July 31, 2016

Just some quick final thoughts on Sora no kiseki SC/Trails in the Sky SC

Posted in video games tagged , at 2:43 pm by riulyn

  • Game is overall longer than the first one, with a lot more sidequests and fun diversions (fishing)
  • Balance between dialogue bits, walking around bits, and fighting bits is not so great. Story is much more character-focused than the first game, allowing them to really be shown off. Definitely recommended to play the second game if you enjoyed the first game and the characters. Don’t think it’s worth playing if you didn’t like the first game, or you may just want to scroll past all the dialogue…
  • I’m not sure what a CERO C is versus a CERO B and I’m too lazy to look that up right now, but the second game does have a darker tone than the first, though the lack of characters actually dying and stuff is still a thing for this series
  • Really enjoyed the CGs in the Evolution versions. Also I believe the evolution versions are easier than the PSP and original versions, or the guide I used for some battle help was super exaggerating the difficulty of the final bosses
  • the 3rd is supposedly something that can be enjoyed without the first two games. So far I don’t see how you would give much care to the introduction without caring about these characters, as it drags on pretty long

May 29, 2016

Let’s talk game soundtracks again

Posted in music tagged , , , , at 10:29 pm by riulyn

I recently picked up a few soundtracks. I would ideally have most of these soundtracks digitally as I really don’t need the physical CDs, but alas I don’t live in Japan and can’t legally get the MP3s unless the company puts them on Amazon US. Which Nihon Falcom did for the Ys soundtracks (thank you!). But anyway, I bought some soundtracks.

  1. Ikenie to yuki no Setsuna (English name “I am Setsuna”). I actually preordered this one and have enjoyed it for a bit. It’s a mostly piano soundtrack. The battle themes sometimes use drums too. The soundtrack basically shows us that the piano can do so much; it is both melodic and percussive. The tracks for the game are not complicated. It is another reminder that simple can be the best. The main theme makes me think of “For River” from To the Moon, though.
  2. Fire Emblem Path of Radiance OST. I was preordering Sora no kiseki the Third Evo and (not a preorder) Zero no kiseki Evo from CDJapan and decided to order some CDs while I was at it. I didn’t own any FE soundtracks and Path of Radiance was the favorite of the games I played. I’m not sure it’d be my favorite FE soundtrack, but it is decent. I probably wouldn’t put it in the top 5 or 10, personally, because I find FE music to be more of the good in the game but not so interesting outside of it sort. Actually, most tactical RPG soundtracks have that problem for me, a topic maybe for another day. I think the 4 CD collection is also not as crazy as the latest 8 CD collections for Birthright & Conquest, though I do think of the tracks I can remember from the newest 3DS FE games, the songs may be better there. The awful 3DS speakers make it hard to judge, though.
  3. Valkyrie Profile OST. I’ve already talked in the past about how I am a fan of this soundtrack. To be honest, it’s not the most logical thought to unite the game’s music with its plot, but somehow it works great. The rockin’ soundtrack is really great for all the dungeon exploring, and the other tracks have the appropriate moods associated with them. Also I have to admit that the first VP game’s OST made such an impression on me that I cannot remember a single track from VP2 or Covenant of the Plume. I think of VP music and can only think of VP1. So if the other games had good music…well I guess it’d be hard for me to recognize that.

I am a bit tempted to buy some Sora no kiseki OSTs on the Amazon digital music store, as that’s really the series I’m into right now (it has taken over almost all my Japanese gaming time). I’m also undecided on the Tokyo Xanadu OST. I feel like the Kiseki OSTs are better (at least FC and SC). Otherwise I’m not sure what to buy now, soundtrack-wise.

Speaking of Tokyo Xanadu, I see that there still has been no localization announcement. I’m thinking it won’t be this year since I think text-wise it’d be closer to a recent Kiseki game than an Ys game, and XSeed has announced Trails of Cold Steel 2 (Sen no kiseki 2) for this year and Sora no kiseki the 3rd for next year, and Ys sells well for them so they’d probably jump on that once Ys VIII releases (my understanding is that Falcom doesn’t let XSEED or others work on localizing the game until post Japanese release). I’m just sad that the TX tag is so dead on Tumblr and I don’t know where to talk about it with my sucky Japanese writing skills. Oh well, maybe I just need to take some time to replay the game and study more Japanese in order to understand the Japanese fandom on pixiv or wherever…

May 10, 2016

So far with Project X Zone 2 & Sora no Kiseki SC

Posted in video games tagged , at 9:36 pm by riulyn

I’m in no rush to finish Project X Zone 2 though I do enjoy playing a little bit every day, especially after freeing my 3DS from Fire Emblem Fates. Overall I think it is much improved on the first game. Even if the plot is nonsense, I like having some more customization between battles (buying equipment, leveling up techniques, setting skills). But more importantly, I feel like the dialogue is more amusing. Maybe I’m just noticing more references, especially Xiaomu throwing them out left and right? Also I am enjoying the Yakuza pair quite a bit. It makes me want to look into those games.

Other than being amused at the ridiculous dialogue, it isn’t so much of an improvement over Project X Zone that I’d recommend it to most people. Still, it’s pretty much exactly what I was expecting, in a good way. Sometimes it’s nice to be surrounded by gaming references.

The other game I’ve spent the most time with recently is Sora no Kiseki SC Evolution, or Trails in the Sky SC + voice acting and CG stills. I want to finish this before the third game’s Evo version comes out in July. I’m up to Chapter 6 and I think for the most part SC been more interesting than FC because there’s been more variety. I’m really not sure how well it would stand on its own as I think there is too much imbalance with heavy amounts of dialogue at some places and spurts of just trekking back and forth in other places. It really relies on you caring about the characters already, I think, with some of the stuff you do or the text you read in the game. While maybe not in the optimal state for enjoyable gaming, I like how in SC character backgrounds are really delved into and not so pleasant events referenced in FC get more background. I do feel like I’ve missed a few things by playing the game in Japanese, but on the other hand I really do enjoy the voice acting.

I think it’s nice to be playing a game where the world and the major players have had so much thought and planning put behind them compared to some of the other half-baked stuff that I’ve played recently. (Yes I do mean FE Fates, among other things…)

April 27, 2016

Some thoughts on Fire Emblem Fates and Nights of Azure

Posted in video games tagged , at 11:53 am by riulyn

I’ve recently finished all 3 storylines of Fire Emblem Fates and also got the true ending for Nights of Azure. It’s kind of funny that I finished these two around the same time because they kind of have opposite strengths and weaknesses.

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March 22, 2016

Convention Time Again

Posted in life tagged , at 8:50 pm by riulyn

This weekend I’m going to Sakura-con again and taking a moment to really enjoy the anime side of my life. Though convention time is never totally absent of gaming (I’m happy to see more and more cosplay shoots of games like there’s going to be a Suikoden one again!), I usually only touch a 3DS to get streetpasses and collect puzzle pieces during the 3 days. Anime is not totally separate from gaming; I don’t think it ever has been. I feel like recently there has been a lot more overlap.

Not only is there the huge popularity of anime-based games like the One Piece games, but there’s also games becoming anime that is getting streamed overseas. Some companies like Atlus has started to make all of their Persona stuff more popular with anime, but this year I feel like seeing stuff like Samurai Warriors, Gods Eater, and Phantasy Star get adapted was pretty interesting (I didn’t end up watching much of any, though), and now there will finally be a Phoenix Wright anime adaptation (after all the other adaptations). A dream come true for me would be a Suikoden anime, but that’ll probably never happen…

Anyway, now that I have fallen into the Gust trap, I’ll be on the lookout for Ar tonelico and Atelier things that I recognize. I’d also love to find anything Ys-related. We’ll see if I can get lucky or not…

February 28, 2016

Exist Archive ~ The Other Side of the Sky ~ Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 9:18 am by riulyn

I finally finished the game last night with about ~45 hours put into it. I could have been a bit more efficient with my playthrough, but something about this game feels both long and short. Still, I think overall it was a solid effort and was worth my time.

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February 27, 2016

I like Atelier alchemists for the most part but…

Posted in video games tagged , , at 12:02 am by riulyn

I think it’s obvious enough for anyone who follows this blog that I really like playing as a female protagonist in Japanese RPGs. If not as the playable character, I like having female characters that are important and powerful in the plot. I would also prefer female characters in a game to not all be the same, for them to have both physical and mental prowess, and then I pretty much find myself in Suikoden or Fire Emblem land… Also Rachel in Wild ARMs 4 is the only reason to play that game.

Anyway, I’ve recently been playing a lot of Gust games. Maybe I’ve overloaded on the Atelier games. While it is totally awesome that most of the Atelier games are led by female protagonists, I’m finding more and more that I’d wish there was a bit more variation in the female protagonist’s character. I think the similarity between Rorona and Escha was too much for me. Especially considering that Escha & Logy has two alchemists who come to alchemy via two different means. Of course Logy has to be the bookish one, the one who actually went to school and can do things because he studied a lot and is book smart! Sure, it’s the male alchemist who uses weapons that aren’t staves (Logy obviously, as well as Keithgriff from the Dusk series and Felt from Iris 2)! I’m not an Atelier expert, but where’s the female alchemist with the awesome sword or gun? Maybe it’s not cute enough for Atelier?

The other trend I noticed is that almost all the Atelier games I’ve played in the series (except for the Iris games) the main alchemist starts off as new to alchemy and needs help nurturing her alchemy talent. Sure, nothing wrong with a person starting fresh and learning, like she can go to school (Eilie) or she gets a mentor/teacher… Ayesha is a bit different at least in the sense that she had a driving force and kind of just fell into becoming an alchemist, so I don’t blame her for not really gunning for alchemy or being initially competent. It’s just I’d like a bit more self-taught and able to self-improve alchemists? And maybe a bit less reliance on an outside source for all the thinking that comes with alchemy? I might have posted about this already somewhere, but despite how much I do enjoy cute girls like Rorona and Escha, I do miss having the Iris trilogy alchemists who seemed much more competent and were doings things on their own from the beginning of the game and felt like proper alchemists. Iris is still my favorite Atelier alchemist so far since she even comes up with a lot of alchemy recipes on her own!

Of course I’ve yet to play Totori, Meruru, Shallie, Sophie, and a bunch of stuck in Japan indefinitely Atelier games, so maybe an Iris-like main character has appeared again. It’s really too bad I didn’t enjoy the unnecessary padding of Iris 3, because I did like the cast of characters in that game.

(Once again I have to save my thoughts on the Ar tonelico girls for another day… One day I will rant about them, I’m sure.)

February 17, 2016

Exist Archive Thoughts Part 2

Posted in video games tagged , at 10:45 pm by riulyn

I figured I save gushing over Atelier Escha&Logy because I basically really enjoyed it (I’m replaying it after beating it with Escha, now playing as Logy and zooming by hopefully before Project X Zone 2 and Fire Emblem Fates make it to my apartment) and talk a bit more about Exist Archive.

(By the way I was in Tainan when the earthquake hit the area just over a week ago. 2 overseas trips, 2 earthquakes nearby…I’m a bit worried about my travel luck now…)

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January 31, 2016

Games I want to replay in 2016

Posted in video games tagged , , , , at 8:06 pm by riulyn

Double post today! I’m off to Taiwan for a week on Wednesday, so I’m thinking about my February gaming plans and how I still want to sneak in some replays this year. I know it’s silly, considering the expanding backlog and how behind I am on 2015 games, but I still think it’s nice to replay games, especially when you think about how you want to play that game again and do something slightly differently. Or have a better understanding of what was happening because you didn’t pay good enough attention or the language used was difficult.

Top of my “want to replay in 2016” list is Ar tonelico. I beat the trilogy last summer but I never got past the first ending with Misha in the first game. Also I’m quite interested in replaying the trilogy to really see how the three games connect. Sure, the series has its issues, but it’s unique and fun and I just love its universe.

Next there’s Tokyo Xanadu. I want to replay it to see the character interactions I missed the first time due to not having enough time. Also, it couldn’t hurt to see if I actually learned all the vocab words I put into my flashcard deck due to that game. There was some tricky language in that game.

I also really would like to replay Sol Trigger. I know I misunderstood some things the first time I played. It’s not a terribly long game and I can choose a different girl this time around (though I didn’t really care for that part to be honest, too little development).

Finally, I probably won’t get to it in 2016, but I do want to replay Suikoden Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki as well due to not understanding things the first time around. I’ve started another Suikoden replay run with Suikoden I in Japanese this time around. Unfortunately I know that game too well that I’m not even noticing the Japanese…oh well.

Exist Archive so far

Posted in video games tagged , at 3:13 pm by riulyn

Hey guys! I’ve been all over the place in terms of gaming, then got addicted to Atelier Ayesha and Escha&Logy, but I wanted to post today about a game most of you guys have not played yet since it only just came out a month ago in Japan – Exist Archive ~The Other Side of the Sky~.

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