April 8, 2018

What I’ve been playing – Trails of Cold Steel 2/Sen no Kiseki 2

Posted in video games tagged , at 5:15 am by riulyn

Sometimes it’s nice to be behind in an epic series, because you don’t have to wait!

And thus I have rolled straight from Cold Steel 1 into Cold Steel 2. The goal is to pick up Sen 3 in Japan (which I leave for very soon) and roll straight into Sen 3 after Cold Steel 2 is finished. Which shouldn’t be too long because I’m already 50 hours into Cold Steel 2. Which means I have anywhere between 10 and 50 hours left? I guess you never know for sure in a Kiseki game.

I like Cold Steel 2 better than the first, but it’s one of those games that heavily depends on you liking the prior game and its characters and its world. The game is quest-heavy, though a lot of it is optional, but I enjoy helping out a few characters for extra dialogue and the rewards. The good thing about quests in Kiseki games is usually either a quick, fun “mini-boss” battle that gives you money and/or items that are useful or a little more insight into NPCs or main characters who you’ve been talking to every so often because their dialogue changes. NPC dialogue changing as they react to events, and not just those in their immediate surroundings, makes these NPCs feel like real characters and I actually want to do stuff for them.

But yeah, besides liking the plot of CS2, I do enjoy the battle system tweaks. Magic is useful! Though I wonder if Overdrive is allowed a bit too much? I find it interesting they bring it back with a pretty tame story explanation, but make it kind of crazy? It’s good for boss battles but just randomly cruising around town seems a bit much. Oh well.

The one thing, for a series that so heavily uses status effects in battles, that I wish they would change in pretty much every Kiseki game is the ability to change your equipment before retrying a boss battle. No, I wasn’t being pummeled to death because I was underleveled, I just needed to have freeze protection! Then again, I’m usually spending so much time playing a Kiseki game anyway that it’s probably a minor point to button mash through the pre-boss dialogue the few times where I’m screwed because I don’t have the right status effect protection.

I enjoy the bonding moments in CS2 more too. Probably because it’s not just “learn some random fact about me” but also involves interacting with the events that are happening in the game, or at least the places you visit, making them feel unique to time and place. I guess having a mix of both is good. I’m going for the Machias ending again! I was pretty meh on him at first in CS1, because his quick to anger and stubbornness seemed to be just tropey, but he really grew on me. He’s also even more useful in battle compared to CS1, which is great because I take him around everywhere.

Sadly, the only character I don’t use in battle unless I have to is Gaius. I have Laura, Fie, or Millium instead of him. He’s fine as a character, but I just find the others more useful, and his dialogue doesn’t make me laugh (like Jusis’ does, what an ass).

I don’t know how common this opinion is, but I am liking the Cold Steel series more than the original, start of it all, Sky series. The world feels richer, the actions have more consequences, the villains seem more fleshed out. I’m a bit worried I’m saying this because I’ve played them in order and can’t think of the games separately from each other. Like maybe I’d like Sky more if I played it after the Cold Steel series? Or if I hadn’t played Zero/Ao before Cold Steel?

I guess the one worry will be the games dragging on so long because there is so many little things to do. I mean, that’s why the trilogy became a 4-game series, right? Maybe I’ll have to revisit my rankings after Sen 4.


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