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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Quick Review – .hack//G.U. Last Recode

Posted in video games tagged , at 12:11 pm by riulyn

Earlier this week I finished .hack//G.U. Last Recode. I think from other posts on my blog you will remember that I was okay but not that interested in the combat and dungeons, but I really enjoyed the story. This held true throughout the game. While combat definitely got better with weapon switching, it was still just okay. Still, I think there was a lot of thought and heart put into the story of this game, and I definitely think the streamlined version is the way to go for people like me who don’t care for the other stuff in the game.

Characters are a mixed bag in terms of every major character did something to annoy me. But they all felt needed for the story to really be the story. And it all felt justified. I wanted to throttle some of them because I cared for them, not because they were outrageous and incomprehensible. The main character definitely spurred those feeling inside me the most. Yes, I think his abrasiveness will be hard for some to deal with at first, but if you give up on a game because the main character isn’t the most likeable at first, I think your JRPG options are slim pickings…

The storyline is very action anime of the 2000s, at least that’s how it felt to me. Science fiction light compared to other anime/games with mechs and spaceships, but similar focus on the main character growing up (I read that’s what G.U. is for) like a shonen anime. Not tainted by an extreme focus on high school relationships, boobs, incest, or lolis. Sometimes I want my shonen anime to just be about the characters and the action! The only types of shows I feel like I can watch nowadays are slice of life…but that’s a digression.

Anyway, combat is supposedly improved, and I didn’t notice anything blatantly wrong. It’s just that, with modern Tales games, modern Ys games, Kingdom Hearts, etc., you can hit an enemy when it’s on the ground! This is so frustrating that I can’t do that in .hack//G.U.! But I am recently playing Tales of Vesperia and having the same problems, so I know it was just the way the games were designed back then. I do think, though, the class types are pretty well-balanced in the game. Every type is useful, though I did like having a harvest cleric in my party quite a lot and the other person being a second melee fighter. Warlocks not used so much in my party.

Town areas are surprisingly small for a MMO-game but functional enough. Liked the fact that you could trade with people. Lots of sidequests in the original 3 volumes; the 4th volume is very plot-focused and thus quite short (3-4 hours). The first two volumes took me about 15 hours each as I didn’t really care for doing sidequests (combat wasn’t fun enough for me and dungeon design was meh too so I didn’t feel sidequests would be worth going beyond the story-forced dungeons and quests); the third volume was about 20 hours for me. I think if I could get over my combat issues (I’m too used to modern gaming I guess) I would have done more of the side stuff. There is plenty of post-game in volume 3 that did sound interesting compared to volumes 1 & 2. Some of the post-game stuff did seem to have story-expanding stuff, but the story was nicely wrapped up in volume 3. Volume 3’s ending was good enough, and volume 4 makes it even tidier.

In the end I recommend the remake because it is streamlined and made it not grindy at all. All the other features seem to still be there, and it runs and looks good on PS4, so I’d pick it up unless you don’t have a PS4 but only a PS2, then I guess you could look out for the trilogy (it’s probably still pretty expensive? I haven’t checked in a while). Volume 4 is nice but not necessary.

February 25, 2018

What I’ve been playing – Tales of Vesperia PS3 (Japanese)

Posted in video games tagged , at 7:02 pm by riulyn

It has been an interesting replay for sure. I’m glad I saved it for now. The language is not difficult, but I appreciate the characters’ speaking styles more now that I get how they work. I remember some things from 2008 when I played the xbox360 english version, and I know they changed some things for the PS3 version, but still… I’m not going to trust my game clock to tell me how far in the game I am as I have been taking breaks and leaving the game on, but I am roughly level 20-ish, I just made it across an ocean, and I have 5 party members, if that helps you figure out how far I am. My thoughts below:

  • Was Yuri such an ass? He probably was. But I still like the fact that he has attitude. He really picks on Karol and it’s not as much in good fun as I had thought…
  • Patty’s introduction was weird. It totally interrupted the rhythm of the game. As an actual character I’m not sure about her.
  • I kind of really want to shake Flynn. Argh!
  • I hate not being able to backstep. I haven’t learned the skill yet. So frustrating coming from later Tales back to this one.
  • I didn’t know about secret missions, but I managed a few. Not going out of my way to do them.
  • Still struggled mightily with the one boss with paralysis-spewing flowers.
  • VAs are good and appropriate for the characters.
  • Some of the music in ToV really sucks. Some of it is good. Not a soundtrack I would buy new; maybe I’ll pick it up if it’s like $10 used. Otherwise, youtube is good enough for the random itch

I’ll be playing through the game mostly on Sundays, so it might take a few months, but it’s definitely going to be completed this year. Not sure I’ll be playing any other Tales games this year, unless I pick up Tales of Rebirth in Japan. I’ll save a Zestiria & Berseria replay for another year.

February 11, 2018

What I’ve been finishing – Phantom Brave + Persona 4 Arena

Posted in video games tagged , , at 5:07 pm by riulyn

I just finished up Phantom Brave and the story mode for Persona 4 Arena. Brief thoughts on both below.

Phantom Brave had a really mediocre story, but the gameplay was really good. There are a lot of ways to break the game but I didn’t really get into grinding in bonus dungeons and changing titles. Instead I had enough fun with the main maps, figuring out who to confine, where and when, and how to clear them, and doing a bit of grinding to power up weapons and get skills. If you are someone who needs a plot to play a game, then unfortunately there is nothing to rescue this game for you. But if you like a unique take on doing a tactical game, then it’s definitely more fun than Growlanser 2/3 and Disgaea 1 was for me on battle system alone. Those other games win far out on the other stuff, though.

Persona 4 Arena’s story is very text heavy for a story mode in a fighting game. Way more than the two Blazblue games I’ve played the story mode of. I used the game as Japanese practice; otherwise, I’m not sure I’d really be up to do the path of every character in about a month’s time. Once you go through a few characters’ storylines, you pretty much know everything important. So you might as well start off with your favorite story characters. Battles for the story mode are not hard; I barely understood the mechanics, only playing around with Challenges later and finding out how much I missed. I pretty much could mash attacks and dodge with R1 and be very successful. The story was fun enough but not to the level of the main games, and not because of the text being too long at times. There’s just not that much to it in the end; some plot holes are probably filled in Ultimax, but I’m still not sure I need to read more than a plot spoiler summary at this point. Not enough compelling moments in the actual story in-game for me. Oh well…

Plans next up are to continue with .hack//G.U. (enjoy the plot, the gameplay is serviceable), decide whether to play Trails of Cold Steel in English or just go with Japanese versions, continue slowly working through Radiata Stories, and maybe Tales of Vesperia PS3 for more Japanese practice. My grant revisions should take priority but I like to procrastinate…

January 20, 2018

2018 so far – quick updates

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 9:48 am by riulyn

It took me a few days into January to finish off Tokyo Xanadu eX+. Then I conquered the rather fun rogue-like (or whatever the genre is) game Z.H.P. And now I have started on Phantom Brave as the game I take around or play a bit while watching tennis streams. The PSP port of course, because my PSP backlog is still large. Though the PS2 one is too.

Anyway, quick thoughts below

  • Tokyo Xanadu eX+ fixes the plot hole induced by the true ending of vanilla Tokyo Xanadu. So I guess I’m okay with it. Still think they could have brought that to the vita version… Ah well. It does look nice on PS4. The Aksys translation is…stylish. I was a bit annoyed with how they translated some things, but nothing was completely out of character… I feel like I hadn’t noticed that in a Aksys translation before, but maybe it’s a sign my Japanese is getting better.
  • Z.H.P. is great fun, especially if you give in to grinding. I had some spectacularly bad dungeon runs and my equipment was crappy pretty much the whole time. I think it’s now time to get back to Guided Fate Paradox.
  • Phantom Brave’s plot is terrible. But the gameplay is incredibly good so far. Too many classes to play around with, though, so I’m taking the long route/grindy route. Whoops. Out-of-bounds is an annoying feature though.
  • .hack//G.U. Cannot imagine the original version. I enjoyed volume 1, but I don’t really care for the battle system and cannot think how I would deal with needing to grind levels. Also a cliffhanger-ish ending to volume 1? Thankfully I don’t have to wait.

Speaking of not waiting, I think I’m going to grab the PS4 versions of Sen no kiseki 1 & 2 this year and play 3, hopefully all before 4 comes out in the fall. Gonna really work it and finish the series! I will probably finish English version Cold Steel 1 before I play Sen no kiseki 1, but have not decided about 2…

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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