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

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,253
Wrapped up my first Blitz game - Pokemon Sword. I've played it side by side with Death Stranding, so I've had a bit of whiplash in tone, presentation, and design.



I've been out of the Pokemon game for quite some time. It's been almost 20 years since I beat Pokemon Silver - the last entry I actually completed. I've dabbled in some of the following games over time but never really held on for very long. I played some of Black, X, and Moon, but I usually hit the same attention wall that makes me put it down for a bit and then just simply forget about it. I wouldn't say its an issue with the games themselves, but simply where my interests lie as well as them being portable/handheld. I, for some reason, tend to only play my portables when I'm over at my mom's house or if I'm sick in bed. That generally puts the games on a lower priority I suppose. However, I've many fond memories of both Gen 1 and Gen 2. My sister and I used to play those together constantly, trading and battling and just always talking about them. We played a bit of Sun/Moon together, but I fell off it after a while. So, with a full-fledged console game coming up, I figured it was time to get back into it.

Before getting the games, I'd heard some rumblings here and there about things cut, not having the national dex, and re-used animations from the 3DS. I didn't care too much, but watching people scream and wail in despair as we got closer to release was certainly amusing. I've never seen so many grown people act so childish. Harassing devs, hijacking conversations, and just creating a huge cloud of FUD was embarrassing to watch. I'd call myself a casual fan of Pokemon, meanwhile my sister is a rather hardcore fan. Quite quickly, we both agreed the way people were acting was reminiscent of GameFAQs and just decided to form our own opinions on the games. She grabbed Shield, I grabbed Sword, and we pretty much started playing the same night. Fast forward to yesterday and we both completed them and have the same overall thought: Sword and Shield are great.

Seeing the series in a fully fledged 3D world with pokemon wandering about helped bring to life the pokemon game that was in my head some twenty years ago. I've no qualms with the pokemon that were cut, though that could be because some of my favorites made it. That said, some didn't and I'm not too torn up about it. The EXP share adjustment is also appreciated as I don't have the patience to swap my Pokemon out constantly in a fight to ensure they get the experience anymore. With the way the new system works, I found myself swapping more new Pokemon in to ensure I wasn't over-leveled and also experimented with types and new catches that I never thought I'd bother with. I was encouraged to try more new things than I normally would as there was no real risk of losing experience.

Graphically, the game looks wonderful. It's bright and the colors pop vividly, adding a bit more whimsy to the world while also giving it a comfortable feel and tone. Some of the animations are over the top and have a level of escalation that I greatly appreciate. The design of all the characters stand out, especially the gym leaders. Everything and everyone has a personality that is both loud and pronounced. That said I wish they at least changed the hairstyles of the random trainers. It's a little off-putting to fight multiple characters in a row who look exactly the same. It's even more bothersome in 2v2 battles where you're fighting two identical grunts. I get that it's similar to how the old games just used similar sprites, but that's one aspect that feels like such an afterthought that its most certainly noticeable. I suppose random trainers along the way aren't meant to be remembered, so I can see it as a "I dunno, he looked like a businessman" if asked.

On the aural front, the music was overall great, though the gym themes get a special nod. Throughout the world there are plenty of UK-feeling themes. At least, they feel that way to me as someone who has never been there. They're in line with what you hear in games and movies. Plenty of horns and pipes. It makes the small towns feel a little more cozy. The gym music though really gets the blood pumping. They're energetic, high-powered, and the way they include the crowd chants makes the entire thing feel even bigger than it already is presented as. I'm guilty of letting the gym battles run a little longer than I normally would so I could listen to the music just a bit more.

On the subject of gym battles, I mentioned before that they feel like they're way more prominent. From my experience with past games, gyms were just a place in a town you, fight someone, and they give you a badge and that's it. In Sword/Shield, they're more of a spectacle, an event, and a clear past-time of the region. There are thousands of people watching from all over the region, people who cheer and shout when huge attacks go out, give belted gang chants in tune with the music, and are just constantly animated. Gyms are massive as they require a lot of room for the Dynamaxing - a new gimmick for the series along the vein of Megaevolutions and Z-Attacks.

When your pokemon dynamax, they grow to hundreds of times their own size and the battles essentially become a clash of kaiju. Attacks change to be these huge, well-animated moves that have a hefty weight and power to them. Even the pokemon landing and kicking up rocks and dirt with a low growl and slow sway adds to the effect of dynamaxing. While its a gimmick, I thought it was really cool and it certainly added a level of awe to the gym battles that I found to tie every fight off with quite well. Huge explosions, flying chars, meteors falling from the sky, lightning splitting the earth - it all had the over-the-top jrpg spell animations that I've always liked. It was all really cool and I was quite happy when my dumbest looking pokemon (I love the stupid ones) became massive and vomited a torrent of water at a poor fire pokemon.

Loosely related, the new Wild Area and Raid Battle system were both interesting. The Wild Area is a wild-open area where you can go anywhere within it. It's sprawling, huge, and it has weather cycles that even affect the battles themselves. Snowstorms pelt the battlefield with hail, rain causes a damper upon the battle, and dust storms kick up sand all about. These can cause damage to your pokemon, though I believe if you're the same type as the storm it doesn't really affect you. The damage was never enough to make me lose a battle, but it did wipe out a few pokemon I was trying to catch. Additionally, when you're in the Wild Area and you connect online, be prepared for your framerate to tank hard. The game loads in so many other players and the weather effects that you can drop down to single digits at times. It's a real knock on the performance of an otherwise smooth game.

Even with performance issues noted, I tried to remain online as much as I could. Another little feature, before getting the to the raid battles, was the cute little twitter feed that updates with whatever your friends do. Someone caught a new pokemon? It tells you what. Someone joined a raid? It updates that. Someone found a raid and wants people to join? Right from the menu, you just select their post and join them and boom - you're in. Raids are essentially 4 players (actual people or AI) who all face off against a dynamaxed wild pokemon. Depending on their star rank, they can be quite hearty so you want to use the right type and work together. Four faints on your side ends the battle as does the battle taking 10 turns. This adds just a little bit of tension to these turn-based online battles...especially when someones poorly-chosen-pokemon gets buried by a huge attack.

Raids can be simple 1-2 turn affairs for everyone, or they can be long-running battles with shields and giant attacks that would be best evaded. The raids were fun, especially playing them side by side with my sister and having people on our friends list join. There were a lot of laughs with how we designed our characters (the fashion game is pretty strong, albeit slowly rolled out) and what we named our pokemon. I'm glad they didn't chicken out and use default names, otherwise I wouldn't be able to grace people with my Sirfectch'd named Smug Bastard. On top of that, designing your own trainer cards was a really cool touch and it gave me the chance to make this little gem.

Story-wise, I thought it was a pretty basic story overall which was fine coming off on how convoluted Death Stranding was. Yet it didn't feel too barebones. You're a kid and you have a goal. Early on, I was onboard with beating the 'unbeatable' champion and my personal goal was to do it in a single hit. I wanted to dismantle him in front of all of his fans, especially his little brother and my rival. There's a lot of story that goes on around you that the adults are dealing with and you're often just pushed forward to keep doing what you're doing, even when you interfered. Some of it does start to bubble over into your path, but you're usually brushed out of the way and told to stay on your path. I do wish there was a little more involvement in the sub-plot in the background. Maybe it'd help some people feel like the last parts of the story didn't come so out-of-nowhere. I think it depends both on how much attention you're paying and how much you actually care about whats going on.

In the end, I beat the game just north of 30 hours or so. I spent a few hours doing dynamax raids with my sister and had a blast with them. They're worth it from the rewards alone, even if you don't get EXP from the fight itself. You certainly get enough EXP candy to make up for it and more. Overall, I really enjoyed my time with the game. I don't see myself completing the pokedex simply because I have so many other games on my plate, but I think I'll do the post-game part and get my legendary sword dog that I'm 100% certain over half of players will name "Sif."

Pokemon Sword was a fun, charming, and whimsical run through a childhood nostalgia. It's a simple but competent little RPG that gives you hundreds of options with your team and greatly encourages experimentation. There are a ton of quality-of-life changes that really made this entry a lot easier for me to stick with. It's a nice game to play just kinda anywhere and it slotted nicely between other games, especially when I just needed to decompress after hours of crafting in Atelier Ryza or the hours of dialogue and exposition in Death Stranding. It was nice to have so many options available to me, especially after playing Indivisible which - upon further thought - feels less and less like an RPG at all. I won't give it a score or anything, but I'd certainly recommend it to people who've been out of the loop on the games for quite some time. I felt it was a great spot to jump back in and coerce children into making their pets fight mine for money.
 

Zaber

Member
Sep 11, 2019
193
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.
At most, 3-4 reviews.
 

Deleted member 59929

User requested account closure
Banned
Sep 12, 2019
41
I finished my first blitz game last week: Trails in the Sky the 3rd.

I don't really know how to do a write up of this game without spoiling anything, so I will just say that I really loved it and finishing the game was a bittersweet moment for me. Trails in the Sky trilogy is probably the most I've enjoyed an RPG series in many years. It's just a quaint, comfortable, warm experience all around.

I had my reservations going into it, as I didn't know if I would like the change of main characters, but those reservations ended up being unfounded. I have similar reservations about Crossbell, but I'm more optimistic that I will enjoy the change of characters and setting after finishing the 3rd.

I thought I was going to smash through another game over Thanksgiving break, but I've barely touched anything. I've been more focused on studying Japanese again, because I've really fallen off in my studies over the past few months, and had I continued to move forward, I would have been in a much better position to just play Crossbell natively, instead of waiting for the new translation of Zero. If you want to study Japanese so you can play video games, you end up having to stop playing video games in order to study. Priorities are hard.
 

Gio

Member
Oct 28, 2017
472
Manila
I've had a rather productive start to my Blitz. Beat Final Fantasies I and VIII in November, and last night I managed to complete Suikoden with all 108 stars recruited. I even found time to beat Dragon Quest I amidst all of that because it's short. Of these four VIII had the highest highs, but had the more glaring issues. Like especially the Count me among the folks who didn't like that. VIII just constantly jumps from set piece to set piece though, so I didn't have to linger on the worse stuff in this game.
 

Thuddert

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,243
Netherlands
How do you recommend tackling that? I'm not massively far in Kiwami 2 (I don't think). Should I be playing them as they unlock?
There's only 3 of them and fairly short, I think it takes about 2-3 hours in total. So I just recommend doing it all at once, the chapters are connected after all.

You don't have exp, so there's less incentive to play around. You can't actually flee from battles as well. Also you can't learn new moves or increase health/heat, you gotta deal with what you get.

It details some events prior to this game and assumes you have played 0. So while connected to the main game, you can tackle it whenever you want.

I played it after the main story and I got the ending I didn't really get out of the main game, so for me that was worth saving it for last.
 

Gevin

Member
Nov 2, 2017
1,413
I finished 2 more blitz games in the past few days, Hyperdevotion Noire and Emerald Dragon. Gonna do separate posts for each to keep them separated and also because I won't write about ED now, but later.


So, this is a spinoff from the Neptunia series, this time focusing on the PlayStation stand-in, Noire. It's also not a JRPG like the main games, but a SRPG with chibified characters. Most of the standard Nep mechanics are still there, like crafting, the Lily system (ugh), game CDs, etc.

The game plays like other SRPGs, you control your entire party in a turn, then the enemy acts, and so on. This system, contrary to each character having their separate turn in the queue based on speed or agility or whatever, kinda sucks because you can't plan ahead a lot (considering 10 or more enemies will act between your last action on a turn and the next turn), and also makes it kinda boring to watch the game. I still have to find a SRPG where the enemy turn is not annoying to watch. Worst of all is that it was annoying even when having the game at "double speed" and fast movement enabled in the config, I can't even imagine what it's like without touching those settings.

Related to that, some of the mission design gets obnoxious, from having to carry crates around to reach tall ledges, to having to use the slowest tram ever to cross a chasm (and watching the tram animation gets boring after the 1st time, imagine you have to do it like 10 times for some missions). This gets specially annoying in the very last mission, where crate stuff is really prevalent as a means of increasing the difficulty.

Besides that, the game is somewhat hard if you don't detour constantly for side missions and some material farming. I find specially hilarious that every enemy seems to have a big AOE spell that can destroy your entire team in 2 attacks. Fortunately, it has a cool mechanic where getting wiped gives you the option to retry the mission as it was, or by lowering the difficulty (this is done by cutting all enemy stats by 20%), and it stacks. So basically losing is impossible because you can keep lowering the difficulty until your weakest character wipes everything if you want. I had to use this mechanic a few times in my playthrough, specially near the end of the game.

The battle system itself doesn't have anything really strange for a SRPG, the only thing that I'm not really used to seeing is an elemental affinity mechanic. Your characters can equip elemental crystals (fire, water, wind and thunder) and there's a RPS system with it that can make some of the battles really hard or really easy, since enemies also have a predefined element attached to them. You also need elemental damage to open most of the chests, so crystal planning is actually important.

In the end, it's an ok SRPG, it could be vastly improved by considerably speeding up some animations and reducing the grinding a bit.

I'll post my writeup on Emerald Dragon later in the day if I have time. I also want to shill Helen's Mysterious Castle so will probably add another post for that
 

Gevin

Member
Nov 2, 2017
1,413
Few days late but finally got time to write about my 3rd blitz game, Emerald Dragon. This is a pretty old game that was released around 30 years ago for Japan computers, and then got a SFC port in 1995. I played a fan translation of that port and, in short, had a great time but feel like the game could be improved in a few aspects.

The premise of the game is that you are a dragon. Dragons and humans used to live side by side until a curse was placed in the land that kills dragons, so they left to a separate part and have a barrier that doesn't allow humans to enter it. At some point, the dragons find a little girl, Tamryn, as the sole survivor of a shipwreck and they adopt her. Years later, she decides to go back to the humans and Atrushan, the main protagonist of the game, decides to give her one of her horns so she can summon him if she ever needs help. Flash forward a couple more years, the horn is blown so Atrushan uses a magic dragon scale that allows him to be human so he can visit the land and look out for her. He then gets involved in the resistance against a demon empire that's slowly annihilating humanity.

Beyond this, the story progresses in predictable ways but still manages to have some cool twists and heartbreaking moments.

The combat system is definitely interesting. You only control Atrushan while the AI takes care of the rest of your party, though you can give them some basic tactics to follow. You have a top down view of the battlefield and Atrushan has a bar that determines how much can he move and attack. Once your bar is depleted, every other characters acts until it's your turn again. I think this system is good enough in the early game but gets a bit boring and annoying in the later parts, where there are a lot of characters in each battle, so you have to wait a sizable amount of time just watching the game, and worst of all, with no real chance to strategize or react to enemy attacks.

Besides, the game turns out to be pretty easy for the most part. There's an added mechanic for the SFC version where Atrushan gets to use special dragon attacks, if his HP if over 90% or around there. These attacks, while depleting his HP to dangerous level, are really overpowered and they are capable of instantly wiping most random battles and boss' adds, making the game lose most of its challenge. I just stopped using them after one point to make the game more exciting but I don't think it was properly balanced.

Another problem with the battle system and also related to the low difficulty is the fact that you can use unlimited items in your turn, and your character doesn't have a carry limit. So essentially, if your party is hurt, you can spam healing potions to get them back up each turn, with zero penalty.

On the bright side, I really liked the interactions between characters. There are a lot of them and they are pretty fleshed out. The game even has a party talk button that provides a ton of cool banter and colorful dialogue.

In the end, in my opinion the game would benefit for rebalanced difficulty that makes the game a bit more challenging, and the ability to control all your party members instead of just Atrushan. But still, I recommend it to any RPG fans looking out for old hidden gems
 

MoonFrog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,769
Yeah, I played Emerald Dragon around this time last year. It is a great game. I feel it has really strong presentation, as you point out, which helps it really sell its world, people, and conflicts. Moreover, it sounds the presentation is generally even stronger in the original version.

The combat is definitely interesting but I agree it would be nice to play a game that took it further. I liked how much emphasis it put on movement--both for moving Atrushan and for trying to take into account enemy behavior.
 

Yasawas

Member
Oct 27, 2017
194
I'm a bit overwhelmed by Mother options - what's the "best" way to play it these days? I'm just looking for something of a similarly easygoing difficulty to Earthbound and Mother 3 with a reduced encounter rate, which I hear is pretty OTT in the vanilla Famicom release.
 

Taborcarn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
761
I'd recommend the fan translation of the GBA version. It comes with the EZ Ring accessory, which reduces the encounter rate but increases XP to rebalance the game and make it a smoother experience.
 
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FiveSide

FiveSide

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,765
I'm a bit overwhelmed by Mother options - what's the "best" way to play it these days? I'm just looking for something of a similarly easygoing difficulty to Earthbound and Mother 3 with a reduced encounter rate, which I hear is pretty OTT in the vanilla Famicom release.
I'd recommend the fan translation of the GBA version. It comes with the EZ Ring accessory, which reduces the encounter rate but increases XP to rebalance the game and make it a smoother experience.
 

Buckle

Member
Oct 27, 2017
21,288
Been chipping away at Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass. Game is pretty interesting and apparently its around 50 hours? Far longer than I thought it would be. Works for me though, theres a lot here for me to sink my teeth into.

At around three hours, the adorable bee colony I had made friends with early on turned into a bunch of canabalistic Cronenbergs that started eating each other while the queen became a Clive Barker skinless flesh monster.

So thats a thing that happened. Thankfully I have Information Guy to keep me sane:

 

BlueOdin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,984
Been chipping away at Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass. Game is pretty interesting and apparently its around 50 hours? Far longer than I thought it would be. Works for me though, theres a lot here for me to sink my teeth into.

At around three hours, the adorable bee colony I had made friends with early on turned into a bunch of canabalistic Cronenbergs that started eating each other while the queen became a Clive Barker skinless flesh monster.

So thats a thing that happened. Thankfully I have Information Guy to keep me sane:

I had that on my wishlist for a while. Thought it would be some kind of fun 10-12 hours Earthbound/Mother 3 hommage but it being 50 hours turns me kinda off
 

Bran-dono

Member
Aug 22, 2018
1,700
Dragon Quest XI running on Switch should now be a gold standard by which every other publisher/development studio looks to when creating a game to run on anything. It's a technical marvel, and no one can tell me otherwise. It's incredible that such a gem is running on a device capable of both handheld and console features, with minimal compromise to the graphics and performance.
 

Buckle

Member
Oct 27, 2017
21,288
I had that on my wishlist for a while. Thought it would be some kind of fun 10-12 hours Earthbound/Mother 3 hommage but it being 50 hours turns me kinda off
Oh yeah, its pretty meaty.


Sounds like its around 50 for the main game and theres also postgame stuff to do.

The game is definitely heavily Earthbound inspired especially with the art style and oddball humor but it also draws heavily on a sort of "darkness lurking just under the surface" horror aswell.

Some parts of the game are bright and color and the game loves to turn that around on you when you get comfortable every once in awhile.
 

BlueOdin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,984
Oh yeah, its pretty meaty.


Sounds like its around 50 for the main game and theres also postgame stuff to do.

The game is definitely heavily Earthbound inspired especially with the art style and oddball humor but it also draws heavily on a sort of "darkness lurking just under the surface" horror aswell.

Some parts of the game are bright and color and the game loves to turn that around on you when you get comfortable every once in awhile.
Sounds good. But this seems more like something for if I get something like the GPD Win
 
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FiveSide

FiveSide

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,765
Holy shit Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass is THAT long?! God damn, I'm in the same boat as Odin, that's rough I don't know when I'll have time to finally go through it at that length :(
 

Sceptile

Member
Oct 27, 2017
652
I've gotten to what I think is the final dungeon of Tactics Ogre PSP
(the hanging gardens)
so here's my thoughts:

+ The story and world building create a dynamic, interesting world rife with political turmoil and power struggles, similar to FFT. This game’s main plot focuses more on the political maneuvering and nation relationships then the supernatural and religious compared to FFT. That's fine by me.
+ Multiple routes and endings, and a “time travel NG+” system that lets you get them without starting from complete scratch, combined with what I’ve heard is an extensive postgame? Sign me up!
+ The open ended gameplay and character growth appeals to me more the FFT’s and Fire Emblem’s linear “play through the main campaign and be done with it” style.
+ This might just be the most complex SRPG I’ve played. So many different gameplay systems and stats and skills and ailments and builds to experiment with and learn! It’s quite overwhelming…
+ The battles allow you to deploy more units then the FFT games you, sometimes up to 12! This increases the scope of battles and encourages you to build a large army. I absolutely adore games that let you do this.


= The class level up system needs a slight change. Class levels are party wide, which means that if you have one level 15 warrior, anyone can instantly become one as well. That’s all right, but when ever you get a new class, it comes at level one, forcing you to either pull out and grind or abandon the class. This is especially jarring when you recruit a character with a unique class who has a background as an experienced soldier and they come as a level one knight commander or whatever. Unique classes should come preleveled.


- The crafting mechanics are in the running for the worst crafting system award. Each and every thing you craft requires you to watch an unskippable animation, you can only craft one thing at a time, and depending on what you’re making, there is a significant chance the craft will fail and delete your items. You are able to save first, so this mechanic adds nothing but save scumming for its own sake. I’ve seen threads bemoaning that you have to spend hours in menus just to craft some endgame items.
- The system for learning spells is cumbersome. Unlike classes, spells learned are character-based, which means you have to repeatedly enter and exit the shop to check what spells this particular person knows when buying spells. It's also very arbitrary which classes can learn which spells. Mages can't learn all the fire spells? Rune Fencers can learn some fire spells but not most, and there's spells only they can learn? I liked the FFT magic better where if your class has access to a school of magic, it can learn either half or all of it IIRC.
- This might be the most grindy SRPG I’ve seen in a while. Class levels, skill levels, item drops, and crafting, oh my!
- Some characters have the most asinine recruitment methods I’ve seen in a SRPG.

All in all, I like Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together very much, but there’s several hiccups and pointless tedium that keep it from being a masterpiece.
 

Zaber

Member
Sep 11, 2019
193
I'm progressing nicely in Ys VIII and Underrail.

in Ys, I've explored 80% of the world map and looking at the stats page, I've completed 75%-85% of everything that needs to be done as side content/collectibles. At first, I wasn't feeling the combat, but it has gotten more fun with more characters that have different playing styles and once you get more and more skills, you feel like you have a lot of different moves to play around with. Exploration has been fun. I'm liking this more than Ys VII and Celceta.

In Underrail, I'm doing the expansion content. Thre are some really big fights that take a long time to beat. As long as you win on your first try, it's not much of a problem but if you lose and have to redo the fights, it gets annoying. In general, the exploration, combat and mood in this game are exceptional. It's a shame that a game like this hasn't gotten more attention. In the gameplay department, this game puts a lot of other games to shame.

I'm condfident that I will beat both of these games before the period for the Blitzends.
 

BlueOdin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,984
Finished my third blitz game with Xcom 2 which if you squint hard enough counts as a SRPG. I played it with the War of the Chosen addon and no other DLC added. I did however install a few mods. Most were QoL stuff like being able to evac every soldier at once, skipping some animations, telling me which abilities end my turn and which not, icons for different enemy types, etc.

One mod I installed that alters the gameplay was one that gets rid of timers because I am not a fan of them if they are mandatory. The idea was probably to make players be a bit more aggressive in how to approach missions. Not necessarily a bad idea but I would’ve done that as a bonus incentive because in Xcom things can really go south if you move too fast forward. There are ways to increase the timer ingame in missions or otherwise but I found it much more enjoyable playing it this way.

Let's start with the story which I thought was interesting in the beginning. I don’t know of any games that take the bad ending of its predecessor as the starting point. And I think it starts really strong. The sequence after it nicely frames the tutorial if you choose to do it. After that almost everything gets kinda dropped and while there is some kind of mystery with the Elders it is mainly „Get those aliens off my planet!“ That everything story takes a backburner is kind of disappointing. In WotC they introduce three new factions/classes. It is said that they don’t like each other so there was potential to do something with the tension between them but everything is thrown out after one cutscene. One faction doesn’t even get its introduction other than popping up in a menu.
Now the main draw of Xcom 2 isn’t the story though there are probably some people on reddit trying to get all the meaning and more out of it. I find it kind of disappointing that they don’t really do much with what is there.

Where Xcom 2 shines though is the gameplay department in missions. For me it is hard to decide between it and D:OS(2) as my favorite turnbased combat system. It just feels good and you have lots of option. Be that in movement, abilities or squad building. The enemies are also varied demanding different approaches from you. Like concentrating your fire on one enemy unit because of what they do/did, positioning because they can explode dealing damage to you when they die or immunity to some attacks. Lots of people also talk about how they miss 85% shots but I kinda like the system. It is RNG that can easily be manipulated by moving your units during battle, weapon modding or giving your soldiers bonuses they can get on missions. Do I stay in my more safe position for a worse shot or do I risk moving nearer to the enemies for a better shot is something I asked myself a lot. At least until I had my sharpshooters leveled up and they could just lay waste to any group from an elevated position. But even then there are units that can’t be easily dealt with and need a team effort to get rid of before they can do bigger damage.
What I don’t like about the combat are the potential multiple rng rolls a shot can have with at least two always happening. Like I said the hit percentage is no problem for me because you can have control over it. Additional to that however you have a range of damage your shot can take (5-7 e.g.) And this is the thing that made me drop the difficulty from Veteran to Rookie about halfway in because I couldn’t deal with the stress (and constant save scumming as a result of that) it gave to me. Too often I had 2 favorable outcomes and got the one that leaves an unit alive and doing damage to my squad. Too me that just felt like bullshit because the only way I could manipulate that are weapon upgrades but they come with stronger enemy types which doesn’t completely alleviate the issue. There is also the scenario where a shot only grazes a unit which feels like something where I need more information how it can happen. Here I hope that in the next Xcom they work on it. Not necessarily removing it but rather giving you information on how it happens so you can react accordingly around it.

The three new classes they introduced were pretty fun. In the end I only ended up using the reaper class because their stealth aspect. They were a good recon unit with sabotaging or giving the last hit out of the shadow. The others weren’t as useful and most of what they could do other classes could do better.

The introduced Chosen were also a good addition. Often coming in the worst possible situations and making your life worse demanding a change in strategy. There is also a nemesis system like aspect to them were they gain strengths or lose weaknesses making the encounters different if you let it happen.

Outside of combat I think Xcom 2: WotC is on the right track but not fully there yet. The management aspects are okay. The base building is a bit reduced getting rid of the adjacency bonuses of the first game. A change I am pretty neutral to. The covert ops you send your soldiers onto (currently not sure if they were in the first game since I haven’t played it since release) have two aspects that I like. One is that some missions have a requirement where you need to send a high rank unit in order to do it. For some part of the game it is a decision of if you can handle to not have one of your A-Team for a few ingame days and taking on a potential difficult mission without them or not. If you don't have a large enough bench you started working early it can come back at you for some time like it did for me.
There is also a system where you need to make contact with different countries/regions to get more supplies, more missions or other bonuses which could've been solved more elegantly. The way it is done you fly on a world map from location to location, wait until a timer runs out, jump to next location, repeat. This way there is just too much downtime for me where I am watching a time lapse again and again. Here I think I would prefer just having a menu were I manage my resources to initiate the contact.
Research is also in this game is enhanced by the *inspired* and *breakthrough* system. These are neat additions. They appear randomly and have to be weighted against the stuff you planned or need to do in some situations. For example you get a breakthrough for shotguns dealing +1 more damage. That one more damage could often make the difference of using one unit's turn on an enemy or having to use two. But the last two missions didn't went so well in terms with getting damage. You lost two units and others barely made it. You need that armor upgrade as fast as possible. Are you willing to give up the breakthrough that might never appear again in your run? Usually it isn't as pressing and the bonuses are worth it choosing the breakthrough but sometimes you can't take the opportunity.
There is also the Avatar timer in the overworld. Every now and then a blip gets added to it and if it is full you have some time and if that lapses your run is over. I found that to be not a factor one needs to worry about. It seems only possible to reach its end if you actively ignore it.

Last words are on graphics which I liked.

Overall I really liked it. A few grievances aside. In the Discord server I said it might be my favorite game I played in a blitz but then I remembered I also played D:OS2 and DQXI in past blitzes so Xcom 2 probably comes in on a solid third. Looking forward to the next one.
 

MoonFrog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,769
Scarlet Grace is good. Working on my second campaign now. I rolled Urpina first and got her Phoenix ending. Rolled Taria next and currently am into her second chapter. Think I'm going for the shard ending as that'll be the last main quest I haven't seen any version of yet--I chose to do the Earth Serpent chapter 2 instead of the shards because I felt the story around the shards seemed, at first blush, more final while the Earth Serpent story sounded more like a good sequel to Taria's first quest to save a spiritual (her first story is the Phoenix).

The game reminds me a lot of Infinite Space: there are content rich, menu driven nodes on a heavily abstracted world map delivering a world of huge scope with production values that make it feasible. Moreover, both have a very tactical and resource driven battle system. The differences in the details are huge but I find the way I'm consuming the game to be rather similar because of the broad brush similarities. I feel emboldened to say this seeing as how others have also felt this connection in our discord.

But, as to those details:

Scarlet Grace offers a rich combat system where you want to control the field to produce--and protect yourself from--unite attacks and are given a limited, shared resource pool to set up your party's actions each round. The game focuses on putting out damage; shutting down enemies through statuses, interrupts, and counters; controlling damage intake; and positioning your party to take advantage of enemy--or your own characters'--deaths while paying attention to what the enemy itself is doing in these regards. Healing is limited, but potentially quite potent.

The equipable weapon classes provide "classes" for the characters via their available techs. You are always using techs. They aren't your special attacks but your entire ability list. Moreover, they tend towards having some sort of idiosyncratic impact on the flow of battle. Further still, the totality of utility and damage potential between the weapons is variable. Thus, each weapon gives its user a distinct flavor in battle, further accentuated by differences between the characters.

Scarlet Grace gives you a wealth of characters to mess around with. Because their main statistics other than health are static, they are fairly easy to compare with regards to a given weapon. Excepting magic and (I gather, I have not explored it) martial arts, the growth systems are also incredibly generous allowing you to switch up your party and bring new characters up to speed right up until the end: Health and skill gains scale to how far behind the character is; spark chances increase at higher BR.

The world of Scarlet Grace is extremely engaging. Each region has its own distinct character, culture, and story. Moreover, they interrelate. The game has a huge wealth of events that themselves have various possible outcomes and deliveries depending both on who you are playing as and what you choose to do as well as just which events the game chooses to put before you. For example, I did Taria's Phoenix quest right after doing Urpina's third chapter variant on it. Its framing was quite different and the final challenge was extremely different.

It is also just unique. It has a voice and a presentation very much its own, which are, moreover, beautiful.

It is a game that gives you a lot of content and has this veil of mystery over its content delivery and its mechanics but it is an enchanting veil of mystery rather than a frustrating one. I have been around people much more adept at figuring out the game than me and people data-mining it too. Nevertheless, the sort of things the game led me to think just by playing without even reading the tips have more-or-less been borne out in the actual details people are discovering. It is a very approachable game.

Also, I've said this a couple of times in the discord but: I've been in a gaming funk and also in a bad mood. Scarlet Grace is the first game in some months to actually cut through it all and really grab me, giving me some peace. I really really recommend people give it a chance. It is good.
 

MoonFrog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,769
Finished my Taria campaign last night. I really liked her. Great unit and I feel happy with the way she grew for me: She ended up with 4/3/3/3/3 in the magic schools, all the physical staff abilities, and a whole bunch of roles. I really want to use her again when I get to Leonard. In general, really happy with my party. Kahn was a lot better than Mondo and that makes me happy because I'm into spears. Snail was an excellent mace user with his only deficiency being low LP for a tank. In general, I just used a lot of the Killers all the way throughout the story and they all sparked pretty well for me.

I had a harder version of the final boss this time, which took some doing to defeat. I should have probably trained up the dual wielder I got through the second chapter instead of sticking with Compass but he was able to come on as a power substitution for the final rounds of the fight anyway.

In any case, I'm on to Balmaint now. The framing of the Sigfrei quest is completely different from my Urpina experinece of it. Actually quite intrigued despite having gotten sick of "Long Live Lord Sigfrei!!!!" on Urpina and wanting to avoid the quest thereafter. The structure of the game is also quite different: I can spark the storylines like in chapters 2 and 3 on Urpina and Taria after just the "prologue" so to speak.

Balmaint is cool. Arthur is . . . but I like mages so . . .

Game continues to be good.
 

Zaber

Member
Sep 11, 2019
193
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is finished. I only have the last floor of the post-game dungeon left. I'm not sure if I will dabble with time attacks.

The game is better than Ys 7 and Celceta.

I got lots of trophies, but I am missing one beaten enemy, one missed accessory and one missed armlet. Oh well.

All in all, it's a good game, but a poor translation (lots of spelling errors) and some bad characters lets the game down a bit.
 

Thuddert

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,243
Netherlands
Still playing DQ6, still very gooey.

Mastered the first vocations already and slowly making progress after 20 hours. I'd like to finish before this year ends, but I don't think that's likely.
 

Sceptile

Member
Oct 27, 2017
652
I completed Witcher 3, with
Nilfgaard conquering the northern realms, but with Ciri taking the throne and Temeria becoming a vassal state

The game is a masterpiece, and it's going on my list the next time we have an "Era votes on the top 100 RPGS list" thread for sure. The franchise's choices and delayed consequences beautifully make the transition from the linear, focused approaches 1 and 2 had to the open world sandbox of 3. Fantastic enemy variety that make all of your signs usefull (but still mostly quen). Wonderful minigame in Gwent. An open world game of this scope and the only notable glitches I encountered were a blacksmith randomly refusing to talk to me and a merchant's shop ui refusing to open.

It started out slow but dang, it really kicks into gear around Novirgrad.
 

Iva Demilcol

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,403
Iwatodai Dorm
It's been a while since the last time I wrote something in this thread. This time with news about my Blitz games:

I took the FiveSide approach and was playing three games, two of them being RPGs. And finally, after almost two months I've finished my first Blitz game: The Outer Worlds.

I'm surprised how much i like it despite the fact that I downloaded it expecting to uninstall it after a couple of sessions. The aesthetic and my need to play a "Space game" made me keep going until the end. That's pretty much all that I needed: I didn't complete all sidequests, didn't even get all the companions, the writing wasn't at all stellar nor was the fiction itself nor the character that interesting either. However, the game is charming in its own way, it made me remember those weird and super old TV shows and movies about space cowboys that i knew inspired other things like Star Wars. Mixing 30s and 40s American architecture, cowboys and space travel was novel enough to me, even when I felt at times that the rest of the game was lacking something.

The main story and the subjects it touches aren't well handled either. The idea that private corporations and its weird and not-at-all-funny bureaucracy ruined a space colony is frankly just too stupid and too much in your nose to be considered satirical imo. And that's especially true when you see that they could've explored instead some interesting topics that got relegated to a few lines here and there and a couple of side quests that not many people got to see if I trust the % of the people who didn't get the related achievement for completing said sidequests.

What I'm talking about is that at some point in the story you learn that humans in Halcyon are dying of starvation because the food they can get in those planets doesn't have the nutrients humans need. The terraforming process was actually a failed experiment and there's literally no biodiversity in the whole colony: all the creatures you see in the game are the only animals that exist in those planets and it turns out those can't provide humans with what they need to survive. I think that's actually interesting but in the end instead of exploring those things further they shifted the focus of the whole game to present these incompetent corporations that own people because duh, they are corporations and that's what they do.

After about 38 hours (I guess) of playing time, my final verdict is that the game is entertaining and even good if you don't expect too much of it.

I'm about to beat another RPG from my Blitz list too so I'll be back to talk about it soon, I guess.
 

Bloodarmz

Member
Jul 11, 2018
354
Another game bites the dust!


Fire Emblem Fates Conquest (where does the colon go??) done with in around 65 hours.

My brief history of Fire Emblem: I started with the series on the GBA and have played all of the following titles up to Awakening, although I didn't finish Shadow Dragon. So the is the first time I was getting back into FE for a few years. I usually try to keep all my characters alive when I play through these games, but for the interest of time I decided to play on Casual Mode. This was a good idea because there were several missions where I lost so many characters but still managed to scrape a win, and if i had been playing on Classic I would've just restarted and never had that close win scenario. I had an amazing battle where a lot of my units got taken out, and I headed to the boss with my last two units and won.

One of the big new wrinkles of the game is something called Dragon Veins, which can activate a variety of effects, depending on the mission. On one map it may cause acid rain that affects anyone in a certain area, and in another it can change the terrain of the map, and in another it could freeze all enemies. There are a bunch of effects that make each map have its own personality and its own set of problems to overcome. There are a few other unique traits that certain maps have; for instance there is a mission with a bunch of pots that if broken give a buff/debuff to surrounding units, but that status effect is a mystery until it hits you (although you know whether it is positive or negative). Another chapter has a boss disguised as another unit, and until you find and defeat them you continuously lose money. There's one covered with traps that need to be disarmed by thieves or you will take damage/be slowed. One that caused me a headache was a chapter where winds can blow your characters up and down the map, throwing them out of position, although it could be used to your defensively. One really cool one was where I had to use only three specific units, but you can create clones of them and use them to attack different parts of the map.

A nice little addition is the My Castle feature, where you can place some buildings and interact with allies between missions. You can build shops to buy weapons and to forge upgraded weapons - since there is no durability, swords and the like can be used indefinitely, but they can also be combined to improve their stats. A lot of these buildings can provide bonuses when fighting armies belonging to other players. I managed to get a few visits to my base even though the game is quite old, and some left a couple of accessories for me. I didn't get too deep into gathering materials for crafting but carefully positioning my buildings (which function as spawn points for your units when fighting other players) and planning an attack was a fun part of this mechanic.

So the thing about the Conquest path is that there are no additional battles outside of the main story stuff, so experience for your units is more scarce. But aside from not being able to grind for levels, you can't grind for supports. This put me in a situation where I only had a single couple at S rank, therefore only got one future-child character, who I barely used. So there are like a dozen paralogue chapters which I missed out on, not obtaining any of the characters from those maps but also getting none of that precious EXP. The whole child stuff is actually stupid, compared to Awakening where Lucina's appearance is part of the main story. It seems like they wanted to keep the mechanic because it was popular with the players, but the in-game justification doesn't seem like it was thought through. The game implies that the parents abandon their children in an alternate dimension where time travels faster, and is almost empty except for weird see-through enemies that look like people called Invaders. Maybe the nature of this place is described elsewhere in content I haven't encountered, but this just makes the parents look heartless, especially when you take into account that the children become soldiers in the army when they are older.

why

Even at the very beginning of the game, I felt like the way these characters were written was from the perspective of someone who has no idea how a family functions. They all feel cartoonish and basic and seem to have a single personality trait and nothing else e.g. Elise is supposed to be cute.

Let me backtrack. So the premise of the game is that the main character of the game, Corrin, must choose between their birth family or their adoptive family, and throughout the game you fill fight against the forces of the family you did not choose. A cool facet of this is there is another character in the same position, Azura, although her birth and adoptive families are reversed compared to Corrin. She is the one who Corrin identifies with the most considering she is caught between two opposing forces just like her.

I thought there would be some effort in portraying both Nohr and Hoshido as flawed but ultimately good in their own ways. BUT, King Garon of Nohr is clearly an evil person. And the Nohrian siblings seem to have no urge to criticise him, even behind his back. They don't even have a bad word to say about him after finding out that Corrin was kidnapped by Garon from the Hoshidans. Most bewilderingly, Corrin also falls into this cycle because she wants to prove herself to Garon and follows his orders to get into his good graces. This is after she finds out that Nohr assassinated her birth mother, and after she sees monsters sent to attack Hoshido by the Nohrians, and also after Garon has threatened to kill her. This continues for the first half of the game.

Camilla and Leo are the two siblings that are the worst when it comes to these things, with Camilla wanting to hunt down fleeing Nohrian soldiers at the end of one chapter. Xander seems to be someone who is subverting his father's orders without him realising. But even still, the reputation of Nohr is that they are brutal killers, and the characters don't seem to be willing to change things unless Corrin insists on it. In some cases she can't do anything, at the end of two separate missions she just watches as a Nohrian soldier kills Hoshidans. Even at the end of the game, when Corrin tells her siblings that they need to take care of Garon, Elise tells her that their father is "just rough around the edges" and can be changed. None of them seem to grasp the fact that Garon is the lowest of the low, and they even act like he was a good man at one point (Garon is never once shown as anything else except a monster, and his earliest chronological appearance is of him killing Corrin's birth father and snatching her during a battle).

This all led to me feeling disdainful towards the Nohrian siblings, and I was rolling my eyes through most of the cutscenes. They are willfully ignorant at best when it comes to what the Nohrian army is doing, and in other cases they just shrug and follow orders.

One of my favourite moments came at the end where I had Corrin paired up with SIlas against the final boss. She was attacked but she dodged it, and her first counterattack activated Dragon Fang, increasing damage, and her second counterattack triggered Luna, which lowers enemy defence (she had a skill that allows her to use the skills of paired units, so Luna was actually from Silas). The next turn, she managed to trigger Luna twice, and killed the boss.

I think I'll get around to the Birthright and Revelations paths eventually. I won a few games through the raffle thread so I'm going to try out a few of those, but then the next big game for me will be Bravely Default.
 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,253
Work has been painfully slow so I figured I'd do my 2019 writeup/recap a little early.

Games released in 2019

---



Legand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds
Release:
January 24th, 2019 (Switch)
Status: Dropped

I'd seen Legrand around for quite a while, though I never really bothered with it much for one reason or another. Eventually it made its way to switch and I was looking for something to play at work during downtime/on lunch. I started it up and put a couple hours into it, but just wasn't really feeling it. It doesn't help that a friend in the discord was playing through it and essentially liveblogging their experiences. A number of frustrated posts with a seemingly terribly designed dungeon that actively punishes you for trying to get through made me put it on the back burner for a bit. Maybe I'll swing back to it when I'm done with Scarlet Grace. Whenever that is.





Kingdom Hearts 3
Release:
January 25th, 2019
Status: Completed

One of the big ones. I've not really been a big Kingdom Hearts fan for a long while. I played 1 and then didn't touch the series again until last year. I enjoyed my journey through the series, especially as I was able to recap some of the worst games in the series and not have that frustration riding on my shoulder. Having caught up just in time, I was ready for KH3. Overall, I enjoyed it. It was a fun, flashy, and somewhat mindless experience given how easy it was. The Disney worlds were neat, though some were a bit of a slog (hello pirates). I'm one of *those* weirdos who actually cares about the KH narrative and isn't too into the Disney stuff (even though I like it), so it was a little disheatening to see how disjointed the integration was. In KH1, it felt like a strong weave of the Disney elements and the main story. As the series went on, the two felt more and more divorced to the point where the Disney worlds were just massive roadblocks to the next story beat. Still, I enjoyed my time with it and I'm curious to see where they go with it in the future. I'm not sure if I want to drop $30 on the DLC just yet...




Death end re;Quest
Release:
February 19th, 2019
Status: Completed

Most people probably haven't heard of this game nor will they care for it because it's an Idea Factory / Compile Heart joint. However, those who do give it a look may find a few interesting pieces about it. It's a pretty dark hybrid of visual novel and RPG mixed with quite a lot of horror. It has the writer from Corpse Party on it, so there is a ton of textual gore and brutal descriptions on events in the world, deaths of characters, bloody bad ends, and grim things of that nature. The combat system is really interesting and unique as it all takes place in a VR game world. You're able to hack and change the battle system from RPG to action to billiards to platformer to fighter...and so on. While its not executed as well as that sounds, it's still a fun system and it becomes a bit meta. Bouncing enemies off of the arena invisible walls, infecting yourself with bugs to break your stats and deal absurd damage, or just sparking new abilities through experimentation of skill combinations adds a rather intriguing take on combat. While I really liked the game, I'd have to warn people of the text gore and general sexualization of characters in their 'glitched' forms. Without the nearly nude super-mode character designs, I'd be able to recommend this without caveats. The sequel looks like it handles this a bit better, though it's seemingly going a bit more in the horror/violence direction.




Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World
Release:
March 26th, 2019
Status: Dropped

What better way to celebrate the 20 Years Of Atelier than by a big crossover game featuring all the protagonists of the series! It's...not exactly what I was expecting in the gameplay department and its a bit silly overall. It's more like an Animal Crossing game with a touch an Atelier to it, though that isn't the fairest comparison. People looking for a standard Atelier experience will not get what they're looking for as this game is all about time management, project management, financial and economic growth, and automating as much as you can. Battle is simplified as its not the focus of this entry, as are a lot of crafting mechanics. I suppose it makes sense, since you're playing as an entrepreneur and not an alchemist. I've put about 8-10 hours into it but eventually became distracted by other games. Part of me wishes this were a mobile experience, because I'd love to just chip away at my town while at work or waiting for something. I'll likely come back to it when I want something a little more low-key and casual.




Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland
Release:
May 21st, 2019
Status: Completed

Atelier is one of my favorite series. Arland is one of my favorite sub-series. So, having a follow-up that deals with my favorite world and characters? I was quite happy. I really enjoyed this game for what new things it did while also loving the nods and throwbacks to the trilogy that I'd gone through nearly a decade ago. Seeing familiar faces all grown up with kids and dealing with adult problems was a bit heartwarming, but there were some really touching stories about people with no family coming together and becoming family. Lulua is one of the best protagonists in the series as she's a rambunctious and mischievous girl who just wants to help people while also having a fiery attitude about whats right and wrong. There's a lot of comedy to this entry and you can see where Gust was experimenting with cutscene direction and finding ways to include some slapstick/silly antics in their animations. The battle system was a wonderful evolution of Lydie & Suelle and eventually topped it with the Interrupt system and the revamped Follow-Up system that allows the supporting team to assist in attacks after meeting particular conditions. The vibrant world, the beautiful music, the cozy nostalgia, the welcoming familiarity, and gentle slice-of-life tone all made a comfortable package that made me smile. It also retains the absurdity and completely unneccesary yet wholly appreciated crazy escalation of combat abilities (see: cutting across the moon just to destroy some enemies). I spent a good 55 hours with this game and I think my favorite part is that it didn't feel like I spent that long. It felt like a 25-30 hour affair, which I suppose is great compared to Lydie & Suelle taking 60 and feeling like 60. It's one of my favorite entries in the series and Arland fans owe it to themselves to check it out.




Dragon Star Varnir
Release:
June 11th, 2019
Status: On Hold

Another IF/CH joint with another horror twist to it. Whichever team is responsible for these darker entries seems to be doing a lot of good things. I wasn't able to put much time into this due to trying to catch up in FFXIV, but it started quite strong with a story about a holy empire crusading against dragons and witches. Within the first hour you have a knight questioning his loyalty as he learns that the witches are just as much victims of the dragons as the rest of the world. Things get pretty dark and gorey, though nowhere to the effect of Death end re;Quest. I did a few battles and it seems interesting, though it'll take a little bit to wrap my head around the all-aerial combat. There are multiple layers to aerial combat and attacks can effect a 3D grid of sorts. One might be 3 vertical squares by 7 horizontal squares, so taking height into consideration seems key. I liked the characters from what little time I put into it, so I'll definitely come back to it as I thought the concept was interesting for the world, story, and combat system. It seems a bit more clunky than Der;Q and it doesn't have that Corpse Party hook to keep me being dragged along, so we'll see if I stick with it when I come back to it in 2020.




Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Release:
June 25th, 2019
Status: On Hold

I've never really been a big Castlevania fan. Growing up, it just wasn't really my thing. I didn't play Symphony of the Night until it hit PS3 and some of my first CV games were Castlevania 3(???), Lament of Innocence on PS2, Lords of Shadow on PS3, and Order of Ecclesia on DS. Oddly enough I liked all of these. CV has been a huge blind spot for me, so I've been slowly trying to work my way through them over the past year. I haven't gotten very far, but I did manage to get some more time with SotN in. I started up Bloodstained for the Halloween Blitz we did, but I got stuck on a boss fight and eventually put it down. I think I'll go through SotN (again) and get myself a bit more accustomed to the style of game again and then work back up to Bloodstained before next Halloween. That said, the combat was fun and I had a good time exploring around, experimenting with new gear, and seeing what this creepy ass castle has to offer. I'm putting this in here as it has many rpg elements that I feel others may like. It's certainly more of an rpg than a game like Indivisible, but we'll get to that later.




FFXIV: Shadowbringers
Release:
July 2nd, 2019
Status: Completed MSQ, 5.1 on hold.

Another big one. I never really thought I'd find myself telling people that an MMO of all things has a great story. Or that it could be one of my favorite RPGs. Or that it'd even be a contender for the best entry in a series. Ten years ago I was fighting people online, arguing my nonsense that an MMO could never be a game of the year or game of the decade contender because everyones experience is different. While I'd dropped such thoughts years ago, Shadowbringers reminds me of the things I said and just makes me reflect on it for a bit. With how tightly interwoven the story is, I have no reservations in saying this is the best FF mainline story. While there are ways my experience and others can not be aligned (e.g. doing huge story raids with friends, getting That One Drop, seeing The One Scene, or getting to The Super Boss), I think those things don't really affect the main story quest and would only elevate ones experience. There is something to having your one character that you've been playing for years go through the entirety of XIV's story, but I think Shadowbringers itself could easily standalone as a single-player 40hour JRPG. The only knock I can give the game is that they essentially murdered my favorite class which made getting through the story more stressful than it should have been. Yet... I guess it encouraged me to find something else to be my primary job. Thus, I took up the dark arts and had big booms in my eyes as a black mage. Become What You Must, I suppose.




God Eater 3
Release:
July 12th, 2019
Status: On Hold

I'm a big Monster Hunter fan. I've dabbled in the MH clones over the years. God Eater, Toukiden, the myriad Vita entries, you name it. I never thought I'd be excited for God Eater 3, yet here I was. I put about 10-15 hours in this and enjoyed my time. The character creator was great, the combat was a real blast and showed the devs were trying to evolve into a more stylish-action level of gameplay, and the monster designs were impressive. I enjoyed how the story was blended in and how I felt like my character, albeit silent, was actually part of something larger. Unfortunately, I put this on hold due to external factors. I talked it up to a friend who said he was going to get it and asked me not to get too far ahead. So I put it aside. He never got it. After 2-3 weeks of waiting, I just didn't have the drive to go back to it at the time. With all the updates and improvements its received though, I'd like to go back to it and at least clear the story as I enjoyed where it was going. I don't know if I'd make it my main Multiplayer Hunting Game since Iceborne PC is just around the corner, but we'll see where things go.




Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Release:
July 26th, 2019
Status: On Hold

I don't know how I feel about Fire Emblem as a series. It's never been prominent in my life. I played FE7 on GBA and.... Awakening. So, I've never had the whiplash that longtime fans have. I didn't have to deal with the pain people went through in the later 3DS entries nor did I ever have to fumble with fan translations of older games. With 3H, I saw it as a chance to get back into the series and use it as a foothold to dig back into later games. I started with Black Eagles because I like Edelgard and her merry band of weirdos. And I don't trust the other two. No one smiles that much naturally. I made choices in the game that gave me events and information that is frankly baffling. How they even let you start on a particular route is bizarre because you are suddenly put in a situation where things happened and you have 10% of the information you would have had in other routes. Half the things that happened and what I was told happened just seems like....well, bullshit. I'm told that the route I took doesn't make sense out of context and it should have been done later, if not last. This took the wind out of my sails a bit as I've already dumped 40+ hours into it. After seeing friends go through the game and dig through each route, its looking to be 200-300 hours of gameplay just to get the full context. While I'm a little bitter on the story front due to how it was presented to me, I'll likely push ahead and finish up my route so I can figure out whats actually been happening. Gameplay wise, I really like it. Though, some systems seem pretty useless. Why am I even allowed to zoom in so close? I guess it says a lot that I'm actually invested so much in the story to want to go through the other routes despite their length.




CryStar
Release:
August 27th, 2019
Status: On Hold

An interesting light action rpg based on the concept of going through purgatory and weaponizing ones tears and sadness. I was initially interested due to the art, concept, music, and first trailers. As I started it up, the game gets real dark, real fast. Throughout the game you're going through generally non-descript areas made up of peoples memories and tragedies. The game touches on...incredibly dark and sad themes. It plays a lot on emotions and depression. The main character is a horribly depressed girl who rarely ever leaves her room, never goes to school, and just spends her time by herself or with her dog, the only real friend she has. As you go through the game you start to realize just why she is that way, though it's unclear if she has any desire to change things. While I adore the art and overall design of the game, the gameplay itself is pretty repetitive. It's a very light DMC-esque game, but it's...pretty clunky and a bit janky. You do a get a Stand, essentially, that helps you with combat, but most encounters are small combat arenas (though you're never locked into them and can just bypass whatever fights you don't wanna do). The boss fights have been interesting, but theres a stiffness to the gameplay that prevents it from actually becoming a stylish action game. Instead, it remains a fairly basic action rpg, though things have started to get mixed up as I got my second character. I'm hoping it varies more as I get the other two (for a total of four), so I'll keep with it. I just need to get back to it as its fairly short (15 hours?) and I've knocked out a decent chunk of it (4-5?).



Astral Chain
Release:
August 30th, 2019
Status: On Hold

I don't really know how I feel about this game. I don't know if its fun to play. I don't know if I actually care about the story. There are a lot of strange choices that feel like the game is being torn in two different directions, much like my feelings on the game itself. At times it wants to be an action RPG. At others it wants to be a stylish action game. Other times it wants me to investigate the world while at others it wants me to just follow a path. It tells me I'm special and then makes me feel like I'm not. It gives me control and then takes it away. I'm not very far into it and I've been told things open up and get better throughout the game, so I'll stick with it. I'm just glad I didn't really have any expectations for it beyond a Platinum game. I suppose seeing friends be super hyped for it only to watch their disappointment bleed in over the course of a week may have affected my opinion of it, so I've put it on hold so I can come to it with a bit clearer mind. It did have a really cool intro and I like the world. I'd like to see more, so I'll make sure to put some more time into this throughout 2020. I'll remain undecided on how I feel about the game until I can give it some more time.




Final Fantasy VIII Remastered
Release:
September 3rd, 2019
Status: On Hold

FFVIII is one of my favorite entries in the series. It might be my favorite single-player entry. It was my third FF game I'd played (I went VI, VII, VIII) but it stood out to me the most by far. It did so many weird things and had such a crazy story that I found difficult to wrap my head around as a kid. Yet it was full of style and grace. I loved the setting, the world, the themes, and Squall really spoke to me as an edgy teenager who just wanted to be left alone. It also started to open my mind to the idea of love stories not being cringey garbage you find in novels and movies. As I've grown up and have become more versed in the world of rpgs, I've always wanted to go back and replay this. I kept putting it off on PSP, PS3, and Vita as I'd hit disc 1 and say "that was fun" and never really go past it. The remaster gave me a chance to go through the whole thing again, though it came out at a bad time. River City Girls and Iceborne were just around the corner. While the 3x speed is nice, it feels like it takes something away from the nostalgia in my head. Yet I don't know if I could play without it now in a sense that it makes repetitious tasks such as drawing and stocking magic a breeze. I eventually had to put it down so I could tackle RCG and MHW, but I do plan to go back to it now that I've had 20 years of experience to cram into my head.




River City Girls
Release:
September 5th
Status: Completed

I'm putting this here because its an action rpg beat-em-up. And it's very good. RCG is a fun romp through a city of jerkass thugs, punks, delinquents, worthless cops, and wrestlers in animal masks. I had so much fun with this game and enjoyed every moment of it. The game oozes style and has such a vivid and vibrant look that makes it stand out. The pixel art is lovely, the animations are adorable and hilarious, and the general concept of the game left me with a smile on my face. The music is full of bangers, especially the vocal tracks that are sprinkled throughout the game. I enjoyed exploring the city, beating up anyone who got in my way, and had a blast bodying bastards and leveling up over their crumbled bodies. There were some small issues with the controls and strange difficulty spikes but I don't think they detracted from the experience too much. The heroines were hilarious and their backstories were pretty touching. I had a smile on my face as I went through the game and I highly recommend giving it a look. Also, Kyoko is the best.



Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
Release:
September 9th, 2019
Status: Completed

I. Love. Monster. Hunter. MHW is my favorite game of last year and the expansion is even better. It adds so much that was either missing (snow area, ice monsters, QoL changes) and even completely new things. The clutch claw changes the game dramatically. As a dual blades user, the game now becomes Attack on Titan. Launching a grappling hook and latching onto a massive monster, cutting off chunks of their flesh to weaken them for harder hits. Levi-blade spinning down a spine that was made weak by a friend, pick up pieces of the enemy and fire them back into them for a stun, and finish it all off with flashy, powerful moves. The new locale is massive and keeps evolving over the course of the expansion while the new monsters provide a sizable challenge and usher in new and unique moves while older monsters get new tools and tricks that keep things fresh. Iceborne introduced me to my favorite MH battle and likely one of my favorite boss battles in a series - Glavenus. This giant t-rex with a firey mouth and a huge sword-like tail took me 48 minutes (on a 50min time limit) to beat. Every single hit he landed on me felt earned. It was a great challenge and an epic battle that felt fun for every minute that ticked by. Its my defining experience for Iceborne and it felt like my equivalent of a Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower battle - complete with a flaming sword and all.




Indivisible
Release:
October 8th, 2019
Status: Completed

To start - I like this game. But I see why people don't. It's...barely even an rpg. There are no weapons, no quests, no items, no skills, no customization, no choices, no traits, no abilities, no equipment, nothing that you typically find in rpgs and the myriad hybrids. It's essentially an action platformer with psuedo-real time combat. I'm glad I didn't get too hyped into expecting a Valkyrie Profile game that everyone else was sold. There was a lot of promise to this and it looked absolutely lovely in the leadup to it. Yet as I got further in the game I started to realize that there wasn't...really that much to it. There was little reason to use the more gimmicky characters, battles didn't seem to give you anything other than more HP (which eventually ballooned up for story reasons). With enough meter you can recover everyone pretty quickly. Once you found a team, it was pretty much set and there was no real encouragement to experiment. I wish they cut the cast down and fleshed out whoever they kept or at least devoted the time and resources to proper systems. Overall the game was fine but the more I talk with people who were ever excited for it, the more I feel for them. It's not the VP clone any of us wanted. It just kinda sorta has some similarities to it but never delivers on any of them. Exist Archive is a better comparison.




The Outer Worlds
Release:
October 25th, 2019
Status: Dropped

Thank you, Gamepass. This only cost me $1 to try out. I don't hate it or anything but boy is it not what I'm looking for. I was curious about it and listened to some praise on a podcast. However, my experience was...quite counter to theirs. I didn't really enjoy my time with it. The gameplay wasn't doing it for me, the story was was a bit too... Rick and Morty level of cynicism that I wasn't exactly in the mood for, and I just didn't really care about much of anything in the game. It's not a bad game and there's a ton for people to love in it. I'm not a huge fan of Fallout (New Vegas is the only one I care for), so perhaps I'm not the target audience for it. I only put a few hours into it, but I did like the companions I'd spoken to at the time. I'd certainly recommend it to Fallout and Mass Effect fans though as I think they'll find much to love in it.




Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness and the Secret Hideout
Release:
October 29th, 2019
Status: Completed

Everything about this game is wonderful. The story, the art, the music, the combat, the exploration, the crafting, and the world. It is a step up for Atelier in many aspects, streamlining some of the clunkier elements while also bolstering the strongest ones throughout the series. They really make you care about the NPCs in your town as you help them with their daily life, watch as they try to achieve their goals, and learn more about them. The story of town is well written and the narrative overall is quite strong. I was truly interested in seeing just what a character was planning on doing next as I delivered a strange item to them for a big plan of theirs. This entry has a phenomenal combat system that rewards good timing, encourages planning, and gives a new meaning to how items work in battle. There are a couple stumbles due to just how much they're experimenting and changing, but I think it'll lay the groundwork for a truly great sequel that can shine in every aspect. It's one of my favorite games this year and one of my top three in the series for sure. It's the start of a new trilogy and has a ton of QoL improvements as well as no time limit, so it's a good place for people to start if they're curious. Though, I'd always recommend going back and starting with Rorona to get used to time limits, see how they easy up, and experience how the series has changed from entry to entry.




Pokemon Sword
Release:
November 15th, 2019
Status: Completed

I really enjoyed my time through Sword and appreciate the nostalgic feelings I had for playing through a Pokemon game side by side with my sister. Seeing everything fleshed out in a beautiful world brings me one step closer to the image I had in my head as a kid. I wrote a bunch about it previously, but I do think it's a pretty great game - especially for a person coming back to the series like myself. It's the third game in the series that I've beaten, but it'll be the second that I actually complete the pokedex on. The road to 400 is long but I think it'll be fun and worth it so I can shiny hunt when I'm bored. It was nice to be part of a group of people who were playing through it, trading Pokemon around and sharing tips, comparing teams, or making horrible league cards to trade around.




SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions
Release:
December 3rd, 2019
Status: Actively Playing

My first actual SaGa game, if you don't count The Last Remnant. I'm slowly chipping my way through it. It's fun and challenging, though at times things can go south real quick. It's been fun to share stories or experiences with others and see how they did things different. Telling people how I managed to steal a pirate ship and go plunder treasure off the coast while they never even considered trying to hijack said ship has led to some interesting discourse. Seeing how people do battles different, how they do builds in their own way, and even make completely opposite choices of mine shows there is a lot of depth to the game. As I've gotten older, I've been far more appreciative of status effects in games and SG seems to nail them. Poison is crazy effective and useful. Countering enemies with a huge stun and paralyze is much fun. However, getting put to sleep by a stupid prancing wolf isn't much fun. Battles have a high sense of reward, especially the difficult ones that you barely scrape by in. If you've not heard of the game for some reason (square enix), I suggest you give it a look. It's cheap (<$30) and has a lot of replayability with four characters with their own stories and tons of decisions you can make along the way to influence your own story.




Virgo Vs The Zodiac
Release:
December 12th, 2019
Status: Actively Playing

I've been waiting for this one ever since I stumbled upon it during a "lol who even uses fig?" joke that bit me in the ass. I was intrigued by the look, checked out the demo and loved what I played. I made a thread on it a while back. After some delays, it finally released and I'm quite happy with it. The combat is challenging, the music is aces, and the story is silly and fun. I love the pixel art look and the overall tone paints a humorous and charming story with a bit of darkness sprinkled in here and there. There's a lot of customization to it, so a lot of my time has been spent trying to keep an equal set of damage types while also focusing on being able to recover from when battles go bad. There are some minor little gripes on it (e.g. timing seems off on the action prompts, new items only show the first item on the first character, etc) but I've been happy with it. I've put in about 10 hours, which is about half the game so far. Now that I have a full party, things are a lot easier versus when I was having to solo a boss and it took me over 10 tries. There are a lot of good ideas and the game is adorable. And lets not forget, you can ride a golden alpaca and face off against capitalist salarygoats who fight with briefcases and chug espressos to feel beaurucrazy.




Not Released in 2019



Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk
Release:
June 28th, 2012
Status: Completed

It's been a very heavy Atelier year for me. I restarted Ayesha due to never completing it years ago. I had a lot of fun with it and documented a large portion of my journey here (but ultimately lost track/stopped posting updates.) It's a very sombre and serene game with a lovely tone and depressive feel to it. It was very bittersweet and I loved it. The characters were great and I enjoyed the combat, item creation, and the fun little events around the main cities. Early on it felt pretty thrilling exploring new areas and just barely scraping by, pushing into dangerous territory to get a special item I need, or even just spending a couple days making stuff for the town. I'm very excited to restart Escha & Logy in January.




The Last Remnant Remastered
Release:
December 6th, 2018
Status: Completed

I completed The Last Remnant and had a blast with it. Combat was so much fun and the characters were delightful. There was a lot of missable stuff in the game, so to ensure I didn't lose out on a lot I had my heard buried in a spoiler-free sidequest list/guide. The story was alright but I had more interest in how the characters interacted with one another. Rush is a delightful idiot who brings that air of positivity and shounen hardheadedness to the fray. One thing I really appreciate about the game is that the final dungeon didn't take 3-5 hours to complete. I liked how my units felt like they were all MY units and not some Optimal Combo. It worked because I made it work and each encounter felt rewarding.




Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume
Release:
November 1st, 2008
Status: Completed

I wrote 25 paragraphs about this a few pages up so I'll just say this game is great.




Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Release:
December 1st, 2017
Status: Actively Playing

Slowly but surely I am getting through this game. I hit Chapter 4 (and on 5 now) and it started to click with me finally. It's frustrating how the game holds back so much information from you or tutorializes itself out poorly. The onboarding process is a massive pain in the ass and nothing feels good until about 20 hours in. It's a huge hurdle to get over and it's whats been making me chip away at this over the course of two years now. Yet once it clicked I finally see why people like the combat, quests, and world. Taking advice from people in the thread and various discords has helped a lot and I'm enjoying myself a lot more now. It just...really feels like the early MMO grind where nothing feels good until you get X, Y, or Z. Also, who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to make art canceling OPTIONAL and able to be locked out of for a huge portion of the game? Imagine if I spent those 3,000 skill points elsewhere... All that aside, it's fun and I like where the story is going. I just got my new tank which means I can kick Tora's otaku ass to the curb for a while.




Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
Release:
November 14th, 2002
Status: Actively Playing

I played Breath of Fire 3 back in the day for a bit and got up to...some temple I think. Never put much more time after that. After being pitched BOFDQ, I gave it a spin and I'm really liking it so far. I like the oppressive atmosphere and how everything wants to kill you. The enclosed spaces make the world feel very claustrophic and lends itself well to the feeling of wanting to get out and see the actual sky. The combat has a nice strategic flair to it. I enjoy setting up traps and magic traps in specific spots, kicking enemies into them or sucking them in with the vacuum gun to riddle them with status effects. I like the cast and I think the presentation is lovely. I'll keep digging my way through the game and hopefully finish it off early next year if possible.




The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Release:
May 19th, 2015
Status: On Hold

I initially had this as dropped. I don't like much about it. I've been trying to get through this game over the past two years maybe. It's one of those games where I feel like I'm playing a completely different game than everyone else. Yet, using Xenoblade 2 as an example...maybe everything will just click for me. I don't care about the characters or the world or the NPCs or...anything. Everyone told me it gets really good at The Bloody Baron. I did that quest and felt it...wasn't very good. I got told it gets better when I get to some town. I got there and...don't really feel anything. I feel like part of it may just be me being cynical about the game, so I think I'll give it another shot a bit later. I don't really plan to play 1 or 2 nor do I really expect to read the books, but finding recaps may help give me a little insight on the world. Just starting the series on the third entry kinda feels like just jumping into game of thrones at season 4 with no previous context. We'll see where it goes once I get to Novigrad, the next part where people say it gets good.



Xenoblade Chronicles X
Release:
April 29th, 2015
Status: Dropped (awaiting Switch port....maybe.)

I put a couple hours into this as a means to test out the Wii U I got from my sister. Its a pretty neat game but I really dislike tha gamepad. I think it also takes a particular mindframe for me to be in before I want to lose myself wandering around in huge world with massive monsters roaming about. I've heard a lot of praise about the game, so I'm eager to get to it but... I kinda expect it to get a Switch port at some point.



Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
Release:
December 26th, 2015
Status: Dropped (due to Encore coming soon)

I didn't put much time into this, but I'm interested in checking out the Encore port next year. I've heard good things and the little bit I played seemed fine, though the Fire Emblem aspects seem...almost non-existent. People have told me that it's good but to beware of Barry because he's a creep and brings the whole experience down. I'm somewhat doubtful, but I'm curious if they'll do anything about him. I guess knowing Atlus they'd make him more of a weirdo and add in a new girl for him to harass...




Blue Reflection (PC Replay)
Release:
March 30th, 2017
Status: Actively Playing

The PC version finally went on sale for about $24 so I nabbed it instantly. I've always been curious on how it performs on PC given it's pretty chuggy in some areas on PS4Pro. I also wanted to experience the world again and talk to every NPC now with full context of what is even going on. I appreciate the better performance on PC. Now moves that used to hitch the PS4 up a bit flow smoothly and the game has a very clean look to it that lends itself well to higher resolutions. I also wanted to refresh myself on the game as some friends are finally running through it for the first time. Additionally, I've been playing it on Hard to get a better challenge from the combat and also building my characters different than I did on PC. It's keeping things fresh and fun and I expect I'll wrap this up sometime in mid to late January.

---

2019 has been pretty good, games-wise. I'm hoping 2020 is great as well.
 
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Slime

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,843
So after years of convincing myself I'd never be able to wrap my head around the Gold Box games, last month I used the Forgotten Realms Archives sales on GOG as an excuse to finally force myself to figure them out. Did a bunch of homework (printed off a 7-page text document of tips I found across a bunch of FAQs, blogs, and message board posts), acquainted myself with the Gold Box Companion, and spent a couple days very patiently getting used to the interface. Now I'm halfway through Pool of Radiance and can't stop playing.

One big thing that helped me: putting together a "soundtrack." I looked through the Clue Book and selected some tracks from the FFXII OST I thought would fit each area, got a few battle themes from the FFT OST, and select 'em from Winamp when I get to a new place/into a battle. Listening to "Desert Land" while fighting a random encounter with 20 kobolds really livens things up.

Went from thinking I'd never, ever make a dent in even one of these games to playing for a stupid number of hours each day, and wanting to play them all.

Here's my dorky little setup:

 

Luminaire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,253
I need something to sink my teeth into on the PS$...

With that said...how bad is Andromeda?

I need a new RPG
I've never heard anything good about it, even from people who tried their damnedest to like it. I'm sure someone here has tried it.
Have you looked at The Outer Worlds though? Feels a bit Fallout / Mass Effect.

Returning to my Koudelka playthough (PSX).

Did not know this game actually used motion capture tech, no wonder the character movements are so natural in dialogue scenes: https://streamable.com/qjff4
I love Koudelka. The dialogue feels natural with people talking over one another, cutting each other off, or just treating things like an actual conversation that flows rather than turn-based talking.
Combat's a bit slow but I always liked that it felt fine with the overall feel of the game.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,947
I cba to make a RTTP thread, so I'll post this here even though it's not a Blitz thing or anything.

I recently (like, yesterday) FINALLY finished Pathfinder: Kingmaker - what a fantastic, though incredibly flawed gem - and was feeling like playing another RTwP CRPG, one where I maybe understand the friggin' rules so I can enjoy the gameplay too and not just the story and dialogue.

So I checked my backlog or unfinished or whatever category on Steam and hey, there's Pillars of Eternity 2! An obvious pick. I'm now about ten hours in and the (RTwP) gameplay has finally clicked for me after bouncing off of it a few times over the past year or two. I'm playing on classic which can be almost a bit too easy at times and enemy variety has been a bit weak, but for the most part fighting has been a ton of fun, the itemization has been interesting enough so far, per-encounter abilities/spells are the best thing ever and it's nice that I don't have to pull off perfect fights - sprained backs and fractured hips are easily healed with a short rest, a glass of water and a hard cracker. Why not.

But almost everything else seems kind of really fucking weak. I could not care less about gods and religions in general and the lame-ass factions constantly at each others' throats can fuck off and die for all I care, so the main story has absolutely nothing going for it for me. I don't want to save this place, I hope Eothas stomps them all to death.

Coming from Pathfinder: Kingmaker, the (side) quests I have done so far have been dire, too. I guess some have led me to dungeons which have been a lot of fun, but I could get to those dungeons otherwise too by just exploring. I usually look for interesting, funny, exciting, shocking and thrilling mini stories in CRPG side quests, and PoE2 has really underdelivered here. I have yet to find a single even remotely engaging quest, story-wise.

Characters and dialogue have been fine I suppose, but again, they've barely got anything interesting to work with. The random tiny conversations that happen when you're just running around have been a highlight, some funny exchanges there.


But I'm not here to (just) complain, I'm here with questions.

First and most importantly, how's the DLC for the game? Story-wise, gameplay-wise, in general? And secondly, how far into the main game should I get into before I can realistically tackle them? I've only got the Beast of Winter quest in my journal so far and that's got three red skulls on it, and it was the first of the three DLC so I assume the others are even more late game. If the DLC is weak and/or I have to go through 10-15+ hours of dull main story just to even start them, I might not bother and just do what I've been doing so far (sail around, kill everything) for a few evenings more and then drop the game forever.

TL;DR: Playing PoE2. Gameplay fun, story etc. terrible. Is DLC worth it, should I play until I get to do those or should I just sail the seas for a while, killing bounties, clearing dungeons, exploring until I've had my fill and drop the game?
 

Taborcarn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
761
I played both POE2 and Kingmaker in the past year and I have pretty similar feelings. I did play POE2 in turn-based mode though. I don't have anything against RTwP, I just wanted to try it that way. I do feel like it made the game pretty easy though, seems like even though they put a ton of work into that mode it was still balanced for RTwP.

I can't comment on the DLC though, I never did it. I felt pretty similar about the game world, I didn't like any of the gods and factions so I just picked one and stuck with their line of quests. I ended up skipping a lot of the side quests and exploration, just sailed where I needed to without going off the main path much. I'm still glad I played it but the side content didn't have much allure to me at all, so I figured the DLC wouldn't either.

Back to Kingmaker, how did you find the last act? I felt like the difficultly took such a huge spike with every group of enemies instantly hitting you with confuse/fear/every status effect before you can act. I ended up using the Bag of Tricks mod to tip the balance a bit more in my favor by the end. I finished the game in 103 hours, but I feel like it could have taken me another 20 if I hadn't started using god mode. I still liked that game a lot, I just wanted it to end.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,947
Back to Kingmaker, how did you find the last act? I felt like the difficultly took such a huge spike with every group of enemies instantly hitting you with confuse/fear/every status effect before you can act. I ended up using the Bag of Tricks mod to tip the balance a bit more in my favor by the end. I finished the game in 103 hours, but I feel like it could have taken me another 20 if I hadn't started using god mode. I still liked that game a lot, I just wanted it to end.
I'm gonna level with you - I started blatantly cheating way before the final parts of the game, haha. As someone who's never played tabletop RPGs, there's just too goddamn much you have to understand and keep track of in the game, and with encounters being as frequent as they were, cheating was easy.

It was plenty difficult even when you don't have to really worry about combat itself, too, what with all the puzzles, kingdom management stuff, obtuse quests and so on.

I'm hoping the sequel will be much more approachable for someone like me, but I don't really know how they can do that without messing with the underlying rule system to the point that it couldn't really be called "Pathfinder" anymore.
 

Gevin

Member
Nov 2, 2017
1,413
4th blitz game down in the form of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War (with a translation patch).

This was my first Fire Emblem game and I enjoyed it a lot, even though I am really bad at it. The fact that I could save states and speed boost certainly helped to enhance my enjoyment of the game, since it lessens the frustration by quite a big margin. The combat mechanics get really addicting once you get the hang of it and I have to admit decimating an entire army with an overpowered and advantaged unit in a turn certainly feels cool

The story is also a great point, with some of the most shocking twists of the SNES era, though the extremely large cast of characters gets really confusing by the 2nd half of the game.

I'm feeling kinda lazy to write so I will leave it here but overall I recommend it, it's been my favorite game of this blitz and will for sure keep playing the other games in the series.
 
Oct 30, 2017
28
I'm not making much progress with my Blitz games. I dabbled in Live-a-Live, but have bounced off it. I've spent the most time with Tactics Ogre and I've been enjoying that. It's interesting because the game is more balanced than Final Fantasy Tactics, but I think FFT is better. I'm in the 3rd chapter and there doesn't seem to be as much opportunity to play around with skills and classes. One examples is that I have a character that has been using daggers. I switched them to a ninja and now even with the "dagger" skill they can't use the best one. I had to switch them to Katanas to do decent damage, which wasn't ideal. You also only get a certain number of skill points per battle, which makes it much more difficult to grind for them. I think sometimes game designers forget that games are ultimately supposed to be fun, and sometimes the most fun thing to do is to be able to build crazy broken characters. That said I'm really enjoying the game and I have a feeling that the class system will open up in a little bit (I just got the Chapter 3). I'll probably be fiending for more strategy games after this, so if anyone has recommendations beyond Three Houses let me know.
 

IceyD

Member
Oct 29, 2017
95
Chicago
i love the aesthetic of Tactics Ogre and the dialogue. but yeah the system feels a little broken, and the target based victories leads to some easy cheese.
 

Gevin

Member
Nov 2, 2017
1,413
Final game of my blitz, Tyranny, completed this past weekend.

Tyranny had a pretty slow start for me, honestly the first couple of hours I was bored, didn't care much for the start of the story and the early combat didn't feel very fun. Luckily, after that point something clicked for me and I ended up having a great time.

The premise and background of the story are certainly interesting and not someone is used to see in videogames. To put it simply, you are an agent of the evil emperor that's been conquering the world for the past few hundred years and are sent to enforce one of their edicts, otherwise everyone in the country will die.

Since you are part of an evil empire, most of the possible resolutions to conflict will end up feeling evil, with some degrees of variety of course (you can still spare some rebels' life and so on). You are also encouraged to take part in a civil war between factions of the empire, and can support either of them or none, and that will have consequences in later parts of the story (like certain locations being available only if you are sided with one of the factions, entire questlines, etc).

In terms of combat, it understandibly feels similar to Pillars of Eternity, though certainly dumbed down a bit, since most of the encounters are against small groups of enemies and pretty short and easy until the late game with the most difficult bosses. One aspect I really liked is the spell system for mages. Basically you learn "cores" of magic (naturally, by buying or finding them in loot, or by being teached) and you can also learn "accents", then the idea is to combine one or two cores (ice, fire, vital, atrophy, etc) with the accents (longer range, bounces, AoE, etc) to make whatever spell you want. It's certainly fun to experiment and discover some of the most OP combinations.

In the end I enjoyed it quite a bit and I will play it again at some point with a different set of decisions to enjoy the content I missed.
 

BlueOdin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,984
Finished Nioh the second to last game on my blitz.

The beginning was pretty was pretty hard for me. At least the first boss fight. I didn't know how the combat system worked just yet and I used a weapon type (odachi) I wasn't comfortable with. But after the initial hurdle and losing my initial "respect" before the difficulty I managed just fine. For example I rarely died walking through a level unless I was playing really sloppy or fell off a cliff. The only hurdle for me for sometime were boss fights but even that was manageable. And I don't think I could talk this self confident about the difficulty in Nioh if I haven't finished Sekiro last year. Overall I would say it is hard but manageable with a little bit of patience.

The game itself is structured into different missions. Each main mission takes place on a closed map. While going through the levels you unlock shortcuts to the shrines/checkpoints. They loop around nicely and the level design is pretty good but also at the same time incredibly unexciting. Pretty much all the maps feel pretty flat and lack any sense of verticality. I think good but boring sums it up perfectly for me.
Then there are side missions which most of the time take place on the same maps as the main missions with the difference being different shrine locations, enemy placement, enemy types and some ways are blocked off. For me there iss some missed potential to remix the levels further because most of the time you start at the end and walk towards somewhere in the middle. There are also a few maps that are just for side missions but they are nothing to exciting because you just walk from combat encounter to combat encouter in them.

Speaking of the combat this is probably the part of the game where it shines the most. It feels good. It has good ideas about positioning and executes them well. The active reload kind of mechanic for stamina recovery is neat. Having played the Complete Edition on PC there was a nice weapon type variety. A thing I found a bit useless were the different stances. While there are usecases for changing to high stance or low stance I never saw a really a reason to do it except changing things up a bit because there are some nice combo attacks to unlock. Though I guess the different stances might be useable depending on the build. But otherwise one of the best if not the best action combat system in videogames I have ever played.

So good in fact that I ignored buffs and debuffs in two skill trees for two thirds of my gametime. Only really used them after a respec in the second to last region. They were immensly fun. I too went for the sloth though I don't think I really needed it but it was fun to see bosses or the tengus move in slowmotion. Other things I tried was walking through a level invisible and silently while dishing out backstabs. Sometimes even bypassing enemies entirely. Could see the potential for a playthrough that focusses on that kind of stuff.

One aspect I didn't really like was the loot system. It has a similar system like the action-rpgs like Diablo and other alikes. And with it come the problems that at least I always have with these systems outside of my time with Diablo 3 on PS4. You get stuff constantly but because you got an epic drop a few levels ago you don't need it because it is not better. And with that a system where you are supposed to get new stuff constantly loses a lot of its appeal for me. Add to that that I didn't see some crazy effects like "chance on hit to summon 4 cows with halberds that fight alongside for 5 seconds" (my gold standard for effects in these type of games) and it feels even more lacking.
Then there is also the aspect of getting loot from revenants (copies of other players that died) and a lot of the loot in the levels becomes meaningless. Fight a tough enemy to get to a chest only to find stuff that is worse than what you already got from the revenants. Turn on a loot filter because you get so much stuff, defeat a boss and not being able to pick everything up because it is filtered out. And what you are getting is worse than what you got from a revenant. And because you see the revenants as a good source for good loot you keep fighting them. And because every player runs around with the same armor set you wear the same stuff with the same look and same effects for 30 hours.
I hope they improve upon the system in the sequel.

Otherwise the story is just kind of there. There are more cutscenes than in something like Souls if one cares about it. They are nicely shot and animated. But the character relations and whatnot are not really developed. I read sometime around the rereveal of the game that the story in the game is based upon a script by Akira Kurosawa and I probably would've loved to see the movie. Graphical design is well and the soundtrack gets its job done.

That is pretty much all I have to say about Nioh. I think "Good game but also wasted potential" describes it good.