October 11, 2018

Sen no kiseki 4 so far…

Posted in video games tagged , at 6:17 am by riulyn

Just finished Act 2. Whoo boy… [A lot of spoilers to follow]

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July 30, 2018

What I’m almost finishing now – Shining Resonance Refrain

Posted in video games tagged , at 7:12 am by riulyn

I put about 40 hours in 8 days into this game and it’s been a lot of fun! I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a few things

  1. The battle system is very solid. Every character is interesting to play as. Unfortunately boss battles were more interesting at the beginning than they are currently, where it is more of a grind than strategic.
  2. Lots and lots of optional character interactions. Interactions between party members that make me think of modern Atelier games. It’s not just late night chats and walks around town.
  3. A consistent motivation and plot the entire time. My standards were pretty low because I’d made assumptions before about these modern Shining games, and this one was coming in highly recommended as a fun romp and I was worried about how people defined their fun. Thankfully people were right about this one for me.

I think most people who focus on the plot and don’t randomly level characters they don’t use and don’t randomly decide to do dungeons or quest runs would be done with the game by now, but I’m relatively close to the end. I think it’ll be another 10 hours for me since I do keep wanting to do some character optional stuff. I haven’t decided whose ending I’m going for or whose ending I’m closest to getting? I’m not sure how much choosing there is? I guess I’ll find out soon.

Oh, I did just go straight into Refrain mode on my first playthrough. I think it’s perfectly fine and not confusing (I feel like I read somewhere online that it was?) and it’s been fun to have interactions with characters that aren’t supposed to be in my party.

July 8, 2018

More Valkyria Chronicles 3 Thoughts

Posted in video games tagged , , at 9:11 am by riulyn

I’ve made it to Chapter 11 of Valkyria Chronicles 3 and I’m not sure when this game will end, but I’ve already put in close to 50 hours… It’s a meaty experience because there are a lot of optional battles, including optional ones for every character in the squad inside of their side stories.

Probably my biggest complaint is that the plot is suddenly getting quite interesting, and it didn’t need to take this long to get here. Cameos of previous characters have been shoved left and right, and I wonder if that really needed to happen. It was cute at first, but when I started realizing the game was going to keep going, I was like “do I really need another battle so a cameo can be forced in?”

It’s been hard to track the when and why of stuff of the beginning part of the game, but now everything makes sense to me. So I’m going to blame the writing a bit for this. I’m sure there was also some of this back and forth going on with Valkyria Chronicles 1, but I felt like I had a better idea what was going on generally within the country and the warscape during that game than I have here. I’m doing missions and the warlines are changing, and maybe if I spent time reading the newspapers in the camp menu I’d know better, but I feel like I didn’t have to go out of my way to figure stuff out in VC1?

The reason things are better now are because our “side adventures” have a clear reason for happening, at least in my eyes. I’m excited to see what will come of it.

As for the other stuff in this game, it’s pretty solid. Easy mode is easier than it was in VC2 I feel. I’ve never felt in danger of really losing any battles; I have only lost when I’ve been too aggressive and ditch my home base before making sure no enemies are around. The AI has gotten smarter in the last few missions, so they aren’t dumb forever, but I think they are purposefully dumb in easy mode so I can beat it 😀 The classes are the same from VC2 and you can switch people to different classes, which is good. I haven’t switched too many people around, but Alfonse as a shocktrooper now is pretty powerful. I don’t really use the engineers or the armored techs, especially the latter in the late game since I have the swords-people (I forget their job class name) and also I haven’t run into tank mines yet. My sniper has been kicking major ass, but shocktroopers are the most useful in this game for me. There’s a good number of squad people to use, which is nice when I want 5 shocktroopers out or even 5 lancers out. I still have a few people left to recruit too (either not far enough in the story or missing some other trigger).

In pretty much every way I like VC3 more than VC2. Story-wise, I like VC1 better still. Side character-wise, VC3 wins. Gameplay-wise, VC3 wins. But to recommend it (at least at this point) to others? I’d say it’s still best if you’ve played both VC1 and VC2 before this, though it’s okay on its own. I also don’t think you’ll need to play this one or VC2 before VC4. I guess I’ll find out in a few months 😀

June 3, 2018

What I’m playing now – Guided Fate Paradox, Persona Q, Valkyria Chronicles 3

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 8:43 pm by riulyn

I’m taking a Kiseki break. I’m not sure how short it will be, because I’m tempted to start Sen no Kiseki Kai (Trails of Cold Steel on PS4). There’s almost a calming, easy rhythm to the Cold Steel games, especially if I stick to the easier difficulties (aka Normal). Maybe I should force myself to play it on hard, since I’ll be importing Sen3 data when I do start.

Anyway, for now it is time to knock some stuff off my backlog. Though I didn’t acquire Persona Q until this year, it was mentally on my backlog. I will talk about that the most, since I don’t have a ton to say on Guided Fate Paradox besides I restarted it from the beginning and it’s been smooth sailing into Chapter 3. I definitely learned from my experience playing ZHP. I know Chapter 4 is a bit of a difficulty spike, but I definitely have a strategy to get past it (the grindy way if it comes to that). The story is still as wacky fun as I remembered.

Persona Q is not quite what I hoped it to be.

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May 12, 2018

More Sen no Kiseki III thoughts

Posted in video games tagged , at 9:41 am by riulyn

I just started Chapter 4. I’m like 90 hours in. There is a lot of text, and I have talked to a lot more people than I did in the previous Kiseki games. I wonder if localization is held up a bit because of the amount of text.

Since I’m going to talk about the new characters now, the rest is read more. SPOILERS though no major plot ones for beyond like Chapter 1, I think.

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April 30, 2018

What I’m playing right now – Sen no Kiseki III

Posted in video games tagged , , at 7:35 am by riulyn

I zoomed through Cold Steel 2 and have moved on to Cold Steel 3/Sen 3. I basically played it all weekend.

Almost all the reasons I like the game go into spoiler territory but one thing I do like that isn’t a plot spoiler is a battle system change! A new feature has been added to battles – the ability to issue orders using break points. Also the system for breaking enemies, which is important too for winning some boss battles. I struggled a bit with the first major boss until I understood those systems. In general normal difficulty is harder so far than the equivalent point in the previous games. But not too hard; just have to do a little more thinking.

Since the rest of the reasons I like the game are almost all plot reasons, I have to highly advise that you don’t just jump into this game. It is super text-heavy at the beginning and you really won’t care a bit unless you have played the previous Cold Steel games. I think it’s too late to recommend playing Zero and Ao before Sen 3 if you’ve already played Sen 1 & 2. So far all the relevant Zero & Ao stuff has been explained, though I have been told that later on Sen 3 might be confusing without knowing Zero and Ao. However since Zero & Ao overlap with Sen 1 & 2, you won’t be getting the full enjoyment of Zero & Ao that you’d get with fresh eyes. Also there are major Trails in the Sky series spoilers too. Basically this was a series meant to be played start to finish if you wanted to see it the way the directors envisioned you seeing it. Of course I don’t think knowing what happens will make the games less enjoyable. Actually I think it improved my experience of Trails in the Sky FC playing it the second time because I knew there was a payoff…eventually. Sen 3 starts slow enough that I wonder if others were turned off a bit by that if they weren’t living up all the references to previous games. Then again I don’t know anyone who has played Sen 3 without playing Sen 1 & 2 at least.

I think overall the setup for the game is okay? Yes, some things seem to be convenient for gameplay/plot reasons, but it’s not like the series hasn’t relied on convenient facts/plot fillers before. The biggest selling point of these games is the characters and the world-building, and those are still strong so far in this game. Liking all the new characters so far, and Rean is still growing on me which is good. I’m probably going to play a lot of this game very quickly; stupidly I also have a job that I am returning to but I enjoyed my vacation and I will enjoy my games!

April 8, 2018

What I’ve been playing – Trails of Cold Steel 2/Sen no Kiseki 2

Posted in video games tagged , at 5:15 am by riulyn

Sometimes it’s nice to be behind in an epic series, because you don’t have to wait!

And thus I have rolled straight from Cold Steel 1 into Cold Steel 2. The goal is to pick up Sen 3 in Japan (which I leave for very soon) and roll straight into Sen 3 after Cold Steel 2 is finished. Which shouldn’t be too long because I’m already 50 hours into Cold Steel 2. Which means I have anywhere between 10 and 50 hours left? I guess you never know for sure in a Kiseki game.

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March 19, 2018

More Trails of Cold Steel 1 Thoughts

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 7:15 am by riulyn

I’ve made it to Chapter 6 of Trails of Cold Steel 1/Sen no Kiseki I. Here’s how it stands for me right now.

  • It’s hard not to compare Cold Steel 1 to Trails in the Sky/Sora no kiseki FC or Zero no kiseki. Falcom has a way of starting arcs in a similar way, so these are the best ones to compare. I’m still debating whether playing Trails in the Sky and Zero first makes me like Cold Steel 1 more or less. At the moment I think it made the game harder to get into but more enjoyable right now.
  • I think Falcom did an okay job not making returning characters from other games seem rehashed in Sen no Kiseki, but rather giving them enough interest for both newcomers and oldcomers. The returning characters take too long to really be there for me, though, unlike in Zero. SPOILER for Zero I loved Estelle and Joshua showing up super early, though understanding why Estelle and Joshua are there in Zero way a crazy revelation that I didn’t see coming. And makes me doubt all the things in Sen since there is overlap. SPOILER for Sen 1 On the other hand, Olivier shows up way too late in Sen, like Chapter 4! And Bleublanc might be getting a bigger role again compared to in Crossbell, but the level of interest in him is…yeah, meh
  • Choosing to have Sen take place overlapping with Ao/Blue was an interesting choice, but as a big fan of Ao no Kiseki, that worked great for me.
  • Each arc from Sora to Sen has gotten darker. I am excited that Falcom’s Kiseki universe is acknowledging death and people actually doing horrible things and not some “cutesy” mindgame experiments. Though I am slightly worried that means my favorite characters might get axed or someone close to them axed…
  • I understand people’s complaints about Rean. He feels like a light novel protagonist: attracts all the girls and the guys, a do-gooder, has more angst than he seems he should, oh wait some past thing that won’t be explained for a while, he’s the vehicle for understanding everyone else! Falcom makes fun of themselves for making Rean like Rean (not quite the level they do with Kou in Tokyo Xanadu, those two are way too similar of course), but it doesn’t change the fact for fandom.
  • I know there are waifu wars in Sen, and I think my favorite Class VII female, Fie, is not part of the wars. Hopefully… I love the text between Jusis and Machias. It can be interpreted anyway you want. I wouldn’t like either of them much without the other. I think for gameplay and the story, it makes sense to have so many playable characters. On the other hand, Zero was the best because the characters felt really close not just to each other but to my heart as well. Class VII’s characters are more diluted out. The bonding moments can be cute but they feel superficial like mini character background reveals. The main plot ones are the real moments, so I don’t feel like I need to rush replaying Sen 1 just to catch the bonding moments I missed.
  • I’m trying to think who my favorite Class VII male is. Um…Gaius? Dunno. The girls don’t really stand out to me besides Fie. So basically I like Fie.
  • Final thought for now. They ruined Mueller’s face in the 3d modeling! I am disappointed that he looks weirdly boyish and boring-faced when he was so handsome before. Sadness…

March 10, 2018

What I’m now playing – Trails of Cold Steel 1 (Vita) + Tales of Vesperia (PS3)

Posted in video games tagged , , at 1:00 pm by riulyn

I submitted my grant this week! Now it’s real gaming time before my trip to Japan in April 😀

Before the trip, I was like “let’s beat Cold Steel 1 before deciding to go all out on buying Sen no Kiseki PS4 games in Japan”. And I resumed Chapter 3. And THINGS happened in Chapter 3. I saw some old faces from previous games and my heart was like YES YES YES! Chapter 4 was even better for me. I know more than the characters, of course, but the characters aren’t necessarily stupid. They are dense. [And then Falcom had to put something in the game that is so trendy but why…SPOILER ALERT for chapter 4  Elise being a non blood-related sibling have non-sibling, romantic feelings for her brother SPOILER ALERT END. Gah, Falcom, why do you have to have something problematic in every series when you are mostly awesome? Even Zero/Ao had the unnecessary groping scene and more importantly, the whole cast was not sympathetic enough to Ellie!

Having played Zero/Ao and Trails in the sky trilogy before Cold Steel 1, I find myself second guessing at some of the things and having been wrong. Falcom is good at throwing a bone for people who have followed from the beginning, but they are actually pretty straightforward with their plots and plot twists, if that makes sense to anyone besides me… Anyway, I might even get started on Cold Steel 2 before April at this rate. I’m going to get Sen no Kiseki Kai 1 & 2 for PS4 (hopefully can grab 2 since it releases on the day I depart Japan, but we leave in the evening) and Sen no Kiseki 3. After reading that I get max bonding points and other bonuses from transferring Sen no kiseki 3 data into Sen no kiseki Kai 1, I guess that’ll be my order. I am not patient enough for Cold Steel 3’s localization, and Sen no kiseki 4 comes out this fall so I’m just going to be caught up. And then sad when it is all over?

I had heard that magic/arts was pretty useless in Cold Steel 1. Yep. Healing crafts are better than the healing arts. Ah well. Also, Fie is my favorite girl.

On to Tales of Vesperia PS3.

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February 25, 2018

What I’ve been playing – Tales of Vesperia PS3 (Japanese)

Posted in video games tagged , at 7:02 pm by riulyn

It has been an interesting replay for sure. I’m glad I saved it for now. The language is not difficult, but I appreciate the characters’ speaking styles more now that I get how they work. I remember some things from 2008 when I played the xbox360 english version, and I know they changed some things for the PS3 version, but still… I’m not going to trust my game clock to tell me how far in the game I am as I have been taking breaks and leaving the game on, but I am roughly level 20-ish, I just made it across an ocean, and I have 5 party members, if that helps you figure out how far I am. My thoughts below:

  • Was Yuri such an ass? He probably was. But I still like the fact that he has attitude. He really picks on Karol and it’s not as much in good fun as I had thought…
  • Patty’s introduction was weird. It totally interrupted the rhythm of the game. As an actual character I’m not sure about her.
  • I kind of really want to shake Flynn. Argh!
  • I hate not being able to backstep. I haven’t learned the skill yet. So frustrating coming from later Tales back to this one.
  • I didn’t know about secret missions, but I managed a few. Not going out of my way to do them.
  • Still struggled mightily with the one boss with paralysis-spewing flowers.
  • VAs are good and appropriate for the characters.
  • Some of the music in ToV really sucks. Some of it is good. Not a soundtrack I would buy new; maybe I’ll pick it up if it’s like $10 used. Otherwise, youtube is good enough for the random itch

I’ll be playing through the game mostly on Sundays, so it might take a few months, but it’s definitely going to be completed this year. Not sure I’ll be playing any other Tales games this year, unless I pick up Tales of Rebirth in Japan. I’ll save a Zestiria & Berseria replay for another year.

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