February 25, 2017

2 games with atypical systems = fun diversions

Posted in video games tagged , , at 10:42 am by riulyn

I recently finished 2 games for the PSP, though one was released previously for GBA. These games are Riviera: Promised Land and Last Ranker. I enjoyed playing both of these games. They took me about 30 hours each. The biggest enjoyable aspect for me was the battle/stat system.

Read the rest of this entry »

December 18, 2016

2016 Wrap Up

Posted in video games tagged at 7:18 pm by riulyn

I don’t think I’m finishing any more games this year so I might as well summarize it.

Finishing only 24 games this year… Unfortunately this is my future. It was very skewed towards Fire Emblem, Atelier, and the Kiseki series. So I guess I don’t know how relevant my post will be for most people.

Read the rest of this entry »

November 20, 2016

Whelp, I finished Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1

Posted in video games tagged , at 7:28 pm by riulyn

This weekend I was supposed to devote myself to Suikoden 1, PSP version, in honor of Suikoden Day. I don’t think I’ve done too badly, as I’m about 15 hours into a slow-ish playthrough of the game (I’ve beaten the game in 15 hours before but this runthrough is going to be 25-ish but I’m enjoying myself so I’m not worried). I broke up some of the Suikoden-ness of my day with some Neptunia, and as I realized I was getting close to the end of the game I was like, screw it, let’s just beat it. So that’s what I did.

I had picked up the game last summer (I think) on sale for $6 digitally and I definitely got that much money out of the game. I think the battle system is solid. I enjoyed the large number of characters you get at the end. I didn’t care for the dungeon exploring as most dungeons were really boring design-wise. I grinded a little at some points because I felt a little underleveled sometimes, but it was also an attempt to manipulate “Shares” by completing certain quests over and over (a thing that is better left explained in-game). Overall the game is as easy as you want to make it, and I made it easy for myself.

The game is also pretty text-heavy at times, with dialogue that I expected based on what I knew of the game coming in. Poking fun at gamers and the game industry, sexual innuendos, tropes galore, etc. It is pretty much many “unnecessary” lines and some plot. I did get a little weirded out when the “jiggle physics” became more obvious later in the game. I mean, the text is mostly static character portraits that change as needed, so the addition of jiggle physics was very obvious in comparison to games where the jiggle physics is employed while the character is in motion. Anyway, I also had that awkward moment of the dialogue taking a big innuendo turn while I was playing the game on the airplane next to a Japanese businessman (whoops…).

In the end, I found it an amusement but I don’t feel particularly attached to any character, the verse, the idea, or really anything about it. It wasn’t a bad way to satisfy my curiosity about the series, but now with my serious attempt to reduce my game purchases until I put a bigger dent into my backlog, I don’t see myself getting any of the other games for a while. I really don’t think I’ll be missing much if I don’t continue on.

*And now, back to Suikoden and then Zero no kiseki*

October 30, 2016

Game-buying limits imposed!

Posted in life, video games tagged , , , at 5:38 pm by riulyn

I bought my last game of this year in September. It was Trails of Cold Steel 2, for a total count of 19 games this year. That’s what I’ve been telling myself as I just struggled to beat my 20th game of the year this morning. It didn’t help that a good part of this year was spent playing some games for a long while, one of which I’m 70 hours in and have still not finished with no end in sight (Xenoblade Chronicles X). The other part, of course, is that my gaming time is starting to decrease again due to work and travel.

I think for my future, 20 games/year is about all I’ll beat, especially if they are all RPGs. Thus I’m trying to set a new limit of 20 game purchases per year from here on out. That means putting off games and also front-loading my year with game purchases. The beginning of next year is already front-loaded for me with Atelier Shallie Plus, Yakuza 0, Tales of Berseria, and Persona 5 all coming out within a month in the U.S.

I put a pretty good amount of time into Japanese games this year because I spend quite a bit of time with each Kiseki game (I’ve been playing them all in Japanese, but will do the Cold Steel series in English). I haven’t bought a Japanese game since Sora no kiseki the 3rd Evolution, though, as I held off on Caligula and Ys VIII. I’m still wondering about Ys VIII, specifically what this PS4 version is supposed to look like. Caligula got announced for localization, and I’m still interested in the game, but not enough to play it soon. I might have missed some big news, but other than those 2, which were summer releases, there wasn’t anything that piqued my interest that released recently in Japan (well, besides Persona 5, but I’m getting that in English). It feels kind of weird when last year I was getting hyped on buying Japanese games in Japanese… Oh well. It’s not like I’ll run out of games to play in Japanese any time soon, if my PSP backlog is to go by.

Speaking of a game I got hyped on the end of last year, I finally finished Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna, or localized as I am Setsuna. In the end I think it was an enjoyable experience, and I got used to the load times on the Vita. The lag during battle animations would sometimes cause me to mis-time button presses and not get whatever bonus attack I was trying for (do not know the term for it used in the game). The game wasn’t too hard to follow and the characters were okay. I think the best part was testing out different magic/techs and finding different combo techs. Lots of customization and every character was useful. Overall I’d say I don’t regret the purchase, though ideally my money’s worth would be partly due to playing and completing it before the localization announcement, but other things in life took my fancy. It’s still better than never finishing it and of course, not enjoying any of it.

Anyway, as I just celebrated my 29th birthday, it was just another reminder that getting older and towards the “career” portion of my life means gaming and other things will need to be enjoyed but cut down a bit. I like my current job but it’s not a permanent one, and the next one will probably mean less time for games. I can’t wait to retire already, seriously, or if I could somehow make it less hours/week… Sadly with the cost of living and the way our society works, I don’t think I can do the ideal (in my mind) 25-30 hours/week independent lab research job…

September 25, 2016

In Kiseki hell

Posted in video games tagged , , at 7:44 pm by riulyn

I thought I might start playing something else after I finished Trails in the Sky the 3rd, but nope my brain wanted to continue in the Kiseki universe so I am currently in Chapter 2 of Zero no Kiseki. Zero feels a bit episodic right now and is also giving me Trails in the Sky FC vibes. I don’t think Ao will be as crazy as SC was, or will it? (Don’t tell me.)

In short, the 3rd is nice for all the expansion on the FC & SC characters. You get to use a lot of characters. Kevin has a pretty dark backstory. Ultimately a few things happened in the 3rd which has continued into Zero, but nothing major so far? The gameplay is much more dungeon crawler-ish than the first 2 games, and there is a difficulty spike starting in Chapter 6. If I say more it’s probably a spoiler.

I didn’t end up doing all the character side-stuff because I got a bit mentally fried (some of them are really, really long text cutscenes, thank goodness for Evolution’s voice-acting) and just wanted to finish off Kevin’s story. But most of them are enjoyable, albeit with the notorious Kiseki-length dialogue. Nothing is ever concise in a Kiseki game, right?

I did grab a copy of Trails of Cold Steel 2 in English. Since I have stayed in Kiseki hell instead of actually playing other games (I was supposed to be working on Atelier Totori now or finishing Shadow Hearts 3 or like playing Ikenie to yuki no setsuna…whoops), I probably will get to Cold Steel last this year/early next year. The 3rd isn’t a long game, but I still managed 60 hours and I didn’t even do all the character stories. I’m expecting 60+ for Zero and I’m at about 20 right now. If this was a few months ago, I’d probably finish Zero next month and Ao by December. However, other things like work and rekindled interest in volleyball will probably mean Zero will finish October/November and Ao will finish maybe January? Well, I’ll be playing Persona 5 when it releases in North America, so there will at least be a pause in Kiseki then, if not earlier.

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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…

Previous page · Next page