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

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,012
Hard to say what the general consensus is - I've seen it mentioned plenty of times in both the GOTY voting and the biggest disappointment of 2018 (or whatever) threads.

The combat was interesting for around 15 hours and character progression (gear, jobs etc.) was fun, but pretty much everything else about it was a massive disappointment to me. Easy drop.
 
Oct 27, 2017
547
Baldur’s Gate 2 Cavalier’s log 1/17/19: Throne of Bhaal edition

I ended my last session after clearing out the first floor of the Fire Giant stronghold, so it’s time to head upstairs. Just like the first floor, I’m met by a welcome party of Fire Giants and assorted guests, but this time with some smarter spell memorization I was able to handle them more easily. I also ran into a Fire Elemental Prince, but at this point my party is pretty loaded out with fire resistance gear that this didn’t pose much of a problem either.

With the majority of the encounters defeated on this floor, it was time to accomplish what I came here for. The cultist in the woods had sent me here in search of two removed hearts, one her own and one belonging to the Bhaalspawn Yaga-shura so that she can remove the immortality ritual. In a big trapped… crevice of some sorts I grabbed what I thought were these and head back to the forest temple. Whoopsie… turns out it was one human heart, and the other thing was a bag of plenty filled with infinite +1 sling bullets. Welp, time to eat some crow and head back up to the mountains. This time I find the correct heart on a pedestal I had somehow missed before.

Back to the forest temple and the cultist uses the hearts to restore the Bhaalspawn’s mortality. In doing so she restores her own heart, and realizes she gave us the way to kill her son and immediately regrets it. And by regrets I mean spawns a bunch of undead and attacks us. This isn’t much of a fight compared to the fire giants, so they’re easily taken care of.

Back to the fort under siege, I head there by teleporting through my pocket plane. I had thought I would find a way to the siege line through the sewers since I had seen some enemy troopers down there before. I go down once again and clear the place out of a bunch more men, beasts, and undead, but all the exits lead back to the surface inside the city. Strange, but I take the opportunity to rest, restock, and even complete another side quest to unlock the magic shop so I can buy some decent trinkets they have in stock there (including another bag of holding! Score!). I haven’t found a way out yet, but it’s a good thing this place is still standing strong through the siege so I can have this brief downtime.

Spoke too soon. I use the pocket plane to teleport back to the forest and walk around the to siege front from the outside. In this short amount of time, and not the time spent screwing around the temple and stronghold, the siege has broken through and the city has been ransacked. I meet up with Melissan who is trying to escape with some villagers, but she tells me all the remaining refugee Bhaalspawn have been killed. Just a bit further ahead I find Yaga-Shura, and give him the bad news that his immortality card has been revoked. And it ends but being actually a disappointingly easy fight. He teleports away and heals up so I have to so searching for him again, but overall the encounters with the regular Fire Giants were tougher.

After he is defeated, I am suddenly teleported back to the pocket plane by an angelic being named The Solar. She tells me more about fulfilling my destiny and blah blah blah. But she does also give me more information about my origin and let me speak to both dead spirits of both my mother who I never knew, and the man Gorion who raised me. Not going to spoil much but I had to make some morality choices through dialogue. All this time though, I’m more worried about the loot that Yaga dropped? Will I be able to go back and pick it up off the ground?

Thankfully yes and can, and the armor and shield and actually an upgrade for my party which is getting rare at this point. Next time, it’s time to track down some more big bad Bhaalspawn.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,629


So I just finished up Shining Force, at the behest of Fou-Lu and Novel Mike .

Shining is a series that I've little experience with. The last game with Shining in the title that I'd played was Shining Tears. I barely remember it. When I owned a Genesis as a kid, I wasn't into RPGs at all. My first experience with them was Sword of Vermilion and that gave me a pretty bad impression of them. I had a pretty stupid mindset about RPGs in general. I'd always thought: “who would want to stand around taking turns hitting one another? That's dumb.” Additionally, I considered them to be slow and boring. This was before I actually tried other games in the genre, so it's somewhat amusing to look back and see how much of a dumb kid I was. Shining Force would have been a game I would not have liked back then. Though, if I'd given it a chance when I was a teen, I'd probably have enjoyed it quite a bit. RPGs quickly became my favorite genre and I found myself delving heavily into them in the PSX era, while also taking time to dig back into the SNES gems. To this day, 90% of the games that I own are RPGs. While I've my own niche of tastes and styles, I never really gave much mind or attention to any of the Sega RPGs.

Yet here I am, 26 years after the game came out, and I've just finished it. I played the game on Steam via the Sega Genesis Classics collection, though the game itself is only $1 if you buy it standalone. You don't have to drop the full amount on the package, thankfully. Initially, I put in two or so hours into it. As I got my bearings and started to become comfortable with the controls, I closed down the game and came back to it the next day. My save was gone. It wanted me to start over. This was bizarre. And irritating. Somewhat deflating as well. After I did some whining and lamenting about lost time, I'd learned that the Sega Classics collection has...multiple emulators it seems. Multiple locations for your save to be, whether it's in that big ugly 3d 'VR' gameroom or the simple and clean Simple Launcher. After finding out my save was in the Simple Launcher emulator, I spun it back up where I left off and put some more time into it.

Out of the gate, Shining Force is a pretty game. It has bright colors and a sharp art style that help it stand out. It has a very “Sega” look to it, if that makes any sense. The colors help the game pop, ensuring terrain doesn't blur together or end up muddy. The character portraits are wonderfully drawn and give some personality to characters who pretty much never say more than a paragraph throughout the entire game. The battle animations are great to look at, though I wish the battle models matched the portraits a bit more. The combat animations were pretty snappy, but I'd appreciate if there was a bit more variety to them. Perhaps a different animation for criticals, or maybe a different move from a unit that happens to be the same class. I wonder if the sequels will expand on that?

The music was fine overall, I can't say any of it really found its way into my head for long periods of time. I do wish the music kept going in between the battles instead of stepping into its own little song for attacks. I can't really say anything negative about the music, so I'll stick with it being fine. I'll admit that I did mute the sounds after a while as I was multi-tasking and coming back to the game in short bursts. As a package, it works well with the animations and general theme and scope of the game while also having that fairly iconic Genesis soundchip tone to it.

Controls took a bit of getting used to, but I'll state that I never once felt completely comfortable with them. Having to pull up a menu to talk to someone or search was something I was never accustomed to. I took no real joy in trying to chat with an NPC, only to have them step one frame away and get a window stating 'No one is in that direction'. I wasn't a fan of the UI and it left a bit to be desired. I had no idea what any item did unless I googled it (though I imagine it was in the manual), shuffling items around was a chore (inventory management was a mild lesson in frustration), and I never figured out what some shopkeeper options did until the last chapter. On the subject of inventory, I didn't like how opening a chest made items go directly to the main character. I'd have to shuffle things down to someone else just to use an item I got. My complaints on the UI and inventory aren't meant to be too harsh as the game is nearly 30 years old. I can't knock it too much due to its age and era it released in, but it's a mild headache going back to it after many years of quality-of-life improvements in RPGs.

On the subject of its age and how two and a half decades is a long time, perhaps it wasn't such a tired and boring trope at the time but I found myself immediately rolling my eyes at the story premise. As you start it up, you're met with a dragon girl who has an big Ancient Book that has Secrets and an Ancient Tale that she tells you. It speaks of an Evil Dark Dragon who was Sealed Away no more than One Thousand Years Ago and the Forces of Evil are marching on your hometown. They seek to Enslave The World and want to Resurrect Their Dark God. The Darkness is coming, and only you, The Chosen One, can wield the Power Of Light and stop the Dark Evil Armies from Taking Over The World. I've capitalized those as I imagine each of them is a TVTropes entry with at least five dozen games, a hundred TV shows, and countless books. I'm sure there's a concept album by a power metal band that has this exact premise from start to finish. Don't get me started on the stupid deus ex machina fabled special Ancient Sword.

Within minutes I was groaning. This isn't exactly the games fault. I've been playing RPGs for a long time and I've seen this exact (well, maybe not exact but close enough) scenario over and over and over again. As mentioned in an earlier set of write-ups of mine, I'm getting very tired of the Dark Vs Light narrative. While some games can do it interestingly enough for me to not find myself overly concerned by it, such narratives just feel tired to me. I wouldn't call them lazy, I just find them overly derivative and not to my tastes – which I admit are rather eclectic. Some may call it classic story telling, but I call it boring. With how barebones and tiresome the story and setup are, I find it takes a backseat to the personal story that unfolds with each battle. My irritation with the setup faded as I began to tell my own tale (in my head) about how I felled these throngs of enemies that charged blindly to their deaths.

Each battle had a distinct reason for existing (save one or two on a boat because whatever). They all had their own identity to where I could probably state “Oh, the battle in the open field.” or “The one where I'm charging the castle.” or “The one with the mountains.” and a veteran of the series may know exactly which one I'm talking about (and likely how to overcome it.) They don't really blur together in terms of battlefields, so I appreciated the variety. I do wish there were some other terrains though. Perhaps a throwdown on the beach, or a clash in the snowy peaks. Weather would have made things even more 'epic', especially when facing down a force half a mile away and almost three times the size of my own. Rain makes everything more dramatic. You'd think I'd be tired of it, being from Seattle and all.

Continuing on with 'my own story', I mention that because I found the way I used my units to be interesting in retrospect. Who I picked for battle, who I took chances with, who I put my faith in to actually do damage, and how I kept back. Each of these had a reason, some form of method in my head that I carried over from other games. After learning that I can fail a mission and simply restart it while keeping any exp I gained, I became a bit less conservative with my main character. Normally, in a game where MC Death = Game Over, I tend to guard that character with stronger ones around them as I'd hate to lose progress in a battle that took me 35 minutes to get through. On that note, I greatly appreciated that aspect of Shining Force. I personally don't like using the term “respecting my time” or “respecting the players time”, as it feels like something a game critic has spouted off numerous times when they fail something or just flat out don't like the design of a system. However, I couldn't help but think of the term when I fell in combat and didn't get a game over screen. My thirty minutes of battle didn't feel wasted and I didn't have to rely on savestates (which I would have done). I was quite thankful for that and wish more games had the foresight to do such a thing. To add onto that, being able to escape any battle at any time and recover/restock was a blessing as well. It does also allow you to grind in a game with finite encounters if needed, so abuse away if you must. I never once had to.

Back to my original point with my own story and units. I liked how I was able to make my own strike forces, divide my forces up into little fireteams or make formations on my own to lure in enemies, protect my healers, or rain down hellfire from above. My MVP of the entire game was a unit you get within the first battle: Mae, a centaur who uses polearms. Her stat growth made her stand out very quickly from the rest of the pack. While she couldn't really hoof it (eheh) through forests and hills, on open terrain she could cross the battlefield quickly. I also thought it'd be a great idea to give her a mobility ring and let her move two more spaces. Early on, she could close the distance to enemies and take them down pretty quickly. While her attack wasn't exactly anything special, for the longest time I had her with a throwing spear that let her do ranged attacks. Within a couple battles, she was a one-woman blitzkrieg that wrecked mages. She was resilient as her defense stat just kept climbing with each level along with her HP. Time and time again had I thrown her into the middle of a group of enemies and they'd plink away at her, one by one. 1 damage. 1 damage. 1 damage. She'd strike back with enough to one-shot some things, but usually two-shot every enemy around her. With a couple healing items in her pocket, she was practically unkillable.

I had this kind of experience with my mage as well, another starter unit named Tao. Interestingly enough, I didn't know she was in my part when I first saw her name. There was an NPC talking trash about her, leading me to think that perhaps she wasn't a good mage and would be replaced by someone better. I was wrong. While she started out somewhat weak with low MP, I focused on her a bit as she began to learn better versions of her spells and hit harder. And harder. At the end of the game, she had enough MP to call down a firestorm on any enemy and kill them in one blow. And she could do this close to ten times. Half the enemies forces could be burned away by a single mage, albeit it'd take a while and she had to be protected. She also received a spell called Boost that buffed up the physical attack, so putting that on my hardest hitting units amplified her own usefulness. She never once left my team, and the second mage that came in seemed more of a counterpart to her than a pure replacement. The majority of my final team had units growing from being mediocre combatants to destructive forces that wiped maps quickly and with surgical precision. Yet there were some enemies that eluded my deathblows so often that it drove me to frustration.

Evasion in this game is a pain in the ass. Flying enemies can evade more often, and it seems like any ground based unit attacking a flying enemy gets a hit to their accuracy. Yet these stats are not present in game. Taking a swing at an airborne foe feels like a coin flip, and more often than not I ended up with the losing side. Bats and seabats were nightmares on the field. Only magic could take them out for the longest time. Early on, you're faced with many flying enemies and you've so little MP that you'll deplete your magical offenses before you finish off the winged jerks. This gets worse as you get further in the game. There were few encounters that didn't have flying enemies in them, and there doesn't seem to be anything you can do to improve your chances to hit them. I audibly groaned as four of my units surrounded a seabat, only to have it quickly evade every single person. On person even attacked twice and missed both times. I recall losing a unit to that fight because it was constant misses on my end. While your own flying units can evade at a much higher rate as well, it never felt even. For every one time I dodged, it felt like the enemies dodged ten times. The last two chapters introduced Chimeras, which are the worst enemy I've faced. They can fly over anything, have a huge range of motion, evade almost every hit, and can hit you with powerful ranged magic that ignores your defenses. Yeah, good luck. Even the Mae the God struggled against these pesky little bastards.

In the end, I overcame the garbage before me and was met with a fairly merciful last set of battles. They weren't overly difficult. In fact, I think they were a bit of a brief respite after smashing my head into Chimera, Dragons, Horsemen, and Priests. They're the worst in some situations. While I had some frustrations with the game, I will say that I enjoyed my time with it. It was fun and seemed to be a pretty unique spin on the SRPG subgenre. For all I know, it's one of the first. It still feels solid enough and doesn't come across as dated, poorly aged, or archaic by any means. It feels like a very 'basic' SRPG that is a wonderful start for anyone new to the subgenre (or even new to RPGs). It doesn't layer in overly complex stuff, doesn't give targets or myriad ailments to cast and cure, and also doesn't seem to care about positioning, direction, or height for the most part. It's a great way to get your bearings and wrap your head around slower battles that require you to think a few steps ahead.

Shining Force is a nice little gem of the past. Playing it in 2019 gave me a glimpse of ideas that must've been incredibly interesting and unique back then (sans power metal storyline). Despite my gripes, I think it's worth playing and I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in JRPGs and their strategic variants. It has a great color palette, charming art style, thoughtful music, intriguing encounters, and rewarding combat that lets you form your own war stories alongside the incredibly basic backdrop of Light Vs Dark, evil...etc. If you're looking into classic RPGs, I'd rank this up there with them. While it may not be my favorite game by any means, it's certainly one I'd suggest to people to give a shot. It's pretty brief, clocking in around 20 hours (though steam says 27 for me. I let it sit for a while and reloaded a few times due to mistakes such as forgetting to revive half my team.) So, give it a look. It's a dollar on steam. If you prefer to play on the go/whatever people do in their incredibly important lives, the Sega Classics collection is also available on Switch (and home consoles) for a cool thirty bones ($30). Unfortunately you can't buy it separately on consoles.

So, that wraps up my thoughts on the game. While Fou-Lu may have lost the blitz, I suppose he was the winner in the end for having me go through one of his beloved childhood games. I'm looking forward to trying the sequels. We'll see if I become one of those bitter fans who hate the direction the series has taken. Who knows, I may end up liking everything and appreciating each for what it does - but we'll come to that bridge when I get to it some day. I might give SF2 a shot this year, assuming I'm not buried under more games that take 40-60 hours to beat.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,066
Grats on beating it Lumi! I'm always glad to see people pick up a gem like Shining Force and really enjoy it. All the problems with it that you had are understandable and something I've mentioned as faults in the game countless times when talking with people about the game but I really liked the way you put it about you making your own story with the characters and battles because that really nails what is special about the series and why replaying it really feels rewarding. I don't mind the story but it was something I grew up with so while its generally basic its honestly better off that way in the GBA remake they kept the original story elements which made it different but also kinda silly and stupid. Also Max talks in the remake which is just really weird to me XD
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,607
Been continuing to play TitS 3rd lately and making pretty good progress it feels like: I'm a decent ways into chapter 4 (I think). Moreover, I've made that progress in less time than it took me to get through chapter 1 (there's also a prologue in each tbc) in TitS SC. I'm feeling good about the pacing.

The game has played a lot differently for me. I've been playing these games on hard; I bring this up because I don't know how relevant what I am going to say is at other difficulty levels, both higher and lower. In any case, I've felt a lot more powerful. In both FC and SC I would quite frequently run to maintain my strength but in 3rd I have only run a couple of times and all recently. Feeding was common and here I've not really done much cooking at all. In SC, physical attacks often felt kind of weak to me, although as with all of these games going up a weapon tier matters a lot and so things would shift a bit. But the point is I don't feel that way at all in 3rd. Even Tita feels strong. 3rd is also more liberal with crafts: you pretty much start the game with the lunar and solar seals and there's the water you can drink from back at base. I was depending on crafts for AOE for a while there and that was totally feasible. Also, for the most part, the bosses have been easier than in SC although the chapter 3 bosses were an uptick in difficulty again for me.

I'm enjoying the characters a lot in this game so far. It is nice that they feel revamped mechanically but also with new art and/or battle sprites.

I've said this before but the game isn't what I expected it would be and that is beginning to shake out:
As I think I said, I thought it was going to be a prologue about Kevin and Rufina leading up to Rufina's death as Lowe was talking about in SC. I mistook Ries in the cover art for Rufina. So I was surprised when it took place after SC. Derivatively, I am/was surprised by the relation the narrative has to Rufina's death and just by Ries.

Ries is generally surprising. She's not who I thought she was going to be: she's not dead as a lost love/victim, she's not a "virtuous nun" type, and she wields this whip sword thing and I've mostly used her as a physical attacker. Her whole eating thing is, well, extremely anime but it was kind of the first door way into this whole cold exterior, warm interior thing she has going on. She seems kind of cold and professional, indifferent and even rude but at the same time it is a facade and much like Kevin entered the church seeking Rufina, she seemingly entered the church seeking Kevin, which is totally not what it seems when he meets her again. Similarly, there's the scene where she has come to get him up but just stands over him not disturbing him in his nightmare. Even in that there is a mix of care and thoughtfulness with a strangeness but the way she talks to him about him being a loser and likely to remain a loser is also strange in context because she clearly seems drawn in. I feel it bears pointing out that this isn't a hot-headed, prickly kind of thing but rather a cold and kind of awkward sort of thing. And this again is juxtaposed against what has recently been as a keen awareness of Kevin's emotional and mental state.

Personally I find Ries interesting on her own--she's touched/out-of-step with society but has a burning soul--but her character also seems to be a nice foil to Kevin's as the narrative is unfolding with him being her polar opposite, namely affable and slick in social settings but secretly empty and dead inside, cut off from a previous warmth and seemingly trying to work himself to death in self-loathing or penance I currently know not which if not both (I am curious to find out). This does play nicely into the Janus-faced nature Kevin had going back to SC and honestly it makes good sense to deal with this after Rufina's death rather than to go about creating it as I thought was going to happen. Why? Because it was something slightly mysterious about Kevin, not something explicated. My point is it was something to say something more about as much as something looking for justification.

In any case, this juxtaposition plus the parallels between them plus the shared history between them plus the shared loss plus the tragic distance between them is intriguing me so far and it is reminding me of the strength in Estelle/Joshua particularly in SC where there was a focus on mutuality and giving both parties a perspective (not saying that this is necessarily romantic or something tbc--IDK where it is going exactly).
 
Nov 4, 2017
1,286
I haven't quite finished this one yet, but I figured I'd share my thoughts so far on Demon's Souls. I'm about 32 hours in at the moment and I'm enjoying the game quite a bit so far. The major standout for me with this game is the level design and I'm quite fond of it. I love all the little shortcuts and things throughout the level that are sorta just there for you to explore and find for yourself. Finding my first shortcut in 1-1 was almost a magical experience where I got up to the top of the castle and suddenly I see 3 different routes I can take, and I take the one on the left and suddenly I find myself on a balcony looking at the area where I started. For me at least, it was the little moments like these that I found just to be simply amazing, and as of right now I've finished the first section of every area (or I guess world?) and while I love some more than others and I definitely hate one (5-1), I just adore the level design in this game.

Another key highlight for me is the combat and while it did take a bit of time to adjust to, I found myself really enjoying it as I got used to the controls and how the combat works so to say. I really enjoy all the systems surrounding the combat system as well. The skill system is something I really enjoyed as it was cool to see a game where you could tailor a build to your specific play style. I can definitely understand how people have played through this game so much, and I imagine a lot of that is due to the gameplay variety in the game and the number of different builds you can make. Personally I've gone for a fairly straight forward build focusing largely on strength, endurance, and vitality was also investing in a few of the other skills and I'm enjoying playing the game as such. I could definitely have seen myself playing this game more than once had I played it back when it released. The core gameplay is just really solid and there's more than enough here to experiment with all kinds of different builds.

One thing I really love about the game just in general, is how the game isn't really afraid to challenge you, while also rewarding you immensely for succeeding in the face of the challenges that await you throughout the level. You will die a lot, I died a lot, but I really enjoyed the bloodstains and how they almost felt like a carrot at the end of a stick every time you died. The entire dynamic of death and the ramifications of death in this game was something I loved as it almost felt like a mechanic of it's own. When you die you lose everything, but it can all be yours again if you successfully return to where you fell before and that's just a dynamic I really enjoyed. The pressure placed on the player when they die is interesting because I almost feel like it makes the player better as they carefully go through the obstacles of the level again to reclaim what was once theirs, and while it is indeed stressful it's equally as rewarding.

The bosses in this game are another really big standout for me, and I've enjoyed almost all of the ones I've fought thus far. The bosses I found were surprisingly easy and they were mostly based around a key thing. Even though the boss destroyed me quite a few times, I really loved the boss at the end of 1-2 and the methods that were used to take it down. There's a method to defeating every boss and paying attention to attack patterns and knowing when to attack and when not to is a big part of these bosses. While for some of the bosses I suppose you could just go in guns blazing and defeating the boss, that doesn't really work for most of the ones I've fought thus far.

I really look forward to finishing this game, but so far this is a great start to a series I hope to play all the games in at some point.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,240
Netherlands
Ratchetdude231 The valley of defilement is a dank place, you'll find no joy there. It is still a highlight in demon's souls (and souls in general) due to how well they pulled off making it the most vile dump both in design, vibe and lore.

They have tried to make similar places in the other souls games, but it's just not as good in how bad of a place it is.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,957
Iwatodai Dorm
While I had bought the games a while ago, it was thanks to the insistence of certain rodent friend of ours that I finally decided to start Kingdom Hearts. I’m pretty early in the series but Chain of Memories has been a rollercoaster and I wanted to share some thoughts about my journey while playing it.

I think I can talk about my experience and the game itself in three parts:


1. “You know so little… One who knows nothing can’t understand nothing.”

This Ansem quote right there is what I can say about my initial impression of the game: All I really knew about Chain of Memories is that it was hated by the fandom, and yet somehow essential to understand the series; that and that it had a card battle system, which probably is the reason why it is disliked so much. At the very beginning the game felt more like a chore “why do I have to re-play (kind of) the events of the first game again?” And if you’ve played the game you know that eventually you’ll have to explore the Atlantica levels too, which was something I definitively wasn’t looking forward to.

Reliving the events of the first game had a twist though: exploring a level (or a floor in this case) requires cards: each room has one condition and you get tons of cards to fulfill those conditions, and without thinking too much about it I actually went and fought hordes of enemies one after another, losing many times in the process and having to explore a room from the very beginning as a punishment for it; and of course I complained about not having good enough cards to keep up with all these enemies that the game was throwing at me. It was after exploring 5 or 6 floors when I actually realized that I didn’t have to fight if I didn’t want to, that I could use the other cards that I had forgotten about and create rooms with treasure or merchants that would trade cards for moogle points. That’s when it hit me: each world/floor of Castle Oblivion was just some sort of grid filled with conditions and that it was me, the one who had to decide if I wanted a treasure room, a save point, a place to trade or if I wanted to fight with some sort of advantage or disadvantage. It was me the one that decides what the world looked like… and that was fantastic!!! I can’t remember if I’ve played another game with a similar system when it comes to exploration and compared to the original Kingdom Hearts where you have to wander around whole words hoping to trigger the next story cutscene the rooms where the story unfolds were clearly marked on the map as soon as you entered a new level.

So, the story is fairly lineal but you have the freedom to decide what’s gonna be in the world, and the amount of options to choose from is actually very diverse. If you ask me now I’d say that in terms of world exploration Chain of Memories has a clear advantage over its predecessor because it gives you a lot of options and it even provides you with tools to override the conditions of the grid-like world I was talking about earlier. No matter how I look at it: I cannot hate a game that allows me to decide how I want to play it. (+ exploring Atlantica wasn’t annoying this time).


2. The ups and downs.

It’s true, I cannot hate on CoM for the way its world was designed, but I cannot say the same about the combat system. In one hand, the reliance on decks of attack cards, magic cards, item cards, etcetera is actually pretty interesting: you’re encouraged to make three cards combos that allow you to execute certain special moves, you can break the cards of your enemies while they can break yours, using your cards recklessly have risks since you cannot abuse combos because each combo you manage to perform sacrifices a card, and if you combine that with the fact that certain enemies are immune to certain types of magic attacks… well, I’m surprised of how good the combat seemed to be; in the other hand though, the game wants you to actually break the combat system and use cheap tactics.

Allow me to explain that last part, I don’t know if I can do it properly so bear with me… As I said at the beginning I was having trouble trying to keep up with what the enemies were throwing at me; when Sora levels up you can choose to raise his health, his card points or learn sleights, CoM being an action game where you have to select cards in real time to fight as you move around a fighting area makes leveling your card points (CP) an easy decision, the first sleights you learn give you some skills and combos that you could learn in the first game as well (only in this game they were three cards combos), but most of them were pretty useless to me and I couldn’t use them effectively for about half the game, instead I chose to make my own “combos” that I relied on until that point. The way I was fighting though had a massive flaw: bosses could easily destroy me if I treated them the same way I was treating the not-so-random mobs. “What’s the problem? Just make another deck of cards specially designed to fight bosses.” I thought. It worked wonderfully.

Wait, didn’t I say the game wanted me to break it? And, isn’t “adapting your strategy” a clear sign that an RPG is being successful at… well, being an RPG? Yes, it totally is… normally, but in the case of CoM answering both questions is not an easy task for me. There was a boss that made me change my strategy once more: he was fast and his normal attacks could stun me, under those conditions using the deck I designed for fighting bosses wasn’t effective at all, I felt frustrated this boss was super cheap, but during the one hour and a half I fought him I came close to beat him once and I realized there was an sleight that hurt him a lot so I got an idea: if this boss causes cheap damage I can make a deck full of cheap techniques that hurt him too (basically I made a deck that allowed me to input “blitz” several times in a row without allowing him to even move). Once again and despite my frustration for its success it actually worked. The message was clear as water: forget your previous strategy, use cheap sleights from now on and play the whole game like that. Did I misunderstand the game? I don’t think so. At this point you start to receive cards that allow you to circumvent the limitations you have at the beginning: cards that recharge instantly the ones you lost after using combos, cards that make you invisible and almost invulnerable, techniques that allowed you to hit enemies 7 or more times in quick succession and a big etcetera. I renamed the deck I was using, I called it CHEAP.

The rest of the game I went from cutscene to cutscene without troubles, I was destroying everything the game was throwing at me, including most bosses. So yes, the game became easier and it actually allowed me to pay more attention to the story, which was intriguing from the very beginning.


3. “We are just Nobodies who have no one to be, yet we still ‘are’. But now you can be nothing instead of just being a Nobody.”

Chain of Memories didn’t affect my sanity, do not worry for my mental health, the previous lines are an actual quote from the game. And it made me smile when I watched that cutscene because it was the first time they introduced these concepts that will be very relevant in the series later on (or so I was told).

So, the story… as my cheap deck speeded things up I got to the story bits faster, which is actually good because I wanted answers: The characters fell in an obvious trap and you get to see them losing their memories… which is the reason why you play the same levels of the first game: Sora’s memories are all messed up and the events of the first game play out differently, kind of. So I wanted to know why and how am I supposed to get out of this mess at the same time they introduce these characters in black coats that are all over the internet today. The plot is fairly simple despite all the comments about the KH’s story that I’ve read online, at some point I predicted successfully the direction they were taking the story to (which is something I always try to do while playing RPGs). As I said before in this thread, the story was mindfuckey so at the end I can say I enjoyed what they did in CoM, add all the insanity of some dialogues and you can see where all the mockery but also the fascination for the series come from. All I can say now is that I can’t wait to see what’s next.


I wanted to talk a little bit more about the story itself but this post is longer than I anticipated as it is the time I’ve spent on Chain of Memories. Usually I wouldn’t mind if a game is long but the biggest flaw the game has is the combat itself and I cannot simply ignore it. Having bosses that attack you at the same speed of the more action oriented games of the rest of the series is what destroys the balance of CoM and what made me move to cheap tactics to progress effectively. Now, that doesn’t mean that I share the dislike the game usually gets, I think that overall I like it as much or even more than the first game and I’d totally like to see again a game that uses a similar but improved card battle system like the one from Chain of Memories.

Now, if you excuse me I’m going to beat this extra story mode I unlocked after beating the game.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
1,629
Ratchetdude231 Have you seen the Tower of Latria yet? I really enjoy 3-1. 4-1 is also a gem. I believe it's 1-4 that has my favorite boss fight in the game. Good to see you're enjoying it so far. It was a game that many many people bounced off of back in the day when it came out. There was always something special about Demon's, but it took a long time for people to realize it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,607
So I played lot of TitS 3rd today. Mostly I did some great doors, but I also finished chapter 4 and made good headway into chapter 5. Got some more doors to look at now too.

The flashback doors are neat. You get more of a fleshed out narrative and characterization. You also get new art at times. But another thing that is really neat is you get old music, old settings, old npcs, old monsters, etc. back. Just like the music at the opening stirred me by being, well, different, it really speaks to me when suddenly it is old music for battles and what not. It is a neat relationship the game has to the first two games.

I'm not going to go on at length tonight but a couple particularly neat things from today:
  • I got to see young Schera and Aina--and see them meet! It was nice getting Schera in between the abandonment by the troupe and Schera in TitS FC. It was particularly interesting seeing her lacking the confidence and the convivial nature she's known for and instead an insecurity and a sort of hurried nature, running from the past. It puts the friendship into a context where it meant a lot from personal angles.
  • "You amaze me more than any bug ever will." -Joshua, deciding to stay at the Bright home after all, seduced by bug hunting or rather the intent therebehind.
  • Thuddert--aka Colonel Alan Richard--joined me!
  • Renne joined.
  • The fisher baron slaughtered me and would have crushed my soul but I escaped.
 
Oct 27, 2017
547
Baldur’s Gate 2 Cavalier’s log 1/18/19 and 1/19/19: Throne of Bhaal edition

Another combined entry since this was mostly dugeon crawling again. After defeating Yaga, Melissan told us she has leads on the locations of two other Bhaalspawn generals. She tells us to meet her friend Balthazar at a city in the desert and he’ll have more info for us.

In the desert city of Amkethran though, it seems like Balthazar is really mucking things up. He is a high ranking warrior monk in charge of the city, but he taking every last bit of money in the city to build up a mercenary army for some purpose. The citizens are all starving and begging in the street for the madness to stop, and I try to help how I can. There is also a merchant here who is not a local, but claims there is a lich in the graveyard that stole his daughter’s soul. After he bribes a guard, I go in to check it out.

Turns out the merchant wasn’t being entirely honest with us. The lich says he made a deal with the merchant 20 years ago, to give him overwhelming success in exchange for his own soul. The merchant skipped out on the deal, so the lich is holding the daughter’s soul as collateral. He vows to give the daughter’s soul back if I bring the merchant to him; but if I attack the lich, the daughter will die instantly. So I go back to the merchant and convince him to turn himself in to save his daughter.

The lich upholds his end of the bargain and gives me the daughter’s soul in the form of a jewel. I promise the merchant I will restore her. But then I am given an Ultima 4-style morality choice. Do I uphold the strict sense of justice and allow the lich to take the merchant’s soul since he upheld his end of the bargain? Or do I appeal to my sense of overall good and stop another soul from being taken by an undead abomination? My character is lawful good, so technically either choice will be in character for them. In the end I decide to stop the lich, mainly because I can probably get more XP out of the quest this way. I mop up the lich and his remaining undead goons, find some half decent loot, and tell the merchant to be with his daughter and live a better life.

After this diversion I got to speak to Balthazar at last. He is very terse and won’t even let me in to his HQ, just talking to me on the street outside. He says Melissan has already come and gone and won’t be meeting me here. Strange. But he gives me the maps to the two other Bhaalspawn enclaves. One is a drow, the other is a dragon. Nice. I decide to head to the drow first because it’s probably the natural power progression, and also because it’s closer on the world map. I head to the location map I only find a farmer who says he’s been seeing strange things coming and going. He gives us a lead to go check out, but there’s not much there but a drow ambush. I take care of that and go back to the farmer. He says he saw some other strange things out by his wife’s grave. We happened to pass this grave earlier and it looked odd and freshly dug. So I press the farmer about this and it turns out that yup, he’s a drow in disguise. After another quick battle the illusion over the dungeon entrance is lifted and I’m able to enter.

The dungeon itself is not much to speak of, since it’s mostly a re-tread of the drow area in the main BG campaign. The game is actually a bit self-referential about this too, with frequent cutscenes over to Sendai the Bhaalspawn, getting more frustrated at throwing the usual assortment of drow baddies (evil priests, spider, mind flayers, beholders) at us but nothing’s working, not knowing that we’ve faced all this stuff before.

The boss fight is actually one of the more interesting in the game though. The boss is seemingly alone in a room with 7 statues. Right at the start of the battle she teleports away and the first statue comes to life. Turns out she is possessing the statue and I have to beat them one by one, and each one represents a new class. Also a bunch more drow soldiers appear each time she switches bodies so it’s best if I clean out the adds first before killing the statue if I want to avoid become overwhelmed.

Amusingly I noticed one of the statue forms was a wizard but it cast Protection from Evil on itself. I thought this was odd since I don’t have any evil party members. But then it started to cast Gate. From reading the spell description on my own wizards earlier, I knew this spell summons a high level demon but it will turn on the caster unless Protection from Evil cast beforehand. So I just dispel the protection spell from the statue and the demon kills it for me. The demon even starts attacking the next statue that activates before it is taken down. In all this was probably the longest single encounter in the game and it took me several tries. It was a battle of attrition and I couldn’t just blow my most powerful spells and summons right away. I had to plan out different lines of attack against the different forms and it was at lot of fun. Eventually all the forms plus the original drow’s body are defeated and I collect tons of loot. Literal tons, the bags of holding are overflowing and I end up with more than 300,000 gold after restocking and buying some new scrolls. I was a bit down on the expansion at first because it is more linear and straightforward than the main game, but this is some good old fashioned dungeon-crawling power-tripping fun.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,383
Odin Sphere Leifdrasir Platinum trophy is in the bag. I enjoyed the game a lot, but after beating all 5 character stories, the Book of Armageddon was a bit of a chore. The boss rush mode was also a bit of a pain in the neck. It wasn’t difficult but it was very tedious.

I’ll give the game 4/5. There’s a lot to like, but even I can drop points for repetitiveness. More levels and more unique content for each character would have upped my score to 5/5.

Now, I intend to beat Star Ocean 5. While I don’t think that the game is great, I think I’m more than halfway through the game, so I might as well endure the mediocricity.

I also started up a new game. Haven’t touched my 3DS in ages and managed to amass quite the backlog. Heroes of Ruin is what I am playing. I was craving a Diablo like game. I wasn’t ready to invest time in one of the bigger PC games just yet. Visited howlongtobeat.com and saw that this will take 20 hours or less to beat. I’m playing a good old fighter. It’s not great, but I guess it scratches a little bit of that kill and loot feeling that I had.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,607
Odin Sphere Leifdrasir Platinum trophy is in the bag. I enjoyed the game a lot, but after beating all 5 character stories, the Book of Armageddon was a bit of a chore. The boss rush mode was also a bit of a pain in the neck. It wasn’t difficult but it was very tedious.

I’ll give the game 4/5. There’s a lot to like, but even I can drop points for repetitiveness. More levels and more unique content for each character would have upped my score to 5/5.
Congrats!
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,575
Sendai is probably the best fight in the game.
In the unmodded version anyway. Final boss with Ascension is on a totally different level.
 
Oct 25, 2017
914
I finished Nocturne yesterday morning, and today jumped right into Chain of Memories! I already had a save file past the first four cards, so I'm not starting fresh. I have many partially played RPGs under my belt.

I'm playing Re: Chain of Memories on the PS3 HD Remix 1.5 super snazzy version. I'm fighting Ursula and I think I hate this game hahaha
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,629
I finished Nocturne yesterday morning, and today jumped right into Chain of Memories! I already had a save file past the first four cards, so I'm not starting fresh. I have many partially played RPGs under my belt.

I'm playing Re: Chain of Memories on the PS3 HD Remix 1.5 super snazzy version. I'm fighting Ursula and I think I hate this game hahaha
I hated the combat in CoM and felt it was a waste of my time. The story was good though.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,607
I finished Nocturne yesterday morning, and today jumped right into Chain of Memories! I already had a save file past the first four cards, so I'm not starting fresh. I have many partially played RPGs under my belt.

I'm playing Re: Chain of Memories on the PS3 HD Remix 1.5 super snazzy version. I'm fighting Ursula and I think I hate this game hahaha
Congrats. What'd you think of Nocturne in the end?

Played a lot of TitS 3rd again today...think I'm going to finish this game faster than I anticipated. I'm into Chapter 6 and it seems to be a longer chapter with lots of sub-dungeons and sub-bosses. This next fight upcoming though...kind of curious about how it goes.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,012
Almost reached chapter 4 in Trails in the Sky FC last night. I keep forgetting how short this game really is. Chapter 3 only took some hours, and I even spent a while grinding for quartz materials.

Having a pretty easy time so far on normal. I've only died twice, once to the two monster dogs the mayor of Ruan throws at you and once to a random chest battle that took me by surprise.

Maybe I should just play SC and the rest of the games on hard. Unless normal is harder in the later games? Like I said, I'm planning on taking my time, but I'd rather not run into too many frustrating roadblocks because I played on hard.

e: oh and I kind of remember people criticizing the balance of later games, that on higher difficulty levels your guys will keep missing all the time which is where all the difficulty comes from. Am I remembering things wrong? Cause Estelle keeps missing all the goddamn time already and it's getting really annoying lol. Such a lame way to make things harder, especially when you're not told hit chances or anything like that.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
914
What'd you think of Nocturne in the end?
SMT: Nocturne spoilers ahead.

I have mixed feelings about the game. I can't say that I really enjoyed it all that much to be honest. The beginning and the end of the game really felt punishing to me. In the beginning things were hard because I just didn't have the understanding of why I was having such a tough time, and then when I figured it out I didn't have the resources available to get the team I wanted together. Demon negotiation can be a hassle, because they just take your stuff and leave anyway a lot of the times. Getting all the skills you want during fusion is also incredibly annoying. Back out and try again, over and over and over. The encounter rate is godawful as well, even with the ability on to lower it. I ran from every battle from the Diet Building on. I also got fed up with the misdirection in the Diet Building and used a walkthrough to get through it and the Tower of Kagutsuchi. I never set foot in the Amala Labyrinth. I just really ran out of patience for the game near the end.

I said I had mixed feelings, because there's also a lot that I really liked about the game. Nocturne was not like any other game I've played before. There really is no good ending. I ended up siding with Yuko, and that was the closest thing to a "happy" ending there was in the game. I really like that once the Conception happens, everyone is basically screwed. Each of your friends and your teacher meets a grim fate. Even in the Yuko ending, everyone is reborn, but you know the cycle will repeat. I also think it's a very visually appealing game. I think the original Japanese release was in 2003, and it still looks good to me. Music is awesome as always with the SMT games. Fighting bosses was a lot of fun, for the most part, other than that obnoxious Noah battle. I don't see myself going back and doing the Amala Labyrinth but I might fight the rest of the fiends since I only beat three in total I think.

Nocturne was a big title for me to finish. I've owned it for years, and it obviously is very well regarded. I probably would have enjoyed it more closer to release. I first got into SMT via Persona 3 back in 2007, and I don't remember the Tartarus grinding bothering me. I'm glad I played it, and I may go back for Amala at some point, but I was definitely ready to finish it and move on by the end of the game.
 
Oct 25, 2017
914
I hated the combat in CoM and felt it was a waste of my time. The story was good though.
Yeah, I'm with you on this. I just have a deck of fire cards and I spam it over and over every battle. I'm actually strongly considering watching the cutscenes and moving on to KH2, but something about the weirdness of the game keeps me coming back.

The biggest problem I have is running out of cards in boss battles. I managed to defeat Ursula last night by the skin of my teeth after running out of cards a few times in the battle.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,607
Almost reached chapter 4 in Trails in the Sky FC last night. I keep forgetting how short this game really is. Chapter 3 only took some hours, and I even spent a while grinding for quartz materials.

Having a pretty easy time so far on normal. I've only died twice, once to the two monster dogs the mayor of Ruan throws at you and once to a random chest battle that took me by surprise.

Maybe I should just play SC and the rest of the games on hard. Unless normal is harder in the later games? Like I said, I'm planning on taking my time, but I'd rather not run into too many frustrating roadblocks because I played on hard.

e: oh and I kind of remember people criticizing the balance of later games, that on higher difficulty levels your guys will keep missing all the time which is where all the difficulty comes from. Am I remembering things wrong? Cause Estelle keeps missing all the goddamn time already and it's getting really annoying lol. Such a lame way to make things harder, especially when you're not told hit chances or anything like that.
I don't know about Nightmare, but I've been playing the games on hard. I played FC in 2017 so it has been a while but I played SC last fall and am playing 3rd at the moment.

I think this is true of both FC and SC but it might just be SC: I found myself running a lot to maintain my resource pools in the dungeons. Normally it was just bosses/chest enemies that posed a deadly threat but normal enemies could be a drain. Now, keep in mind that I tend to do orbment upgrades in bursts rather than incrementally, which, well, is a problem for resource management in these games :P. Similarly, I tend to avoid buying weapons/gear as often as I can get away with it. This can create problems with weapon damage in FC and SC particularly--weapon tiers matter a lot. In FC, I pretty much just rolled with the punches wrt item drops too and kind of got caught with my pants down on the final boss but Earth Wall saved my ass. So...I am kind of messy and that's by way of saying take what I say with a grain of salt.

I found portions of both FC and SC challenging on hard, particular standouts being the late-game chest enemies in FC and certain bosses in SC, particularly in the (lengthy) final dungeon but the worms, for example, are another stand out in this regard. Moreover, SC pushed me to use things like attack food and intelligent positioning and had a kind of persistent focus on enemies that heal themselves forcing you to kill them in a burst of damage. Notably, for late game stuff I'm usually decently prepared wrt orbments and gear and that's the stuff I'm talking about.

So far 3rd has been a bit different. I feel I've been keeping up with gear and orbments pretty well this time with the way they are delivered (still haven't bought much but there's a lot of good stuff in chests) and I think generally it just doesn't play like FC and SC in certain ways wrt resource management and boss mechanics. At the same time, I've really enjoyed a lot of the boss design so they've been engaging nonetheless and sometimes more-so. Also, there still have been some bosses that have been pretty challenging--just on the whole it strikes me as notably easier than SC in particular (I'm a bit distant from FC at this point).

As to missing: Haven't seen much of it.

SMT: Nocturne spoilers ahead.

I have mixed feelings about the game. I can't say that I really enjoyed it all that much to be honest. The beginning and the end of the game really felt punishing to me. In the beginning things were hard because I just didn't have the understanding of why I was having such a tough time, and then when I figured it out I didn't have the resources available to get the team I wanted together. Demon negotiation can be a hassle, because they just take your stuff and leave anyway a lot of the times. Getting all the skills you want during fusion is also incredibly annoying. Back out and try again, over and over and over. The encounter rate is godawful as well, even with the ability on to lower it. I ran from every battle from the Diet Building on. I also got fed up with the misdirection in the Diet Building and used a walkthrough to get through it and the Tower of Kagutsuchi. I never set foot in the Amala Labyrinth. I just really ran out of patience for the game near the end.

I said I had mixed feelings, because there's also a lot that I really liked about the game. Nocturne was not like any other game I've played before. There really is no good ending. I ended up siding with Yuko, and that was the closest thing to a "happy" ending there was in the game. I really like that once the Conception happens, everyone is basically screwed. Each of your friends and your teacher meets a grim fate. Even in the Yuko ending, everyone is reborn, but you know the cycle will repeat. I also think it's a very visually appealing game. I think the original Japanese release was in 2003, and it still looks good to me. Music is awesome as always with the SMT games. Fighting bosses was a lot of fun, for the most part, other than that obnoxious Noah battle. I don't see myself going back and doing the Amala Labyrinth but I might fight the rest of the fiends since I only beat three in total I think.

Nocturne was a big title for me to finish. I've owned it for years, and it obviously is very well regarded. I probably would have enjoyed it more closer to release. I first got into SMT via Persona 3 back in 2007, and I don't remember the Tartarus grinding bothering me. I'm glad I played it, and I may go back for Amala at some point, but I was definitely ready to finish it and move on by the end of the game.
Thanks for the impressions.

I first played the game back in 2017. I did all the fiends and much of Amala but didn't go through with that wanting to see the original conclusion(s) the first time around. Still have to go back some day and do True Demon.

Baldur’s Gate 2 Cavalier’s log 1/20/19: Throne of Bhaal edition

Screw Abizagal, the dragon Bhaalspawn. That is all for today.
Poor Taborcarn :(.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,012
I don't know about Nightmare, but I've been playing the games on hard. I played FC in 2017 so it has been a while but I played SC last fall and am playing 3rd at the moment.

I think this is true of both FC and SC but it might just be SC: I found myself running a lot to maintain my resource pools in the dungeons. Normally it was just bosses/chest enemies that posed a deadly threat but normal enemies could be a drain. Now, keep in mind that I tend to do orbment upgrades in bursts rather than incrementally, which, well, is a problem for resource management in these games :P. Similarly, I tend to avoid buying weapons/gear as often as I can get away with it. This can create problems with weapon damage in FC and SC particularly--weapon tiers matter a lot. In FC, I pretty much just rolled with the punches wrt item drops too and kind of got caught with my pants down on the final boss but Earth Wall saved my ass. So...I am kind of messy and that's by way of saying take what I say with a grain of salt.

I found portions of both FC and SC challenging on hard, particular standouts being the late-game chest enemies in FC and certain bosses in SC, particularly in the (lengthy) final dungeon but the worms, for example, are another stand out in this regard. Moreover, SC pushed me to use things like attack food and intelligent positioning and had a kind of persistent focus on enemies that heal themselves forcing you to kill them in a burst of damage. Notably, for late game stuff I'm usually decently prepared wrt orbments and gear and that's the stuff I'm talking about.

So far 3rd has been a bit different. I feel I've been keeping up with gear and orbments pretty well this time with the way they are delivered (still haven't bought much but there's a lot of good stuff in chests) and I think generally it just doesn't play like FC and SC in certain ways wrt resource management and boss mechanics. At the same time, I've really enjoyed a lot of the boss design so they've been engaging nonetheless and sometimes more-so. Also, there still have been some bosses that have been pretty challenging--just on the whole it strikes me as notably easier than SC in particular (I'm a bit distant from FC at this point).

As to missing: Haven't seen much of it.
Gotcha, thanks for the reply. I tend to try and keep my characters as strong as possible at all times - buy new gear asap, upgrade orbments whenever possible, etc. so it sounds like maybe hard would be a good pick for me.

Interesting to hear that you're finding 3rd to be easier than SC. I remember a lot of people talking about it like it was this super hard tactical JRPG compared to FC and SC, where you have to really know how to break the systems to survive and so on.

Yeah, I think I'll stick to hard from SC onward. Or at least try to play them on hard, I guess. Challenging bosses are one thing, but I don't want every single trash mob fight to turn into multi-minute tactics fests.

e: Agate is like the only voice of reason in chapter 3 and all these fuckers just keep teasing him. I'm so torn with Tita. She's so annoying, and somehow makes the other characters act more annoying too. But she's so good in battle. Lol.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
2,606
Pro tip: Don't delve the the bottom of the Stygian Abyss, use the key of the three parts, declare the word of opening... and learn you need 8 party members to enter the chamber of infinity.

Only a complete idiot would do that.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,240
Netherlands
Also, there still have been some bosses that have been pretty challenging--just on the whole it strikes me as notably easier than SC in particular
Both FC and SC weren't balanced around higher difficulties, so there is some difference there.

In 3rd you also get such a wide range of crafts, arts and different ways to set up a party so it's easier to control the pace. You're still not giving a free win, just a lot of tools.

Okay now that you have the full party you gained your free win member basically, but you've seen that if you don't pay close attention the tide of battle can change a lot in a short amount of time. :slime:
 
Oct 25, 2017
987
I've been so busy over the last few months between buying a house and moving that I haven't kept up with the community thread.

I'm curious what the opinion towards Kingdom Come: Deliverance was in here?

What happened to the RPG Club?
 
OP
OP
FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,453
I've been so busy over the last few months between buying a house and moving that I haven't kept up with the community thread.

I'm curious what the opinion towards Kingdom Come: Deliverance was in here?

What happened to the RPG Club?
No worries, I'm also doing general prep for a large move as well and it's significantly affected how much time I spend both on Era and in the RPG Discord for the last couple weeks, and probably will for the foreseeable future unfortunately. The RPG Club is on a temporary hiatus because we're trying to figure out if we should roll it into the program that's currently active on the discord, and in what way we should take that discord program and bring it onto Era as a whole.

I played KC:D because I found a used copy for Xbox and therefore didn't feel bad about purchasing it (despite having a lot of interest in the game, I originally abstained from it due to the controversy around Daniel Vavra, which you're probably familiar with if you've spent any time discussing the game on here). My assessment of the game was that it was very interesting and meticulously crafted from a design perspective, but the core gameplay itself had some issues and there was also a distinct lack of polish. Admittedly, I'm sure the PC version runs a lot better.

Had it not been for Vavra, I would have played the game and probably would've considered it one of the better recent CRPGs due to how interesting it is and how tenaciously it attempts to simulate medieval Bohemia. As it stands I'm not sure if I'll continue with it because I don't want to keep playing it on Xbox, but I don't want to buy it on PC.
I haven't quite finished this one yet, but I figured I'd share my thoughts so far on Demon's Souls. I'm about 32 hours in at the moment and I'm enjoying the game quite a bit so far. The major standout for me with this game is the level design and I'm quite fond of it. I love all the little shortcuts and things throughout the level that are sorta just there for you to explore and find for yourself. Finding my first shortcut in 1-1 was almost a magical experience where I got up to the top of the castle and suddenly I see 3 different routes I can take, and I take the one on the left and suddenly I find myself on a balcony looking at the area where I started. For me at least, it was the little moments like these that I found just to be simply amazing, and as of right now I've finished the first section of every area (or I guess world?) and while I love some more than others and I definitely hate one (5-1), I just adore the level design in this game.

Another key highlight for me is the combat and while it did take a bit of time to adjust to, I found myself really enjoying it as I got used to the controls and how the combat works so to say. I really enjoy all the systems surrounding the combat system as well. The skill system is something I really enjoyed as it was cool to see a game where you could tailor a build to your specific play style. I can definitely understand how people have played through this game so much, and I imagine a lot of that is due to the gameplay variety in the game and the number of different builds you can make. Personally I've gone for a fairly straight forward build focusing largely on strength, endurance, and vitality was also investing in a few of the other skills and I'm enjoying playing the game as such. I could definitely have seen myself playing this game more than once had I played it back when it released. The core gameplay is just really solid and there's more than enough here to experiment with all kinds of different builds.

One thing I really love about the game just in general, is how the game isn't really afraid to challenge you, while also rewarding you immensely for succeeding in the face of the challenges that await you throughout the level. You will die a lot, I died a lot, but I really enjoyed the bloodstains and how they almost felt like a carrot at the end of a stick every time you died. The entire dynamic of death and the ramifications of death in this game was something I loved as it almost felt like a mechanic of it's own. When you die you lose everything, but it can all be yours again if you successfully return to where you fell before and that's just a dynamic I really enjoyed. The pressure placed on the player when they die is interesting because I almost feel like it makes the player better as they carefully go through the obstacles of the level again to reclaim what was once theirs, and while it is indeed stressful it's equally as rewarding.

The bosses in this game are another really big standout for me, and I've enjoyed almost all of the ones I've fought thus far. The bosses I found were surprisingly easy and they were mostly based around a key thing. Even though the boss destroyed me quite a few times, I really loved the boss at the end of 1-2 and the methods that were used to take it down. There's a method to defeating every boss and paying attention to attack patterns and knowing when to attack and when not to is a big part of these bosses. While for some of the bosses I suppose you could just go in guns blazing and defeating the boss, that doesn't really work for most of the ones I've fought thus far.

I really look forward to finishing this game, but so far this is a great start to a series I hope to play all the games in at some point.
I haven't been online recently as you know, but that's awesome that you're clicking with Demon's Souls, and if the looping level design is one of your highlights then I think you'll enjoy moving on to Dark Souls quite a bit.

My favorite thing about DeS is the tone. All of the Souls games are solemn and melancholy, but DeS has this strange, ethereal quality to it that I don't necessarily get from the later games. I think part of that is just from the Nexus itself, which is my favorite hub in the series; and part of it is from the bosses, most of whom have interesting "gimmicks" that tie into the themes of their areas, and feel more experimental and bizarre.
 
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FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,453

Are there any specific individuals who work on RPGs that you follow, as opposed to whole development teams? For example: do you keep tabs on what Richard Garriott's next project is, or put an RPG on your radar purely because Nobuo Uematsu is composing the soundtrack?
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,105
The RPG Club in the form it was in was basically a failure. It was a real bummer. So many votes, so few participants. The backlog blitz seems to be doing much better, but it's constrained to the Discord. I'm not certain that it would be more successful if it were brought outside of it, but I'm sure the reason it's more successful is that people get to play the games they want. It just so happens so far that some people have ended up putting the same game on their lists and playing them at the same time and enjoying that.
 
Oct 25, 2017
987

Are there any specific individuals who work on RPGs that you follow, as opposed to whole development teams? For example: do you keep tabs on what Richard Garriott's next project is, or put an RPG on your radar purely because Nobuo Uematsu is composing the soundtrack?
  • Josh Sawyer - I've been following him since he took a lead position at Obsidian. I've enjoyed the videos, blog posts, and forum posts he puts out on RPG design. Recently he has been very active throughout the development Pillars of Eternity and its sequel. I don't always agree with his ideas (balance!), but they're always very insightful. I enjoy his fascination for history as well.
  • Chris Avellone - Although recently he's been providing support for projects, rather than taking on a direct role, I always find his thoughts on writing and design interesting. I'll certainly take another look at a project I know he's involved with.
  • Tim Cain - I've been following him since Fallout and his days at Troika. His involvement with The Outer Worlds is a large part of why I'm interested.
  • Leonard Boyarsky - Much like Tim Cain, I've been following him since Fallout and his works at Troika. He fell off my radar for a number of years during his stay at Blizzard, but his cooperation with Tim Cain on The Outer Worlds has my interest again.
  • Vince D. Weller (or whatever his real name is) - I was familiar with him on the Codex, and some of his reviews (Fallout 3), but the development and release of The Age of Decadence is when I really started to follow him. And that's certainly true of Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game as well.
  • Swen Vincke - How can you not love this man? The Kickstarter updates for Divinity: Original Sin and its sequel were fantastic to watch. He has done a great job making Larian Studios one of the best CRPG developers out there.
Honestly, I follow a lot of individual developers to list them all. There are also a lot of them, such as Richard Garriot, who I used to follow, but haven't made anything worth mentioning in years.

EDIT: Yoko Taro got put on my radar after finishing NieR: Automata, and I've since gone back to look at his previous works, and some interviews. I'm almost certainly buying whatever his next project happens to be.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,012

Are there any specific individuals who work on RPGs that you follow, as opposed to whole development teams? For example: do you keep tabs on what Richard Garriott's next project is, or put an RPG on your radar purely because Nobuo Uematsu is composing the soundtrack?
I don't really follow anyone, but attach a name like Yoko Taro, Tetsuya Takahashi, Tetsuya Nomura, Tim Cain or Chris Avellone to your game and I'm definitely giving the game a try at least.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,240
Netherlands

Are there any specific individuals who work on RPGs that you follow, as opposed to whole development teams? For example: do you keep tabs on what Richard Garriott's next project is, or put an RPG on your radar purely because Nobuo Uematsu is composing the soundtrack?
I follow yoko taro on twitter and that's about it.
 
Oct 27, 2017
8,629
Should be noted that POE2's initial release of the turn-based mode will be 'beta' according to Josh Sawyer.


As to the QotW, there's a lot of devs that make my ears perk up when they're mentioned, but none I really follow. Yasumi Matsuno is probably the closest I've gotten, because he was involved in some of my favourite games of all time.
 
OP
OP
FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,453
When it comes to specific individuals, I mostly follow composers since music is such a huge part of my RPG experience. Uematsu, Matsuno, Hamauzu etc. On the designer side, I follow Yuji Horii and Shigesato Itoi, but both of those are sort of moot points (Horii is essentially DQ personified; and Itoi is no longer active and was only ever Mother). Despite having my issues with the Persona games, I'm very interested to see what comes of Hashino directing an RPG with a more classical fantasy setting.

Literal megaton for me (as you know haha). Been waiting on this potential news before playing the game, looks like it paid off! Glad it was confirmed not to be console exclusive too.

Also:
Turn-based combat might not suit every single one of the game’s battles, but it will delight those RPG fans who will be turn-based ‘til they die. A faction which includes, surprisingly enough, longtime real-time designer Josh Sawyer.

“I’ve always preferred turn-based,” he says. “Because of my tabletop background, and because I prefer closer examination. When I play real-time with pause, I micromanage so much that it might as well be turn-based.”


Josh Sawyer understands...
 
Oct 25, 2017
749
Well I guess I will put off my DLC playthrough until the turn-based mode is out now. For the most part I am fine with real-time but turn-based is clearly better.
 
Oct 25, 2017
987
I'm not keen on Obsidian being bought by Microsoft. I don't think their values are compatible with the games Obsidian makes, and it'll eventually end in disaster. I do hope Josh Sawyer gets to make the historical RPG he's been wanting to for years though.
 
Oct 27, 2017
547
Baldur’s Gate 2 Cavalier’s log 1/21/19: Throne of Bhaal edition

Ok, I’ve calmed down and things are a bit better now. After many tries I was eventually able to overcome Abizagal, the dragon Bhaalspawn. The problem was this fight comes in two phases. At first the fight starts with Aby in human form surrounded by a bunch of ice salamanders. This part isn’t so bad, even though he uses Hardiness to get 40% damage reduction for a while and drinks several major healing potions. I’m able to kite him around and tank him until I grind his HP down low enough to where he transforms into a full dragon.

This is where the trouble starts. When he transforms he gets all his health back and creates a shockwave across the whole area that knocks all my characters down and destroys all the summons I have out. Then he attacks so hard and so fast that he can usually take a character down before they can stand back up again. And when he’s attacking someone else he can usually break them down before they can even finish chugging a potion.

It took a lot of tries and different potential spells combinations. I even broke out one of the rare Time Stop scrolls, but the dragon was immune to it! While time stopped for all my characters except the wizard that used the scroll, the dragon just kept on munching on his now-immobile snacks. Definitely made things worse.

In the end it came down to lucky positioning I think that finally gave me the edge. When the dragon transformed, it was in the center of the room and knocked my party out as pretty much as far as they could go. This allowed my characters to get up before he got to them, and luckily he targeted my MC first so he could activate his own Hardiness skill for the 40% damage reduction. With Haste up on my party I was able to keep the heals up, do some melee damage, and summon some replacement creatures to be off-tanks. Since the dragon resists mosts spells I had my mages spamming direct damage spells like Magic Missile that offer no saving throw. At last I was able to deal a deathblow, and with no casualties of my own this time either.

After the fight I’m summoned once more by The Solar to the pocket plane. Instead of telling me more about myself, she summons the spirit of the recently-dead-by-my-hand Yaga-Shura (the fire giant Bhaalspawn) and makes him tell me all about “The Five” big Bhaalspawn that are causing all this trouble. I’ve dealt with four of them already, and the fifth is revealed to be
Balthazar, the monk leader of the desert town and the one who informed me of the locations of the other Bhaalspawn. There’s also a quick cutscene where Balthazar is shown to have been working with Melissan *gasp*. He no longer needs her though, so he tells his guards to take her away and execute her.
.

Looks like I’m nearing the end, but I may just make a quick side trip before dealing with the rest of this Bhaalspawn business.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,607
Both FC and SC weren't balanced around higher difficulties, so there is some difference there.

In 3rd you also get such a wide range of crafts, arts and different ways to set up a party so it's easier to control the pace. You're still not giving a free win, just a lot of tools.

Okay now that you have the full party you gained your free win member basically, but you've seen that if you don't pay close attention the tide of battle can change a lot in a short amount of time. :slime:
The bolded is really interesting and makes sense to me given my experience with the three games.

As to the rest, yeah 3rd feels really empowering from the start with things like CP accessories being given really early on, which were things you'd get through, say, late game BP rewards in previous entries. It felt much more like I was jumping in where I'd left off even though they took my orbments away again.

And yeah, I think the bosses have had nice encounter design in 3rd. Generally, I think that is a series strength but 3rd is quite strong.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,606
Baldur’s Gate 2 Cavalier’s log 1/21/19: Throne of Bhaal edition

Ok, I’ve calmed down and things are a bit better now. After many tries I was eventually able to overcome Abizagal, the dragon Bhaalspawn. The problem was this fight comes in two phases. At first the fight starts with Aby in human form surrounded by a bunch of ice salamanders. This part isn’t so bad, even though he uses Hardiness to get 40% damage reduction for a while and drinks several major healing potions. I’m able to kite him around and tank him until I grind his HP down low enough to where he transforms into a full dragon.

This is where the trouble starts. When he transforms he gets all his health back and creates a shockwave across the whole area that knocks all my characters down and destroys all the summons I have out. Then he attacks so hard and so fast that he can usually take a character down before they can stand back up again. And when he’s attacking someone else he can usually break them down before they can even finish chugging a potion.

It took a lot of tries and different potential spells combinations. I even broke out one of the rare Time Stop scrolls, but the dragon was immune to it! While time stopped for all my characters except the wizard that used the scroll, the dragon just kept on munching on his now-immobile snacks. Definitely made things worse.

In the end it came down to lucky positioning I think that finally gave me the edge. When the dragon transformed, it was in the center of the room and knocked my party out as pretty much as far as they could go. This allowed my characters to get up before he got to them, and luckily he targeted my MC first so he could activate his own Hardiness skill for the 40% damage reduction. With Haste up on my party I was able to keep the heals up, do some melee damage, and summon some replacement creatures to be off-tanks. Since the dragon resists mosts spells I had my mages spamming direct damage spells like Magic Missile that offer no saving throw. At last I was able to deal a deathblow, and with no casualties of my own this time either.

After the fight I’m summoned once more by The Solar to the pocket plane. Instead of telling me more about myself, she summons the spirit of the recently-dead-by-my-hand Yaga-Shura (the fire giant Bhaalspawn) and makes him tell me all about “The Five” big Bhaalspawn that are causing all this trouble. I’ve dealt with four of them already, and the fifth is revealed to be
Balthazar, the monk leader of the desert town and the one who informed me of the locations of the other Bhaalspawn. There’s also a quick cutscene where Balthazar is shown to have been working with Melissan *gasp*. He no longer needs her though, so he tells his guards to take her away and execute her.
.

Looks like I’m nearing the end, but I may just make a quick side trip before dealing with the rest of this Bhaalspawn business.
Make sure you take a trip to Watcher's Keep before you wrap up (if you haven't already), it's by far the best part of the expansion.