June 23, 2018

Soundtracks I want to pick up

Posted in music tagged , , , at 7:42 am by riulyn

I’ve recently been on a mega Falcom kick. It’s nice that their music is on Spotify.

I really enjoy the theme songs of Trails of Cold Steel 3 but I’m hesitant on buying the actual soundtrack, especially since I can listen to it on Spotify. I’m not as keen on the other music in the game; I liked the OSTs generally of previous games more. I’ve always leaned more generally towards the Ys music compared to the Trails/Kiseki music, so I really need to pick up the Ys 8 OST. Ys I & II might still be my favorite of the Ys OSTs because the songs are just so classic, but Ys 8 has some of the best rocking tracks and the theme song is so cool!

I’m also way overdue in picking up the Tokyo Xanadu OST. At first I was like “solid effort” but every few months I play it on Youtube or on Spotify and remember it has some of the best dungeon-traversing music. It’s like Ys music was tweaked to fit a modern Japan aesthetic. So good.

I’m super happy with my Xenoblade 2 OST purchase. I’m debating whether I might pick up the Xenoblade X OST. The soundtrack was kinda hit or miss for me, but I am a huge Xeno fan.

Other than that, I am told to look forward to the Octopath Traveler music. I haven’t played the demo and haven’t gone out of my way to listen. I figured I have the game preordered and will be playing it later in July, so I can judge then.

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June 3, 2018

What I’m playing now – Guided Fate Paradox, Persona Q, Valkyria Chronicles 3

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 8:43 pm by riulyn

I’m taking a Kiseki break. I’m not sure how short it will be, because I’m tempted to start Sen no Kiseki Kai (Trails of Cold Steel on PS4). There’s almost a calming, easy rhythm to the Cold Steel games, especially if I stick to the easier difficulties (aka Normal). Maybe I should force myself to play it on hard, since I’ll be importing Sen3 data when I do start.

Anyway, for now it is time to knock some stuff off my backlog. Though I didn’t acquire Persona Q until this year, it was mentally on my backlog. I will talk about that the most, since I don’t have a ton to say on Guided Fate Paradox besides I restarted it from the beginning and it’s been smooth sailing into Chapter 3. I definitely learned from my experience playing ZHP. I know Chapter 4 is a bit of a difficulty spike, but I definitely have a strategy to get past it (the grindy way if it comes to that). The story is still as wacky fun as I remembered.

Persona Q is not quite what I hoped it to be.

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June 1, 2018

Sen no Kiseki III Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , , at 7:27 am by riulyn

TLDR Don’t play this game if you didn’t play and enjoy Sen no Kiseki I and Sen no Kiseki II (Trails of Cold Steel 1 + Trails of Cold Steel 2). It’s more of the same (quite like Sen no Kiseki I) except the ending is more abrupt.

The game took me ~130 hours to beat, so probably about 100-110 hours if it were in English. Caveat – I was talking to basically every NPC I could at the beginning all the way through Chapter 3. This strategy is not recommended.

I do recommend playing the Sora no Kiseki trilogy (the 3rd is particularly relevant I think) and Crossbell duology (Zero and Ao are both relevant) before the entire Sen no Kiseki series, but especially before III if you want to enjoy the others without the biggest spoilers explained. However, you don’t have to play the other series before this game in order to understand it at a basic level. The most important knowledge is explained in-game.

Alright, quick review part.

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May 12, 2018

More Sen no Kiseki III thoughts

Posted in video games tagged , at 9:41 am by riulyn

I just started Chapter 4. I’m like 90 hours in. There is a lot of text, and I have talked to a lot more people than I did in the previous Kiseki games. I wonder if localization is held up a bit because of the amount of text.

Since I’m going to talk about the new characters now, the rest is read more. SPOILERS though no major plot ones for beyond like Chapter 1, I think.

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April 30, 2018

What I’m playing right now – Sen no Kiseki III

Posted in video games tagged , , at 7:35 am by riulyn

I zoomed through Cold Steel 2 and have moved on to Cold Steel 3/Sen 3. I basically played it all weekend.

Almost all the reasons I like the game go into spoiler territory but one thing I do like that isn’t a plot spoiler is a battle system change! A new feature has been added to battles – the ability to issue orders using break points. Also the system for breaking enemies, which is important too for winning some boss battles. I struggled a bit with the first major boss until I understood those systems. In general normal difficulty is harder so far than the equivalent point in the previous games. But not too hard; just have to do a little more thinking.

Since the rest of the reasons I like the game are almost all plot reasons, I have to highly advise that you don’t just jump into this game. It is super text-heavy at the beginning and you really won’t care a bit unless you have played the previous Cold Steel games. I think it’s too late to recommend playing Zero and Ao before Sen 3 if you’ve already played Sen 1 & 2. So far all the relevant Zero & Ao stuff has been explained, though I have been told that later on Sen 3 might be confusing without knowing Zero and Ao. However since Zero & Ao overlap with Sen 1 & 2, you won’t be getting the full enjoyment of Zero & Ao that you’d get with fresh eyes. Also there are major Trails in the Sky series spoilers too. Basically this was a series meant to be played start to finish if you wanted to see it the way the directors envisioned you seeing it. Of course I don’t think knowing what happens will make the games less enjoyable. Actually I think it improved my experience of Trails in the Sky FC playing it the second time because I knew there was a payoff…eventually. Sen 3 starts slow enough that I wonder if others were turned off a bit by that if they weren’t living up all the references to previous games. Then again I don’t know anyone who has played Sen 3 without playing Sen 1 & 2 at least.

I think overall the setup for the game is okay? Yes, some things seem to be convenient for gameplay/plot reasons, but it’s not like the series hasn’t relied on convenient facts/plot fillers before. The biggest selling point of these games is the characters and the world-building, and those are still strong so far in this game. Liking all the new characters so far, and Rean is still growing on me which is good. I’m probably going to play a lot of this game very quickly; stupidly I also have a job that I am returning to but I enjoyed my vacation and I will enjoy my games!

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.

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March 25, 2018

Trails of Cold Steel 1 Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 2:20 pm by riulyn

I finished the game at 2:30 AM Saturday morning and started Cold Steel 2 a few hours later. I think that tells you enough. But below I’m going to quick hit my thoughts on Cold Steel 1.

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March 19, 2018

More Trails of Cold Steel 1 Thoughts

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 7:15 am by riulyn

I’ve made it to Chapter 6 of Trails of Cold Steel 1/Sen no Kiseki I. Here’s how it stands for me right now.

  • It’s hard not to compare Cold Steel 1 to Trails in the Sky/Sora no kiseki FC or Zero no kiseki. Falcom has a way of starting arcs in a similar way, so these are the best ones to compare. I’m still debating whether playing Trails in the Sky and Zero first makes me like Cold Steel 1 more or less. At the moment I think it made the game harder to get into but more enjoyable right now.
  • I think Falcom did an okay job not making returning characters from other games seem rehashed in Sen no Kiseki, but rather giving them enough interest for both newcomers and oldcomers. The returning characters take too long to really be there for me, though, unlike in Zero. SPOILER for Zero I loved Estelle and Joshua showing up super early, though understanding why Estelle and Joshua are there in Zero way a crazy revelation that I didn’t see coming. And makes me doubt all the things in Sen since there is overlap. SPOILER for Sen 1 On the other hand, Olivier shows up way too late in Sen, like Chapter 4! And Bleublanc might be getting a bigger role again compared to in Crossbell, but the level of interest in him is…yeah, meh
  • Choosing to have Sen take place overlapping with Ao/Blue was an interesting choice, but as a big fan of Ao no Kiseki, that worked great for me.
  • Each arc from Sora to Sen has gotten darker. I am excited that Falcom’s Kiseki universe is acknowledging death and people actually doing horrible things and not some “cutesy” mindgame experiments. Though I am slightly worried that means my favorite characters might get axed or someone close to them axed…
  • I understand people’s complaints about Rean. He feels like a light novel protagonist: attracts all the girls and the guys, a do-gooder, has more angst than he seems he should, oh wait some past thing that won’t be explained for a while, he’s the vehicle for understanding everyone else! Falcom makes fun of themselves for making Rean like Rean (not quite the level they do with Kou in Tokyo Xanadu, those two are way too similar of course), but it doesn’t change the fact for fandom.
  • I know there are waifu wars in Sen, and I think my favorite Class VII female, Fie, is not part of the wars. Hopefully… I love the text between Jusis and Machias. It can be interpreted anyway you want. I wouldn’t like either of them much without the other. I think for gameplay and the story, it makes sense to have so many playable characters. On the other hand, Zero was the best because the characters felt really close not just to each other but to my heart as well. Class VII’s characters are more diluted out. The bonding moments can be cute but they feel superficial like mini character background reveals. The main plot ones are the real moments, so I don’t feel like I need to rush replaying Sen 1 just to catch the bonding moments I missed.
  • I’m trying to think who my favorite Class VII male is. Um…Gaius? Dunno. The girls don’t really stand out to me besides Fie. So basically I like Fie.
  • Final thought for now. They ruined Mueller’s face in the 3d modeling! I am disappointed that he looks weirdly boyish and boring-faced when he was so handsome before. Sadness…

March 12, 2018

Recommend me some JRPG bloggers to follow!

Posted in life, video games tagged , , , , at 9:45 pm by riulyn

Ultimately I have found myself back to using my WordPress way more than Tumblr, as as much as GIFs and fanart are nice, I really like reading people’s thoughts on games and not sifting through all the art to do so. I enjoy fanfics too, but finding fanfics is easy with major archives that people post to. Yet I didn’t even know about fanfics until some classmate randomly pointed me to a website that linked to Fanfiction.net. I didn’t even know of Livejournal until my friend I met in college told me about it. She also informed me about Tumblr. Unfortunately she isn’t a gamer like me. So basically I need friends (or random comments) to tell me where to go! Preferably blogs I can follow with WordPress Reader so I will actually see their updates in my feed.

In other thoughts, I am still working through Trails of Cold Steel and I am still second-guessing everything because of Zero/Ao and ahhhh can’t stop second guessing everything. Also, what is going to happen after the Kiseki is over? Maybe they’ll do another crossover spinoff with Ys? Though it’d be so hard to decide which characters to have, probably… Kiseki side stories where I can play as Lechter or Kilika? (Unless they were announced for Sen 4 or already in Sen 3, please don’t tell me so I can be pleasantly surprised…)

I did read some posts on Moegamer even though I am stuttering slowly through White Robe Love Syndrome (Hakuisei Ren’ai Shoukougun) when I am not distracted. The games he likes and the games I like don’t overlap that much right now; I have maybe finished 5 visual novels total and in general stay away from games with too much ecchi or fanservice because I personally don’t find it enjoyable most of the time (I actually don’t like huge boobs as they are drawn/shown in video games, so why would I want to make them less covered?) and I have too many other games to play. He writes pretty well and makes good points, so I generally agree with things I’ve read from him so far. His writings also reminded me that I am long overdue for my posts on the Ar tonelico games after beating them all. I have talked about them as I have gone through them, but I think I never did post about the series in general and what I feel for it (I have lots of feels).

My thoughts on Ar tonelico and even things “less problematic” like the Kiseki series are very connected to my view of myself. I am pretty honest on the Internet. This also means I have changed since I started this blog, so I can click on a post from 2008 and know some of the things I said then I wouldn’t say now. There’s also the influence of what’s going on in my life at the time (or in the world) that will influence how I write about a game. I’m still not sure why I was so “angry” about FFXII when I wrote about it. I still have no interest in replaying it, but I was tearing at it probably because it could have been great and some things about it really got to me. I think if I was writing that post now I’d be way more chill, even if I’d have the same conclusion that, nope, not replaying that game. Not when I want to replay so many other games still.

As is my usual, this post started with one thing and ended with another, with multiple incomplete thoughts in between. It was probably more fun for me to write than for you to read. I also enjoy reading posts like this, so if you know another blogger for writes about JRPGs and might meander in his/her/their posts, that’s totally fine with me.

March 10, 2018

What I’m now playing – Trails of Cold Steel 1 (Vita) + Tales of Vesperia (PS3)

Posted in video games tagged , , at 1:00 pm by riulyn

I submitted my grant this week! Now it’s real gaming time before my trip to Japan in April 😀

Before the trip, I was like “let’s beat Cold Steel 1 before deciding to go all out on buying Sen no Kiseki PS4 games in Japan”. And I resumed Chapter 3. And THINGS happened in Chapter 3. I saw some old faces from previous games and my heart was like YES YES YES! Chapter 4 was even better for me. I know more than the characters, of course, but the characters aren’t necessarily stupid. They are dense. [And then Falcom had to put something in the game that is so trendy but why…SPOILER ALERT for chapter 4  Elise being a non blood-related sibling have non-sibling, romantic feelings for her brother SPOILER ALERT END. Gah, Falcom, why do you have to have something problematic in every series when you are mostly awesome? Even Zero/Ao had the unnecessary groping scene and more importantly, the whole cast was not sympathetic enough to Ellie!

Having played Zero/Ao and Trails in the sky trilogy before Cold Steel 1, I find myself second guessing at some of the things and having been wrong. Falcom is good at throwing a bone for people who have followed from the beginning, but they are actually pretty straightforward with their plots and plot twists, if that makes sense to anyone besides me… Anyway, I might even get started on Cold Steel 2 before April at this rate. I’m going to get Sen no Kiseki Kai 1 & 2 for PS4 (hopefully can grab 2 since it releases on the day I depart Japan, but we leave in the evening) and Sen no Kiseki 3. After reading that I get max bonding points and other bonuses from transferring Sen no kiseki 3 data into Sen no kiseki Kai 1, I guess that’ll be my order. I am not patient enough for Cold Steel 3’s localization, and Sen no kiseki 4 comes out this fall so I’m just going to be caught up. And then sad when it is all over?

I had heard that magic/arts was pretty useless in Cold Steel 1. Yep. Healing crafts are better than the healing arts. Ah well. Also, Fie is my favorite girl.

On to Tales of Vesperia PS3.

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