I'm about 6 hours in now, and the game has a nice reference to a certain thing that happens and is relevant to all the games. However, the storyline feels rushed and underdeveloped so far, and it's really hurting the characters as they feel kind of bland. Also there is backtracking which would've been improved with some skip-travel or some more character dialogues while traversing the field.

I guess thankfully my expectations were dampened prior to playing the game due to what I read of Japanese reactions (not direct sources though). Right now the game is at least more fun to play than SO4 for me, so I guess that's one improvement...
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.

Read more... )

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.
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.
18 hours into Shadow Hearts: Covenant (or Shadow Hearts 2 in Japan) and it's been great. I'm enjoying it and it really does everything that's good in the first game even better. It's a little less "dark" though the first game was never really dark but just things creaking in the night, spirits, ghosts, wailing, etc.

It's not necessarily a game I can marathon, as the Judgment ring mechanic means I need to be paying attention and timing things right. 4 hours seems to be my limit. Also compared to the first game the pace is a bit slower here. It's not a bad thing since there is still plenty of plot to go around. The first game was more like a mad dash and this one is more of a stroll.

I did enjoy the cast of the first game better than this group so far due to a bit more wit and intelligence among the first game's cast, but Yuri is still awesome and there's still plenty of wit. I also just saw the one of the big "twists" of the games that really made the decision to play the first game first even better. To get the most out of the second game I really think you need to play the first.

Too bad all these games are kind of expensive. Well, the first two are like $40+ used at this point. I managed to get the third for $30 and I guess that one's more of a standalone.

Also, I don't think anyone would really be offended by the sexual humor of the second game, but it is definitely there and stronger than in the first. There is a certain sequence where you can comment on a certain busty blonde's breasts and I took the "get me out of here" choices because I didn't find her attractive at all. Still the choice is there for those who'd like it.

Finally, I really miss Yuri's trenchcoat. It was awesome.
Since my PS2 was being super finicky yesterday, the only games I managed to load were Wild ARMs 3 and Wild ARMs 4. I went with the latter since I want to join in the Wild ARMs 3 marathon next month. Plus it's the most divisive of the Wild ARMs games, at least from an outsider's perspective.

So far controls feel quite like Wild ARMs 5. We'll see how the battle system really shakes up with what appears to be 4 instead of 3 people on the battle field. The initial HPs in the 2000 range is still weird to me, but maybe it's a Wild ARMs staple? The platforming required so far wasn't too bad but I'm sure there will be a part that will annoy me. Hopefully I will be able to turn off encounters on those screens and just focus on jumping.

As for the story... It seems okay? Sheltered kid going on an adventure, though I do like the fact that the main character admits that he is scared, even when he charges into things. Everyone keeps praising and telling him to cherish his innocence, so I'm not sure exactly what kind of message the game is trying to send us yet. Also just watched a rather painfully scripted cutscene involving the villains. I guess we were supposed to dislike them but I just found myself thinking they were all pretty lame.

Wild ARMs 5 didn't catch my fancy at first either, so perhaps I'll get into it more later. I hear, though, that this game is significantly shorter so the game better become more interesting sooner rather than later.
I've been playing some Shining Hearts and it has been interesting. Well, considering half of the time I don't know what's going on, it's surprisingly easy to play. And I like making bread.

I was thinking to myself, the MC (Luc) is the "stereotypical" young pretty boy who wants to help out. There are dialogue choices so you can be nicer/meaner, but he also says a lot of his own lines. And I don't think he's been allowed to say anything extremely rude or hurtful yet. He's always saying things like "I wonder..." and "Is that okay?". And when he smiles, I'm like "aww so cute."

Anyway, I don't really know what's going on for sure. All I know is that people are starting to join my party. At first I was like, cool, the cat-girl bruiser that runs the antique shop joins since I've given her lots of bread as mandated by the story. But then the Prince casually walks into the bakery, asks for some bread, invites us in, and we have bread and tea with him and his sister. And now I can invite them to do battle with me along with the princess's bodyguard/servant? What???

While we had tea and such, the game had time pass without showing dialogue, so perhaps actual conversations were had. Afterwards the Prince and Princess both called me and my companion "cute" and said they wanted to play/have us visit again. Also something about tea and bread going well. Since the game didn't tell me what the dialogue was really about, I'm just going to assume that the "cute" factor recruited them.

So yeah. I think the game knows that it made a cute MC and wants you to know that they know it.
I've been absent from Dreamwidth for a bit as I am still slowly setting stuff up on my spiffy new gaming PC which I actually haven't been gaming on, since Xenoblade is around. I've decided to take Xenoblade slowly, so at about 10-15 hours/week I will not finish before I'm off on vacation, and that's the point. But I really don't have any other gaming to talk about, so here goes.

If you don't know what a Heropon is, then don't read. )

I do have to say that because you can collect so much stuff in Xenoblade, inventory management can be a bit of a pain. Also characters appear in different outfits depending on the armor equipped, so it can be amusing to see what comes out. It can also end up being butt ugly, but it's all in the name of defensive stats.
Read more... )

In other news, I did start Xenoblade yesterday and it is glorious. It is also humongous. I think I might be playing that game for the rest of my life...
I'm about 20 hours into the game, so I'm guessing I'm near halfway? I'm doing this without a guide so I really don't want to know. My leveling up progress isn't as crazy as it was earlier, where I was gaining 2 levels/hour. I still get lost and manage to gain a level or two doing that. I just can't read that map...

Anyway, I feel like I've seen enough of the game to comment on its story presentation.Spoilers ahead )

For those who don't want spoilers, basically showing a lot of mini bits of plot is good, but make sure not to go overboard and show something that the party is going to see only a few hours later, or have the reveal after the party sees the scene, so the player gets the chance to piece things together him/herself.
I wouldn't consider myself the biggest Valkyrie Profile series fangirl but I do enjoy it. I really liked the first game and the second one was enjoyable though with some rough spots. I picked up a used copy of Covenant of the Plume to check out the game I heard about but not much about, since it was during a time when I wasn't playing much in terms of RPGs. Besides, I have a DS and this is a DS game.

Minor spoilers ahead. )

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