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.

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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!

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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 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.

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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.

August 29, 2017

Valkyria Chronicles 2 Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 5:42 pm by riulyn

Pros

  • Units can change to a variety of classes. Adds more variety compared to the first game
  • More maps and variety of battle goals and environments.
  • Every character gets a little character quest. So at least there is something for each name.
  • Most of the girls are badass. Also no forced romance with the dumb MC.

Cons

  • “Grinding” is required, even on easy. Because the “beat 3-4 missions before story mission can happen” is considered grinding in my mind
  • Some of the enemy AI is really, really dumb, and I don’t think it was limited to easy.
  • The main character is awfully stupid. He ranks in the top 3 of stupidest JRPG protagonists I have ever had to play as. I don’t want to say top ever because I probably forgot someone.
  • The main story is disjointed and also feels pretty pointless at the end.

Mixed

  • Not sure what to think about Alexis. I think in the end it was for the best, as they probably would have screwed up (in my mind) more complicated identity stuff.
  • Music is good but felt limited in number of tracks.
  • I did like Zeri and Juliana.

Recommendation

  • Play if you like the gameplay and don’t mind grinding or stupid characters/plots. I personally had enough fun though wished it was 10 hours shorter. Otherwise, I’d probably avoid it.

August 19, 2017

What I’ve been playing – Valkyria Chronicles 2

Posted in video games tagged , at 5:33 pm by riulyn

Since I last posted, I did finish Mana Khemia and started up Mana Khemia 2. But since I have that one for PS2, I thought, what I can start up on my Vita. I could have continued playing Gravity Rush or Freedom Wars, but I decided on Valkyria Chronicles 2, which I picked up on PSN sale some time ago.

I…was not expected Avan. The game’s story has been panned by like everyone and I can see why. However, I have to say that at least every character in your squad has scenes that they are involved in. Even if none of them particularly stand out. School-age problems means more than enough stories about romance and crushes. Avan is just…incredibly stupid.

But I kind of like how there are so many missions. The missions are a decent variety and I enjoy all the terrain and weather things to think about. Also, I like how there are class upgrades, though I’m still pretty heavy on scout, shocktrooper, and lancer. I really don’t use engineers, but armored techs are useful. Also I love the customization of equipment and tank options being way more in VC2 than the first game.

I hear Valkyria Chronicles 3 has a better story and has the battle and class improvements of Valkyria Chronicles 2. I only played 2 battles in VC3 just to check the UMD and get a little taste, and it certainly starts off very interesting. So basically I should probably get to VC3 soon.

Otherwise, I’ve played some more Tales of Destiny 2 (the direct Destiny sequel). Things are getting better plot and character-wise. It’s actually the battle system that is annoying me. It’s just so clunky. I feel like I’m doing it wrong. And I just keep getting negative grade for every battle ever since party member 5 joined me… I’m not sure I’m going to finish this game…

July 31, 2017

What I’m playing – Mana Khemia: Student Alliance + Tales of Destiny 2

Posted in life, video games tagged , , at 7:03 am by riulyn

PSP version being the crappier interface aside, Mana Khemia is quite fun. Definitely loving the synthesis in the game. The cast of characters is great too. They each have a very strong quirk, but it doesn’t feel like common tropes were just picked for diversity but some actual thought was put behind it. Of course I expect decent character development from Atelier-like games, as I don’t usually play them for a sweeping, dramatic, thrilling plot. The character interactions are pretty funny, some fourth walls are broken, and they are bringing me smiles in an otherwise stressful period.

(The screw it, my grant is going to suck because it has problems I cannot fix in 30 days phase has hit. But that’s not a post for here…)

Of course I like the main character, the rather chill but also push-over type character. Genuinely nice guy, but not extreme do-gooder. And not stupid. The intro dialogues/memories? for each chapter so far (I’m up to chapter 8) have been intriguing. The main character is an amnesiac…or is he? I better not say any more…

Otherwise, I’m playing a bit of Tales of Destiny 2. I’m happy about the appearance of a certain character, but Kyle’s life attitude makes me want to throttle him sometimes. I’m only 6 hours in, and I’d probably not be taking so long if I didn’t manage to get lost/backtrack so much. Older Tales games had actual dungeons…confusing, I know. Roni sometimes annoys me, but it’s just the general “Tales character who has to be the flirt” shenanigans. Only a few I end up liking even if they hit on people a lot (Zaveid); most I just go “ugh again”. Roni is not that bad, though, and I see it most in optional dialogue (talking to random townspeople) anyway.

But yeah, Tales of Destiny 2 is quite the contrast from Mana Khemia. I think the game will pick up sometime soon and I’ll hate on Kyle less, but I feel like I didn’t have such issues with Tales of Destiny. Stahn was just dumb, but not this “I’m a hero!!!!” way, as far as I can remember.

Oh yeah, the battle system is a little weird to me, but I’ll talk about ToD2 more another time.

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