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

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,451
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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.
Yeah, it really is something. The game loses a fair amount of its shine for me later on since the main story becomes a much bigger focus and I never really cared about the story, but the early chapters in particular with their crazy amounts of involved side quests are absolute top tier CRPG goodness.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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The thing that surprised me most in my recent BG2 playthrough was how short it was. 39 hours to finish the main campaign and I did pretty much everything. The game has a reputation for being massive, so I was surprised by the length. I've beaten it many times, but never timed it before.
 
Oct 27, 2017
472
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Yeah I'm still a bit behind your pace, evidenced by how I had started before your Twitch playthrough ;)
I hit 36 hours yesterday and I'm pretty sure I still have a good amount to go with the main story. I'm just hoping I can go back and finish up the Paladin stronghold sidequest, I had only done the first steps before getting on the boat and heading along the current path.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,498
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Yeah I'm still a bit behind your pace, evidenced by how I had started before your Twitch playthrough ;)
I hit 36 hours yesterday and I'm pretty sure I still have a good amount to go with the main story. I'm just hoping I can go back and finish up the Paladin stronghold sidequest, I had only done the first steps before getting on the boat and heading along the current path.
You will get a chance to wrap up any loose ends.
 

Tenrius

For the Snark was a Boojum, you see
Member
Oct 25, 2017
295
0
The thing that surprised me most in my recent BG2 playthrough was how short it was. 39 hours to finish the main campaign and I did pretty much everything. The game has a reputation for being massive, so I was surprised by the length. I've beaten it many times, but never timed it before.
I seem to remember BG1 being longer, so maybe that's where the reputation comes from
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,451
0
RE: Pillars of Eternity 2

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?
Reposting these questions in hopes that someone would see them. Already downloading the game.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,512
0
Austria
RE: Pillars of Eternity 2

Reposting these questions in hopes that someone would see them. Already downloading the game.
Don't know about the difficulty since I only played it during release.

As for the boat: You really don't have to engage with it that often. And you also don't want to. Cause it sucks.
Just buy a ton of cheap drinks and food at some point that don't make you loose moral.
And the quickest way to end the fights is just always head for the opponent. Ignore everything, close the distance and board them so you can just have a regular fight. I just hammered the key to get closer without even reading anything after some time. You might take some hits but repairs are dirt cheap and if you just pick up the stuff that's lying around you'll be swimming in money anyway. It's not ideal or.......fun but it at least reduces the frustration to a very minimal level.

You can also run/sail away from most enemies, which is what I would recommend in the first place. Of course there are some sidequests tied to the ship, which is where the "just board them" system comes in.

The boat really feels like "why is this even here" system. It adds nothing to the game and is only annoying.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,457
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I've finished the story of Chapter 3 in TitS SC. Still got a side quest to do and some sewers to plunder but beyond that, it is on to the next chapter and the next region.

I was quite ill-prepared for the end-chapter boss guantlet--lack of items to heal, revive, and restore MP but thankfully they gave me characters with powerful crafts, who saw me through the fights. It was interesting because I couldn't impede the main boss, which has been more frequent now. Earth guard/wall is nice, of course, but impede is a nice way to stop a mega-channel when you have the CP to do it and don't have the turns to move out of the way. Also, the return of shadow weave...lol The enemies with it weren't as sturdy as ones I've encountered in FC iirc--at least not yet.

The highlight was when Estelle wanted to meet Joshua. I suspected Renne--I think they made it amply clear she was suspicious--and I am not overly enamored of Joshua and Estelle as a couple--I don't hate it but the social incest angle gets in the way and I'm also not sure about dark and moody Joshua--but I really feel Estelle's longing and the way she suddenly broke, got excited, and ran off alone expressed it quite well. The music that kicked in was quite effective too. For so long, Estelle's quest is in the background--she's doing all these things that do not tangibly achieve her ultimate goal--and then suddenly her true aim is brought to the fore again in a totally believable way, imo. Quite a good scene.

I'm thinking Renne is Joshua's sister. It was a year in between TitS FC and my current SC playthrough so I'm foggy on some of the details about Joshua's past atm but iirc a sister was involved. I'm just going on the eyes and her interest in Joshua and the relationship between her, Joshua, and Lorence.

Speaking of eyes...Joshua's eyes look sooo dead in SC. I think that is intentional? I do not remember them looking so vacant. He looks pretty much like the "possessed" portraits. It makes sense but it is strange to see.

Also, I miss him. I really enjoyed him in battle in particular. His rapport with Estelle could also be fun.
 
OP
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FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,343
0
I think a lot of people just view BG1 and 2 as one big experience, so together they end up with this mutually-reinforced reputation of being huge games (it doesn't help that there's a popular mod that essentially does turn them into one massive game). That being said 39 hours is crazy fast for BG2, though as Sinatar said he knows the game quite well which would help a lot. I would expect a first playthrough of BG2, where the player tries to do a good amount of the optional content, to be 50 at bare minimum, and the DLC would add a surprising amount to that too.

I'll be honest: other than rebooting on D:OS2 for a new DE playthrough, I haven't touched a new-ish CRPG all year. Kind of an awkward year for me in that respect, last year I had D:OS2, Torment (which I had backed on KS) released, Prey also came out and was a fantastic immersive sim. Next year there'll be Disco Elysium and hopefully The New World, though I suppose it's likely that'll slip into 2020. But this year - nothing for me, not a big fan of PoE so I didn't touch the sequel, Kingdom Come I didn't touch due to Vavra's comments, and Pathfinder looked promising but I held off because of the bugs and technical issues. Really there wasn't anything else that particularly piqued my interest, and it's looking like my only potential CRPG purchase all year will be Underworld Ascendant (and I'm still cautious about that one, will wait for reviews).

At least my backlog CRPG gaming has been great this year, I finished Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines and am in the middle of New Vegas. New Vegas is great but Bloodlines in particular was just flat-out incredible, I would even comfortably say it's my second favorite CRPG behind Planescape. I was also glad to finally enjoy a Troika game, it's no particular secret that I sort of loathe Arcanum despite it having such an interesting setting and flashes of sheer brilliance.

Here is the current lineup of RPGs I'm actively playing, so that you can feel better about not being in this situation haha:

Shadow Hearts: Covenant
Fallout: New Vegas
The World Ends With You
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition
Mass Effect
Parasite Eve
Final Fantasy XV Level 1 run (I literally have no clue why I'm doing this and will probably stop)
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux
The Alliance Alive
Megami Tensei 1 (SNES)
Treasure of the Rudras
Lufia 2
Phantasy Star IV

But at least I finished Dragon Quest XI! :sob:
 
Oct 27, 2017
472
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Baldur's Gate 2 Cavalier's log, 11/4/18

This entry is not so spoilery with regards to the main story, so I'm going to leave it without tags for now. If anyone disagrees please let me know and I can edit it.

Yesterday I was able to make it back to the main floor of the Asylum before ending my session. Today the first thing I come across in Saemon, the captain of the ship that got us here and one of several people to betray me recently. He’s had a change of heart and wants to help me again, because he’s outlived his usefulness and is now stuck in here with the rest of us. His idea for all of us to escape: speak to the remaining insane mages captive in here and get them to band together and revolt. You know, the herding cats approach. Except the cats are insane and can cast fireballs.


I’m reluctant to trust this guy but frankly I don’t have any better ideas so let’s dive back into the looney bin. Eventually I get the inmates to agree based on everyone’s mutual hatred of the guy now in charge here (I’ll just call him Mr Mean for now for spoiler purposes). So after another quick save we charge the lab and catch Mr Mean off-guard. Normally he’d be able to wipe us out, but these wizards are all high enough level to actually pose a threat and cancel out some protective magic. So Mr Mean ends up escaping rather than waste more time with us, and we can get out of here.


Now my party is faced with 2 options for leaving the island. We can either take Mr Mean’s personal portal that’s in his quarters, or sail off with Saemon the traitor on his ship. The portal supposedly leads to the Underdark, famed throughout D&D lore for being the spooky and high-level home of the Drow. One of my party members, Aerie the sky elf, objects very much to this path. So since I’ve been going down the romance path with her (Bioware game!) I end up going with the sailing option.


But lo and behold, the lying sailor has lied to us once again. He is currently without a ship, since the one we sailed here on is now on the bottom of the bay. Seems he pissed off the local pirate lord. But that’s ok! He can just steal the pirate lord’s own ship right back. All he needs us to do is steal a horn from the pirate lord that will signal his men to open the sea gates. He knows the horn is kept at night with the lord’s wife at her place. Seamon knows this because of… reasons.

And since he knows we might need a little incentive to trust him again since he seems to lie to us at every opportunity, he offers us a magical silver sword if we can get the horn for him.


So after a quick rest until nightfall we steal the horn, make it back to the ship cleanly, and have a big battle with the pirate lord and his men anyway because why the heck not. They are nothing compared to the monsters that were in the in the past 2 dungeons we’ve faced, so this is a pretty easy fight. Saemon hands over the silver sword and we’re on our way.


A quick narrated mini-cutscene and four days later we’re attacked out at sea by a magical ship crewed by Githyanki. Turns out the silver sword Seamon gave us was a holy relic of theirs that was recently stolen from them. Oh Saemon you scamp. That doesn’t matter for very long because some shark-people also start attacking at the same time and the ship sinks. The last thing I see before going under is Seamon teleporting away to save himself. Saemon!


After I come too, I see that the shark people have brought my party back to their main city. The shark high priestess casts a spell so that i can understand their language, and explain that they saved me because I’m the prophesied savior of their race. What, again?


I’m brought before the shark king, who is kind of nuts. To prove that I am the chosen one, I must fight a fellow land-creature to the death. Oh, it’s an ettin. It dies quickly and the king is pretty easily satisfied. He says he can help me, but I need to help him first. There is a rebellion going on from a rival shark prince. If I bring back the prince’s heart, he’ll give me some magic items found from shipwrecks and stuff, and tell me how to get out of here.


I leave to do some sport fishing, but the high priestess stops us again to tell us that the king is crazy (I’ve gathered that already) and he has weakened their race by exiling and executing too many of their citizens. I should talk to the rebel prince and try to side with him instead. Which is what I do, because the high priestess is really the only shark person who’s been nice to me and kindness counts. Also to get out of here I need to find the tooth of an ancient sea god that works as a key, but it is hidden in an area of the city that was closed off long ago after a Drow invasion.


So I go to get the key first. And I can actually do it without any major combat. The chest is being guarded by a Beholder, who’s been tasked to watch it for 99 years by a now-dead Drow wizard. The Beholder is bored and hungry and hates the wizard and doesn’t want to do it anymore, but has been bound by the word of law on a magical contract. But it turns out the contract is worded just to guard the chest, not what’s actually inside of it. So I convince him to open the chest himself so I don’t have to touch it, then look away while I gather the magic tooth inside. He’s now satisfied that the contract to guard an empty box is pointless, so it becomes null and void and he’s free to leave. He’s grateful and lets us go.


Now to find the rebel prince. Even though the high priestess gave us a special item to identify us as a friend to the rebels, I still need to kill a bunch of them before meeting the prince. I show the orb directly to him, and he allows me to speak. He has a plan for us to deliver a fake shark heart to the mad king, and then his rebels while his guard is down. This works, the king is killed, and the prince takes the throne. And now the shark race can grow in power and prosper… and raid coastal towns and eat people. Hmm maybe I didn’t think this one through.


Anyway, I’m shown the way out of here, which leads directly to the Underdark. So probably the same place as if I had taken the portal at the Asylum. So this has been pretty much a big waste of time, but at least I got some XP and treasure out of the ordeal.


So this seems like a good place to save and end the session. And this log entry has just been a single 2.5 hour play session. This game is so dense, I love it. It probably took me just as much time to do this write-up as it did to play the game.
 
Nov 4, 2017
1,241
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I think a lot of people just view BG1 and 2 as one big experience, so together they end up with this mutually-reinforced reputation of being huge games (it doesn't help that there's a popular mod that essentially does turn them into one massive game). That being said 39 hours is crazy fast for BG2, though as Sinatar said he knows the game quite well which would help a lot. I would expect a first playthrough of BG2, where the player tries to do a good amount of the optional content, to be 50 at bare minimum, and the DLC would add a surprising amount to that too.

I'll be honest: other than rebooting on D:OS2 for a new DE playthrough, I haven't touched a new-ish CRPG all year. Kind of an awkward year for me in that respect, last year I had D:OS2, Torment (which I had backed on KS) released, Prey also came out and was a fantastic immersive sim. Next year there'll be Disco Elysium and hopefully The New World, though I suppose it's likely that'll slip into 2020. But this year - nothing for me, not a big fan of PoE so I didn't touch the sequel, Kingdom Come I didn't touch due to Vavra's comments, and Pathfinder looked promising but I held off because of the bugs and technical issues. Really there wasn't anything else that particularly piqued my interest, and it's looking like my only potential CRPG purchase all year will be Underworld Ascendant (and I'm still cautious about that one, will wait for reviews).

At least my backlog CRPG gaming has been great this year, I finished Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines and am in the middle of New Vegas. New Vegas is great but Bloodlines in particular was just flat-out incredible, I would even comfortably say it's my second favorite CRPG behind Planescape. I was also glad to finally enjoy a Troika game, it's no particular secret that I sort of loathe Arcanum despite it having such an interesting setting and flashes of sheer brilliance.

Here is the current lineup of RPGs I'm actively playing, so that you can feel better about not being in this situation haha:

Shadow Hearts: Covenant
Fallout: New Vegas
The World Ends With You
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition
Mass Effect
Parasite Eve
Final Fantasy XV Level 1 run (I literally have no clue why I'm doing this and will probably stop)
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux
The Alliance Alive
Megami Tensei 1 (SNES)
Treasure of the Rudras
Lufia 2
Phantasy Star IV

But at least I finished Dragon Quest XI! :sob:
I have a suggestion for you friend. It might be hard to swallow, but I think it's for the best that you hear this



Finish your games goddamn it
 
Oct 27, 2017
6,837
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PoE2 would have been sooo much better without any of the boat stuff.

I also completely forgot it was a 2018 game... man. I guess it disappointed me quite a bit; I haven't really thought about it much, in spite of beating it at release. With the broken difficulties, of course.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,512
0
Austria
PoE2 would have been sooo much better without any of the boat stuff.

I also completely forgot it was a 2018 game... man. I guess it disappointed me quite a bit; I haven't really thought about it much, in spite of beating it at release. With the broken difficulties, of course.
I'm still mad how pretty much all of the companion stories ended.
Xoti's started really interesting and could have been really cool.....or dark. Instead it just......ends.
Like where they decided to end that arc is where the midpoint for it should have been.
It's like ending Star Wars after Han get's to Cloud City.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,451
0
PoE2 isn't really grabbing me so far, story-wise. Some fun dialogue with Eder in particular, though, and I like the more colorful dialogue choices. They're campy and corny and frankly, I don't think they really fit with the rest of the game's tone at all, but they're certainly more fun than the dryness of the original. So I expect the dialogue will carry the narrative parts of the game for me even if I end up not caring about any of the story at all.

I started on normal and with a 30% less exp mod and it has been delightfully difficult so far. I'm not usually a huge fan of super difficult games, but with CRPGs, where every fight is hand-crafted, there are (usually) no endless random encounter trash mobs and no constant, endless fighting, it's fun when the fights are a bit tougher. Might just be a case of early game hell, though, and it gets way easier later on, but I can always bump up the difficulty.

Still trying to decide what to do wrt to the AI scripts and companions. Are the default AI scripts solid? The whole system is still confusing asf to me, and I don't really want to micromanage every single character. It's fine right now when I only have a couple of guys who only have a couple of abilities, but later on

--------

Also continued with Xenoblade 2: Torna-whatever-DLC yesterday and the day before that.

There's something... Stupid, off, weird about the story so far. I dunno, it's really hard for me to put it in words. Dialogue feels incredibly stilted even compared to the main game. They don't do a good job re-introducing us back into the world, it's been less than a year since I finished the main game and I'm still kinda confused as to what's really going on and who's who and why what. Cutscenes are kind of awfully directed compared to the main game and the original XB so far. And what's up with the grade school "maybe WE ARE the real monsters?!" stuff? Everything just feels super disconnected and inconsistent somehow.

I'm loving the streamlined gameplay. Combat is still a lot of fun, more fun than ever I'd say, and goddamn did taking the whole gacha garbage aspect out improve everything about it. Main game would've been SOOO much better without it, and it was still my GOTY of last year. Still unsure what the whole community thing is about, but I was planning on doing every side quest I come across anyway, I guess I'll see if leveling up my community that way does anything.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
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Have made lots of progress in Final Fantasy VIII, reached disc 3 tonight.

The story in this is certainly pretty damn crazy, lol, I like it. The writing though is weird... Like I fully get what's happening, but the way things are told and explained is odd; I wonder if that's deliberate or not.

Either way I'm having a great time. Junction stuff is pretty engaging and I've been unlocking some GF abilities that makes getting higher level magic easier, this should be fun.
 
The story in this is certainly pretty damn crazy, lol, I like it. The writing though is weird... Like I fully get what's happening, but the way things are told and explained is odd; I wonder if that's deliberate or not.

.
Probably not lol, FF8 has always been on my "second play through" someday list cause I definitely did not understand or remember the story. Is it on PS4? Not available on PC in Japan along with 7, though 9 is cause... Japanese publishers make no sense.
 
Oct 27, 2017
472
0
Baldur's Gate 2 Cavalier's Log, 11/5/18

Today’s session starts at the entrance to the Underdark. Aerie once one objects, but I don’t have a soul right now so the least she can do it but up with being in a spooky hole in the ground. I meet some Deuragar dwarves who are traditionally an evil race in the Forgotten Realms, but these guys are just some run of the mill merchants. This is good since I have a bunch of loot weighing me down from the Shark kingdom and even my bag of holding has gotten full.


It’s also good since I’m cutting down a bunch of Drow down here and they’re all decked to the gills with +3 weapons and armor, but it’s all made of Illithium so it will turn to dust if I bring it back to the surface. So I give some to my front line fighters (-16 AC, holy moly) and keep their backup armor for when we’re out of here, and make several trips back to these merchants so I can sell the excess.


I find my way to the entrance of the Drow city but it’s magically sealed up tight. There’s a cave here that looks like it can be an alternate entrance but the game won’t let me go there yet since it’s ultra-dark and I need to find a special magical light source. I mean I can summon Level 7 magic earthquakes and firestorms right now, can’t a lvl 1 light spell suffice?


Anyway there are two other paths around here, so one of them must have the light source I need. The first path I try leads to a den of beholders. If you’re not familiar with them, they are the classic D&D creatures that a are giant floating eyeball with a bunch of smaller eyeballs on stalks. And each of these eyeballs can shoot lasers and charms spells and paralyzing beams and pretty much every status effect out there. And there are dozens of these soggy basketballs down here, so each room is some rapid fire gatling-gun lazer bullshit. But eventually I am able to pull some away from the pack and whittle down their numbers enough to where I can just nuke the remaining ones with fireballs and earthquakes from outside their line of sight.


At the end of this path I kill an elder beholder that drops one of its eyestalks as an item. It doesn’t seem like this is a light source on its own but maybe it can be combined with something. Either way it looks important so I hold on to it and backtrack to the second alternate path.


This one leads me straight into a Mind Flayer stronghold. These guys are a bunch of mini-Cthulu’s who have psionic powers and like to flay… minds. But since I’m inside of their temple their powers are amplified so they can knock us out or insta-kill us with a thought from anywhere in here. So of course they knock us out, and we wake up in a gladiator arena and are forced to fight for their amusement. Just like any good chosen one should.


After a couple easy fights we speak to the group in the next prison cell over from us, who happen to be the Githyanki that attacked our ship. The ones who worship that silver sword Saemon gave us as a holy relic. Even though they still hate us, they’re willing to work with us to find a mutual way of escape. During the next fight they use some psionic power of their own to block the mind flayer’s insta-kill ability, and this gives me a windows to break out of the arena. I find the slaves’ quarters where we obtain a few mind-control collars. Luckily these also work on the Mind Flayers themselves, so I ambush a couple and get them to open some doors that only their kind can open.


But just like with the beholders, there are SO MANY of these mind flayers down here. They can also throw tons of charm of paralysis status effects around, and they also have a nasty “Devour Brain” ability that is another insta-kill. After a lot of reloading my winning strategy is to summon as many creatures as I can through spells to act as meat shields to intercept the worst of the ability, then blow as many of my high-level disintegrate and death touch spells as I can to try to overwhelm them. This works on a few rooms but it takes a pretty long time, so I end this session before I can get all the way out of mind flayer territory. To be continued!
 
Oct 27, 2017
472
0
Don't really have much to add, just want to say that I enjoy reading these.
Great, thank you! I was concerned about muddying up the thread but that is encouraging. I'm normally not that great at writing reviews or my opinions but this is just a stream of consciousness journal of my experiences and it's been pretty fun to write.

I keep telling myself to take more screenshots but I always forget in the heat of the moment.
 
OP
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FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,343
0
I started Parasite Eve (lol) and even an hour or two in, it's already all coming back to me how great the game is (played it more than a decade ago). Tight pacing, fantastic protagonist, fun positioning-based combat. The art and soundtrack, and by extension the atmosphere, are fantastic too. Since it's so short, I may put everything else on temporary hold and just roll through it over the next few days.

Taborcarn these are great BG2 writeups, almost makes me want to play it again myself. The only thing that really irked me with it isn't really the game's own fault, it's just the fact that I detest RTwP and by extension a lot of the Infinity Engine games do nothing for me, except Planescape where the combat emphatically isn't the focus.
 

Scar

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,265
0
I got a new dog and other responsibilities so my rpg playing time has dwindled to a crawl.

I'm somewhere in the 2nd half of dq11. 55ish hours in.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,512
0
Austria
Taborcarn these are great BG2 writeups, almost makes me want to play it again myself. The only thing that really irked me with it isn't really the game's own fault, it's just the fact that I detest RTwP and by extension a lot of the Infinity Engine games do nothing for me, except Planescape where the combat emphatically isn't the focus.
Except for like the first hour where you are literally assaulted by fucking street thugs every 20 seconds. God damn it, go away you stupid thugs I just want to go into the bar and *combat sting starts again* FUUUUUCK OFF

 
OP
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FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,343
0
Except for like the first hour where you are literally assaulted by fucking street thugs every 20 seconds. God damn it, go away you stupid thugs I just want to go into the bar and *combat sting starts again* FUUUUUCK OFF

Oh boy. If we're going to talk about Planescape mandatory combat encounters...how about the elephant in the room:


Still get gaming PTSD from this shit haha.
yeah, I was hoping the enhanced version of PT would add a story mode difficulty as an option...
Such a missed opportunity. Like damn.
 

Jag

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,300
0
Any HOMM or Kings Bounty type games on the horizon? I really love the genre and played all of them, including the earliest HOMM games and every KB expansion. Kind of bummed it seems like a dying game type. I guess AOW and Disciple are similar, but they are more 4X rather than pure TBS tactics games.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,447
0
The sahaugin city you did is completely missable too, if you take the portal instead of the ship you skip it entirely.
You totally know the fish city would have been DLC if the game released today. The Underdark too, maybe. The game's structure is so crazy lol.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,498
0
Any HOMM or Kings Bounty type games on the horizon? I really love the genre and played all of them, including the earliest HOMM games and every KB expansion. Kind of bummed it seems like a dying game type. I guess AOW and Disciple are similar, but they are more 4X rather than pure TBS tactics games.
Legends of Eisenwald is a fine King's Bounty em up.

 
Oct 25, 2017
825
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Been playing Final Fantasy 9 on PS4 these last few days.
I hadn't played this game in over 10 years and it's way better than I remembered. I'm really fond of the world in this game, Lindblum in particular is one of my favourite cities in all JRPGs, but most locations are really striking my imagination.
The writing and the characters are mostly solid too, even though some of the party members have thin character motivation.
The OST is simply the best, probably my favourite in the series.

As for the gameplay, I really love the equipment system. Fiding new equipment is always exciting because it often means you're going to get new skills. The battles themselves are only decent though. The trance system is shallow and pretty useless and the animations take way too long overall. It's not as bad as it used to be on the PAL PS1 version thankfully(thanks 50hz), and the option to speed up the game somewhat mitigates this issue but it's still unfortunate.
Mini games suck though, the card game is way less interesting than Triple Triad and Chocobo Hot and Cold is simply the worst. Thank god you can cheat by speeding up the game, it's still miserable to go through but it's way faster at least.

So yeah, FF9 is still pretty fantastic. FF7 will always be my favorite game in the series (mainly because it was my first RPG) but FF9 makes a pretty good argument. I remember being let down by the direction the game took in the late game though, so we shall see.
 
Oct 27, 2017
472
0
Baldur’s Gate 2 Cavalier’s Log, 11/6/28


Today started right up again in the Mind Flayers’ lair. Last time I had used some mind control collars to coerced some of the illithids to open some otherwise-inaccessible doors for me. Unfortunately I am left with one more such door in front of me, and I’m out of collars. The text for the door says though that is only openable by the mind flayers themselves or a being with godlike stength. So I take this as an indicator to transform into my Slayer form (I forgot to mention last time that I had a dream sequence at one point and now I’m able to change at will).


So with no other option I take the plunge and transform, with the game even giving me a “Are you really sure you want to do that?” prompt. I confirm, and immediately lose 2 points of reputation. I guess the citizenry isn’t really fond of a hero that turns into a rampaging death-monster, even if it happens 1000 feet under the ground with nobody around. Anyway I force the door open and come face to face with the Elder Brain, a giant brain in a jar. Also a half-dozen more flayers and some Umber Hulks.


This is another fight that gives my quick-load button a workout. Even after taking out the brain and the flayers my main character keeps dying even though it doesn’t look like anything is hitting him. And unfortunately the combat log can’t scroll on the YOU’RE DEAD screen so I can’t see what exactly did the damage. Eventually I work it out that it’s the transformation itself that’s killing me, so I make an effort to switch back to human form in the middle of the fight and I’m finally able to move forward. I end up with a flask full of brain goo, but no light source so far.


It turns out there was another path in the Underdark that I had missed (hey, it was dark). I explore some more and find this way occupied by some Deep Gnomes. They’re nowhere near as hostile as the other groups but they have their own problems. The leader tells me he can get me into the cave, and that there’s someone in there that can help me out getting into the Drow city. But of course he need my help with a task first. Turns out they’re gone full Moria and have dug too far, awakening some ancient unspeakable evil. So long story short I kill the Balrog Balor and the gnome chief gives me a gem of light.


I take the gem of light to the dark cave, and it turns out the stranger who can help me is a full-blown Silver Dragon. She can help me out, but her eggs have been stolen by the Drow. She could destroy the dark elves herself, but the second she leaves they will smash her eggs. So with the promise of some treasure and a ticket out of here (as well as
info on tracking down Irenicus and Bodhi, remember them?
) she casts a powerful illusion on my party to make us look and speak like Drow. She even had a cover story for us, because she killed some foreign drow who were headed for the city so we can steal their identities.


As my new Drowy self I just waltz right into the front entrance of the city. But drow customs are very strict, and I must report to a guy at the Male Fighter’s Guild to check in, and stay on the good side of the Matron Mother (matriarchal society and all). Before I can be accepted into the city, there is a task for me. The matron’s eldest daughter has been kidnapped, so I must accompany a commander and rescue her from some Mind Flayers. Unfortunately not the same group of mind flayer I had just wiped out. Same area, but these ones are scripted. And in this city, the quest all seem to be timed. Every order ends with “and meet me at this location within 12 hours or we’ll just up and kill you”. Rude.


So I rescue the Matron’s daughter and do such a good job of it that now she has taken an interest in me and has some tasks to complete. Goody. The next job is to kill a rogue beholder who has been smuggling goods through the city. Again not the same beholders I just wiped out, a different guy. And since it’s just one instead of a dozen it goes down quickly. The commander I’ve been working with thinks this is weird, since the daughter sends some mages to collect the beholder in pieces which is very unusual. Also he’s starting to become jealous of me.


Anyway I have some more in-game time before my next quest so I enter a few casual pit fights. Some versus monsters, some versus drow. Either way I’ve got strong magic weapons, magic defense enchantments and a healthy dose of haste so none of these one-on-one fights are a challenge. I feel like I’ve made some enemies among the Drow spectators. Oh well, screw ‘em.


The daughter now wants to invite me to dinner for my successes. A trap perhaps? Well that’s the end of my session so we’ll find out next time together.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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Any HOMM or Kings Bounty type games on the horizon? I really love the genre and played all of them, including the earliest HOMM games and every KB expansion. Kind of bummed it seems like a dying game type. I guess AOW and Disciple are similar, but they are more 4X rather than pure TBS tactics games.
You know about Eador: Masters of the Broken World, and the rest of the Eador series, I presume? So all I can think of is Age of Wonders: Planetfall--which is a 2019 game.
 

Jag

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Oct 26, 2017
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You know about Eador: Masters of the Broken World, and the rest of the Eador series, I presume? So all I can think of is Age of Wonders: Planetfall--which is a 2019 game.
Played all the Eador and very excited for AOW: Planetfall!
 

Seda

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Oct 25, 2017
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I started World of Final Fantasy after the Maxima update released and boooooyy this opening section stuff is not clicking with me much. Character model animations feel awkwardly robotic and overexaggerated, Lann is obnoxious (and Reynn always having to 'bring him down' has gotten old already), the game is incredibly talky - lots of cutscenes and tutorials, I expected cheesy dialogue but it's even more childish than I imagined it would be, combat starts out as simple 'press attack to win', and even menus feel kinda clunky and sluggish. I understand sometimes it takes a bit for both story stuff and mechanics to become interesting, but this is a rough start. Tama's 'the' tick is like the least of my issues heh.
 
Nov 4, 2017
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After about 3 weeks of having a rough time with real life stuff I finally sat down last weekend and finished FF6. Overall I had a really fun time with the game. The characters are by far my favorite characters in the series thus far and I think it's strong cast is what elevates it for me. I love Terra and I just love her story. Her character arc throughout the game was just fantastic and I love how much she has changed by the end of the game. Celes is another character that I just really loved. I just honestly love the entire cast and I love how the game tries to explain their past and how their past experiences changed them. this is the 7th FF game and I've through to completion and none of the other games have had characters that I loved and adored as much as this game. Unfortunately I can't really say the same for Kefka as a villain. I think overall he's a fine main antagonist, but he doesn't quite top Sepiroth for me as my favorite villain in the series.

Another thing I wanted to note was that I adore this game's soundtrack. There are just so many amazing tracks that I can't even begin listing them all here, but the soundtrack just elevates the overall experience so much for me. Despite not playing many SNES games this game is just downright gorgeous as well. The art is great, and there are some scenes that just blew me away. While I'm sure there are SNES games that look better than this, this was a massive step up from FFV in the visuals front. The translation was a bit awkward to see at first having already played FF1-4 and FF5 with the GBA script, but outside of Fenix down I thought it was pretty good overall.

When it came to the combat system I really enjoyed it overall, but I admittedly had a lot of FF4 PSP flashbacks when it came to difficulty. I didn't experiment with FF4's combat enough to speak for how broken it was mechanically, but my biggest takeaway from FF6 is that it's not only a very easy FF game, but also one that can easily be broken. This isn't really much of an issue for me in particular since I kinda suck at videogames, but there were some things that were a bit jarring in the game. Sabin is incredibly powerful, and Edgar's tools can be abused like mad. Mages are incredibly powerful as well once equipped with things such as earrings and the enhancer swords. With that being said there is an aspect of the combat in this game that I did love and that's the Espers. I really enjoyed how the espers played a role in the story, it made them feel less like summons that you just got throughout the story and made them feel like allies who were fighting alongside you. Likewise I really love the role they played on a gameplay level. Experimenting with new Espers, gaining their abilities was just really fun, and when you couple that with the relics it almost felt like there was a mini job system in the game where all your characters just feel incredibly versatile. Why depend on a mage in your party to heal your characters when each individual character can learn cure 3 from an esper? I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of the game, and while yes it definitely makes an already easy game a hell of a lot easier I think it gave the player a lot of room to experiment which I very much enjoyed.

This is a completely other topic in it's entirety, but I think perhaps my biggest regret when it comes to playing the FF games was that I started with 7 and went backwards instead of starting with 1. While obviously FF6 and FF7 aren't identical they share a lot in common and I can't help but feel that I would have had a much stronger appreciation for FF6 had I gone into FF7 already played it. With that being said I likely would still be in the same situation I am now where I can't really pick a favorite between the two.
 

Tenrius

For the Snark was a Boojum, you see
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Oct 25, 2017
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Except for like the first hour where you are literally assaulted by fucking street thugs every 20 seconds. God damn it, go away you stupid thugs I just want to go into the bar and *combat sting starts again* FUUUUUCK OFF

Oh boy. If we're going to talk about Planescape mandatory combat encounters...how about the elephant in the room:


Still get gaming PTSD from this shit haha.

Such a missed opportunity. Like damn.
I actually dropped PS:T way back when because I couldn't beat the boss shortly before you get to Curst. :/
 

Seda

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Oct 25, 2017
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hmm

I wrote this about Xeno2 in my GOTY ballot last year. I placed it 6th. Revisitng my write up now I still stand by it I think.

Xenoblade is a bit tricky to place in this list. I don’t think it does anything exceptionally well, except perhaps world design, but there are so many interesting and weird components to how the game works that I couldn’t help but be attached to it for more than 100 hours.

In a nutshell, I kinda feel that Xenoblade is more ‘interesting’ than it is ‘good’, I think. The blade system is obviously random enough where the player has to work with the cards they are dealt with. Your party makeup, and ultimately ability to survive and perform combos, is somewhat dependant on what blades you happen to get and which character gets them. With blade elements, weapon type, driver accessories, aux cores, blade weapons, and classes, there are a lot of things to wrap your head around when it comes to putting together a battle party.

The fact that each rare blade has a unique blade quest, complete with voiced cutscenes and multi-part steps was honestly pretty cool. It wasn’t stellar quest design but I can’t help but appreciate the ambition in place here.

The combo system is pretty neat overall, and your success in the game depending on how well you can manipulate it. Pulling off chains and Full Breaks can feel extremely satisfying, although eventually the process does become somewhat routine.

I’ve always appreciated what I like to call “non-linear difficulty”, in which I can decide for myself if I want to battle a challenging foe just to test myself, rather than just accepting whatever standard difficulty curve a game throws at me. With high level monsters roaming around everywhere, even in the earliest starting areas, I often found myself tackling things I probably shouldn’t have messed with just to see how well I could fare.

Exploration gives Xenoblade 2 big bonus points in this listing, similar to Final Fantasy XII, because you the player can decide what it is you want to actually be doing. You can explore the corners of each titan, take on strong unique enemies, do a multitude of quests, or just work on powering up the blades in your party.

While the many, many systems the make up Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are interesting or engaging, it’s a shame that the actual narrative isn’t much more than an average shonen anime. There are a couple characters I thought were stand-outs, Nia most notably, but overall I really couldn’t bring myself to care much about anything else that was actually going on. There were a couple of scenes where I almost felt I had ‘played this before’ because the scene was carried out in an extremely typical fashion.

Even though there are a number of elements that didn’t work out as well as I hoped, Xenoblade earns the 6 spot because it offers something a little bit different than a lot of JRPGs.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Opinions on the writing and story as well as the gameplay in and out of combat
Narrative:
I enjoyed the world it built. It took a while for it to come to the fore, but there is a sweet spot in the middle of the game.

The cast also grew on me and they are largely engaged with the world.

I find a lot of the early cutscenes frustrating: over-wrought and they rewrite what you just did, imo.

The story has promising elements, which, imo, it betrays at times in favor of shonen tropes. It usually rectifies this tendency better than I expected when I was finding myself annoyed but still it did mar my experience somewhat.

Combat:
The combat is the best of the Xenoblade games imo. Although I've enjoyed the combat in previous games, I usually am left somewhat unsatisfied by MMO-lite combat. I really appreciated the greater degree of party play the blade combo system puts in place. Combos are satisfying, auto-attack and art cancelling are satisfying, but I wish the roles (tank, damage dealer, healer) were more individuated.

I do think the game suffers from the combat being markedly best in prolonged set pieces. At times, I'd seek those fights out. At others, I'd just not want to fight anything because it was all trash and I couldn't get to the fun stuff--my combo would be just about to occur, for example. At yet others, I'd not want to invest at all.

Gameplay:
Most systems are at least somewhat awkward. Field Skills stand out in this regard and the various checks in the world can be quite frustrating when you are trying to explore off-the-beaten-road areas.

Quests are often way too long imo. Still, the game does not swamp you with them, which is an improvement in the design.

I did not get hooked on the gacha. I appreciate the existence of story-blades--wish there were more--but I got a lot of blades just casually rolling my crystals from time to time--more than enough to equip my characters and do the blade missions.

Aesthetics:
The music is spectacular. The world art is spectacular. I like the monsters. Some of the character designs are good. Some are not. I do not like a large proportion of the blade designs.

Overall, I think it is a good game. It mostly rides its world vision and battle system for me.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
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Xenoblade 2 is the most flawed game I have ever named my GOTY. There is (was, for some complaints) so many smaller and bigger things I hate about it. The gacha system, the field skills, the endless, ENDLESS dumb little design decisions wrt the user experience in particular. Some particularly obnoxious ones that were FINE in the other Xenoblade games, then fucked up on this one for some reason. I could write an essay on all the things it does so, so wrong. Also fuck the pandering trash designs.

But I still loved the shit out of it. The story is more or less just your typical shounen nonsense, I enjoyed most of it quite a bit but I don't think it ever really blew me away. Characters were, for the most part, thankfully good - coming from someone who really disliked the original's cast.

But yes, it was the battle system that really carried the game for me. I absolutely love fighting in this game, and it's by far the best of the Xenoblade games. Pulling off massively damaging chains is supremely satisfying. Aside from the aforementioned gacha system, I also absolutely adore the ridiculous number of ways to enhance, upgrade and progress your party and combat capabilities. Everything about the combat and your progress is wildly complex which is why I LOVE it.

--

Speaking of, continuing with the Torna DLC! I'm having a hell of a lot of fun just knocking out side quests, doing all the little tasks to unlock skills for the blades and so on. I'll most likely try and get every single skill for everyone, it's so much fun. Does the DLC have any super bosses I can take on?

I've started skipping cutscenes, though. The story is doing absolutely nothing for me, and I kinda feel like many of the character interactions and a lot of the dialogue is, well.. Pretty dreadful, in all honesty. I feel like the quality might not even be that much worse compared to the main game, I just don't care about the DLC characters nearly as much. Gonna be interesting to see if I ever replay the main game.

I can only hope Xenoblade 3 will continue making the combat system even better and giving me more (MORE!!) ways to make my party stronger. I NEED MORE SYSTEMS AND SUBSYSTEMS.

So would you say the world and exploration is similar to FF12?
Mm, yeah, sure, I think I'd say that. Unfortunately the field skills tend to prevent you from obtaining game-breaking items by infiltrating super high-level areas early on, which is one of my favorite things about XII, but otherwise they have the same sort of exciting, addicting exploration component.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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Baldur’s Gate 2 Cavalier’s Log, 11/7/18


Phaere, the Matron’s daughter, has another mission for us. This time it is to slaughter a patrol of deep gnomes as punishment for not showing enough outward fear of us Drow lately. She also sends her commander with us again, but he feels this job is beneath him and is not too eager to go. Phaere sufficiently chastises and emasculates him (as is the Drow way) and he comes along with us.

Once we get to the mission meeting spot, I talk to the commander and give him the option of heading home and letting me handle this. He’s fine with that, and just tells me to make sure to get the gnome chief’s helmet as proof that he’s dead. So this makes it easy for me to just talk to the gnome, get him to give me his helmet and send him into hiding.


Upon returning to Phaere she gives me another urgent mission: this time, I need to kill the commander who’s been with us. I must return with his cloak to prove the deed has been done.

Well, it’s a good thing she’s still asking for items and not body parts because I give the commander the same deal I just gave the gnome. He’s grateful and claims he can still help us in the future.


After bringing the cloak back to Phaere, she propositions me to pleasure her in her private quarters. Since I’m already in an in-game relationship and I’m able to think quickly, I tell her I’m already betrothed to a handmaiden in another Drow city and to do so would start a war. She buys it and can’t be bothered with yet another war at the moment, so she relents and says it’s time we finally meet the Matron Mother herself and find out what their actual goal is here. We head over to the spider of Llolth, the Spider-Queen goddess of the Drow. The Matron Mother tells us she plans on summoning an elder demon to be a weapon in their war against the surface elves. The Silver Dragon eggs she had previously stolen will be given as tribute to this demon to convince it to work for them. But first something else is needed for the summoning ritual. I made undertake an extremely dangerous mission to get either the eyestalk from an Elder Beholder, or the blood from and Mind Flayer Elder brain. As luck would have it, both of those disgusting things are already in my pocket. This is most impressive to the Matron and she goes to prepare the ritual. Phaere however says there is something else I must know and I need to meet her back in her quarters again… suspicious…


On the way back, I am stopped by another Drow merchant who has a special offer for me. He has a magic rope that was owned by Jarlaxle (A character from R. A. Salvatore’s series of books, a rival to the legendary Drizzt Do’Urden). The rope will allow us to infiltrate a Lich’s tower that Jarlaxle once tried to break into but he was betrayed and give a fake magic rope. This is the real rope, of course. Well, that’s what quick save is for so I decided to check it out. I enter the tower and the Lich attacks immediately, but the rope teleports me away? I end up in a pocket dimension and Jarlaxle himself is there, along with the same Drow merchant.


Jarlaxle says this was a trick to get us here and he knows that we’re not really Drow. He was commissioned by the noble Drow house to do a job, but was stiffed on the payment. This Lich has the wardstone to enter that house, but Jarlaxle’s troops have their souls trapped in some gems by this Lich. So he wants me to recover the wardstone and the soul gems for him, or he will expose us. Well, there’s not much choice in the matter so we go back, kill the Lich, and get his soul gems. As soon as we pick the gems up we’re teleported back to Jarlaxle again. Turns out it was a lie, these gems aren’t soul gems at all, they were just the payment that the noble house had screwed him out of. His men are safe, he wouldn’t be stupid enough to send his own people against the Lich.


But if we want some form of payment, we can attack the noble house ourselves and loot whatever they’ve got. Jarlaxle will make sure that they can’t send an alarm to the rest of the city or expose us. Since I could use some more loot and XP I agree. Anyway, what’s a few less Drow in the world anyway? Oh, have I mentioned I’m a Lawful Good Paladin?


With all that side business taken care of, I head back to Phaere’s place. Thankfully this request did not have a timer. She wants to betray her own mother and become the new Matron. She gives us some fake dragon eggs and tells us to break into the temple and swap these with the real ones before the demon summoning ritual, then bring the real ones back to real. The demon will kill the Matron mother for giving him fake eggs, Phaere will give him the real ones, and everyone will live happily ever after.


Well on the way to the temple there’s another wrinkle in this plan. The commander whose life we spared shows up, and says he knows about Phaere’s plan. He give us his own set of fake dragon eggs and says we should give them to Phare instead of the real ones. This works for us, since we need to get out of here with the real eggs anyway and this is turning out to be pretty damn funny. So I cast a mass invisibility spell on my party and we walk right to the back of the temple and swap the eggs with the first set of fakes. As soon as we do that, my party is attacked by 4 clay golems and 3 stone golems. My group has really gotten a power-up from this time in the Underdark, because I’m easily able to slice down the golems without even having to cast any buffs or attack spells. Earlier in the game golems gave me a hard time, and I even had to leave one treasure chest behind because the Iron golems guarding it were too tough. I should make a mental note to go back there again once I’m able to.


Anyway, I sneak back off to Phaere and give her the second set of fake eggs. She’s so giddy with happiness she takes them and head right back to the temple. Once she’s gone, an imp appears and tell us it’s been watching us on behalf of the Silver Dragon and if frankly pretty impressed with how sneaky we’ve been. He says we shouldn’t leave the city yet though, we should go watch the ritual and make sure both the Matron and Phaere are dead, or else they’ll come after the Silver again. So we go back over to the temple to watch the magic happen.


The Matron finishes the ritual and the demon prince is summon. As expected he is insulted by the gift of fake dragon eggs and kills the Matron mother. Phaere steps up, smug as can be, and offers the demon her own eggs. The demon is now really pissed off by detecting these are fakes too. Phaere realizes it was me that double-crossed her, and I even get a Steam Achievement labeled “Triple-Cross”. Phaere curses my name to eternity, and Imoen even pipes in with a dialogue line of “Ha-ha, serves you right bitch!” or something along those lines. The demon asks if anyone has the real eggs for him, but I keep my mouth shut and he just goes back into his hole.


So my gang and I high-tail it out of town since it’s only a matter of time before our actions are discovered. And not a moment too soon, because a city-wide alarm goes off right as I get to the Silver Dragon’s cave. She is thrilled to have her eggs back, and keeps up her end of the bargain by taking us to the path back to the surface. We kill a couple more Drow, then are met by the surface elves.


Huzzah, freedom from Edgelord’s Paradise! And I got a late start today, so everything in this log happened in a 1.5 hour session this time. Man I’ve said it before but I love this game. So much content that just flows. It’s considered a classic for good reason.
 
Oct 25, 2017
382
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Canada
I bought World of Final Fantasy Maxima, partly because it's a long weekend and I can't cancel my Hitman 2 standard edition pre-order to get the early unlock, and partly because a light jRPG on the Switch sounds like the perfect follow-up after spending most of September and October on Destiny 2 and DQ11. It's very charming so far. I've found myself enamoured by the production of it. There's a ton of voice acting, as every NPC has voiced dialogue, and the music strikes a nice balance between fanservicey call-backs and breezy originals. However, I'm a little surprised by how simple the battle system is at this point. I'm 10 chapters in (about 8 hours in total, this game moves at a brisk pace early on) and most battles just find me waiting for my turn to use the most powerful attack 2-3 times to KO an enemy. Having a turbo button alleviates this, but only slightly. Maybe I need to look into the tea room quests or coliseum fights if I want more of a challenge? My characters just hit the level most of the coliseum fights start at.

Still, the game has been exactly what I wanted when I was looking for a low impact handheld RPG that I can overlook such a straight-forward start.
 
I'll never understand why World of FF did not have turned based and went for ATB. It's only got two party members and maybe 4 so enemies max. It just makes for a huge down time between attacks for no real reason since their speed does not vary that much either. Enjoyed it mostly though when I played through it.