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

angelgrievous

Member
Nov 8, 2017
3,589
Ohio
is it just me or does Fei change into a completely different person when he gets to D-Block? He's just all full of tude now, it's weird.

talking about Xenogears btw.
 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,812
Truckin' along very slowly in my blitz.

More Ayesha.
First off, this battle theme is great. I loved when it popped up as the battle track in the new area I visited.


Onto the update - I made a lot of progress today. I crafted lots of new things, including those fancy bombs I learned about. Many levels were raised, and I'd been defeated in combat by some pretty strong enemies that I wasn't really geared for. I wiped out as many as I could, but eventually depleted all of my healing items and attack items on the sixth or so battle. I lost a day, but I'll return with whatever magical thermonuclear device I can concoct.

Things started off weird. I went to the hill plaza in my main base, only for Ayesha to pass out on the bench and a 2-minute long j-pop song to cut in and do a sorta anime OP. It seemed out of place because I'm like 15 hours into the game, so...yeah. I explored some new areas, but then returned home to clear out some space, make a new basket to hold more items, and stock up on healing items and explosives. First up - clearing out the Glass Factory for Wilbell's get rich quick scheme. Harry was there, but chickened out. In the end, there was nothing that would really be of value, at least not the level of value Wilbell is looking for.
After hitting level 30, I unlocked the super moves. They're basically limit breaks, but the gauge goes away after battle. Use it or lose it. Wilbell's is a giant AOE that hits all targets multiple times.
Linca's is practically Omnislash.
I beat Harry in his stupid treasure contest. Again. I am a god of useless garbage. Although actually I submitted something I simply had an excess of. It was a much needed boost of cash as I have a ton of books to go buy. Before I could do that though, I ran into Keith of all people. He seemed...friendlier, but still couldn't help but sound like a jerk in everything he said. He did hand over the item he forcefully took from Ayesha in battle. He wouldn't say what it was or what it does, just that it'd help somehow. He revealed that he's a wanted man for destroying countless alchemy labs and research facilities. He considers those unworthy to be shams and thinks they must be stripped of alchemy if they are unworthy. On that note, he gave Ayesha a task to prove her worth as an alchemist - or he'll take it away from her. On a less serious note, Marietta is still jonesin' for him.
Per recommendation, I went back to the library to talk to Odelia. She complains about boredom, so I feel bad for her. After hanging around the library some and buying the last two books I couldn't afford last time, I went exploring south west. I didn't have any plans to go to the town of Hornheim, but I just kind of wandered towards it. There were a lot of big, wide-open fields on my way to the cliffs, and the cliffside itself overlooked the town of Hornheim. It was neat to gather materials and see the town in the background. Eventually, I arrived and learned they use balloons to travel to other regions.
After getting lost, a stranger named Kyle offered some help. Along with some comments on beauty and flirting and general pickup lines that really weren't working on Ayesha. He came on pretty strong and came off a bit creepy. Immediately after saying he's not creepy. Which is also creepy to say. Soon enough, he eased up but then...kinda came on strong a few more times in later interactions. The town itself is pretty serene. It's an old port town that turned into a skyport town when the ground opened up and swallowed the sea. Unfortunately, Ranun was also there. And unfortunately, he was still alive.
Using Ranun's existence as a cue to run away, I took the hot air balloon to two new areas. The first being the home of the Homunculi. They live a bit out of the way, but their village is adorable. There wasn't much for me to do there except buy a few books. Excitingly enough, one of those books will let me crate a big bomb that I've had my eye on since early game.
Afterwards, I moved onto the Salt Desert. It's a desert...pretty much made of salt. Sounds miserable. It's hot and hard to walk in, but there are a ton of materials there. I also met a new friend there, Tanya, whose family mines the salt desert and sells salt to traveling merchants. The area itself is near a giant lighthouse ruin. I imagine this used to all be under the ocean thousands of years ago.
The enemies here weren't anything special, but I did get a chance to test out some of my new gear and items. I was also able to find out what the hell a Himmel Schenk does. Apparently it summons a giant flaming explosive barrel from the sky. Three times in battle. It's pretty strong.
I did some more exploring around the salt desert, cleared out all the enemies and gathering spots. Lots of materials. Linca is also starting to hit triple digits with her damage, which means she can wipe out most groups of enemies in a single turn. Unfortunately, she's not fast enough to take the first action and her MP isn't exactly high compared to Wilbell. She does restore MP on taking damage, so her Cover move is quite useful for tanking hits and getting back MP.
Upon departure, Tanya ran up and wanted to talk some more. She doesn't have any friends and the only people live in the area is her family, so Ayesha indulged her in conversation. Upon some chatter, the topic of the flowers Ayesha is looking for came up. Lo and behold, the flower that only blooms once every hundred years in an endless plain is quite near. Though, it's no longer a plain. Just a wasteland. After learning how the flower works, Ayesha decided to create an item that would make the flower bloom and set that as a goal.
As I've mentioned before, I really love the giant ruins and desolate landscapes. Each new one I find, I wonder what the place was or what it was like ages ago. This sprawling landscape with hills and fragments of some older civilization that once thrived is so lifeless and barren, but full of remnants that said life once stood here. It really adds to the sense of exploration and wonder.
Kyle's putting the creep on pretty strong. He did offer up one of the rooms upstairs as a base for Ayesha. Now I can explore further south with ease and shave off a week or two of my travel times. It's pretty small but it'll do for creating more useless garbage and high explosives. Hopefully Kyle has insurance.
Why hello Zeit Bomb~ I have devilish plans for you.
I'm very curious about the mystery around Nio and what the flowers have to do with people being spirited away. I'm also mesmerized by all the giant ruins, so finding new ones makes me quite happy. I'll continue pushing my alchemy levels so I can make the biggest and bestest bomb. Perhaps this pursuit of power is what caused the world to decline in the first place, hmm...

I think I'll start up Earthbound once I'm done with Ayesha.
 

Taborcarn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
606
I finished up Pillars of Eternity 2 this weekend for my third game in the blitz. Overall I enjoyed it, but significantly less so than the other CRPGs I've played in the past year, mainly D:OS2 and the Baldur's Gate series. Sure those are big shoes to fill, but that's my frame of reference at the moment.

The world was definitely painstakingly built with that Avellone magic lore, but that lore was dropped in huge dumps that pulled me from the game. Good dialogue is nice, but not when I'm clicking next->next->next for at least 10 minutes while being a fly on the wall during a board meeting of the gods. At the very least they could have served lunch.
Also you need to choose from 4 distinct factions in this Imperialist setting, and none of them were particularly attractive to me. But as the story unfolds, each faction provides you with a method to reach the final endgame area so it's in your best interest to align with one of them. There is an option to choose none, but that involves upgrading to the most expensive ship and getting the top level of upgrades for all the components, but that would take a ridiculous amount of money and I didn't particularly enjoy dealing with the ship systems to begin with.

I played the game in the turn-based mode that was patched in and still technically a beta feature. It played out pretty well, but lacks some of the depth of the D:OS systems. Each turn you can move and take a primary action, and there are also some free actions. The Action Point system from D:OS seemed to work better, since there are a huge range of things that all equal the same standard action, where it feels like a waste doing something small like switching your weapon hotset instead of say unleashing your highest level attack or spell.

Parts of the game were changed up to accommodate the turn-based mode, like all armor now has an initiative value to that will affect your place in the turn order depending on how heavy the armor is. All told, this seems to have balanced the game to be easier. Granted I was on the normal difficultly setting, but that was how I played the first PoE and this seemed quite a bit simpler than that game. There were few battles where I faced a serious challenge, and even the "final" boss was subverted by a quest/dialogue choice that I had made that I didn't even realize was related.
Part of the lack of difficulty may have been my class choice, where I played a Moon Godlike Paladin and specced to be as tanky as possible. Neither physical attacks or magic did much damage to me, and with the turn-based mode and the engagement system I was able to position my party into a tactical advantage in most battles. Even against some super tanky damage resistant enemies it became a battle of attrition, where my ranged characters were able to wear them down before my MC dropped.

Another thing worth mentioning was the itemization. Most weapons and armor in the game are graded on a rank of Normal-Fine-Exceptional-Superb-Legendary. It's evident that there was effort put into creating some interesting items in the world, but the problem is that every character I met started with a good set of equipment with at least one item that was upgradable all the way to legendary. Upgrading them was not hard, and these items were pretty much better than anything else I encounter in the game. So except for some fringe armor (boots, hats, gloves) and accessories, most of my characters ended the game with the same equipment they started with.

All in all it was an enjoyable game, but still somewhat of a letdown. I'm glad I played it, but I doubt I will return for the DLC.

Edit: Oops, while focusing on all the downsides, I forgot to mention the best parts of the game: Pet Collecting Simulator 2018. The main character has a slot in their inventory for a pet, which will follow you around at all times and provided a passive bonus. These pets are found as items in the environment with titles like "malnourished dog" or "abandoned cat", and they are everywhere. Once you pick them up you learn their true name. Most of the game I ran with Toby, a good boi who provided bonuses to perception and damage reduction. Here's my inventory in mid-game sorted by "Other":

By the end of the game I had at least a dozen each of cats and dogs, 2 pigs, a bear cub, a dragonling, and a weird little demon spawn.
 
Last edited:

emonk

Member
Oct 25, 2017
939
Over the weekend, I finally finished Phantasy Star II, my second game completed for the blitz. I still intend to write up thoughts on Tactics Ogre, my first one, I swear. I threw out my thoughts in the Discord but for anyone not there, I figured I should pop them in here as well. I played the Genesis Collection on Steam with the modernization mod. It's available on other platforms as well, although I just got it via the Steam Workshop. I'll put a link in the bottom of the post. The Steam version gave me mods, save states, and a fast forward/rewind feature. I also got to kick back on the couch and play it on my 4K TV, which is just an amusing idea to me.

MoonFrog asked me in Discord if it was good. Was Phantasy Star II good? Well, I wouldn't say it was bad, but it's certainly a very old game and comes with all of the stuff that very old games come with. I played Phantasy Star last year, and I'm happy that I now have both of those games under my belt, but there are both definitely very early RPGs.

I used a modernization mod which really helped cut down on grinding, although I still had to do some at times, mostly for money to buy new equipment. Phantasy Star II doesn't have a nice interface for shopping, so I mostly played with an item guide open to check out weapon and item power. It's not the full story as the attack power on the firearms isn't an accurate reflection of their power from what I read, but it's close enough. The game does indicate to you that a character cannot use a weapon or armor if you try to buy it for them by having the shopkeeper incredulously ask if you really want to proceed, but I would prefer a straight in-game comparison. Minor gripe, and not really something I expect from a game that was released 30 years ago in Japan.

I also used maps online to navigate the games many dungeons. Even with the maps, it could be a somewhat arduous process to make my way down, or up as the case may be. The US release came with a hintbook that had maps, and I found some scans online because I was curious, but there are much better and more detailed maps online. I can't imagine trying to navigate Green Dam just using that hint book, or even worse renting or buying the game second hand and not even having it. I cheated not only the game but myself, and that's ok.

I think the scope of the game is impressive given its age. You can have up to four characters in your party, and you get eight to choose from. The only games I can think of from back then where you could build your own party were Dragon Quest IV and Final Fantasy VI, and they both came out after Phantasy Star II both in the US and Japan.

It has a fairly basic auto-battle system, which fit in nicely with the fast-forward functionality on the Steam version, and the only times I had issues with it were on the late bosses where I had to do some defensive healing. Your party members will attack or use the spell you selected over and over again without any input from you unless you stop them, but your healers will only cast a healing spell once and then automatically revert to fighting if you don't interrupt the auto-battle.

The story had some twists to it at a few points which I didn't expect, having had really no knowledge of the game other than that it existed prior to me playing it. Having no real nostalgia for the series, as I never owned Sega hardware until the Dreamcast, I think that without the QoL features the mod and the Steam release brought, it would be much rougher around the edges, but I think even then it would be worth playing one time at least. It brought some new things to the table, and the sci-fi setting is a nice change of pace from your typical sword-and-sorcery fare.

I liked the music in both of the first two games, and I like the setting as well. The second world in the game is a lot more open ended, which was another surprising thing for me coming from a game made in the 1980s. You can really go about resolving things in whatever order you want once you get to that point. Actually the end of the first planet is like that as well, which was neat.

I will play Phantasy Star III, despite multiple warnings not to, probably in the next blitz. I plan on finishing the series and exploring some of the online versions of the game, as I have one for GameCube and have dabbled a bit with the private servers that are still running. I played Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy to death on my NES as a kid, so I'm sure if I had Phantasy Star II would have undoubtedly spent many hours with it. It's fun going back and experiencing influential works in the genre, and it's nice that there are ways to take some of the grit off of the experience.

And now, some links:

The Modernization Hack on romhacking

The maps that I used for my playthrough

The Phantasy Star II OST:
 

Box of Kittens

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,871
Damn have I been sleeping on Growlanser Wayfarer of Time! This game is great so far even tho the art style isn't my taste
It really flew under the radar when it came out, which I suppose isn't that surprising for a 2012 PSP game in a series whose previous entry (from a North American standpoint) was panned, but I'm always glad to see people discover it. The scenario design is absolutely top notch.
 

Adam Sadler

Member
Nov 9, 2017
1,137
It really flew under the radar when it came out, which I suppose isn't that surprising for a 2012 PSP game in a series whose previous entry (from a North American standpoint) was panned, but I'm always glad to see people discover it. The scenario design is absolutely top notch.
Yeah, I owned the ps2 games and weren't all that enthused by them to check this one but man this game is impressive honestly. The variety in the battle objectives have me absolutely in love with it also how the world doesn't know about magic so there are times when you cannot use it at all because of story reasons.
 

Iva Demilcol

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,114
Iwatodai Dorm
Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age. Week 1:

  • It's a pretty slow game, not the story no: Combat's pretty slow and during most battles I had to wait for Vaan to being able to attack an enemy because stealing something is actually slower and you just get trash. Fortunately for me, Balthier and Fran are awesome ans speeded up things.
  • Balthier is awesome.
  • The Gambit System is interesting so far.
  • The story is quite interesting. I was joking the other day about how a lot of the kids in the city are fucking thieves but then it hit me: most of them are orphans from the war. "You think I like living like this?" is what Vaan says when Penelo questions why he steals stuff.
  • Balthier is awesome.
  • Ranabastre is fucking huge. I've spent so much time exploring it and I always get lost. It also feels really alive in a way some modern games from this and the previous generation haven't achieved. This is actually the reason why I'm playing this game: I cannot get enough of Ivalice.
  • Basch's story is quite dumb (sorry, had to say it)
  • Did I mention that Balthier is awesome?



 

Mr.Deadshot

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,716
Knee deep into Pillars of Eternity 2 with all the DLC and I love every second of it. I really really hope there will be a third game, but chances aren't that great :(

Warframe became my go-to loot-game. What a fantastic game. Love pretty much all about it.

I also want to finish Grim Dawn first DLC over the weekend and play more of Yo-Kai Watch.
 

Gevin

Member
Nov 2, 2017
965
My third game of the blitz was Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation.

I'm kinda familiar with the Nep games so I knew what to except and I was not disappointed. I love all the references and stupid jokes about the game industry and other media, they are just too fun.

The gameplay is pretty fun too, if a bit grindy at times. Basically on each dungeon you get plans. These plans allow you to buy items or equipment, or outright change the game's mechanics (more exp, auto win battles, weaker enemies, unlock characters/dungeons). To make the plans you need materials which are either collectable on the dungeons or dropped by items. Adding to that, there are specific plans for each dungeon to either change the items or add more (harder) enemies, which are necessary in order to get certain plans, and you need those to get even more plans, and so on.

It's better to ignore most of that stuff and come back later to it after farming a specific set of plans if you feel like it, you can get by most of the game with little to no use of the plan system. It gets kinda tiresome at points but the battle system is pretty fun. Basically turn based but with some elements of tactical positioning and a shitload of combos/abilities/spells/combos to choose from.

In addition to all that there's a minigame where you send a little girl to dungeons and she either completes it or fails. If she succeeds (or you have a certain DLC active) she brings back items which are useful for some plans, or better equipment for her to be able to go to harder dungeons and so on. Again, it gets grindy and it has a real time element but you can cheat it out by changing your PC's time so it's not a big deal.

Overall I had a great time, some of the references had me grinning like an idiot and the gameplay loop was addictive enough for me to never get boring. In fact I managed to get all 8 endings and 100% the game, and the only negative about it was the share grinding which honestly sucks.

Finally, have some images.








 

Sinatar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,930
I don't envy anyone who tried to map Ishar on actual graph paper back in the day, the map is enormous.

 

Jag

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,978
A bit late to the party on this one, but seeing as I've played a good bit of the major CRPG scene I could find (BG, NWN, IWD, DoS, PoE, Tyranny), I was looking at Tower of Time as the next big game on my to-do list. Anyone familiar wanna talk me out of it or into it?

Really enjoying ToT right now. It's perfect little BG style combat simulator using modern mechanics. The story and dialog are not much at all, but the gameplay makes up for it. Combat definitely keeps you on your toes.

Leveling is weird as it is gold based, you buy training. But I like that you can easily respec skills with no penalties.



You can choose your level of pause when casting. The screen changes color when slowed. It can either pause or go slow mo. Slow mo is more than enough to get those last second casts off. Also keyboard/hotkey casting is much easier than using the mouse like shown here.
 
Last edited:
Oct 25, 2017
10,466
Austria
I can't stop thinking about that Obsidian Alien RPG since Josh Sawyer tweeted about how he wanted a chestburster to burst out of a marine and yell "SEGA!" at the logo screen
 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,812
Really enjoying ToT right now. It's perfect little BG style combat simulator using modern mechanics. The story and dialog are not much at all, but the gameplay makes up for it. Combat definitely keeps you on your toes.

Leveling is weird as it is gold based, you buy training. But I like that you can easily respec skills with no penalties.



You can choose your level of pause when casting. The screen changes color when slowed. It can either pause or go slow mo. Slow mo is more than enough to get those last second casts off. Also keyboard/hotkey casting is much easier than using the mouse like shown here.
I actually really like how that slow-mo works. I've never been a huge fan of RTwP, but this looks like a comfortable compromise. I'll have to keep an eye on this.
 

Arulan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,151
I don't envy anyone who tried to map Ishar on actual graph paper back in the day, the map is enormous.

Is that from Grid Cartographer?

I haven't played Ishar, but I imagine that most people didn't map everything. For a lot of older CRPGs you usually had to map the dungeons, but not necessarily the outside world and towns. They'd often come with a map of the world or town in the box, or in the case of Pool of Radiance you'd get access to it from finding it in-game.


 

Taborcarn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
606
Is that from Grid Cartographer?

I haven't played Ishar, but I imagine that most people didn't map everything. For a lot of older CRPGs you usually had to map the dungeons, but not necessarily the outside world and towns. They'd often come with a map of the world or town in the box, or in the case of Pool of Radiance you'd get access to it from finding it in-game.


Yeah that's Grid Cartographer, Sin mapped it out on his stream if you want to check it out.
 

Jag

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,978
Are the characters premade or do you make your own? I couldn't really tell from the short video I watched.
Premade. You start with 2 and pick up more as you go. I think there are 7 total, you have a max of 4 characters at a time and can easily swap them in and out before combat. You can also spec from a few different skills but only have 4 active skills at a time. Again, it's really easy to respec. The focus is on tactical combat, not punishing players for choosing the "wrong" skills.

Actual character class customization isn't that great but the stats you choose from skills and gear are the most important. You may want to gear for elemental resist, armor pen, mana or health regen, etc. One of my casters has a big AOE heal, so I'm using lots of mana regen on him so he doesn't run out mid fight.

Currently I'm fighting these elementals with high earth resistance, but weak to fire, so I'm using gear that is effective on that type while using some resistance gear and skills too. You can craft, enchant and upgrade gear using gems. I had a tough time with one boss, but a respec of skills and gear let me one shot him next attempt.

Your characters are typical archetypes and you can vary them a little through gearing. For example, your fighter can be a sword and board tank, a 2H or even dual wield with a penalty to offhand.
 

Arulan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,151
Story time.

I decided it was time to venture north. I knew my destination -- Mongrel.



I set off from one of the villages of the Western Hive. A few hours in and there was no one to be seen. No bandits, escaped servants, or nomads. Nothing. All except large rusted-out pieces from the old world. I made it to the fog. I'd heard a tale about this fog from a group of Hiver traders. They tried to con me into buying a magical lantern to pass through it. I didn't believe them until the moment a group of crazed figures started coming after me. I ran out, and prepared to fight them. Fogmen!

After a chaotic fight I stood victorious. I prepared a camp on a nearby hill to recover Ruka's wounds. Perhaps the Hiver traders were right? I decided I would leave the rest of my party here to recover, and run back alone to buy one of these magical lanterns the Hivers spoke of. I managed to run back and acquire a lantern, and Ruka was resting while Hobbs and Bones looked out over the camp. All was going well, until I saw them...

Cannibals heading straight for my camp! I couldn't run. Hobbs and the rest of camp would have to make their stand. I was still making my way back from the village. Ruka held her own for some time, but one unlucky blow knocked her out, and then Hobbs fell. Bones scurried off into the woods, but eventually fell as well. Nothing about this was going well.

I made it to my dog Bones, but another as luck would have it, a large group of hungry bandits saw me and knocked me out before I could carry my dog to safety. Most of them left as I played dead. The last one was trying to carve up my dog! I got up to try and stop him, and with an unlucky hit I was back on the ground... Nooooo! There was nothing I could do but watch as this piece of scum butchered my dog as I lay there. But wait, Fogmen?! As if appearing out of the trees themselves two Fogmen attack the bandit and finish him off. My dog still lives!

That moment of hope was short-lived. As I continue to lay there a group of patrolling cannibals scoops me up. For the next few minutes I watch as cannibals finish hauling all (except Bones) of my party to their camp. One by one, we're reunited once again, but tied to polls and in front of a large roasting pit. We're not alone either, but in the same company as unfortunate bandits, outlaws, and fogmen.





I began to think about how did it come to this. Of all the horrible fates in Kenshi, from being forced into slavery to being eaten by Beak Things, having to wait around until your turn to be dinner was horrifying. Everyone was unconscious and recovering. There was nothing I could do but watch. Then it happened...







Oh no... Not like this...

I knew I had only one chance. Hobbs and Ruka managed to wake up. They'd have to pick their locks, free me, and somehow sneak away without being seen by the dozens of cannibals nearby. I'd have to wait for night, but at any moment I could be next to go. The wait was unbearable. I watched as four other prisoners got their turn. I just needed some advantage, anything to give me a chance.

And there it was! A large group of outlaws got into a fight with some cannibals not far from the camp itself. The rest of the cannibals fled off to join in. This was it! Hobbs and Ruka picked their locks. Hobbs freed me, and some able-bodied bandits and escaped servants just in case we needed another distraction. Hobbs with me on his shoulder and Ruka ran like never before. They didn't stop running until I was absolutely sure. As I turned around one of the escaped servants was following me. Overjoyed by my help in his escape, he decides to join us. I just had one last thing to do. I rescue Bones, and got the fuck out of cannibal country.

 
Last edited:

ElOdyssey

Member
Oct 30, 2017
433
Currently playing Cosmic Start Heroine on Vita. Enjoying it so far (Chapter 7) but the loading times and the occasional hiccup is odd considering the type of game it is. But eh got it essentially for free after buying it on launch when it came out on PS4.

My RPG backlog is ridiculous though and I hope to knock out some of them this year.
 

Sirmoogle

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
69
A new TRPG comes out of early access and on consoles today called Fell seal: Arbiter's Mark. It hits every nostalgia branch on the tree for Final Fantasy Tactics and some of the features of Advance. God the music is so good and that TB combat is still amazing even with a few tweaks from these guys.
 

Bitanator

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,585
I forgot to save after getting through Parj Temple in Star Ocean and turn the game off, fuck that place and those fucking orbs. Only lost an hour but I still have to go through again, will probably take a break for a day or two.
 

Beary

Member
May 23, 2018
23
Beat my second game for the Blitz: The World ends with you on DS! I enjoyed it a lot, even though I still suck at the battle system after all this time. It sometimes felt like more of an action game to me than an RPG. Trying to look at two screens, while also fumbling around on the touchscreen to create combos is a lot to handle. But it's also super interesting how the battle system is a part of the larger themes of the game. I don't know many games that use their game mechanics as metaphors or use the hardware their on in interesting ways. So definitely a very unique game with a great setting and music and overall a very cohesive experience. Also I am now mostly done with my DS Backlog...

On an unrelated note: Devil Survivor 2 is on sale on the 3DS eShop for 30 bucks and I'm wondering, if I should buy it. I haven't played Devil Survivor 1 yet and it's still pretty expensive, but on the other hand retail copies are even more expensive and I don't know how much longer the 3DS eShop will be properly supported. So Is Devil Survivor 2 a must have for a 3DS RPG collection?
 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,812
Ayesha update~

I did lots! Made new toys, gathered new items, fought new things, and found new areas. I spent like...two months doing all this, so I missed many bazaars.
First up - BOMBS!

Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh...
Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh
I ran around knocking out a few tasks. I had some bounties to collect on some notable monsters. I haven't been able to locate the Grand Rocky Boss yet, so maybe its in an area I don't know yet... I also noticed in my hunts that there's a bored girl who just comes to see the notorious monster and watch it beat people up. She should get a hobby. Most importantly, I ran into a cow with constipation, so that's how my past week has been going.
Please go away Ranun.
I spent some time fighting some pretty strong enemies. I was forced to use more items and skills at my disposal, so combat took a much more interesting turn. I was finally able to set up some repeating attacks, focus on status effects, and actually manipulate the timeline a little bit. Ah, Mana Khemia bleeding through~
I spent a lot of time hunting monsters and exploring around, but I also managed to find some new books so I can make more stuff. Woo! I... should make more stuff. I haven't even completed any tabs in my alchemy book yet. I spent so much time away from the main city, I forgot about the whole... homunculus sparkles thing. Turns out they're difficult to deal with, but that's because they don't share the same values as humans. Ayesha did offer to talk to them the next time she went out to their village, so hopefully that will help Marietta and Harry find out what a 'sparkle' means to these creatures.
Making Friends - Part 1
Linca was told to go make some friends. Linca is a strange woman who has little to no social awareness. Her primary goal is protecting Marion. Marion has had to teach her things such as manners, etiquette, etc. When she said it would be nice for Linca to "have a hundred friends", she took it as an order and set out to make 100 friends. It was kind of touching to see this socially awkward person try to ask people to be her friend, only to find out they already are. Seeing her smile in realizing that was kind of heartwarming. Linca is a good person.

Making Friends - Part 2

Linca made another friend - her employer Marion. She seemed quite proud of that fact. She mentioned she may be able to make one more by the end of the year, and had quite a determination to hit that goal. Apparently, Harry overheard this.
As mentioned, Harry overheard this. As previously mentioned months ago, Harry is a creepy weirdo. Linca called him a stranger despite being around him for months, drew her giant sword and threatened to cut his ass if he got any closer. Linca is a good person.

Making Friends - Part 3

Even a cow is better than Harry.
While Wilbell was swindling Harry for some magical items, Ayesha still thinks that Wilbell is trying to hide the fact that she's a witch. Nevermind all the times Wilbell declared herself the worlds greatest witch in the treasure contests. If anything, Ayesha is spacey. It must be all those chemicals and herbs she uses in her medicine crafting.
I took a look at my book and completely forgot that there was another part of the Glass Factory quest. I made my way to the third floor and found there was a small crevice that had something inside.
It was pitch black, but eventually some light creeped in and allowed Ayesha and Wilbell to see there was a giant pile of junk in the corner. As part of their Get Rich Or Die Tryin' scheme, they figured they'd just drag it all out and haul it off to Harry to sell. Turns out the junk is too big to fit through the door, so they left it.
I did some more wandering and quest cleanup, found out there was another bounty on a wolf that was stalking a forest. Without a doubt, the Bored Girl was there again. This time, she got a site she hadn't expected. This wolf is tough. Really tough. It chips off 1/3 HP in one hit, acts 2-4 times per turn, has two allies that are damage sponges and hit pretty hard, and the wolf can stack status effects on me pretty quickly. I struggled to stay alive, and even my biggest and bestest bomb didn't help me.
EXA BOMB GO!
I was no match...
Harry's Stupid Treasure Contest That He Keeps Losing Despite Being The Head Of, A Contestant Of, And The Judge Of.
Wilbell and Linca joined this one. Surprisingly, Harry's run was... pretty crappy. The judges seemed to be pretty sour on his treasure. Wilbell's seemed decent, but she still hasn't found that shiny trinket that the crowd loves. Linca joining was a surprise. It seems part of her social growth is to try engaging in community events such as the treasure contest.
Wait - what? She submitted soup? She can't cook for--
?!
I lost. I got my ass kicked. I've won the past three in a row, but Linca wiped the floor with me. This was quite a surprise, as she's such a terrible cook. People loved what she made. Normally, I could just reload and try to get a better item/result, but...this was just too perfect. Not only was Harry DEAD LAST, but Linca won with food of all things. She seemed so happy, so this has to be my result. I get the item either way, I'm just losing out on 5k gold. This is such a great result.
Linca is a good person.

So, I have a new archnemesis (that god damn wolf), so I'll escalate my arms race make some sort of explosive that not only blows up the wolf, but somehow goes back in time to decimate the entire bloodline with a rain of hellfire and terrible status effects. I'm not sure how much time I have left until I need to make Keith's item and find Nio, but I'll need to start focusing on that pretty soon.
 
Nov 4, 2017
1,628

Finally finished Dragon Quest 2 and all in all I enjoyed the game, but I also didn't really love it. The biggest new thing to the game is the addition of party members and while this might seem like a rather boring addition given every RPG nowadays has party members I'm sure this was a big deal when the game originally released. Thanks to new party members combat in DQ2 is a significant improvement over DQ1 and it's incredibly fun. Fantastic encounter design, and the various strengths and weaknesses of each of the party members gives the combat a really fun dynamic. The party members in this game each have their own strengths and weaknesses and that is personally something I really enjoyed. Hero was quite powerful at dealing physical attacks, but he had nothing to offer in terms of magic abilities. The second party member is capable of dealing good physical damage and use good magic spells but he doesn't particularly excel at either. I'd consider the Prince of Cannock (he was called Kain in the version of the game I played) a middle of the road party member which makes him interesting as he's versatile, but he also isn't as good at dealing physical damage as Hero nor is he as good at magic as the game's third party member. Last, there's the princess of Moonbrooke, whose a magic based character. She gets new spells fairly frequently and can do both attack and healing/buff/debuff spells. The dynamic between these 3 party members really makes encounters enjoyable with how many options the player has at their disposal. There's a lot of fun to be had in terms of experimenting with different strategies and seeing what sticks in combat.

The game's story is interesting as some of it ties back to the events of DQ1. The protagonists of the game are the descendants of the legendary hero you played as from the first game which is a neat little connection to those who played it.

The game's story takes a really interesting turn when you revisit the starting area and the final dungeon of Dragon Quest 1 when a descendant of the Dragon Lord basically helps you to defeat Hargon. Having finished the game now I really am curious to see what the implications of this are in DQ3 since it felt like the characters were working with the devil to defeat Hargon.

I really like how much charm there is to the game. Towns are excellent as are the NPCs, and I really enjoyed how the keys gave you a reason to come back to areas you've already been to, to get items you otherwise wouldn't have been able to get, but if I had one complaint about the game it's how easy it was to get lost. After a certain point (that's mentioned under the spoiler tag) the game basically opens up completely and leaves you to explore and do things in whatever order you want. This is great, except for the fact that I didn't really feel that the hints given to you by NPCs were good enough to guide you to where you needed to go. At some point in the game you find a map which is great and is really helpful but I wish this map was easier to use in any given moment. In order to use the map you basically have to go through the inventory of the character who has it, use it and then the map shows up. While it's not bad, it does make it annoying to use. Especially when your lost and feel the need to get it out every couple seconds or so. While the open ended structure was certainly interesting I think I would have preferred if things were closer to each other or at the very least hints given by NPCs were a bit clearer. There were a lot of moments in this game where I kinda just felt hopeless and had to use a guide which I really don't like doing.

All in all I enjoyed my time with the game. Despite my issues with it I really found the combat system to be superb and I really enjoyed how charming and fun the game is. I really enjoyed seeing the jump from DQ1 to DQ2 on the combat side as well as I think DQ2's combat improves upon the groundwork of DQ1 in every way imaginable.
 

Box of Kittens

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,871

Finally finished Dragon Quest 2 and all in all I enjoyed the game, but I also didn't really love it. The biggest new thing to the game is the addition of party members and while this might seem like a rather boring addition given every RPG nowadays has party members I'm sure this was a big deal when the game originally released. Thanks to new party members combat in DQ2 is a significant improvement over DQ1 and it's incredibly fun. Fantastic encounter design, and the various strengths and weaknesses of each of the party members gives the combat a really fun dynamic. The party members in this game each have their own strengths and weaknesses and that is personally something I really enjoyed. Hero was quite powerful at dealing physical attacks, but he had nothing to offer in terms of magic abilities. The second party member is capable of dealing good physical damage and use good magic spells but he doesn't particularly excel at either. I'd consider the Prince of Cannock (he was called Kain in the version of the game I played) a middle of the road party member which makes him interesting as he's versatile, but he also isn't as good at dealing physical damage as Hero nor is he as good at magic as the game's third party member. Last, there's the princess of Moonbrooke, whose a magic based character. She gets new spells fairly frequently and can do both attack and healing/buff/debuff spells. The dynamic between these 3 party members really makes encounters enjoyable with how many options the player has at their disposal. There's a lot of fun to be had in terms of experimenting with different strategies and seeing what sticks in combat.

The game's story is interesting as some of it ties back to the events of DQ1. The protagonists of the game are the descendants of the legendary hero you played as from the first game which is a neat little connection to those who played it.

The game's story takes a really interesting turn when you revisit the starting area and the final dungeon of Dragon Quest 1 when a descendant of the Dragon Lord basically helps you to defeat Hargon. Having finished the game now I really am curious to see what the implications of this are in DQ3 since it felt like the characters were working with the devil to defeat Hargon.

I really like how much charm there is to the game. Towns are excellent as are the NPCs, and I really enjoyed how the keys gave you a reason to come back to areas you've already been to, to get items you otherwise wouldn't have been able to get, but if I had one complaint about the game it's how easy it was to get lost. After a certain point (that's mentioned under the spoiler tag) the game basically opens up completely and leaves you to explore and do things in whatever order you want. This is great, except for the fact that I didn't really feel that the hints given to you by NPCs were good enough to guide you to where you needed to go. At some point in the game you find a map which is great and is really helpful but I wish this map was easier to use in any given moment. In order to use the map you basically have to go through the inventory of the character who has it, use it and then the map shows up. While it's not bad, it does make it annoying to use. Especially when your lost and feel the need to get it out every couple seconds or so. While the open ended structure was certainly interesting I think I would have preferred if things were closer to each other or at the very least hints given by NPCs were a bit clearer. There were a lot of moments in this game where I kinda just felt hopeless and had to use a guide which I really don't like doing.

All in all I enjoyed my time with the game. Despite my issues with it I really found the combat system to be superb and I really enjoyed how charming and fun the game is. I really enjoyed seeing the jump from DQ1 to DQ2 on the combat side as well as I think DQ2's combat improves upon the groundwork of DQ1 in every way imaginable.
I've talked about this a fair amount in the Discord, but I do think that DQ2 is at a bit of an awkward place in the evolution of the series/genre. It improves on DQ1 is nearly every way and yet somehow it feels like something has been lost in the process. DQ1 was so simple that it ended up having a unique feel where there was a certain elegance to the whole experience. On the other hand DQ3 was such a massive leap forward that its improvements over the first two games tend to overshadow DQ2's improvements over DQ1. With DQ2 you still have the feeling that the team behind the game is still trying to figure out what they want to do and how to do it. DQ3 on the other hand feels like they got the basic formula down pat and that further sequels focus on exploring what you can do within the framework that was solidified in DQ3. DQ2 ends up kinda getting squeezed from both sides in a sense, lacking the unique feeling of DQ1 and the refinement of DQ3. I definitely like the game quite a bit, but it doesn't feel quite as memorable as other DQ's.

That little bit when you first get to Alefgard is probably my favorite part of the entire game. From just the general excitement of getting to see familiar places again to the way you just can't resist sailing your ship to the same location you spent the entire game getting to in DQ1, to who you find there and his role in the story. It's all very nicely done.
 

asagami_

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
2,239
Mexico
I started Radiant Historia. The game looks pretty, and somehow it remind me to Trails in the Sky. The music is also sooo good.
 

asagami_

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
2,239
Mexico
I’ve always wanted to play this. Been on my list for a while. Which version are you playing?
The original DS version. It was a bit cheaper in my local Amazon and there was stock, so I got this instead the remake lol I don't know why I thought this was a 2009 game or something older, it surprised me see Index name in the copyright.
 
Nov 4, 2017
1,628
Going to write up a large post once I finish, but I'm roughly 12 or so hours into Dragon Quest 3, and it is excellent. Really blown away by how awesome the combat system is and how well the job system works. I'm playing the SNES version of this game and this goes head to head with FF6 for me as one of the best looking games on the system. The game is just beautiful.
 

MoonFrog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,700
Well, I wasn't feeling much of anything and curiosity got the best of me: I played Trails of Cold Steel while I still had Ultima 4 going. I binged one weekend and have brought that binge to completion over the last two weeks or so.

So, I was really intrigued by the hints as to what was going in Erebonia in TitS but also knew that ToCS has a quite mixed reputation compared to TitS and the juxtaposition of my interest in the material and this reputation gave me trepidation about actually playing ToCS. But, as I said, I decided to give it a try while feeling particularly unable to engage anything else.

Some thoughts:

Gameplay:

I did a max AP run. I read that there was a general pattern and mostly just followed that and checked in to make sure I'd found every quest. Usually I had because I made a point of talking around town. There weren't that many bullshit ones I wouldn't/didn't find myself, but there were some :P.

Still I did miss other things. Like I missed an Imperial Chronicle (9, the only book I missed :( ). Also didn't realize that I should be more picky about bond points if I want to fill out the character notes and finish their little side stories: I could only see the final conversation for Alisa, Jusis, Fie, and Gaius at the end. (I watched them all then went with Gaius--felt premature to get romantic with the girls and Gaius is great.) The bonding conversations just felt kind of like fluff for the most part but then you encounter the more meaty ones that effect the world actually and it is like "oh, I should've been checking them all out instead of just using them to bring people I was behind with up."

I caught all the fish and got all the recipes though!

The game was much easier than the TitS games, both on hard. I never really felt pressed to maintain a constant shield, for example, except sort of on the last school house boss. The hardest boss was probably the one at the end of chapter 6, but until the final encounter I seldom had to retry or reload.

The game is very craft oriented--or at least it seemed so to me. Arts exist outside the link and bravery system whereas crafts do not. CP naturally heals in combat whereas EP does not and Rean's initial master quartz is a sort of gladiator equipment. There are healing crafts that are frankly more useful than many healing arts. Crafts don't have the sort of delay arts have. I feel this is the least balanced the games have been about crafts/arts so far. Crafts are a lot of fun and they were here but I also had a lot of fun with them in the TitS games without Arts feeling so poorly integrated. Admittedly, some of the TitS bosses that prioritized offensive arts over physical attacks and crafts were not my cup of tea so the balance wasn't always pleasing in TitS but I hope going forward in Cold Steel it is improved upon.

I'm not sure why there are still orbment lines tbh: I do not know what effect they have now other than raising the cost to open a slot. There didn't seem to be any synergy going on and if there was, it escaped my notice :P. Honestly, I kind of liked the "totality of the materia, rather than individual materia" system of TitS, even if it could funnel character building a bit too much. I wonder if there could be a happy medium between the two. I liked the master quartz system though, speaking of more FF7-like systems. It was nice to have something evolving alongside me even if I tended to just stick to the default ones.

Narrative/Setting:

As I said, I wanted to see the follow up to certain scenes in TitS, particularly a certain one referenced a couple times from 3rd.

I enjoyed the basic set-up of Erebonia. The tension between the center and the periphery was palpable--and understandable: Osborne was using progress physically to bind Erebonia closer to its center, laying down railroads, which connected disparate parts in common commerce and common regulatory scheme as well as annexing new territories his government governed directly. The nobles, reliant on their local tax bases and prestige, were being undercut and made less important by these moves. Osborne also has a menacing army the game focuses on and the nobles were trying to build up their own forces in response. The game puts you on the edge of this conflict as a cadet witnessing the massive and oppositional militarization of your country as well the causes underlying that militarization and are pushed towards wanting to find some way some day to help cut through it all. I really enjoy the slow boil and exposition of this state of affairs.
I liked the ILF as an expression of Osborne's guilt and the way he just, mostly, disdained them, blew past them, and tried to use them to his advantage. It really highlights just what he is but also his ambition for himself and for Erebonia. It isn't as explosive as Hamel from TitS, but it plays on similar themes of just how far Osborne's ambition will take him. That he was giving a speech turning a crisis into a moment of conquest when ILF shot him, was proper. I imagine he is not dead but my concern is that he's going to be sidelined here on out by the noble faction and he's just going to remain a character in the lore of the game rather than a stronger participant.
There is an element of TitS and ToCS at least that is transportation technology and travel porn: TitS FC is a (walking) road trip around a lovingly crafted sleepy faux-early-20th century country and TitS SC goes all in on "the sky." ToCS goes all in on the "cold steel" lain between the towns and cities of Erebonia: the railways. As I mentioned above, this is mobilized in the narrative much as the founding story of "where Liberl is today" was a story of airships (and Cassius Bright). It is also enjoyable to me just as straight up transportation and travel: riding the train with friends, playing cards with them, and then seeing all these wonderfully disparate corners of Erebonia that build up that premise discussed above. I like how intimate with trains the game gets. And it builds. You get to see busier stations and faster trains!

I didn't like where the game went in the last hours:
I get that this was dangled in front of me: looking back Rufus was having fun with Claire presaging the airship assault, there is the matter of the iron which was never cleared up, and it was pretty clear to me that Crow was C both because he seemed nigh a Lechter-clone and because there were very obvious mixed signals purposefully laid to confuse to every way he "couldn't be C." Plus, Garrelia being sabotaged during chapter 5 makes sense and goes well with the "must have planned this for years" which got brought up earlier. Still, in another sense, it did drop out of the sky (literally as well ad figuratively) with the introduction of the mecha that just sort of trashed the technology the game had spent so much time exploring: the trains and the tanks. The political tension and the arms race and the struggle of periphery versus center were all sort of just window dressing for a secret production of mecha it feels. I'm honestly annoyed.

Tbc, it isn't about surprise per se. It is about how it just upends the whole thing I was enjoying through a discordant sudden note.There were ways to do that ending that didn't do that: e.g. a more sober coup by the nobles, using what the game had already laid down rather than pulling out mecha to suddenly change the game. Honestly, this has always been part of the series I do not enjoy as much. They build the setting very carefully, give you a lot to think about, and then just override it with some new element that renders all that stuff you were thinking about obsolete. As I said before this is why I had trepidation about Cold Steel in particular--because I really liked the world narrative suggested in TitS, knew ToCS was controversial, and knew from TitS that the world setting was usually not where the final plot came from.

I guess the thing is Trails dangles something pretty unique before me (a more sober socio-political narrative) and then sort of takes it away and leaves it in the background, as the story gets progressively more standard JRPG fare and less sober/studied in world building. And I understand that is central to the conceit of Trails and is right there in the story of Cassius Bright, mentioned above. But when it combines with the need for "sudden ending escalation/twist," it does not produce thoughtful results. It is like a perpetual escape hatch to avoid actually drawing out an organic end from tension in the world, like the games can only handle that as static and need to pull something discordant out to change things.

I am kind of weird it seems. I like the slow build part better than the explosive part here. I did like the "explosive" part of FC and SC a lot--for different reasons. FC because I feel it culminated a building plot about Liberl and its tenuous political situation quite captivatingly. That is probably the most pleased I've been with a main narrative outside 3rd which is kind of different. I didn't like the explosion itself in SC but it was mined for strong personal drama.

Cast:

I guess the first observation to make is there are a lot of TitS archetypes repeated here, if changed around.

Some examples:

Estelle/Joshua, Ries/Kevin, and Elise/Rean all share the same basic kernel:
"Adopted" (it is a bit different for Kevin because he was taken into a group living situation as opposed to a family) boy with a traumatic past/super powers and "sister" that holds out a candle for his broken self and tries to cut through his melodramatic bullshit to get him to heal. It is unclear if Ries/Kevin is romantic and it is Joshua that long harbors feelings for Estelle whereas it is Elise for Rean. It also seems Rean will not requite. Nevertheless, this is clearly an established thing.

Similarly, Tita and Alisa have similar family situations:
Daughter of engineers where the mother is the heir to a great legacy and continually argues with her father. Said mother married a more laid back engineer type that brings some peace to the relationship. The core difference here is said laid back engineer died in ToCS and this death was a catalyst for disagreement between father and daughter as opposed to his continued presence bring some calm to the relationship. Tita and Alisa are both quite distant from their hard-charging mothers, get along better with their grandfathers, but see an ugly side to both of them in their fights.

And then Lechter and Crow are quite similar:
Both are students and perpetual truants with a love of gambling and magic tricks. Both have a lecherous side. Both have this mystique of being older: they are charismatic but simultaneously affable and aloof. Both have secret identities lurking beneath this laid back exterior, which align them with villains, Osborne and the noble faction respectively. Honestly, not a big fan of either.

In general, I was a bit surprised just how closely some of these archetypes have been repeated.

Some other character observations:

Olivier felt a bit stiff compared to TitS but he felt less so over time. It was amusing and quite different coming at him from a reverent perspective. I was relieved when Mueller finally showed up! He kept being referenced but not showing and this made me sad. It was interesting finally seeing the Emperor himself--he felt held back so I was wondering if he'd show. Curious about him because clearly he chose Osborne for a reason. In general, King versus Noble is very interesting to me.

I probably liked Gaius and Fie the best among the students. Gaius is so stoic and has a keen sense of what is actually important. Fie is a deadpan troll but also just touched in the head and sees things at weird angles. I enjoyed all of the original cast though tbh and I felt the story did a good job tying them all to Erebonia and the tension in it. I don't particularly like Millium or Crow though. I don't really like the crowd around Osborne that much but Claire and Machias' dad aren't bad.

Rean is so horny. He plays it coy around his classmates but the text and his animations around women outside that core group really conflicts with this, e.g. when he states he only wanted to ride the motorcycle so he could have Towa in the sidecar or when Fie gets that hug from gardening lady and he's all "I wish I could trade places with her." It honestly makes me uncomfortable at times and makes me very much doubt his professed innocence about headpatting lol. But at the same time, sometimes it really is darkest under the flame and sometimes we are most comfortable having sexual thoughts about those further from us. But really, that wasn't why I made him ride the motorcycle lol.
 

Pellaidh

Member
Oct 26, 2017
716
After taking a bit of a break since posting about Atelier Totori, I now finally took the time to play a bit of Meruru (about a year and a half in right now).

And it feels like a pretty interesting game from a historical perspective. While both Rorona and Totori were pretty experimental in their own ways (and as a result were very different from other Atelier games I've played), Meruru feels like a sort of prototype for what the series would look like going forward.

Basically, it shifts the focus from interesting time management and alchemy and instead focuses more on character stories, while also introducing things like requests that boost friendship for specific characters.

In the time management aspect, it feels like it tried to combine the aspects of both Rorona and Totori. Rorona gave you a fixed set of missions to complete for every 3 month period. And while this had the advantage of always letting you know just how close you were to success/failure, it also made the game pretty linear, because you were always just doing the things the game told you to do. On the other hand, Totori was the exact opposite: you were given complete freedom to do whatever you wanted, but it came at a cost of always feeling like you weren't progressing fast enough and were falling behind.

So Meruru kind of tries to combine both of this, but somehow manages to take the worst of both systems. You now get periodic lists of requests like Rorona so you feel railroaded (except it's even worse here, because you have to finish all of the requirements to unlock the next tier, unlike in Rorona where you could skip some of them). That means that if you get a boring mission like "gather 2000 items", you can't just ignore it.

On the other hand, the game gives you a fixed requirement of making your kingdom reach 100000 (I think) population in 3 years, similar to the way Totori gives you a point requirement. Except that in Meruru, the points you earn from requests don't directly translate into progress for that mission. Instead, you use the points you get from requests to build buildings, which then increase population. But the thing is, the points don't map 1-to-1 with the population. For instance, a level 1 house might give you 1000 population and cost 100 points, while a level 2 house might give you 5000 population and cost 150 points. This means that you have no idea how close you are to hitting the population goal. For all I know, the next tier of housing might give me 50000 population or something. And since this means most of your population is going to come from late game buildings, you almost always feel behind. The game does give you yearly guidelines that you should be hitting, but those only slightly bandage up the core issue.

So yeah, basically you get the railroading from Rorona and the feeling of being rushed from Totori, but with none of the benefits of the two approaches. This sort of being unable to come up with sensible time limit systems seems to be something that will plague the franchise from this point out, at least from the ones I've played. It's kind of sad that Totori got the time limits so right, only for the very next game to screw it up.

Okay, it's actually not that bad, because you still do get some freedom, and there is at least the point chasing aspect from Totori still present here, which means you still have a reason to be as optimal as possible with your time. I just don't get the design decisions behind it.


So the other part of the game is a much bigger focus on story. There's a ton of characters here, both returning and new. And all of them seem to have way more story events than in previous games. There's even a huge amount of party members (I think some were DLC on consoles, but the PC version seems to include all of them by default). Okay, the previous games weren't exactly light on story, but this is the first time it feels like it's more important than the actual gameplay.

And in and of itself, that wouldn't be a bad thing. Atelier games usually aren't anything mindblowing, but they're still nice and relaxing. But the problem with Meruru is that, since it's the end of a trilogy, it decided to bring back almost every character from the previous two games. And this sadly includes the worst Atelier character ever made: Astrid. Except she's actually worse here than in Rorona.

Basically, being the terrible person she is, she decided to create a potion of youth that would permanently turn Rorona into a 14 year old. Which she describes as her "ideal age", which feels wrong to just type here. But it doesn't work, and makes Rorona 8 instead, so it's even worse. It's just probably the worst thing I've ever seen in Atelier, and the worst part is that nobody even seems to mind. At least Rorona had some sort of a reason for putting up with Astrid's bullshit (since she was the only alchemy teacher available). Meruru is literally a princess of her country, she shouldn't have to put up with this.

But the worst part of this plot point is that nobody in Atelier ages anyway (well, the female characters anyway). Totori in this game (19) looks basically exactly the same as she did in her own game (13). Rorona will probably look exactly the same in Lulua as she does in her game. And this is what a 40 year old woman looks like in this universe:
Other than that though, the story is fine, and I actually like the characters here a lot more than in most Atelier games. Meruru herself kind of sucks, but the other new characters here are much better than the ones introduced in Totori.

So yeah, overall, I'm kind of glad I played this, since it seems like such a landmark for the franchise. And it's still fun enough and better than a lot of the later games, so I'll still play through it. I'd even put it above Rorona, simply because it isn't super easy (and Astrid was in Rorona too, so I can't hold that just against Meruru). I just really don't get what they were thinking with that plot development or with the time limit system.

And finally, the game just feels really polished in a way most Atelier games don't. From the sheer amount of content to actually good looking models, and a lot of small touches like combat animations, it just feels much less like a budget product than the previous two games. Although I think a lot of that might be because I'm playing the remake version.
 

Soilbreaker

Member
Oct 25, 2017
669
USA
Currently at Chapter 6 in Blue Reflection. The game obviously suffers with it's budgeted development but I'm still really enjoying it. Like the fact that behind the whole magical girl trio fighting demons angle, there's a cozy & chill nature to the game. The OST is stellar btw and it might be a newly favorite of mine.


After I'm done with it, I'm thinking of maybe getting into Trails in the Sky but wondering if i'm able to beat it before the new blitz next month. *sigh*
 
Nov 4, 2017
1,628

Finally finished Dragon Quest 3 and I'm at a bit of a loss with it. Game is just incredible from top to bottom and it's just fantastic.

Story: There's so little I can say about the story for the game without spoiling it, but all I'll say is it's incredible.

The ending of the game is really strong and just superb. I love how you basically don't know that the game is a prequel until the very end. There's something that's just really cool about that. It's a really nice way to wrap up the trilogy. Thought the it was really cool how the game ended with the line of "to be continued in Dragon Quest 1 and 2." The game just handles it so well, and again the game just really lulled you into it if that makes any sense. It's nearly impossible to see that twist for DQ3 coming if you go in blind and it's just such an incredible ending.

World: For anyone who read my write up on DQ2, you probably know how I feel about the world in Dragon Quest 2. While I liked the introduction of the ship in Dragon Quest 2, I found myself constantly getting lost in the world once it opened up and I was really struggling to find my way if that makes any sense. DQ3 improves upon this significantly. There wasn't really a moment in this game where I felt I was lost and I think there are two reasons for that. First of all the world is just outright fun to explore and you can explore freely without really worrying about dying. Accessing the map in this game is incredibly easy and the game marks which areas you've gone to and which ones you haven't. The areas you haven't explored yet are blacked out which makes it very easy to just go out and explore. Also another thing that I think makes exploration a lot better is the fact that you can easily teleport to any town or location you've been to. So if things get particularly difficult, and you need to get out you can go back to any town you've already been to. While you don't start with this from the beginning, you get it relatively early on. Last, the game's NPCs are the best out of all the games in my opinion so far. The NPCs are really cool to chat with, but more importantly they give you a lot of information to piece things together.

At some point in the game your tasked with collecting the 6 orbs which reminded me a bit of the crests from DQ2, but I felt they were so much better in DQ3 simply because of the clues given to you. Also there's a couple you'll just get naturally throughout the world.

Combat: Just like in Dragon Quest 1 and 2 combat is superb here. In DQ2 you had 2 additional party members joining Hero on his journey and in Dragon Quest 3 that's been expanded to 3. While this is neat the single best addition to combat in DQ3 is by far the incredible job system. The system is just superb in terms of how much options it gives the player and I really loved being able to pick my classes and having stats from different classes bled over into others. While there are some restrictions on jobs, namely the fact that you can't switch jobs until your level 20 and your stats are halved, I still really love the job system in this game and what it brought to the table. Combat is just fun in this game and you can play around with your party as you see fit. Encounter design is brilliant as usual, and combat as a whole is just downright fun.

All in all I just had a really good time with the game and I'm really glad to have finally played it. I started DQ4 this morning and I'm really looking forward to playing more of it.
 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,812
Currently at Chapter 6 in Blue Reflection. The game obviously suffers with it's budgeted development but I'm still really enjoying it. Like the fact that behind the whole magical girl trio fighting demons angle, there's a cozy & chill nature to the game. The OST is stellar btw and it might be a newly favorite of mine.


After I'm done with it, I'm thinking of maybe getting into Trails in the Sky but wondering if i'm able to beat it before the new blitz next month. *sigh*

I'm glad you're enjoying it! The more I think about the game, the more I like it. It's creeping its way up into my favorites in my mind. There's a lot of ambition to it. From the concept to the soundtrack to the presentation, it's all so stylish and refreshing. I wish it wasn't so clear to see where the budget was allocated, but it does make me excited for the sequel when they around to announcing it. I'm excited to see what you think of the ending as it has been sitting in the back of my mind for a while now.

The soundtrack really is something special, and it introduced me to a whole new subgenre of music that I never knew even existed. Its battling for my #1 favorite OST between Nier Automata and Bloodborne.
 

Box of Kittens

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,871

Finally finished Dragon Quest 3 and I'm at a bit of a loss with it. Game is just incredible from top to bottom and it's just fantastic.

Story: There's so little I can say about the story for the game without spoiling it, but all I'll say is it's incredible.

The ending of the game is really strong and just superb. I love how you basically don't know that the game is a prequel until the very end. There's something that's just really cool about that. It's a really nice way to wrap up the trilogy. Thought the it was really cool how the game ended with the line of "to be continued in Dragon Quest 1 and 2." The game just handles it so well, and again the game just really lulled you into it if that makes any sense. It's nearly impossible to see that twist for DQ3 coming if you go in blind and it's just such an incredible ending.

World: For anyone who read my write up on DQ2, you probably know how I feel about the world in Dragon Quest 2. While I liked the introduction of the ship in Dragon Quest 2, I found myself constantly getting lost in the world once it opened up and I was really struggling to find my way if that makes any sense. DQ3 improves upon this significantly. There wasn't really a moment in this game where I felt I was lost and I think there are two reasons for that. First of all the world is just outright fun to explore and you can explore freely without really worrying about dying. Accessing the map in this game is incredibly easy and the game marks which areas you've gone to and which ones you haven't. The areas you haven't explored yet are blacked out which makes it very easy to just go out and explore. Also another thing that I think makes exploration a lot better is the fact that you can easily teleport to any town or location you've been to. So if things get particularly difficult, and you need to get out you can go back to any town you've already been to. While you don't start with this from the beginning, you get it relatively early on. Last, the game's NPCs are the best out of all the games in my opinion so far. The NPCs are really cool to chat with, but more importantly they give you a lot of information to piece things together.

At some point in the game your tasked with collecting the 6 orbs which reminded me a bit of the crests from DQ2, but I felt they were so much better in DQ3 simply because of the clues given to you. Also there's a couple you'll just get naturally throughout the world.

Combat: Just like in Dragon Quest 1 and 2 combat is superb here. In DQ2 you had 2 additional party members joining Hero on his journey and in Dragon Quest 3 that's been expanded to 3. While this is neat the single best addition to combat in DQ3 is by far the incredible job system. The system is just superb in terms of how much options it gives the player and I really loved being able to pick my classes and having stats from different classes bled over into others. While there are some restrictions on jobs, namely the fact that you can't switch jobs until your level 20 and your stats are halved, I still really love the job system in this game and what it brought to the table. Combat is just fun in this game and you can play around with your party as you see fit. Encounter design is brilliant as usual, and combat as a whole is just downright fun.

All in all I just had a really good time with the game and I'm really glad to have finally played it. I started DQ4 this morning and I'm really looking forward to playing more of it.
This is certainly nothing I haven't said before, but while I don't subscribe to the common belief that DQ3 is when Dragon Quest became good (DQ1&2 are already good), I do think in some sense it was where Dragon Quest really became Dragon Quest. While I enjoyed playing DQ1&2 plenty, DQ3 is the earliest game in the series where I really get the feeling that I'm experiencing a special game. With the first two DQ's I get the sense that the team is experimenting a bit, trying to figure out what works. DQ3 is when it feels like they got it down pat and from then on with the formula established they can explore its possibilities in later installments.

I truly loved the job system. I tend to enjoy job systems even when you could argue they're not that well done from a technical standpoint just because they tend to be fun to play around with. That's true here as well and I always enjoy going through with a different build and seeing how it works, thinking about what I might try differently in my next playthrough, etc. But it's also just superbly executed (this is often what sets DQ apart from other RPGs). There's so many different ways to play even with a fairly limited number of jobs, but it never feels like there's one "right" way to set up your party. Every time I try something new I end up thinking that it involved genuine trade offs compared to previous times.

As to the combat, well, whenever I hear how JRPG combat is "broken" and needs to be "fixed" or whatever, DQ3 is in my mind the perfect counterexample. On the surface it's about as "generic JRPG combat" as it gets. Yet it gets so much out of it. Some of that is just good balancing and encounter design, but one of the great joys I have is just experimenting and refining my strategies while I play, because any part of my arsenal could be useful.

The fake final boss is a common trick to the point of cliche. Usually I dislike it on the grounds that it's often pointless or feels like it's just there to have some sort of twist. DQ3 is an example of a game that uses it to great effect because it really does change your view of what the game is all about. Plus you end up realizing that Erdrick is even more awesome than you thought. How many people get to save two worlds? I also appreciate the way it recontextualizes a bunch of DQ1&2, particularly if you choose a female hero.