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Blustone 2 Is Out!
Hawkwing posted a topic in General Gaming(Fair warning ahead of time that this will be me rambling about a game you've probably never heard of, and even more likely will never play, but I was so excited when hearing this announced and playing it for myself that I felt I had to say something. Another thing: The game has constantly updated before with several quality of life improvements and has done so without much fanfare, so some of my observations about the game may have already been there for a while, and I'm only just noticing them now.) Okay, so technically it's not really a full sequel, but a massive update, but considering that the game has been out for over a year and a half, with several significant and subtle upgrades inbetween, I think Visualshower is allowed to call it Blustone 2. But man! I have not played the game in quite a while due to real life getting in the way and other games grabbing my attention, but when I checked the website to see if anything new had happened was it great to be greeted with this: Yep! They were making a massive update! Something I had apparently missed was them adding a new mysterious picture every 3 days that hinted at the upgrade. I'll put those pictures in a spoiler below: When Visualshower officially announced that the game was becoming a sequel, they focused primarily on five things they were adding: A new guild system. The addition of voice acting. Improved character motion. An updated story system. Improved battle animations and effects. Taking them one at a time, the game already allowed you to have friends who helped you out on challenge areas such as the abyss or looking for lost hunters. However, the guild system allows you to donate in-game money or other resources to help your guild out in exchange for bonuses such as reducing the prices for training or the amount of fuel used in exhibitions. Pretty much similar to other games that have such a feature, but now Blustone has it, and it's a welcome addition. Voice acting is a welcome surprise, and something I personally wanted, but never held my breath for. Now it's here! The only voice actor they mentioned was "Rie Takahasi", a name I'm personally not familiar with, but perhaps someone else has heard of them. Visualshower has mentioned that they'll add more voice actors depending on the reception. I'll get to my thoughts on it below, but I'm positive that they'll constantly expand upon this. As for improved character motion, well, it's easier to show than explain: The two on the left are the original animations, while the three to the right are the new ones. They will also be using similar effects on the special attacks, which I'm especially exited for. As for the story changes and battle improvements... well, how 'bout I start talking about my impressions of Blustone 2? Thoughts and First Impressions: I did have to update the game from the gamestore, as apparently it was too big to just start the game and have it update there. With that said, I still saw what the intro/loading screen looked like. It's a small change, but the background is now dawn instead of the afternoon, and the new logo appears, which changes colors. As I said, it's small, but noticeable, and I'm glad there's some difference between versions is as early as the start screen. Right off the bat, the menu music has been changed, and it's even better than before! After noticing that, I went to pick up daily supplies, and what do you know! Schumann has a voice! It's in Korean, where the company is based (although they have a really good translation team. The game updates all versions simultaneously, and the everything is grammatically correct and fun to read. The worse I've seen them do is the rare typo, and usually that's fixed pretty quickly) and thought it's not present for every single conversation, as I quickly discovered when going through the few questions you can ask him, it was still nice to see it was there. After grabbing the daily fuel, I immediately checked out the story scenes that occur when you start the game and go on exhibitions (this is different from the other story mode. I'll get to that later). The first thing I noticed was there were now grunts in the cutscene that plays when you first start the game, and once the dialogue popped up, Captain now has a voice! Again, it's in Korean, and I can't understand a word he's saying, but from the impressions I got, they did a very good job. He pauses for the right amount of time when it's present in dialogue, they sound tired, angry, or scared when appropriate, and all around I think the voice is fitting. Indeed I could honestly say the same about the entire voice cast. The voices sound like they fit the character, and so does the tone and the manner that they use when the character speaks. The games few cutscenes also ran a lot smoother than they did previously, where they stuttered constantly. I don't know whether this is due to my phone or the game, but regardless, I'm glad the problem is gone. I'm glad to see that the multiple dialogue choices only present at the beginning of the game are voiced. It still find it hilarious that when my evil doppleganger tells me that the world isn't fair and never was, I can either call his line cool, cringeworty, or tell him that he should file a complaint to the Human Rights Association if he's been wronged. If only more games offered that choice. The game also gave voice clips to the very few times an animal enemy spoke up. I wasn't expecting them to have a sound effect for that, so it was a pleasant surprise. The voice acting doesn't last forever, unfortunately. Get past Lapis, who's the first character you meet/fight when going off on exhibitions, the rest of the characters and interactions with the various hunters don't have it. With that said, every NPC who runs a certain function of the game does have voice acting, a new moving portrait, and artwork when they're introduced. They added the artwork before the Blustone 2 update, but it's till nice to look like. They can be a little random and simple, but it's a nice way to introduce a character, and it's well done all around. Onto the story mode, which replaced the missions, well, it's more story than gameplay driven. Point being, expect 5 to 6 conversations and only two fights for each episode. With that said, these sections do include voice acting, and the writing is well done if a little quick to explore story moments that in the previous incarnation were more slowly provided, and each chapter has one scene of artwork. They also feature voice acting, although it's sadly dropped about halfway through. I get the impression that they'll add voice acting later, but I was kind of disappointed that I didn't get to hear what (best healer) Acelrola and (not!Navarre) Karl Steiner sounded like. They did hint that they'll add more episodes in the future, so it's only a matter of time. As for how these story sections play out gameplay-wise... well, I've been playing the game for several months, so I do have a pretty powerful team, even if none of them are at 5-stars yet. There's no fuel time limit to these fights (although there is a normal time limit), characters don't gain experience from battling, and there aren't any rewards other than continuing the story. On the flip side, it also means that there is no penalty for a character being knocked out in the middle of a fight, so you can bring your most powerful units in and apply simple brute force tactics that you wouldn't dare use in a different mode. As I had played the game for several months, I breezed through them, although I would say that it would take a new player some time before they managed to get through a few of the missions, as they do jump pretty high in difficulty with each episode. I do wonder if they removed the previous missions mode entirely, or if it's just hidden somewhere. I'd be disappointed if it's gone for good, because while some of the interactions were for simple comedy value with some character backstory sprinkled in (for instance, one conversation had two characters fight over getting a final piece of bread, an engineer-minded girl stole the Captains electric sword from right under his nose, the Captain has to "diffuse a bomb" at a double blind date, and a couple more), others were more story and character focused in a good way and were an interesting read (such as Gerard still searching for his missing sister, despite her leaving to atone for past actions, or Robin providing some wise advice to the Captain about how we affect people in ways we don't always realize, or Locke giving a story dump of information). Especially since I didn't unlock them all, and I heard that Levi's was hilarious and Scar's would shed some light on his backstory. As for other gameplay related things, I am very, VERY happy that they say what the special attacks do now in the middle of combat. Before, you only knew what they did when upgrading skills, but now it will tell you directly if a special attack reduces enemy defenses, or boosts a characters crit rate, and so on. They also have the characters portrait pop in with the name of the attack, which is also cool. Sadly, not every character has the improved motion thing mentioned early, and their movements are still kind of stiff. That characters that do have it, though, look GREAT. Lanterns attack especially looks extremely smooth, and even better is they changed the animation for when his special attack does additional damage. Lapis special attacks and movements also looks smooth, and I can't wait to see what the rest of the cast looks like when they get these upgrades. Characters that also speak now have grunts when attacking, which is a small but a nice effect. Visualshower also changed how exhibition works. The levels are now almost insultingly easier than they were previously, but in exchange they quadrupled the number of areas you can explore. I personally have mixed feelings on this, only because I thought that the original had a balanced difficulty curve with the exception of bosses (who start out fine, but start growing a little to hard for their own good. Especially egregious with defense characters, who are designed to take a while to defeat), but at the same time, I can easily breeze through these levels until they start growing difficult again, and I can use it as an opportunity to level up cannon fodder units and finally get around to turning my four-star hunters into five-star beast. All in all, Blustone 2 made an excellent first impression. While I still have to get used to the new changes, it's pretty clear that Visualshower is planning to constantly improve what they added, and I can wait to they do next!