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 guess the good thing is that I have a job that I like and now I can buy games faster than I can play them again. Of course this is because I've fallen for PSN flash sales and the like... But I've also started preordering and importing games again too.

I'm not sure what to talk about right now. I guess I've really upped my Japanese studies and I just beat Tokyo Xanadu and I'm working on Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky First Chapter in Japanese. Actually I reread my thoughts on the game from a few years ago and I have to say that particular introduction scene to Olivier came off as less homophobic to me this time around. It could be something about not understanding the language, but it seemed like Shera calls Olivier a hedonist and Estelle just calls him a weirdo and wonders if all people in Erebonia are like that in which Joshua is like...um no... And Joshua sounded like he was saying he wasn't interested in a homosexual relationship but that one was definitely the hardest to really figure out. Either way Olivier for some reason comes off as way more flashy and I think it is fair for someone to think he is "weird".

I guess I can go back to Tokyo Xanadu and it may be the first game where I only want platonic ships. I can see ship potential for basically anyone and the main character but I just prefer friendship between all of them, especially the main duo. I'm kinda curious what types of fic will come out when the English-speaking fandom begins, though it's hard for me to gauge if there will be a big enough one or not. There's more characters and an easier world to work with in Tokyo Xanadu than in Ys games, and it's a one-off so there's no issues with slow buildup or people just holding off like with the Trails series... Speaking of Ys, I wrote a ficlet for Ys I earlier this year that I should revise and post somewhere, just so there is more fic for the first game than like Adol/Dogi porn...

I'm not sure what else to write for now, just because there are too many things I could write about. I guess that means I need to start writing here again so I don't have that problem :D
I finally started my Tales of Xillia replay, Milla route, in earnest. For some reason it feels like the Milla and Alvin route, though, since I don't remember seeing as many close-ups of Alvin's face last time? Whatever. Focusing on the main plot so I can get to Xillia 2. It's definitely been worth the replay so far. Even though I played this game only a year ago, I feel like I should know the plot better. It definitely feels like a slow starter, but Rowen is with me now so all is good :D

Speaking of Xillia 2, I have tried my best to not look at all the shiny Xillia 2. I do let myself see some gifs sometimes. I just feel like there will be more skits that I will enjoy in Xillia 2. I don't even care if the plot isn't as good. I just want silly character stuff. Also I can totally deal with more of everyone in love with Milla and/or Jude. My ship for ToX1 was Jude/Milla though it was nowhere close to OTP. Just a rare time when I prefer a m/f ship in a Tales game. From screenshots and stuff, I see ToX2 contributes material for all the main Jude ships, or what I assume are the Jude ships - Jude/Milla, Jude/Alvin, Jude/Gaius. And also Jude/Ludger?

I also need to get to Xillia 2 because the outfits are better. A very legitimate reason to play a game XD
Path of Radiance is my third Fire Emblem game after Sacred Stones and Awakening and I'm just impressed by the story and especially the characters and Tellius. And maybe a good reason why this game is so much better than the others is because I like the main cast a lot. I came into the game pretty much only knowing about the Ike/Soren ship popularity but it's hard to tell from the outside whether it was a popular ship due to Lord/Tactician shipping that happens in other FE games or if it was something special. I found that, so far through Chapter 23, Ike/Soren have a lovely dynamic. Also I think I'm incredibly in love with Soren. I just love the way he talks and presents himself, even if it is super blunt and rude. It doesn't hurt that he seems to be super overpowered in my playthrough. He could probably solo a map if I wanted him to. Of course, I'm also taking advantage of Easy Mode to play around with a bunch of characters. It's rather forgiving thankfully.

Ike ship discussion )
Sorry for the double post today. I am at the lab for AC purposes and not for work purposes. I mean, I should be doing work but I can't get off my half-ass motivation. So, games...if only I had brought my DS with me...

Anyway, I have been playing lots of Tales of Graces f and I'm into the "f" part of the game (which wasn't included in the original Wii version) and the game's shipping dial has been turned up to 11. Well, not really that high but it is a dramatic increase and it feels like 75% of the conversations/skits deal with someone's romance or other.

But yeah, since I'll be talking about canon romances, this post will be full of spoilers. I have never been in a relationship so I may not understand exactly how they work, but there's a reason some canon romances work better than others, right?

Significant spoilers for Final Fantasy 8, Tales of the Abyss, Tales of Graces f )

So to wrap up, canon romances need to establish that there is an interest in both sides of the party before declaring a happy ending between them. Character development prior to a realization can also work too if the development of interest is purposely delayed for storyline purposes. Otherwise a sudden "this is the canon romance" declaration will be looked upon with disbelieving eyes.
Warning - slightly spoilerish for Tales of Graces f.

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Anyway, so far the gameplay has been a lot of fun. It's quite different from Vesperia with no TP anymore but CC that is used for skills that also recharges during battle. It's hard to explain and better to just figure out as the game goes. Boss battles are harder than in previous games in my opinion but they allow you to retry boss battles instead of redoing cutscenes so that's a major plus. Also there is adjustable difficulty but I haven't messed with that yet.
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...
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.
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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Oh, Suikoden III. There is so much I wish to do fanfic-wise with this game but I have only played it once and that was maybe 10 years ago? Which is why this following idea won't be written until I have replayed that game, because I've lost the feel for those characters.

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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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