February 11, 2018

What I’ve been finishing – Phantom Brave + Persona 4 Arena

Posted in video games tagged , , at 5:07 pm by riulyn

I just finished up Phantom Brave and the story mode for Persona 4 Arena. Brief thoughts on both below.

Phantom Brave had a really mediocre story, but the gameplay was really good. There are a lot of ways to break the game but I didn’t really get into grinding in bonus dungeons and changing titles. Instead I had enough fun with the main maps, figuring out who to confine, where and when, and how to clear them, and doing a bit of grinding to power up weapons and get skills. If you are someone who needs a plot to play a game, then unfortunately there is nothing to rescue this game for you. But if you like a unique take on doing a tactical game, then it’s definitely more fun than Growlanser 2/3 and Disgaea 1 was for me on battle system alone. Those other games win far out on the other stuff, though.

Persona 4 Arena’s story is very text heavy for a story mode in a fighting game. Way more than the two Blazblue games I’ve played the story mode of. I used the game as Japanese practice; otherwise, I’m not sure I’d really be up to do the path of every character in about a month’s time. Once you go through a few characters’ storylines, you pretty much know everything important. So you might as well start off with your favorite story characters. Battles for the story mode are not hard; I barely understood the mechanics, only playing around with Challenges later and finding out how much I missed. I pretty much could mash attacks and dodge with R1 and be very successful. The story was fun enough but not to the level of the main games, and not because of the text being too long at times. There’s just not that much to it in the end; some plot holes are probably filled in Ultimax, but I’m still not sure I need to read more than a plot spoiler summary at this point. Not enough compelling moments in the actual story in-game for me. Oh well…

Plans next up are to continue with .hack//G.U. (enjoy the plot, the gameplay is serviceable), decide whether to play Trails of Cold Steel in English or just go with Japanese versions, continue slowly working through Radiata Stories, and maybe Tales of Vesperia PS3 for more Japanese practice. My grant revisions should take priority but I like to procrastinate…

Advertisements

January 20, 2018

2018 so far – quick updates

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 9:48 am by riulyn

It took me a few days into January to finish off Tokyo Xanadu eX+. Then I conquered the rather fun rogue-like (or whatever the genre is) game Z.H.P. And now I have started on Phantom Brave as the game I take around or play a bit while watching tennis streams. The PSP port of course, because my PSP backlog is still large. Though the PS2 one is too.

Anyway, quick thoughts below

  • Tokyo Xanadu eX+ fixes the plot hole induced by the true ending of vanilla Tokyo Xanadu. So I guess I’m okay with it. Still think they could have brought that to the vita version… Ah well. It does look nice on PS4. The Aksys translation is…stylish. I was a bit annoyed with how they translated some things, but nothing was completely out of character… I feel like I hadn’t noticed that in a Aksys translation before, but maybe it’s a sign my Japanese is getting better.
  • Z.H.P. is great fun, especially if you give in to grinding. I had some spectacularly bad dungeon runs and my equipment was crappy pretty much the whole time. I think it’s now time to get back to Guided Fate Paradox.
  • Phantom Brave’s plot is terrible. But the gameplay is incredibly good so far. Too many classes to play around with, though, so I’m taking the long route/grindy route. Whoops. Out-of-bounds is an annoying feature though.
  • .hack//G.U. Cannot imagine the original version. I enjoyed volume 1, but I don’t really care for the battle system and cannot think how I would deal with needing to grind levels. Also a cliffhanger-ish ending to volume 1? Thankfully I don’t have to wait.

Speaking of not waiting, I think I’m going to grab the PS4 versions of Sen no kiseki 1 & 2 this year and play 3, hopefully all before 4 comes out in the fall. Gonna really work it and finish the series! I will probably finish English version Cold Steel 1 before I play Sen no kiseki 1, but have not decided about 2…

December 29, 2017

2018 – What will I be playing (from my backlog)?

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 10:00 am by riulyn

I realize I’m pretty terrible at predicting what new games I’m going to play the next year unless they all have announcements well in advance. As for new games in 2018, I think my list so far is Valkyria Chronicles 4 and maybe some indies?

But I definitely have a better idea what I’ll be working on from my backlog.

  1. 2017 holdovers. Tokyo Xanadu eX+ will probably take me a few days into next year. I didn’t make it to the .hack collection so that will also happen next year. I have my eye possibly on Horizon: Zero Dawn the complete version. Though I guess technically I don’t own it yet…
  2. Sequels/Prequels. I only got to Chapter 3 of Cold Steel 1 so I have that and Cold Steel 2 on my list next year. I guess I got a bit tired of the Trails formula after Ao? Also maybe I just want to replay Ao? Who knows. Also, I was supposed to replay Baten Kaitos this year. That needs to happen and then I can get to Baten Kaitos Origins, which I have never played. I’ve forgotten most of the original game’s plot so I need to do that. I finished Persona 4 Golden with the true ending, so I’m ready for Persona 4 Arena. And then there is Mass Effect 2. I really suck at it…
  3. Japanese games. I still have a bunch of Japanese PSP games to play, but I also want to finally play through the PS3 version of Tales of Vesperia. I don’t have any other Tales games lined up for next year; are they going to announce something? I also have tactical games Valkyria Chronicles 3 and Growlanser. And Atelier Elie on PS1 to at least have one Atelier game for next year (still on the fence about Atelier Firis and Atelier Lydie & Suelle). I guess I tore through those other Atelier games too quickly…

2018’s goal is to beat 18+ games. I know I keep lowering this goal recently, but times are getting busier and I want to replay some games. Let me know if there are major 2018 releases you are waiting for or major backlog items you plan to take care of in 2018.

December 24, 2017

My thoughts on 2017 releases

Posted in video games tagged , , at 8:19 pm by riulyn

2017 was a crazy year for gaming. RPGs-especially, which is my favorite genre, went more crazy than it has in a while. I definitely missed out on playing some great games in 2017, which I hope to rectify in the next year or two. Even so, there were many highlights.

As for me, I have beaten 9 2017 releases this year, have the .hack collection to still play, and will not count Tokyo Xanadu because I played it originally in 2015. 2017 games that I want to get to next year also include Horizon: Zero Dawn and Yakuza Kiwami. So on to the 9!

Read the rest of this entry »

December 17, 2017

Xenoblade 1 vs 2 Quick Comparison (Personal Opinions)

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 11:23 pm by riulyn

Xenoblade 1 wins over 2

  • Characters and story impact. Main characters are better in 1 for sure. Especially the main character, but the overall cast as well is a bit too “shonen jump cast”. “Villains” are about even, though more tropey in 2. The story has more tropey elements in 2, though I think it was intentional as the director was saying it was a “boy meets girl”, “simple” story.
  • World building. Maybe because the game came out first, but the first game’s world building made more of an impression and had less hand-waving. At least that’s how I saw it.
  • Music. I like the music a bit more in the first than the second Xenoblade. Both have great soundtracks and I will definitely be in the hunt for a Xenoblade 2 OST once it releases.
  • World map design. Sure, I got lost at times in Xenoblade 1, but something about the maps and the verticality and the arrow button indicating where to go was just not as good in Xenoblade 2. At least for me.

Xenoblade 2 wins over 1

  • Story pacing. The chapter format allows for a more swelling of action into cool boss moments.
  • “Xeno-ness”. Lots of cutscenes, especially later. Really reminds me of Xenosaga. Xenoblade 2 felt like Xenoblade 1 x Xenosaga at times.
  • Quests. The sidequests are much improved in Xenoblade 2. Getting blades that you can get story quests for is nice. Less lame “kill this monster for me ok cool thanks” quests. Not many had twists like Nier quests, but a good number were not straightforward from beginning to end.
  • Graphics. Gosh it is hard to look at Xenoblade 1’s in-game art after Xenoblade 2’s. Also feel like characters are animated quite well, especially Tora!

Overall Xenoblade 1 is still my preferred Xenoblade game, but I easily put 100 hours into Xenoblade 2 in about 10 days. I just couldn’t put the game down! Basically I forced myself to stop playing because I want to replay Tokyo Xanadu (with the eX+ version now in my hands). Switch games are really starting to pile up, but still many are ports. Need a beautiful Fire Emblem game on Switch next, I think…

November 7, 2017

Nights of Azure 2 Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 8:59 pm by riulyn

Someone out there has a better review. My quick thoughts.

  • Enjoyed it.
  • Yes, there is a lot of fanservice. The swimsuits are ridiculous. I enjoyed the girl/girl stuff.
  • The relationships are decently developed in this game, especially if you see them for each Lily (I only did 2 of them), but Nights of Azure’s relationships were better.
  • In general the writing and story was better in Nights of Azure 1. Personal opinion.
  • Battle mechanics are pretty simple. It sucked to only have two servans around at a time. I ended up never using any of the weapon-changing servans because of that. I liked battling in the first game better.
  • Dungeon areas were okay in design, but I wish they were bigger.
  • Basically, if you didn’t pick this game up immediately, I’d probably wait for it to price-drop to $30. It is short (20-ish hours if you don’t rush the first playthrough, could probably do it in <15 easily if focused on the main story). It doesn’t have an amazing story, though, or something that really makes you think. The first one price-dropped pretty fast, so I don’t think you’ll have to wait long.
  • I certainly liked it better than Blue Reflection. Still, Gust could do a better job with these new IPs, making them more memorable than fanservice.
  • I do like the music in this game. Gonna buy the soundtrack maybe at some point…

October 23, 2017

What I’ve been playing – Trails of Cold Steel

Posted in video games tagged , , at 7:29 pm by riulyn

FINALLY I’m playing Cold Steel! I’m sure someone out there is saying that besides me as I’ve made it through Trails of the Sky, Trails of Zero & Blue, and now there’s hope I might catch up on this major Falcom series. (Though tomorrow I will probably get derailed by Nights of Azure 2, but whatever.)

I’m okay playing Cold Steel in English so far. It’s funny to see Japanese school/company culture in pseudo-Europe, but it’s almost okay because of the military school setup. The localization has kept the “rise, bow” stuff but removed the honorifics. So far so good I think.

The “Falcom decides to voice as many characters as possible so the main character doesn’t speak even if others are in the conversation” thing is super bad in this game and pretty jarring. I know it happens in Ys 8, but it felt like everyone was just cut off suddenly during a scene.

I’m kind of amused by the game’s setup since I played Tokyo Xanadu first, which is like a light version of Cold Steel. I think Falcom’s a bit too married to the “let’s have the group do tasks and then learn about the world” so they had to find an “excuse”. I know it’s justified in the game, but it kind of makes me like Tokyo Xanadu a bit more for being focused on the characters and a main thing instead of quests and quests. But the characters so far seem better in Cold Steel and the game is supposedly much better on that front than Tokyo Xanadu.

Speaking of Tokyo Xanadu, eX+ finally has a release date for NA and it falls right after Xenoblade 2, so maybe I’ll be saving that replay for early next year. I have no preorders for 2018 yet, which is crazy! Though my brother has KH3 preordered, so I guess that may technically count as I will probably play that game too.

October 17, 2017

A life update

Posted in life tagged , , , , , at 8:53 pm by riulyn

I haven’t really talked about my non-gaming life, even though it is the majority of my life…oh well. But games are just more exciting!

Read the rest of this entry »

October 9, 2017

What I’ve been playing – or rather, beating

Posted in video games tagged , , , , , at 9:01 pm by riulyn

I’m doing a good job being focused? Because since the last update I finished Stella Glow and Ys 8 and I’m almost done with Tales of Destiny 2.

Read the rest of this entry »

September 23, 2017

What I’ve been playing – Ys VIII + Stella Glow

Posted in video games tagged , , at 8:29 pm by riulyn

I’m nearing the end of both Ys VIII and Stella Glow. Stella Glow I picked up just after Labor Day as something to pass the time until Ys VIII’s release, but I continue to enjoy it (the battle system mostly) and am over 40 hours in but in the last chapter. Ys VIII I started last weekend and I’m over 30 hours in. Not sure where the end is for this game. Lots of stuff to do in both games. Nothing spectacular, but I’d say Ys VIII has better story/plot than Ys VII or Ys Celceta. Stella Glow’s plot is okay, but I like the battle system much more.

I’m kind of amused at the harems in both games (obviously purposely a thing in Stella Glow and more a “harem” for Adol as the series’ joke). I’m actually surprised you aren’t able to reciprocate your girl of choice in Stella Glow, at least up to even the night before the final battles scene. I guess it fits Alto’s character more, but considering these people made Sol Trigger where one in-game date is all you get and next you know… I mean I think the plot of Stella Glow is lame at times, but it fits well with the characters they use. At least no inconsistencies.

Ys VIII has combined the fun of exploring an area/mapping of Celceta with additional fun of finding castaways. I don’t want to say much more because spoilers, but basically it’s improved on Celceta in my opinion in every way. The only issue is I think Adol and Dogi might be acting smarter in Ys VIII than they did in Ys VII, even though Ys VIII takes place before VII. It was probably some of the issues with the writing in VII (I think it was forced “stupidity” to make certain plot elements fit) not the characters. But mostly I am sad that Adol and Dogi’s fantastic outfits from Ys VIII become the boring-ish (relatively) ones in VII. Dogi’s outfit is seriously great; those pants are awesome.

I know people worry about NISA when they do localizations and yes, they couldn’t decide if it was Creet or Greek. And there was one scene where the Japanese voice played over even though my audio is set to English. But otherwise I think everything is fine? It’s not like I need to play Ys with perfect understanding of the subtleties…

Anyway, go plays Ys VIII if you have any interest. It is great.

Next page