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

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,253
While the game certainly looks good, it has been reported saving has an online component to it and people have lost progress because the connection failed in the middle of a save D:
Hm, interesting. Trouble Shooter (Korean) has a similar thing where you're required to be online for a single player game.
 

Pellaidh

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,083
Finished my first blitz game Final Fantasy XIV, or more specifically its first expansion Heavensward (including all the post game story stuff up to the next expansion).

When I first started the trial for FFXIV, I didn't really think it would be something I'd like. First, because it's an MMO, a genre where the only game I've ever really liked was Guild Wars (mostly for the fact that it wasn't really an MMO). And secondly, because it's a Final Fantasy game, and no matter how hard I've tried, I just couldn't get into the franchise (I've tried and dropped VI, VII, X, XII, XIII and XV). Thankfully, both of these points weren't really a problem here and I ended up loving the game.

As far as it being an MMO goes, I feel like this is one of the few that takes the good parts of the genre (multiplayer co-op party based gameplay in a persistent world), but without all of the parts that made me hate MMOs (the huge grind and this idea that only the super hardcore players should be able to actually enjoy the game). Deep down, it's still an MMO, so I wouldn't recommend it to people that just want a single player experience like I've seen some people do, but at least the way its structured is much more inline with a traditional linear story based game. Just with a lot of mandatory multiplayer dungeons to go through. And it's closer to Guild Wars (one of my favorite games ever) than any other MMO I've played, including Guild Wars 2.

And for the Final Fantasy part, for some reason this didn't really feel that much like a Final Fantasy game, although I'm not quite sure why. I guess at its core, the stories of most other Final Fantasy games (and most JRPGs, for that matter) I've played are essentially stories about a journey, where you go from place to place while the story happens. And a story like that often doesn't really focus that much on making the actual world feel believable. FF VII in particular felt more like just a bunch of barely connected locales than an actual world, and that's the fan favourite. While FFXIV certainly still has a bunch of that (particularly the core Heavensward story is very travel focused), it manages to make Eorzea feel much more like a real place.

In particular, in addition to the main plot, the story in Heavensward is also constantly juggling several different side plots and characters that were introduced all the way back in the base game. It makes it feel like there's more to the world than just the central conflict, and it also makes the world feel more alive. And since all of these stories are grounded by earlier foreshadowing, it also prevents the feeling of the writers just making up stuff as they go along, which is pretty common for me in JRPGs. Not all of these side plots are all that great (one in particular is just terrible), but some actually manage to be better than the core story.

If anything, it reminds me more of the Trails franchise in the way the world is slowly built up and expanded throughout the story. Even the next expansion looks like it's going to be based on the events and characters that were introduced back in the base game, and the one after that seems it will expand on another sidestory introduced in Heavensward (the best one, so I'm really looking forward to that). There's also some Xenoblade in here, both in the visual design of some areas, as well as the fact that everyone's British (with the game even using some Xenoblade voice actors).

Writing wise, most people seem to agree that the game only really gets good in Heavensward. And while I did actually enjoy the story of the core game more than most, Heavensward did fix the biggest issues I had with it. First, it cut down the cast size significantly, which is great because the base game just had way too many characters that were barely featured in the story. Second, it features actually decent villains.

And third, the pacing is actually not terrible now, although there's still a bit too much walking around and one quest that requires you to redo a bossfight from the core game for seemingly no reason other than padding. If anything, it feels like there's too much going on plot wise, since you're constantly running from one big climactic moment to another with very little downtime. It's entertaining, but it also means the characters don't really get enough time to just interact with one another outside of the big story moments.

Sadly, like with the base game the story does take a while to really take off. It took until the stuff introduced by post-launch patches for the story to really click with me.

The gameplay is pretty much the only thing that's mostly unchanged. There's less fetch quests, but most gameplay is still tied to running instanced dungeons and boss fights, with pretty standard MMO combat, plus a bunch of boring overworld combat that really isn't even worth mentioning. The actual dungeons are slightly better I suppose, although from the way I heard people talking about them I expected a bigger improvement over the core game's instances. Still, this is the part of the game that never really needed any fixing to begin with, so I'm more than fine with that.

They did add in a bunch of solo instances now, but they're pretty boring and easy, so it's not really something that improves the game.

Finally, the one thing I was pretty concerned about before starting was the monthly sub. But after seeing just how much content the game provides, I'm kind of fine with it. Just Heavensward alone was like a 50 hours story (the game says I've played it for 126 hours total, including the base game). It seriously makes the expansions for its non sub competitors (mainly Destiny 2 and Guild Wars 2) look like a complete joke. And I didn't even have any time to get into most of the side content, of which there's a ton. As someone coming in late, I also appreciate how everything is bundled into a single purchase, unlike in Guild Wars 2 where you have to buy both of the expansions, and then pay extra for the story content that was patched in after the expansions launched. So I'll have no problem resubbing when I'm going to tackle the rest of the expansions, although I definitely need a break from the game for now.

The one problem with the sub is that it kind of makes you feel like you can't play anything else though. Which I guess kind of works for the Blitz, because at least it forces you to commit. And it wasn't much a problem for me anyway since I played the game because I liked it, not because I felt forced.


For actual story based spoilery thoughts

As mentioned above, I didn't really love the 3.0 story. It was fine, but didn't really let you spend enough time with some of its characters for the emotional moments to really connect. Also the way they handled the fallout from the 2.5 stuff was very disappointing. It pretty much just gets ignored by everyone, which I find a bit hard to believe. Thanks to the events there, all of the Scions almost ended up dead, but none of them really seems to care. Although then again, I'm kind of fine with this, because this entire plot felt incredibly contrived, and Teledji was a pretty garbage character so its nice to be rid of him. Getting it over with quickly was definitelly better than dragging it out.

But the parts after 3.0 were really good. The actual resolution to the Dragonsong war was great, and as said above Nidhogg was actually a pretty good villain because he was the first one in the game who actually had pretty understandable reasons for being evil.

The star of the show for me was definitely the Warriors of Darkness stuff. Like with the above, you get a "villain" you can actually sympathize with, but also the WoD voice actor really managed to sell the character. His voice actor is the real standout in the game so far.

I'm guessing their story will be expanded on in Shadowbringers, which really makes me want to play it. But after 160 hours, I definitely need a break from the game, and burning out in Stormblood would be the worst thing that could happen.

I also couldn't help but notice that WoD's party is the same party of adventures featured in ARR's intro. It's probably just an unimportant callback, but part of me does wonder if there's actually more to it than just a reference.

Seemingly killing off Papalymo and Minfillia (kind of) was also pretty interesting to see. 3.0 Heavensward did have several character deaths already, but I didn't think they'd actually go after some of the Scions.
 

ViniAleixo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
17
I was playing Parasite Eve for my blitz but, unfortunately, I'll drop it.

The game started very well with some fresh ideas, an interesting combat system, and even a cool story. But exploring is becoming more and more of a chore.

The pre-rendered scenarios damages the usability a lot. I'm always thinking "hey, there is a path/door over there" or "there might be something to interact here" only to find out that it is just decoration. And the opposite also happen: sometimes I ignore things that I should interact. There are also a couple times that the level design relies too much on corridors, and since the doors on them look all the same, I'm usually getting lost. Also sometimes there are scenarios with too little space to walk, which makes everything more cumbersome.

One weird dynamic that I noticed within myself is that the random-but-not-random encounters with enemies discourages exploration for me way more than traditional RPG random encounters. I still don't know why. I'll have to meditate on that.

Another thing that makes me sad is that the game usually gives me directions on what I should do during cutscenes, which is not a bad thing by itself. But I don't have enough time to binge it, so it becomes a problem when I can only resume days later and I forgot what I shoud do.

It breaks my heart to drop a game that I know I'm near the finish line (I'm already on Chapter 5) but since I'm straight up not having fun with it and my time currently is super limited, I rather play something else. Maybe Dragon Quest V.
 
Aug 28, 2019
323
Shadows: Awakening completed. Y'all like to do writeups, right?

This was a refreshing game for me. Despite appearances, it is not a loot-clicker, which is a genre I'm sick of. The format is a more tailored single-player RPG with real-time combat. Maps are hand-designed, not randomized; enemies do not respawn; and there are lots of little mini-puzzles and hidden treasures scattered around that reward observation. The game also does not get carried away with ridiculous quantities of worthless loot. Most loot is randomized, but it drops with manageable frequency, your inventory has plenty of space (99 items to start), and the best gear is unique and hand-placed. This all gives the game a more deliberate feel and pace, as opposed to a frantic loot rush.

The key feature of S:A is the odd party system. The concept of "you" is a little fuzzy in this game. You start out as the Devourer, a shadow demon who can absorb dead souls and take their form in the physical realm. The demon itself only exists in the shadow realm, and switching between realms on the fly is necessary to solve some puzzles, as well as being tactically useful in combat. You choose one of three souls ("puppets") to start with and collect more throughout the game. In addition to the Devourer and your starting puppet, who are always present, you can set two more at any given time and switch between all four at will. There are fourteen puppets in the game, nine of which you can acquire in a single playthrough, depending on your choices. A single puppet usually isn't very efficient by itself; you are intended to switch between puppets to synergize their skills and deal with different situations. I didn't experiment with this nearly as much as I could have, but it was still fun to figure out which puppets and skills to use to build an overall strategy.

Outside of that, there's nothing too outstanding here, but it all works fairly well. The story is a little muddled, especially in how it sets up your ultimate goal, but it was enough to interest me in the world and what was going on. Several of the puppets are integral to the story and will interact with each other at times, and the voice acting for the most part is pretty solid. There's a decent set of sidequests to do, some of which give you choices to make, and each starting puppet has their own side story that runs through most of the game. Combat is perfectly fine, if a little rough, but the puppets aren't designed around solo play. I spent most of my time as a warrior, with a mage and hunter providing support and burst/ranged damage.

Overall, I recommend it if you're looking for hack-and-slash gameplay without the usual loot-grinding baggage. My playthrough took me about 40 hours.
 

Thuddert

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,243
Netherlands
Finished my second blitz game, Indivisible. I had my fun with it, but those complaints I had at the start of the game never went away and the ending sequence is not fun to play. This involves severe button mashing and perfect guarding most attacks you never saw before.

This game explains the most mundane things and forgets the most important parts at times. Easy to miss characters, characters that don't say much of anything, quests that are kinda obtuse to do.

Having to go to a certain part three times and each time adding another lengthy platforming sequence. Battles being pointless even if the combat is fun. No real balance.

NPC's that are just there to be there. Towns being gorgeous and then not having anything of subatance in them.

The concept of the game, the themes, setting and its mechanics feel really good, yet how it handles those concepts is pretty bad.

Game looks pretty beautiful all the way. A great deal of attention went out to the animations. Also seeing diversity in characters makes me happy. The voice actors were mostly great all around and the writing was pretty funny. Shoot outs to Razmi, she was my favorite character. Story and plot kinda bungled along the line, where it does look the part but doesn't quite have the impact.

A beautiful failure may seem like a harsh way to summarize the game, but it is definitely what sticks to me in the end. It got makings and potential of something great, just not the purpose of using it well.

PS: Wanted to add a disclaimer that I'm still happy this game I backed was released and while I aired my grievances quite a lot, I still mostly enjoyed my experience thoroughout the game. The game's existence is valid. That said it definitely is lacking in some departments and I was pretty clear where I feel it lacks. So I'm still left with mixed feelings and I'm not sure if I can genuinely recommend it.
 
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Oct 28, 2017
138
I remember this game being discussed on this thread before, but Banner of the Maid has a recently released beta version English translation. I've played a good 6 hours or so and it's a pretty good game if you're a fan of Fire Emblem style games cause this is pretty much a clone of Fire Emblem just with its own classes and twists on things. The main story seems pretty interesting and is some sort of alternate universe France where the revolution just kinda half-assed itself, nobody important died, and there's a magical-girl military academy. There's some weird time compression, with Napoleon's Italian wars going on at the same time that King Louis and Robespierre are still alive, though it clearly has alot of love of French history and I'd imagine someone with alot more knowledge of European history would get a kick out of the setting (or seethe in rage, I guess). Basically alternate reality French Fire Emblem with a healthy dose of magical girl shenanigans thrown in. Also so far no historical gender-bends, so yay for avoiding that awfully common trope, the main character is apparently an actual real person, though they weren't a magical girl in real life I presume.

The gameplay so far is pretty good, about as hard as maybe the GBA fire emblems. There's no permadeath but the resource penalties for losing a character in a map are pretty large so you'll be reseting anyways. There's no supports but there is a sorta faction system for French politicians that gets you bonuses, it's an overall solid experience. The game looks decent enough, unimpressive overall. Character designs are all over the place, most of the male characters seem adapted from paintings. Half of the female cast wear period military costumes and the other half lingerie with a coat thrown over it or gravity defying low cut dresses so it's definitely game with heavy fanservice character designs.

The translation is a beta form but seems to be fully legible. Very stilted and unedited but it's not machine translated and not horrible but the translation isn't what you would call great. But it's fully playable now and worth checking out if you want a Fire Emblem fix or have an interest in the setting.
 

Thuddert

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,243
Netherlands
Started the first few hours of Yakuza Kiwami 2 and it looks so good. I hope there's more variety in the sidestories later on. The model sidestory with Poison was great tho.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,947
Had to drop The Outer Worlds (one of my blitz games) for now since I was already starting to feel a bit down on it gameplay-wise and it started crashing on me. I'll replay it on easy when it's out on Steam.

In the mean time, it's Disco Elysium, CS3 and PoE2 in that order for my blitzing. Doing a bit of a shameless cheating run of DE, but damn if it isn't great at times. Remains to be seen if I'll actually manage to do CS3 and PoE2 in this blitz, though.
 

Taborcarn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
761
Had to drop The Outer Worlds (one of my blitz games) for now since I was already starting to feel a bit down on it gameplay-wise and it started crashing on me. I'll replay it on easy when it's out on Steam.

In the mean time, it's Disco Elysium, CS3 and PoE2 in that order for my blitzing. Doing a bit of a shameless cheating run of DE, but damn if it isn't great at times. Remains to be seen if I'll actually manage to do CS3 and PoE2 in this blitz, though.
Yeah that's a big chunk of gaming to finish. But DE is so great, glad you're tackling it first. I played a high Physical skill build and I seemed to have a much different playthrough than people who went Int based. It's so cool how reactive the game can be.
 

Gevin

Member
Nov 2, 2017
1,413
Finished my first blitz game the past week: Dragon Quest IX. I think as a summary I liked it well enough (it is a DQ game after all) but was disappointed by a few aspects from it and ultimately I think it may be my least favorite game in the series.

Let's start with what I liked: the game has the usual DQ charm and the vignettes were pretty cool. Some of the stories pack a punch and the plot development, while being pretty generic still manages to have some really high points (like the dragon bit). Nothing really innovative on the combat but the class and skill system made for interesting developments (though it has some flaws I'll write about later). I've read the game was supposed to be the hardest of the series but it didn't feel that way at all, maybe the party I was using was overpowered or something (seems pretty standard to me: gladiator, paladin, priest and mage) but I never got KOd and most bosses were pretty simple if the appropriate care was taken.

Now for what I didn't like as much:

- The Quest system. I get it, every RPG has it (though rarely behind a list like this game), but the quests were so boring and tedious. Wanna unlock a certain class? Go kill this annoying enemy with a particularly unreliable ability. Wanna get these items? Well it sucks if you don't wanna use a thief cause you can only steal them. In the end I ignored most of these, got the classes that I was interested in and never bothered with the rest. It honestly felt like padding.
- The alchemy system: admittedly I'm never a fan of this component in games (though some day I'm gonna play the Atelier games). For me it always boils down to needing to grind for the required materials and it's a way to extend the game's length. Again, except for a few choice items where I already had everything needed I pretty much ignored it. Doesn't help that some of the previous quests require it too.
- Since the game is intended for multiplayer, your other 3 party members are generic and have no inference on the story whatsoever, which kinda sucks.
- The menu interface is so outdated it hurts. When transferring a healing herb from your backpack to a character takes forever you know something's wrong. Also some of the important sub-menues are hidden way deeper than they should be.

So yeah, I completed the story and played around with some of the post game and DLC quests, basically doing whatever was labelled as "Story". I could see some fun in the map system and leveling up to beat the legacy bosses, but I guess I'm not in the mood for stuff like that anymore.

I am looking forward to DQ11 though, probably next blitz
 

Akumatica

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,535
Haven't played much lately, but the Yakuza 7 demo has me excited for the full game. I also started Dragon Quest 11 on the Switch. Only 6 hours in and I'm loving it.

Also could I get an invite to the Discord? The invite in the OP is invalid. Thanks!
 
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TheMrPliskin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,236
Didn't realise we had a dedicated RPG community. Definitely going to try and post and keep an eye on the thread, especially since I seem to primarily be playing RPGs these days.

Currently personally working my way through Cold Steel 3 and Disco Elysium with an aim of wrapping one of them up before Saga Scarlet Grace next month.

I'm actually not the biggest fan of Disco Elysium and it's only continued to lose me the more I play it. I do intend to wrap it up though, if only to form a complete opinion on it as it's certainly an interesting game.

I'd also love a discord link if at all possible.
 

CatDoggo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
741
I joined the Discord yesterday, but today when I look, its not on the list of servers I've joined. I don't know if I was kicked out or I'm just being being a grandma who isn't well versed in how Discord works. In any case, I never got a chance to post anything there so I can't image I did something to warrant being kicked. I know we have to be cautious about outside actors trying to troll the Era community though. If you guys purged a bunch of new members because they weren't vetted, let me know.
 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,253
I joined the Discord yesterday, but today when I look, its not on the list of servers I've joined. I don't know if I was kicked out or I'm just being being a grandma who isn't well versed in how Discord works. In any case, I never got a chance to post anything there so I can't image I did something to warrant being kicked. I know we have to be cautious about outside actors trying to troll the Era community though. If you guys purged a bunch of new members because they weren't vetted, let me know.
Hiya, I’ll send you a link shortly!
 

nivorae

Banned
Oct 30, 2017
1,684
i don't really write a lot in here because i'm a lazy bum but i have to post the only relevant part of my Blitz participation;
 
Aug 28, 2019
323
Operencia: The Stolen Sun completed.

I love first-person crawlers, so Operencia hooked me right away and I enjoyed it a lot. This is a somewhat "modernized" and streamlined take on the subgenre, similar to The Bard's Tale IV in some ways, but much more successful in my opinion. It takes place in a world apparently stitched together from Central European faery tales and folklore, which gives it a distinct flavor among fantasy games.

You create a character from a simple set of options, then lead three additional preset companions (from a total of six) through a series of dungeons, solving puzzles and killing monsters. Combat is turn-based and fairly standard; each character has a basic attack and a small set of cooldown-based abilities from a skill tree, plus a slot for a potion. Nothing too groundbreaking here, but it works. I tend to find cooldown-based combat a little stifling, but it's not too bad here, since you have plenty to cover your needs.

The "class" system is a little weird. Each character has three narrow skill trees with both passive bonuses and active skills. Most of these trees are unique to one character, though not all of them are. You choose one of three classes for your main character, which in turn gives you your own set of shared and/or unique trees. You can't have every active skill equipped at once, though. Building your party basically consists of figuring out which companions to use, how to stat and equip them, and how to juggle their skills.

Puzzles and secrets are fairly well done here. There's a good variety, many of which involve using special items to manipulate the environment. Each dungeon has at least a few puzzles to solve. There are just enough to create a welcome break from the fighting, but they aren't so difficult or numerous that they slow the game down too much. Potions are actually their own type of puzzle. When you find a potion recipe, you have to assemble its ingredients in the form of a logic puzzle. Once you solve it, you can use that potion a certain number of times each time you rest.

One of the highlights of the game for me was the writing, which is pervasively amusing. Although not a "story game," there's quite a bit of party chat to add texture to the experience. Voice acting is very hit-and-miss, but there's a lot of humor in the dialogue, and I was often smiling or giggling at my companions. Even your journal is worth reading. It's written by the party rogue, Jóska, who jots down his dryly funny thoughts on monsters, locations, and other things. I don't generally like it when crawlers don't let you create your own party, but the entertaining character banter makes up for it in this case.

My main disappointment with the game was that the difficulty level was fairly low. I still had to reasonably engage with its systems to succeed, but I never got a game over and only rarely had a companion drop in combat. Supplies for resting are also absurdly plentiful. There are difficulty options, but these mainly just turn off things like automapping and save-anywhere. As far as I know they don't make combat any harder. An option to beef up the monsters a little bit would have been welcome.

If you are looking for a true hardcore Wizardry-like, Operencia will probably not satisfy you, but it's a great casual dungeon crawler and a good introduction to the subgenre. It took me about 28 hours to finish, which included hunting down almost every treasure and secret.
 

Zaber

Member
Sep 11, 2019
193
I finally completed Persona 5. I enjoyed the overall theme of the game and what they were going for with the story. When it comes to characters, I liked a few of them, but some of them felt really cringe, like Futaba, Anne and Ryuji. I don't hate the character stereotypes they went for in general, but they dialed it up too much. Some were good, like Haru and Makoto. I liked the non-playable confidants more. They had more compelling stories. The requests you got from Mementos were decent, but the actual dungeon was so-so. Still better than Persona 3/4 dungeons.

I liked the concept of different palaces. I actually enjoyed exploring them. They looked good and if there was a gimmick, it didn't bother me. In short, I enjoyed the dungeon part of the game more than P3/P4. Presentation can get you a long way

And presentation is probably one of the game's strongest point, while also being a weak point at times. Environments, characters and monsters all look great. Menus are gorgeous and easy to navigate. Lots of plus points for presentation in general but, for what I suppse is their flagship rpg series, they could have gone with full scenes instead of character portraits. It's something that I rarely complain about, and deep down, I have no personal problem with it, but it would probably help make the game feel "less cheap". (I'm struggling for the right words here.)
With that said, it wouldn't make me enjoy the sequel less if they kept it the same.

The VA was decent in general. Some misses and hits. The translation works but felt a bit stiff. The phone chats felt like they could have been more authentic. No one writes that way with friends.

What I enjoyed the most was combat. It felt stylish, fast and provided a decent challenge. I sure hope anyone who thinks Persona 6 will be an action rpg is wrong. The PTS is just as fun as ever. Negotiating to get or fuse new Personas is fun and last but not least, I enjoyed every boss fight in the game.

I'm not sure where I rank this if we look at 3/4/5.

I like the characters less for each game. But 5 had the best exploration. I like the combat in 4 the most, but but 5 has the best presentation. It's a tough call, but P4G has a soft spot in my heart and is the game I like the most as an overall package.

I don't see myself replaying the game, not even the Royal version. The time investment required makes me very hesitant. From P2-P5, I have only replayed P3P because I wanted to play as the FMC once.

__________

Other that that, I'm making steady progress on most Blitz games. In DQ XI, I'm at what I think is act 2. This is probably my favorite DQ game, in no small part thanks to the draconian challenges. Stronger enemies, no exp for weak monsters and no escape. But that's not the only reason. While combat is fun, I must say that I love how the game looks and the exploration is fun. My gut feeling told me that I would dislike the party characters, but so far, I like them all.

In Underrail, I just reached the expansion content. I will start it the next time I play. I really like the mood of the game. The writing is servicable. Not amazing but far from bad. What makes this game shine is the combat. You often have to explore and plan ahead. Try to see what you are up against, try to prepare the battlefield in your favor and then duke it out with the enemy. I'm playing a psi build with some points invested so that my character can also fight with his fists. Currently, I'm enjoying the game immensly.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,947
Actually finished my first blitz game, Disco Elysium.

And what a game it was. Honestly, usually words just pop to my mind when I write closing thoughts and it's all smooth sailing, but with this one, it's.. not. DE's closer to incredibly smart literature, and I'm not equipped to write about that sort of stuff in any meaningful depth.

But I can throw praise at it, at least. Disco Elysium might be the best written game I've ever played. The thing about this game is that it seems to do pretty much everything incredibly well. The story is an intriguing, complex web of different characters, motivations, factions, events and causes and effects. The characters are distinct, fully realized, interesting, fun, sad, frustrating, lovable, hilarious, varied and sometimes, painfully believable. The world building is absolutely spectacular - the best I've come across. The dialogue, internal and external, is an absolute treat, and the sheer range of different conversations and most of all dialogue choices you'll be coming across in the game is immense. It's very well paced, and aside from maybe some Encyclopedia deep dives, it never feels dragged out.

And best of all, it all flows perfectly. There's SO MUCH variety here, and it always feels cohesive and solid and meaningful and part of the whole. The game can effortlessly go from tragic to hilarious to creepy to intriguing to heartwarming to philosophical to introspective to critical to thoughtful.. And anything in-between. All of this while utilizing one of the most unique RPG and narrative systems I've ever seen, the skills and thought cabinet, AND being one of the more reactive CRPGs I've seen. It's frankly just mindblowing to me that it works this fucking well.

Now, as far as being a GAME goes, it's solid, but there's a fair amount of room for improvement. There's a lot of QoL improvements they could implement - most of the frustration I felt stemmed from the painfully slow and lumbering movement of the main character and the way the camera is 100% locked on to him at all times. The skill system wasn't the most intuitive around either, and it was easy to find myself saving up skillpoints in case I ran across hard dialogue choices, or ones that I wanted to try multiple times. It also wasn't particularly clear to me what, if any, other effects the thought cabinet thoughts had after internalizing. I think some of them unlock completely new dialogue choices? It was never very obvious what and where.

But in short: GOTY, and one of the best CRPGs/narrative games I've ever played.

Oh, and I just fucking adore a lot of the soundtrack. I've had this song: https://youtu.be/hjUORWa-k-w?t=2935 (48:55) on loop for the past hour or so. But since there's no official OST release yet, I actually booted the game up again and ran to the shack where it plays.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,947
Nope, don't think I'm gonna be able to finish my other blitz games. I tried Cold Steel 3 last night and everything about its writing and storytelling is just so mundane and boring and lame after Disco Elysium, and there's no doubt in my mind I'd feel the exact same way with Pillars of Eternity 2.

I almost never get the "game x has ruined other games for me" thing people sometimes talk about, but man, now it's hit me like a ton of bricks. I guess I'll stick to books for my storytelling needs for the foreseeable future. Maybe start an incompetent insanity run on DE or something.
 

DarknessTear

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,759
Romancing SaGa 3... what a journey.

My experience with SaGa has always been rather miniscule, having only played through SaGa Frontier 2 to its completion back when I was 13 years old, I didn't really know what I had in store for me here with this game - mostly because I didn't even really remember how this series functions. Going into the game, I had this recklessly brave sort of "I can do it, whatever." sort of mindset despite friends telling me that the series was difficult, and things really did go well... for a while.

Not knowing about the game's systems and not being given any information can prove to be very difficult for some people. I was definitely one of those people, having made every single possible mistake that I could. From picking bad party members and running with them until mid-to late game, having Ministrel and Nora both using Clubs until late game, and killing three of Sinistrels while doing around 500-800 damage per character because I didn't know that I could forget skills so I could spark more until I had reached the 4th Sinistral.

That frustrated me. All of these things did. I spent half the game absolutely loving the world, the music, the visuals and then I spent the other half being completely livid at all the things the game didn't tell me. Armor that looks powerful but secretly fucks you over? Check. Semi-complex systems that aren't explained? Check. One thing that stood out was how difficult it is to keep your party alive. You think you're going to get a full party heal? Naw. You can heal one person at a time, and good luck pulling that off when the boss you're fighting gets two turns in a row or uses an attack that hits either the entire party or three people at random, which can of course be the same person twice. Another thing I found frustrating was the quest system. It's basically just like Legend of Mana -- which would be fine if the quests actually had some sort of fanfare after you complete them. Imagine getting sent into a dungeon to get an item for someone. You go in, fight your way to a boss and then once you finish the boss you collect your item. What do you do now? Nothing. You're done. You don't give it to anyone, you don't have a conversation about it. That's it. Love it or hate it.

Despite all of this frustration, all of the mistakes, the struggle to beat some bosses and coming back to them again later -- I actually love this game. I respect its unconventional design, I find the complexities to be intriguing, but I also find things like the hidden negative stats in gear to be cheap or cruel. Some things feel almost designed to fuck with you. I've had moments where I've just legitimately FELT like they just said "fuck you" directly to me -- and I kinda liked it sometimes. I almost quit this game so many times. I can't even count how many times I've turned it off and said "No, I'm done. I'm not going back." but then I just think about it. I get cheered on by my friends. I want to push through and conquer this game. Spoiler alert: I did.

When I stepped in front of the final boss, I felt determined to win. Once I beat him, the feeling of sheer bliss akin to defeating one of the strongest bosses in a Dark Souls game washed over me as I let the controller fall into my lap. That's my journey with this game. A fucking mess, but an incredibly fun mess and I don't regret playing this game even for a second.
 

MoonFrog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,769
Haven't posted in a while--been in an RPG slump since Three Houses this past summer.

But, I beat Trails of Cold Steel III on Monday. Some thoughts:

My main takeaway was just that this game was basically reading Falcom as saying "ToCS 1 and 2 petered out without going where we wanted them to go...let's go through the same formula again only get where we actually wanted to go."

If you all have read my thoughts on DQ, you know I value, in the use of repeated structure, a design to the reuse. What makes DQ narratively brilliant in part is Horii's ability to simultaneously use familiar, echoing patterns and to utilize those patterns to say something new, yet, because of the shared patterns, in conversation with the previous (and indeed future) entries in the series.

ToCS on the other hand, uses formulae as a crutch. This is exemplified in the endless meaningless repetitions with variation of character stories from TitS and indeed ToCS itself. I noted a bunch of those in my post on ToCS 1 in this thread, for example.

It is also exemplified by how mangled the story of ToCS 1 and 2 was by adherence to the FC, SC structure. It is further exemplified by how much ToCS 3 is a meaningless retread of ToCS 1 in form.

I get the impression that Falcom's ambitions for ToCS have been murdered by poor planning and, because of said poor planning, resort to Trails formulae ill-fitted to the stories they wanted to tell and just repeating those formulae mindlessly.

The other thing is, Falcom really needs to learn how to actually work itself organically from the tension it builds instead of just relying on layering more and more deus ex machina and secretive orders on top of the plot. ToCS 3 really does not benefit from being largely divorced from the core narrative of modern Zemuria--that of politics in an age of explosive technological upheaval--and instead rooting around in multiple layers of arcane nonsense.

And it is sad because, ultimately, there are a lot of cool ideas in ToCS. And there are flashes of cool delivery that catch me unawares. It isn't a series where nothing of the promise lingering in TitS 3rd is present. It is a series where, however, that promise only comes through in a mangled form and where it is frustrated from actualization because Falcom doesn't have the time or the patience commensurate to its ambition to express itself well.

It should probably bite off less to chew going forward.

...

Chapter 2 was the best chapter in the game, in my opinion. It had the strongest emotional narrative and the strongest world narrative. The rest of the chapters lacked strong individual stories and also, in my opinion, did not add up to much. There's so much bloat, so much nonsense, and so little said.

And it is like...I can take and enjoy nonsense. It just is when there is nothing supporting it, it is hard, at the end, to speak particularly well of it.

I will say, on the whole, ToCS 3 represents something of a recovery from ToCS 1 and 2 in terms of character writing. The new class VII is not nearly as stiffly and awkwardly presented as the old class.

ToCS 3 also represents, however, the series continued descent into depravity in terms of anime harem and general sexual nonsense.

....

I had fun but ToCS is just a very frustrating series.
 
Aug 28, 2019
323
I started Aeon of Sands and it's kind of tedious. It started out interesting, but I've spent most of my 5 hours so far killing hordes of mostly identical monsters for essentially no reward, while exploring a handful of painfully oversized dungeon levels for also almost no reward. There's no combat XP or leveling - other than stats from equipment, you just very slowly increase skills that so far don't seem to impact anything - so monsters are really just obstacles to waste your time. I'm currently wandering around a huge tomb hunting for hidden switches that each open a door at some other remote part of the tomb. I'm sure I've already flipped a dozen or more of these, and it's tiresome. But the game suggests that if I leave, I won't be able to return, so here I am still slogging through this long-ass tomb. I have one companion who inexplicably can't hold an inventory, and his magic is useless against the skeletons here, so I'm practically solo.

So, I don't like the progression, I don't like the level design, and I don't like the combat. That leaves the story, but the writing is nonsense, so I don't like that either.

The game was a gift so I would hate to just drop it, but it's really getting on my nerves.
 

Neoweee

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,458
Is there any interest in a "Predict the Metacritic" for SaGa Scarlet Grace? That's probably one of the hardest score predictions ever, because while the reception of the JP version has been great, the series has a long history of sub 65 scores in English media.

Every category 65+ is labeled "Best SaGa ever!"
 

Aeana

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,987
Is there any interest in a "Predict the Metacritic" for SaGa Scarlet Grace? That's probably one of the hardest score predictions ever, because while the reception of the JP version has been great, the series has a long history of sub 65 scores in English media.

Every category 65+ is labeled "Best SaGa ever!"
Nobody is even going to review it.
 

Sceptile

Member
Oct 27, 2017
652
After completing Pokemon Sword, I'm going through a game that I've started then put down three times now: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.
I can feel the Final Fantasy Tactics DNA emanating from the gameplay and story, though since this is a remake of a SNES game it's the other way around.

Cripes, Nybeth was crazy. I had to gain some levels and buy a ton of exorcism scrolls, and even then I only won because Canopus and his 2H crossbow is the best.
 

Thuddert

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,243
Netherlands
Finished Yakuza Kiwami 2, third game on my blitz, after around 35 hours. I expected the game to be a bit bigger hah.

Really enjoyed and loved most of the game as it balances the goofy stuff with the more serious stuff. The romance part still kinda sucks, like it did in kiwami.

The final chapter was a goddamn mess and that put a damper on things.

Everyone and their mother being affiliated with the korean mafia. The complete 180 on Kaoru's characterization, like now she decides to care about her brother she never knew she had, (before that the father she never saw) and the I can't choose between my brother and my lover. Arrest them both girl, wtf.

The twists for the sake of a twist. Chairman Goda getting offed just like that. Ryuuji getting betrayed, Terada getting betrayed, Takashima getting betrayed by both Terada and Ryuuji's bluff. Fighting while a supposed bomb is about to go off. Kissing afterwards. Why even come in a helicopter of you can't help, Date?

It went from a pretty kinda good, well telegraphed finale to hilariously bad to plain stupid in a matter of minutes.

Then it was even sad they just used a fade out to credit, had a small scene after and ended it with no real closure. Like I know much of the game was set in stone, but maybe end a bit more to it. The entire aftermath is gone. At least Kiwami gave a sense of ending and turning a new leaf.

Here's it like back to where we were +1.

Luckily the Majima added substory was very good and really showed that bittersweet Yakuza 0 continuation.

Sidestories felt a bit too focused on resolve it by fighting, but there were some gems there like: an internet scam, be my baby, voicing a BL game and the photo contest.

I got back into Cabaret again and it's still one of the best things wow. Did the entire campaign when I finally had the chance again.

Didn't really get to do much Clan Creator... but I did spend some time on the Colosseum which I also liked.

Game feels much more fluid and better structured than Kiwami, but it really falls down the seams near the end. Bosses are still a pain and final bosses with guns should be banned. It luckily avoids a car chase where you gotta shoot...

Having played 0, kiwami and kiwami 2 my favorite is still 0. Having two meaty campaign intertwined together and with that much contest is hard to beat. Kiwami 2 has more edge on Kiwami, but they both really fumble with the ending.

I still look forward to playing more Yakuza in the future as I heard they'll visit other locations. Probably more excited on Yakuza 7, because of how good that demo felt, but these games aren't running away.

I've played a bit of DQ6, so that's the next game I'm doing for the blitz. It's goo so far.
 

MoonFrog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,769
Community generally has low visibility and almost half this thread is from the first couple months of era, reducing its present visibility further.

I think it’s a great thread though.
 

saenima

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,776
Yeah only found out about it recently as well. Some great threads are just buried deep in Hangouts, only to be found by accident.
 

Neoweee

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,458
Nobody is even going to review it.
There's no indication that they've given out pre-release review codes, but it looks like they did give keys out for Romancing SaGa 3 when it became widely available and is only now getting a trickle of reviews. SSG will probably get up to 30-40 reviews over the course of a few months, mostly a mix of RPG-focused sites and minor outlets.