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

MoonFrog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,743
Finally evicted one of the perennial residents of my backlog, Chrono Trigger. I'd gotten far–
Magus had just joined the party
–about a decade ago but I guess I lost interest or life got in the way. Lately I'd been growing more and more excited to revisit it as my pool of RPG experience has grown. I was also somewhat trepidatious; I feared the magic from my first playthrough would be gone and that it just wouldn't be as fun the second time around. Now that I'm finished with the game, I'm relieved to say it's still great. Still a landmark of video game storytelling. Still one of the best soundtracks ever composed. Still chock-full of neat ideas that are somehow still not ubiquitous in modern games. Finishing Chrono Trigger is meaningful to me as a personal milestone as I gradually take on more challenging material down the line.

Notes:
  • Mitsuda wrote arguably his life's work on his first try. That will never not be incredible to me. I'm also glad it didn't become literally his life's only work.
  • I'm probably playing Chrono Cross next blitz. And then Radiant Historia after that. I'm hoping these two expand on the potential time shenanigans; CT didn't touch on the rules of time travel at all and while that can be good I think there were missed storytelling opportunities there.
  • I got the Beyond Time ending and even though I didn't particularly care for anyone I still found myself getting verklempt. The sprites in this game convey some very strong emotions.
Yay! Congrats. Glad you had a good time and finished it after all this time.
Great write-ups Moon! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks!
 

Xavi

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,730
Lightning for Smash
Anyone following this game? It looks really interesting.


 

Novel Mike

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,255
After finishing Fire Emblem Three Houses and Dark Souls Remastered I was looking at what to play next and wasn't sure what I really wanted to play but I felt like I needed something more light hearted or at the very least not so bleak after the two games I mentioned above. At first I was going to jump into Paper Mario on Lumi's suggestion but when I went to check to see if I owned the game on my Wii U instead I remembered that I had never played more then the first chapter of Tokyo Mirage Sessions. I remembered liking the game well enough so I figured I'd jump back into that and see if it was what I was looking for.

It was a lot of fun, well at least at first. TMS is actually rather interesting as I think its a pretty good RPG early on if not great. The way you pull off Sessions and chain attacks is fun, the way you get rewarded with item drops from getting higher and higher combos which is how you unlock new weapons/abilities was also fun. The characters are also enjoyable despite being a bunch of anime stereotypes. The theme of the game being centered around Japan's Idol culture and entertainment was also fairly interesting and I thought Chapter 1 of the game was very well done in really grabbing the player into the story with some high stakes right off the bat for our main Heroine Tsubasa trying to save her Sister.

It started off great and while the modern Persona connections the game used were obvious the lack of spending time on a daily/year system was great as it felt like A lot of the fluff and filler of the Persona games (which do get bogged down at times) was absent. I liked that I could start a chapter and get right into the main plot of that chapter fairly quickly and optional stuff really felt optional. Theres was something nice about playing a game thats setup like a Persona game in various aspects but not having to spend time each day doing various things to raise stats or develop bonds with characters. The session system I mentioned above as well felt like somewhat of an evolution of the Press turn system of SMT/The all out attack system of Persona with you chaining attacks together and eventually being able to use Duets between various characters which had special effects and kept the combo of the session going gaining more items each time you did it.

All of this was fun and for the first half or so of the game I was really enjoying it... The Problem though is that the same systems I mentioned previously that I really liked early on felt like they bogged down the latter half of the game once you got your full cast of characters. Sessions became longer and longer with you only being able to skip the animations for the first attacks and any Duets you performed, each battle would generally raise multiple weapon skills meaning you had to menu constantly to add/change new abilities even if you didn't want them, you eventually get many weapons you can create at once and between doing the menus and trying to skip through things as quickly as possible to make said weapons it still takes like half of an hour to get through all of it each time you go back to Tiki to do it.

All of this just made the latter half of the game drag. I constantly wanted a turbo button to go through the menus/sessions and everything quicker. I didn't end up hating the game, on the contrary I still think its quite good but Its a rare experience that the game giving you more of something you actually really like about it early on ends up making the gameplay actually worse.

The characters I did enjoy for the most part. The one character that is an exception to this was Barry who is just the worst and unnecessary to the plot and really should've just been axed from the game entirely. Everyone else though is pretty good, I ended up really liking the way they did Yashiro's character. He looks down on you and your 'power of friendship' stuff early on and serves as a bit of an antagonist in the first half of the game but he comes around rather quickly after that and his development between him and Itsuki plays out surprisingly well and its not drawn out like you typically see these kinds of character arcs.

As for everyone else... Itsuki himself is pretty bland, rather typical light novel kind of protagonist that is able to 'bring people together' despite not really doing much to really do that. Tsubasa was adorable I just wish the game didn't try to sexualize her so much. Touma was okay, nothing all that special but nothing really bad to say about him either. Kiria was more interesting then I expected, her Performa being Tharja had me curious at first but her side stories get to show that shes got a more interesting personality that it first appears. Ellie was great except that she wouldn't shut the fuck up about Hollywood which really got old after awhile. Mamori was pretty meh, her stuff being centered around Barry didn't help at all. She's not a bad character but she just isn't given all that much to do. She makes for a damn great character in battle though as shes able to protect other characters automatically from damage and her defense is really high so shes really quite useful.

Speaking of the battles, its one of the few RPG's I've played where I really felt like all of the characters were usable at any time, I ended up subbing them out rather frequently and each had their own advantages and disadvantages. I never felt like I ever got the perfect or strongest party. Theres never a character that just massively outperforms someone else. I just wish Itsuki could've been swapped out in battle to, not that hes not fun to use but theres a lot more interesting combinations you could do for your party makeup if you didn't have to use him.

Well this is gone way longer then I originally intended so last thing I want to leave with is that despite my complains I did enjoy the game overall and I really appreciated the attention to detail on various things. When your characters complete side stories or new performances (such as releasing a new song, getting a part on a new show, ect) you'll see the posters around town change to reflect that. When your characters are in battle the little magic circle they use to cast magic is them signing their signature, The background of the battles features an audience. All of these and more do such a great job giving the theme of the game so much more of a presence but also something I think thats somewhat easy to miss after your first few hours. Theres a lot of really nice touches they did throughout the game like this to really give it a unique feel.

If the game ever gets ported or remastered I'd hope they'd add in a turbo feature with how common those are becoming and while its doubtful the game will ever get a proper sequel I do hope the mechanics from the game like Sessions are used again in a future project. Theres a lot of potential to really evolve the standard SMT/Persona battle system and I think TMS makes a great example of what that could be like, it just needs more refinement.
 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,993
So, I wrapped up The Last Remnant this morning after chipping away at it since December.



I initially was one of those people waiting for the PS3 version for what seemed a lifetime. Once it hit PC, I put about 15-20 hours into it before eventually just falling away from it. I'll blame FFXIV for that. The PS4 announcement was a chance for me to reset and try again. I was already in the renewed mindset of Complex Battle System what with Resonance of Fate coming out on PS4/PC. RoF is one of my favorite games, so finally completing it gave me a lot of energy and confidence to tackle the monstrous Kawazu game - The Last Remnant.

First off, TLR is a big game. It doesn't track your time, but I'd wager I put about 80 hours into it. While the game is big, it comes off as even bigger than it appears. This is due likely half of the game being completely optional. Sidequests seem to make up the bulk of the game. You could mainline the story and miss questlines, towns, entire regions, and lore if you didn't poke around talking to everyone. While having so much discoverable content, in modern times it just becomes a large spreedsheet of sidequests and what areas they unlock. I imagine the Availability Of Side Quests wiki page has 10-20 times the traffic of any other page. That said, with the way games work nowadays, I wasn't really turned off by the wall of checklisted content. I feel like I always had something to go after without the game telling me to do it. I'm sure some people will be turned off by it, but I was surprisingly ok with it.

Graphically, it looks great. The remaster features an upgrade from the Unreal 3 to Unreal 4 engine and it shows in a lot of cases. Some people might miss the older engine's lighting, but I felt it was an improvement from what I could actually recall. My only disappointment was that the glittery dust when an enemy dies doesn't look as pretty anymore. Perhaps that's for the best. Presentation wise, it has a slick UI that has...most of the info you need. Dozens of hours in, I was still stumbling around some parts of the menus and UI to find what I wanted to know. I'm sure I knew it prior, but it dawned on me a few days ago that I could swap the view to see what moves the party would use. This was a relief as I'd been counting AP costs to see if a certain move would come out. I wish there was a better way to display that, but I'd say the fault was mostly on my end as I'm sure the game told me PRESS BUTTON, SEE MOVES.

On the subject of moves, I'll shift into talk about the battle system. This is the best part of the game (tied with music, I suppose.) Every battle feels like a grand conflict. From a small group of 5 troops to 18 party members scattered in various groups, each conflict just felt so... big. The enemies were always varied in types and sizes, so I never felt like I was doing the same fight twice. I never got that feeling like I did in FFX where I'm doing the same move to the same enemy for the same effect. It was a lot of fun shifting my soldiers around to form unions, putting them into formations that played to their strengths, and allowing them to work with one another to get the most out of their abilities. I found myself building entire unions for the same of one particularly crushing move at times, then shuffling it around to fill a role such as a tanky, hard hitting melee squad that would run interference.

Near the end of the game, I had three main strikeforces and one support force. Each strikfreforce had the ability to withstand hard hits, dish out big damage, do a bit of support and minor healing when needed, and just be quick and mobile. It was nice to have a strikeforce that I tailored myself. My fourth unit was my wildcard of support. They were practically a group of doctors sitting on a nuclear arsenal. Most encounters, I was able to deadlock three groups of enemies and let my fourth unit standby and heal as needed. At times, they'd get attacked but they were always able to hold their own. They were nigh invincible with an absurd healing output, ability to revive, and buff spells. The best part? They had two nukes that I could use when the right conditions were met. The number of battles that I ended with a single spell was quite astounding. Both spells - Megalore and Blackout - were army killers.

At the end of the game, I didn't do all of the content. I'd say I did maybe 90% of it and was short a few quests that were frankly huge time commitments that I didn't really want to engage in right away. It's not that they're bad, I just wanted to move onto a different game and come back for a replay at some point to build the perfect units with the right skills. I was missing a lot of moves that I think would have made my life much easier. Combat oft relies heavily on morale - both unit and overall army moral - to gauge the strength of blows and general effectiveness of your unions combat. In most encounters, I had very low morale and was constantly beaten down with spells that crushed it even further. Yet I persevered, fighting back to a clutch victory or simply turning the tables and stomping the enemy into the dirt. I had pages upon pages of stat boosts being given out at the end of fights, so I felt like every single battle count. I fought everything stronger than me and often in huge linked battles. The number of struggling back and forth battles I went through was absurd, but also exhilarating. Pulling my entire force back from the brink of death and counter-attacking with incredibly powerful blasts was quite fun. I felt like I was often the underdog, toppling the giants of the world.

While in said combat, a fantastic symphony of guitars, drums, horns, and strings are blazing in the background. This game has one of the best and energetic OSTs I've heard in a long time. The soundtrack shifts as the tide of battle turns, going from chugging and ominous heavy metal when you're on the ropes to some high speed power metal when you're cutting the enemy in twain and reducing them to naught but dust to be blown away. There are some real standout tracks that sound like they'd come straight off of a Guilty Gear OST. It really shines and is a highlight of the game, especially if you're a fan of rock, metal, or intense music in general. Town themes are quaint and charming with their own sense of emotion to them. Underground themes fit well with the myriad caves you're traversing.

Continuing on with the aural front, the overall sound is great but what stands out to me are the sound effects themselves. Hearing sword clanging in the background in fights, explosions rattling the earth, and even the janky mechanical clicking of large summoned creatures engaging in combat was a treat. Paired with the visuals, the grand battles, and the overall 'bigness' of the battlefield, I really enjoyed the collective package. While combat is round-based, the combatants are actively clashing with the enemy that they're deadlocked with. It adds more life to the battlefield, rather than standing around waiting to get hit. It was just a little touch, but it made every encounter feel fluid and alive. Additionally, when you selected what to do and saw your character performing the move, it felt like it was just one of the few attacks they'd thrown out during the encounter. There was a rhythm and flow to it that I really appreciated.

While I've praised the game a lot, there are some shortcomings. I suppose the first one would be that the game is very Wiki Friendly, almost to the point that a Wiki or a Guide are almost required. Perhaps I didn't dig deep enough into menus, but there are times when characters will ask for parts of enemies and I've not a clue where to even start looking. You can also lead your characters into classes/roles you may not want them to go down just by letting them be. You're encouraged to turn off arts or styles to help a character focus on one thing, but unless someone told you that... it'd be quite difficult to know. To add onto that, you never really know what character will excel at what, which arts are the best against which types of monsters, or why certain schools of magic are inherently weak and useless. I went through the game trying to tinker around and tailor my army to fill rolls, but I also skipped over stuff or just never found it. To this day, I don't know where to get materials for traps. As far as I'm aware, they're useless anyways in comparison to the big mystic and combat arts.

Regarding the characters, some received a lot of development while others didn't receive much up front. Sidequests added a lot of backstory to Pagus, Torgal, and Emma as well as entire quest chains revolved around appeasing certain characters. However, some side characters got little of the light shined on them, leaving me with some questions regarding the Sykes family. I enjoyed Rush and Irina's interactions, but then again any interaction with Rush is a treat. He's a delightfully dumb young man who has a good heart. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and speaks his mind. Sure, what he says can come off as stupid or ignorant of the situation, but he means well and is a sincere character in every aspect. He's a great character who doesn't fit the typical protagonist role.

That said, I felt David was a very strong character who wanted the best for his people. He was charming, charismatic, and quite easy on the eyes. All the way until to the end, I felt he was a strong pillar in the games story and he carried through with it. He's a man of the people, and it shows. For the rest of the characters, my army was certainly full of a lot of my favorites, but I did have some characters I don't necessarily care for that filled a good role. I will say that Darien - a character made to be absurdly annoying and self centered - is probably my favorite character. He's such a little bastard that it's hard to hate him. The thing that made me think "I love this little shit" was when he gets an item he wants from an enemy and simply screams maniacally. The voice actor did a wonderful job with him.

I'll round this up by saying that The Last Remnant is a truly great game. I had a lot of fun with it. The combat is a blast when you get your head wrapped around all that it asks of you, the OST is a blazing aural rush, and the concept is both fun and ambitious. There was some things it could do better, but I think it's well worth the time and energy put in. It's grand, it's rewarding, and its a nice step away from the typical world of RPGs. I've heard many great things about it from SaGa fans and people enjoy Kawazu's work. As someone who's not really messed with any of the SaGa games much (I'll correct this some point in the near future), it was still a fun game that delivered on many fronts. At only $20 on PS4 and Switch (and likely soon to be re-released on PC with the new engine), I think it's well worth buying. That said, avoid the 360 version like the plague - I'm told its a completely different game and truly a poor alpha version of the game with many bizarre things such as punishing the player for fighting too much.

It's a difficult game to just play blind, but I think it's well worth giving a look. Just be prepared to spend some time in the wiki to ensure you see all of the world.
 

clay_ghost

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,175
So, I wrapped up The Last Remnant this morning after chipping away at it since December.



I initially was one of those people waiting for the PS3 version for what seemed a lifetime. Once it hit PC, I put about 15-20 hours into it before eventually just falling away from it. I'll blame FFXIV for that. The PS4 announcement was a chance for me to reset and try again. I was already in the renewed mindset of Complex Battle System what with Resonance of Fate coming out on PS4/PC. RoF is one of my favorite games, so finally completing it gave me a lot of energy and confidence to tackle the monstrous Kawazu game - The Last Remnant.

First off, TLR is a big game. It doesn't track your time, but I'd wager I put about 80 hours into it. While the game is big, it comes off as even bigger than it appears. This is due likely half of the game being completely optional. Sidequests seem to make up the bulk of the game. You could mainline the story and miss questlines, towns, entire regions, and lore if you didn't poke around talking to everyone. While having so much discoverable content, in modern times it just becomes a large spreedsheet of sidequests and what areas they unlock. I imagine the Availability Of Side Quests wiki page has 10-20 times the traffic of any other page. That said, with the way games work nowadays, I wasn't really turned off by the wall of checklisted content. I feel like I always had something to go after without the game telling me to do it. I'm sure some people will be turned off by it, but I was surprisingly ok with it.

Graphically, it looks great. The remaster features an upgrade from the Unreal 3 to Unreal 4 engine and it shows in a lot of cases. Some people might miss the older engine's lighting, but I felt it was an improvement from what I could actually recall. My only disappointment was that the glittery dust when an enemy dies doesn't look as pretty anymore. Perhaps that's for the best. Presentation wise, it has a slick UI that has...most of the info you need. Dozens of hours in, I was still stumbling around some parts of the menus and UI to find what I wanted to know. I'm sure I knew it prior, but it dawned on me a few days ago that I could swap the view to see what moves the party would use. This was a relief as I'd been counting AP costs to see if a certain move would come out. I wish there was a better way to display that, but I'd say the fault was mostly on my end as I'm sure the game told me PRESS BUTTON, SEE MOVES.

On the subject of moves, I'll shift into talk about the battle system. This is the best part of the game (tied with music, I suppose.) Every battle feels like a grand conflict. From a small group of 5 troops to 18 party members scattered in various groups, each conflict just felt so... big. The enemies were always varied in types and sizes, so I never felt like I was doing the same fight twice. I never got that feeling like I did in FFX where I'm doing the same move to the same enemy for the same effect. It was a lot of fun shifting my soldiers around to form unions, putting them into formations that played to their strengths, and allowing them to work with one another to get the most out of their abilities. I found myself building entire unions for the same of one particularly crushing move at times, then shuffling it around to fill a role such as a tanky, hard hitting melee squad that would run interference.

Near the end of the game, I had three main strikeforces and one support force. Each strikfreforce had the ability to withstand hard hits, dish out big damage, do a bit of support and minor healing when needed, and just be quick and mobile. It was nice to have a strikeforce that I tailored myself. My fourth unit was my wildcard of support. They were practically a group of doctors sitting on a nuclear arsenal. Most encounters, I was able to deadlock three groups of enemies and let my fourth unit standby and heal as needed. At times, they'd get attacked but they were always able to hold their own. They were nigh invincible with an absurd healing output, ability to revive, and buff spells. The best part? They had two nukes that I could use when the right conditions were met. The number of battles that I ended with a single spell was quite astounding. Both spells - Megalore and Blackout - were army killers.

At the end of the game, I didn't do all of the content. I'd say I did maybe 90% of it and was short a few quests that were frankly huge time commitments that I didn't really want to engage in right away. It's not that they're bad, I just wanted to move onto a different game and come back for a replay at some point to build the perfect units with the right skills. I was missing a lot of moves that I think would have made my life much easier. Combat oft relies heavily on morale - both unit and overall army moral - to gauge the strength of blows and general effectiveness of your unions combat. In most encounters, I had very low morale and was constantly beaten down with spells that crushed it even further. Yet I persevered, fighting back to a clutch victory or simply turning the tables and stomping the enemy into the dirt. I had pages upon pages of stat boosts being given out at the end of fights, so I felt like every single battle count. I fought everything stronger than me and often in huge linked battles. The number of struggling back and forth battles I went through was absurd, but also exhilarating. Pulling my entire force back from the brink of death and counter-attacking with incredibly powerful blasts was quite fun. I felt like I was often the underdog, toppling the giants of the world.

While in said combat, a fantastic symphony of guitars, drums, horns, and strings are blazing in the background. This game has one of the best and energetic OSTs I've heard in a long time. The soundtrack shifts as the tide of battle turns, going from chugging and ominous heavy metal when you're on the ropes to some high speed power metal when you're cutting the enemy in twain and reducing them to naught but dust to be blown away. There are some real standout tracks that sound like they'd come straight off of a Guilty Gear OST. It really shines and is a highlight of the game, especially if you're a fan of rock, metal, or intense music in general. Town themes are quaint and charming with their own sense of emotion to them. Underground themes fit well with the myriad caves you're traversing.

Continuing on with the aural front, the overall sound is great but what stands out to me are the sound effects themselves. Hearing sword clanging in the background in fights, explosions rattling the earth, and even the janky mechanical clicking of large summoned creatures engaging in combat was a treat. Paired with the visuals, the grand battles, and the overall 'bigness' of the battlefield, I really enjoyed the collective package. While combat is round-based, the combatants are actively clashing with the enemy that they're deadlocked with. It adds more life to the battlefield, rather than standing around waiting to get hit. It was just a little touch, but it made every encounter feel fluid and alive. Additionally, when you selected what to do and saw your character performing the move, it felt like it was just one of the few attacks they'd thrown out during the encounter. There was a rhythm and flow to it that I really appreciated.

While I've praised the game a lot, there are some shortcomings. I suppose the first one would be that the game is very Wiki Friendly, almost to the point that a Wiki or a Guide are almost required. Perhaps I didn't dig deep enough into menus, but there are times when characters will ask for parts of enemies and I've not a clue where to even start looking. You can also lead your characters into classes/roles you may not want them to go down just by letting them be. You're encouraged to turn off arts or styles to help a character focus on one thing, but unless someone told you that... it'd be quite difficult to know. To add onto that, you never really know what character will excel at what, which arts are the best against which types of monsters, or why certain schools of magic are inherently weak and useless. I went through the game trying to tinker around and tailor my army to fill rolls, but I also skipped over stuff or just never found it. To this day, I don't know where to get materials for traps. As far as I'm aware, they're useless anyways in comparison to the big mystic and combat arts.

Regarding the characters, some received a lot of development while others didn't receive much up front. Sidequests added a lot of backstory to Pagus, Torgal, and Emma as well as entire quest chains revolved around appeasing certain characters. However, some side characters got little of the light shined on them, leaving me with some questions regarding the Sykes family. I enjoyed Rush and Irina's interactions, but then again any interaction with Rush is a treat. He's a delightfully dumb young man who has a good heart. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and speaks his mind. Sure, what he says can come off as stupid or ignorant of the situation, but he means well and is a sincere character in every aspect. He's a great character who doesn't fit the typical protagonist role.

That said, I felt David was a very strong character who wanted the best for his people. He was charming, charismatic, and quite easy on the eyes. All the way until to the end, I felt he was a strong pillar in the games story and he carried through with it. He's a man of the people, and it shows. For the rest of the characters, my army was certainly full of a lot of my favorites, but I did have some characters I don't necessarily care for that filled a good role. I will say that Darien - a character made to be absurdly annoying and self centered - is probably my favorite character. He's such a little bastard that it's hard to hate him. The thing that made me think "I love this little shit" was when he gets an item he wants from an enemy and simply screams maniacally. The voice actor did a wonderful job with him.

I'll round this up by saying that The Last Remnant is a truly great game. I had a lot of fun with it. The combat is a blast when you get your head wrapped around all that it asks of you, the OST is a blazing aural rush, and the concept is both fun and ambitious. There was some things it could do better, but I think it's well worth the time and energy put in. It's grand, it's rewarding, and its a nice step away from the typical world of RPGs. I've heard many great things about it from SaGa fans and people enjoy Kawazu's work. As someone who's not really messed with any of the SaGa games much (I'll correct this some point in the near future), it was still a fun game that delivered on many fronts. At only $20 on PS4 and Switch (and likely soon to be re-released on PC with the new engine), I think it's well worth buying. That said, avoid the 360 version like the plague - I'm told its a completely different game and truly a poor alpha version of the game with many bizarre things such as punishing the player for fighting too much.

It's a difficult game to just play blind, but I think it's well worth giving a look. Just be prepared to spend some time in the wiki to ensure you see all of the world.

Just wanna say that i really enjoyed the 360 version. It is definitely worth a play if that's your only access to tyhe game.
 

Eridani

Member
Oct 25, 2017
686
I finished another of my blitz games a while back - Slay the Spire. As in, I finished Act 3 with all three characters and then the unlockable Act 4 ending with one character, which seems like it should count.

It's an incredibly fun game and it lives up the praise it received from pretty much everyone. I'm not a huge fan of deckbuilding games (my first experience with them was the Dominion base set, which instantly soured me on the whole genre) but I was still immediately hooked. The main idea of using deckbuilding as RPG character progression works incredibly well. It's really fun seeing your deck grow from complete trash to a combo-filled monster capable of dealing hundreds of damage per turn. The character/card and enemy design also have a lot of diversity, with the three characters playing quite differently from each other and different enemies presenting different problems that have to be dealt with differently depending on your character and build.

One thing I really love is how the game handles difficulty. In a lot of other roguelikes I've played, beating the game simply unlocks a hard mode and that's that. Then I either beat the hard mode or decide it's too hard and stop playing the game. In Slay the Spire, on the other hand, beating the game unlocks a new "ascension" mode, which adds a new small difficulty modifier to the game (harder normal enemies, harder bosses, less healing...) every time you clear it. The modifiers do a nice job of gradually ramping up the difficulty instead of just dumping you into an incredibly difficult hard mode. Additionally, since there's 20 of them for each character you now have an incentive to finish the game 60 times (or more when the new character drops). What's even better is that you only need to clear Act 3 (and not the really hard Act 4) to unlock a new ascension, which means you can also gradually ramp up the difficulty until you're good enough to clear Act 4.

There is one thing that's kind of weirdly disappointing for me though: I don't feel like I've actually gotten any better at playing the game even after roughly 20 hours of playtime. Usually, my experience with roguelikes has been that I would die pretty much instantly in the first few rounds and then get progressively better as I learn how the game works. With Slay the Spire, I won in my first playthrough, won again in my first playthrough with another character and then only needed two runs to win with the third. After that I've played a bunch more of the game and beat the real final boss in Act 4, but I still don't feel like I'm any better at the game then I was when I started. I still get runs where I just die after a few battles and also games where I just tear through everything and do pretty well on the final boss. I don't feel like I've really learned any new strategies or that I know how to play the game more optimally. I just do the same thing I did from the beginning: pick the cards that look good and fit my build and hope they work. There have to be more optimal strategies than the ones I'm using out there but short of reading a strategy guide I don't really know how I'd find out about them.

Not that it really matters much since I the game is still great and I'm still having a lot of fun playing it.

It's also currently an early unlock for Humble Bundle and it's on Game Pass so getting it is cheap at the moment.
 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,993
Anyone following this game? It looks really interesting.


I'm actually quite interested in this now. The art style is great and I like the concept of the game so far.
Off-Screen footage, 10 mins that shows the battle system.

Feels like a mixture of Etrian Odyssey, Disgaea, and Darkest Dungeon in some ways.

Also, nice write-up Eridani ! I've seen a lot of talk about Slay The Spire but I've never been big on Deck Building Games either. I'm trying to change that, slowly, but STS is certainly on my list.
 
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Opa-Pa

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,668
I have to mirror Eridani's glowing impressions on Slay The Spire. I've been playing it a lot lately and it's wonderful. It's pretty impressive how addictive it is, always leaving me wanting one more run despite these lasting as long as an hour and sometimes even more.

The variety the different characters bring is pretty clear, they have very distinct play styles and what can be a trivial obstacle for one can result in a life or death challenge for another; personally my favorite is The Silent, I just love to exploit poison-esque status effects in RPGs. I'm nowhere as good at the game as Eridani is tho, it took me like 9 runs before I beat act 3 with anyone and I've only managed that one victory so far in like 16 hours (with The Silent), but on the contrary, I do feel like I've improved significantly and use more clever strategies with each character.

I also love how they implemented permanent upgrades. I usually don't like these in roguelikes, but here they are extra cards that are added to the pool and while they're good and add new stuff to the table, they aren't essential, so it doesn't feel like you /need/ to unlock them to stand a chance.

I think my only complaint is that while the game looks good, the presentation feels like it lacks something. The music isn't very remarkable and barely changes, and given that the game's look is clearly inspired by Darkest Dungeon, it's disappointing that there aren't more graphical effects or camera movement to better sell your attacks; they feel like they lack impact.

Overall I'm very impressed with the game. It's wild to me how well the formula works. You'd think losing your entire, well-thought deck upon losing would be more devastating, but the pace at which you build it and progress through the game is so fast that if anything losing gets me excited to start a new run and see what I can come up with next.
 
Oct 26, 2017
552
Hi, RPG thread. With Divinity OS2 surprise appearing on Switch, I thought it would be a good time to ask a couple questions about how it compares to DOS1.

Now, isometric WRPGs and I usually don't get along super well (to the point that I don't even really consider playing them anymore, outside of the very rare exception like Disco Elysium), but I have played DOS1 and mostly enjoyed it. I didn't finish it, though. You always hear that DOS2 is supposed to be quite a bit better, and I liked the option to play as a number of different fantasy races. How is the story compared to 1? I know it's supposed to be less generic, but is it interesting? Written fairly well?

And one other, very important question: how does the play speed feel compared to 1? Probably my single biggest problem with DOS1 and a large part of why I eventually dropped it was that it did this weird thing where I swear it felt like everything took about 15% too long to do. I don't mean I wanted to run the game at 1.5x or anything like that, I mean that from a design standpoint it felt like everything was designed for periods of time that were too long. Equipment took too long to set up, run speed was slow, conversations, everything. No other game I've ever played has made me feel like this (and I dropped DOS1 probably over a year ago at this point), so I can't describe it super well. Did anyone else feel like that? Was DOS2 any better about it?
 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,993
Hi, RPG thread. With Divinity OS2 surprise appearing on Switch, I thought it would be a good time to ask a couple questions about how it compares to DOS1.

Now, isometric WRPGs and I usually don't get along super well (to the point that I don't even really consider playing them anymore, outside of the very rare exception like Disco Elysium), but I have played DOS1 and mostly enjoyed it. I didn't finish it, though. You always hear that DOS2 is supposed to be quite a bit better, and I liked the option to play as a number of different fantasy races. How is the story compared to 1? I know it's supposed to be less generic, but is it interesting? Written fairly well?

And one other, very important question: how does the play speed feel compared to 1? Probably my single biggest problem with DOS1 and a large part of why I eventually dropped it was that it did this weird thing where I swear it felt like everything took about 15% too long to do. I don't mean I wanted to run the game at 1.5x or anything like that, I mean that from a design standpoint it felt like everything was designed for periods of time that were too long. Equipment took too long to set up, run speed was slow, conversations, everything. No other game I've ever played has made me feel like this (and I dropped DOS1 probably over a year ago at this point), so I can't describe it super well. Did anyone else feel like that? Was DOS2 any better about it?
I'm no WRPG or CRPG expert, but I've played quite a bit of DOS2. I beat DOS1 but haven't completed 2 yet. DOS2 is a bit quicker in some aspects, especially in the story front. You have a choice to play a created char of whatever race (including undead and dragonborn/lizard person!) and there are far more options available to you in how you want to approach combat builds. For starters, BUILDS are ACTUALLY VIABLE this time around. You want to be a tank? Go for it. You want to be support? Yup! Pure DPS? A-OK. You wanna be a crowd controlling ice-based tank mage that heals the party and freezes everything? Go nuts. You want to be a necromancer melee DPS with a giant sword who eats shields and constantly restores their own health while crippling the enemy? Be my guest. You can do so much and it actually works this time. I found in DOS1 I couldn't really tank worth a damn and weird fringe builds just seemed wholly ineffective.

Onto combat, it does feel a little faster to me but also a little less immediately deadly. In DOS1, I always felt like I was 1-2 hits away from death regardless of gear. Due to the introduction of physical/magical shielding in 2, effects aren't slapped on you right away and health doesn't drain until those shields are gone. I personally like the system quite a bit, but some people do lament their addition. It makes you play a bit more tactically, at least in my opinion. I set things up before hand when I look at the enemies and decide whose shields I want to strip so I can apply status effects and who I want to send out to tank due to their own shielding.

Combat is round robin now too, so its always moving. Some people hate this, as it means you will always alternate turns versus it being more speed/agility based in the first one. In DOS1 you could have all four chars go before the enemy got a single turn. In this one, it alternates. That said, you still see the order and can set things up to delay enemy turns or make them lose it by tossing more status effects/crippling/stunning/knocking down/etc. I like it as it keeps things active, but you may not like it if you're a fan of gearing your party to attack one after the other and set up speedy combos.

Back to the characters, which leads to story - you can make your own and do whatever, or you can play as the created characters who actually have quite good stories, themes, personalities, and more. They're fully fleshed out this time around with intertwining stories and tons of dialogue with one another. The story starts off with a bang and carries along quite well. To be fair, I've only made it through act two so I can't tell you if it falls off a cliff after that.

For conversations and general plot speed, I wouldn't say its faster but I'd say its more interesting. I found myself caring more about what people had to say about the current situation or whatever quest they wanted me to go on than I did in DOS1. I've also played this game exclusively co-op (and DOS1), so my concept of time passing may be weighted somewhat. Still, both my friend and I stopped to listen to dialogues together or muse about where the story was going. Hell, we even roleplayed our characters with the dialogue choices. Many a time I knew I was going to get us in trouble by picking something, but I picked it because it was what my character would say. We both grew sick of dialogue in DOS1 after some point and also felt it took a bit too long to do things/get to places/things to occur in the story. In DOS2, more happens and at a quicker pace, I'd say. Some of the plotlines don't feel as frivolous.

Anyways, sorry to wall-of-text / slap you in the face with an essay. I think DOS2 just does everything better. I wouldn't say its night and day, but I think it's a greatly improved game for many reasons. If possible, I'd recommend playing it with a friend.
 
Oct 26, 2017
552
I'm no WRPG or CRPG expert, but I've played quite a bit of DOS2. I beat DOS1 but haven't completed 2 yet. DOS2 is a bit quicker in some aspects, especially in the story front. You have a choice to play a created char of whatever race (including undead and dragonborn/lizard person!) and there are far more options available to you in how you want to approach combat builds. For starters, BUILDS are ACTUALLY VIABLE this time around. You want to be a tank? Go for it. You want to be support? Yup! Pure DPS? A-OK. You wanna be a crowd controlling ice-based tank mage that heals the party and freezes everything? Go nuts. You want to be a necromancer melee DPS with a giant sword who eats shields and constantly restores their own health while crippling the enemy? Be my guest. You can do so much and it actually works this time. I found in DOS1 I couldn't really tank worth a damn and weird fringe builds just seemed wholly ineffective.

Onto combat, it does feel a little faster to me but also a little less immediately deadly. In DOS1, I always felt like I was 1-2 hits away from death regardless of gear. Due to the introduction of physical/magical shielding in 2, effects aren't slapped on you right away and health doesn't drain until those shields are gone. I personally like the system quite a bit, but some people do lament their addition. It makes you play a bit more tactically, at least in my opinion. I set things up before hand when I look at the enemies and decide whose shields I want to strip so I can apply status effects and who I want to send out to tank due to their own shielding.

Combat is round robin now too, so its always moving. Some people hate this, as it means you will always alternate turns versus it being more speed/agility based in the first one. In DOS1 you could have all four chars go before the enemy got a single turn. In this one, it alternates. That said, you still see the order and can set things up to delay enemy turns or make them lose it by tossing more status effects/crippling/stunning/knocking down/etc. I like it as it keeps things active, but you may not like it if you're a fan of gearing your party to attack one after the other and set up speedy combos.

Back to the characters, which leads to story - you can make your own and do whatever, or you can play as the created characters who actually have quite good stories, themes, personalities, and more. They're fully fleshed out this time around with intertwining stories and tons of dialogue with one another. The story starts off with a bang and carries along quite well. To be fair, I've only made it through act two so I can't tell you if it falls off a cliff after that.

For conversations and general plot speed, I wouldn't say its faster but I'd say its more interesting. I found myself caring more about what people had to say about the current situation or whatever quest they wanted me to go on than I did in DOS1. I've also played this game exclusively co-op (and DOS1), so my concept of time passing may be weighted somewhat. Still, both my friend and I stopped to listen to dialogues together or muse about where the story was going. Hell, we even roleplayed our characters with the dialogue choices. Many a time I knew I was going to get us in trouble by picking something, but I picked it because it was what my character would say. We both grew sick of dialogue in DOS1 after some point and also felt it took a bit too long to do things/get to places/things to occur in the story. In DOS2, more happens and at a quicker pace, I'd say. Some of the plotlines don't feel as frivolous.

Anyways, sorry to wall-of-text / slap you in the face with an essay. I think DOS2 just does everything better. I wouldn't say its night and day, but I think it's a greatly improved game for many reasons. If possible, I'd recommend playing it with a friend.
Thank you for this detailed breakdown. It's not something I'm eager to go run out and play right away, but I will keep it in the back of my mind as a possibility if I get in the right mood for it.
 

Sceptile

Member
Oct 27, 2017
470
I'll probably make an LTTP thread later on this later.

I'm playing through Fallout 4 (changed to it from tactics ogre) and wow, despite being a major fan of Fallout 2 and New Vegas and thinking 3 was just "ehh", I'm liking this more then I thought I would. I still have a lot of mixed feelings though.

+ The settlement building system is an ingenious addition to the Bethesda "go wherever, do whatever at your own pace" formula. Now you need every scrap of every little item placed in the world!
+ The workbench allows you to quickly dump all of your crafting materials into a container, and pulls from said container when you build something. This makes hunting for specific materials far, far less obnoxious then most crafting systems I've experienced. The material warehouse is even accessible from different settlements if you take a perk and set up trade routes!
+ Building settlements and cleaning up the wasteland adds a nice feeling of progress beyond "watch the numbers going up", and I like that.
+ Speaking of which, the leveling system is much better then in 3. I like systems where you can theoretically max everything if you're crazy enough, and open world sandbox games should not have a level cap anyway.
- These two points unfortunately mean that you pretty much have to have the strong back and local leader perks, which require you to invest into strength and charisma.
+ The city areas nicely implement a vertical dimension to the game, where you can climb up fire escapes, duck in and out of rooms, and hop from roof to roof.
+ The gunplay feels nice, and the enemy encounters are well done. For example, a raider was looking for me, and I wasn't sure where he was. I went up some stairs and he shot me through a hole in the wall he was waiting for me to pass. Later, a feral ghoul crawled through a small window I passed and smacked me in the back.
+ You have a greater reason to use VATS to target different body parts then the torso for accuracy or head for damage. Shoot robots' or ghouls' limbs off, make enemies loose their balance and fall, that sort of thing
+ I like the new Borderlands/Diablo style loot system with legendary items.
+ I'm on a personal mission to screenshot every teddy bear doing something I see. One with an officer cap driving a bus, one with glasses and a coffee mug reading the newspaper, two playing chess. This is a nice running gag.

There's plenty of problems though:
- The voiced protagonist. This greatly limits your dialogue possibilities, and they are not really much of a "character" to make up for this setback. Almost every dialogue prompt has been:

1. Yes,Agree,More Information (Nice)
2. Yes,Agree,More Information (Sarcastic)/Give me more money
3. No
4. Bye

And this gets old fast.
- Why, oh why, can't the game tell us what we're going to say before we say it? Example
1. Should have helped
2. Do the right thing
3. That sucks
4. Sarcastic (this one in particular is a complete wild card)

- Every single quest so far has been some variation of "go to area X and kill monsters/get item". Given this series's history of diverse quests that you can approach from multiple angles, this is extremely disappointing.
- Holy goddamn crap are the loading times obscene. The first time I transitioned to the overworld, I thought the game crashed on the loading screen. 90+ seconds later it loaded. This deters me from darting in and out of buildings. Thankfully someone made a workaround mod that speeds up the loading by disabling whatever makes it take so long, then re-enabling it when it's loaded. Bethesda games man.
- The story is really not gripping me. I've gotten to
Father and the Institute
and the protagonist's reaction to these game changing revelations is... barely existent? They don't really behave differently after the revelation then they did before This moment could have been fantastic if they were better characterized.
- I might not have gotten to it yet, but what exactly is The Institute's goal? I have a theory
humanity has destroyed itself so we're building the new and improved succesors to humanity, synths.
But that goes against how they're been treating them - like disposable robots. I feel like I should know a bit more about what's going on before potentially making such a drastic change in allegiance.

TL;DR: Settlement building and exploration are great and go hand in hand, but the writing and quest design are lame.
 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,993

So I just finished up Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume for my RPG Blitz. I have a lot to say. I'm gonna just dump it in a quote box, I didn't realize it'd be twenty four paragraphs and nigh five thousand words.

To start with, I am a huge huge huge VP fan. It's my favorite series. VP1 and 2 are my favorite games of all time. Each is such a wonderful game that resonated with me like few other games have before. The first Valkyrie Profile came out of nowhere for me. I never waited for it, nor did I even knew it existed until my friend in school let me borrow it. I don't know how he knew I'd like it, but he just had a hunch. He was spot on. Everything about the game left me with a smile, a deep thought, and a stirring of the heart. It did so many things that I'd wanted in games for such a long time. Active/engaging combat system, a deep story that wasn't about the power of friendship, no mention of going on an adventure, tragic characters and pure anti-heroes, and relatable people who felt like people in bad times and down on their luck. It also had a female lead who was not only strong, but tragic and flawed while still carrying on. She wasn't a weak maiden to be defended by a spiky-haired adventurer. There was so much to Lenneth that slowly unraveled over the story and I adored it. I loved absolutely everything about the game. It did so many new things that opened up my eyes to RPGs being more than just turn-based whack-a-mole. VP1 slotted itself in as my favorite game of all time, knocking Tetris Attack out of that spot (look, I love Tetris Attack, ok?)

VP: Lenneth (the PSP port) and VP2: Silmeria being announced threw my heart for a spin. I had countdowns on my computer, I saved up what little money I had, and I checked everything. Screenshots, magazines, websites, videos, forums, everything. I was ever so excited to get my hands on VP2, which at the time was the most beautiful game I'd ever seen. In the time between VP1 and 2, I'd played so many great rpgs. I expanded my horizons quite a bit. I enjoyed lovely gems such as Shadow Hearts, Star Ocean, myriad Final Fantasies, Grandia, Wild Arms, Tales, and more. I found so many great games that did something different, but none of them gave me the same excitement I had for VP2. When VP: Lenneth released, I replayed it three times during my wait for VP2. I enjoyed every single moment, despite the port being not-the-greatest. (Note: If there is no other choice, VPL is fine if you've never played the series. If you have a PS1 copy, it's preferred.)

VP2: Silmeria came out and my every wish was granted. It was gorgeous, it had wondrous characters who were charming yet had that tragic smile. It was an upgrade to the battle system that introduced a level of strategic and tactical engagement that I hadn't expected but ultimately loved. Alicia and Silmeria's stories are woven so tightly together and ever so well that I cannot think of one character without the other. The ways it tied back into VP1 (and ultimately changed the canon) were seen as great by me, though others weren't so keen on it. I played through the game twice in a month and spent hours upon hours in the Seraphic Gate (the end game dungeon where you get lots and lots of super bosses, special characters, and more.) The only downside I had was that the general einherjar were not as prominent as they were in the previous game. However, looking back at VP1/L, there was a 'main cast' and then a number of supporting characters who had their story wrapped up within their little vignette. VP2 did away with those vignettes, but still buried tons and tons and tons of lore in their profiles and backstories. One of my favorite things? Depending on what character profile you look into, you may get different views of different events. One persons story may refer to them as a hero who protected a city against vile invaders, while another person opposing them may refer to themselves as liberators who freed that city from a hateful despot. If any games were ever 10/10 for me, it would be both of the VP games.

So, where am I going with this long preamble about my love for the series, games, and history? Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume was announced for the DS a couple years after I had my blissful encounters with the series. We were already a couple years into the PS3. Tri-ace had been AWOL and releasing Star Ocean 4 on the 360, alongside Infinite Undiscovery. While I like both games, I wouldn't say they're particularly good. The lack of news was causing me to get a little grumpy. Why was my favorite series being ignored for these games on a console that no one even owns in Japan? When was Valkyrie Profile 3: Hrist going to get announced? What is Tri-ace even doing with the series? During that time, I spent a lot of money on a PS3. So, like... a lot of stupid forum warriors, I felt I had to justify my purchase. Of course, I console-warred like an idiot. It actively made me dislike other systems. It's stupid, I know. I've grown up since, but I still look back at myself during those days and shake my head. I buried myself in the RPGs that did manage to make it onto PS3. I had a low-paying job so I didn't have money to buy a 360 or a Wii after sinking so much into my PS3 and the... playable, I suppose, Idea Factory / NISA / Compile Heart / whatever games made it there. I was swimming around in a sea of games that weren't all very good while ignoring the gems on other systems.

In that period of stupidity, I was also pretty against the Nintendo DS. I liked my PSP. I hated touch controls (another reason I didn't buy a Wii for a long time). I'm left handed so many games just simply weren't playable for me without much frustration or discomfort. Yet I got a DS and Pokemon for Christmas one year so I was kind of "stuck with one". Again, I had some shitty opinions that I've gotten away from as I grew up. So, with VP: Covenant announced, I wanted to have...some kind of excitement. But it was hollow. It had nothing to do with Hrist. It barely had anything to do with the Valkyries at all. The combat system was wildly different. There were no dungeons, no 2D exploration, no einherjar to get. I starred a stupid kid with a stupid reason to fight. It was all grimdark without feeling like it earned it. For me, it was just a hugely negative experience. I never got past chapter two because it was slow. It was far too political (I literally mean politics of the three cities, the crown prince war, serf rebellions, etc) for me. Much like FFXII, I just shrugged and felt it to be a big, boring story with bad characters. So, I put it down. I've always considered it a black sheep of the series. I did not like it. I would not like it. It's a bad VP game and an insult to fans who have been waiting for VP: Hrist on PS3. It wasn't a VP game.

I told myself this and didn't touch it for years. Occasionally I'd give it a shot again, but would feel many of the same things, though with less intensity. I played so many more games between touching VP: Covenant and again broadened and expanded my horizons. I've engaged with hundreds of games in the time between attempts, had many life changes and am wholly a better person than I was in many aspects. I'm far more open now to new things, I dig deep to find meaning in stories and characters that I never did, and I even write much of my own fiction. But... what was it that spurned me to try this again? It was a mixture of things. Firstly, our RPG Blitz in this thread/the discord. It's a program we have to encourage people to finish their games, write about them, talk about them, share experiences and highlight things for other people to catch interest in. As I run the program, I'm exempt from winning prizes, but that's not why I participate. I love the write-ups people give, I love the progress updates, I love when someone reads a persons thoughts and gets interested, played it, and shares their own opinions. It's very communal and it makes me very happy that people enjoy it.

This season, however, has been brutal. With the release of Shadowbringers, I lost a month of time I was going to dedicate to my five (six!) games. Then other games came out, along with some chaos at work, some stuff in life mixing up, and you have a recipe for little to no time for completing these games. Maybe this was a bit of a blessing, but I didn't want to finish my blitz with only one game finished. I just wrapped up The Last Remnant (write-up is back a few posts) and realized I sunk 80 hours into that game, if not more. As we were nearing the last month, I looked at my list and realized I need to swap some stuff and have some more bite-sized chunks. I looked at my games, checked How Long To Beat, and saw that VP: Covenant really wasn't that long. Most people said it took 12-15 hours to beat, so I kept it in mind. What sealed the deal? Some conversation with friends about lore and unreliable narrators. Immediately, my anecdote about character profiles telling different stories depending on who you engaged with came to mind. I started thinking about VP game, digging in a bit to the lore of key cities such as Artolia. I grew nostalgic.

I looked at the game box again and thought I'd give it another try. I've grown a lot. I've experienced a lot. I've written a lot myself. I'm no longer some idiot console warrior. I'm a huge proponent of trying things again later down the line if they don't click now. I'm very open to be wrong and corrected about games these days. So I took it upon myself to try it again. But first, I had a few issues that needed to be solved. I hated the DS back then. Now I own a 3DS and quite like it, but it's uncomfortable to hold. The corners dig into my hands (I have small hands), and it cramps them up quite a bit. It's just an uncomfortable system to hold. So I bought a grip for my 3DS XL. It's a fantastic grip and it makes my experience so much better. As for my despising touch controls? Eh, I've given up that fight. The left-handed problem? VP: Covenant doesn't use the touchpad! EZPZ. Every prior roadblock I threw up was now knocked down and I was prepared to go into the game with a fresh open mind, thinking of it as what it really is: a spinoff that tried a lot of new things.

I've played the opening chapters maybe five times. This time? It finally resonated. I understood Wylfred's rage, his plight, his quest for revenge, and his wholly misguided nature. He is a tragic and flawed character in every sense of the word. Much of the tragedy, he brings upon himself. He is so angry at the world and his fate that he'll do anything to change it...even sacrifice his friends. It starts rather grim, but I'll try to avoid spoilers as I want people to give it a look in the future. Throughout the game, you are essentially a villain. It's not because you want to destroy the world or want to rule it, it's not because you seek power. No, it's simple. You have a single goal in mind and its all you can cling to. Otherwise, your life is worthless. There is no value, no meaning, and besides... you've already signed a deal with the devil to get what you want most: revenge on the valkyries.

One thing I learned in my replays was that each playthrough was different. I didn't realize this until my prior attempt, but in the beginning, you're presented with three towns but not told what they do, who they side with, or which to even go to. You make your choice as any other clueless person would. This seals half of your fate. What I really love about this is that you can go to a mercenary military bunker and learn there is a peasant uprising in a city and the crown will pay you to fight. As a mercenary, you're hired to crush this rebellion. However, if you go to the city instead, you learn about a peasant uprising because the crown is a cruel tyrant who is murdering its own people. Again, as a mercenary, you're hired to fight against the crown. But what if instead you wander into the forest near the town? You come across assassins who are hired by the crown to murder the leader of the rebels. As a mercenary once more, you're hired to assist in the assassination and put a quiet and less bloody end to the serf rebellions.

I love this. It works so well to me. Just being a wandering mercenary who doesn't care about the world and seeks only one thing, you've no allegiance to anything other than coin. What could you care about a tyrant king? What could you care about usurpers? What could you care about a hateful populace? You are simply here to get money and commit heinous sins such as sacrificing allies who trusted you or showing not a shred of mercy to your enemies. Viciously mauling soldiers or peasants as they teeter on the brink of death and committing such brutal overkill is something only a monster would do. And that is you. A monster. But there's still a human inside there, somewhere, that whimpers at Wyl's actions once he sees the aftermath. But his resolve is made of steel, because it has to be. Otherwise, what is any of this for? 'Tis better to die fighting for what you believe in than to wallow in regret and despair.

The general plot of the political turmoil between the three kingdoms is roughly the same across the different routes, but your actions can add more or less context to the overall history. After all, history is written by the victor. There may be tales of a wandering mercenary who saved a town, while others may have tales of a bloodthirsty sellsword who slaughtered the leaders of a rebellion. I really enjoy how either outcome still fits into the 'canon' history, because there are so many other events going on at the same time that your involvement may simply be an outlier in the annals of history. Wyl's actions make him a bad person, but he's not a bad character. He's a young man who is desperate and losing himself to madness, only able to break the tides of grief by shoring up his defenses with the blood of others and the sins wrought by his own hands.

Aside from Wyl though, there are many other characters. Which you receive depends on what you do. Which part of the rebellion are you in? Did you sacrifice any other people? Did you refrain and instead show your brutality against your foes in combat? Each path leads along to different characters. I looked at a brief guide and was also recommended by a friend to pursue a mage named Lieselotte. So, I did just that. But that would require murdering a friend. My long-time companion, Cheripha, had just been reunited with her father. They were to have a grand life together, and for the first time in years, Cheripha smiled when thinking about her father. Yet, he was useless to me. Lieselotte would be a far superior mage and I had no others that I could sacrifice. I offered up Cheripha's father, who just cast his lot in with mine as to spend time with his daughter. And I took him away from her. I invoked him, let him destroy some of the opposition before me, and he then swiftly died after battle in Cheripha's arms. She'd no idea it was Wyl. She'd never know. Instead, she just lost her father on the battlefield a mere day after they'd reunited. Yet Wyl would carry that with him forever, never to confess it. Fate can be cruel, especially when you're the one dictating it for the sake of a 'higher purpose'.

This would be the last ally I sacrificed, as I would need no more for the path and characters I wanted. I continued on, met with a general who is probably the Only Good Person in the game. Yet he took part in crushing the rebellion, so his action are grey at best. He runs with two psychopathic child soldiers who - at first glance - are little more than the crazy yandere anime kids. Yet there is a depth to them. They're only twelve and they've been conscripted into fighting. They see bloodshed every day. They watch soldiers get paid to kill people and get praised for having higher bodycounts. The kids are in their formative years and they learn these things by watching those around them, for they've never had any parents. They're brought up in a cold and brutal world. They don't know the comfort of love and they've no real understanding on the concept of death. There are simply people in the way, and then they're bodies cast aside afterwards. Like a baby mimicking its mother, these kids copy what they see and put it into practice, yet they lack the understanding or critical thought behind their actions. They're just baby birds observing their mother, yet that mother is a brutal war machine that grinds up innocents, soldiers, and hopeful sellswords before vomiting their bloodied corpses upon the trodden soil.

I would continue down this path, gaining characters who were cast down upon the world in a sea of tragedy that either occurred prior or during their meeting with Wyl. Again, the story can branch off from there into different outcomes, but the general ending is the same, per my understanding in terms of the political plotline. Much like VP1, the game has multiple endings aimed at Wyl's personal story. I watched Lieselotte murder someone who was praying for her, simply because she too was fueled by hate that could never be quelled. Rather than cut her down, there was a bond that formed between Wyl and Lieselotte. Two mad souls bent on revenge, each aware that their actions were horrific, yet they did their best to keep the thoughts from intruding. It was best not to think about the people one killed, especially when there was no real proof that they did the act you had punished them for. Acting on whim and suspicion was a way to keep from drowning oneself in a sea of "what ifs". Two broken souls amidst a backdrop of shattered allies. It was bittersweet, perhaps with a metallic aftertaste to it.

So far, that's two complaints resolved. I find a lot to like in the story. I enjoy how on-the-ground it is, covering the events prior to the fall of Artolia. There was so much lore around this particular period in the VP lore that I felt so happy just digging around in, being part of, and actively influencing. I also came around on Wyl. Sure, he's a bastard, but he's well written and does not stray from his self-imposed path of revenge. I imagine deep down he knows his quest is hopeless and misguided, but he's always splattered blood on the ground in its name. What next? The combat. It's different from Valkyrie Profile 1 and 2. It's a strategy/tactical RPG with a VP flair to it. You have a small group (four characters) and that's it. No backup, no reinforcements. In most SPRGs I've played, you get sometimes 10 or more characters and engage in huge battles. With this, you're simply a tiny group versus upwards of 20 soldiers. You are always outnumbered. You are always outmatched. You are always at a disadvantage. And that is a daunting challenge laid before you.

That's where the game excels though. In VP games, you tend to play incredibly offensively. You're aggressive, tearing through groups of enemies and destroying them with chained specials, breaking parts, shattering guards, etc. In VP Covenant, that still exists but only in the battle sequence sans the shattering of parts. When you're engaging on the battle map, you want to be safe. You want to be defensive. You want to be cautious, shrewd, and prepared. You want to look at the enemies and be prescriptive about when, how, and where you'll dispatch them. For if you run out carelessly, enemies will surround you, link together and beat your lifeless body into the dirt. The game made me think more on a grand scale and more tactically that I had in VP1 or 2. I was looking at the battlefield and planning where I'd go, keeping my units all together to fight as one. I'd think up a kill order and ensure I had enough resources or boosts to make sure I could kill an enemy in one skirmish. If I couldn't, I had to weigh whether it was worth eating the damage and healing up or trying to push for a kill. It was precarious, for I never knew when a boss was going to use a special attack on me.

I've used magic in VP Covenant more than I have in any other game in the series. Boosting stats, stopping enemies, debuffing foes, causing status effects and running away. All of it was like a magical guerilla war. Tactics tomes let me use skills to extend my movement at the cost of only being on standby afterwards, they let me extend my range, make enemies target me or ignore me, they let me skulk around the battlefield in stealth, they let me immediately pop up behind enemies, and most important: they let me swap places with them. Transpose is a tactic tome that costs little AP and lets you exchange places with your enemy. Why is this great? I put it on my archer, who has to be at least 1+ square away to attack. She could move far, attack form a distance, and had skills to prevent projectiles form doing much damage at all to her. I abused this ability and used it to throw mages between my two melee and my mage and slaughtered them with a quickly. I employed this tactic to throw bosses into floor-based status effects. I even used it on enemies that I'd stopped/frozen and pushed out of the way so I could rush the leader...or, if my sin count was low, I'd put the leader in a corner and massacre his underlings before returning to him. How sad it must've been for him to charge back towards me to find his entire squad wiped out. I got to tinker more and more with the battle system and exploit what little bits I could.

A battle system I previously hated for "not being VP" was something that I now love. It is VP, but it's also something else. The face-button combat is still there, as is the bonus gauge, all the special attacks being linked, all the blue crystals and purple gems, the bonus attacks, all of it is still there. It's just presented differently. I'm happy with how they let characters who have already acted link up with an attacking character in range. It kept that sense of aggression and overkill that I love in the series. It keeps that sense of teamwork, that co-operation that is the only positive thing in the waves of madness and glints of rage. I was always active, always thinking even when trying to put together my kill orders, attack chains, and more. With the Sin Gauge, you're given an amount of sin to get per battle. Usually its around 350 or so. How do you fill sin? By either sacrificing an ally or overkilling an enemy. And if its not clear, sacrifice is a permanent loss of that character. It's not simply sending them up to get killed/KO'd. It's a system that boosts their stats by 10x nearly and lets them essentially go super saiyan, for lack of a better word, but imagine if it killed you immediately after the battle was over. It is impossible to revive them. As you only have a dozen characters or less, this isn't something you want to do every battle. Before you know it, you'll be all alone and it'll be impossible to win.

So, with overkill, I'd have to toy with enemies. I'd get their HP down to low but not kill them off. Instead, I'd surround them with my force and unleash dozens of hits, sometimes over a hundred, onto their near-lifeless corpse. I'll admit I sometimes did the full combos out of spite due to an enemy wiping out a character of mine. I'd revive that character and make sure they were in for the final blows, wracking up my overkill meter with them often taking the last hit. This seemed like a small, suitable bit of revenge. These attacks upon depleted HP fills the sin gauge, but only up to 100. That means if you don't want to invoke anyone, you need to think about how much damage you do, what your combos can do, what you can miss or avoid on purpose, and more. I'd hit my sin requirement and then try and push it further, for spilling more blood granted you more rewards. This can lead to better equipment, items, spells, and more. It's an endless, vicious cycle that leads to more and more blood to be spilled upon the Destiny Plume - the very thing you're trying to empower. It is the definition of blood for blood.

Throughout my cautious rampages through these maps, the odds kept getting stacked more and more against me. In the final chapter, there is a very long gauntlet of battles that you cannot save between. These are four, large-scale battles with no save point (other than Suspend, which is a temporary save that gets deleted upon reloading.) A single mis-step can cause hours of lost progress. I had to take every single encounter carefully and slow, because I'd really hate to lose a battle on the 3rd or 4th map and go all the way back to the start. Thankfully, my clever thinking and thoughtful planning let me get through this hellscape of a final series of battles. It was intense and nerve-wracking. I never knew what enemies were capable of until they punched me in the head or exploded a nuclear flare above me. I was constantly fighting the unknown, met only with giant HP values that were 3-10x more than mine (sometimes almost 20x) and stats that eclipse mine own. I had to make my team fight as a team in every engagement. This made it a bit different from other SRPGs I've played where I can send some units off to fight multiple enemies on there on. With this, I had to stick together...because splitting up meant death. This ended up taking me three hours to get through these four fights. It was tense, but I ultimately wish there was more breathing room.

Overall, I'm happy with the combat. I'd learned that trying new things and getting experimental was quite healthy for the series. I can appreciate what VP Covenant does quite a bit now. It's no VP3: Hrist, but it's certainly a VP game through and through. It has many tracks from the original game that run throughout combat, bringing back a sense of nostalgia that makes me smile. The writing is superb, the world is bleak, the characters have brutally tragic backstories and events that occur and feel realistic and earned, and the lore really expands into the human world of the VP series. I've really lost any defense or reason against this game, and for that I'm actually pretty proud. I was stubborn and refused to see something for what it was because I was too buried in the past, too chained to my own experience with the series, and blinded by hope for something that likely will never come.

As mentioned, as I've grown older, I've become more open to things. I focus more on how something resonates with me, how it makes me feel emotionally, and how I enjoy my time with it. I've learned that just because I like something doesn't mean it's good. The opposite applies too. Just because I don't like something, that doesn't mean its bad. We live in an age where hyperbole flies left and right. We post on a forum where people just drop hot takes for the sole purpose of riling up others. People on the front page fight and battle constantly about what the GOAT is or why X game is trash or how Y game is the best thing ever created. There is so much absurdity, embellishment, and intensity in peoples words that it makes me a bit sad to even peruse the front page. Perhaps thats because it reminds of myself. A punchy kid who was mad at the world for not getting what they wanted. Someone who was unwilling to actually look into what I was playing or experiencing. Someone who just wanted it all laid out for me exactly how I wanted it. I was ever so picky. I still am picky, but I think I'm more open and able to appreciate things for what they can do rather than lament what they can't.

Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume is a game that I was wrong about. It's truly good and I take back all the dumb garbage I ever said about it. It's a VP game with a great story, fun and intriguing combat, grand characters, and that tried and true sense of nostalgic tragedy that bleeds through every crevice of the series. If you're a fan of the series and have ever put it off, consider giving it another try. There is a lot to like about it and I'm glad I gave it a fresh look with an open mind.
I was an idiot who was wrong about Valkyrie Profile: Covenant and it's actually very good.
 
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BlueOdin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,226
Finished Final Fantasy V Advance for my Blitz. I liked it but I don’t think I'll ever be more than lukewarm on the series. Except Final Fantasy Tactics which is perfect.

Started the SNES version of Dragon Quest 3. The fan translation translating some abilities takes some getting used to. But I haven’t played the games when they were titled „Dragon Warrior“ and only got to experience the newer translations so the fan translation might be closer to the former. „Blaze“ and „Upper“ lack the charm of „Frizz“ and „Kabuff“ though.

Not far in yet. Only opened the door with the magic ball in the second dungeon but so far I really like it. Coming from DQ2 kinda strange that your party is as mute as you but no biggie.
Visually though the game is stunning and probably one of the best looking SNES games. What I really like are the enemy animations which to me almost seem like polygon models in movement at times.

Having played through quite a few Dragon Quests in the last couple of years I also find it amazing how consistent the series is at its core formula. While each series entry added something to its predecessor and iterated on some stuff the knowledge of things in a later entry can easily applied to earlier entries.

Seeing how much I enjoy the series it kinda males me more mad at FFX. Because I played that as a child and didn’t really like I thought for a while that JRPGs not called Pokemon or Golden Sun weren’t for me so always put DQVIII back when I held it in my hands in stores.

Also playing Pyre for my Blitz and I dig it. The art is amazing. The Basketball game is alright but I would be just fine with it being a visual novel. It isn’t that long so I hope I can finish it this week and start Baldur's Gate.
 

Iva Demilcol

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,255
Iwatodai Dorm
I beat Mother 3 the past weekend but since a lot of people are playing it I think I won't write a long post about it or it'll be full of black bars...

What I can say about it is that:

-I don't know if I like it more than Earthbound or not: It's super emotional but EarthBound feels super nostalgic too.
-Playing the last scenes of Mother 3 was almost painful.

I really don't want to say more than that. It's the last month so I'm expecting to read more comments about it. :madduck:
 
Oct 25, 2017
12,571
Austria
After 2 hours I can definitely say that Greedfall could either turn out to be pretty good or really, really basic. Which is a very helpful statement, I know.
So far the game has shown promise to be a decent RPG but it all depends on how much things evolve from where I'm at. I finished what is basically the tutorial area which took me roughly two hours. There were a couple of quests which ranged from kinda bad to pretty good.
In one of the more interesting quests you actually get a decent variety of solutions (tho nothing too out of the ordinary) whereas in the bad quest you pretty much just follow the objective marker, talk to people and in the end either fight or talk with really nothing in between. At one point you just find a note out in the open that basically reads "Make sure you bring food to THIS place but make sure nobody follows you *wink* *wink*" and that's just.....bad design.
Put that note behind some guards so I have to stealth (or fight) my way there. Put that note in a box so characters with lock picking can get it. Hide the key somewhere in the house so characters without lockpicking can get it. Put an NPC there that you can either charm or bribe. You get the idea. Which, weirdly enough is exactly what they did with another quest. So it remains to be seen which type of quest will be more common. The thing I am really more worried about is the "follow the quest marker" design of all the quests in the first area.

As is tradition in western RPGs your first companion is a rough, boring, no nonsense guy which is always exciting and your second companion is....another rough, no nonsense guy hooray. I hope those characters get better later on but so far I can't say I care about either of them. They basically feel like the same character. The city you start in also feels very bland and boring but again it is just the tutorial area so who knows. (I do think that the first area in a game matters a lot, but if things get better later on who cares, right?)

You meet two "faction leaders" in the first area, one of which is part of the religious faction and immediately talks about burning heretics at a stake, and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to dislike this faction already but I definitely do.

Combat is...okay. Nothing mind blowing and hopefully it get's more interesting once you get more abilities (the main reason I play as a mage) and meet more types of enemies since you only fight humans in the first area.

Ultimately, what the game did achieve so far is it makes me want to replay Gothic II which is objectively a perfect RPG and I will hau dir volles Pfund aufs Maul if you disagree.
But seriously I am genuinely curious how the game will continue since it could really go in any direction. The first area didn't impress me much but it also didn't feel terrible.
 

Taborcarn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
655
My second game for this Blitz is finally beaten.




103 hours total, but it definitely would have been 110+ if I hadn't started taking... stronger liberties... with the mods in the very late game. After the 100 hour mark there was a huge spike in difficulty and I just wanted the dang thing to end instead of having to reload every trash mob fight several times.
It went from me feeling overpowered in the previous chapter due to all the high-level items and abilities I was getting to starting every battle with at least half my party automatically paralyzed, feared, and level drained no matter how many protections I pre-buffed with.

It was a truly epic story, taking my characters from level 1 to level 19 by the end (which in D&D terms is huge). Fun gameplay but poorly paced. I like it a lot but I don't see myself replaying it.
 

emonk

Member
Sep 12, 2019
6
Hey RPG Era, nice to see some progress is still being made on those blitzes. There's still time!

I'm still on chapter 4 of Mother 3. Been watching Netflix with the wife and continuing on Xenoblade Chronicles 2, even though there's no way I can finish it by the end of this month!

Hope you all are doing well, and keep on blitzing.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,716
Oh shit, totally forgot Judgment was my final Blitz game. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to finish it this weekend. Gotta do all the side quests and shit before I finish the main story, cause I have a strange tendency to lose all interest in doing any optional content after I see the credits roll, even if I loved a game otherwise.
 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,993
Oh shit, totally forgot Judgment was my final Blitz game. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to finish it this weekend. Gotta do all the side quests and shit before I finish the main story, cause I have a strange tendency to lose all interest in doing any optional content after I see the credits roll, even if I loved a game otherwise.
I’m the same way, though I also tend to just finish the game I’m close to the end even if I have a stack of side quests.
 

emonk

Member
Sep 12, 2019
6
Not sure why this happened, but I'm in chapter 4 of XC2 and I'm getting a deluge of side quests.

There's so much to this game. I've got a team of blades doing quests all the time now, dev levels in cities, aux crystals. I've got some new rare blades for Rex but I can't really tweak my party composition too much because Tora has called all-time tank and I don't have any damage blades for Nia yet, or at least not any rare blades.

I do have a rare blade with an earth element on Rex now (rare earth?), but I don't have a setup that lets me hit the third level of any combo that doesn't involve fire, so at least for the time being, Pyra it is.
 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,993
Not sure why this happened, but I'm in chapter 4 of XC2 and I'm getting a deluge of side quests.

There's so much to this game. I've got a team of blades doing quests all the time now, dev levels in cities, aux crystals. I've got some new rare blades for Rex but I can't really tweak my party composition too much because Tora has called all-time tank and I don't have any damage blades for Nia yet, or at least not any rare blades.

I do have a rare blade with an earth element on Rex now (rare earth?), but I don't have a setup that lets me hit the third level of any combo that doesn't involve fire, so at least for the time being, Pyra it is.
You’re exactly where I’m at! I have a rare thunder and wind blade but can’t seem to get their element combo things...
 

emonk

Member
Sep 12, 2019
6
You’re exactly where I’m at! I have a rare thunder and wind blade but can’t seem to get their element combo things...
I'm probably at 28 hours now, roughly.

The only two level three combos I can do in my party right now are Fire->Water->Fire with Rex and Nia and Earth->Fire->Earth with Tora and Rex. I'm sure in time some more will unlock.

How's Iceborne?
 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,993
I'm probably at 28 hours now, roughly.

The only two level three combos I can do in my party right now are Fire->Water->Fire with Rex and Nia and Earth->Fire->Earth with Tora and Rex. I'm sure in time some more will unlock.

How's Iceborne?
I think I have the same combos too.

Iceborne is tough because I’m dragging my 371 defense Vaal armor through monsters that have armor sets that give 680+. Needless to say some moves one-shot me. Teaaaaaars.

It’s very good though!
 

Thuddert

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,878
Netherlands
I've been getting some progress with Tokyo Xanadu, nearing the end of chapter 6. Also getting somewhere in Suikoden, with the inevitable confrontation getting closer.

I don't think I'll get to the other games during this blitz :yossy:.
 

Zaber

Member
Sep 11, 2019
11
I'm playing Underrail with its newest expansion and I think that this game has a really excellent combat system. Almost every fight feels like a dance of life and death.

I'm also playing Persona 5. I think that I like 3 and 4 better, but I've got to give it to Atlus: The game oozes with style. My problem is that most characters aren't doing it for me.
 

emonk

Member
Sep 12, 2019
6
Really hard to talk about Mother 3 because of spoilers!

PK Hugs is OP! I’m enjoying playing as Lucas so far. I’ve even started to use him in Smash a bit.
 
Oct 25, 2017
12,571
Austria
I'm about 10 hours into GreedFall now and sadly I don't think I can recommend the game.
The combat just lacks variety. The attacks you have at the start of the game are the attacks you have 10 hours in (+1 new one).
So there is just no variety in combat at all and it get's tedious pretty fast.
I'm also playing on the highest difficulty setting so combat should be incredibly demanding but playing like that just reveals how same-y it is
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,716
Finally finished my fourth and last blitz game, Judgment.

Ergh. Arrggh. Buhguhhlr. POIJhoiashfouhasdgoiughsghghh. UUGHUGUHGGERRRFGH.

I fucking hate to say it, but I think this is a pretty bad game. The new major mechanics they've introduced, particularly tailing, chasing and investigating are all atrocious. Not only are they boring and braindead easy, every single tailing and chase sequence is essentially identical, once you've done one of each, you'll know exactly how they'll play out for the rest of the game. It's beyond repetitive, it's incredible. And investigating is just looking around until your controller rumbles. Exciting.

Side cases were by and large weak as all hell compared to Yakuza games. They were repetitive, unimaginative and just plain annoying, considering how much you're going to be doing the aforementioned three things in them. There were a couple of gems for sure, but as a whole, they don't hold a candle to almost any of the Yakuza games, maybe Kiwami excluded. That said, I missed a couple of them due to the idiotic way some of them are locked behind a grindy friendship system. I've heard they're good, but I don't fucking know mahjong, so I wouldn't know.

EDIT: managed to finish the mahjong thing by buying a wildly overpriced (in-game) cheat item for it, saving before sitting at the table (as the cheat item seems to activate on the very first round) then reloading until I got wareme first lol. And I can confirm, the second to last side quest that requires all 50 friends was pretty great for sure.

I've never enjoyed the Yakuza brawler combat system, but it feels extra frustrating and annoying in Judgment. Admittedly, that might be because unlike with Yakuzas, the other major gameplay mechanics are also shit in Judgment, so maybe that's coloring my impression. Also, shout out to the asshole who thought it'd be a good idea to add a 3 minute cooldown to the cheat items you can only get by buying the, well, cheat items DLC that cost 7 or 8 euros. I went as low as paying for fucking cheats, and they still have restrictions? Get fucked.

Yeah, I'm goddamn frustrated. Every single game I really looked forward to this year has been a disappointment on some level. KH3, Sekiro, Rage 2, Fire Emblem, Astral Chain. None of them are terrible, but none of them are really that great either. And now this. I figured Judgment would be the one game that simply couldn't disappoint, but here we are.

All that said, it's not all bad. I absolutely loved the main story and cast, and that goes a looong way for me. Might even be my favorite RGG Studio story so far, though I'll have to replay Yakuzas 3 to 5 before I can really say that. The main story is half the reason I play these games, so I still kind of want to say Judgment is a 7/10 experience or something solely thanks to the story.

I'd love to replay 3-5 right now, but I'm so fucking sick of this combat system that I'm gonna wait for the hopefully inevitable PC ports of the 3-5 remasters and just cheat my way through the combat.

And just for fun, here's my current rankings for RGG Studio games:
Yakuza 6 > Yakuza 0 > Yakuza Kiwami 2 > Judgment > Yakuza Kiwami
 
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Zaber

Member
Sep 11, 2019
11
Today, I tried the demo for Solasta: Crown of the Magister. It currently has a Kickstarter campaign. It's a low level D&D (adventure) rpg with part-based, turn-based combat. I liked the demo enough to back it, and I know that some people here would like it.