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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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