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9 hours ago, BrightBow said:

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition

Gotta double check that I don't get the names mixed up. Anyway Tales of Vesperia is... not good. Only time I recall feeling enjoyment with the game is when the final boss had a lengthy conversation with the party's dog. Otherwise the game was very much devoid of humor or any other kind of joy.
In terms of story the game just never goes anywhere. Combat is fine, but it's not like it's any different from the other tales games that I put hundreds of hours into. Asset recycling also seems even worse then in other games in the series as far as I can tell. I'm currently 30 identical floors into the secret dungeon and it still keeps going. Hard to feel any sense of progress when every room looks the same. Which really embodies my whole experience with the game: Tedium with no payoff.
2.5/10

Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy it! I thought that Yuri was the best part of the story, personally I think he carries the cast.

For the secret dungeon, do you mean the Labyrinth of Memories? 

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Currently playing a game called Orangeblood. Its visuals and music are good but so far, the game has so much fowl language that its disturbing to me...

 

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1 hour ago, lightcosmo said:

For the secret dungeon, do you mean the Labyrinth of Memories? 

The Necropolis of Nostalgia.
Was apparently added in the Definitive Edition / PS3 Version.

The gimmick is that each floor contains a labyrinth that is traversed in battle mode.
Which is a neat idea, but it really overstays it's welcome after the first few dozen floors. I just hope the 30th floor finally marks the end here.

Edited by BrightBow

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Playing Ys Memories of Celceta, been HEAVILY enjoying it, while not quite as fun as Ys 8 and 9. I really enjoy the overall cast and everything about the game ontop of the gameplay. 8 and 9 have a few hiccups for me there (not many but still), so Celceta might be becoming my favorite Ys overall. 

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10 hours ago, BrightBow said:

The Necropolis of Nostalgia.
Was apparently added in the Definitive Edition / PS3 Version.

The gimmick is that each floor contains a labyrinth that is traversed in battle mode.
Which is a neat idea, but it really overstays it's welcome after the first few dozen floors. I just hope the 30th floor finally marks the end here.

Ah, alrighty. I admittedly didn't do many extras, so I wasn't sure. Yeah, it sounds pretty tedious.

Is there a silver lining at all?

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currently I play Skyrim. I add a lot  of scary and survival mod to it, include encounters, wars mod. Better play it at night ( at nighttime in the game too). Dont use fast travel or use house. U will experience a world full of chaos, and scary to travel at night. (the enemy, monsters, assasins, ghost, v.v... will attack you from the somewhere in the dark)

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I'm trying Banner Saga.

I've heard that the choice and consequences is better than the combat which supposedly becomes repetitive.

Not very far... but it seems to encourage keeping enemies at low health to force them to waste turns when they could be cycling to their healthy guys. It's kinda prevents snowballying, but creates problems that are equally  as bad. I will keep going and see how it pans out when the game gets harder and more abilities are involved.

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So, I just finished 3 games on consecutive days (I was near the end of all 3).

 

The Golden Deer story.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

 

 

 

To be played:

The Outer Worlds

Fire Emblem Three Houses - Ashen Wolves, Blue Lions, and Silver Snow

Trails in the Sky 1-3

Trails of Cold Steel 1-3 (if I like Sky)

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I am currently playing Thracia 776 for the first time. Got to Ch.6 last night and I am really enjoying it so far. Once I beat Thracia I am either going to go straight into Tear Ring or take a break from FE and play RE2 remake again as I am really hyped for RE3.

Edited by Ranmo

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I recently got back into Fate/Grand Order, mostly because I watched the Case Files and the Babylonia anime. Now I'm starting to remember why I dislike timed events as the event grinds can be pretty tough and time-consuming. That aside, I still love the setting and characters of the Fate series, as well as its storytelling.

Currently around floor 70 of 100, and then I have to scale the tower again for the latest event. While grinding out the event sucks, the gameplay and story is interesting enough to keep me going (as well as the rewards as I'm material starved at the moment.)

* * * * * * * * * *
Starcraft 2

I somehow found myself going back to Starcraft 2, specifically playing the Co-Op missions and messing around on the Arcade with the custom maps. Something about progressing with the different coop commanders on maps with varying objectives is satisfying, and it fills my RTS void.

As for the Arcade, I mostly play Crap Patrol 2 ("Hero Siege," Control a hero and annihilate your foes), Oh No It's Zombies Arctic Updated (A game where a player can control the zombie horde while other players play as humans as they attempt to evacuate the facility), and Undead Assault Chronicles (A zombie game where the player controls a soldier and fights off the undead in various game modes).

I find myself trying to limit my time playing Starcraft 2 so I can actually play fulfilling games instead or work on my projects. Once I start playing, it just pulls me in and it is difficult to get out (the classic "one more match" problem).

* * * * * * * * * *
Warcraft 3, Classic

Man, I thought I would be hyped and excited for Warcraft 3: Reforged. While I wasn't going to get it immediately, it was something to get somewhere down the line.

The problem? They force classic War3 users to use the Reforged client, and the Reforged client absolutely sucks. The classic client for Warcraft 3 is gone, so unless you have the actual disks or access to older versions of Warcraft 3, you will be forced to play War 3 in the Reforged client. The UI is terrible, custom games are always online, and if you want to play offline, you need to download something else to even play! Oh, and the campaigns seem broken as they like to auto-defeat you when you attempt to start them. There's a reason where Warcraft 3: Refunded is a thing.

Aside from the terrible, terrible client, I managed to get a single game of classic Warcraft 3 in. While the gameplay is the same, some of the new sounds and voices somehow made their way into the classic version which is somewhat off-putting. The fact I had to make a custom online game to play a match is ridiculous, and the fact the game downloaded like 25G worth of data (presumably for Reforged), when I only have access to Classic!

So yeah, I'm not too happy with Blizzard with their treatment of Warcraft 3. Maybe it'll be fixed somewhere down the line as Blizzard always has launch problems, but attempting to fix something that wasn't broken in the first place is ridiculous.

* * * * * * * * * *
World of Warcraft, Classic

Despite my reservations with modern Blizzard, I still play their "older games." WoW Classic is a nice nostalgia trip (even though I actually joined WoW in the dying days of the Burning Crusade), and it helps I have a family member that I play with every now and then.

I don't play WoW Classic all the time, but it is fun to log in every once in a while to level my characters. I tend to be an alt-a-holic, but my main is currently a Human Fire Mage due to their ease of play. (I used to main a Paladin back in Wrath and Cataclysm).

* * * * * * * * * *
Fire Emblem Three Houses: Crimson Flower, NG+ Maddening

This is my 5th playthrough of the game as I always wanted to go back and try out Maddening mode and attempt to max out some characters. The current run is fairly casual as I haven't been playing it much lately, but that may change as I would like to finish it before the DLC drops. Problem is I'm still in Part One...

Playing through NG+ Maddening mode is pretty fun, as the NG+ elements level out the playing field. While I would still love a post-game mode for Three Houses, I don't see that happening as IS may end up working on the next project after the DLC is done.

Crimson Flower was my first route in Three Houses and I actually considered doing a normal NG CF Maddening run. While I believe I managed to get past the Red Canyon chapter, I ended up tossing that run as I don't think that run would be worth the time invested. I cleared the first five chapters of Awakening's Lunatic+ on Classic without anyone dying, so I think I'm good in trying to prove my tactical superiority.

I never got around to my F!Byleth runs, and I'll have to play through CF again as M!Byleth with the DLC story enabled to see what is all different. I wonder if I'll ever get around to doing all of those runs...

* * * * *

EDIT: Eh, the Warcraft 3 Reforged thing was so sour I ended up uninstalling Starcraft II and Warcraft 3. Man, it's hard to separate "Old Blizzard" with "Modern Blizzard," especially since the modern version is the one that gets all the profits and benefits for playing and buying their games.

While I would love to also quit WoW Classic, playing together with a family member is still important. While I tried to get them to play other games, the default is always WoW. (At least they are playing Classic which I'll actually play instead of the current retail version of WoW).

Edited by Sire

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I'm currently playing Atelier Totori DX, after finishing Atelier Rorona DX last week and Atelier Ryza last month. I'm really enjoying the Atelier series so far, I wish it was more popular.

And despite the critics Atelier Totori received for its strict time limit, so far I'm enjoying it more than Atelier Rorona, thanks to the more interesting characters.

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Final fantasy tactics advance 2, all missions / brightmoon tor 3. Only about 30 missions left, then the grind for decent characters for tor since I've cheesed most of the later missions with ether cannon --> geomancy + illusions / smile toss which means I've been leveling in mostly bad classes .

Sprinkling in vestaria saga whenever I can get on the computer, only one like ch 5 though. 

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So, I just finished Dragon Star Varnir earlier. Here's a review of it.
TL;DR: It's great.

Story & Characters
Dragon Star Varnir takes place on the fictional planet of Varneria, where there is an Empire that worships the Holy God Varnir. This same Empire hunts Witches, in their eyes evil beings who give birth to violent Dragons. Zephy, the protagonist of this story, is seperated from his companions, ambushed and almost killed by a Dragon until two Witches, named Minessa and Karikaro, save him by making him drink Dragon's Blood, thus turning him into one of them.
Witches are destined to give birth to Dragons. To that end, they eat their meat and drink their blood, which makes the dragon inside them grow until it eventually eats its way out of her stomach. If a Witch refuses this, she'll go mad.
Basically, Witches have two choices: either give birth to a dragon and die or go mad and die. This is the premise to a very intriguing and very well written plot by the people at Compile Heart/Idea Factory. The execution of this premise is even better. The twists and turns this plot throws at you are heart-wrenching, to say the least. From the backstory of Zephy to the truth about Varnir, this story will punch you in the gut. A lot. It's not Neptunia Re;Birth 2 Conquest Route level, but it is certainly up there.
When its not punching you in the gut, it will warm your heart with plenty of cute and peaceful moments and interactions between the fantastic cast of characters. The characters are definitely this game's strongest point. They are all very likeable, incredibly well written and their interactions are both fun to watch and absolutely heartbreaking, knowing the fate that eventually awaits them, as they are all Witches. Even the most heartwarming of scenes will leave you on the verge of tears as you know that there is a Damocles Sword floating above everyone's heads: go mad and die, or give birth to a dragon and die. Following their stories, seeing their familial relationship develop and grow is definitely THE driving point to keep playing.

Aside from the six main playable characters, there is also a colorful cast of side characters, with one highlight being the little sisters of the older Witches you will recruit to your team. Though they are responsible for one of the harshest gameplay mechanics of this game, they were endearing enough for me to stomach it. For you see, the "go mad and die or turn into a dragon and die" Sword of Damocles isn't just a story element, but an actual gameplay mechanic, which makes the whole thing even more heartwrenching to me (more on that in a bit).

Gameplay
It is a turn-based JRPG with a few twists and turns that make it absolutely fantastic to play. Idea Factory/Compile Heart have always understood how to shake up classic turn based combat and Dragon Star Varnir is no exception to that rule. Battles take place in three dimensions, adding three vertical layers on top of the horizontal one. Characters and enemies can freely move between these layers and using this to your advantage is an absolute must in order to beat certain foes. Every enemy in this game is a dragon, yet the enemy design is incredibly varied, meaning no battle will ever feel dull. There are even some dragon bosses from the Legend of Heroes series.
You can have up to three characters in battle at any given moment and you are free to switch between them during the fight as you please. Unlike many other games, switching does not use a turn. Attacks are split into three categories: physical attacks, magical attacks and so-called Devour skills. Both physical attacks and magical attacks have elements and exploiting elemental weaknesses is key to winning fights. Magical attacks are themselves split into three categories, that being offensive spells, healing spells and trap skills. Traps are special skill with a variety of effects, from damage to status ailments, that you can place one on the enemies' side of the field (like a layer directly above or below them) and then force them into them by using physical attacks that can change enemy position or lure them into attack you from a certain layer. This adds a ton of strategy to battles. Sadly, traps are completely useless against bosses, as they refuse to move from their initial position (some even take up multiple layers themselves), so they won't walk into your traps at all. Likewise, some enemies cannot be moved by your attacks, meaning traps, while interesting, will eventually phase out of relevance, as healing spells becomes a lot more important as the game goes on.

The last skill type are Devour skills. Players of Tales of Berseria will remember that protagonist Velvet could use "Devour" on her enemies, gaining additional, temporary effects in battle. Dragon Star Varnir takes that mechanic and improves it a lot. Devouring enemies in this game will net you their "Dragon Core", which allows you to gain new abilities as well as increase your stats by spending Factor Points you gain after each battle in a system not unlike the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X. Before you can Devour an enemy, you first have to raise the Devour Chance by using attacks that are super effective against them. The weaker the enemy gets, the higher your chances of devouring them. This is by far the most interesting mechanic this game has to offer, as it allows for much experimentation and build your characters in many different ways.

Another battle mechanic is Dragon Awakening, which happens automatically once a certain gauge is filled. The character that undergoes this will use the dragon's powers inside of them to transform into a demonic looking version of themselves. For the duration of the transformation (which lasts until the gauge is empty once more), your attacking stats are doubled, granting you a huge advantage. There is also a chance that "Dragon Rage" will occur, making it so your attacking stats are increased even further, but your defenses are halved, making it a double-edged sword. Chance of Dragon Rage increases the lower your HP are.
Dragon Awakening is a cool mechanic, though I do wish you had more control over when it occurs, but since there are no downsides to using it (without taking Dragon Rage into account), I guess it is fine.

Sadly, it is also here that the game's greatest weakness lies: the enemies get downright brutal later on. Bosses will be able to attack multiple times per turn (up to four), and even normal enemies will be able to do that come lategame. Run into a group of enemies that can attack three or four times in one turn will usually result in an immediate party wipe, which, in my eyes, adds nothing to the game besides an unhealthy layer of frustrating bullshit. This is also why I said that healing spells become very important later on. You WILL need to equip every member of your party with them or else even normal battles will turn into nightmares. To add insult to injury, almost every enemy in this game is also a damage sponge, making some battles take longer than they need. The first time you encounter these kinds of enemies is also the first of many jarring spikes in difficulty.
This takes off a few points of an otherwise very enjoyable battle system and I wish devs would stop doing bullcrap like this.

Exploration takes place inside dungeons. As per usual for IF/CH games, the world map, while incredibly beautiful, is basically a stage select screen. The dungeons themselves, however, are fantastic. They all look incredibly beautiful and have a lot to do in them. Each of the playable cast has their own overworld ability, ranging from the ability to warp back home in an instant to destroying certain obstacles, meaning you'll want to switch your on-screen character as much as possible to collect all the treasure inside the dungeons.

Now onto the mechanic I was talking about earlier: after a certain point in the story, you gain the ability to visit the room of the little sisters. There, you are shown two things: one is their current mood, which is indicated by an emoticon above their heads, the other is the so-called Dragon gauge. Feeding them Dragon Meat will fill the gauges and improve their mood, but once the Dragon gauge is full, they will turn into dragons, becoming enemies you have to fight. The emoticon will change the longer you are inside dungeons and if it hits a certain point, the sisters will go mad and die. This basically creates a soft timelimit for the entire game, which can get rather stressful if you don't know what to do.
It is manageable, however, as on my playthrough, all three of them survived until the end.

Another thing you can do is interact with the Witches on you team. Giving them gifts improves their relationship towards you and unlocks character events, not unlike social links in Persona or bonding events in the Cold Steel games. Maxing out this relationship will earn you an epilogue with one of the girls (though if you want a specific one, only max out that specific one, or else it defaults to the first girl on the list). These character events add a lot of development and backstory to them and makes you feel for them even more. I love any such mechanic in games, to be honest, so it was very welcome to see it here.

Graphics
The game looks absolutely beautiful. I played on a regular PS4 and I have never seen the framerate drop, not even in battles.

Music
The main composer is Motoi Sakuraba, of Tales fame. The soundtrack is amazing, in my opinion. Every track fits the mood of what is currently going on beautifully and everything has a somber note to it that adds to the weight of the story quite nicely.

Conclusion
What else is there to say, really? Despite two gripes, I still very much enjoyed this game and everything about it, aside from the fact that traps become pointless and enemies have way too much health for the amount of damage they deal back due to being able to attack up to four times per turn.

This game has two more endings to uncover alongside the epilogues for the other girls AND a postgame dungeon, which means I am not quite done with it yet, but for now, it earns itself a spot on my list of all time favorite games. Maybe even top three favorite games.

Next game on my list: The Legend of Heroes - Trails of Cold Steel III, after which I will probably return to this game to complete it.

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So about two-three days ago (i forget), i "finished" Atelier Ayesha DX. Here's what i have to say about it:

When Atelier Dusk Trilogy DX was announced, i was pretty interested. I had often seen Dusk regarded as "the best Atelier era" and Atelier Ayesha in particular is held in very high regard among Atelier fans. Prior to even being an Atelier fan, i had known about the Dusk trilogy through it's artist Hidari, who also did the artwork for Fire Emblem Echoes. Fast forward to now and Atelier Ayesha is the sixth Atelier game i've played. I played through the Arland series and i played through Ryza and while i enjoyed this game i feel that it falls short in quite a few places.

But let's start with the things i liked: First off, the cast is great, as i've come to expect from Atelier. I didn't see every character event (i don't get how some people manage to view every single event in one playthrough) but i'm content with what i've seen. I particularly liked Nanaca's events. Seeing Ayesha and Nanaca bond over cows of all things was honestly pretty wholesome. But Regina's best girl btw. The music's top notch. Every song in this game is just great. This game's up there with Atelier Ryza for best soundtrack imo. They're both pretty equal and interestingly enough, they succeed where the other fails. Ryza has fantastic area themes but lacks variety in battle themes. Ayesha as fantastic battle themes but lacks variety in area themes. Gameplay-wise, the combat's pretty decent. It felt like Arland (as in the original trilogy, not Lulua) combat but on a grid. The grid honestly didn't feel that important outside of a few occasions. I don't really got much to say here other than it's solid.

Now for the bad. Atelier Ayesha is constantly praised for being the Atelier starting point and after playing the game i genuianly do not understand why. This was my sixth Atelier game and i am 100% serious when i saw that i did not understand most of the mechanics. Alchemy is explained pretty poorly. I never managed to make any items above C-rank because i just never understood how the systems work. All i know is that you put things in the pot and some meters go up or down. Sometimes an effect duplicates and that's bad appearently. There's also CP, which was a thing in Lulua except this time you don't get to pick which traits you want. Traits are automatically incorperated into items unless you run out of CP and there's nothing you can do about it. The weapon system is even worse. Weapons are either dropped by enemies or bought at shops but default weapon are kinda useless without upgrading them. How do you upgrade them? I don't know. You need either whetstones or dyes for weapons and equipment respectively. What they do is that they "transfer the properties". I imagine that's the stats and traits. However, they won't transfer the properties if your whetstone or dye isn't good enough. It need to have the transfer effect. And how do you get that? I don't know, alchemy isn't explained very well. Would it not have been easier to just have a forge? Or synthesize the weapons and equipment directly? Hagel, where were you when i needed you the most?

The game is also just very vauge in general. At first i thought it was gonna be a simple "follow the plot" structure but as it turns out, i never figured out what i was supposed to follow. Optional character events and story events are both marked with the same label so it got confusing as to what you had to do. Vauge directions and poorly explained mechanics make for a rather poor starting point. Atelier Rorona and Atelier Ryza are far better starting points. Even Atelier Lulua is (though i personally don't recommend starting with that one since it's the fourth Arland game and best enjoyed after experiencing the Arland trilogy). Now, in the beginning, i said that i "finished" Atelier Ayesha. I say this because i actually didn't. I got stat-checked by a mandatory boss and since the game is poor at explaining it's mechanics, i couldn't really do much. In the end, i got the boss to 30% HP before it nuked my entire party. Given that i was like two or three cutscenes near the end, i said fuck it and looked up the regular and true endings. Which is a shame since, again, i really liked the cast of this game so giving up on it was a bummer. The only other game i did this for was Atelier Totori except unlike Atelier Totori, i still actually enjoyed Atelier Ayesha (note: all my greivences with Atelier Totori are exclusive to the gameplay, i don't have an issue with anything else about it).

Honestly, the game isn't bad but for a game constantly praised by the Atelier community, i found that it fell short of it. This game also solidifed my Atelier preferences. I prefer Atelier games without time-limits. But when it comes to the ones that do have them, i prefer the more direct and segemented approach that Atelier Rorona had over the long journey approach that Atelier Totori, Meruru and Ayesha have. And Atelier Escha & Logy is basically Rorona 2 so i'm pretty excited to see what that has in store for me.

Current Atelier rankings: Lulua > Ryza > Rorona > Meruru > Ayesha >>>> Totori.

Now that that's out of the way, i can get started Atelier Escha & Logy. I'm also playing Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore but i'm literally like an hour or two in so i don't have much to say about it other than Session Attacks are gonna be addicting to pull off. Oh yeah, i also beat Super Mario World for the first time but i really have nothing to say about it other than it's Super Mario World. Of course it's good.

14 hours ago, Yukiko said:

I'm currently playing Atelier Totori DX, after finishing Atelier Rorona DX last week and Atelier Ryza last month. I'm really enjoying the Atelier series so far, I wish it was more popular.

And despite the critics Atelier Totori received for its strict time limit, so far I'm enjoying it more than Atelier Rorona, thanks to the more interesting characters.

Welcome to the club!

Totori's flaws, imo, are pretty much the entire game design. The time-limit is strict but it's strict because the world map is simply just too big. A big focus of the game is the exploration but exploring anywhere outside of the Arland region is just bad since it takes like 20+ days to get back. This problem could've been mitigated if all the major facilities weren't exclusive to one area. Then there's just the general lack of QoL (such as not being given the option to put synthesized items in your basket when you synthesize them) and combat-wise, everyone just felt like a liability. And if you want the true ending, you have to meet the requirements for literally every other ending, which you aren't doing without a guide (and the already strict timelimit becomes even stricter). Lulua's true end requires all the othe endings being met too but that game doesn't have a timelimit so you can do it whenever.

But hey, if you're enjoying the game, more power to you. And i'll admit, while i didn't enjoy the game itself, i still found everything else to be pretty nice.

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21 hours ago, Yukiko said:

I'm currently playing Atelier Totori DX, after finishing Atelier Rorona DX last week and Atelier Ryza last month. I'm really enjoying the Atelier series so far, I wish it was more popular.

And despite the critics Atelier Totori received for its strict time limit, so far I'm enjoying it more than Atelier Rorona, thanks to the more interesting characters.

Yay, another Atelier friend!
I hope your enjoyment of Atelier Totori will last, because my thoughts on that game are pretty much the same as @Armagon's.

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15 hours ago, Armagon said:

Welcome to the club!

Totori's flaws, imo, are pretty much the entire game design. The time-limit is strict but it's strict because the world map is simply just too big. A big focus of the game is the exploration but exploring anywhere outside of the Arland region is just bad since it takes like 20+ days to get back. This problem could've been mitigated if all the major facilities weren't exclusive to one area. Then there's just the general lack of QoL (such as not being given the option to put synthesized items in your basket when you synthesize them) and combat-wise, everyone just felt like a liability. And if you want the true ending, you have to meet the requirements for literally every other ending, which you aren't doing without a guide (and the already strict timelimit becomes even stricter). Lulua's true end requires all the othe endings being met too but that game doesn't have a timelimit so you can do it whenever.

But hey, if you're enjoying the game, more power to you. And i'll admit, while i didn't enjoy the game itself, i still found everything else to be pretty nice.

 

8 hours ago, DragonFlames said:

Yay, another Atelier friend!
I hope your enjoyment of Atelier Totori will last, because my thoughts on that game are pretty much the same as @Armagon's.

Thanks for the warm welcome!

Yeah, the lack of QoL features is very disappointing, especially considering that this is a deluxe version and that Rorona had them. I forgot several times to put my items in the basket after the synthesis and I had to replay the first 20 minutes of the game twice because I accidentally pressed Y and skipped two cutscenes and there's no dialogue log. That wasn't very fun. I hope Atelier Meruru is better in this regard. 

The game is definitely less relaxing compared to Rorona because of the time limit pressure, but so far I'm enjoying the challenge that comes from that.

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4 minutes ago, Yukiko said:

Yeah, the lack of QoL features is very disappointing, especially considering that this is a deluxe version and that Rorona had them.

What happened is that the original Atelier Rorona recieved a partial remake called Atelier Rorona Plus and that was after Atelier Totori. So Rorona recieved the QoL and Meruru recieved the QoL and Totori didn't. The DX versions (this goes for Dusk as well) honestly just seem to be straight ports but with the all the DLC (though iirc, Rorona's post game is new) which is why Totori still didn't get the QoL. It's really dumb.

Though to be fair, the games are $30 so them being straight ports isn't as much of an issue.

6 minutes ago, Yukiko said:

I hope Atelier Meruru is better in this regard. 

Atelier Meruru is better thant Atelier Totori in basically every regard gameplay-wise. Even bringing back Hom from Atelier Rorona except you get to have both of them now.

 

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7 minutes ago, Armagon said:

What happened is that the original Atelier Rorona recieved a partial remake called Atelier Rorona Plus and that was after Atelier Totori. So Rorona recieved the QoL and Meruru recieved the QoL and Totori didn't. The DX versions (this goes for Dusk as well) honestly just seem to be straight ports but with the all the DLC (though iirc, Rorona's post game is new) which is why Totori still didn't get the QoL. It's really dumb.

Though to be fair, the games are $30 so them being straight ports isn't as much of an issue.

Atelier Meruru is better thant Atelier Totori in basically every regard gameplay-wise. Even bringing back Hom from Atelier Rorona except you get to have both of them now.

 

I know about Rorona Plus and how it was improved a lot compared to the original release. But since they improved so much Rorona and since they also added another ending to Meruru Plus despite being just a port to the Ps Vita, I wonder why they didn't implement those QoL improvements in Totori... 

At least it's great to hear that Meruru is better!

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I came back to Trails of Zero because Tokyo Mirage Sessions didn't meet my expectations. 

Finished chapter 1.

I really like this game (especially gameplay since it's similar to Cold Steel) - despite not understanding most part of it - but I wished it had more party members.

This is the main issue which bothered me in Sky FC, and is also the reason, why it's the only completed Trails game I have not replayed yet.

I love having variety in the party.

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I played Breath of Fire 2. It arrived on the Switch's SNES app soon after I finished the first one. The localization for this game lives in some infamy, as Capcom decided they could do a better job than Ted Woolsey. But nobody schools the Wools. The English script for this game is, frankly, incoherent. Broken English, proper names getting confused, and juicy Japanese mishaps. Like Fishing Rods being called fishing "lods". Or the Circlet headgear being called "Socklet". Not all mishaps are fun though, like the fusion menu, Where "Cancel" is actually Confirm and No means yes. How such crucial errors got into a core mechanic of the game, I'll never know. The story, at least the parts I understood with such stilted dialogue, is actually not that bad. I do feel a bit conflicted with its thematic message. Like any self-respecting JRPG, this is a game where you eventually fight god with the explicit power of friendship. Nothing wrong there, except the god is Capital G - God. And the game insists on painting organized religion as an evil, corrupting influence both past and present. There's some uncomfortable scenes of possessed characters praising God as they explode in SNES era JRPG fashion.

In terms of gameplay, it's a mixed bag. I complained that the first game was extremely hard for its first half hour before becoming a cake walk for the rest of the game. Breath of Fire 2 kicks your ass start to finish. The enemy encounters just get brutal. There are plenty of ways to cheese the game's intended difficulty, but even when equipped with the most optimal tips and tricks, I still had repeated deaths. I also miss some features of the previous game, such as the second wind mechanic on boss fights, or an item that allowed you to avoid encounters. The latter would have really helped with the final dungeon with its absurd encounter rate. And for some reason the Exit spell just doesn't work on half the dungeons.  I also got frustrated by how you lose your fusions not just when the party member dies, but when they enter critical health. They also lose transformations during certain cutscenes - another issue from the first game. Your walking speed is still slow, but I feel environments are far more condensed. Unfortunately the game tasks you with a ton of backtracking about a third of the way through the game. And you won't have the helpful warp spell at that point.

If there's one reason to check out Breath of Fire 2, it's the town you get to build. I was blindsided by this being in a SNES rpg. Your decisions in terms of tenants affect the gameplay quite a bit. Fusions also really encourage customizing your party in ways I like. I rate this game a 5.4 out of 10. I think the first game is much less frustrating to play, but I have to admit I'll probably remember this one much better in the future.

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Since I'm currently waiting for everything to come off of cooldown in Grand Order and I'm basically in endgame grind mode in almost every other game I'm playing, I think now's a pretty good time to just go through some of my games from the past few months.

I'm not sure if I just have good luck picking games that I enjoy or if I just have really low standards for enjoyment.

 

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Spoiler

The only thing better than a Monster Hunter game is its expansion.

 

Code Vein (PS4)

Spoiler

I picked this one up in October with the promise of anime Dark Souls, a really good character creator, and cute girls, and I was not disappointed, even if what I ended up staying for was the story instead.

Honestly, the story took me completely by surprise and is probably my favorite part of the game. Every time I played through the game again to get a different ending, I'd notice more things that I missed in previous runs due to things just clicking into place (and me being bad at reading Japanese quickly). Pretty much all of the characters are likable to some degree, even the sidequest NPCs (except maybe Matthew because he's even more of a cowardly scrub than I am), and I found myself invested in each of their story arcs.

Also, the Big Bad is simultaneously likable, hateable, and utterly badass. And has a pink laser greatsword. And it feels so good when you finally beat his face in.

The voice work in Japanese is also top notch with big names for pretty much everyone. My personal favorites are Hayami Saori (Caeda in Heroes, Ushiwakamaru in F/GO) as Eva Roux, Ohtsuka Akio (Iskandar in Fate/Zero) as Gregorio Silva, and Hayami Shou (Tohsaka Tokiomi in Fate/Zero) as Juzo Mido.

And speaking of sound, the music is also incredible, being composed by Shiina Gou, who also did a lot of work on the music of Demon Slayer / Kimetsu no Yaiba.

The gameplay is good, but could use just a bit more polish. It's most notable when trying to backstab enemies because it sometimes registers from extremely strange angles, and there are a few bugs and inconveniences involving the targeting system that can get annoying now and then.

The maps look amazing visually, but the area gimmicks can be really frustrating. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to punch someone if I have to navigate the Howling Pit one more time. I know everyone out there is complaining about the Cathedral having samey-looking buildings in every direction, but it doesn't get any more samey than nothing but fog in every direction. I guess it shouldn't be too surprising that my favorite maps in the game are the ones with no gimmicks (I'm probably the only person in the world who actually likes the Cathedral).

The class and skills system is really nice. I wish more games would do something like this. Instead of picking a class at the beginning of the game and being stuck with it or picking stats to allocate points to when leveling up, you can change your class at any time and your stats will automatically reallocate to the distribution specified by that class. It does mean you're limited to only stat distributions of classes you've obtained, but it makes it way easier and less stressful and time-consuming to deal with stats because you don't actually ever have to.

Furthermore, because you can change your class literally at any time (even in the middle of combat if you can press the buttons fast enough), you can match your class to exactly the situation at hand. I just wish you could save your builds as full loadouts since there are several classes that work well with multiple builds, but you can only save one build to a class at a time.

I found the game's difficulty to be pretty reasonable. I played my first 2 playthroughs with the AI companion, which makes the game difficult, but reasonable, for a scrub like me, but I played my third playthrough solo and had a pretty fun, but rough, time actually learning boss patterns for real (and being terrified of normal enemies that I also had to learn). I have not yet tried bumping up the difficulty on a New Game+. Also, the second Tower of Trials challenge map still tears me a new one.

The character creator is incredible. Probably the best one I've seen in a game that isn't 18+. There are still improvements to be made (like actual visual sliders on accessory positioning instead of just eyeballing their position), but it's still amazing.

I was not expecting this game to be as good as it is.

 

Code Vein: Hellfire Knight DLC (PS4)

Spoiler

The Hellfire Knight DLC content launched literally last week, and I think I spent upwards of 6 hours trying to clear all of the challenge quests (excluding increased difficulty) on the boss and felt like a champ when I did. So I think I got my money's worth, even if Reddit is still divided. I do wish they'd include more player character customization options, though.

I'm definitely looking forward to the upcoming DLC coming later this month and next month if only because I want to see what other bullshit challenge quests they can come up with.

 

Because trying to kill a Hannibal with only a metal pipe without taking damage is totally reasonable. But, boy, did that feel good.

But it's probably just going to be killing the new bosses with a metal pipe.

 

Pokémon Shield (Switch)

Spoiler

I've had the game for a while, but didn't actually get the time to start playing until around New Year's.

It holds your hand quite a bit and won't stop trying to remind you that Leon is the champion and that Leon is bad at directions and that Leon has a Charizard, but I think the game turned out alright. I don't really care about the National Dex controversy because I don't care about transferring Pokémon in from previous games. That's just too much work.

My biggest complaint about the game is that it's really short and linear. There aren't very many trainers in any of the game's areas and there are no rematches outside of the endgame facilities. I'm not even sure there are even more than 2 or 3 instances of any individual trainer class, which is kind of disappointing, and most full routes and areas have fewer trainers than, say, a single room of Mt. Moon. But with a lot of games currently on my backlog, I guess being short isn't too much of a bad thing.

My other complaint is that they got rid of Mega Evolutions, which I still think is the best "super" mechanic they've implemented so far in the series. Dynamax and Gigantamax are kind of underwhelming, and poking at dens is a huge chore. At least let us breed the Gigantamax factor or something.

Also battle model scaling. Seeing the pool-floatie-sized Wailord was both hilarious and utterly disappointing. Also learning that the normal version of Eternatus should only barely fit in my apartment unit, but looks about the size of my desk.

On the positive side, I think they really blew it out of the park with the character designs this time around. With the exception of how terrifying Opal is, I've grown pretty fond of all of the gym leaders and rival characters (even if Hop is hopelessly incompetent and Bede is... uh... Bede).

Oh, and Dreepy is adorable. Definitely wins the award for best new Pokémon design by a landslide.

Also, Ball Guy is a piece of shit. I want to punch him and steal all of those exclusive balls he's obviously hoarding somewhere and supposedly hands out at an impossibly low rate. (Also, I'm sick of mindlessly wiping the floor with of the Champion Cup with just my Eternatus just to try my hand at getting something good off of his hands.)

 

I do have a copy of Pokémon Sword that I plan to eventually play through, but that'll probably wait for a bit. I'm looking forward to the expansion content, though.

 

Omega Labyrinth Life (Switch)

Spoiler

This is the third game in the Omega Labyrinth series. I played the previous game in the series, Omega Labyrinth Z, on the PS4, and I definitely think this game works way better on a handheld like the Switch. Mostly because thunderstorms made me deathly afraid of suffering a power outage that would cause you to instantly fail a dungeon due to quitting the game without saving.

For anyone not acquainted with the title, the game attracted a decent amount of notoriety as part of the Sony censorship controversy last year when Sony forced the PS4 version of the game to be censored (even changing the game's title) while Nintendo didn't give a shit. It also only has Japanese and I think a multi-language Asian release, so if you want to play it, it'll have to be imported.

The game itself can probably be most succinctly described as "a JRPG with rogue-like dungeons where the boob slider is a game mechanic."

The gameplay is pretty polished with many new quality of life improvements from the previous games in the series, though item management is still kind of a pain; however, I've not played any other rogue-like games so I don't really know how this compares. The story dungeons aren't particularly difficult. You can get through the final dungeon without too much trouble just by keeping your equipment up to date and unlocking your character's active skills. The endgame dungeons are a completely different story, though, but at least the Clock Tower lets you bring your own equipment (meaning you can just max out a Rarity 3 or Rarity 4 weapon and shield and breeze through the first 70 out of 99 floors). I've yet to try the boss rush dungeon (where you are unable to level up) or the other 99-floor dungeon (which doesn't let you bring items or equipment) because they scare me and I'm a scrub who hides behind overpowered gear. But I should probably try them out eventually.

The story is nothing particularly out of the ordinary. It's a rather typical lighthearted case of "the school's garden of everlasting bloom wilted, so lets befriend all of the named characters in our class and go find the evil witch behind it and vaporize her with the power of love, friendship, and boobs." The characters are charming, if a bit one-dimensional. The game is set in a different location than the previous games, so it's a brand new cast of characters, which I found kind of a bummer since I got pretty attached to the previous cast (especially since one of the previous cast's characters is basically Bofuri's Maple, but with all of her stat points specced into attack instead of defense).

My only real criticism for the game is the fact that you're pretty much forced to get the DLC dungeon pack if you want to reasonably farm upgrade books for your equipment. I feel like that really should have just been part of the game to begin with, but it doesn't really matter all that much.

Enjoyable game. Ample fanservice.

 

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)

Spoiler

This is the only game on this list that I haven't actually finished yet. I have Marin in tow and I really want to keep her.

Link's Awakening DX on the Game Boy Color was my first Legend of Zelda game, and I hadn't really played any other until Breath of the Wild. And boy is this nostalgic, though I do miss the original title theme using the Game Boy audio.

The remake so far has fully lived up to my hopes and expectations. I love the clay diorama visual style, though the fact that the game is now in full 3D has made flying enemies insanely aggravating to kill.

I do have one criticism and that's the fact that you don't have the ability to remap any of the controls. I have a bad habit of accidentally hitting the wrong button at times and doing something dumb.

Honestly, I don't think I can actually give this game an unbiased opinion because I'm on a serious nostalgia high every time I turn the game on.


My backlog... (roughly in order of priority)

I'm currently on hiatus from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch). I've basically been ignoring the story to go around collecting Korok Seeds and treasure chests and hunting down Lynels, but I'm about to challenge Vah Lightning Camel (I've so far only cleared Vah Ice Elephant because rain sucks). But I've been lazy because I don't want to relearn how to play the game after being away for so long.

I got through the opening cutscene in Atelier Ryza (Switch). Progress is slow for text-heavy games for me (besides ones with simple vocabulary like Pokémon) since I play most of my games in Japanese and my reading speed is abysmally bad. So it might be a while before I make progress because sitting down and reading through dialogue is something I need to plan time around due to being a huge drain on my brain juice.

I'm still on the prologue of Astral Chain (Switch). I'm finding the controls to be a bit wonky, so it might take some time before I want to try to get used to them.

I want to eventually finish going through the remaining EX-Hard skirmishes in Valkyria Chronicles Remastered (PS4) getting minimum turn clears (the first Kloden Forest skirmish's minimum turn clear apparently requires you to grenade yourself through a wall and over a barricade, which sounds awesome and extremely metal), but that would require me to take the Code Vein disc out of my PS4.

Fire Emblem Three Houses (Switch) is still in its box. I'll get to it eventually. I hope.

So is Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore (Switch).

Edited by Ice Dragon

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Slow progress on Shining Resonance Refrain can be blamed on spending time on Daemon x Machina (which will probably get a port to Steam soon).

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I think I've finally gotten the serious Civilization VI addiction out of my system, for the time being at least. I've logged 2 Domination (Poland, Scythia) 3 Science (Sumeria, Australia, Germany), 3 Culture (Kongo, Brazil, Nubia), and 2 Religious Victories (Arabia, Norway), most on Prince difficulty (and Standard size and speed) b/c the one time I tried King, Russia destroyed me 120 turns in. I've learned a lot after so many trials, errors, and successes, so I've gotten better at the game, but I'm still wary of the boosts the AI gets on the higher difficulties. 

If the major DLC expansions ever go on sale on Switch, I'll buy them (the Khmer & Indonesia pack too). Gathering Storm's resource limitations sound a bit of a bother for war, and I'm concerned the World Ages and Loyalty systems would ruin me. But, I really want those 16 other civilizations.

I then read this "Beyond Earth" Civ spinoff is an unfinished mixed bag. Darned, the idea of a sci-fi Civ sounded great, the Affinities and cities on water seemed appealing. I'll skip it then, too pricey.

 

 

Luigi's Mansion 3 isn't so fun when it gets to B2; its boss I tried once, and it is no fun at all, the controls are horrible. I'm still liking the game though.

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