January 17, 2016

Impressions of games bought in Japan 2015 – Part Three

Posted in video games tagged , , , , at 11:13 am by riulyn

Since the last update, I finished Shining Force Feather and have played a little bit of Last Ranker, Zwei!!, and Labyrinth no Kanata (Beyond the Labyrinth).

(I’ve spent a lot of time playing games I didn’t buy in Japan, of course, but that’s for a different post.)

  1. Shining Force Feather has a terrible plot. There’s a lot of dialogue, but the only dialogue I cared about was when the characters were making fun of each other. Still, I liked this cast better than the ones in Shining Ark, even though everyone in the cast here was an idiot. They were all kind of stupid in different ways and acknowledged to be so, which is the good kind of stupid saturation.

    The battle system, though, is really, really fun. A bit of timed button mashing plus strategy in how you use the attacks… The system is like a mashup between Project X Zone and the Valkyrie Profile-like game Exist Archive (a fun game so far 2 hours in for those who care to know). To be honest, I would really love it if Project X Zone had this system, but it’d probably be too much work for that huge cast compared to the 12 in Shining Force Feather. The main game is short and the rate of gaining new attacks (level gains are like 1-3 per battle) is quick too, which is good because sometimes an individual battle can take like 30+ battle turns. Yes, battles can take a while because there will be a lot of enemies and the goal almost every time is to destroy all the enemies. The side quests have a lot of variety though.

    Anyway, my final verdict is that this game was totally worth the time and money I spent on it (It was only like 800 yen I think?). It is also totally playable by someone with little Japanese knowledge as there are forums on this game.

  2. Last Ranker is another game with an interesting battle system and so far a not so interesting plot. The basic premise is that the main character leaves his hometown and the traditions to become a Ranker. The Rankers are basically people in a guild that complete quests and stuff. The two fun aspects are 1) the battle system 2) getting your rank up by challenging other Rankers.

    I haven’t gotten far enough in the game to be told all the aspects of the battle system, but basically you have a max SP (“skill points” though it acts more like “action points” of most games) that is needed for any attack, skill, or defense action. Each attack, skill, or defend is mapped to a different button or button combo and requires a certain amount of SP. It’s an active time battle system; your action takes place as soon as you press the button(s), using up the required SP, and the SP will be regained over time.

    Battling Rankers isn’t just for getting their Rank and moving up the hierarchy; you also gain their skill by defeating them. You can only equip like 3 at a time, though.

    Anyway the girl who is initiated at the same time declares you to be her rival and then for one mission she kicks major ass before you could and gets the reward… I’m kind of amused that most of the people wear boring, uniform clothes, and this girl just doesn’t care and wears whatever she likes and acts whatever she wants. A true JRPG sign that she is actually important…

  3. I briefly checked out Zwei!! To be honest it made very little sense to me how to really progress, but it appears I only gain levels by eating food (food also heals in this game). Otherwise there’s been too little of the main duo but it appears the girl is the hasty, doesn’t look school type and the boy is the opposite. Falcom sure likes this trope (Trails in the Sky…). There is an English guide for this game, so I’ll probably be following it. The action in the game seems good so far, but everything else will take some work.
  4. Labyrinth no Kanata has a really interesting start and premise. Basically it starts in 8-bit and you run into 3 AIs that act like other gamers meeting up in a game. Then you find a girl and it seems you are 4 gamers interacting with her reality, which is being stuck in some world and she is trying to go home. Battle system once again is interesting; each character and enemy has an element. There is an element triangle going on. Anytime someone hits someone else with their weak element, the amount of damage dealt gets put into a “storage” as HP for that element and the next person of that element that acts will get healed that amount of HP. It makes an interesting strategy of turn order and enemy targeting. Otherwise I kind of enjoy having AI “gamer” companions and the mystery so far.

In conclusion, a bunch of interesting games and all of them probably would have had decent-sized audiences overseas (maybe not so much for Zwei!! since it is a port of an old PC game), which is a pity they were never localized.

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