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.

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May 29, 2016

Let’s talk game soundtracks again

Posted in music tagged , , , , at 10:29 pm by riulyn

I recently picked up a few soundtracks. I would ideally have most of these soundtracks digitally as I really don’t need the physical CDs, but alas I don’t live in Japan and can’t legally get the MP3s unless the company puts them on Amazon US. Which Nihon Falcom did for the Ys soundtracks (thank you!). But anyway, I bought some soundtracks.

  1. Ikenie to yuki no Setsuna (English name “I am Setsuna”). I actually preordered this one and have enjoyed it for a bit. It’s a mostly piano soundtrack. The battle themes sometimes use drums too. The soundtrack basically shows us that the piano can do so much; it is both melodic and percussive. The tracks for the game are not complicated. It is another reminder that simple can be the best. The main theme makes me think of “For River” from To the Moon, though.
  2. Fire Emblem Path of Radiance OST. I was preordering Sora no kiseki the Third Evo and (not a preorder) Zero no kiseki Evo from CDJapan and decided to order some CDs while I was at it. I didn’t own any FE soundtracks and Path of Radiance was the favorite of the games I played. I’m not sure it’d be my favorite FE soundtrack, but it is decent. I probably wouldn’t put it in the top 5 or 10, personally, because I find FE music to be more of the good in the game but not so interesting outside of it sort. Actually, most tactical RPG soundtracks have that problem for me, a topic maybe for another day. I think the 4 CD collection is also not as crazy as the latest 8 CD collections for Birthright & Conquest, though I do think of the tracks I can remember from the newest 3DS FE games, the songs may be better there. The awful 3DS speakers make it hard to judge, though.
  3. Valkyrie Profile OST. I’ve already talked in the past about how I am a fan of this soundtrack. To be honest, it’s not the most logical thought to unite the game’s music with its plot, but somehow it works great. The rockin’ soundtrack is really great for all the dungeon exploring, and the other tracks have the appropriate moods associated with them. Also I have to admit that the first VP game’s OST made such an impression on me that I cannot remember a single track from VP2 or Covenant of the Plume. I think of VP music and can only think of VP1. So if the other games had good music…well I guess it’d be hard for me to recognize that.

I am a bit tempted to buy some Sora no kiseki OSTs on the Amazon digital music store, as that’s really the series I’m into right now (it has taken over almost all my Japanese gaming time). I’m also undecided on the Tokyo Xanadu OST. I feel like the Kiseki OSTs are better (at least FC and SC). Otherwise I’m not sure what to buy now, soundtrack-wise.

Speaking of Tokyo Xanadu, I see that there still has been no localization announcement. I’m thinking it won’t be this year since I think text-wise it’d be closer to a recent Kiseki game than an Ys game, and XSeed has announced Trails of Cold Steel 2 (Sen no kiseki 2) for this year and Sora no kiseki the 3rd for next year, and Ys sells well for them so they’d probably jump on that once Ys VIII releases (my understanding is that Falcom doesn’t let XSEED or others work on localizing the game until post Japanese release). I’m just sad that the TX tag is so dead on Tumblr and I don’t know where to talk about it with my sucky Japanese writing skills. Oh well, maybe I just need to take some time to replay the game and study more Japanese in order to understand the Japanese fandom on pixiv or wherever…

January 31, 2016

Games I want to replay in 2016

Posted in video games tagged , , , , at 8:06 pm by riulyn

Double post today! I’m off to Taiwan for a week on Wednesday, so I’m thinking about my February gaming plans and how I still want to sneak in some replays this year. I know it’s silly, considering the expanding backlog and how behind I am on 2015 games, but I still think it’s nice to replay games, especially when you think about how you want to play that game again and do something slightly differently. Or have a better understanding of what was happening because you didn’t pay good enough attention or the language used was difficult.

Top of my “want to replay in 2016” list is Ar tonelico. I beat the trilogy last summer but I never got past the first ending with Misha in the first game. Also I’m quite interested in replaying the trilogy to really see how the three games connect. Sure, the series has its issues, but it’s unique and fun and I just love its universe.

Next there’s Tokyo Xanadu. I want to replay it to see the character interactions I missed the first time due to not having enough time. Also, it couldn’t hurt to see if I actually learned all the vocab words I put into my flashcard deck due to that game. There was some tricky language in that game.

I also really would like to replay Sol Trigger. I know I misunderstood some things the first time I played. It’s not a terribly long game and I can choose a different girl this time around (though I didn’t really care for that part to be honest, too little development).

Finally, I probably won’t get to it in 2016, but I do want to replay Suikoden Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki as well due to not understanding things the first time around. I’ve started another Suikoden replay run with Suikoden I in Japanese this time around. Unfortunately I know that game too well that I’m not even noticing the Japanese…oh well.

November 26, 2015

Favorite Games Beaten in 2015 (so far)

Posted in video games tagged , , , , , at 12:25 pm by riulyn

Might as well post this now before December comes and I really get swamped in gaming (gotta watch out for Xenoblade Chronicles X eating my life).

Favorite Traditional RPG (7 choices) – Skies of Arcadia
I beat a good number of traditional RPGs this year including Chrono Trigger (DS version), Breath of Fire (GBA version), and Shadow Hearts Covenant, but Skies of Arcadia had so many things that I enjoy in a RPG – characters I love, great sense of adventure, a plot that doesn’t spend much time standing still. It also felt a bit Suikoden to me with the home base and the recruitment, which could never hurt. I also technically beat Suikoden I again this year, but Skies is in my top 5 while Suikoden is probably top 15 or 20, maybe.

Favorite Action RPG (7 choices) – Tokyo Xanadu
I found it hard to make a game I’ve played before in some format, NieR Replicant or Ys I or Ys II, my favorite action RPG of this year considering my attachment to it came years ago. Maybe Tales of Zestiria would have been the actual action RPG of the year if I had gotten to it…
Tales of Phantasia Narikiri Dungeon X gets a few props for the fast-paced linear combat system which is 5000x better than Tales of Phantasia, but the story really sucks there…

Favorite Other RPG (6 choices) – Mass Effect
Tactical RPGs, dungeon crawlers, Atelier, and more are in this category but Mass Effect was finally beaten this year and it was great! Even if it was hard for me to play a lot at once due to the shear intensity of the story. Such a great space RPG. Obviously the writing is quite different but it makes me miss the Xenosaga days…
I do have to say, Atelier Rorona was really addictive and fun for me. I plan to replay that one soon. Meanwhile I was a bit disappointed with Etrian Odyssey: The Millenium Girl. Dungeon crawling just gets too much for me later on, even in a game like Persona where there is much more plot, though at least in EO the dungeons are actually interesting.

Favorite Non-RPG (6 choices) – Blazblue Calamity Trigger
I’ve always wanted to play some Blazblue ever since I actually looked into it due to a sheet music request, and I don’t think the game disappointed my expectations at all of battle system accessibility and storyline. I kind of prefer Calamity Trigger where there is a bit more chaos going on in the plot, but I also enjoyed Continuum Shift too. I will probably pick up Chrono Phantasm at some point next year.
The two short Steam games I beat this year weren’t bad considering they came with the Ys Origin humble bundle I got a few years ago. I just ultimately want more story & motivation behind the games mechanics, even though I know it is all contrived.

Favorite Game Overall – Skies of Arcadia
No surprise here. Seriously.

November 16, 2015

Tokyo Xanadu Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 7:32 pm by riulyn

Tokyo Xanadu is a Nihon Falcom action RPG that just released in Japan on September 30 of this year and was just finished this morning by me. If you want the short summary, it is basically a game more about variety then being complex or deep story-wise or gameplay-wise. It’s an overall solid, enjoyable (at least for me and what I can tell of the Internet) experience but it is definitely not a game changer in any way (unless the sales were good enough that another company will make a game with a similar mashup, which I’d totally be in for). Hopefully non-Japanese speakers can see a localization of this game in their preferred language sometime in 2016!

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