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.

February 11, 2018

What I’ve been finishing – Phantom Brave + Persona 4 Arena

Posted in video games tagged , , at 5:07 pm by riulyn

I just finished up Phantom Brave and the story mode for Persona 4 Arena. Brief thoughts on both below.

Phantom Brave had a really mediocre story, but the gameplay was really good. There are a lot of ways to break the game but I didn’t really get into grinding in bonus dungeons and changing titles. Instead I had enough fun with the main maps, figuring out who to confine, where and when, and how to clear them, and doing a bit of grinding to power up weapons and get skills. If you are someone who needs a plot to play a game, then unfortunately there is nothing to rescue this game for you. But if you like a unique take on doing a tactical game, then it’s definitely more fun than Growlanser 2/3 and Disgaea 1 was for me on battle system alone. Those other games win far out on the other stuff, though.

Persona 4 Arena’s story is very text heavy for a story mode in a fighting game. Way more than the two Blazblue games I’ve played the story mode of. I used the game as Japanese practice; otherwise, I’m not sure I’d really be up to do the path of every character in about a month’s time. Once you go through a few characters’ storylines, you pretty much know everything important. So you might as well start off with your favorite story characters. Battles for the story mode are not hard; I barely understood the mechanics, only playing around with Challenges later and finding out how much I missed. I pretty much could mash attacks and dodge with R1 and be very successful. The story was fun enough but not to the level of the main games, and not because of the text being too long at times. There’s just not that much to it in the end; some plot holes are probably filled in Ultimax, but I’m still not sure I need to read more than a plot spoiler summary at this point. Not enough compelling moments in the actual story in-game for me. Oh well…

Plans next up are to continue with .hack//G.U. (enjoy the plot, the gameplay is serviceable), decide whether to play Trails of Cold Steel in English or just go with Japanese versions, continue slowly working through Radiata Stories, and maybe Tales of Vesperia PS3 for more Japanese practice. My grant revisions should take priority but I like to procrastinate…

October 23, 2017

What I’ve been playing – Trails of Cold Steel

Posted in video games tagged , , at 7:29 pm by riulyn

FINALLY I’m playing Cold Steel! I’m sure someone out there is saying that besides me as I’ve made it through Trails of the Sky, Trails of Zero & Blue, and now there’s hope I might catch up on this major Falcom series. (Though tomorrow I will probably get derailed by Nights of Azure 2, but whatever.)

I’m okay playing Cold Steel in English so far. It’s funny to see Japanese school/company culture in pseudo-Europe, but it’s almost okay because of the military school setup. The localization has kept the “rise, bow” stuff but removed the honorifics. So far so good I think.

The “Falcom decides to voice as many characters as possible so the main character doesn’t speak even if others are in the conversation” thing is super bad in this game and pretty jarring. I know it happens in Ys 8, but it felt like everyone was just cut off suddenly during a scene.

I’m kind of amused by the game’s setup since I played Tokyo Xanadu first, which is like a light version of Cold Steel. I think Falcom’s a bit too married to the “let’s have the group do tasks and then learn about the world” so they had to find an “excuse”. I know it’s justified in the game, but it kind of makes me like Tokyo Xanadu a bit more for being focused on the characters and a main thing instead of quests and quests. But the characters so far seem better in Cold Steel and the game is supposedly much better on that front than Tokyo Xanadu.

Speaking of Tokyo Xanadu, eX+ finally has a release date for NA and it falls right after Xenoblade 2, so maybe I’ll be saving that replay for early next year. I have no preorders for 2018 yet, which is crazy! Though my brother has KH3 preordered, so I guess that may technically count as I will probably play that game too.

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.

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