'm ~30 hours in and yeah, I'm with you. I have put the game down for some time now and I don't feel the need to keep going.
The combat just never felt interesting to me and the characters can only carry the game so far. And the story itself is very.....boring and standard as well, at least that's how it feels so far. I still want to finish it some day though, but I'm not sure if I actually will.
 
Oct 25, 2017
419
0
Vienna
Good times. My username is the name of my EQ bard. Although I started as a Vah Shir (the cat person race introduced with the Luclin expansion), I still wanted to level in the old world zones. But since the new characters models had 3 times the number of polygons as the original ones, I would get tells as soon as I entered zones to stay away since I would slow down or even crash their games if they could see me because they had older gaming PCs.

That’s fine though, since I could just twist in my invisibility song. And I rushed to get the Mask of Deception, so I spent most of my time under a permanent illusion as a dark elf.
But still anyone was surprised that a Vah Shir would level anywhere but Luclin.
That's hilarious. I guess that's where some of the ire against the new models by oldschool Everquest players originates, hehe.
Yeah that Mask... I've been trying to get one, but haven't managed to drag a Necromancer down to Lower Guk yet. I did get one very rare rune fork in Upper Guk tho, so yay me.

What I really enjoy about playing this is going on ZAM and reading posts from back then. A lot of the confusion and mystery is gone today of course, so it's fun to somewhat participate in this way.



I've only ever played post-WoW WoW-likes but having enjoyed those experiences, I came away with newfound curiosity about divergent and earlier MMO experiences. I think MMOs are, or at least can be, quite interesting. It is neat reading about Everquest.
I always had a great fondness of MMOs, but the direction the genre went made me lose interest sadly. I think these type of games present some amazing potential, but they seem to have become too constricted to let some of that potential unfold.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
3,390
0
Fuck, man, I'm really not feeling DQ XI for some reason :(

I'm probably 10 or so hours in. I absolutely love the world (so many nooks and crannies to explore!) and I really like the characters and I'm genuinely interested in seeing where the story goes, but I'm bored to death actually playing it. I guess I'm just done with super vanilla turn-based combat. Typically with these I derive enjoyment from breaking the game, but the systems in DQ XI are somewhat simplistic and I feel like "breaking the game" in this case just means grinding until you wreck everything. Doesn't help that the game is really easy to begin with. Well, at least it doesn't have super strong anti-grinding garbage in it like wild exp curves and enemy exp (or level) scaling.

I might try restarting with some draconian modifiers on, but frankly I don't see myself actually finishing the game with those. They seem to make the game hard, in which case it'd take me months to finish and I'm not the type of gamer who can play the same single-player game in small bites every day for months and months, especially when those gameplay sessions would probably mostly consist of fairly uninteresting and repetitive but difficult dungeon crawling.

Maybe I'll drop it and spoil the story for myself so I won't constantly wonder. Plenty of games to play, anyway. Wrt RPGs alone I have Pillars of Eternity 2, Kingdom Come: Deliverance and Pathfinder: Whatever to play.
I think I'm 30 hours in and pretty much love it, but I also don't really care much about the combat. I have the "no EXP for weaker monster" modifier turned on and don't fight all that much (mostly just to fight every monster once, accidental run-ins and when I need to grind for the Pep quests (which are terrible by the way)), so I'm never overleveled and the boss encounters and stronger monsters are decently interesting.
 
Oct 27, 2017
472
0
What I really enjoy about playing this is going on ZAM and reading posts from back then. A lot of the confusion and mystery is gone today of course, so it's fun to somewhat participate in this way.


Wow, a post from myself 17 years ago, when I was the fresh-faced young age of 20
And I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about there.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,019
0
Netherlands
I think I'm 30 hours in and pretty much love it, but I also don't really care much about the combat. I have the "no EXP for weaker monster" modifier turned on and don't fight all that much (mostly just to fight every monster once, accidental run-ins and when I need to grind for the Pep quests (which are terrible by the way)), so I'm never overleveled and the boss encounters and stronger monsters are decently interesting.
Turn on autocombat and sit back for regular mobs.
 
Oct 25, 2017
730
0
Puerto Rico
Fuck, man, I'm really not feeling DQ XI for some reason :(

I'm probably 10 or so hours in. I absolutely love the world (so many nooks and crannies to explore!) and I really like the characters and I'm genuinely interested in seeing where the story goes, but I'm bored to death actually playing it. I guess I'm just done with super vanilla turn-based combat. Typically with these I derive enjoyment from breaking the game, but the systems in DQ XI are somewhat simplistic and I feel like "breaking the game" in this case just means grinding until you wreck everything. Doesn't help that the game is really easy to begin with. Well, at least it doesn't have super strong anti-grinding garbage in it like wild exp curves and enemy exp (or level) scaling.

I might try restarting with some draconian modifiers on, but frankly I don't see myself actually finishing the game with those. They seem to make the game hard, in which case it'd take me months to finish and I'm not the type of gamer who can play the same single-player game in small bites every day for months and months, especially when those gameplay sessions would probably mostly consist of fairly uninteresting and repetitive but difficult dungeon crawling.

Maybe I'll drop it and spoil the story for myself so I won't constantly wonder. Plenty of games to play, anyway. Wrt RPGs alone I have Pillars of Eternity 2, Kingdom Come: Deliverance and Pathfinder: Whatever to play.
You don't have to grind you know. Grinding takes away the skill and challenge of rpgs and that's especially true for DQ11 which is already pretty easy. I personally fight every new monster I see and nothing else until the boss. If you want to feel like you're breaking the system, you can try your hand at crafting. You can potentially make weapons and armor much stronger than whatever is being sold in shops. Hopefully that provides even less incentive to grind.

As for the Draconian mods, super hard mode isn't really that bad. It starts off pretty hard but quickly balances out once you get more party members.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,451
0
You don't have to grind you know. Grinding takes away the skill and challenge of rpgs and that's especially true for DQ11 which is already pretty easy. I personally fight every new monster I see and nothing else until the boss. If you want to feel like you're breaking the system, you can try your hand at crafting. You can potentially make weapons and armor much stronger than whatever is being sold in shops. Hopefully that provides even less incentive to grind.

As for the Draconian mods, super hard mode isn't really that bad. It starts off pretty hard but quickly balances out once you get more party members.
I haven't! I just meant that grinding seems like the easiest, most obvious (and most boring) and possibly the only way to break the game. But yeah, fair point, I suppose you could definitely break the game with crafting. Maybe not wide open, but for a dungeon or two at a time.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,457
0
Crafting is very very useful in DQXI. I bought two weapons the whole game.

Also, figuring out your abilities, roles, and formations goes a long way. Draconian monsters make you work on that stuff.

Personally, I find the characters, their skill profiles, their roles, and their synergy immensely satisfying in DQXI. I also love the way they grow and, as becomes more clear in act 2, how their narrative contribute to the overall narrative. These things speak to a thing I like in RPGs quite strongly—the character combat role, growth, nature, narrative complex. DQXI—and DQ generally—is great at creating such resonating harmonies that transport my soul.

As to the narrative, the characters aren’t deep. They are simple but competently delivered and placed within the context of the whole piece. They convey things, both about themselves and about what DQXI is saying in a simple, often under-stated way.

DQ uses formulae towards greater and distinct purposes in each game. It is self referential and relies on accrued meaning but at the same time constantly uses this language to say something different. It does this through the relation of parts, namely how they fit together and the resonance that is created by such ordering. DQ is simultaneously cozy and familiar and always thinking.

With later DQ this long view becomes more obscure and structures become less obvious, but they’re still there. Forests become harder to see the longer you are among the trees, so to speak, unless it grips your soul. But if you lose the picture, you’re left with the formulae, which may or may not content you alone.

DQ also is of note for its immediate picture, namely its vignettes. I think they are noteworthy because of the life they manage to give the NPCs and locales you come across and because the focus on them allows DQ to trade in folk tales and such about non-RPG protagonist types. Couple them with DQ’s understated tone and penchant for both comedy and tragedy and personally I adore them.
 
May 23, 2018
12
0
I started Nocturne first but SMTIV and Apocalypse were my first two mainline SMT games also. They were the tip of a quite deep rabbit hole I am still descending into :P.

I think Nocturne is going to be recommended a lot--definitely play that if you enjoyed IV and IVA--but also keep the other titles in mind, e.g. Strange Journey but also the SNES games--OG SMT and SMT2 are phenomenal. That's where I am personally at but I need to play MT1&2 yet as well, with MT2 in particular being pretty highly recommended.

And then of course there are all the other MegaTen games lol So much stuff.
Funnily enough Nocturne was the first SMT game I was interested in. When I saw it saying it was featuring Dante from Devil may cry I knew it had to be good, haha. Sadly I never got enough money to buy a Playstation 2 and nowadays I'm living in this weird portable future where I don't even own a TV.

I'm too anxious to emulate the older games, as I feel like as soon as I download something like that the police is gonna kick my door down and arrest me for playing a 30 year old game never released in the west, lol. So those games are on the backburner for me at the moment. But it's not that bad, as I got enough other SMT games to hold me over till V releases.

As soon as I finished IVA I got Strange Journey Redux and Soul Hackers and Devil Survivor are already sitting in my 3DS backlog for a few years now. At the moment I'm taking a SMT break, but now that I'm a master demon hunter a friend lent me his copy of Yo-Kai Watch and well... it's a good game to catch up on TV shows i guess. :P

Congrats on beating SMT4 and SMT4a! And welcome to SMT!

It's actually pretty crazy how much SMT4 and Apocalypse complement each other, where one falters the other excels. SMT4 has some of my favorite writing and atmosphere of any game period. Talking to the npc's and getting a sense of culture from both Tokyo and Mikado was a gratifying experience that truly added weight to the events Flynn goes through. It also has probably my favorite ending of the entire franchise in the white ending. In fact I like how all of the endings are presented, logically sound but morally corrupt. The weakest parts of SMT4 are what you already mentioned, the insufferable game over cutscene and how the game manages difficulty. Towards the later parts of the game bosses just stop having weaknesses which cheapens the impact of the press turn system, basically removing what makes the system so amazing in the first place. Pacing is another problem as well, it takes a while for the game to truly get going, as you probably noticed when you speedran the first part of the game.

Ironically, pacing is probably Apocalypse's greatest strength. The stakes start high immediately and continuously get higher. The plot moves along at blistering speeds making every minute of gameplay seem meaningful. Dungeon design is great as well, the final dungeon is a big highlight. Demon negotiation is the best it's ever been even if SMT4's is pretty good too. But wow is this game's writing awful. Some of the worst characters in the entire franchise with some specific moments that honestly come off as fan fiction. While SMT4 had some of the best endings, SMT4a has far and away the worst. Either way I had a blast with both games and I consider them to be worthy successors to the SMT franchise.
Thanks! It was a pleasure to experience this great series for the first time.

So yeah, at the end bosses lose their weaknesses but you can just reflect everything and be invincible as long as you have MP left. Luckily they noticed all of that stuff and improved it in IVA. I gotta disagree on the dungeon designs in IVA. Most of them were pretty disappointing to me, because so many of them were recycled from the previous game and I already played them not too long ago. I especially disliked the final dungeon which was new, but way too long and there wasn't that much interesting happening there.

I also gotta disagree on the endings, besides the white ending which was great, both law and chaos escalated way too quickly and the choosing of alignments was not very clear. So just because I petted a puppy once, this is happening now? Whereas the Bonds ending in IVA made sense to me immediately and has a nice humanistic message to it. They missed the opportunity for another ending though and I am mixed on the writing. On the one hand those moments you talk about are pretty annoying, but on the other hand it reminds you that the characters are stupid teenagers and that is just a part of life. I think this is a game about maturing as a person and as a species. So these scenes are there to remind you of their immaturity, but I don't know if those scenes were really necessary or effective at that point. I have some more thoughts on Apocalypses story, but I have to collect my thoughts some more, probably do some research and then come back with a long meaty post.
 
OP
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FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,343
0
Well, as far as I can tell, I am the only person on this entire site who has ever mentioned this RPG, so I'll give it another plug because I played it earlier this year and it really is quite good:
Artifact Adventure Gaiden is currently on sale for 40% off on Steam. It is basically a fusion of Zelda II overworld exploration and sidescrolling combat with Ys bump combat mechanics and Chrono Trigger-style time-travel based choice and consequence.

The basic flow of the game is that you begin in the present time and undertake a fun little romp of an adventure choosing from amongst a variety of builds, and going around exploring, building up your equipment/stats, and making a bunch of different decisions, some minor and some rather significant. Then, later in the game, you get the ability to travel to the future and back, and get to see the consequences of all your decisions. It's really a rather well done game and has a fantastic amount of C&C that you wouldn't usually come across in a JRPG-styled game, especially one that is decidedly retro-like in general.
I haven't! I just meant that grinding seems like the easiest, most obvious (and most boring) and possibly the only way to break the game. But yeah, fair point, I suppose you could definitely break the game with crafting. Maybe not wide open, but for a dungeon or two at a time.
If you must grind, there is actually a completely consistent and almost braindead simple way of gaining like 4-5 levels every 5-10 minutes later in the game (as in, potentially as soon as like 20 or so hours in).

I wouldn't recommend it though, I farmed some levels for only about 20 minutes using this method and ended up completely curb-stomping the true final boss (should note that I played non-draconian).

Speaking of DQ11, I also did something similar to MoonFrog and basically skipped 80%+ of "random encounters." I like the way that the game accommodates that decision as equally as the decision to actually engage in fights with the mooks in each dungeon. If you fight them, the boss is easier because you have more levels; if you don't fight them, you get to the boss quicker, but the boss is much tougher. I can't think of a single JRPG where I preferred the mob encounters to the boss encounters, so I enjoyed being able to pretty much play it as a "boss rush" and treat the dungeons as more about positioning and maneuvering around enemies instead of barreling into them and getting into conventional fights.
As soon as I finished IVA I got Strange Journey Redux and Soul Hackers and Devil Survivor are already sitting in my 3DS backlog for a few years now. At the moment I'm taking a SMT break, but now that I'm a master demon hunter a friend lent me his copy of Yo-Kai Watch and well... it's a good game to catch up on TV shows i guess. :P
Which Yo-Kai? The first one? I have a soft spot for YW, I bought it on a complete whim and ended up really enjoying it, great atmosphere, fun battle system.
 
May 23, 2018
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Which Yo-Kai? The first one? I have a soft spot for YW, I bought it on a complete whim and ended up really enjoying it, great atmosphere, fun battle system.
Yup, the first one. It's an okay game with a lot of potential. I like the Yokai designs and that the missions are structured like TV episodes. I also have a weird soft spot for being a japanese kid, so I really enjoy the atmosphere of the game (Attack of the Friday Monsters on 3DS is even better in that regard). But I don't really enjoy the battle system and the constant repetition of the minigames in battle. Also befriending Yo-Kai is no fun at all and looking for them is a chore. Apparently a lot of my problems are gone in the second one, so I'm gonna try that one later.
 
Oct 25, 2017
730
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Puerto Rico
Beary
I'm not to going pick apart your entire post cause I'd like to save some of the discussion for your meaty post, but let me say this.

A Shin Megami Tensei game with a clearly "good" and "bad" ending seems wrong to me. In fact I think it damages a core identity trait that makes SMT so special.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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I killed some evil worms and then struggled against a mischievous penguin prince. In the end, cookies prevailed.

The encounters were interesting: there were tons of worms but I had to do them one-by-one because of their area of effect counter, so they circled me in and i had to pick my targets carefully to maximize my damage and allow for healing between counters. The penguin was a status effect king and Jimmy was running around like a loon. Had to earth guard Jimmy to safeguard from a game over while I chipped away at the massive HP pool and tried to keep a functional party insofar as it was possible. In the end, the penguin got a bunch of healing turns and my own party was crippled by resource drain and status effects. I almost had him once but then he healed back up to almost half his health. Finally I hit him with a barrage of meatballs and cookies. No penguin could withstand that assault!
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Iwatodai Dorm
I'm late with the discussion about how this thread has slowed down...

I used to be a regular here, but even back then I used to talk more in the discord server than in here. Give me an academic topic and I can write a thesis about it if needed to do so, but don't ask me to write about my tastes or my opinion about a game or theres's a risk of me ended up looking dumb. I'm not capable of that kind of analysis, therefore I don't write long pieces and my contribution to this thread is not necessary imo. Discord is much better when all I can say about what I'm playing is that I got wrecked by certain boss, or when I want to complain about some threads on these forums without getting a warning.

We are a community about a genre, not a community about a game. If we were the Xenoblade community I could've described my daily ordeal trying to get all the legendary core crystals needed to finally get Kos-Mos but let's be honest we write those things in the OTs of said games or we do so in the discord server because we all aren't playing the same thing, no matter that the hottest thing was DQXI or Octopath Traveller or whatever's coming out at any time. If anything, the rpg club and the Era's essential RPGs threads have contributed to make the discord server bigger because all our activities as a community get either a new thread or do benefit more from having a dedicated channel in the discord server, therefore those affect the activity in this thread.

Can we change that? maybe?

All I can offer is writing about my progress in some games weakly (because I don't make a huge progress daily) and even so, many of you may not be interested at all in the games I play.

Now that we started the "backlog-blitz" event, maybe we could write a little about the things we chose to play?
 

Seda

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,539
0
I actually prefer discussing games in a hodgepodge genre thread like this rather than an OT or fandom community. So I wouldn't mind if it people just posted random updates or thoughts on whatever RPG they are playing.

I am currently finishing the arena events in Resonance of Fate because I am insane.

Moonfrog is deadly with the cookies.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Mother 1 is as bizarre as I thought it would be...
But it tells you nothing. Thankfully I've wandered in the right directions.

I do wonder why I'm beating hippies with a cracked baseball bat, though.
 
I will say I forget to post here sometimes and post in the "What JRPG are you playing?" thread which is essentially a non OT version of this. So having two threads that are the same thing and both pretty old and randomly refreshed is tough.

That said!

Still chugging away at SaGa Frontier as my backlog/handheld game. Along with Persona 5. Finally beat a story in SaGa, finished Red's moving on to the robot now. Interesting game and how you just gotta roll with some of the unexplained mechanics but I think I understand some parts of it. Story just kinda goes to the next point without natural context but its ok so far. Trying to use the official guide from back in the day as a PDF, its terribly laid out and explains nothing of the mechanics but it helps me know where to go next.
 
Nov 8, 2017
2,619
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Ohio
I will say I forget to post here sometimes and post in the "What JRPG are you playing?" thread which is essentially a non OT version of this. So having two threads that are the same thing and both pretty old and randomly refreshed is tough.

That said!

Still chugging away at SaGa Frontier as my backlog/handheld game. Along with Persona 5. Finally beat a story in SaGa, finished Red's moving on to the robot now. Interesting game and how you just gotta roll with some of the unexplained mechanics but I think I understand some parts of it. Story just kinda goes to the next point without natural context but its ok so far. Trying to use the official guide from back in the day as a PDF, its terribly laid out and explains nothing of the mechanics but it helps me know where to go next.
Wait, how are you playing SaGa Frontier on a handheld?

Sorry for my ignorance.
 
Nov 8, 2017
2,619
0
Ohio
Its also available on psn in Japan, but... my Japanese isn't good enough/my beef with the game started when I was an elementary school student in America haha
A friend of mine had it in high school and I played it for maybe an hour tops. It always seemed strange to me, wasn't like anything I had played before. It's one of the games I kept waiting to be released on PSN but it never came. Gonna have to track down a physical copy.
 
OP
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FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,343
0
I started the very first Megami Tensei (SNES remake) and it has actually given me a greater appreciation of the early game in SMT4. To be honest I had found the links between SMT4 and SMT1 a bit more on the abstract/general side, but between SMT4 and MT1 they're much, much more direct and apparent. Funnily enough MT1 has the same issue where you brace yourself and trudge step by step up to finally beating Medua, then all the sudden it gets manageable. It's strange because I had always thought of that bizarre difficulty curve in SMT4 as a sort of design flaw, but now I'm not so sure. If anything it may have been a direct reference to how MT1 is structured.

I'm also finding that MT1 is a bit tighter than SMT1, in the sense that there's less real estate and thus there's a better sense of where to go next (after all, it's easier to tell where to go when there are less possible options). The music however isn't all that remarkable so far, in fact I'd struggle to pick it out of a lineup with any other Famicom RPG OST. Valhalla Hall or whatever it's called has a pretty funky tune though.

Just like in SMT1, I wish the Magicite system would come back in some capacity in the later entries, because I like the way it makes you pick and choose which/how many demons to run with, instead of just stacking with 4 of the strongest demons you have throughout the entire game. Granted, the Magicite count in MT1 has a pretty distinct positive feedback loop (i.e. you almost always gain more Magicite from random encounters than you lose from having a pretty stacked party walking around), but still. I can see why they got rid of it though, especially once the scope of the games started opening up more (for instance, compare the scope of exploration in Nocturne to the more modestly-sized MT1).

That "beginning -> Medusa" section of MT1 truly is rough though. There really should have been another save point in Valhalla Halls, it would've been perfect with that one simple addition. Or at least open Bien's town up before Medusa and not after.

I also have no clue what "Tarukaja" does. In the other games it buffs physical attack. Here it doesn't seem to do anything... EDIT: Solved, just wasn't noticing the Tarukaja buff while fighting Medusa since I was doing crap damage anyway. I do wonder what the Tarukaja formula is, but I can't think of any way I could really find that info.
 
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ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,451
0
I ditched Dragon Quest XI (maybe some day!) and finally started playing the DLC campaign of Xenoblade 2. Seems solid so far. I'm not huge on prequel stories so I'm mostly interested in the more streamlined gameplay experience. I thought there was supposed to be a whole menu for difficulty customization, but I can't find it for the life of me. Would love to mess around with it. Ideas?
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Iwatodai Dorm
I’ve seen the base game’s difficulty editor: it lets you choose the behavior of the enemies and many other things and the only thing you had to do was accessing the options menu... are you sure isn’t it the same for Torna?

Edit: just checked. You’re right, Torna doesn’t have the option to let you customize the difficulty of the game, it’s the base game the one that allows you to mess with several options.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
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I ditched Dragon Quest XI (maybe some day!) and finally started playing the DLC campaign of Xenoblade 2. Seems solid so far. I'm not huge on prequel stories so I'm mostly interested in the more streamlined gameplay experience. I thought there was supposed to be a whole menu for difficulty customization, but I can't find it for the life of me. Would love to mess around with it. Ideas?
There is for the main game, not as far as I know for Torna.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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I had some thoughts about Suikoden I felt like writing down somewhere. They're not as elegant or well put together as I'd like, but oh well.

Suikoden (1995)



Recently, I took some time to finish up a few games I've started but never got around to completing. One of these was Suikoden, a game I'd never even touched until earlier this year. With JRPGs being my most enjoyed and most played genre, my friends found it a bit odd that I had never really spent any time with the Suikoden series. I've dabbled a bit in Suikoden 3 when I borrowed it from a friend, but didn't spend much time with it to formulate any notable opinions on the game - let alone the series. So, I sought to correct this and start from the beginning. Now that I've beaten the game some 25~ hours later, I wanted to share my thoughts on one of the JRPG gems (or more accurately, precursor to the JRPG gem that is the sequel).

Despite being nearly 23 years old, the game holds up quite well in the visuals department. Bright colors and fairly fluid animations give it an edge over other PS1 JRPGs that opted to go with a polygonal look. Great spritework help it stand out, and the backgrounds are both simple yet striking with their own beauty. The character portraits were fantastic, adding a hint of emotion to every notable character despite being little more than a static image. You could almost get a feel for each characters personality by just looking at them. I was also quite surprised by how well the game looked on PS3 as a PSOne Classic, blown up on my 50in plasma. Typically PS1 games look terrible at such a size. The world seemed vibrant, but I felt the game stood out the most visually in combat. Magic effects, spinning staffs, rapid stabs, punches and more paired well with the zooming and panning camera. It had a snap and intent that made everything feel just a bit more weighted and important, even if it was the most basic of physical attacks.

While battles looked nice and were quick, I didn't find much strategy required save for a couple boss battles here and there. Early on, I made ample use of the Unite Skill (where multiple characters do team attacks) and made sure to unleash powerful magic every chance I got. Yet as I grew stronger over the game, I relied less and less on magic and I'd wholly forgotten about Unite Skills. I eventually found a party that worked for me, with all the runes I'd wanted. Everyone had their role, but most people attacked physically. I can only assume I missed some powerful Unite combinations that I would have discovered had I diversified my party more. Strengthening my weapons and gear seemed to let me blow past most battles with a breeze, and I'd never found myself lacking the damage output to fell a boss. Physical attack runes being unlimited while magic was limited seemed a bit off-balance, and that could have been what pushed me away from a party with notable magic skills Thankfully, the game is decently balanced so there was never a need to grind. Additionally, I can't say I found myself banging my head against any walls in particular.

The overarching story, however, was a little hit and miss for me. While it had some very notable scenes and moments (anything involving Odessa and what followed), it felt like the game didn't give some scenes or characters enough room to breathe. From the very start, you're thrown into this conflict with no real understanding or reason why you're even fighting. Early on, you're simply told the empire is bad. Before long, you're fighting against them tooth and nail. You go along with what you're told by everyone around you, and then you're supposed to lead a liberation army consisting of rounded up rebels, vagrants, and highwaymen. Everyone seemed to quick to join you, and also too quick to accept your position of power. After all, you're a kid and everyone threw their weight behind you to lead. I could see them looking upon you as a symbol of hope, however, and I suppose that's the role you fill. Maybe they were just waiting for someone to rise up. It didn't matter who it was, but what they stood for.

Throughout the game, you start to learn why the empire is as 'bad' as they're said to be, and some of their actions over the time you interact with them are indeed atrocious. Yet they feel a bit rushed or simply 'because the empire is evil'. Though, I suppose with our current climate, maybe its not as easy to find the answers for despicable actions taken by people in power. You do piece together things later on about how characters may have partook in horrific actions against citizens, only to switch sides in some form of repentance. In some cases, it didn't land with the impact it should have. Others held a hefty weight. Despite all that, many of the characters backstories and histories stood out to me more than anything regarding the generally faceless empire. Mathiu's time as my strategist really helped to give him a reluctant personality. It showed that he was putting aside his own feelings for the greater good. Viktor was a staple in my party both for his strength and his belief in the cause since day one. Learning his story was interesting, but it seemed to breeze by.

Some of my main party had little going on for them when I met them. Valeria was key to all of my battles, but I can't for the life of me recall why she even joined me. Flik and Humphrey were often outclassed in battle capabilities, so I hadn't used them much despite their time in the spotlight throughout the story. They were usually replaced by characters like Lorelai and Kasumi. Alas, I can't exactly expect the deepest emotional character growth for every single character when you've over a hundred who are willing to lay their swords next to your own. Some people will look at you and join, while others may have their own requirements before raising arms upon the empire. At one point, it felt like too many characters – some of which never saw a single battle in my party. Mercifully, many of them are non-combatants. They fill their roles within your castle and make it feel like an actual base of operations. The castle grows as you gain more recruits, and the introduction of particular facilities once a person is recruited does give you a sense of progress and accomplishment.

From the very first battle against the empire to the final showdown, I never really felt any emotion towards my end goal. Despite some of their actions, I took no real joy in cutting down the final boss. Granted, I also felt no regret either. It felt like a means to an end, an obstacle to be overcome in the name of peace. This entire region of the world seemed so densely packed with locations and people, I felt it was missing just a bit of world-building. While I got some history here and there about what the empire had done to certain towns, I wanted more depth and lore to each location than what I got. It's not to say that what was there was bad by any means, it just left me more curious when I exited a town. Perhaps that's a good thing. The character stories and town vignettes shined the most to me, and probably overshadowed the whole 'evil empire thing'. As a note, I'd also forgotten who Ted and Windy were until they showed up again.

Throughout my brief affair with the game, I only had a handful of complaints. Many of these can be attributed to the time since launch and the era it was released in, so I don't hold them too harshly against the game. Item management was a pain, and having to shuffle equipment or medicine from one person to the next so they could equip a pair of shoes was fairly frustrating, but navigation of the castle took the crown of inconvenience. Having to go to different floors for different things was irritating enough, but being required to travel two screens to the next floor each time was also a bit of a headache. Removing that in-between floor would have done wonders, but I imagine it was placed that way to clear RAM or...something technical like that. There is little to no direction about who you can recruit or what they need, and sometimes you may be stuck wondering who you need to find to fill in that missing spot on your tablet. Trying to recruit all 108 stars without a guide would have been maddening. Even with a guide, I missed two and I don't know why. (I'm 99% sure I didn't execute a particular person.)

Overall, I have mostly positive things to say about the game. Combat was serviceable, the duels were fun, and the army battles were amusing and inoffensive. While the story wasn't as grand as I hoped, I enjoyed my time with it and am glad I was able to experience it. Everyone I know tells me the sequel is leaps and bounds ahead, so I'm eager to start that up sometime early next year. All I really know after all these years is that Luce Blight is a great villain. Thankfully I've never stumbled on the reason why, and I'm looking forward to finding this out myself. With Suikoden 1 seemingly being a lengthy prologue / Part One and setup to the sequel, I'm curious just how much has been improved upon.

The game did leave me with perhaps my favorite line I've encountered in a game: "All right, I'll join you. But I won't help you fight. I'll stay by your side so I can watch you die." The pure contempt from a couple sentences painted a particular character incredibly well. I'd wholly recommend Suikoden to anyone like myself who hadn't given the series a look in these past twenty years, or even new fans to the genre. It's a grand place to start, even if its not one of the juggernauts like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. It's a shame we'll never get another entry in the Suikoden series, but before I lament the death of the franchise, I should probably cleave my way through it first.
 

Tenrius

For the Snark was a Boojum, you see
Member
Oct 25, 2017
295
0
Since my two GBA SP's broke I ordered I new one. What would be some good RPGs for the system? Did not play much other than Pokemon back when I was a child. Already have and played Golden Sun und Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
I've been playing Dragon Quest Monsters: Caravan Heart and it's really good (if a bit hard to get into at first). So there's that for a more obscure recommendation!

Also this
 
Oct 25, 2017
140
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After quitting my first (and almost certainly last) gacha game last week, I looked into my proper-RPG options on Android and decided to finally play the first Dragon Quest for the first time. I found it surprisingly accessible for short bursts of play (~2-3 minutes), and beat it Sunday.

I went in blind and discovered that compared to some other DQ games early on (at least 3-9), it's super-open. Luckily one of the townspeople lets you know that bridges can be dangerous to cross. Ended up getting/accomplishing things in probably the wrong (or unexpected) order:
warrior's ring (likely expected order, but I think it's unnecessary?)
magic keys
gweilin's harp -> staff of rain
erdrick's armor
sunstone
defeated dragon in east cave/saved the princess - super easy at this point

Finished the game with 12 HP, 4 MP at level 19. I got some really crazy level ups later on (at 18, got +21 MP, at 19 got +11 strength), and I'm not sure if I got lucky or if some of that was a catch-up mechanic.

Also working on Pathfinder: Kingmaker, which has been pretty good so far. Haven't had much time to play it (fingers crossed, I can finish upgrading my computer which should decrease load times next week), so the hotfixes have largely outpaced my progress (chapt 2) and I haven't run into any bugs. I don't know that it's the next Baldur's Gate, but it's been a good mix of accessible with mechanical depth - I'm coming from some knowledge of Pathfinder, though, so it would probably be easy for someone coming in completely blind to get lost in all the stats/feats/effects.
 
Oct 27, 2017
472
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I've been playing through Baldur's Gate 2 in an attempt to work through my backlog, and I'm enjoying so much I've starting writing about my experiences in a journal format. I normally play about 2-3 hours a night after my kids are in bed. This feels like a decent amount of time to encapsulate my play experiences into this format.
Please bear with me as I started this when I am already 30 hours into the game and never do this kind of thing. For mostly gameplay and non-story items I'll leave plain text, but for bigger story beats I'll wrap them in spoiler tags. Please let me know if this is not enough and I'll adjust the tags accordingly.

11/2/18

I was able to clear out the vampire den under the graveyard district of Athkatla last night, but the head vampire Bodhi got away. This was still good enough for the Shadow Thieves, who had sent me there to clear out the vampires’ operation since they had been forming a rival thieves guild in the city.

In return the leader of the Shadow Thieves held up his end of the bargain and provided up transport to the island where our from Imoen is being held. (Rescuing Imoen and taking revenge on her captor has been our main goal of the game so far). Taking the ship ended Chapter 3 and began Chapter 4.

She had been taken to the Mage Asylum on this island as punishment for breaking the “no unlicensed magic use in the city” law, along with the villain Irenicus. But for the between-chapter cutscenes, we know that Irencus has freed himself and is pretty much running the place, free to continue his insidious magic experiments on Imoen. For now my goal is gaining entry to the Asylum, and I met a man who said he could help with that. Before he could give me the info I needed though, he was killed by an assassin sent by the proprietress of the Courtesan Guild. All because he had fallen in love with one of her “employees” and was planning to take her away. This man’s beloved may still know the information we seek, so I must help liberate her on the chance she can help us.





11/3/18
So I was able to rescue Claire from the Courtesan Guild and bring her to safety at Sanik’s former crew. From there I learned that there are 2 ways into the asylum: either steal a ward stone from the retired Cowled Wizard employee who still occasionally goes there, or get in by posing as an inmate. So of course after getting the stone, I pose as an inmate anyway and I’m in.

Going to start tagging now since everything here on gets spoilery.

Quickly after entering the asylum I find Imoen, but she’s a shell of her former self and barely recognizes us. I try to explore some more to see if I can find out what happened, but soon Irenicus himself appears and my assumption was correct, this inmate is now running the asylum. Also, it turns out that I had a traitor in my midst. The thief Yoshimo is revealed to have been working for Irenicus, and he poisoned our food on the voyage to the island. So we all conveniently pass out at just this moment.

As I awake, I am in yet another giant glass tube. Both Irenicus and the vampire master Bodhi are there and are ready to conduct a new experiment on me. We knew that we’ve been target because we’re a child of the dead god Bhaal (a big reveal from the first game, the primary antagonist was my half-brother and another Bhaalspawn) and that Irenicus is trying to extract this divine power from us for himself. What we didn’t know is that Imoen is also a child of Bhaal, and Irenicus has already completed this experiment on her. Once it begins I am in a dream world, where I converse with/defeat the embodiment of the god Bhaal. Unfortunately to do this, I had to permanently sacrifice a point of intellect. An image of Imoen was also there to guide me.


After coming to, Irenicus gloats that he has stolen the essence of my soul and no longer has need of my mortal form. This is confirmed by the loss of any of the god powers I had obtained.

My party and I are then unceremoniously dumped into the maze dungeon beneath the asylum.

This used to be a test of determining the sanity of mages locked up here so of course that means answering riddles to a bunch of faces on the wall. Also it’s a maze, so minotaurs.

At least Imoen is back to her senses and is able to rejoin my party, which is good since there’s a vacancy left by the traitor Yoshimo.

I make it nearly out of the maze, but Bodhi is once again there waiting for me. This time though something strange happens and I turn into a rampaging beast. This is somehow due to my missing soul not being able to counteract the energy of my demigod body… or something. Bodhi escapes, I get Steam Achievements for hitting both -15 Armor Class and maxing out a stat at 25, and I run the rest of my party around like Benny Hill to avoid being killed by me while I’m still berserk. Eventually the effect wears off and I become myself again. And now my main objective has shifted from rescuing Imoen to somehow recovering my soul.

I used up a most of my spells in the previous fight so I need to rest before leaving the dungeon. Then surprise, I transform again on waking. It’s a good thing I’m in the habit of quick saving before I rest. I reloaded the save a few times to try and rest without any of my party dying. Then I figure out my inner beast’s true weakness: the inability to open doors. I can’t rest when my party is scattered, so I position myself on one side of a closed door and the rest of my party squished together on the other. This way when I transform, I just wander around aimlessly until the effect wears off.

With that, I have reached the main floor of the asylum again and I end my session.
 
Oct 26, 2017
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Playing Thronebreaker and am now in the second act. The first act was kind of boring. Writing was good but not that exciting. Gwent gameplay was also boring which made me doubt that although a pretty fun minigame in The Witcher 3 it can't carry a full game on its own. In act I'm still not convinced that it can it is a lot more fun now since you get better synergies and combos and the story did get more interesting also. Definitly more hooked now.

Kind of shocked that a game from the developer/studio of The Witcher 3 seems to be so low key even if it is a smaller project than Cyberpunk 2077.

I've been playing Dragon Quest Monsters: Caravan Heart and it's really good (if a bit hard to get into at first). So there's that for a more obscure recommendation!

Also this
Will put it on the list. Thanks.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,451
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Now I want to replay BG2. Fun idea and a good write up, Taborcarn!

Maybe it's finally time to start playing Pillars of Eternity 2 tonight to satisfy my CRPG thirst. I tried Witcher 3 Blood and Wine and KC:D, but they didn't do the trick. Need a wordy, clicky top-down RPG, and since they're still fixing Pathfinder...

Just three quick questions:
Is regular difficulty solid nowadays? I remember people saying the game was super easy around release.
Is there a cheat/mod that essentially makes it so I don't have to upgrade my ship/I can ignore the ship combat aspect completely? Infinite health or something. Ship combat frankly sounds unfun as hell.
And is the "gambit system" still confusing as fuck? I messed around with it for a bit when the game came out but it was REALLY hard to understand how it actually worked. Main point of confusion was - what does it ACTUALLY mean when multiple actions are behind one condition. Does it execute them all in order before starting to go through the condition list again? If it's still hella confusing, you guys got any good tutorials for it?
 
Oct 27, 2017
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Now I want to replay BG2. Fun idea and a good write up, Taborcarn!

Thanks! The pacing of this game has really surprised me, there's always something new to progress to and you never have to linger in one area for too long. I originally started the game in 2000 but stopped due to increased college course load and I was never able to get back into it. I replayed BG1EE in July, and finally got around to this. It's my personal GOTY so far in a tight field.