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[3DS][Blog] Bravely Default: Chapter 2 [Aug. 23rd, 2015|04:01 pm]
On a mission from Glod

tammaiya
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Title: Bravely Default: For the Sequel
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: 3DS
Genre: Turn-based JRPG
Date of play: August 2015~
Play time to date: ---

Since I'm still at the end of Chapter 3 at the time of writing this, I'm almost caught up! On the other hand, Chapter 3 was where things got really messy in terms of having emotions and constant changing theories about wtf was going on, so it may be too soon to celebrate. XD Still, getting there! [NOTE: I was at the end of Chapter 3 when I STARTED writing this. Now at the start of Chapter 5, falling ever further behind… orz]

By Chapter 2, I'd really started to settle into the game-play, and this is where the story started to come into its own - also where I figured out how truly messed up the world of Bravely Default really is.

Bravely Default: Chapter 2 (Everything about this world is awful, JFC.)Collapse )
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[3DS][Blog] Bravely Default: Chapter 1 [Aug. 23rd, 2015|02:18 am]
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tammaiya
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Title: Bravely Default: For the Sequel
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: 3DS
Genre: Turn-based JRPG
Date of play: August 2015~
Play time to date: ---

Still playing catch-up in terms of blogging, as I am just now finishing chapter 3... but this is where my interest in the plot and characters first started to pick up, and where things started to get rather more morally ambiguous. This is also where I started paying more attention to the enigmatic writings in the D Journal, which have been causing me headaches and giving rise to confusing, conflicting theories ever since. :/

Also where I started to figure out wtf I was doing with the game mechanics and the battle system, in all honesty.

Bravely Default: Chapter 1 (Oh my god, are we KILLING these people?!)Collapse )
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[3DS][Blog] Bravely Default: Prologue [Aug. 21st, 2015|01:41 pm]
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tammaiya
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Title: Bravely Default: For the Sequel
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: 3DS
Genre: Turn-based JRPG
Date of play: August 2015~
Play time to date: ---

It's been almost years since I've updated my main blog and about 5 since I've posted to here, but I've been meaning to pick up blogging again, and since I'm playing Bravely Default right now and am overflowing with theories about what is going on that change practically after every second scene in the game, it seemed like a good place to start. Also, I've already articulated a lot of my evolving thoughts and theories about BD in super long meandering emails to beckerbell, so relatively speaking, it's not even that much more work. Bonus!

I am actually in the middle of chapter 3, but decided to break this up chapter by chapter - both to make this less of a wall of text, and to make the evolution of theories less confusing. Things I considered potential explanations in chapter 2 got ruled out by developments in chapter 3, and in one case, an idea I dismissed in chapter 1 suddenly appeared not only possible but one of the most likely options in chapter 3. However everything in this post reflects my impressions at the time I was playing the prologue, without influence from later events in the games.

Bravely Default: PrologueCollapse )
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[PSP][Blog] Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (Terra) [Jul. 1st, 2010|11:38 pm]
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tammaiya
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Title: Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PSP
Genre: Action RPG
Date of play: June 2010~
Play time to date: 22hr 43m
Current location: Terra's side complete

I have been pining for Birth By Sleep since it came out in January, much like the dead parrot in Monty Python's dead parrot sketch pined for the fjords. Except with more actual pining. Finally, finally I have got my hands on it! *gleeful cackle* Now all I need is the Ultimania!

... Hah, right, maybe one day when I have money again.

So on that note, I have decided to talk about the game in general, non-spoilery terms outside of the cut, and then talk about my reactions to Terra's story inside the cut. So this post serves as both an introduction/review to the game, and also as a blog for Terra-side.

First of all, I am really impressed with the gameplay of this one, unlike 358/2 Days. Which I played months ago and I swear I'm still intending to do a blog of, but that game was like, hand cramp central. Birth By Sleep, on the other hand, reminds me most of KH2, which is good because I considered KH2 the best KH game to date. There are elements which are very slightly reminscent of the 358/2 system - the way items have to be set to be used, for example, and the way the synthesis system works - and many things are unique to this game, like Dimension Link and Focus Shooter and the way the form changes work, but overall the general atmosphere reminds me of KH2.

I really don't feel like it suffers at all from being on a handheld, which is a big plus in its favour. Some games are great on handhelds; some feel like the developer tried to do something overly ambitious which the graphics capability or the engine or controls couldn't handle and it fell flat. BBS feels like a fully realised KH game; the graphics are no less impressive than the PS2 games, the controls (as mentioned above) work fine, I don't feel like the scope suffers at all with how the storyline develops.

Which is really clever, on that note. People who are interested in the game are probably already aware of this, but the game is split into three parts; Terra, Ven and Aqua all have a distinct storyline, and the way they've done that is really clever, because they're interwoven and while you can understand what's going on in the storyline you're playing (which is necessary, because you can play them in any order) you don't know the full story about what's going on behind the scenes. It's kind of like Odin Sphere, in fact; the main characters run into each other at various points of the story, go to the same worlds and interact with many of the same people. Although, curiously, not exactly the same places or the same people; I've discovered starting Ven's story that he goes to different parts of the worlds and runs into characters that didn't show up in Terra's story, and it seems that the tales of the Disney movies (adapted as always for KH) will be told in stages, each part of the story witnessed by a different main character.

Like Odin Sphere, each main character is slightly different to control, although the differences aren't as marked because they all use keyblades. It's more the fact that they all have different dimension links (aside from their dimension links with each other - and dimension links are kind of like a cross between partner attacks and summons in KH2, but you channel the character and assume their attack style instead of actually summoning them), different keyblades, different focus attacks and different forms, plus things like certain characters being slightly slower or what have you.

Anyway, I really like the way the three stories intertwine - or promise to, having only played Terra's story and the beginning of Ven's. The one thing I would whinge about is just how much stuff needs to be done to get 100% completeness. I thought KH1 and 2 were bad - there are THREE MAIN CHARACTERS/STORYLINES, each with their own set of reports to be completed. I think Square may have hit an all new level of completionist sadism. I am especially bitter because I missed some treasure chests in Terra's storyline that I can now never get, so if I want to get 100% complete on his storyline, I'd have to do it from scratch. It's really frustrating; if I'd left a save just a LITTLE before that...! JDFKLSFJDKLS. After all those hours playing commandboard and faffing around the Mirage Arena, wasted. =____= (Commandboard is kind of like monopoly. In a weird, KH kind of way.) And you know, the game is actually surprisingly hard. Hard enough that I wouldn't want to beat every storyline on Proud Mode, which is the other way to get the secret movie. It's hard to know which is the more sadistic option, really.

On to the storyline specifics, though.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (spoilers for the whole of Terra's story)Collapse )

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[XBox360][Blog] Tales of Vesperia: Post-game ramblings [Apr. 2nd, 2010|01:02 pm]
On a mission from Glod

tammaiya
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Title: Tales of Vesperia
Developer: Namco
Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: RPG
Date of play: Mid 2009 ~ February 2010
Play time to date: ~104 hr
Current location: COMPLETE (In the sense that I beat the last boss, anyway.)

I have decided that, since ToV is such a massive scale game and I didn't keep a blog while I was going through it but there are still things I want to talk about, to just comment on whatever came to mind. So there's some stuff about specific game plot and mechanics and things, but mostly it's musings on characters and dynamics and so forth. There may be another one of these if I have a sudden urge to talk about ToV again - and of course if anyone wants to hear my thoughts on anything in particular (despite the unlikeliness, not IMPOSSIBLE), I am happy to oblige instead of rambling randomly. XD

What kind of geek discusses legal theory in a game blog...? Cut as much for sheer nerdery as whole-game spoilers.Collapse )

Okay, that's more than enough random musings from me, I've been ekeing away at this blog on and off for weeks now and there are other games I should be talking about. XD;

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[Wii][Blog] Oboro Muramasa: Momohime-den [Feb. 2nd, 2010|12:31 am]
On a mission from Glod

tammaiya
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Title: Oboro Muramasa
Developer: Marvelous Entertainment Inc
Platform: Wii (THAT'S RIGHT, I FINALLY GOT ONE!!)
Genre: Action RPG
Date of play: January 2010 ~ ?
Play time to date: 14 hr
Current location: Momohime-den, final chapter complete

This game is like Odin Sphere and Okami had a love child, you guys (general & gameplay-related, mild spoilers for boss strategy?)Collapse )

Momohime, plot generally up to final bossCollapse )

Momohime FIRST ENDING SPOILERSCollapse )
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[Xbox360][Review] Last Remnant [Apr. 5th, 2009|04:22 pm]
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tammaiya
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[Current Music |Barushe (Ren) - Soundless Voice]

Title: Last Remnant
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: RPG
Date of play: March 2009 ~ May 2009, January 2010
Play time to date: NO IDEA. Probably about 50 hours or so.
Current location: COMPLETE!!! VICTORYYY!!!

This is more of a review than a gameblog, per se, so I'm going to do this a little different than usual. I.e., first I'm going to talk about non-spoilery stuff, and then I'm going to put all the plot-related commentary behind the cut.

Graphics

Whatever else you say about Last Remnant, it is a beautiful game, especially in HD. The highly detailed 3D scenery, right down to the way water splashes when you run through it or how cave walls glisten slightly with moisture, took my breath away. It is SO PRETTY, especially once you get out of the caves and the desert. I mean, they're very impressive, but a cave by its nature tends to be dark and dank and a desert is barran, so even if they look fantastically realistic after a while you get a bit sick of being in a cave. There are plenty of impossibly beautiful wetlands and coastlands, though. The sunset over the coasts at Fornstrand (Fon Coast in Japanse) particularly stuck in my mind.

The one issue was that I played over half the game using normal AV cables - which, yes, fair enough, it's never going to be as pretty when it's not in HD (and it's still quite impressive, nevertheless) and you'd never recommend playing in normal definition, but in this case I'd actively recommend against it, at least in the Japanese version, because the text was blurry and gave me a headache and made me feel like I was going blind. I don't know if it's the same in the English version - it's probably not as bad because there's no characters as complex as kanji - but in any event, it made reading text a chore I really didn't want to perform, which meant I pretty much skimmed anything that wasn't important (which was basically most things that weren't voice-acted anyway). It's crystal clear in HD, though, which was a massive relief.

Music

Sometimes the battle theme got old, but what battle theme doesn't? By and large, really pretty, especially the ending themesong. I am quite pleased that, having bought a secondhand Last Remnant Xbox 360 pack, I got the soundtrack as well as the game along with it.

Gameplay

Gameplay... is both one of Last Remnant's greatest strengths AND one of its greatest weaknesses.

On the pro side:
* It's incredibly innovative
* It's really fun once you work out what you're doing
* It really gets the scope of coordinating a large number of troops - while it might not be exactly war-scale, at a maximum you control 18 units grouped into up to 5-people squads, which is much more appropriate to the political backdrop than a traditional RPG party would have been.

On the con side:
* LOADING TIMES.
* Steep, STEEP learning curve; it's too complex and there's a whole bunch of stuff that's never properly explained.
* Battle length. Other people complain about how the game practically plays itself, but that's not so much the issue for me-- it's interesting choosing the commands and hitting the reaction timing buttons-- as it is that when you're not in the mood for fighting, it feels like it takes FOREVER. Or worse, when you're stuck on a boss that you keep dying on and there are successive battles with no opportunity to save in-between, it's INCREDIBLY frustrating to have to go through that half hour first battle to get slaughtered on the second one every time when you just want to try out a new strategy or combination of characters. NOT THAT THIS HAS HAPPENED TO ME OR ANYTHING. orz

So okay, more specifically, for me it was a constant tug-of-war between the innovativeness of the battle system and the over-complexity. I had to look up the guidebook to figure out how to revive people! (Which, coincidentally, was why I was having HELL on a particular boss. BECAUSE I COULDN'T REVIVE FALLEN TROOPS.) There were so many stats and choices and classes and things that most of it I had no idea what was going on. In a basic sense I worked out that if I used the artes I wanted to use, they'd level up and I'd get more similar artes-- particularly relevant where using healing and item artes-- and that if I kept using characters, their stats would go up. Looking at the guidebook gave me a better idea of how to make stats go up. Looking up the internet and the guidebook let me know that Battle Rank isn't directly correlated to strength, but is a good indication. But all the stuff about class changes? Answering questions about what fighters should focus on? Obtaining weapon artes, levelling up equipment? That all went WHOOSH over my head. It was so complicated that you'd need to devote yourself to figuring out what the whole damn thing means. You'd practically need a PhD in it.  And that was MADDENING.

But once I managed to let go of my OCD and decided I didn't have to know everything that was going on, that I could deal with not completely mastering the game or getting Emma's weapon arte, then I realised it didn't actually matter. It's obviously convoluted, but it's actually not that hard to smash your way through the game ignoring the class system and just using the characters and artes and weapons you WANT to use. So while it's definitely a point against Last Remnant's favour, it's not a fatal blow and I actually did really enjoy the battle system when it wasn't frustrating the crap out of me. (Which was caused by a combination of having a bad setup of unions and being underlevelled for the bosses I was trying to beat, anyway.)

One other thing - this was more an issue for me than it would be to less obsessive people, but it drove me ever-so-slightly crazy that there was no way to hire all the unique leaders, let alone use all of them. In fact you couldn't even use all the compulsory union leaders. In the end I just gave up and used all compulsory characters, because I had the strongest connection to them. Blocter was the one most frequently left out towards the end - not that I didn't like him as a character or that he wasn't useful with high attack, HP, defence and healing item skills, but I was more attached to the other characters and he was the only one who hadn't obtained some kind of limit-break attack, so.

(Oh, also, it could've used a new game+ mode, too. Apparently the PC remake has one, but not so for the Xbox360.)

Official guidebook

You know, for a guide book that is ONE THOUSAND PAGES LONG - I shit you not - it had a tendency to be obnoxiously unhelpful. Square for some reason tends to be obsessive about avoiding spoilers over certain things. Things like, oh, I don't know, HOW TO BEAT THE LAST BOSS. Not that I needed it, but still, when you buy a guidebook it's pretty much implicit you WANT to be spoiled for how to beat the last damn boss. And if you don't, you won't look at that page, because you are not a MORON.

Aside from that, there were a bunch of other things that annoyed me about it. There was a bunch of things it didn't really explain - like how come Emma didn't have a weapon arte when she had the weapon? - that I had to look up the internet for, and it didn't have a proper sensible index, and it didn't have any extras. No character art, no extra information about the characters or world - in fact it doesn't even really explain who the non-compulsory unique leaders are, just gives their stats and how you get them, and given how many there are it's easy to forget this stuff or miss those quests or whatever. Che'. That's one thing I really like about the Famitsuu Tales guides, they give you a lot of extra information and they have a good index. Although, in the Last Remnant guide's favour, I did like how the sidequests were cross-referenced by time AND location. That's always troubled me about the Tales guides.

Anyway, yeah, the guide did come in helpful at times, it's shiny and I'm glad I have it, but it has some serious flaws. ><

Plot and characters, generally speaking

Okay, first off: this game has really strong, likeable characters. Even the non-compulsory unique leaders generally get interesting sidequests that make you actually care about them and their lives, and it's only intensified when it comes to the main characters. I really fell in love with them - not just the main trio of Rush, David and Irina, but all the Athlum Generals as well.

And I mean, it doesn't hurt that David and Rush spend a lot of time staring meaningfully into each other's eyes and having Moments together, but I swear that's not the only reason! XD

More seriously re: the plot... the world-building was amazing, all the politics and technology and the role played by remnants swirling around the mystery of the Sykes siblings. It had a really strong ending, too. But the pacing was really off. The game felt too short for the story it was telling. There was too much that wasn't properly explained, and that's probably the other major flaw of this game, with the overly complex system. I think it could have been an utterly amazing game if they'd done those things properly. But... even so, it was really solid. It had the most important elements - the compelling characters, the intriguing world, a narrative that really pulls you into the story and a powerful ending. The execution could have been better, but in the end I was still really drawn into it and when you get down to it that's what matters when you play an RPG.

Whole game spoilers under the cutCollapse )

Conclusion: It was a good game and I enjoyed it. The problems with over-complex gameplay and the lazy story telling in parts stop it from being truly brilliant, but the plot was interesting, the world was beautiful and complex and the world and characters are going to stick with me. For me, at least, it was definitely worth it. (And not just because it's really, really gay! No, honestly. Although I won't lie: it did help.)
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[PS2][Blog] Final Fantasy XII (1) [Jun. 28th, 2009|01:21 am]
On a mission from Glod

tammaiya
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[Current Music |Legend of Mana - Fiery Castle]

Title: Final Fantasy XII: International Zodiac Job version
Developer: Square-Enix
Platform: PS2
Genre: RPG
Date of play: June 2009 ~ ?
Play time to date: 17~ hours
Current location: End of Leviathan, 2nd time

Behold, the first FFXII gameblog! This one will also contain a lot of references to the first time I tried to play FFXII at the beginning of 2007-- which was the original Japanese version. The two versions are virtually identical except the voice-acting in Zodiac Jobs is all English and the license board system has been changed to the more specialised zodiac job boards. (Hence the name) There are a few other minor system differences-- different weapon stats, control over guests, etc-- but those're the big changes.

So this takes me to where I got up to last time...Collapse )
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[NDS][Blog] Dragon Quest V (3) [Apr. 5th, 2009|04:22 pm]
On a mission from Glod

tammaiya
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[Current Music |Arashi (嵐) - Everybody Zenshin]

Title: Dragon Quest V DS
Developer: Square Enix (Enix)
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: RPG
Date of play: March 2009 ~ ?
Play time to date: Approx 34 hr
Current location: Adult - Second Half

Happily MarriedCollapse )
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[NDS][Blog] Dragon Quest V (2) [Apr. 5th, 2009|04:22 pm]
On a mission from Glod

tammaiya
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Title: Dragon Quest V DS
Developer: Square Enix (Enix)
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: RPG
Date of play: March 2009 ~ ?
Play time to date: 30 hr 05 m
Current location: Adult - Second Half

Ten Years LaterCollapse )
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