August 1, 2013

July Roundup

Posted in video games tagged , , , , at 1:34 pm by riulyn

You might be wondering, what was so special about July that it gets its own roundup? Well, the last roundup took a long time to write up and in July I finished 5 games! I will write about music and maybe my life again at some point (like how much I’m into the Ar Tonelico soundtracks right now or how much less time I should have for games when I think about all the work I need to get done by November).

July’s finished games: Tales of Graces f, Muramasa Rebirth, Wild ARMs 4, Project X Zone, Suikoden 4

Tales of Graces f

To be fair, I played most of this game in June, but 10 hours or so of it was in July. Much of it on July 4th. Tales of Graces f is one addictive game in the battle system sense. I don’t think I ever truly mastered it, but the game really encourages being offensive, even for the healer-type characters. Each of the 7 characters that you can play feels really different from each other; the two swordsmen are more like a sword/fist and a sword/mage instead of slower swordsman/faster swordsman. Some of the weapons are also pretty ridiculous, like Hubert’s dualblade and Pascal’s staff. I found every character worth playing, though I did rarely play Cheria or Malik.

As for the plot, I would be surprised if anyone really champions the plot. I don’t know the best way to describe it without spoiling it, but it relies a lot on one character solving most of the problems. Characters seem to be hit or miss in general; I personally found them hilarious. I think the skits are great, spaced-out nicely and covered all types of random topics. Definitely a step up from the last Tales game I had played through (Tales of the Abyss).

The f addition is very nice for spoiler reasons, even if the writing doesn’t quite match with the main arc. Supposedly the child/main/future arcs were in the original plans, but I would not be surprised if some more hints of what would happen in the f arc would have been left in the main arc if they hadn’t had to release the Wii version early.

Oh, and since I do talk about music every once in a while, I have to say this Tales games has by far the weakest soundtrack that I’ve heard that involved Motoi Sakuraba. I guess Sophie’s theme is nice, but the music is just so bland.

Like/Dislike: Like a lot

Muramasa Rebirth

So I didn’t get very far in the Wii version because of backlog/other plans, but I was super excited to have the Vita version and it is absolutely gorgeous. The colors are so much better.

Gameplay is stylized action. I was listening to a RPGFan podcast where one of the hosts was talking about how he didn’t like the intentional delay between button press and action. I personally had no issues with it. Gravity-defying zooming across the screen is mostly what I did anyway. I didn’t really use the jump button while in battle, but it was certainly nice to have X to jump instead of the up arrow when I was collecting souls, though I would sometimes jump around people instead of talking to them.

Story is pretty light but unlike other story-light games, I feel like the story was really good/interesting. Instead of being there just to be there, I was craving more story. Yet I’m not unsatisfied with the conclusion either. I haven’t gotten the second and third endings yet for each character, mostly because other games were around, but I am not averse to playing more. I’ve even contemplated buying DLC for the game, even though I am pretty anti-paid DLC.

Like/Dislike: Like a lot

Wild ARMs 4

I was going to do a comparison of Wild ARMs 4 and 5 at some point, but I might wait until I finish Wild ARMs 3 to have even more fun comparisons. Anyway, I found quite a few similarities between 4 and 5, though 5 was a better experience. 4 had a more promising start, but in the end it was probably too fluffy.

4 had good puzzles and some of them were actually kind of hard to solve, execution-wise. 4’s bosses also were puzzles sometimes. However, the game as a whole is really easy with some elements of just getting unlucky sometimes. However, that bad luck was mitigated by the ability to replay a battle where you got annihilated without a chance to act with different random battle conditions. Most disappointing in the easiness department was how easy the bosses were. Random encounters were more dangerous.

Kind of like Tales of Graces f above, Wild ARMs 4 picked a theme to focus on and stuck with it and threw it in your face all the time. It made the game feel stupid. The main characters were charming enough to save the game in my eyes. The game doesn’t try for too much length either. It probably would have been better if it were a bit longer with actual obstacles, but then again the whole plot would have had to be rewritten.

Like/Dislike: Like well enough

Project X Zone

Long game is long. That’s basically how I feel about the game. It was about 20 chapters too long. Or rather, each chapter had way too many enemies. It ended up being a pretty good game to zone out too, though.

Yes, it is easy. Yes it is pretty much all fanservice. Yes, the reason why I liked it was because of the fanservice. The main plot sucks and there’s probably too much talking and nothing really happens most of the game, but all the characters and random battle conversations. It’s all pretty superficial fun.

Like/Dislike: Like (yay fanservice)

Suikoden IV

Almost 9 years since I played this game, and sadly I remembered having a better time with it 9 years ago than this time. Maybe I was just a little tired out from my Suikoden marathoning or maybe the game isn’t as good as I remembered it being. The game has its problems that are easy to identify (ship controls, only 4 party members when you have so many to recruit, and no real formation either) and maybe less easy to identify (characters seem more bland, plot not as interesting?). The game is short and doesn’t really drag at any point, but it also doesn’t give you a real sense of fulfillment. Kind of like with Wild ARMs 4, I never really felt any real adversity. This is a game in a series where wars are a focus and it never really felt like I fought in one. Reworked, the game could have been so much better. Alas we have what we have.

Still, I think the game is decent. It’s just that I have higher expectations for a Suikoden game and dislike how much of the recruiting (both required and not) seems kind of arbitrary. Well, and how bland the main character is. As you could probably tell from reading any of my other rambles, a likable main character can smooth over many other issues for me.

You know, I think I liked 4 more when I was more gaga over Troy. Maybe it’s because I’m older, but even though I still like Troy he didn’t really pull at my heart. He feels a little more over the top than real nowadays.

Like/Dislike: Somewhat like

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