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!


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 12, 2018

Recommend me some JRPG bloggers to follow!

Posted in life, video games tagged , , , , at 9:45 pm by riulyn

Ultimately I have found myself back to using my WordPress way more than Tumblr, as as much as GIFs and fanart are nice, I really like reading people’s thoughts on games and not sifting through all the art to do so. I enjoy fanfics too, but finding fanfics is easy with major archives that people post to. Yet I didn’t even know about fanfics until some classmate randomly pointed me to a website that linked to Fanfiction.net. I didn’t even know of Livejournal until my friend I met in college told me about it. She also informed me about Tumblr. Unfortunately she isn’t a gamer like me. So basically I need friends (or random comments) to tell me where to go! Preferably blogs I can follow with WordPress Reader so I will actually see their updates in my feed.

In other thoughts, I am still working through Trails of Cold Steel and I am still second-guessing everything because of Zero/Ao and ahhhh can’t stop second guessing everything. Also, what is going to happen after the Kiseki is over? Maybe they’ll do another crossover spinoff with Ys? Though it’d be so hard to decide which characters to have, probably… Kiseki side stories where I can play as Lechter or Kilika? (Unless they were announced for Sen 4 or already in Sen 3, please don’t tell me so I can be pleasantly surprised…)

I did read some posts on Moegamer even though I am stuttering slowly through White Robe Love Syndrome (Hakuisei Ren’ai Shoukougun) when I am not distracted. The games he likes and the games I like don’t overlap that much right now; I have maybe finished 5 visual novels total and in general stay away from games with too much ecchi or fanservice because I personally don’t find it enjoyable most of the time (I actually don’t like huge boobs as they are drawn/shown in video games, so why would I want to make them less covered?) and I have too many other games to play. He writes pretty well and makes good points, so I generally agree with things I’ve read from him so far. His writings also reminded me that I am long overdue for my posts on the Ar tonelico games after beating them all. I have talked about them as I have gone through them, but I think I never did post about the series in general and what I feel for it (I have lots of feels).

My thoughts on Ar tonelico and even things “less problematic” like the Kiseki series are very connected to my view of myself. I am pretty honest on the Internet. This also means I have changed since I started this blog, so I can click on a post from 2008 and know some of the things I said then I wouldn’t say now. There’s also the influence of what’s going on in my life at the time (or in the world) that will influence how I write about a game. I’m still not sure why I was so “angry” about FFXII when I wrote about it. I still have no interest in replaying it, but I was tearing at it probably because it could have been great and some things about it really got to me. I think if I was writing that post now I’d be way more chill, even if I’d have the same conclusion that, nope, not replaying that game. Not when I want to replay so many other games still.

As is my usual, this post started with one thing and ended with another, with multiple incomplete thoughts in between. It was probably more fun for me to write than for you to read. I also enjoy reading posts like this, so if you know another blogger for writes about JRPGs and might meander in his/her/their posts, that’s totally fine with me.

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.