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.


July 21, 2017

FFXV quick review

Posted in video games tagged , at 6:38 pm by riulyn

Feeling too lazy to write a thorough review of a game that has been reviewed by many others. Nevertheless in a few years I might be interested in what I wrote about this game right after beating it. I beat it on Wednesday, so this is pretty close (for me).

In brief: Played for the banter. Battles are fun. Needs more Yoko Shimomura. Needs more actual plot. Enjoyed the game but wondering if it really needed all that spectacle…

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July 15, 2017

What I’m playing – FFXV update

Posted in video games tagged , , at 9:44 pm by riulyn

Well, I beat Tales of Berseria this morning (as in 1 AM) so I will be writing up about that soon. Now I will be focusing mostly on Final Fantasy XV when I want to take breaks from working on my grant. Which is like all the time, but I will restrain myself…sort of.

I feel like I’ve spent about half of my current play-time in FFXV doing sidequests and hunts and half on the actual plot, and yet I’m already into Chapter 8. A lot of the quests are pretty easy to fulfill so I guess I do it because of that? And because I want money and items and EXP. The game isn’t hard but I like playing button-mashing a bit too much, so Noctis “dies” kind of a lot, even if I have high enough levels… Whoops.

Overall I do enjoy the game, but it’s really because I like the characters and their banter. The main plot is not really pulling me in, though. Like I don’t mind just running around doing random things and listening to the quad say whatever they feel. Maybe I don’t feel this drive to find out what happens next because I’m not that interested in it yet and I will be soon? Right now it feels like a set of Final Fantasy concepts as a background to a cross-country road trip. With lots of speed bumps. Interestingly, main story segments can be quite short. But at least it isn’t necessarily forced padding through really long and boring dungeons, at least so far. Driving isn’t too long and when they drive to story parts, there is dialogue in the car. I’m just thinking about those dungeons in Tales of Berseria…boring!

I kind of wish music was a bit more featured in the game, considering Yoko Shimomura was in charge of the soundtrack. The snippets I get that aren’t remixes seem quite good. But I guess maybe it doesn’t fit with FFXV’s style.

July 4, 2017

What I’m playing – #JRPGJULY

Posted in video games tagged , , , , at 8:00 pm by riulyn

I’m in the mood to blab on about the games I’m playing, so I’m going to probably start this off pretty regularly. We’ll see if I’m still doing this regularly in a few months.

July is here and so is #jrpgjuly. This is when I can actually join many others in the gaming world instead of being in my corner of ~almost always playing JRPGs because I fail at playing other stuff~. Yay for actually being part of something? So what am I playing?

Not Ar nosurge anymore, since I just finished that. But I still have plenty of JRPGs for July.

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Ar nosurge Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , , at 7:36 pm by riulyn

Here’s a quick review, with a few things to consider.

  1. I played Ciel nosurge prior to this game.
  2. I also played all the Ar tonelico games prior to this game.
  3. I love things that are weird.

Quick sum: Game is okay; hard to say it’d appeal to those outside of the Ar tonelico core fanbase. Maybe if you are someone who likes sci-fi visual novels with cute girls and doesn’t mind (or enjoys) pandering. Battle system seemed interesting at first but gets old quickly. Way more back and forth traveling that feels tedious. The story is a great follow up to Ciel nosurge. Knowing Ciel nosurge’s events in more detail is not necessary for the plot generally but really great for understanding why the characters do what they do. The universe of the story is great. The music is still great. I still prefer Ar tonelico 1 & 2 way more than this though and would recommend those games over this one.

*Play Ciel nosurge first!!!!!*

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June 11, 2017

Blue Reflection Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 6:29 pm by riulyn

Since this game has been announced for English release, I feel like maybe I should write up my thoughts on it? I’ll definitely forget by the time it releases in English to write this up, since I’ve already mentally moved on even after a few weeks.

To be brief, the game is really not memorable at all. Except maybe for very nice-looking character models and for being very easy. It’s not to say that I didn’t have fun playing it, but it was an overall rather shallow experience and so much…so much more could have happened.

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May 14, 2017

Quick thoughts on Ao no Kiseki (Trails of Blue)

Posted in video games tagged , , at 7:38 pm by riulyn

Ao has just been finished and I will be replaying it and Zero in 2018 or 2019. I need to experience them again but I still have a backlog.

It does what a sequel should do. It makes everything in the first game (story, boss battles) better. It has unexpected cameos. It also doesn’t stray too far from the formula that made Zero good. It starts off with a bang but the lulls are for diversion not because the story is weak. And it still ends with a real cracker.

It is better by far (this is my opinion of course) than Trails in the Sky SC. I’m worried I’ll be let down in Cold Steel because of the huge cast that isn’t as tight (supposedly) as the Crossbell gang. Though it’s kind of hard to imagine a group as tight. Lloyd is a great main character, but so was Estelle, and what really stands out is the other main 3 characters in Zero & Ao compared to FC/SC for me.

I hope to write up a more detailed review later, but for now…if you are/were learning Japanese to play a JRPG, this is the reason why. This game is totally worth it.

May 9, 2017

A lot of cute girls in games I’m playing right now

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 8:58 pm by riulyn

It’s Gust gaming, all right. But not just Gust.

Still, let’s start off with Ion, the cute main character of Ciel nosurge. If you don’t like her “cute” clumsy, straightforward in an innocent way but yet frustratingly indecisive (unless you are really patient with characters), just wanting everyone to be happy, being more optimistic than she should be… I don’t know if I’ve captured most people’s “complaints” about her, but I think she’s supposed to be the “moe” type that has been in vogue for a while. While I flip between like/dislike for her, the actual plot in her memories is quite intriguing to me. So I rushed through that and am now stuck synthesizing for days/weeks until I can get the items needed for the ending. If I didn’t find her annoying as often as I did, maybe I wouldn’t have rushed through the game and actually played it like the life simulator it was supposed to be, instead of treating it like a visual novel with some periphery stuff…

Gust’s recently released “Blue Reflection” is basically cute high school girls as wanted by otakus, in a RPG. The main character is a girl who just started high school who had to stop doing ballet due to a knee injury, but after getting the power to fight things (I’m too lazy to translate what they are) in a “cognitive/unconscious” world (yeah not doing that translation) that has 4 areas based on different emotions and there are beings that you have to fight in them but you are really there to collect fragments from girls and hear their true feelings that they are trying to express but can’t because they are “distorted” until you get their fragment? And this is important because these fragments power you and your teammates up and you’ll need to get powered up to fight some being that wants to destroy the world? Yeah lots of little moving parts but nothing really deep so far? It’s like the game took plot elements from like Persona and Exist Archive and kind of gave it maybe a bit of Atelier flavor/style? It’s not like the plot is hard to follow along, but I guess I’m not caring about the main/overall thing yet to actually remember the name of things. Then again, I think the appeal is meeting more girls and going out with them. Yes, the game calls the outings “dates”. Though sadly I don’t think they are supposed to be romantic. But yeah, no boys so far (as far as I know, which is Chapter 3 currently). I seriously hope there aren’t any boys. We have enough of the light novel type “male MC who solves all the problems and gets his harem” RPG (Persona [except P3P female], Tokyo Xanadu come to mind for me, Exist Archive is even a little this, Ar tonelico is this for Gust games) so why not the “female MC who solves all the problems and gets her harem” RPG? I’m all for it. Especially girls helping other girls and not just a special two girl friendship, which is usually only as far as most JRPGs go…

But strangely, the most “serious” of the games I’m playing right now, Ao no Kiseki Evolution, is also really driven at times by a cute girl named Ke-A. She’s very special and if I say more it is spoilers galore. Thankfully she is not a forced love interest type but instead the “forced” cute younger sister type. Except she doesn’t feel forced, she really is cute! But also the teasing everyone does of the Crossbell Police Special Force (I think that’s what your party is called), calling them her “stupid doting parents” is pretty great. But yeah, I really, really enjoy the main party characters in Zero and Ao no Kiseki. They are why the games are so great. Also the plot of Ao is pretty darn fantastic (and I haven’t even gotten the ending, though got to the final chapter! Epic!).

I think I’m going to play FFXV later this year. Final Fantasy Bros still sounds amusing to me (and I enjoyed what I saw of my brother playing the game), but it’s going to be weird to play a game without a ridiculously cute girl in it. Okay, 2B of NieR Automata is probably really stretching the “cute girl” part, but Persona 5 has Futaba who’s legit cute in my opinion. I expect a cute girl or 10 in Fire Emblem Echoes. Maybe Iris (in FFXV) can be considered “cute”? Umm…

March 20, 2017

Off to Germany soon!

Posted in life tagged , at 6:05 pm by riulyn

I’m about to head to Germany for approximately a week of vacation. The trip is not long enough, but I’m still going to try my best to enjoy as much as I can. When I get back, there will be Blue Reflection and Persona 5 to enjoy. I’m still confused as to why the PS4 version of Blue Reflection was only like $55 US on Amazon.co.jp, but I picked up that version because it was barely more expensive than the Vita version and it looks much better. I’ll just have to be glued to the PS4 for a long while…

Anyway, because of the upcoming trip, I was kind of curious about the German video gaming scene. Of course I am too lazy to look very deeply, but in general/surface impressions it appears that Germany heavily censors their games so many German gamers end up playing their games in English due to importing. Secondly, the preferred way to incorporate more German learning via gaming is to use the German language option in games like Dragon Age or Skyrim. I was playing Last Remnant in Spanish…maybe I should switch it to German? Though I need work on all the languages basically… Lastly for some reason when I think of Germans and gaming I think of the one guy in the video about Nier Automata’s reveal at E3 that went ballistic in joy. So at least some German gamers have good taste!

But yeah, in the end I don’t think I’m going to pick up any video games in Germany. I’m contemplating which games to bring with me. I might just bring Fire Emblem: New Mystery Emblem (or whatever it is called), which I think I’m about halfway though. I have Vita games but…hmm maybe I should put on Operation Abyss and finally finish it. I’m getting towards the end of Ao no kiseki but I try to only deal with optional quests if I play it outside of my apartment. I definitely have plans to finish that game in April and finally get to Alternative Saga and Cold Steel 1. I might actually catch up on the Kiseki series this year! I was even playing Nayuta earlier this year, so that might even count in my tally.

There is plenty of stuff for me to catch up on when I get back, but I don’t have anything preordered for the summer? I’m feeling a bit weird about this. Let me know if I forgot anything important or else I’ll maybe finally start catching up (slowly, very slowly) on the Western RPG scene…

March 12, 2017

Quick Review of NieR Automata

Posted in video games tagged , at 6:09 pm by riulyn

It’s GREAT! (I took Wednesday off to get good progress in the game, and spent all weekend playing it too. Totally worth the late night at work on Friday to get that head start.)

If you played the first NieR and enjoyed the lore, then you’ll (very likely) love the sequel you never thought you’d get. I didn’t expect as many tie-ins to the first game (since I tried not to read too much on NieR Automata before playing it) as I saw. If only the first game’s battle system could have been as functional, let alone as fun, as this game’s…

If you have any desire to play the first game, don’t play NieR Automata until you play it. There are even parts of the main plot that spoil the first game, though a lot more of the spoilers are in the archive items. One of the biggest emotional moments of the first game is ruined if you know the surprise before it happens.

The story/plot progression is similar to how the first game is set up. Don’t you dare stop at Ending A! Also, you don’t have to collect all the weapons to get the main endings. Or any of the endings (I think?), based on a quick look at a wikia. I started the game thinking that way, thought “wow this will suck there are a lot of weapons in this game” and then I checked a wikia. Thank goodness…

Also, did you enjoy quests that start off one way but end up another way? There’s quite a few of these here too. And, in NieR fashion, the typical silly ones and typical depressing ones.

Finally, the environments are way better designed but the music is not quite as touching as the first game’s. But still great. Better than that for Drakengard 3. I plan to get the soundtrack which should be releasing soon.

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