March 25, 2018

Trails of Cold Steel 1 Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 2:20 pm by riulyn

I finished the game at 2:30 AM Saturday morning and started Cold Steel 2 a few hours later. I think that tells you enough. But below I’m going to quick hit my thoughts on Cold Steel 1.

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March 10, 2018

Quick Review – .hack//G.U. Last Recode

Posted in video games tagged , at 12:11 pm by riulyn

Earlier this week I finished .hack//G.U. Last Recode. I think from other posts on my blog you will remember that I was okay but not that interested in the combat and dungeons, but I really enjoyed the story. This held true throughout the game. While combat definitely got better with weapon switching, it was still just okay. Still, I think there was a lot of thought and heart put into the story of this game, and I definitely think the streamlined version is the way to go for people like me who don’t care for the other stuff in the game.

Characters are a mixed bag in terms of every major character did something to annoy me. But they all felt needed for the story to really be the story. And it all felt justified. I wanted to throttle some of them because I cared for them, not because they were outrageous and incomprehensible. The main character definitely spurred those feeling inside me the most. Yes, I think his abrasiveness will be hard for some to deal with at first, but if you give up on a game because the main character isn’t the most likeable at first, I think your JRPG options are slim pickings…

The storyline is very action anime of the 2000s, at least that’s how it felt to me. Science fiction light compared to other anime/games with mechs and spaceships, but similar focus on the main character growing up (I read that’s what G.U. is for) like a shonen anime. Not tainted by an extreme focus on high school relationships, boobs, incest, or lolis. Sometimes I want my shonen anime to just be about the characters and the action! The only types of shows I feel like I can watch nowadays are slice of life…but that’s a digression.

Anyway, combat is supposedly improved, and I didn’t notice anything blatantly wrong. It’s just that, with modern Tales games, modern Ys games, Kingdom Hearts, etc., you can hit an enemy when it’s on the ground! This is so frustrating that I can’t do that in .hack//G.U.! But I am recently playing Tales of Vesperia and having the same problems, so I know it was just the way the games were designed back then. I do think, though, the class types are pretty well-balanced in the game. Every type is useful, though I did like having a harvest cleric in my party quite a lot and the other person being a second melee fighter. Warlocks not used so much in my party.

Town areas are surprisingly small for a MMO-game but functional enough. Liked the fact that you could trade with people. Lots of sidequests in the original 3 volumes; the 4th volume is very plot-focused and thus quite short (3-4 hours). The first two volumes took me about 15 hours each as I didn’t really care for doing sidequests (combat wasn’t fun enough for me and dungeon design was meh too so I didn’t feel sidequests would be worth going beyond the story-forced dungeons and quests); the third volume was about 20 hours for me. I think if I could get over my combat issues (I’m too used to modern gaming I guess) I would have done more of the side stuff. There is plenty of post-game in volume 3 that did sound interesting compared to volumes 1 & 2. Some of the post-game stuff did seem to have story-expanding stuff, but the story was nicely wrapped up in volume 3. Volume 3’s ending was good enough, and volume 4 makes it even tidier.

In the end I recommend the remake because it is streamlined and made it not grindy at all. All the other features seem to still be there, and it runs and looks good on PS4, so I’d pick it up unless you don’t have a PS4 but only a PS2, then I guess you could look out for the trilogy (it’s probably still pretty expensive? I haven’t checked in a while). Volume 4 is nice but not necessary.

December 17, 2017

Xenoblade 1 vs 2 Quick Comparison (Personal Opinions)

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 11:23 pm by riulyn

Xenoblade 1 wins over 2

  • Characters and story impact. Main characters are better in 1 for sure. Especially the main character, but the overall cast as well is a bit too “shonen jump cast”. “Villains” are about even, though more tropey in 2. The story has more tropey elements in 2, though I think it was intentional as the director was saying it was a “boy meets girl”, “simple” story.
  • World building. Maybe because the game came out first, but the first game’s world building made more of an impression and had less hand-waving. At least that’s how I saw it.
  • Music. I like the music a bit more in the first than the second Xenoblade. Both have great soundtracks and I will definitely be in the hunt for a Xenoblade 2 OST once it releases.
  • World map design. Sure, I got lost at times in Xenoblade 1, but something about the maps and the verticality and the arrow button indicating where to go was just not as good in Xenoblade 2. At least for me.

Xenoblade 2 wins over 1

  • Story pacing. The chapter format allows for a more swelling of action into cool boss moments.
  • “Xeno-ness”. Lots of cutscenes, especially later. Really reminds me of Xenosaga. Xenoblade 2 felt like Xenoblade 1 x Xenosaga at times.
  • Quests. The sidequests are much improved in Xenoblade 2. Getting blades that you can get story quests for is nice. Less lame “kill this monster for me ok cool thanks” quests. Not many had twists like Nier quests, but a good number were not straightforward from beginning to end.
  • Graphics. Gosh it is hard to look at Xenoblade 1’s in-game art after Xenoblade 2’s. Also feel like characters are animated quite well, especially Tora!

Overall Xenoblade 1 is still my preferred Xenoblade game, but I easily put 100 hours into Xenoblade 2 in about 10 days. I just couldn’t put the game down! Basically I forced myself to stop playing because I want to replay Tokyo Xanadu (with the eX+ version now in my hands). Switch games are really starting to pile up, but still many are ports. Need a beautiful Fire Emblem game on Switch next, I think…

November 7, 2017

Nights of Azure 2 Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 8:59 pm by riulyn

Someone out there has a better review. My quick thoughts.

  • Enjoyed it.
  • Yes, there is a lot of fanservice. The swimsuits are ridiculous. I enjoyed the girl/girl stuff.
  • The relationships are decently developed in this game, especially if you see them for each Lily (I only did 2 of them), but Nights of Azure’s relationships were better.
  • In general the writing and story was better in Nights of Azure 1. Personal opinion.
  • Battle mechanics are pretty simple. It sucked to only have two servans around at a time. I ended up never using any of the weapon-changing servans because of that. I liked battling in the first game better.
  • Dungeon areas were okay in design, but I wish they were bigger.
  • Basically, if you didn’t pick this game up immediately, I’d probably wait for it to price-drop to $30. It is short (20-ish hours if you don’t rush the first playthrough, could probably do it in <15 easily if focused on the main story). It doesn’t have an amazing story, though, or something that really makes you think. The first one price-dropped pretty fast, so I don’t think you’ll have to wait long.
  • I certainly liked it better than Blue Reflection. Still, Gust could do a better job with these new IPs, making them more memorable than fanservice.
  • I do like the music in this game. Gonna buy the soundtrack maybe at some point…

August 29, 2017

Valkyria Chronicles 2 Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 5:42 pm by riulyn

Pros

  • Units can change to a variety of classes. Adds more variety compared to the first game
  • More maps and variety of battle goals and environments.
  • Every character gets a little character quest. So at least there is something for each name.
  • Most of the girls are badass. Also no forced romance with the dumb MC.

Cons

  • “Grinding” is required, even on easy. Because the “beat 3-4 missions before story mission can happen” is considered grinding in my mind
  • Some of the enemy AI is really, really dumb, and I don’t think it was limited to easy.
  • The main character is awfully stupid. He ranks in the top 3 of stupidest JRPG protagonists I have ever had to play as. I don’t want to say top ever because I probably forgot someone.
  • The main story is disjointed and also feels pretty pointless at the end.

Mixed

  • Not sure what to think about Alexis. I think in the end it was for the best, as they probably would have screwed up (in my mind) more complicated identity stuff.
  • Music is good but felt limited in number of tracks.
  • I did like Zeri and Juliana.

Recommendation

  • Play if you like the gameplay and don’t mind grinding or stupid characters/plots. I personally had enough fun though wished it was 10 hours shorter. Otherwise, I’d probably avoid it.

July 21, 2017

FFXV quick review

Posted in video games tagged , at 6:38 pm by riulyn

Feeling too lazy to write a thorough review of a game that has been reviewed by many others. Nevertheless in a few years I might be interested in what I wrote about this game right after beating it. I beat it on Wednesday, so this is pretty close (for me).

In brief: Played for the banter. Battles are fun. Needs more Yoko Shimomura. Needs more actual plot. Enjoyed the game but wondering if it really needed all that spectacle…

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July 4, 2017

Ar nosurge Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , , at 7:36 pm by riulyn

Here’s a quick review, with a few things to consider.

  1. I played Ciel nosurge prior to this game.
  2. I also played all the Ar tonelico games prior to this game.
  3. I love things that are weird.

Quick sum: Game is okay; hard to say it’d appeal to those outside of the Ar tonelico core fanbase. Maybe if you are someone who likes sci-fi visual novels with cute girls and doesn’t mind (or enjoys) pandering. Battle system seemed interesting at first but gets old quickly. Way more back and forth traveling that feels tedious. The story is a great follow up to Ciel nosurge. Knowing Ciel nosurge’s events in more detail is not necessary for the plot generally but really great for understanding why the characters do what they do. The universe of the story is great. The music is still great. I still prefer Ar tonelico 1 & 2 way more than this though and would recommend those games over this one.

*Play Ciel nosurge first!!!!!*

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