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

Thuddert

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,753
Netherlands
Started Tokyo Xanadu yesterday. Been busy talking to NPC's. It looks clean, very close to cold steel 2.

I think I'll have some fun in fake Tokyo. Also some Aksysism have already been spotted, like the " " or the *giggle* and *chuckle*. Saw the first can't be helped already lol.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,104
Do you find combat taking much longer with turn based? Because there is alot of combat in POE2. Also is turn based combat a toggle or set for the entire new game?
It definitely takes longer, everyone takes their action one after the other after all. It's hard to say how much longer the fights are, though. On one hand, you do have to manually trigger every attack, every movement, every little thing, and you do have to watch those animations play out in order (which you can obviously speed up, though).

On the other hand, analyzing the situations you find yourself in and weighing the consequences of doing more involved actions like casting spells is MUCH easier in turn-based mode since you know the turn order, when a spell would actually cast if you start casting it, etc. etc. I'm able to make much quicker decisions and I'm spending way less time just wondering what the hell to do, whereas in RTwP combat I sometimes find myself just completely freezing, ending up obsessing over a turn or two for minutes.

So, like I said, hard to say. I don't feel like combat in general takes drastically longer, but if you're someone who liked to rely on the AI and let things play out rather than micromanage a lot, you'll definitely see fights that would've typically end in 30 seconds go on for minutes.

And no, you can't change between turn-based and RTwP mid-game. You pick one when starting a new game and you're stuck with it.

edit:
Love it when a spell does exactly what I wanted it to do


https://streamable.com/nt3fa
 
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kai3345

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,854
I just wished Pillars' turn-based mode used an AP system like Divinity does. Having one move action and one standard action for every character, every turn honestly gets kind of stale.

At the very least let me take a second standard action if I don't move that turn.
 

MoonFrog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,722
Megami Tensei II complete!

It is a very good game. It serves as a nice capstone as with it I finish the mainline MT/SMT series because it is such a complete foundation, upon which SMT was built. I said last year when I played SMTI&II that I was blown away by how complete a statement of SMT they already were, and the same applies here: MT/SMT has always been blessed with a complete vision ever since Atlus took their own direction away from the originating light novel.

MTII introduces the post-apocalyptic Tokyo setting to the series. Dystopian cyber-punk-meets-demons punchy vignettes are set throughout the ruined neighborhoods of Tokyo. In moving the series from one large multi-region dungeon to Tokyo, MTII also introduces the peculiar style of dungeon crawler, to which SMTI, II, and III all belong: there is a world map and there are indoor dungeons; the towns are often not cleanly separated from the dungeons so demons are nigh omnipresent; and the dungeons are generally more breezy than an you'd find in an out-and-out dungeon crawler, but there are some big ones and there are also just a lot of them.

MTII picks up the dangling final line of MT and runs with it along much the same lines as future SMT titles. Just what that is I'll leave unspoiled but it becomes apparent early on in the game. The Law/Neutral/Chaos alignments and respective heroes are not present as such but both of those elements grow out of portions of MTII's narrative. Similarly, the Ring of Gaia and the Messian Church are here, but play a smaller role.

It is interesting because elements of the game speak to SMTI and elements speak to SMTII: the early game had me thinking about SMTI and the later game had me thinking about SMTII. Described roughly, it is like the SNES SMT games are an expanded re-exploration of the ideas of MTII with narrative changes and innovations but also expanded scope afforded by being two games, with a time/setting gap, as opposed to one game with a continuous setting. The largest element it is lacking, is again, the Law/Neutral/Chaos alignments, which SMTI establishes and SMTII delves deeply into.

As to approachability:

The game is very readable: the NPCs are helpful and the design is clear. It is easy to figure out where you are supposed to be going throughout the entire game despite there mostly always being multiple places you could go.

The battles never become quite as trivial as they do in late game SMTI&II. Random battles do devolve into auto-battling but there are usually always some enemy formation to watch out for that demands you change things up and some sort of resource strain on your dungeon delving. The heroine cannot stun-lock bosses and charm is not here (panic/happy instead).

I think the game is wonderfully paced throughout the first act but the second act is somewhat over-long.
 

Taborcarn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
627
I just wished Pillars' turn-based mode used an AP system like Divinity does. Having one move action and one standard action for every character, every turn honestly gets kind of stale.

At the very least let me take a second standard action if I don't move that turn.
Yeah, that's exactly how I felt about the combat system. I still enjoyed it though.


Megami Tensei II complete!
Congrats Moon! Great writeup.
 

MoonFrog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,722
Thanks Tabor!

Might start to replay DQIII or might get back to Ultima IV while I continue to work on this competition.

I wanted to replay DQIII before playing DQXI last year but never did. I hope to replay it before replaying DQXI when it comes to Switch instead now. I've acquired the SNES version, so I'd be playing it that way this time.

I've shifted back to JRPG as comfort/accessibility during finals and now this competition. Also wanted to actually get some of my blitz done in this last month and it is easier for me to get through JRPG quickly. But...this is how I end up not finishing CRPG :P. It is always something so...I do really want to play Ultima IV to completion.

Also on the horizon is ToCS II. I want to play that near/at PS4 release next month. In general it is a busy summer: the Switch line-up in particular is insane.
 

Opa-Pa

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,137
So the RPG Era gang finally got me to play Ys after having suggested I did for quite some time. There's a handful of Falcom fans in there and I always kinda admired the games from afar, but the good reputation Ys in particular had among them was curious to me, so I bit and got Ys I & II Chronicles on my Vita... Man, is the love for these deserved.

One thing that was always clear is that these feature great music, but I never knew they had soundtracks this strong, and not only they're good but they perfectly set the mood and sell the setting accordingly. I've legit not been able to take the soundtrack of both games out of my head ever since I started them.

Something I was a bit skeptical about was the combat. I knew of the bump system and it sounded super goofy and kinda lame, but in practice is pretty brilliant. It's extremely simple but it still requires skill and it's such an elegant solution for an action RPG from its time.

Another aspect that impressed me is how great these two are at guiding the player. I'm not sure if these are things they tweaked for the remakes or were always there, but I never once didn't know what to do in Ys I, but it wasn't necessarily because it was holding my hand; the items you get and the NPC hints are just self-explanatory most of the time, and it's very satisfying to confirm you're in the right track constantly (I think the only thing I struggled with in the first game was realizing there was a boss I couldn't beat without backtracking to do some other stuff first). And then there's Ys II which feels larger and more refined everywhere despite being literally just a couple hours longer than the original. I love how both games work nicely as a duology of sorts and how the sequel fleshes out the lore and world the first establishes.

Oh and bosses!... The first game's were, uh, kinda wild, but the sequel had some very impressive ones both mechanically and visually; I loved them. I also liked that while the very last boss seemed pretty intimidating, the game gave you the tools to beat it effortlessly, making it a satisfying spectacle instead of a big challenge (and honestly, after the original's final boss, they owed it to me lmao).

Fuck Solomon Shrine tho! Actually my one complaint for both games is the maze-like nature of most dungeons, which didn't make them bad or anything, but a map would have been nice. I liked them all except Solomon Shrine because that one was just absurdly big and same-y, though I appreciate how that part of the game was structured and the whole vibe it had going.

But yeah, I adored these two. I know the post is probably all over the place but I'm seriously still collecting my thoughts because I had so much fun. I'm very eager to play the next, but I'll take a little break and focus on FF12 for a bit. Definitely count me as a fan, though.


So good!
 
Nov 4, 2017
1,696

After taking a bit of a break from Trails after 3rd, I finally decided to continue playing the series and I recently finished Trails of Zero. Overall, I continue to be really impressed with the series's incredible characters and it's strong narrative focus. The combat also sees some improvements, but by far the strongest aspect of this game to me was the characters and the story.
Zero, is the first game of the Crossbell arc (which is made up of two games), and as such there is a new cast of characters and a tons of new locations to explore. One of the most impressive aspect of this game to me, was just how big Crossbell city is. There are tons of NPCs to chat with, and the city is just massive. There are so many districts to go to, and I really love how distinct and different each district in the city is. From the entertainment district to the downtown district, there is just tons of variety, and as a result the NPCs in each area feel very distinct as well.Fortunately, while the city is indeed very large, and at first is very overwhelming, you quickly get used to the ins and outs of the city, and eventually you even gain the ability to fast travel from district to district which is very useful.

Likewise, I also really enjoyed the characters in the game. The main four are a really interesting cast with each their own unique backstories and personalities, and one thing I really enjoyed was learning about why each of them has joined the Crossbell police. Admittedly, I don't think this cast is as strong as the Sky characters, but despite that they're still quite good and interesting.

As far as story stuff, there isn't really much I can say without spoiling the game, but I really enjoyed the story overall. The game has some really strong moments, that are just wonderful.

One of my favorite parts of the story was the continuation of some of the character arcs from Sky with the biggest being Renne's story. While 3rd had quite a bit to offer on her backstory, Zero has even more, and it all just comes together really nicely. From meeting her true parents, to finding out she was a victim of the cult, to the ending where Estelle and Joshua catch up with her, and take her with them. I cried so much at the ending, and especially when the journalist takes a picture and you can vaguely see Joshua/Estelle holding her hands. Renne's story in this series is just one of the strongest character arcs I've seen in a JRPG, and it's just incredible thinking how we've gone from meeting her as an Ouroboros enforcer in SC, to learning about her past in 3rd, and finally seeing the events unfold in Zero, it's just incredible.

Like Renne's I found Tio's backstory really sad and I really liked how it tied into Loyd's brother being the one who saved her from the cult. Randy and Ellie's backstories are interesting, with regards to Randy originally being a Jaegar and Ellie originally planning to become a politician. Ellie's backstory is rather interesting as well, and I really enjoyed her talk with Loyd, on the night before the assassination of her grandfather.


I think in general Zero's strongest elements are it's characters. I like the cult but overall, I just really enjoyed these characters. With regards to Joachim and the cult, as someone who has yet to play CS1 but is familiar with Rean's white hair and yellow eyes (I guess it can be called a mode?) I did find it interesting how Joachim's hair also turned white and his eyes turned yellow during the final boss. Makes me wonder if Rean was a subject of the cult at all.

on the combat side I really enjoyed this game's combat. There are some interesting new additions such as counterattacks which happen when a party member evades an enemy's attack which made status effects like blind really useful. I still think 3rd has the most enjoyable combat in the series (of the ones I've played so far), but I'd definitely put combat in Zero above FC/SC. Combat is just more enjoyable than those two and I found bosses and encounters much more enjoyable as well.

As for the soundtrack, Falcom never disappoints and the soundtrack here is superb. The opening for this game is probably my second favorite with my favorite being 3rd's.


 
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ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,104
Did you play it with one of the apparently-sort-of-serviceable fan translations, Ratchetdude231 ? Been continuing my slow af TiTS playthrough and while it's reminded me how mixed my feelings towards this series continue to be, it's also made me thirstier for the Crossbell games.

I just wished Pillars' turn-based mode used an AP system like Divinity does. Having one move action and one standard action for every character, every turn honestly gets kind of stale.

At the very least let me take a second standard action if I don't move that turn.
It's a bit simpler than DOS for sure, but I like it, possibly partially because of that. So far its struck a good balance between simple and complex.

That said, it has been pretty easy so far. I'm playing on classic and there's only been one fight where I was even anywhere near a game over, and emerging victorious didn't take much in the end. Might bump up the difficulty a bit.
 
Nov 4, 2017
1,696

I started this game about 5 and a half months ago at this point, and I was slowly chipping at it, until I decided yesterday to sit down and just finish it, and just a few hours ago I finally did. This game is just incredible. From the combat, to the bosses, to the stages themselves, I just loved so much about this game.

I really just love how this game feels to play, and how combat works. The combat took a while to get used to, but once it did, I just found it a joy to play. There's something to be said about how I enjoyed combat so much that outside of 1 boss, I never really got frustrated with dying in the game. Even though the game is hard in puts, for the most part, bosses and levels are very manageable and are designed very well. The souls mechanic is a really interesting aspect of this game as it makes the concept of getting better at this game more rewarding. As long as you die in the same spot, there's always the incentive of reclaiming your souls when it comes to giving a particular boss or area in a stage another try. In doing this your always honing your skills in this game, and getting better at combat and the game as a whole just happens naturally. Exploring the levels is also extremely rewarding, as getting new gear happens quite frequently, and discovering shortcuts is also very useful. There's just a really awesome sense of exploration in this game, that's hard to describe. When I started a new level, I immediately wanted to just explore every nook and cranny. Most of the levels are just incredibly well designed and I really enjoyed the variety in the levels. Each world has just it's own unique setting and it's just great. My personal favorite is probably world 3, but I also really love world 4 and world 1. World 2 I didn't necessarily love, but I also didn't hate and world 5 I'm not the biggest fan of, though the final stage did redeem it for me by quite a large margin.

As far as bosses are concerned, I really enjoyed most of them. I have issue with 1 boss, but other then that, I really enjoyed the bosses in the game. I really enjoyed the variety in the bosses as well and how differently some of them work. Some bosses are entirely narrative driven and as such aren't really difficult, but they leave quite a mark on the player. Likewise, some bosses have a really awesome sense of scale, while the humanoid like bosses offer a great challenge.

I really enjoyed 5-3 and I loved it so much that it redeemed almost the entirety of world 5 for me. The music is just incredible, and the context of the boss in question is incredibly sad as well. The music in this fight is also one of my favorite tracks in the game.


Likewise, I also really enjoyed the 2-3 boss as well, though it took a number of tries to get down. I really enjoyed the sense of scale in this fight.

One of my favorite bosses in the game is probably the penetrator and I just really enjoyed learning his attack pattern and taking him down. While difficult I just really enjoyed the challenge of fighting him and allant in 1-4


The only boss in the game that I personally didn't like was Maneater and that's largely because while conceptually it's a cool boss fight, I think the space your given to fight him in is just really small resulting in it being a very difficult fight, when the second maneater spawns. 9 times out of 10 my deaths in this level were from falling off and it just became extremely frustrating. So much so in fact, that I decided to cheese maneater by killing one of them from the fog.

As for the soundtrack, the music in this game is just amazing all around. I've posted a couple in the spoiler tag above, but I'd personally suggest not listening to any of this game's soundtrack, if you haven't played the game yet and plan to. At least in my opinion, I really enjoyed listening to the tracks for the first time as I was playing the game.

Looking forward to playing a lot more Souls in the future, but I'm really glad, I chose to start with Demons. This game is just a gem, that I really wish got a remaster. If there's one issue I have with the game to be honest, it's the performance and unfortunately it's not very good in some areas. I'd love to replay this game via a remaster at a higher frame-rate. I think it would make the game as a whole that much more enjoyable.

ara Yeah, I did, and to be completely honest, it's very rough, but I'm someone who at this point is extremely invested in the series so I sorta just dealt with it. The geofront translation that's coming out should be an improvement and to be honest I might replay it once it drops. For now I just decided to play it in preparation for CS3. For what it's worth, I'm currently 25 hours into Trails of Azure and the translation is much better there.​
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,104
ara Yeah, I did, and to be completely honest, it's very rough, but I'm someone who at this point is extremely invested in the series so I sorta just dealt with it. The geofront translation that's coming out should be an improvement and to be honest I might replay it once it drops. For now I just decided to play it in preparation for CS3. For what it's worth, I'm currently 25 hours into Trails of Azure and the translation is much better there.​
Gotcha. Interesting to hear that the Azure translation is much better. I'll definitely wait for the Geofront TL for Zero, but if the wait for their Azure TL is going to be as long as the Zero wait has been, I might just deal with it and also jump straight to Azure after Zero.
 
Nov 4, 2017
1,696
Gotcha. Interesting to hear that the Azure translation is much better. I'll definitely wait for the Geofront TL for Zero, but if the wait for their Azure TL is going to be as long as the Zero wait has been, I might just deal with it and also jump straight to Azure after Zero.
the Azure translation is far from perfect, but it's quite the improvement from Zero in it's current state. We don't really know if there is going to be a effort to get a better translation for Azure (it sounds like we probably won't due to various circumstances), so tbh I'd just play Azure in it's current form after playing the geofront TL for Zero.

There's always the possibility that these games get a proper localization but I wouldn't count on it.
 

kai3345

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,854
god there's so much made up fantasy jargon in pillars 2. getting through even a single conversation is so exhausting
 

Gevin

Member
Nov 2, 2017
1,092
Finished my last (yay) game of the blitz over the weekend, Chrono Trigger

Last time I played this was like 8 or 9 years ago, and it was cool to be able to play it on native PC instead of having to use an emulator.

Overall it's still the best JRPG out there, almost everything about it it's amazing, though it could use 1 less frog-like character. It was my first time playing the DS content and while it's not much, I really liked the new ending since I'm a big Chrono Cross fanboy and any nods to it are more than welcome.

Don't really see the point of going over all the things I love about it since it's been discussed to death, so I'll go over what I found annoying (with the nostalgia memories being refreshed by a new playthrough).

- All the minigames at the start of the game and the fact that one of them is required in the late game (well you know, not technically required but you get what I mean). I generally hate all minigames in JRPGs (except for triple triad).
- The borderline obnoxious amount of backtracking required at some points of the game, and specially if you want to collect everything. Special mention to the Lost Sanctum sidequest (added for the DS version) that's pretty aggravating on this regard. Advice to anyone playing the game for the first time: SKIP THIS, there are a few cool items but it's not worth the hassle.
- Some of the location design is annoying, like why do we need to go through 2 caves to reach the Zeal castle.
- If you want to get all endings in the 2nd playthrough, again the backtracking gets tiresome, and also repeating the fight with its 4 phases almost every time kinda sucks. Mostly a minor complain since of course getting all endings is completely optional but it would be cool if you could skip at least the 2 starting phases (the boss rush sucks).

The charm and fun I had with the game was more than enough to offset this though, and they are mostly concentrated in a few specific points, so it's not a big deal in the end.

Finally, some screenshots (spoilery):





 

Slime Stack

Member
Oct 25, 2017
884
Puerto Rico
I'll never forgive or forget your Frog slander.

I replayed CT last year and came out actually liking the game less. By no means do I believe it to be the best jrpg anymore. Something about how most of the cast is just chillin in the End of Time for hours literally doing nothing while 3 party members experience the story and world annoys me to no end.
 

Box of Kittens

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,888
It's been a few years since my last time through CT, but I've always found it to hold up well whenever I do. Even if I find the praise it gets to be over the top at times, it's still a lot of fun and I just adore the setting and atmosphere.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,104
I’ve always thought CT to be the single most okay classic JRPG around. It’s fun and there’s absolutely nothing really wrong with it, but I can’t for the life of me understand how it keeps topping every single best RPG list ever.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,170
I’ve always thought CT to be the single most okay classic JRPG around. It’s fun and there’s absolutely nothing really wrong with it, but I can’t for the life of me understand how it keeps topping every single best RPG list ever.
You explained it yourself: it's fun and there's nothing wrong with it. It knows what it wants to do, and executes on that pretty much flawlessly. (The DS port admittedly damages this a bit with the addition of content that is nothing but mindless grinding.) It is polished, without any rough edges sticking out. The plot isn't too generic or too esoteric. The pacing isn't too padded or too perfunctory. The characters are neither bland nor annoying. The combat is easy to learn without being overly simplistic. It is turn-based, but avoids the complaints some people have about turn-based systems by being fast and dynamic. Avoiding invisible random encounters in favor of (mostly) visible, planned encounters diminishes the temptation to mindlessly grind. The difficulty isn't hard enough to cause massive roadblocks, but isn't a complete pushover either. The visuals and music are colorful and at times evocative. The game is overall well made without doing anything that would bother a large number of people.

Individuals might prefer RPGs with quirkier systems, a harder difficulty, or more complicated plots. But as a consensus choice for best RPG ever, it's hard to beat Chrono Trigger.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,104
That’s the thing. I understand why it keeps topping polls and popularity contests considering how much of an inoffensively vanilla JRPG it is, I’m mostly talking about lists compiled by single persons or tiny groups. While it doesn’t do anything wrong, I really don’t think it excels in anything either, which is why I’m always a bit surprised to see it cropping up in top threes everywhere.

But I guess it’s just one of those things. I think the majority of Spielberg movies are boring as all fuck too, but the majority of people seem to love them since they’re alright, they’re pretty good, there’s nothing really wrong with them. I’m not trying to be a contrarian nor does it bother me in the least, it’s just curious to me.
 
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Slime Stack

Member
Oct 25, 2017
884
Puerto Rico
Update on Etrian Odyssey Nexus.

I just completed the 8th labyrinth, 36 hours in. Finally some plot is happening! The game introduced a new rival faction that is also looking for the treasure of Lemuria, which adds to the intrigue of the treasure in question. Also, there has been some hints as to why the city royalty is hiring so many adventurers to look for it, so that's nice.

To add to the choice paralysis of this game, I've unlocked subclasses! So now every party member can essentially be 2 classes now. I'm looking forward to spending (wasting) 2 hours making sure all my cute adventurers have the right subclass to suit the party and themselves.

I feel like I'm 60% through and I've gone to the conclusion that is one of those you have to be specifically in the mood for. I definitely can't binge on this game because the repetitive nature would make me grow to dislike it. I've been taking my time with it, beating a labyrinth + maze, not touching it for a couple days and then picking it up again.
 

Iva Demilcol

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,187
Iwatodai Dorm
Last week I finally beat FFXII: The Zodiac Age (PS4 version). I'm pretty bad at writing long pieces unlike many of you, but I still want to share a little bit about my experience playing through it (WARNING: Spoilers all over the place):


My previous experience with FFXII: I bought the game for ps2 a looooooong time ago but never gave it a chance. During the previous generation remasters of so many games of the ps2 era came out so I thought that eventually we would get a remaster of FFXII, I wasn't wrong but it came out a generation later. Now, I'm not a big fan of Final Fantasy, I've said it several times on the Discord server, the one Final Fantasy I really dig is FF Tactics and its spin offs and FFXII sharing the same world with Tactics was what made me give it a chance. My first contact with XII was the demo that came with Dragon Quest VIII though, and at the time I really hated the battle system: it wasn't a turn based game nor an action RPG and I didn't have any patience for games that have this "Real Time With Pause" battle systems. That was what? more than 10 years ago? Since then many things have changed: I played Contact and Xenoblade and became more tolerant with that kind of battle systems.

The setting: Ivalice is a place that kind of captivates my mind, walking around Rabanastre and Archades and so many places never got old, the cities in this game are amazingly well crafted with so many NPCs doing simple tasks that make the places looks so busy and vivid. More than once I got lost in thought fantasizing about how would it be like to live in Rabanastre. As for the political setting and the struggles from the people of Dalmasca, that's probably my favourite part of the game: when you get to explore Rabanastre and listen to its citizens complain about the occupation and how all of them were stripped from their rights to live in their own houses, when you see that so many kids survive stealing money from tourists and soldiers, when you get to witness the racism from some humes towards other races, etc. all of that adds to the authenticity of Ivalice, even if some of the examples I'm giving are actually terrible things. As for the different areas of Ivalice: most of them were mysterious and contributed to make the whole game a joy to explore... except when I deviated a bit and found monsters 20 levels higher than my party.

The party: this is an aspect of the game that puzzles me, half of the characters are great while half of them are not. Some of them were well developed, most of them not; most of the races that inhabit Ivalice don't have representation in the party while the one that does just seem to be there to remind us of how exotic Ivalice is. Ashe and Balthier are the best developed characters of the whole party and surprise surprise, they are the best in general because of it. The whole game is Ashe's story, she is "the chosen one" by the Occurians too and yet she's not the main character... Balthier is that character that comes from the evil side and helps the good guys to correct the wrongs of his people, he's interesting, suave, charming and he's always there to save the day... for a moment I thought that besides his introduction they wouldn't develop his story further either (since the rest of the characters were pretty much like that) but I'm glad I was wrong. Fran and Vaan were okay, as I said Fran was a constant reminder that Ivalice is more than humes doing the things that humans do, but other than her very brief story arc she's mostly just there; in the other hand Vaan, the protagonist of this story, was supposed to be the one that introduced us to the world, except that the game doesn't do anything interesting with him either: he has a believable backstory and a somehow well defined personality but like Fran he's just there doing nothing interesting (he even says he doesn't even know what to do with himself despite the fact that he's helping the ones that can change both literally and figuratively his limited world) An example of how bad the game handles Vaan: You get to play as his brother during the tutorial of the game, about 30 minutes later he's dead and you get to control Vaan, a few hours later you get thrown into a pit and there you meet the man that killed your brother and betrayed the whole Kingdom, when he gets his chance to get revenge Balthier tells him to shut up (lmao), then a few hours later he fucking defends that character from Ashe's accusations without having a believable reason to do so... it's pretty underwhelming to say the least. Then we have Penelo and Basch: Penelo is nothing and Basch is terrible. I'm actually surprised about Basch since he seems to be pretty popular in some corners of the internet but the "evil twin" story is so ridiculous. The only thing I liked about Basch was the ending scene, it fits perfectly despite the fact that I disliked the character.

Other characters: I liked Vayne and how likeable he is at the very beginning, he's a good politician as well (in the sense that he knows how to play everyone) and a better conspirator; I feel that he as a final boss as Opa-Pa said is a role that the dev team came up with because they didn't know what to do for the final boss. I still believe that Larsa could've been a party member if you made him the amalgamation of three characters: Vaan + Penelo + Larsa himself in just one character, Larsa is much more important to the story than most characters in our party. Gabranth is underdeveloped too to the surprise of no one. Where are my Nu mou, Banga and Moogle party members though? I know this isn't Tactics but I would've loved to have more variety in my party, if they had given me the chance I would've played the entire game as Montblanc!!!

The Gambits and the Zodiac Job System: For some reason, I didn't feel like exploring all the areas that the game offered, I simply don't feel like doing so but I can tell you that it's not the fault of the battle system or the Zodiac Job System. Fou-Lu mentioned once that if I set my gambits up right the game basically played itself and well... he was right. It was a pretty relaxing experience but at some point in the middle of the game my party was being trashed by regular enemies and I was starting to panic until I said to myself "why are you worrying so much? all you have to do now is fucking press X and you can make adjustments", not only that you can literally press triangle in the middle of the fight and you can adjust your Gambits. It's a brilliant system. Persona 3 would benefit a lot from a system like that for example. And the Zodiac Job system was very flexible and gives you a lot of options, and in my opinion options is what makes good games, great.


Other things that I found interesting, fun or annoying:
-The music is kind of underwhelming most of the time, sorry.
-The Star Wars parallels are all over the place: You have a "sky pirate" with a non human friend that help a princess to oppose an evil empire. Rabanastre fucking looks like a location from Episode 1; and those amazing cutscenes of ships battling each other look like something out of Star Wars. The only logical conclusion is that someone was into Star Wars when they made this game.
-The Occurians are a bunch of assholes (and the game becomes less interesting when you finally meet them)
-Balthier is awesome.
-Elementals are annoying bastards.
-Moogles are awesome in this game.

I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting a lot of things but this was just a bunch of random thoughts about Final Fantasy XII.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
11,676
Austria
A bit late on this but has anybody played Druidstone or whatever the game from the Grimrock people is called? (It sounds so much like a Hidden Object game, it's actually annoying me)? I was kinda interested in it but the mission structure and "star ratings" kinda pushed me away.
I have two weeks of vacation coming up, so it's probably either going to be this or the Enhanced Edition of Pathfinder.
 

BlueOdin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,907
A bit late on this but has anybody played Druidstone or whatever the game from the Grimrock people is called? (It sounds so much like a Hidden Object game, it's actually annoying me)? I was kinda interested in it but the mission structure and "star ratings" kinda pushed me away.
I have two weeks of vacation coming up, so it's probably either going to be this or the Enhanced Edition of Pathfinder.
Played about an hour so far and it is not really grabbing me.

It doesn't feel as snappy as something like D:OS2 or XCom 2 though the budget is probably much less. The maps weren't anything exciting so far either. Mission structure is eh. The star rating is for replayablity which you probably need because the gold I got so far is just enough to buy one item for my party so to buy more stuff it seems there is no going around grinding older levels.

Party is meh so far. One is a bland videogame protagonist, the other two so far also a bit stereotyp-ish though again just the first hour. Maybe it gets better later.

So far it is more like a puzzle game and I have a hard time recommending it but I cannot quite articulate why.
 

Pellaidh

Member
Oct 26, 2017
816
A bit late on this but has anybody played Druidstone or whatever the game from the Grimrock people is called? (It sounds so much like a Hidden Object game, it's actually annoying me)? I was kinda interested in it but the mission structure and "star ratings" kinda pushed me away.
I have two weeks of vacation coming up, so it's probably either going to be this or the Enhanced Edition of Pathfinder.
I played it, and posted a bunch of impressions in its thread.

Have pretty mixed opinions on it. On one hand, I like that it's actually challenging and has thought put into its combat and map design. Plus I love that it just lets you experiment with builds, since you can respec everything.

But on the other hand, I think it has huge balance issues, and a lot of the maps have pretty boring design where the objective is mostly just interacting with various points on the map. There's also very rarely a focus on actual combat, with boring enemies and encounters, and more of a focus on trying to run away from combat, particularly if you play on harder difficulties.

As for the stars, they are mostly super boring bonus objectives like "open all treasure chests" that don't really add anything to the game, with the occasional and very rare bonus objective that's actually fun to do thrown in.

I ussually love strategy RPGs, but this one just didn't do anything for me. Just felt boring and not really fun to play. And I totally agree on the name. It's terrible.

Overall, I'd say play Pathfinder instead, because I think it's a much better game (even though I kind of hate how its written). Plus it's also a much longer game.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,104
Real shame how Druidstone turned out. It seemed like it had a lot of potential and there really aren't enough turn-based, party-based RPGs around.

Overall, I'd say play Pathfinder instead, because I think it's a much better game (even though I kind of hate how its written). Plus it's also a much longer game.
How so?
 

Griffin

Member
Oct 27, 2017
36
Kansai
Alright, time to finally do a write-up about my first Blitz game - Solatorobo: Red the Hunter. This DS game came out really late in the system’s life and it shows. Impressive for the hardware, beautifully rendered floating hardware. Seems like all the 3D models upscale pretty well too. I played through it on the DS, but some of the emulator screenshots I’ve seen look incredible.



Solatorobo follows Red, a bounty hunter that rides around in a robot and solves problems for all the animal people, as he discovers a mysterious cat named Elh. The setting is very reminiscent of anime like Laputa or other RPGs like Skies of Arcadia, since it takes place in skies filled with pirates and remnants of lost civilisations. And furries, but unlike other games the art direction didn’t bother me here. Although there is one awkward moment where Red walks in on Elh in the shower (and discovers she’s a G-G-GIRL?!), the designs lead towards cute, kid friendly characters. The eventual reasons why everyone is a furry is kind of neat (and also kind of involves Indigenous Australian mythologies, which isn’t something I expected from any JRPG).


Most chapters take Red to a new city in the sky and give him some quests to complete. For the most part the game is a simple action RPG, since Red’s robot can’t do anything more than pick up and throw enemies. This makes combat overly simple, especially once you buy a couple of upgrades. You can arrange different parts in a gradually expanding grid (think Resident Evil 4’s inventory) to power up your robot. While it’s fun to load up on attack parts and destroy enemies in a single suplex, the game is becomes incredibly easy with not much to battles except lifting and throwing other robots. There’s a couple of minigames, but they aren’t great - it’s just a lot of dodgy airplane racing and easy arena fights. Using your robot to fish for sunken ships is pretty neat at least.


While the second half takes the story to some weird places, the game starts to drag since it stops introducing new locations and the simple combat has well and truly lost its novelty. By the end I found playing Solatorobo to be pretty boring, but I enjoyed the cast and setting for the most part. I don’t think I’d pay however much the US version goes for these days (since the Wi-Fi Connection shut down it’s the only legit way to get the downloadable quests), but it’s a neat little action RPG.
 

Pellaidh

Member
Oct 26, 2017
816
It felt very tabletop RPG-esque, which I guess was the intention. Mostly in the way that your alignment chosen at the start of the game very much defines the dialogue options you can pick. As in, you can only pick dialogue options that suit your alignment (plus some adjacent alignments). And I don't like that for two reasons.

First, because it feels too limiting. I don't think people can just be defined with a simple adjective like "lawful neutral". It feels reductive, and gives you very little options in how you actually approach dialogue, because at most you're picking from two or three different options.

But the bigger problem to me was that I seemingly don't really understand how D&D alignments work, as such. Or at least I disagree with the game's definition of them. I picked a lawful neutral inquisitor as my character, expecting to roleplay someone like, lets say, Geralt. Not strictly good or evil, but someone with a strong personal code he mostly sticks to. Because that's kind of how the game described it.

Instead, my lawful neutral character was basically an asshole libertarian. In the "slavery is totally okay as long as there's a contract" sort of way. There's very few games where I actually felt disgusted by the dialogue choices I was forced to make, but this was one of them. And it's hard to stay motivated when your PC is a total asshole.

I guess you can shift your alignment by taking different dialogue options, but that would take time and I don't even know how it would work with alignment locked classes/character options (another relic of D&D that I really hate).

Other than that, it was just kind of boring and bland. I honestly don't even remember that much of it, other than that the world was mostly a super generic fantasy thing and that there was one female companion that you could act like a total sexist asshole to for no real reason. I much prefer settings with more imagintion, so it seemed to me like Pillars of Eternity 2 would be a much more interesting game from a writing standpoint, although I dropped that about 3 hours in after seeing just how abysmal the loading times were.

Still though, I respect what the game does from a gameplay perspective, so I think it's still totally worth playing for that. I only made it about 20 hours in though, because I realized I just don't really have time for games this huge and long anymore.
 
Oct 25, 2017
11,676
Austria
I'm not really sure how I feel about this "Larian making Baldur's Gate III" rumor.
Baldur's Gate II is one of the greatest RPGs ever made, no question, but I'm really not sure I need a sequel 20 years later from a different developer.
Not like I'm gonna be disappointed and I'm gonna buy anything Larian puts out anyway but it feels....meaningless. You know what I mean?
If it helps Larian sell more copies then hey, good for them and it hope it does, but....it doesn't excite me more than any other announcement from Larian would do.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,104
Moved from TiTS FC to SC, played on normal for a couple of hours and decided to restart on easy. I just can't really get into RPGs that have a huge focus on long-term resource management anymore, it seems. Difficult boss fights are still exhilarating and I love tinkering with the quartz system so the rest of the gameplay is all good, but when I have to trudge through dozens of usually quite boring trash mob fights in-between actually interesting fights, balancing resources (EP, mainly), I lose all interest. So, easy. Relaxing, maybe a bit too easy, but I'm enjoying it.

I still don't really like most of the cast of these games and/or some of the dialogue writing, but every time I give them some more time, replay parts of them, they grow on me bit by bit. No doubt I'll still hate everything related to Renne, but otherwise I've been having a blast talking to NPCs and doing quests for them today and yesterday.

I'm not really sure how I feel about this "Larian making Baldur's Gate III" rumor.
Baldur's Gate II is one of the greatest RPGs ever made, no question, but I'm really not sure I need a sequel 20 years later from a different developer.
Not like I'm gonna be disappointed and I'm gonna buy anything Larian puts out anyway but it feels....meaningless. You know what I mean?
If it helps Larian sell more copies then hey, good for them and it hope it does, but....it doesn't excite me more than any other announcement from Larian would do.
Yeah, I don't really have a huge desire to return to the Forgotten Realms despite loving BG2. I'm not a huuge fan of Larian's own game rules for the D:OS games, the armor system in particular in 2 I dislike plus the itemization could be better, so I'm sure they'd do great things with D&D rules and world and items and so on, but I'd still rather take D:OS3.

If it does happen, I'll obviously be there day one and likely have a fucking blast, though.
 
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Taborcarn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
627
This BG3 from Larian thing is super exciting. If there's one current dev I would trust with it it's them. Hopefully we learn more at E3.
 

Sinople

Member
Oct 27, 2017
169
It's been a long time since my last post here...

I've been eyeing the Atelier series with curiosity for decades, even bought a couple of games for cheap over the years, without never doing more than looking at screenshots, but with all the positive word of mouth there's around it I finally took the plunge and started my first one the other day: Atelier Marie.
My first impression was that it's actually not a game build to give a good first impression, lol. I don't mind it being kind of old - SFC/PS1 era RPG are actually my favorites - but there's no doubt it was a very low budget project by a then new and small developer and it shows: the city is made of a grand total of 6 screens, the region to explore is just one small map, the "dungeons" are all essentially 1 illustration, 1 battle map and that's it, and the battles are nice to look at thanks to the cute and well animated pixel art but are excessively basic. Even the fact every single line of dialogue is dubbed isn't really a saving grace since the voice acting isn't very good and there's a clear lack of actors (poor Fumihiko Tachiki is dubbing almost every male NPC). That's not the worse, however, as the menu is actually what bothered me the most: clunky, lacking some precious information and, worst of all, only available in the atelier itself - which seems to have been done on purpose but is so needlessly annoying, especially when going back there takes a full day even when you're in town!

That said, once you get the hang of it, it shows its strength as a highly addictive game that's very hard to put down. And there's a good number of little events that kill the monotony and give some needed life to the cast. Another good thing is how one playthrough is rather short but there's plenty of replayability with the different endings allowing the player, even encouraging them, to approach each playthrough with a different style (for example one focusing on doing alchemy, one on fighting, one on socializing, etc.)
To finish, I'll also add that I really appreciate Kohime Ouse's character design and the overall light-hearted feel of the game, both having the good taste of being charming without going overboard with cuteness (as I fear may be the case with the more recent entries).
Overall, I'm pleased with it and will probably start Atelier Elie soon after.

I'm also playing the Witcher 3 since march (!) and will only say it's worthy of its reputation. I even do like the battle system!
 
Nov 4, 2017
1,696

Decided to start Trails of Azure, pretty much as soon as I finished Trails of Zero, and boy did this game not disappoint. This is easily in my top 3 for favorite entries in the series out of the entries I've played thus far (which is the entire Sky trilogy, and Zero/Azure). The closest thing I can probably compare this game to in terms of other entries in the series, is Sky SC. The story just kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire game, and I really loved all the twists and turns of the story. A lot of the characters that might not have been fleshed out nearly enough in Zero get a lot of time in this game and learning about their backstories was really great too. Overall, I just had a really good time with this game.

While combat remains fairly similar to what is in Zero, there is a new addition to the orbment system in this game and that's the mastery quartz, which is basically a special quartz that levels up as you fight through battles. As the mastery quartz levels up, it's main ability improves and every mastery quartz sorta has it's own unique ability. For example one mastery quartz can grant one of your characters the ability to self-revive when they die in battle. The mastery quartz might start with "self-revive with 30% of health" and as you level up that quartz that percentage will increase. I really liked this addition as I felt, I could assign Mastery Quartz for what I wanted each character's role to be. For example, if you want a character to be a tank like character you can give them a quartz that increases their defense, while your attack character can have a mastery quartz that increases attack damage etc. Overall, it's not really a revolutionary thing, but I felt like it was a nice addition to what is otherwise an identical orbment system to what was in Zero, and the Sky trilogy.

I did a lot more side content in this game than I did in Zero, largely because I found this translation to be a rather big improvement from Zero's. While still far from perfect, it was good enough for me to understand and enjoy the story along with the NPC dialogue and side quests. The side quests as usual are what you'd expect from a kiseki and I personally really enjoy them. As you would expect from the series at this point, there's a lot of fun dialogue between characters during these quests, which is probably the thing I enjoy the most about Trails with regards to side quests and NPC dialogue. Each quest and each NPC interaction is an opportunity to see your party members talk and interact with one another and the NPC in question and it's just something I really enjoy not just in this game but in the series as a whole.

With regards, to the story

I really liked the scope of this game in terms of what is happening in Crossbell, and what you see of the society. This is the first game where you see more than 1 Anguis and I personally really liked seeing Novartis and Arianrhode. In general, I feel like this game drops some really interesting information regarding the Society and the Septian church. One of the most interesting things is probably how long they've both been fighting and I got the impression that it was heavily implied that they've been fighting for a very long time. Thought this was pretty interesting as, it gave the society a lot more weight to it as an antagonist group.

I really like all the character appearences from Sky in this game. Kevin and Ries show up near the beginning of the game and I was so glad to see them again. Likewise, Estelle, Joshua and Renne show up near the end of the game and I just really enjoyed seeing them. Pater Mater going down was really sad to watch and Renne's reaction to that was hard to watch too.

I really liked the reveal regarding Wazy being a grailsritter, and his whole thing with Waldo was really cool to see play out. KeA's whole thing really made me sad as well, but I was so happy to see her come back to everyone by the end.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this game, from Dieter just declaring himself as president, to the awakening of the mechs, and Ian being the true mastermind, but my favorite twist in the game is probably regarding KeA's abilities and how she used them once before to save our party members. The reason why I thought this was so awesome is because it ties back to the beginning of Zero where you and the party are going through the cult's hideout except, Estelle and Joshua aren't with you.This attempt at storming the hideout ends with everyone dying which is why KeA used her ability of creating worlds to save them. I just really love how they made a playable segment which at first glance reads like the developers giving you a glimpse of what's to come into the story.

One last note for this game, but I really appreciated the bits of VA in the game. This usually happens when a story heavy/very important moment in the game is happening, but when it does you get some VA for the characters which is really cool. Again, it's not a ton of VA, but I felt like the moments it was present really strengthened the scene and what the dialogue was trying to convey.

All in all, I really enjoyed this game, and I'm extremely glad, I decided to play the Crossbell games. The situation surrounding these games is a real bummer, as they've never really been localized, and unfortunately the currently available translations for both Zero and Azure aren't really ideal, but despite that I still had one hell of a good time. I really hope these games get localized at some point so more people can experience them.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,104
Encouraging to hear the current Azure translation is better than Zero's, and apparently generally serviceable too. I'm starting to really get into the groove with SC and at this pace I'll probably finish TiTS The 3rd in a month or two too (excited to play it for real for the first time!), so I'm really hoping the improved Zero translation is out soon. Unless something incredible happens with the improved Azure translation, I'll just deal with it and play with the current translation. I'm actually really looking forward to CS3 and 4 despite being so sour on CS2, but I'll have to play the Crossbell games first (and replay CS1 and 2).
 
Nov 4, 2017
1,696
Encouraging to hear the current Azure translation is better than Zero's, and apparently generally serviceable too. I'm starting to really get into the groove with SC and at this pace I'll probably finish TiTS The 3rd in a month or two too (excited to play it for real for the first time!), so I'm really hoping the improved Zero translation is out soon. Unless something incredible happens with the improved Azure translation, I'll just deal with it and play with the current translation. I'm actually really looking forward to CS3 and 4 despite being so sour on CS2, but I'll have to play the Crossbell games first (and replay CS1 and 2).
At this point we don’t know when the new translation for Zero is coming. They’re currently at 80% complete and every 10% seems to take around 6 months or so. That’s at least been their history in terms of milestones over the past 2 years. There is the possibility that it releases sometime this year but at this point I highly doubt it launches before CS3. Most likely it’ll probably either launch near the end of the year or early next year.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,104
At this point we don’t know when the new translation for Zero is coming. They’re currently at 80% complete and every 10% seems to take around 6 months or so. That’s at least been their history in terms of milestones over the past 2 years. There is the possibility that it releases sometime this year but at this point I highly doubt it launches before CS3. Most likely it’ll probably either launch near the end of the year or early next year.
Yeah, I'm not incredibly optimistic it'll happen this year, but I'm still hopeful. Keep checking the blog like once a week, always a bit dismayed by the unmoving percentage bar lol. It doesn't have to be before CS3's western release, though, since I highly doubt I'd be playing that at launch anyway considering that I still have over 5 pretty damn big RPGs to go through before it.

e: I suppose I could play CS1 and 2 before the Crossbell games, though. I believe they and Zero and Ao/Azure happen simultaneously?
 
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MoonFrog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,722
It's been a long time since my last post here...

I've been eyeing the Atelier series with curiosity for decades, even bought a couple of games for cheap over the years, without never doing more than looking at screenshots, but with all the positive word of mouth there's around it I finally took the plunge and started my first one the other day: Atelier Marie.
My first impression was that it's actually not a game build to give a good first impression, lol. I don't mind it being kind of old - SFC/PS1 era RPG are actually my favorites - but there's no doubt it was a very low budget project by a then new and small developer and it shows: the city is made of a grand total of 6 screens, the region to explore is just one small map, the "dungeons" are all essentially 1 illustration, 1 battle map and that's it, and the battles are nice to look at thanks to the cute and well animated pixel art but are excessively basic. Even the fact every single line of dialogue is dubbed isn't really a saving grace since the voice acting isn't very good and there's a clear lack of actors (poor Fumihiko Tachiki is dubbing almost every male NPC). That's not the worse, however, as the menu is actually what bothered me the most: clunky, lacking some precious information and, worst of all, only available in the atelier itself - which seems to have been done on purpose but is so needlessly annoying, especially when going back there takes a full day even when you're in town!

That said, once you get the hang of it, it shows its strength as a highly addictive game that's very hard to put down. And there's a good number of little events that kill the monotony and give some needed life to the cast. Another good thing is how one playthrough is rather short but there's plenty of replayability with the different endings allowing the player, even encouraging them, to approach each playthrough with a different style (for example one focusing on doing alchemy, one on fighting, one on socializing, etc.)
To finish, I'll also add that I really appreciate Kohime Ouse's character design and the overall light-hearted feel of the game, both having the good taste of being charming without going overboard with cuteness (as I fear may be the case with the more recent entries).
Overall, I'm pleased with it and will probably start Atelier Elie soon after.

I'm also playing the Witcher 3 since march (!) and will only say it's worthy of its reputation. I even do like the battle system!
Welcome back!
 
Nov 4, 2017
1,696

After trying to get into this game two times and failing, I finally managed to get into it two nights ago, and finally I finished it this morning. Overall, had a really fun time with this game, despite some of the issues I have with it. Admittedly, thinking about it now the game's biggest flaw is probably how samey the dungeons feel, but at the same time, it's also a Gameboy game so I wasn't really sure what to expect in that regard. One thing, I really enjoyed was how the leveling system in this game works, and I'd probably compare it to something like the leveling system in SMRPG where upon leveling up, you get to pick a stat to increase. I alternated a lot between increasing Strength and MP, but just in general, I really like when games do stuff like this as it gives you some choice in how you want to develop your character and in the case of SMRPG, also party members.

One thing that I thought was kinda neat was that throughout the game you will often times have a second character join you in combat, those characters can often help you. For example the girl who you name at the start of the game can heal you, if you go to the menu and press ask. Some characters will heal specific status effects, one will change the music (which sounds kinda weird, but it makes sense given the character in question) and one will even recharge your MP. What's even better is that at some point in the game you get a Chocobo and you can basically ride him around in the world map whenever you want. I thought this was a neat mechanic, that I used more often then I'd like to admit. Especially early on, I found the healing ability quite useful.

I also really enjoyed the bosses in this game. They're largely quite easy in my opinion, but some of the ones near the end really test your abilities. There's a boss in the game that felt like it was only possible to beat with the special abilities as the boss covers himself with balls of fire that repeatedly surround him and also seek you out. I felt like that was probably the hardest boss in the game to be honest, but even that I didn't really think was very difficult.

Another thing I really enjoyed in this game were the occasional puzzles you'd have to solve. The puzzles themselves are really simple in nature, but I really enjoyed the ones involving the ice spell, as once you cast the ice spell, you can actually move the spell as it's in the air. This results in some pretty interesting puzzles, as often times you'll have to freeze an enemy and then move his frozen body over to a pressure plate to open doors and such. Again, the puzzles in this game are extremely simple, but I thought it was a nice change of pace.

Overall, the game is quite simple, but it was also just really fun to play through. Game is fun and really short at that and I didn't feel that any part of the game really overstayed it's welcome. Despite being the first game in the mana series there's some FF stuff in here such as the Chocobos and also an enemy attack that turns your character into a Moogle. I thought it was a nice touch as someone whose played a good number of FF games. All in all it was a fun 6 to 7 hour experience, and I'm really looking forward to playing Secret of Mana on SNES at some point.

ara yes, the events of Zero/Azure are happening at the same time as CS1/2. The Crossbell arc and CS1/2 spoil each other by design so you can't really play one without spoiling the other to some extent. regardless of which you play first though you'll still have surprises waiting for you in the other games. There's still a lot I feel like I don't know about regarding the events of CS1/2 despite playing Crossbell and I imagine that feeling goes both ways.
 
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ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,104
ara yes, the events of Zero/Azure are happening at the same time as CS1/2. The Crossbell arc and CS1/2 spoil each other by design so you can't really play one without spoiling the other to some extent. regardless of which you play first though you'll still have surprises waiting for you in the other games. There's still a lot I feel like I don't know about regarding the events of CS1/2 despite playing Crossbell and I imagine that feeling goes both ways.
Ya, thought so. Yeah, unless a miracle happens and the TL is out much sooner than expected, I think I'll do FC > SC > The 3rd > CS1 > CS2 > Zero > Ao > CS3 etc.

Really hope it's out soon. Had to watch bits of some walkthrough of Zero on Youtube and I love the modern city vibe and aesthetic.
 

Sinople

Member
Oct 27, 2017
169
I tried the demo for Atelier Lulua but I can't... That's too much moecute for me. And while the models are okay, the animations really need to improve; the cutscenes are painful to watch. I think I'll stick with the 2D ones.

Thanks. Btw, I've read your impressions of Megami Tensei 1&2 with interest since Kyuyaku is a game I plan to play soon (only mainline Megaten I haven't beat).
 

MoonFrog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,722
Thanks. Btw, I've read your impressions of Megami Tensei 1&2 with interest since Kyuyaku is a game I plan to play soon (only mainline Megaten I haven't beat).
I was in the same position when I got to them and I also played them on KMT. I had fun with them and am glad I played them--particularly MT2 but MT1 as well. I think it is very interesting to see earlier renditions and formulations of key SMT themes/ideas.

Coming from SNES SMT, MT2 should be incredibly familiar and easy to get into. MT1 is a bit of a different beast in that it has no world map at all, just one series of interconnected dungeons, but it isn't that strange. Both more-or-less have a traditional MT/SMT difficulty curve where the beginning builds up to a difficult patch and then, getting through that, you kind of have the game figured out and can proceed fairly smoothly.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,104
I've had a slow, long weekend (Thursday and Friday off) with absolutely nothing planned (ain't that just the best) so I mostly just hung around at home and played video games, and so I managed to finish TiTS SC already. Helped that I played on easy and with CE's speedhack constantly at 2x and even then, liberally used the boost mode. Still, I did spend most of Friday and Saturday just playing lol.

As for the game itself, whatever complaints I had with FC I have here too though in parts doubly so, since a lot of the dialogue and story especially towards the end is super fucking cheesy, even cheesier than FC's, in a way that really doesn't work for me and I just despise everything about to Renne from her very character existing to her design and the interactions between her and the party and whatever happens with her over the course of the game(s). Itemization is still boring and a much wider selection of quartz and accessories with genuinely unique effects would've gone a looooong way in making the trash mob combat feel less repetitive and samey. Also, fuck fishing lol.

Of course, what I loved in FC I also loved here - side quests are still very much worth doing for all the small stories and party interactions and even though the gameplay rewards are usually quite lame, the quests are some of the better and more memorable ones in all of JRPGs because of the former. Even though the cheese drags the story down for me quite a lot, it's in general still great, the dialogue is for the most part entertaining and fun and there are a ton of fantastic scenes and interactions scattered throughout the game. Combat is a blast against harder foes and bosses, though a bit surprisingly easy was definitely easy, braindead even. The more serious and dramatic music is great. And as always, the ridiculous amount of unique NPCs with constant new lines is just amazing.

Oh, and I love how the final dungeons just throw fucking dozens of chests in your face all the time. I thought that was hilarious.

So while I'm ultimately still a bit colder on SC than FC, overall I had a blast and I definitely enjoyed it more now than on my first time around. Quite a lot more, in fact. Hoping the same happens with Cold Steel 2, which.. Yeah. At least I know to expect all the super anime nonsense.


Anyway. I'm excited to finally dive into Trails in the Sky The 3rd properly for the first time! I've played the opening hours a couple of times already, but never got further than that for some reason. I have no idea what to expect, but a lot of people seem to love it, so I have high hopes. I'll likely play on normal since SC's easy was, after all, simply too easy to be interesting anymore. I have CE tables to get me through the trash mob stuff if/when it starts to get annoying.

I think I'll jump into The 3rd.. Right now! Well no, I need to grab more coffee first.
 
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Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,893


Hi!
Season 2 has officially ended~!

Thanks to everyone who participated both in the OT and in the discord. Reading through the write-ups has been a treat. It's really comforting to see peoples opinions on games they've never played before, series they've wanted to dip into for the longest time, or just finally giving attention to a game they've been pushing back over and over again for one reason or another.

It's the first time we've rolled it out to the OT here, so we're trying to figure out what works and what doesn't, what we can improve or how often we bring up the blitz, promote write ups, etc. As a reminder, the general prizes are below.
  • Top Prize - $50 in credit via a card of your choice (Steam, eShop, XBL, PSN, Amazon)
  • 1st Runner Up - $20 in credit via a card of your choice (Steam, eShop, XBL, PSN, Amazon)
  • 2nd Runner Up - $10 in credit via a card of your choice (Steam, eShop, XBL, PSN, Amazon)
We'll do the prize drawing on Friday, June 7th.

I'll have some stats to post with the results~
 

Taborcarn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
627


Hi!
Season 2 has officially ended~!

Thanks to everyone who participated both in the OT and in the discord. Reading through the write-ups has been a treat. It's really comforting to see peoples opinions on games they've never played before, series they've wanted to dip into for the longest time, or just finally giving attention to a game they've been pushing back over and over again for one reason or another.

It's the first time we've rolled it out to the OT here, so we're trying to figure out what works and what doesn't, what we can improve or how often we bring up the blitz, promote write ups, etc. As a reminder, the general prizes are below.
We'll do the prize drawing on Friday, June 7th.

I'll have some stats to post with the results~

Well done everyone, and thanks Luminaire ! I loved playing through my games and reading about everyone else's experiences.
 

MoonFrog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,722
Blitz is great. Curious how many games were finished in the end
I played TitS on hard all the way through but I think 3rd has the best implementation of hard mode. IIRC when I was playing it Thuddert told me that it was the first time the hard mode was specifically balanced and designed. As a result I'd say it is less hard than FC/SC hard mode but also plays better in hard--some of the difficulty in FC/SC could be very spiky and very "only use this sort of attack" (it was also fun if unbalanced). In general though, I think TitS 3rd is the best playing of the three.

As to the "super anime nonsense," honestly I do wish Trails could maintain its relatively sober and detailed world-building in its narrative. The overarching plot does not grab me and often in fact turns me off but the overarching world building does grab me, as does the character writing. This is a bit unfair in the sense that many of the more zany and explosive twists would not cause me to bat an eye in most other RPGs even if I wasn't enthralled by them but because there is something underlying that I do value that I feel is often overridden, it gets to me in Trails.

FC/SC have this strange duality for me:

I really love Liberl and its context and I feel FC does so much to build that up. Moreover, I feel, so far, TitS FC has had the most grounded plot and the most captivating acceleration at the end wrt narrative of any among FC, SC, and ToCS1.

Yet, the character writing took a while to grow on me honestly and
I don't think the Estelle/Joshua relationship is well written in FC and I also don't think the game handles the perversity of it at all to the point it disturbs me.

Meanwhile, SC goes in hard on the final reveals of FC, which were the very part where I was like "eh, I would very much have rather not had this twist," e.g.
Colonel Richard having been hypnotized to start the coup all so Ouroboros could access the reaches under the castle. It undercuts the coup storyline even if the games continue to recognize Richard as under his own control to some extent.
and it becomes more detached from Liberal and its situation for much of the game--it is more a series of character-oriented vignettes set across Liberl, save
The black-out chapter, which was really cool. That is when the central plot really reflected back on Liberl again and on its dependence on orbal energy, both in daily life and in defense against Erebonia.

The thing is, however, by SC the character writing had grown on me and also
Estelle/Joshua is so much better in SC. Estelle is pretty opaque in FC--she's just repeatedly told that she should be in love with Joshua and wonders "am I in love with Joshua?" and then decides she is. SC does an exponentially better job of getting into her head and expressing her feelings. Similarly, it does better with Joshua and where he's coming from--because he is no longer half-obscured. And you just have a series of very strong emotional scenes.

If you could take the character writing chops of SC and marry them with the more sober, more studied, more worldly narrative of FC, that would clearly be my favorite among the two games but neither has everything I like about them taken together and they both reinforce each other with their strengths where the other has weakness, imo. So I can't really tell you which I prefer between FC and SC.

3rd though...it has a tight, contained, introspective central narrative. It has tons of great character scenes and world-building. It is my clear favorite among the three and yet it really really depends on FC/SC having come before it.

I've got issues with some of it, which remind me of issues I have elsewhere with Trails writing, e.g.
Tita/Agate becomes so weird in this game and, much like Estelle/Joshua, the game does not seem to realize that at all. Tita having a crush on an adult in an "anime" product...red flags should be raising in your mind but...I feel in SC it pretty much stayed normal. Then in 3rd...everyone around Tita thinks that Agate is a suitor. Why the fuck do they see him that way? Why don't they just notice their daughter/grand-daughter has a youthful crush? This reminds me of how everyone around Estelle/Joshua saw them as proto-partners because of their brother/sister relationship and how this input was central to Estelle coming around.
but the vast majority of it is incredibly engrossing and deepens so many of the characters.

That said...you didn't like SC fishing? Have fun with Baron Fisher :P.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,104
Good post and interesting thoughts, MoonFrog. I'd say I mostly agree, although I'm more I suppose balanced on my takes wrt the writing: I don't particularly love the character writing (and Estelle as a character falls frankly a bit flat for me, so all the emotional payoffs etc. also fall flat) but I also don't dislike the overarching plot even though you do get some proper dumb shit every now and then that, to borrow your words, gets to me. It's mostly fun to follow along. The anime nonsense comment was related to CS2, where the anime tropes started to get to me to the extent that I just had to drop the game halfway through, so I'm hoping that when I get there on my replay of the games, I've managed to adjust my expectations enough to enjoy it for what it is. At least I spoiled the fact that (should be a Cold Steel 2 spoiler) Rean won't be able to turn Crow good again with the power of motherfucking melodramatic friendship and SHOUTING for myself, so I won't have to fear that any of that sort of dumb garbage happens. God I hate that trope.

But yes, Trails has always had this strange clash between realistic world-building and, well, "anime nonsense" that's always rubbed me the wrong way. It's hard to really get invested in the story and characters and world when one moment you can have these believable, grounded, human scenes and conflicts that pull you into this painstakingly developed and realized world super well, and the next second you have these super-powered teenagers ~sensing and reading~ others like supernatural anime Sherlocks, (TiTS SC spoilers) making hilarious speeches and debating about mankind and love and power and whatever during boss fights, fighting fucking 11-year old edgelord super villains on a goddamn floating Mysterious Ancient Civilization city that the bad guys summoned as a part of their EVIL WORLD DESTROYING PLANS and all that jazz that just yanks me out like nothing else. Not to mention the absolutely ridiculous Shounen Anime Power Level creep.

And honestly, I wouldn't mind these that much in your typical ol' JRPG or anime. Tales, Final Fantasy? Yeah whatever, go for it, sounds like fun. But here, the incredible contrast between the realistic, amazing world and the rest just makes the rest seem so fucking stupid at times that I can't help but go "goddamn it, WHY would you do this?!" in my mind every now and then.

But I'm still enjoying it. I'm alternating between this strange sort of detached enjoyment of going (Cold Steel 2 spoilers) "wow, they gave a bunch of emotional teens full control of a fucking flying warship [or w/e it was], this is incredibly dumb, I wonder what epic twist happens next" when this sort of anime stuff happens and genuine enjoyment of getting to experience the more grounded parts like seeing how the world and its inhabitants react to changes, seeing how the characters develop and so on. But I'm enjoying it nonetheless, and I'll keep enjoying it and I'll keep posting my thoughts even though some weirdos think I'm a Falcom hater??? Probably because I don't like Estelle.

Also I 100% agree with your first FC spoiler.

--

I wasn't gonna post early impressions of The 3rd, but since I'm here, might as well write something real quick. I just finished chapter 1 and I'm loving it so far. I'm playing on normal and enjoying the hell out of the combat. The first two bosses alone have been so much more interesting as far as combat puzzles go than probably anything FC or SC had to offer, and the trash mobs fights are fairly nicely spread out too compared to the earlier games' endless trash mob assault. So gameplay-wise, very high hopes. Story, hard to say so far, seems interesting I suppose. What was up with Ries' older sister force-feeding young Kevin chocolate by kissing him, though? That was just fucking weird and creepy my dude, like are you kidding me with this? I dunno, this and MoonFrog's last spoiler don't give me too much hope, but we'll see where it goes. Excited to continue tomorrow.