October 9, 2017

What I’ve been playing – or rather, beating

Posted in video games tagged , , , , , at 9:01 pm by riulyn

I’m doing a good job being focused? Because since the last update I finished Stella Glow and Ys 8 and I’m almost done with Tales of Destiny 2.

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September 23, 2017

What I’ve been playing – Ys VIII + Stella Glow

Posted in video games tagged , , at 8:29 pm by riulyn

I’m nearing the end of both Ys VIII and Stella Glow. Stella Glow I picked up just after Labor Day as something to pass the time until Ys VIII’s release, but I continue to enjoy it (the battle system mostly) and am over 40 hours in but in the last chapter. Ys VIII I started last weekend and I’m over 30 hours in. Not sure where the end is for this game. Lots of stuff to do in both games. Nothing spectacular, but I’d say Ys VIII has better story/plot than Ys VII or Ys Celceta. Stella Glow’s plot is okay, but I like the battle system much more.

I’m kind of amused at the harems in both games (obviously purposely a thing in Stella Glow and more a “harem” for Adol as the series’ joke). I’m actually surprised you aren’t able to reciprocate your girl of choice in Stella Glow, at least up to even the night before the final battles scene. I guess it fits Alto’s character more, but considering these people made Sol Trigger where one in-game date is all you get and next you know… I mean I think the plot of Stella Glow is lame at times, but it fits well with the characters they use. At least no inconsistencies.

Ys VIII has combined the fun of exploring an area/mapping of Celceta with additional fun of finding castaways. I don’t want to say much more because spoilers, but basically it’s improved on Celceta in my opinion in every way. The only issue is I think Adol and Dogi might be acting smarter in Ys VIII than they did in Ys VII, even though Ys VIII takes place before VII. It was probably some of the issues with the writing in VII (I think it was forced “stupidity” to make certain plot elements fit) not the characters. But mostly I am sad that Adol and Dogi’s fantastic outfits from Ys VIII become the boring-ish (relatively) ones in VII. Dogi’s outfit is seriously great; those pants are awesome.

I know people worry about NISA when they do localizations and yes, they couldn’t decide if it was Creet or Greek. And there was one scene where the Japanese voice played over even though my audio is set to English. But otherwise I think everything is fine? It’s not like I need to play Ys with perfect understanding of the subtleties…

Anyway, go plays Ys VIII if you have any interest. It is great.

August 19, 2017

What I’ve been playing – Valkyria Chronicles 2

Posted in video games tagged , at 5:33 pm by riulyn

Since I last posted, I did finish Mana Khemia and started up Mana Khemia 2. But since I have that one for PS2, I thought, what I can start up on my Vita. I could have continued playing Gravity Rush or Freedom Wars, but I decided on Valkyria Chronicles 2, which I picked up on PSN sale some time ago.

I…was not expected Avan. The game’s story has been panned by like everyone and I can see why. However, I have to say that at least every character in your squad has scenes that they are involved in. Even if none of them particularly stand out. School-age problems means more than enough stories about romance and crushes. Avan is just…incredibly stupid.

But I kind of like how there are so many missions. The missions are a decent variety and I enjoy all the terrain and weather things to think about. Also, I like how there are class upgrades, though I’m still pretty heavy on scout, shocktrooper, and lancer. I really don’t use engineers, but armored techs are useful. Also I love the customization of equipment and tank options being way more in VC2 than the first game.

I hear Valkyria Chronicles 3 has a better story and has the battle and class improvements of Valkyria Chronicles 2. I only played 2 battles in VC3 just to check the UMD and get a little taste, and it certainly starts off very interesting. So basically I should probably get to VC3 soon.

Otherwise, I’ve played some more Tales of Destiny 2 (the direct Destiny sequel). Things are getting better plot and character-wise. It’s actually the battle system that is annoying me. It’s just so clunky. I feel like I’m doing it wrong. And I just keep getting negative grade for every battle ever since party member 5 joined me… I’m not sure I’m going to finish this game…

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 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.

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…

August 10, 2014

A Gaming Update, Basically

Posted in video games tagged , , , , , , , , , at 9:02 pm by riulyn

I’m too lazy to do thorough reviews of music or games, but the gaming is still going and I’m still playing a bunch of games at the same time. Because I feel like it. So here’s a summary of what’s happened recently in my gaming life.

RECENTLY FINISHED

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance – I borrowed my brother’s copy which he somehow got used at some point for $19.99 (what a steal!) and did an Easy playthrough. I play Fire Emblem games more for the character recruiting than for the tactics, after all. Of the three FE games I have played, this is by far the best in terms of cast, story, and story background. Wishing Radiant Dawn wasn’t so expensive, or I’d be starting that one right now.

Breath of Death VII – I didn’t actually realize I had this game on my Steam account until I decided to pick another Steam game to polish off. It’s a parody RPG so leaps in logic and randomness is expected and fine, but of course it loses out on the appeal of characters that are really lovable. Of course, that could have been remedied a bit if the game was longer and had more depth. However it was perfectly fine the way it is, and is definitely worth the $0.50 I paid for it. Actually, there was a bit of branching/customization when it came to character leveling, so that was nice and fresh.

RECENTLY STARTED

Resonance of Fate – I’m playing along with a few others on the RPGamer board as this is the One-hit Wonder for August. Certainly getting myself used to the game. Consulting a YouTube video and a FAQ have definitely helped, and I have remedied my leveling up issues among other things. I think the game should be rather smooth sailing now (I know I’ll still mess up certain things as I’m just not careful enough to be perfect in these types of games). What I like about the game is the main trio and how they interact. I roll my eyes at the “JRPG-style” slow-poke unveiling of the plot; it doesn’t bother me but it just feels like it was done to make the story seem more “elite” or something when it really just makes the game feel a bit too mission-ish.

Skies of Arcadia Legends – Just started this one today, actually, and got about 2 hours in. I feel the late 90s/early 00s of this game. So far so good. The whole “but we’re good pirates” is such a JRPG thing though.

RECENTLY PUT ON HOLD

Ar Tonelico 3 – I rather not juggle 2 PS3 games even if switching discs isn’t that hard. I”m not too worried about temporarily suspending my AT3 playthrough since there is the objective system. It was starting to get better, though, in my opinion, which makes it a bit of a pity that I’m stalling it. It’s probably because I don’t feel as many urges to punch Aoto as I did before.

Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward – I’m actually bad at being “mean” or a “traitor”. So even though VLR is the better game in design, I just sometimes don’t want to go through certain parts of it. I guess I technically don’t have to go through all the paths, but I think I have to do most of them in order to get the true ending. Besides, my Japanese vocab deck was getting a bit low on the new cards, so…

RECENTLY STARTED PLAYING AGAIN

Breath of Fire – I already referenced this in the last post, but basically I have moved from having one character to having 3. I’m playing the GBA version so maybe it is easier, but I just find this game to be too grindy. And it’s not like I”m trying to grind, but the encounter rate feels high. Just like an old-school RPG, I guess. Also, the party feels pretty bland.

Tales of Hearts R – My Japanese vocab deck was getting low, and I’m not playing Drakengard or Ar tonelico 3 whose battle controls kind of conflict with that of ToH R. While I don’t think too highly of the overall plot, the characters are certainly better in ToH R (in my opinion) than in Tales of Innocence R, Tales of Phantasia, Tales of Destiny, and Tales of Legendia. I’d probably like them a bit more if the voice acting wasn’t so stilted. Or if I understood a bit more Japanese. Oh well…

Wild ARMs 2 – I still just don’t care that much for this game, but I kind of want to see it through. Some of the blah attitude comes from me not gelling with the cast, as I have mentioned before (I think I have, at least?), and some comes from battles being not that exciting either. Maybe because I’m playing the series backwards, but I think I had more fun with the hex battle systems than the more classic turn-based system. It just feels slow and static. At least in WA3 there seemed to be notable elemental and spell stuff, but I haven’t seen much in WA2 to support elemental attributes really mattering.

RECENTLY BOUGHT

There was this lovely humble bundle recently, so I had to get it and get Ys Origin. Now I’m only missing Ys 5 and Ys 6 from my personal Ys collection. I do hope for a Ys 5 remake to come West someday. Ys 6 can be remade too if Falcom wants to, but it’s not as necessary as there are PS2 and PSP versions in English.

OTHER STUFF

I’m going to be going on vacation/out of my apartment for three weeks starting August 31, so I’m pretty much not prioritizing a Tales of Xillia replay since I won’t be able to play all of ToX2 before I would leave.  I also should figure out what games I’ll take along with me. My 3DS with FE: Awakening and SMT Devil Survivor Overclocked will probably be enough, though that means tactical game mania!

I’ve also got a certain surprise thing almost ready for Suikoden Day, which is August 19 this year. There’s been Konami streaming Suikoden on twitch and a tumblr buddy of mine streaming Suikoden on twitch as well. I even have a Suikoden-themed T-shirt now! So yeah, I’m pretty pumped that Suikoden Day is only 9 days away…wow!