Back in 2011, Atlus made an RPG that was basically an Atelier game in everything but name. There are slight differences due to not being constraint by series traditions, but the music, game system, and atmosphere around the characters is highly reminiscent of older Ateliers. I also find it more satisfying than the one DS Atelier game I’ve played (Atelier Annie). The game doesn’t seem to have sold very well, but it does have a good degree of polish, addictiveness, and replayability, along with the charm of the lighthearted fantasy atmosphere.
I take back a little of what I said back in my first impressions. The game does take a good while to start, but I did end up enjoying it on a whole. It’s pretty standard and easy as far as tactical RPGs go, with an added monster collecting aspect.
Don’t be fooled. The character designs look no where as good as the cover.
Trying to tackle my backlog of impulsively purchased games, easier said than done. Sometimes I have no idea what I’m thinking when I impulsively purchase stuff (something that I should really stop doing. The impulsively purchasing part, not the thinking part.), because I realized that I probably wouldn’t have gone on with it if I gave a good night’s rest and composed thought. Alright, so most of the time when I decide to import a game, I go though a careful thought process because imports are expensive, and I usually end up getting something that I enjoy. Then I found that some import sellers on the Amazon Marketplace give pretty nice deals for imports, and all reason flies out the window.
So uhh, Summon Night 2. It’s my first foray into the Summon Night series (minus Twin Age, which had a real-time battles system that turned me off), and I’m wondering whether starting with the second game is such a good idea after all. I’m on chapter 11 out of a total of 25 chapters, and it’s finally starting to interest me somewhat. For a supposedly character-focused game (because the story is nothing short of yawn-inducing), the characters are sure lacking in both dimensions and the entertainment factor. I find it hard to care about anyone other than my summoned mech partner from Loreilal (the machinery world), and that’s only because I named it Muramasa. Everyone else is pretty one-dimensional without many fun quirks to balance things out. I guess I do sort of like Nesty, the protagonist’s serious and by-the-book partner who doesn’t hold back from getting mad at the reckless hero, and Lenard because he seems to be a guy summoned from our “real world” into the world the game takes place in. The problem with the game is that it likes to introduce new characters left and right, and not dedicating enough time for me to care about them.
The game lacks a cool sword lady or a sharp-tongued sarcastic kuudere loli, so I can’t even rely on girls I find moe to be my driving force. Ameru is as typical and dull as a main girl can get, with nothing as of yet to subvert it. Girl with special powers who is wanted by some evil soldiers? Main character decides to stop what he’s doing to protect her despite meeting her several hours ago? I usually try to ignore obvious cliches in hopes that they at least have good execution, but it doesn’t even feel like they’re trying to have a good execution here. There’s also a girl with amnesia, who isn’t all that interesting either. The other girls aren’t exactly interesting either, and neither are the guys. I want to have a nice bromance, but the game isn’t even giving me much of that. The character design comes in that deformed styles from the 2000’s, so needless to say, that don’t look very attractive. Okay, so some of the girls look pretty cute, but the dudes don’t.
The gameplay is standard SRPG fare, with the exception of the summon system and the experience distribution. You can make contracts with summon beasts from other worlds, and equip them to use their magic. Some beasts can be summoned as a usable unit onto the battle field. It’s pretty cool because I like filling up my pokedexdemon compendium summon list. Too bad that as soon as I get into it, the chapter I’m in decides to not let me access the summoning grounds. The experience distribution is something I really like. Probably the only aspect of the battle system that other games should consider using. Each individual unit doesn’t gain experience from actions or enemy kills. Instead, you gain a whole lot of experience at the end of battle, and can select how you distribute it amongst battle participants. That way, you can level your main part evenly. Experience can be saved up and distributed at a later point, so leveling under-leveled characters that you don’t often use is also rather convenient. Otherwise, the game is just a slow SRPG that feels more tedious than fun.
I think I’ll play the game some more before deciding whether to drop. It’s not terrible, but it’s like something that I would play during a dry period, not when I have Soul Hackers staring at me from the shelf.
Tales of Hearts is the last released 2D Tales game, made by Team Destiny. Tt feels a lot like a 2D prototype of Tales of Graces, so I enjoyed it a whole lot. It shares the general light-hearted atmosphere, theme about human bonds, and doesn’t use TP in battle.
Preparing for university sucks, and I can’t wait for March when most of this shit is going to be over. Damn portfolio preparations. I could also do with a little less pride and bear with shittier school marks considering my first choice is a college with a average grade requirement of 65%, but parents want me to go into some program that will actually get me a job (like engineering!) and if I don’t apply for university, they are probably going to flip their shit and make what little left of my childhood into complete hell. I mean that figuratively, not Disagea’s Netherworld. Either way, I have all my painful courses this semester (full of projects and evaluations where I actually have to do things other than calculate on a piece of paper), and how I miss the time when I could just play games.
School is terrible, university/college will probably be much worse, and employment…well, I’ve gotta stop assuming that I’ll actually land myself a job once I get out of post-secondary education. Not with my non-existent people skills and motivation. Welp, since I’ve been angsting like hell over school and stuff, I haven’t been finishing many things.
This review (as well as the previous one) was supposed to be out much earlier this month, but hey, I’ve been engrossed by Pokemon Black 2 since it came out, and Tales of Destiny before that. I quit this game back in the summer, after playing for around 14 hours. Unlike some games that haunt me with the possibility of being good after I quit, Glory of Heracles was something I almost completely forgot about after dropping. If I bought the game at launch for $35, I would probably have forced myself to finish it and then rant about it online. I did get it for $5 new, so instead of feeling ripped-off, I simply got bored and forgot about it.
I may have the social decency to pretend to be a polite teenager in front of random relatives instead of being glued to my handheld device like how I normally am, but dammit I need games for the airplane ride because how on Earth do I not play games during such a time where the games are begging to be played and my thumbs have to move? Also, because Chinese internet is slow and an ass to foreign sites, I’ll need my games to substitute for the net.
…And look, I’m bringing 6 games for my 2-week stay just to satisfy my terrible attention span! Although with most vacations, I end up bringing a bunch of games and only touching 1 or 2 because I’m hooked to them and a lot less ADD than I imagine myself to be. I’ve got my Ao no Kiseki, but in the case I need a break from that, I brought along Blazing Souls (SRPG I was playing before Ao arrived), Star Ocean (ARPG, in case I’m twitching for action) and Warriors of the Lost Empire (bought for $6 entirely on a whim, saw “hack and slash” on the back and thought this might just be short enough for my airplane trips). Also I’m flying from Canada to China and I highly doubt my PSP is going to last a double-digit amount of hours, so I brought along my DSLite. I’ve got Devil Survivor 2 in case my SRPG needs come up, and Glory of Heracles for a generic, easy turn-based game that I will play when watching airplane movies because I need to twiddle my thumbs.
As you’ve probably guessed, having nothing to do on an airplane trip is my nightmare. There was this one time 3 years ago where I was flying home from China, and my PSP ran out of batteries and so did my DS because I forgot to charge it. Even my iPod died on me, and the airplane movies either weren’t interesting, or I had watched on the trip to China. It was a terrible experience. Trying to sit still without some kind of distraction was a disaster, and I ended up eating 5 cups of instant noodles back-to-back because I was bored.
Because I don’t have a lot to post about recently, I guess I’ll make a report on stuff that I didn’t bother finishing. I’ll be heading to China next Wednesday so I’ll likely be gone for 2 weeks if The Great Firewall of China interferes. I don’t think I’ll be able to post anything while I’m in China anyways. Not even sure if relatives have wi-fi in their house. No consoles for at least 2 weeks, but I’ll be bringing along my handhelds because I never leave the house without them. I don’t have anything new to review since I’ve been going at Ao no Kiseki slowly (I’m trying to make this game last! There isn’t anything out after Ao no Kiseki at the time of writing, so I’m gonna savour this game!) and anything else that’s on PSP has been pushed aside to a pause. Without adieu, here is a list of games that I didn’t bother continuing.
Wild Arms 3 – It’s been like what, a year since I last played it? I couldn’t get into it. I liked the unusual cast and the Wild West setting is pretty cool, but the combat and puzzles didn’t grab me. I got spoiled by the hex system, and possibly the linearity of WA4. The story also hasn’t picked up.
Phantom Brave – I like NIS games. I like SRPGs. But I cannot like this game for some reason. The lack of grids on the maps makes things less organized, and the characters tend to slip or waste their time jumping, so they’ll never move where you want them to. Each unit having a turn limit doesn’t help. I wanted to like this game, but I just can’t get into it. Maybe I’ll give it another try in the future, since I have it on PSP and I’m much more tolerant when it comes to handheld games.
La Pucelle: Tactics – There’s a reason why people tell you to play the Disgaea series in order. The plot and characters are subjective, but the gameplay gets better with each installment. Most people who played Disgaea 2 on the PSP couldn’t go back to the first game afterwards. La Pucelle is essentially Disgaea 0 in gameplay – a less polished SRPG. I think I enjoyed it better than Phantom Brave, but I’ve still put it on pause because I’ve got other games in the backlog I want to play.
D. C. Da Capo – The legendary moe-ge that everybody knows. I didn’t even get past the common route because I found it to be real dull. I’m usually pretty good at pulling myself through long common routes, but in Da Capo it wasn’t even funny or charming so I stopped. The music isn’t outstanding, and the art clearly shows its age. Another reason I didn’t continue is probably because I watched both seasons of the anime long ago, back when harem anime was still fresh (I know, I know) and the scenario seemed original. There are plenty of media that were really good when they first came out, but their age clearly shows now. The only reason why I decided to try it out is because I liked Kotori and didn’t like how the anime went with Nemu, but my love for her died down through the years. I liked the rest of the cast back when I watched the anime, but not so much now. Maybe I would have played further if I could play the vn right after finishing the anime, like what I did with Clannad.
Blazing Souls Accelate – I still like this game, I just put it aside for Ao no Kiseki after reaching a battle where I’m too underleveled to get a move in and have to grind. I’ll be continuing this game after Ao, or when I feel like I need a bit of variety in China.
Oh yeah, and here’s an obligatory currently playing report, because that is what you do when you have nothing to do.
Ao no Kiseki – sdfdsfkdhdhdkghkgfdsflibfdlkadgh;fshgfdof;dsjfldskldsfjdklfskladhf *mashes keyboard uncontrollably* I MISSED YOU, CROSSBELL. ALSO OLIVIER AND KLOSE SFHKDFHKDHKFDKDVNKLDV DFJDFKDFKJFJESHK. RANDY SDKLFKLDSLDS BROS KJSDFDSKSDLF I THINK I’VE TAKEN A LIKING TO WAZY SDFKJDFLLS NOEL YOU FABULOUS MOB CLEANER YOU AND YOUR AOE NORMAL ATTACK DSJFHDSFHDKLSD CAN’T WAIT FOR TIO TO COME BACK KJDNFLKDFLDFSPD
Glory of Heracles – Got this for $5 new, thought you can’t go wrong with $5. It’s okay so far, certainly on the easy side. I’ll see how this continues. I’ve enjoyed some lines like “I found out I was immortal after my dad threw me off a cliff” “That’s some great parenting right there”
Devil Survivor 2 – Will be going at this slowly, I’m always slow with SRPGs. I’ve never found Devil Survivor to be OMFG amazing. SMT will always be better as a dungeon crawler for me.
SMT: Nocturne – Starting this on hard on my first playthrough is probably a bad idea, but I think I was enjoying the fact that I died in the very first dungeon (where you are solo) multiple times. Hopefully I won’t become a masochist after this. Also, starting this right before I head to China might not be such a good idea…
Developed by Grasshopper Manufacturer and published by Atlus in North America, Contact is a quirky little game released early in the DS’ lifeline. It tells the story of the Professor, being chased by an organization called the CosmoNOTs, and how he brings a passer-by boy onto his ship in order to make him search for cells to fuel his ship. The kid, default name Terry, is a silent protagonist with as much personality as a piece of paper so he just goes along with the suspicious old man to do his dirty work for him, in hopes of getting taken home. Of course, confrontation with the CosmoNOTs is unavoidable.
I already had a DSi die on me a few years back, but that time it was under warranty so I just sent it back to Nintendo and they game be a new one. This time my DSi has a similar problem but it’s no longer under warranty. It begins by turning off randomly, and then to not at all. During my latest attempt to turn it on again, I saw that the top screen display malfunctioned. Derp.
The thing is, I didn’t even play on it obsessively or bring it outside that much. Damn, the DSi has terrible durability. Good thing I still have my DS Lite I bought back in 2007 or 2008. I was an idiot kid who didn’t care for my electronics properly and my classmate dropped that thing on pavement multiple times (didn’t have a protective case back then), it still works fine. Years of intensive playing gave me malfunctioned shoulder buttons, but at least it still freaking turns on. I also don’t have a cracked hinge.
I checked Ninty’s website and apparently I need to pay $85 to repair my DSi. No thanks, I have a working DS Lite (minus shoulder buttons) and a fabulous 3DS in case I want to play an action game that utilizes shoulder buttons. I officially give up on the DSi. Logically thinking, it was a useless revision of the DS anyways. No ability to play GBA games, shorter battery life, doesn’t feel nice on the hands, and two bad experiences tell me that it’s less durable than the DSL. The DSi shop I never used since the massive DS game library was enough to satisfy me.
It was good knowing you, DSi. But what I intended to be the backup for my DSL ended up dying first. Not cool.