November 26, 2015

Favorite Games Beaten in 2015 (so far)

Posted in video games tagged , , , , , at 12:25 pm by riulyn

Might as well post this now before December comes and I really get swamped in gaming (gotta watch out for Xenoblade Chronicles X eating my life).

Favorite Traditional RPG (7 choices) – Skies of Arcadia
I beat a good number of traditional RPGs this year including Chrono Trigger (DS version), Breath of Fire (GBA version), and Shadow Hearts Covenant, but Skies of Arcadia had so many things that I enjoy in a RPG – characters I love, great sense of adventure, a plot that doesn’t spend much time standing still. It also felt a bit Suikoden to me with the home base and the recruitment, which could never hurt. I also technically beat Suikoden I again this year, but Skies is in my top 5 while Suikoden is probably top 15 or 20, maybe.

Favorite Action RPG (7 choices) – Tokyo Xanadu
I found it hard to make a game I’ve played before in some format, NieR Replicant or Ys I or Ys II, my favorite action RPG of this year considering my attachment to it came years ago. Maybe Tales of Zestiria would have been the actual action RPG of the year if I had gotten to it…
Tales of Phantasia Narikiri Dungeon X gets a few props for the fast-paced linear combat system which is 5000x better than Tales of Phantasia, but the story really sucks there…

Favorite Other RPG (6 choices) – Mass Effect
Tactical RPGs, dungeon crawlers, Atelier, and more are in this category but Mass Effect was finally beaten this year and it was great! Even if it was hard for me to play a lot at once due to the shear intensity of the story. Such a great space RPG. Obviously the writing is quite different but it makes me miss the Xenosaga days…
I do have to say, Atelier Rorona was really addictive and fun for me. I plan to replay that one soon. Meanwhile I was a bit disappointed with Etrian Odyssey: The Millenium Girl. Dungeon crawling just gets too much for me later on, even in a game like Persona where there is much more plot, though at least in EO the dungeons are actually interesting.

Favorite Non-RPG (6 choices) – Blazblue Calamity Trigger
I’ve always wanted to play some Blazblue ever since I actually looked into it due to a sheet music request, and I don’t think the game disappointed my expectations at all of battle system accessibility and storyline. I kind of prefer Calamity Trigger where there is a bit more chaos going on in the plot, but I also enjoyed Continuum Shift too. I will probably pick up Chrono Phantasm at some point next year.
The two short Steam games I beat this year weren’t bad considering they came with the Ys Origin humble bundle I got a few years ago. I just ultimately want more story & motivation behind the games mechanics, even though I know it is all contrived.

Favorite Game Overall – Skies of Arcadia
No surprise here. Seriously.

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November 17, 2015

Looking towards December and early 2016

Posted in video games tagged , , at 7:37 pm by riulyn

It’s already mid-November and gaming-wise it has been a good year, even if I didn’t manage to actually tackle too many games that actually came out this year. Even though I wouldn’t say this year’s lineup has been great in terms of the number of high-quality + wide-appealing RPGs released in North America, there were a lot of interesting games that came out this year that I’ll definitely keep in mind when sales come. For most people who play RPGs, I’m sure Fallout 4 is consuming their life right now. I do think it is a game I will enjoy eventually. I’m just still really far behind with western RPGs especially since I’ve been upping my study of Japanese and increasing my Japanese game backlog. At least I managed to finish Mass Effect 1 in October…

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November 16, 2015

Tokyo Xanadu Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 7:32 pm by riulyn

Tokyo Xanadu is a Nihon Falcom action RPG that just released in Japan on September 30 of this year and was just finished this morning by me. If you want the short summary, it is basically a game more about variety then being complex or deep story-wise or gameplay-wise. It’s an overall solid, enjoyable (at least for me and what I can tell of the Internet) experience but it is definitely not a game changer in any way (unless the sales were good enough that another company will make a game with a similar mashup, which I’d totally be in for). Hopefully non-Japanese speakers can see a localization of this game in their preferred language sometime in 2016!

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November 12, 2015

Happy Suikoden Day 2015!

Posted in video games tagged , at 8:26 pm by riulyn

Just letting you guys all know that Suikoden fandom is gathering at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SuikodenDay2015/ as well as some on tumblr and twitter. I’m actually not up to as much Suikoden as last year due to work and Tokyo Xanadu (I will tell you more about it when I finish, but I am definitely enjoying it!), but I do plan to wear my Suikoden T-shirt tomorrow and I started a Suikoden II Clive’s quest playthrough. Although Tokyo Xanadu is totally in the way.

At this point I do think the Suikoden series will not be continued by Konami except maybe on mobile, and most likely first with another spinoff, but I am very happy that we got Suikoden II and Suikoden III on PSN this past year. Here’s hoping the rest of the PS2 games make it on PSN as well. Actually I wish all PS2 RPGs could be on PSN. I really don’t need to own a physical copy of a game like Legaia 2, but I’m hesitant to sell something that I may never find again…

I’ve continued to design and knit Suikoden rune gloves. I have been putting most of those pictures on tumblr. I still think the best design is the Soul Eater. Simple yet very unique! The Rune of Beginning is pretty cool too.

Anyway, I do enjoy the gathering of Suikoden fans every year, even if it has to be on Facebook or tumblr only. I think it always inspires me because it really shows how games can connect to people and connect people with other people. I still have to thank Suikoden for the reason why I really pursued Japanese studies and why I can enjoy a game like Tokyo Xanadu soon after its Japanese release and not wait 6 months+ for XSEED to come with an English translation. Also the Japanese language, while difficult for English speakers, is actually very cool. It really makes me think of how we communicate, what we don’t communicate well and what we do communicate well based on what language we are using.

It’s a bit early still to make concrete gaming plans for next year, but I am definitely planning on another Suikoden series playthrough. This time I’ll actually play Suikoden I & II in Japanese. It’ll also be interesting to see if I have different thoughts on Suikoden: Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki with a second playthrough and better Japanese knowledge, though don’t expect to see my thoughts on that until the latter half of 2016.