Within the past week I beat both Star Ocean V and Tales of Zestiria, so my head's swimming a bit. I hurt my thumb a bit playing Zestiria towards the end during my marathon. At least I got past an annoying last boss and finished the game (dropped to Simple difficulty, but I don't even care).

Anyway, let's start with Star Ocean V.

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Now onto Tales of Zestiria.

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Summary of thoughts: Both Star Ocean V and Tales of Zestiria are relatively short compared to prior entries in their series. Both have fun gameplay but Star Ocean V is really bare-bones everywhere while Tales of Zestiria at least has some meat to it.

I'd recommend Tales of Zestiria to those who aren't who didn't mind Graces f's combat (I read some people hated it so I figured it was worth warning) and enjoy a more character growth-focused story.

I don't know who to recommend Star Ocean V to except people who don't care about plots but enjoy character customization (and don't mind grinding to get some of the good stuff) and Star Ocean-type battles (I personally prefer Tales combat over Star ocean combat, though they are similar-ish). My favorite parts are the little things that call back to previous Star Ocean games, but there's really not enough substance to it.
I'm not sure why I'm "torturing" myself with another "mediocre" Star Ocean game, if reviews tell the truth. I kind of just want Tri-Ace to keep existing and so far the characters don't make me want to claw my face off, so in that sense it improves on Star Ocean IV. However, I'm worried about how Infinite Undiscovery this game feels instead of Star Ocean 2/3. If I wasn't so tired (for some reason) after returning from France I would probably have more than the 2.5 hours of gameplay time so far. Still, for that little play time it's a bit ridiculous that I'm already level 17... Is the max level like 200 or something?

So far Miki seems fine though she has the annoying "well besides I know you will protect me" line she throws at Fidel to "convince" him that she should go along with him. Fidel himself seems at least to not be as impulsive as most Star Ocean and tri-Ace male leads and acts more like Kanata (main character of Exist Archive). Still a "must protect things and help people" type of person but not rushing off to fight without thinking, thankfully. Victor seems competent. Fiore's outfit is still ridiculous and she's only said a few words so far. Relia just woke up so who knows about her, except she fits the young girl with mysterious powers character build. I'm hoping for some more humor and wackiness to get injected into these otherwise stale character dialogues, though I'm not holding too high of hopes...

Maybe I should have picked up Tokyo Mirage Sessions instead but it reminds me I still haven't gotten the true ending of Persona 4, and I still have P4Arena as well. Also, story-heavy-wise I still need to finish up Sora no kiseki SC this month since the Third will be out later this month.

In other news, Sorey/Mikleo is still canon in Tales of Zestiria, and Rose is awesome. I'll write more about ToZ later.
Today I finished the Valkyrie storyline, or Gwendolyn's path, and started on the Pooka Prince storyline. I have a few things to say about the game so far.

Gameplay-wise, it's what I expected after playing Muramasa. The battle system I think is a bit better because there are more skills you can play around with during battle instead of being limited to three swords with three skills. Gwendolyn is a pretty good combo-master compared to Cornelius so far.

Spoilers below.

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Anyway, I'll be continuing to enjoy the game for battling at the least. I'm not far enough to judge the story/world as a whole but so far it's more serviceable and less compelling.
Tokyo Xanadu does not shy away from anime and light novel stereotypes at all. All of these characters could be slot into another game without changing much backstory. The combination is interesting, though.

All of the spoilers )
Let's not talk about life/careers/crap for now, since I only seem to reluctantly care. Let's talk about the beginning of Tales of Xillia 2. Namely, how it really doesn't start off like any other Tales game. How it has a strange chapter system. How you have the dialogue select system. How you have the debt system.

But it is plenty Tales in the skits, the design. Jude is so freakin' Jude it's silly. He has a way of having awkward first meeting with people... And I am already headcanoning Ludger to be relatively shy, even though reticence /= shyness. I find him cuter that way. With a little bit of a stubborn/rebellious streak. That's how I plan to play him.

Still, it's only been like 2 hours of gameplay at the most, and I'm dying to play as Gaius.
My P3P playthrough has progressed better than I expected mostly due to getting in the grinding groove quickly, so I have already made it to late November. Which means the plan is to finish off this game again sometime this weekend. Unless, of course, I have a lot more grinding left than I remember...

Anyway, this post is dedicated to the adorable, hilarious, and completely awkward around girls but has a vocal fanclub anyway Akihiko Sanada. His social link was one of the reasons why I thought a replay of P3P would be worth it; he already showed moments of "awkwardorkableness" in the male MC's storyline, but his whole social link is brimming with it. Add in a little more info from Shinjiro's social links (which are also amazing) and you make a social link that is almost perfect for me. I am very satisfied with my decision to make Akihiko my boyfriend :)

I guess it's kind of funny being able to "date" the awkwardorkable person who is usually, at least in JRPGs, the main character. The only other person in P3P that I could see Akihiko actually being romantic with is Shinjiro, and while I like my slash goggles I feel like that one is a bit of a stretch. Mitsuru is just too far up the ladder for him; if they were to get together I could only see it happening when both of them matured more. Maybe P4 Arena throws some ship bones out there for them, who knows. In reality I see Akihiko only with FMC if you decide to make it happen (either way he will develop some fondness towards the MC) or with a person we've yet to meet in the universe.

But yes, awkwardorkable. Asks you if the girls who stalk him to the beef bowl restaurant are really hungry for beef bowls. Takes you to a Sweet Shop; almost dies from the sweetness of the food. Learn from Shinjiro that Akihiko is a big crybaby but a punching crybaby. L-love? What is l-love? Glares at you? No, he's just flustered and panicking. Invites you to his room, asks you if he's weird. Suddenly embraces you in a scene too awkwardorkable that Atlus made the screen go black. Thinks you look like a knit rabbit. I can't remember all the moments, but YouTube is there for those who are more interested.

And somehow he can ask you straight out, "Will you be my girl?" I just..just can't deal XD
This game...why do I have such completionist goals for it? Obviously I can't unlock all the supports in one run, but I am still addicted to getting as many as I can...

Main plot...what main plot? XD

I think Tharja might be my favorite character. The characters in this game seemed to be defined by a few major character traits that end up showing up in most of their supports, and Tharja is no exception. Some characters' supports suffer because of that (Kellam's invisible skills are severely overused), but for Tharja she puts on some fun hexes on everyone. Also she openly stalks me which is great :) [Only in a game context, of course.]

Other favorite characters include Miriel, Henry, Maribelle, Lissa, Gaius, and Lon'qu.

I put a list of all the people I've paired up under the cut and how much I actually ship them.
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I haven't stepped into Awakening fandom yet since I've yet to beat the game, but are there certain ships that I should be championing? Shipping wars? Also, I'm kind of annoyed that it's always the guy asking the girl in these supports. If there is one where the opposite happens, let me know that too.

I actually don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to be spending all this time playing Fire Emblem: Awakening since I have the purdy 3DS associated with it, but it's more that I want to finish some other games too. I can't get off my butt to play Okami, because the TV is so far away from my bed...
major spoilers )

I don't think I need to beat this game to recommend it. Plenty of other people have written good reviews of the game. I recommend it but I think it's best played with a level guide for bosses at the beginning, just so you can get a feel for how much you want to grind. But if you worry about spoilers, don't look too far ahead!
Last night I finished up my first run-through of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. Because we started off the game with Eirika, I decided to continue as Eirika the entire game. I've already started my second run-through to get Ephraim's dialogue. Plus second time through the battles are going faster, at least so far.

I did a pretty bad job of unlocking support conversations and obviously got no pairing endings. But thankfully there are lots of FAQs for this stuff, so I can amuse myself there instead of battling over and over again.

While I think overall this is a solid game, there's nothing that special about it. I did enjoy myself and hopefully got better at tactical RPGs. Permadeath made me restart a lot of battles, but optional areas to grind made the end pretty easy. Except when I got a little too aggressive and certain units just tend to die.

Fire Emblem seems to have its hardcore fans and I guess a lot of them hate on this game. It didn't seem like a bad intro into the series though.

spoilers about characters )

I don't know if I'm going to aim for any specific support conversations this time. I already had one for Neimi and Colm, so I guess I'll go for that ending. I'll probably read through the rest of the list and see which ones are amusing and go for those.
Wild Arms 5 is the first game I've played that has a party member with my name, so of course I paid more attention to her. Nah, actually I would have paid attention to her anyway. But I'm glad she isn't some horrible character :)

Anyway, Wild Arms 5 is basically a story about a boy growing up as he acts like himself, gets into other people's business, and eventually saves the world. Well, I think so. I'm only 13 hours in.
Possible spoilers ahead )
Rebecca was clearly intended to be a love interest. But at least for Rebecca, we get a chance to see into her head via little snippets of her diary entries that the game shows you every once in a while. Instead of Rebecca just being the childhood friend who tags along and is there to fall in love with Dean, we get to actually see how she deals and struggles with her emotions and desires. Sure it's nothing original, but the whole game is not aiming to be original. It's aiming to be a feel-good adventure.

And with the rest of the game, while told in a 3rd-person POV, still centers on Dean. Dean, being dense, isn't going to focus or pick up on all the things Rebecca does. Maybe we can figure out everything about Rebecca from just the general POV, but the confirmation and perhaps the moments of focus on Rebecca highlight the fact that the developers want us to not see Rebecca as the love interest that happened to tag along, but a character worth empathizing with.
People love to proclaim that one character that would be their perfect lover, if the character existed. I'm sure I could come up with a few that would work great for me. However, so far only one character has stood out as that one character that I want to be.

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Okay, lame post title, but I managed to get quite a bit farther in Lost Odyssey over this weekend and yesterday, and a huge load of plot was dumped on me. I am rushing to finish this game because my brother wants to exchange the XBOX360 I have with his Wii in November, so I need to finish this and Nier before then.

Spoilers ahead for Disc 3 )

I don't know what else to say. In summary, this game is so good because of its characters and how "real" they are. It may not be my favorite game in the end, but it's a damn good experience.
Suddenly a bit of "I want to talk about the games I've played" has hit me and thus some more quick thoughts.

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I decided since I wanted to post but I couldn't think of a specific topic I would just jot down some quick thoughts on characters I thought of. A-Z with the first character I think of.
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I actually finished playing FFVII: Crisis Core on Thursday and cried a bit because of the ending. Let me tell you about the game.

MAJOR SPOILERS )

In the end, I recommend the game to any main game FFVII fan but probably not to someone who hasn't played the main game first. The story has much more impact if you know the main game's story and you will want to explore the world more to get the finer details. Otherwise this game is really short and the battle system is wonky. Also I think the faster pacing and compactness of this game might make the main game seem clunky and aimless at times, which could down the main game experience if the main game is played afterwards.

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July 2016

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