October 21, 2018

Sen no Kiseki 4 Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 5:49 pm by riulyn

The good (in my opinion)

  • Appropriate conclusion to the saga. The story made turns I didn’t like, but that started in Sen no Kiseki 2 for me, so it’s not particular to this game. I’m not going to list it in the not so good since it’s spoilers and also probably just my personal taste
  • Really upped the character interactions and cameos
  • Backstories filled out for some of my favorite characters
  • Some battle with turn limits, and a few other battles that had actual quirks
  • Quests were good for filling out lore for the Kiseki universe and overall story
  • Worldbuilding is still good

The not so good (in my opinion)

  • Battle system is still kind of lame, especially once you figure out it’s just a war of attrition and boss mechanics are mostly stupid except for the above
  • Dungeon and story padding. I complained that Sen 3 had some dungeon padding, but I feel like it’s a bigger issue here.
  • Really not great if you haven’t played the Sky or Crossbell games. The game doesn’t even try to help you out anymore unlike in Sen 3, where at least some basics were explained. Play those games or get the summaries read beforehand
  • Inconsistencies with the stupid bonding/romance stuff. Falcom backtracking to keep the waifu lovers happy? Who knows.

In the end it took me about 130 hours-ish to finish. I did “rage-quit” for a few days after a certain section, but it was something personal. I probably wouldn’t have rushed through this game if I wasn’t engaged with the Kiseki fandom online and I wonder if I would have liked it better or liked it less (aka noticed more things I didn’t like). I played the game with urgency to avoid spoilers, but the game itself didn’t really act like things were urgent, which was a bit of mood dissonance because I felt the game should have had way more urgency to it.

Overall my Sen no kiseki rankings are 3 >> 4 ~ 2 (I think 4 might be slightly better) > 1. Solid series overall but I’d say come for the worldbuilding and the cameos and character banter and don’t get into waifu wars. 4 was satisfying but maybe in a way it didn’t live up to its promise after 3 being so good. Just expect a solid conclusion to the arc/saga but not necessarily a game that blows you away.

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October 12, 2018

Quick hits/Super quick thoughts on games I’ve beaten recently

Posted in video games tagged , , , , , , at 6:53 am by riulyn

I’ve neglected this place a bit but while I have, I finished a bunch of stuff. I figured it’d be good to record my thoughts down, even if just a few sentences, so future self can see how I felt.

Octopath Traveler – I apparently couldn’t stand playing it with H’aanit and her English voice, and it was also an opportunity to practice Spanish, so I did just that. So I won’t review anything about the localization but just the gameplay and story elements. The gameplay was great – the main appeal of the game for me. I liked learning the different job classes and switching up my party composition and figuring out the best way to defeat bosses. A few really through me for a loop (and learning about secondary job classes via the internet instead of in game might be considered a weakness, but the game does want you to explore around so it was sort of my bad too), but overall I thought the difficulty scaled okay considering you could do chapters for any character in any order. The stories and how emotional they got, or even how interesting they got, were somewhat variable. The structures of them were pretty similar, but I’d say Primrose’s stood out to me the most. Mostly functional, but yeah I’d say I was playing the game for the gameplay more than the story, and that worked better for me. I think some people were looking for more story than the game advertised to have…

Overall I’d say a very solid game, recommended for those interested.

Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker – Some people liked the first one more for the story, but I actually liked both the story and the characters better in Devil Survivor 2. I just finished the Triangulum path (the 3DS addition) and it’s also a solid addition and a nice complement to the Septentriones path (highly recommend Triangulum second, though, due to story reasons). I loved having easy mode to be honest, so I could just power through and get to fusing cool demons faster. I mean, that’s the biggest appeal to me compared to other tactical games. In terms of story, the premise and stuff is quite good. The balance of scenes to battles/progression ratio is kind of high towards the scenes. It’s funny because there’s a chance to finish the “bonding” (I forget the term) routes for most but not all of the characters you get. Also it feels like you get a lot, but it’s fine in the end. But yeah, lots of text. Each day is pretty full.

Overall I’d recommend it over the first Devil Survivor game, and I think it’s a solid tactical game with a good SMT flair.

Zero Time Dilemma – I enjoyed this game. The plot still kind of makes my brain hurt. I ended up liking all the characters somewhat, but still skewed towards the returning ones. The puzzles weren’t as crazy as previous games, and I only really got stuck when I couldn’t see or hit a small button that I needed to for stuff. I hear this game is a mixed bag for fans. I guess I’m on the positive side.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna the Golden Country – I actually hadn’t planned to pick this up at first, because I hate paying for DLC. But it’s really a separate story, except with maybe a lot of references to the original game. It’s fast-paced and focused compared to the original, but too short. And some of the most emotional stuff is left to cutscenes and kind of glossed over. But 20 hours for me and I couldn’t stop playing it and I would definitely play it again. I think it was worth my time and money. But I don’t see anyone who didn’t like Xenoblade 2 suddenly liking Torna and having it save the main game in their eyes.

Suikoden II PSP – I’m not used to a Suikoden game crashing on me. The loading times were also long, even just to load animations for unite attacks. I don’t think the ability to run diagonal and the expanded screen is worth the other hassles of this version of Suikoden II. It’s just weird because Suikoden ran fine, at least this compilation’s version of it.

August 5, 2018

Shining Resonance Refrain Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 2:24 pm by riulyn

Good stuff

  • Lots of character interactions. Got a good feeling for all of the playable characters and not just with the main character, but also with each other
  • Always motivation to move forward in the plot (unlike some other Shining games…)
  • All playable characters have a unique feel and all can be effective in battle

Bad stuff

  • AI of party members is horrendous. They don’t block for major attacks and can easily get themselves wiped out. Healing AI is the only AI that seems to work right.
  • Boss battles get too easy at the end if you compensate for bad AI
  • It takes forever to level up characters. Very easy for characters to fall behind in levels if you don’t use them. My final levels were in the high 50s for my main party and only 30-ish for the two characters I used the least (used them just for affinity for dates and unlocking endings)
  • Why is there only one actual town in this game?

Recommendation – Best Shining game I’ve played so far. Characters feel well-rounded, the plot isn’t just an excuse to have characters but rather actually drives forward, and combat has its tricks and isn’t too easy. The character interactions are more fun than the main plot. It’s not like the story never gets serious, but it doesn’t try to be too dark or too serious or mind-blowing. It’s about having fun and fulfilling expectations. So if you weren’t interested in the game based on the promo materials, I don’t think there’s a pleasant surprise and that you should change your mind. If you are interested, it’s worth a playthrough. I did it immediately on Refrain and recommend that mode – sure, some stuff is out of order but nothing is confusing.

I’m just so happy that there’s a Shining game that actually lived up to its promise. Of course it’d been awesome if it had exceeded them, but meeting expectations is a good start. Finally!

Valkyria Chronicles 3 Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 2:11 pm by riulyn

Good stuff

  • likeable characters + side chapters to help make each of them memorable
  • job class system is good
  • combat is solid
  • no shortage of customization

Bad stuff

  • maps weren’t that interesting most of the time
  • some chapters felt padded
  • missions felt kind of disconnected and plot really only takes off halfway through
  • no apparent reason to do the Riela & Imca split stuff

Overall recommendation – Test out the first few chapters. If the combat seems to your liking, go further. It’s a long game and there are a lot of battles, so if you can’t take the battle system, you won’t be going far.

Other thoughts: There’s more of a purpose and a maturity to this game compared to Valkyria Chronicles 2, but brings the good parts of Valkyria Chronicles 2 such as the expanded number of job classes and cameos from previous games. However it brought some of the bad from Valkyria Chronicles 2 mainly maps that get reused without interesting new objectives (lots of maps that they expect you to S-rank in 4-5 turns) and a story that isn’t quite streamline. I wouldn’t recommend this game as a first Valkyria Chronicles game – definitely think the first Valkyria Chronicles is the best one I’ve played. I’m looking forward to Valkyria Chronicles 4 though!

June 29, 2018

Persona Q Quick Review/Thoughts

Posted in video games tagged , , at 1:13 pm by riulyn

TLDR Solid effort. Play more for the gameplay than the story, because story takes a while to get going. Don’t play this game if you don’t like Etrian Odyssey-type dungeon crawling. Lots of skits – still feel it was a mixed bag but everything is better at the end. More thoughts bulleted below.

  • Game is longer than a normal Etrian Odyssey game because of the dialogue
  • Dungeon design is pretty great. But it can take a long time to get through a floor. Sometimes I felt like I was never making progress. Avoiding some of those FOEs could be really tricky. Puzzles seemed harder than those I remembered in Etrian Odyssey 1 Untold (the only EO game I’ve played)
  • Boss balance is a bit whack. Main character isn’t invincible-ish anymore, but thankfully it’s not game over when he dies, because he died a lot in my playthrough
  • Too exhausted to consider playing as the P4 cast, but I can already tell that there will be some different moments. However, lots of cross P3-P4 talk that probably would be the same in a replay, and I’m not sure I want to go through those dungeons again
  • It isn’t hard to get low level characters up to speed, but it still felt better to just go with a set party and level them up. Secondary personas help you pick your faves and cover some of their weaknesses
  • Rei & Zen are too good as a combo. They are strong and their SP skills don’t take much and do lots of damage
  • Found HP using skills more useful than SP using skills, though SP using skills for healing was necessary due to limited bag space. This was maybe because I never got a support skills to heal SP during battle (I don’t know if any exist)
  • Limited bag space sucks, but is normal for this game’s genre
  • Plot takes too long to get kinda cool (stated above), but it did touch me.
  • Fuuka & Rise best cross P3/P4 duo 😀

I think that’s all I want to say for now. At first I thought “Is this really how the game is going to do interactions?” and was wondering why the game was enjoyed by a good number of the fandom. Later I’m like “Finally taking advantage of the potential from this type of cross-over”. The writers’ humor/style and mine don’t always mesh, I suppose. Everything’s all cute in the end, at least.

June 1, 2018

Sen no Kiseki III Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , , at 7:27 am by riulyn

TLDR Don’t play this game if you didn’t play and enjoy Sen no Kiseki I and Sen no Kiseki II (Trails of Cold Steel 1 + Trails of Cold Steel 2). It’s more of the same (quite like Sen no Kiseki I) except the ending is more abrupt.

The game took me ~130 hours to beat, so probably about 100-110 hours if it were in English. Caveat – I was talking to basically every NPC I could at the beginning all the way through Chapter 3. This strategy is not recommended.

I do recommend playing the Sora no Kiseki trilogy (the 3rd is particularly relevant I think) and Crossbell duology (Zero and Ao are both relevant) before the entire Sen no Kiseki series, but especially before III if you want to enjoy the others without the biggest spoilers explained. However, you don’t have to play the other series before this game in order to understand it at a basic level. The most important knowledge is explained in-game.

Alright, quick review part.

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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…

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