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Random thoughts on whatever JRPG you're currently playing?

Retardo

Learned
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
169
Fewer/less interesting classes: they progress very linearly with each armor/weapon type (fighter -> sword + board fighter -> sword + board fighter v2.0) with almost no hybrid options
Checked their classes, though there really are almost no hybrids, I wouldn't call that too linear.
More looks like shit -> 3 basic classes -> 6 advanced classes that kinda specialize -> one of two endgame upgrades for each specialized class.

No unique units: every character learns the exact same skills from class mastery. One character won't have an affinity with a certain type of elemental magic or what-have-you.

Fixed stat progression: Characters have predefined stats and the levelup screens are just for show. Dubious change from FE's randomization but in practice I definitely found it less fun.
I would argue that it is a flaw. IMO, random stat upgrades were meaningless anyway cause they gravitated to some medians and were limited by caps, and "uniqueness" in FE was done badly, effectively locking the char in one of several classes.

Bosses are immune to damage until you wipe every other unit on the field and enemy units don't move/patrol and they activate together with an xcom-style pod system, making virtually every map play out identically.
Sounds bad.


Can't say anything about the writing, for I didnt watch the letsplay long enough, but character animations in cutscenes are laughably bad, and female models look like they were stolen from one of that "realistic" uncanny valley 3D porn games. I simply do not understand what made go with this route instead of prestigious 2D CG like in Troubleshooters.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2022
Messages
400
ZH9Hu0p.jpg

Monochrome Mobius: Forgotten Rights and Wrongs
Aka the Utawarerumono Prequel JRPG.

When the game started up, it didn't recognize my controller inputs. Had to fiddle around with the keyboard in the options menu for a while before my controller finally worked.

Resolution settings are weird. When display mode is set to fullscreen, the resolution setting is greyed out and locked. You have to set the game to windowed, which then allows you to increase the resolution to 4k, then set it back to fullscreen.

The graphics settings are just "low", "medium", and "high". Can't tweak shadow resolution, antialiasing, nothing.

Started a new game on hard difficulty (might restart on normal later if it's way too hard), and was greeted with empty text boxes:


Restarting the game fixed the blank text issue.


Screen tearing. Going into Nvidia control panel and enabling Vsync for the game fixed this.

Characters on the equipment screen are rendered at a low resolution, for some reason.


Meanwhile, enemies in the beastiary are rendered at full resolution.


Other than those few technical hiccups, the game seems to be fine.



Turn bonuses from Trails are in this game. Sorta. While you can perform turn manipulation, there are no repercussions if the enemy gains a turn bonus. :(
 
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Joined
Jan 7, 2012
Messages
12,442
I have a dream that one day we'll have a FFXII where you can go more than 10 seconds without loading into a new area, and that world will get to shine in all its glory.
And also better gambit settings, with conditions and shit.
Got fucking tired of mages slinging silence on silence-immune mobs.
I dunno, that'd make it easy to instantly know enemy weaknesses since gambits can see anything about an enemy. A bunch of elemental weakness->use element gambits already let you instantly see enemy weaknesses but you can see those anyway with Libra. Having a perfect scripted debuffer seems like it'd make things too simple and automated. Knowing which debuffs to use is already kind of half the gameplay in difficult areas.

Plus if you're just wanting to spam conditions on normal enemies in an area you can just equip weapons that inflict them automatically.

I do with there was way to actually use fucking measures as intended through gambiting though. They unlock nice buffs way before you can get them as spells but using them is absolutely incredibly tedious.
 

Rahdulan

Omnibus
Patron
Joined
Oct 26, 2012
Messages
4,888
Replayed Final Fantasy XIII.
You're a brave individual. I barely played through it once and I was so unenthusiastic I remember it taking seven months to actually muster the willpower and see it through in bursts. I agree the production side definitely deserves all the praise as it was artists running wild. On the other hand, writers pretty much deserve to be lined up and shot. Easily the worst core entry for me.
 

AdamReith

Magister
Patron
Joined
Oct 21, 2019
Messages
1,782
RPG Wokedex
Played through Shining Force for the first time last week. I can see why this series gets so much love, the gameplay is brilliant but the character design and sense of humour really catapult it to the level of all time great.

I would have played it much sooner if I had known it included centaurs with bazookas as playable characters. Also the wizards plan to transform people into chickens as a long term food supply initiative was both chilling and hilarious.

Sprite art is just magic, it just hits me somewhere I haven't really felt since I was a kid. Music is wonderful too. Sick that I missed this one, had a genesis growing up but was never able to rent a game that wasn't shit.

Mapping out Shining in the Darkness in excel now. Really impressed with what they acheive with the minimal character interactions present in a DRPG.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2021
Messages
956
Played through and finished SMT: Nocturne, on hard difficulty and mostly blind (I didn't use a fusion calculator or online maps, but I did look up where to go to get to the next dungeon a few times.) The game was really good, but also very frustrating. People say the difficulty of the game is overstated, but I cannot possibly see that being true unless you look up mechanics on the wiki or know how to fuse all the fiends. The game was absolutely brutal to the point that I don't think anyone actually playtested hard difficulty. The first tutorial tunnel required about 15 restarts because if my character missed a single attack it became mathematically impossible. Once I got into the rest of the game things were mostly doable, but every random encounter had about a 3% chance of being impossible, with many encounters where the enemy would act first and kill me in a single turn. The game has an agility stat and a luck stat which theoretically help a lot with the rng, but after my playthrough I found out the agility stat is broken and completely useless, and the luck stat is heavily undertuned, meaning the points i allocated to them were pointless. The only other way to mitigate rng is by using magatama and demon fusion to create an mc and a party that's immune to the attacks that the most common enemies in the area use. Unfortunately this requires knowledge of the wide list of random enemies in each area, a retarded amount of money because of the unfathomable magatama costs, and knowledge of how to fuse the right demons (which is very difficult without a fusion calculator.) SMT V is a bad game but the compendium fusion option is a nice addition so that you don't have to go check a fusion website to form a party.

This sounds like me complaining but it's only half complaining really. Hard mode was frustrating and some clear improvements could be made (there's a mod that fixes some of the things I mentioned,) but it was also a nice challenge. The game was unfair bullshit but that made it extremely rewarding when I managed to understand and abuse the mechanics. After pretty much every boss fight I cheered with elation. On the topic of bosses they felt way more fair than the random encounters, and were the highlight of the game for me. Obviously Matador is infamous, but I thought the trial of fire he puts you through to force you to learn combat was a lot of fun. Trumpeter was super unique and required a totally bizarre form of hp and party management. The three sisters was too easy but I loved the idea of three bosses that you have to beat without resting in between, and then have to fight all at once later.

One of the common criticisms of the game was that the story was limp because the characters were weak, but I disagree. For a lot of people nowadays it seems like the only type of character they can accept is one that's highly developed and relateable and believable. Those are all good ways to create a character but Nocturne is a bizarre game that takes place in an ephemeral limbo world, and i find it fitting and compelling that it's characters are just as bizarre and otherworldly as the vortex world itself. The cutscenes with each character explaining their ideal world, and the cutscenes where they later go completely fucking insane drives home the corruptive nature of the hostile world they find themselves in, and meshes well with the players experience of the world (at least on hard difficulty.)

I got the freedom ending on my first playthrough, which I honestly found pretty disappointing.
The lead up was great, with being questioned about your humanity and with Yuko constantly reaching out and being the only sane person, but also too weak to have a reason because of it. The actual ending itself was crap though. Seriously, everything goes back to normal and me and my friends are having fun at the mall? It's like if Frodo at the end of LOTR just started smoking pipeweed and eating sausages all day again. Some trials cannot be undone. Yes it is a new world and a new demifiend, but just as the enemies he made in his creation of the next world will persist and hunt him down, I believe the experiences there should've persisted into his next life as well.

Dungeon design was somewhat mixed, but solid overall. The games dungeons were very labyrinthine, and lacked much in interactivity and detail. Normally I'd rag on a dungeon crawler for having dungeons low in interactivity and detail, but I think the dungeons fit really well with the world the game takes place in because of that. As the world itself is a limbo, so are the dungeons themselves, disorienting and confusing and designed in ways that no dungeon could be in a world that has properly working laws of physics. The game went a little too far with this sometimes, particularly with the sections that were just mazes of trial and error teleport tiles, or invisible pit drops. Other times it was executed perfectly like in Kabukicho which was confusing, but was a puzzle that could actually be figured out through careful observation.

Also fuck the mechanic where your party members will throw away 6k macca per turn if they get confused. I had to reload a lot because of it.
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2012
Messages
12,442
Did you utilize sacrifice fusions to throw a lot of extra good skills/immunities/extra XP onto whatever you are fusing for cheap? That's the key to breaking Nocturne's difficulty in half IMO since you can down-fuse strong stuff to weak lvl 1-10 demons, put them in the compendium, then whenever you are fusing something for real you sacrifice the weak one and can easily ensure you have all your basics covered. It's especially broken when it comes to

fusing dark might onto all your demons then fighting during 0/8 kagatsushi for 100% crit rate against all bosses except the final ones
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2021
Messages
956
Did you utilize sacrifice fusions to throw a lot of extra good skills/immunities/extra XP onto whatever you are fusing for cheap? That's the key to breaking Nocturne's difficulty in half IMO since you can down-fuse strong stuff to weak lvl 1-10 demons, put them in the compendium, then whenever you are fusing something for real you sacrifice the weak one and can easily ensure you have all your basics covered. It's especially broken when it comes to
No i didn't really use sacrificial fusion much. I knew it gave more xp and more abilities, but I tended to not have enough demons to abuse it since my limited macca made it hard to buy or negotiate a lot of demons.

I did end up using mitama lategame to heavily boost the stats of my final party, which helped a TON during the last dungeon.
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2012
Messages
12,442
Yeah inflated Macca costs for compendium and magatama is unfortunately one of the things I think is just unnecessary bullshit in Hard mode. The only way I know of to really have enough is to grind the coin combos in the amala dungeon shaft diving minigame where you can get like 50k in a minute.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2022
Messages
400
I am 20 hours into Monochrome Mobius (aka the Utawarerumono prequel JRPG). I reached the capital city a couple hours ago and acquired the fourth party member. Combat feels so much better now that I am playing with four characters rather than just two or three. Before now, I was facing either 3-4 mobs who would gang up one one or two party members and reduce their HP below 50%, or a boss who could reduce the whole party below 50% or reduce a single party member's HP to 10% (if that character wasn't oneshotted). So Shunya is almost always healing, and Munechika is alternating between healing or dealing paltry damage. Oshtor is the only one is constantly dealing damage.


Early on, I got walled by the evil fruit tree boss in the forest who was one shotting my characters. I had to level grind and invest in my defense stat. I could barely feel my characters getting more durable. I think my victory over the boss had more to do with good RNG. There is also the information the UI screen is presenting me. Each level in defense only increases it by one point, but each level in attack or spirit (healing spell effectiveness) increases it by 3 points, and I am definitely feeling more powerful whenever I invest into attack or feel like I get more healing when I invest into spirit. Dead mobs can't hurt me.



I don't know how the damage formula works, but everything is telling me that I'm getting more bang for my buck investing into offensive stats over defense. So I've turned Oshtor and Mikazuchi into pure attackers, pouring all of their points into offensive stats, and occasionally pouring points into MP if I'm running out of mana since it is also used to cast their abilities. Oshtor recently learned an AoE ability that depends upon Inteligence, so I've started investing into that to end the mob battles more quickly. For Shunya and Munechika, I've turned them into pure healers and poured all points into spirit, and occasionally MP. I am playing on hard, and maybe a more balanced stat spread is better. Don't know.

I've acquired a lot of food, but I've found that most of it isn't worthwhile to use. It is never worth for Oshtor or Mikazuchi to use a food over dealing more damage, unless they are out of MP and need to restore it so they can continue dealing damage. Shunya's and Munechika's healing spells are more effective than using food. So the only food I ever use is MP restoring food, and rarely so. There are blue save points everywhere and you can fast travel between them, and you regen all of your HP and MP in towns, so I'm only really in danger of running out of MP during extended boss battles.



I have a complaint about the camera positioning. It likes to position my character towards the top 1/3rd of the screen. I don't get to see much of the road ahead or look at gorgeous skies or treelines or mountains. Instead, 2/3rds of my screen is taken up by the ground. I can't zoom the camera out either, so I'm staring at the rear of my mount.



The environments look very samey and it is easy to become confused as to where you are, and you uncover the map in a very short distance around you. So I am constantly zigzagging back and forth and opening the map screen trying to uncover the whole map. It feels arbitrary. Combined with the odd camera positioning, I don't feel like I'm really getting to look at the the scenery very much.

The lack of a classical JRPG world map/overworld really harms the immersion. Yamato is supposed to be a huge empire the size of China. You start in a peripheral province, Ennakamy. In the visual novel, it takes days for messengers to ride across Yamato. But in this game, the Imperial Capital in the center of the empire is just a 10 minute ride down the trail from Ennakamuy. The presentation makes Yamato seem really small.

Story wise...

The story was getting really interesting earlier. I got to briefly explore a hidden fantasy India to the West... but then the story takes you back into Yamato, which we already had two visual novels set in. New stuff interests me more than old stuff.



I have a strong sense of foreboding that these people will be wiped out by the end of the game, given that they aren't mentioned in the VN duology. Cities and entire races have been wiped out in the visual novels so the writers have the balls to do it. Hopefully the bridge is just severed and they're still alive, unbeknownst to the rest of the world.

I'm guessing the masked man who was chasing after Shunya is a pureblooded human, though I wonder how he survived Iceman turning humanity into red goo without using the experimental drug that the Mikado developed.



Oshtor's predecessor was just introduced and has become a major character, so I'm kinda curious to find out more about him.
 

Goth Girl

Literate
Joined
Nov 24, 2022
Messages
6
I tried playing Mystic Ark, a late SuperFami release by Enix and the guys who made The 7th Saga. To my surprise the game has a heavy mix of adventure elements in there, with puzzles and item interactions. I wasn't in the mood for the adventure elements and after failing to advance past the initial area I dropped it. The sound effect for the text box was extremely annoying.
 

Puukko

Arcane
Joined
Jul 23, 2015
Messages
3,597
Location
The Khanate
I did the prologue, or first few missions in Three Hopes and I am very much positively surprised. It shows great promise. I've generally been dismissive of musous which I don't think is an uncommon stance but this game seems to have actual depth to it. The moment to moment gameplay is mash buttons -> cool moves happen, yes, but there's a lot to take into consideration at the same time since you've got a whole battlefield to manage.

I'm not going to go over all the gameplay elements since I'm still wrapping my head around them, but they've basically done a faithful recreation of Three Houses' mechanics in action format. You've got the weapon triangle and weapon weaknesses, abilities and skills, adjutants, battalions (didn't unlock these yet) and so forth. Pick a house and manage their equipment and classes. I'm right at home.

The setting is a bit odd, it seems to be a what if scenario of Three Houses where things went differently. It moves the story at a breakneck pace and gives you familiar plot points but at different times and places than you'd expect, and then a time skip happens almost immediately, but this time it's by two years instead of five. Consequently everyone gets new designs.

Ryujinx-2022-11-25-00-39-24.jpg


Visually it's actually an upgrade over Three Houses. I can't quite place it, but I think it either runs at a higher resolution (upscaled here, and with Reshade), or they've done something else to clean it up. Textures also appear better. Overall they've done an admirable job for a Switch game. They've gone all out with the animations and they're a treat to watch in all their ridiculous glory. The UI meanwhile looks oddly cheap at times and I don't care for the font they used. It emulates quite well in Ryujinx, though a stable 60 is ways off with my setup. Definitely up there in terms of most demanding Switch games which isn't very surprising. Some audio crackling remains and I managed to get it to freeze between cutscenes once.

Another standout is the soundtrack. They did perhaps the most natural thing and added a lethal dose of riffs which fits perfectly with this type of game. I really dig these new versions of familiar themes. Went so far as to get a mod that adds them to Three Houses.

 

samuraigaiden

Magister
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
1,872
Location
Harare
RPG Wokedex
Started replaying Final Fantasy 4 (SNES), which was one of my first videogame RPG experiences as a kid. I began a vanilla playthrough and quickly decided to try one of the retranslation patches. The original script really hasn't aged well. I restarted using the Namingway Edition patch and played a couple of hours. My last save was in Mt. Ordeals.

The gameplay is way better than I remembered. Maybe the bugfixes included in the patch are helping. So far I'm surprised how all the classes feel like they have a point. As a kid I probably just spammed normal attacks for most of it. I distinctly remember thinking the bard was shit back then.

The new script, which as I understand it is largely adapted from the GBA release, is good.

Not hot takes yet, unfortunately.
 

Jinn

Arcane
Joined
Nov 8, 2007
Messages
4,026
Started replaying Final Fantasy 4 (SNES), which was one of my first videogame RPG experiences as a kid. I began a vanilla playthrough and quickly decided to try one of the retranslation patches. The original script really hasn't aged well. I restarted using the Namingway Edition patch and played a couple of hours. My last save was in Mt. Ordeals.

The gameplay is way better than I remembered. Maybe the bugfixes included in the patch are helping. So far I'm surprised how all the classes feel like they have a point. As a kid I probably just spammed normal attacks for most of it. I distinctly remember thinking the bard was shit back then.

The new script, which as I understand it is largely adapted from the GBA release, is good.

Not hot takes yet, unfortunately.

Namingway Edition not only vastly improves the script, but also brings the game very close to the original Japanese release in terms of gameplay. The USA release was watered down and made piss easy for stupid American kids. Namingway is THE way to play the game, and it's fucking awesome. Just did a replay a couple months ago myself. Enjoy!
 

spekkio

Arcane
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
8,045
BROs, finished Vestaria Saga 1 - War Of The Scions.

If you wanted something very close to "Kaga's Fire Emblems"... You may be disappointed. But if you wanted Tear Ring Saga 3... You may be disappointed as well.

VS on one hand "goes back to the FE roots", decreasing amount of mechanics from TRS and using "simple" 2D graphics. But on the other hand it heavily leans into a "new" direction - by extensive use of puzzles and gameplay-affecting story.

Good:
  • Fantastic simplicity, esp. when going from FE-3H & Berwick Saga. Stats, equipment & skills (can be tied to characters, weapons or items). No fucking "jobs" - you can advance to "2nd tier job" after Lv10 (Lv20 = no more exp). And that's it. Just like God intended.
  • Some other shit also got simplified. Ability to use a weapon depends only on one stat (PROF), so for example you no longer have to "train" Swords & Axes separately. No "direct" weapon triangle, character and weapon stats dictate combat's outcome.
  • Very good writing (translation too), interesting characters. Compared to "recent" FE games, it's like fucking Faulkner or shit.
  • Complex map & missions: often big areas + plenty of events changing the "course" of the mission.
  • Almost everything you need to do is hinted either by characters (allies' / enemies' banter) or by the civilians (when you visit houses / towns).
  • New way of fixing weapons: expensive item, which can easily be obtained via shops (as long you have the money), instead of Hammerne Staffs with couple of uses.
  • High number of units deployed during missions (from more than 10 to more than 20). Too bad some of them should / must be used to block reinforcements.

    oP1bRyu.jpg

  • Occasionally p. funny (sex jokes, etc.) - not sure if it originates from the original, or it was added by the translator. But nice.

    kTNmk5Q.jpg

    0PpY2yh.jpg
Bad:
  • Made in SRPG Maker, so there are some engine-related quirks. Like pressing "Esc" in full screen immediately exits the game. Can be fixed by using AutoHotKey script:
    Code:
    Esc::return
  • You can either accept the "try, get owned, reload, find the one and only way to win" gameplay, or give up. There's no other way of playing this game (except twerking it using cheats, like I did - save after every turn, increase growths, move units around the map quickly).
  • After Mission #15 your "big" team gets divided into 2 "smaller" teams. Forcibly. You can't choose who goes where. Which is fucking retarded. You've decided not to use some fag due to some reasons (fragile, low growths?). Well sorry BRO, Team A got 12 strong units you've been using, but Team B only got 4 such units. Sorry, use ALL units during next playthrough, 'K? Well fuck you. Seriously, I've finished mission 17 & 19 using only 4 units: Cyltan (archer-rider) Dune (archer), Urven (cavalry), Hilde (axedyke) & Lyttia (domina). And cheats, ofc. The rest of Team B was usless due to me not using them before. Fuck this shit, and I've heard VS2 is even worse in this regard ("gaiden" = forced unit deployment every mission).
  • You can save only before every 5th turn (1, 5, 10, etc.). And by pure total fucking accident, there's a lot of bad shit (reinforcements, sudden change of objectives) happening just before you can save (starting from turn 5 or 10). So, you feel safe at the end of turn 4, press "End turn" waiting to save the game, WHEN SUDDENLY something happens, you loose couple units / get GAME OVER and have to go back to Turn 1. Happens way too often to be an accident. Again, fuck this kind of "difficulty" and fuck such devs.

    4hPwozG.jpg


    This one is p. easy compared to other retarded "MWAHAHAHA, you didn't expect this!!!" moments. :roll:
  • Final mission is pure fucking retardation (constant reinforcements, which was never the case before).
Ogly:
  • "Try, get owned, reload, find the one and only way to win" gameplay. You will constantly face new events, threats and irritating shit happening during missions. It's neither FE or TRS. It's something different, borrowing elements (tactical combat) from previous Kaga's games. Deal with it or GTFO.
  • Reliance on "superunits" (godlike stats) was toned down. But we got "superweapons" instead:

    FYwbq7x.jpg


    So final mission is a constant "100% berserk / sleep / mute" from 20 mages half the map away". Fun? Not fucking really. And "statuses" can only be removed by mages using special, rare staffz (and self-use items, but unit can't use these if itz berserked or asleep).

Verdict: :3/5:

Great elements (base combat system, characters, writing, complex mission design) brought down by autistic development (see above for examples).
 
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AdamReith

Magister
Patron
Joined
Oct 21, 2019
Messages
1,782
RPG Wokedex
Floor 4 of the labyrinth of Shining in the Darkness. This is definitely the wizardry lite I never knew I needed.

It's somewhere between a proper wizardry and dragon quest. Story has been great and Darksol has been taunting the shit out of me when I've returned to town which I love.

Can't wait to find the fucker and poke him full of holes.

EDIT: Finished it. Very nice game, would recommend it to anybody familiar with JRPGs looking to try an old fashioned dungeon crawl.

My crappy mapping did make me miss out on one pretty important item, well that and I got tired of being exhaustive because the chests in the lower levels dispense absolute garbage. But overall pretty forgiving and pleasant for the genre and a nice story too.
 
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newtmonkey

Arcane
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Messages
1,650
Location
Goblin Lair
Star Ocean (SFC)

I completed this just now. It took just under 20 hours, but I didn't do any of the optional stuff.

It's a great looking and sounding game. The intro is fully voiced (this must have been amazing back in the day), the music sounds great, and there's a ton of variety in the tiles making up the maps, making each area look unique. I also must praise the dungeons in this game, as they are large, mazelike, and full of awesome stuff to find.

Also good is the unique skill/talent system. You can spend points on skills each level, and these skills give you bonuses to stats, new combat abilities, and even stuff to do outside of combat (such as drawing pictures and forging equipment). Unfortunately, all of that is pretty much wasted on this game, as I completely ignored any skills not related to stats or combat, and still the game was ridiculously easy. The skill system would probably be fun to play with during a replay; I looked up some FAQs after I completed the game, and you can really break this game if you take advantage of the equipment forging and upgrading skills.

Unfortunately, that's basically where the good ends for me. The combat is in real-time, and it's honestly a giant mess. Moving characters around during combat is annoying, but that's okay, because you don't need to move. When you attack an enemy, the character runs over to them, so this means that 99% of battles involve just hammering the attack button using the main character, while the other characters are driven by some very retarded AI. The only time I needed to actually do anything during combat was to use some items to regain magic points during the fight against the last boss; otherwise, I just mashed A to attack throughout the entire game.

I didn't like how the world is structured. The "world map" consists of a handful of towns and caves connected by roads, which are basically corridors funneling you from one location to the next. There is really no exploration at all. The game takes place on just a few tiny islands, and the only way to get from one to another is to tediously hike to a port town and take a boat. There is a lot of backtracking in this game, and it's pretty annoying.

Finally, although the characters are interesting and I ended up growing attached to a few of them, the story is pretty bad. It starts out really interesting and you think you might be playing a sci-fi rpg, but that all goes out the window once you get into the game. The way the last boss is introduced/handled in this game is just absurd.

---

The "The End" screen is just a black screen with a tiny "FIN" on the bottom right corner, so here's my extreme closeup on that.
20221202-000005.jpg
 
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newtmonkey

Arcane
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Messages
1,650
Location
Goblin Lair
Lennus (SFC)
This was released as "Paladin's Quest" outside Japan. It's a very traditional 16-bit JRPG in many ways, but it also has some interesting quirks.

It's a weird blend of sci-fi and fantasy (mostly fantasy), perhaps most similar to the first Phantasy Star game. The graphics are certainly unique, with a lot of pastels and bright colors all over the place.

More interestingly, all magic is cast using the character's HPs (there are no spell points). Combat is generally pretty difficult, with even random battles easily capable of wiping your party out unless you make good use of spells, so spellcasting is a necessity here. Each character that can cast spells has a proficiency rating for each school of magic, and the only way to increase this (except for some rare items) is to cast spells.

Healing spells would make no sense in this kind of system, so the game instead gives you medicine bottles. These can each be used nine times, but you can refill them at item shops. It's basically the Estus Flask from Dark Souls. The two main characters start off with their own bottles, but you can find more throughout the game.

Party composition is also interesting. Your third and fourth slots are generally open, and you can hire mercenaries in towns to fill them. Each mercenary is a unique character with their own strengths and weaknesses, and it's always a lot of fun to arrive at a new town and see what mercenaries are available. Mercs will level up, but you cannot change their equipment, so it pays to replace them from time to time.

I'm roughly 10-15 hours in, and I really like it so far! I'm glad I gave the game a chance.
 

samuraigaiden

Magister
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
1,872
Location
Harare
RPG Wokedex
Lennus (SFC)
This was released as "Paladin's Quest" outside Japan. It's a very traditional 16-bit JRPG in many ways, but it also has some interesting quirks.

It's a weird blend of sci-fi and fantasy (mostly fantasy), perhaps most similar to the first Phantasy Star game. The graphics are certainly unique, with a lot of pastels and bright colors all over the place.

More interestingly, all magic is cast using the character's HPs (there are no spell points). Combat is generally pretty difficult, with even random battles easily capable of wiping your party out unless you make good use of spells, so spellcasting is a necessity here. Each character that can cast spells has a proficiency rating for each school of magic, and the only way to increase this (except for some rare items) is to cast spells.

Healing spells would make no sense in this kind of system, so the game instead gives you medicine bottles. These can each be used nine times, but you can refill them at item shops. It's basically the Estus Flask from Dark Souls. The two main characters start off with their own bottles, but you can find more throughout the game.

Party composition is also interesting. Your third and fourth slots are generally open, and you can hire mercenaries in towns to fill them. Each mercenary is a unique character with their own strengths and weaknesses, and it's always a lot of fun to arrive at a new town and see what mercenaries are available. Mercs will level up, but you cannot change their equipment, so it pays to replace them from time to time.

I'm roughly 10-15 hours in, and I really like it so far! I'm glad I gave the game a chance.

I played it for ten hours or so. Got to a cave town place before quitting.

The enemy design is wonderfully unbalanced in crazy ways. At some point you fight these teams of sorceress ladies who can easily put you on a sleep status loop that can go on for dozens of turns. At some point I literally put down the controller and just watched and waited.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2022
Messages
400

I have finished Monochrome Mobius, aka the prequel JRPG to Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception.

Gameplay: it's a basic turn based JRPG. If you've played any other turn based JRPG, you've played this game. The only unique mechanic to write home about is the action ring. There are three rings and which ring a character is on determines how often they get turns. Only three characters can fit into the middle ring, and only party member or enemy can fit into the innermost ring. Buffs and debuffs apply to one of the three rings, so there is some decision making involved as to whether or not you want to ascend to the higher rings so you get more turns, or stay below so everyone can benefit from buffs. This only really matters on boss battles. I played on hard difficulty, and throughout the whole game bosses would take away 90% of my character's HP in one hit, or even one shot them, so I found that the optimal strategy was to keep my low HP characters on the second ring, apply speed, attack, and defense buffs to that ring, and keep my AoE healer Munechika on the innermost ring and have her constantly the party to full.

You only have 4 party members in this game. One of them, Shunya, is presented as a mage/healer with two dozen magical abilities, but I found that there was pretty much no reason to ever use them. Shunya has to spend at least two turns to charge up soulgems before she can use a powerful magic attack or a powerful heal. Shunya is fragile and is likely to die before she completes that 2 or 3 turn process, and she has to start the charging process all over again after she gets rezzed. Oshtor and Mikazuchi deal far more DPS than her anyway. I found that Shunya was only really useful for getting off the essential damage mitigation buff and using items to refilling the MP of the other three characters.



There is a fifth character, Halu, who can be temporarily summoned and replaces the party for a few turns, like Aeons from Final Fantasy X or Valimar from Trails of Cold Steel. However, you have to use materials to upgrade his stats and abilities. These materials are harvested from nodes in the open world, and you are at the mercy of RNG for drops from monsters. Gathering materials is very tedious and a pain in the ass, and you need to use materials to upgrade the blacksmith. I wound up maxxing out the blacksmith but couldn't be bothered to farm to upgrade Halu, so I only ever used him to tank the final boss' one shot ability that took two turns charge up.

I would not recommend playing the game on hard like I did. There were 4 or 5 boss battles I got walled on for hours, retrying over and over, because there was nothing else I could do. The vast majority of EXP comes from boss fights, and if a character is dead when a battle ends (as was often the case), they don't get any EXP. Level grinding is very tedious and only gives you a marginal increase in performance. Some of the battles come down to just getting lucky with the boss not spamming one shot attacks repeatedly. My clear save says 57 hours, but Steam says I have 67 hours. That was 10 hours spent walled on boss fights.

This game could have benefitted from QoL features, like being able to give up a battle, or being able to skip battle animations. You can retry after you a lose a battle, but you don't get back any items you consumed during the battle, meaning you have to reload. I found that if I botched a boss battle attempt, it was faster to ALT+F4 and restart the game than to continue inputting commands and watching animations so I could eventually die and reload.

The soundtrack is okay. There are a couple tracks I really liked, enough to add to my favorite's playlist. Almost the entire game is fully voice acted. The only stuff that isn't voice acted are the sidequests (which is just "kill random hard monster" stuff), and the half dozen skits at Dikotoma's house.




Story: I have mixed opinions. At no point was the story infuriating like Mask of Truth was, so that's a plus. There are a couple of stupid shounen anime moments that made me roll my eyes, but that was it. Most of the cast is likeable but no one who aggravated me like Kuon.

The real issue boils down the the game being a prequel to MoD. The story wasn't really what I expected from a prequel about how Oshtor became the right hand of the Mikado. In the VN duology, we are presented with a Yamato that is living in an uneventful time until the end of MoD. The only things really happening are bandits and some small scale political intrigue on a provincial level. A prequel could have been about how Ougi's father was ousted, and Oshtor taking in Ougi and going around exposing corruption and that is how he became an Imperial Guard. And we'd get to see Vurai's hatred of Oshtor build up. But we already had spent 100 hours in Yamato over the course of the two visual novels, so Yamato is rather boring. It's also hard to have tension when you know that everyone lives until the VNs.

Early on, it looked like the game was going to get around that by having Oshtor become a secret agent and infiltrate a hidden country to the far West of Yamato, Arva Shulan. The player would get to discover a new country, new lore, meet a new cast of characters who could die without interrupting the continuity of the VN, and so on. But you only spend a few hours there and the story goes back to Yamato. Worse, is the game then proceeds to have highly visible, massive events take place in Yamato. Cities are destroyed and the capital is invaded. These are events that cannot be covered up, and it is difficult to reconcile the dramatic events of this prequel with the uneventful backstory we get in the VN duology. So as a prequel, the game fails to fit itself into canon.

This could be reconciled by the sequel-bait ending, which implies that there are some sort of time shenagains going on. If in the next game, Shunya, Arva Shulan, and the destruction in Yamato are erased from the timeline, that would explain why people recall living in a peaceful, uneventful time in the VN, but then the devs are risking audience alienation by rendering the journey the audience was invested in for two JRPGs meaningless. This is a really convoluted way of making a prequel, and better ways were available. Ie, setting the game in Arva Shulan, or following the small scale adventures of Oshtor in Yamato like fighting bandits. Or setting the game further back than living memory and showing those destructive wars that Miko reminisced about in MoD.

There are also some wonky retcons that undermines the story of the visual novels.

I was not a fan of Raiko being "revealed" to be a physically strong combatant. I preferred when he was appointed as a Pillar General for his cunning, and commanded physically strong warriors like Mikazuchi, making him a foil to the physically weak Haku in the Masks duology. They're both supposed to be the chessmasters of the war.

Also not fond of Honoka insistence that she is incapable of betraying the Mikado. Takes the tension out of the Masks duology when you wondered if she murdered him, and also undermines her last words when she said that she resented the Mikado for cloning her as a replacement for his dead wife, but she also genuinely loved him anyway.

The story is unfinished. It's not a self-contained JRPG. It sets up a lot of stuff that has yet to be resolved. We might have to wait a few years to find out what happens, or find out how Vurai's beef with Oshtor got started.


Overall, the game was fine. I had fun, but after the story returned to Yamato, I wasn't super motivated to play it every day. Looking forward to the sequel.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2021
Messages
956
After SMT:3 I decided to play SMT: Strange Journey. I've gotten about halfway through sector Fornax and I'm finding it hard to continue. The story is alright, Zelenin and Jiminez are both interesting characters and I feel like they represent their alignments well (although I heard they go off the deep end later,) and the idea of demons invading as a sort of punishment for the degeneracy of humanity is a great setup for the story. But I honestly can't say it's better than SMT:3, sure there's more of it but SMT:3's insane atmosphere and amazing music and art style elevates everything. Meanwhile Strange Journeys atmosphere is pretty limp. The combat and fusion is a downgrade from Nocturne as well. Demon co-op is a much less interesting and rewarding system, and it also heavily limits your party setup. I get that demon co-op and the fusion system is meant to limit you, but I don't think the limitation adds anything to the game. SMT is ultimately a series where you collect and customise monsters and imo the game suffers when you limit that opportunity. The dungeons are also generally quite mediocre. SMT seems to prefer maze like dungeons with limited interactivity that focus on combat, and navigational challenges like pit traps or invisible teleport tiles. I don't like this approach to dungeon design, but Nocturne did it as well as I think any game could, with dungeons often having unique challenges that force you to consider the environment in unusual ways. Strange Journey on the other hand focuses on the most boring navigational challenges, and ones that are usually trial and error like one way doors, pit traps, and teleporter mazes. I don't expect anything on the level of Grimoire but it's disappointing for a first person dungeon crawler to have such bland dungeons.
 

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