カレーまみれ勇者の冒険 Curry Chronicles


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Apparently my particular case of shit taste is incurable

Nominated in Japan for kusoge of the year in 2012 and getting trashed by English reviewers everywhere, and here I am enjoying Time and Eternity. I am also someone who played through the first Hyperdimension Neptunia twice from beginning to end and managed to survive Lunar Dragon Song for over five hours so I don’t think this is a fluke.

Of course, I’m only 12 hours in and in the second chapter, but Time and Eternity provides some shallow and mindless fun with its button-mashy and easily broken battle system and loads and loads of side quests. The plot is terrible, bringing in all of the nonsense of time travel stories and none of the fun and excitement, instead relying on cheesy jokes that are repeated to death and generally don’t connect all that well. Oh, but some are so bad they cross the “lame” line twice and made me laugh. Such as how a comically terrible-tasting cake brings its consumer to a near-death state and gives them the ability to see ghosts. The side quests are also more entertaining than the main story, and are miles more fun than Neptunia V’s quests, at the least. There’s one where a soul reaper asks you to go smack some sense into her chuunibyou son who is pretending to be a vampire. There are also a lot of pointless quests that give you free GP for just talking to someone.

My opinion will probably change since I’m not that far in, but for now I’m having a blast despite agreeing that it’s a kusoge and it reeks of lack of polish and lack of effort put into appealing to the otaku. As someone who regularly plays eroge, CS ports of eroge, and fanservicey RPGs like Neptunia (which is miles ahead of this game in moege writing), the unnaturalness of the ecchi situations in this game are unforgivable! But I like the lame puns and stupid sidequests and general stupidity of the whole thing. Not for the $50 that most people will be paying, of course.

I think the drama-filled White Album 2 (just unlocked coda, need a break before EXTREME SUFFERING) has somehow made me vulnerable to bad comedy and mindless gameplay. And I have a serious case of shit taste that I never want to fix. I shudder at the thought of only being able to enjoy good games. At the rate I’m progressing, I might turn into one of those people who purposely seek out kusoge to play. W-Will I have to touch Cho Aniki one day?


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White Album 2 ~Introductory Chapter~ impressions

Soap opera-style dramatic love triangles aren’t really my thing. I dropped the KimiNozo anime in the early episodes, stopped reading the Kimi no Iru Machi manga, and stayed far, far away from any shoujo manga/anime that don’t involve magical girls. With that said, I finished WA2’s Introductory Chapter, which was actually pretty enjoyable. I’m saving the majority of my judgement for when I finish Closing Chapter (which I’m sure will bring me loads and loads of rage like any interesting love triangle should), but IC was rather interesting in that the character who appears to be the most flawless and idol-like is the one who initiates the suffering. IC worked and retained my interest all the way through because I managed to like both Setsuna and Kazusa (although I do prefer the latter).

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Dies Irae – First Impressions

I just finished Kasumi’s route, and I’m not impressed. Extremely underwhelming, and the fight scenes weren’t that impressive. I liked Shiro’s fights with Bey, but Ren’s fights were pretty anti-climatic. The “final boss” didn’t even appear, and it’s like they solved everything before getting to the climax, at the cost of a bunch of deaths of other characters. The scenes that were supposed to be emotional did nothing for me, and the ending wasn’t even satisfying. Even at the final showdown, I could only yawn. It feels like the game is literally telling you you could have done much, much better if you went with someone else. I’m really hoping this is the worst route.

Kasumi is my least favorite of the 4 girls, so I’m glad that I can still hope for a good route with the others. But yeah, talk about the childhood friend getting the short end of the stick. Kasumi wasn’t even the focus of her route most of the time. It feels like Kei and Shirou got more screentime than her. The romantic development wasn’t even good to make up for the anti-climatic “climax.” I guess Dies Irae is the type of game where the romantic moments happen in the H-scenes because the plot has no time for it. Isn’t it fun how childhood friends are either the true route, or the lame exposition/”starter”/unimpressive-should-be-done-first route?

Next up is Kei, and I hope her route is better because I actually like her. As of this moment, she is my favorite heroine. Long black hair + uniform + sword = hnnnnnnng. Oh yeah, the music is absolutely wonderful. Whenever I got to a fight scene, I just had to leave the game running in the background and browse the internet while listening to the amazingly grandiose battle BGM. The art is also really good, with a few odd exceptions that have strange anatomy. But the chuuni fight scene CGs are beautiful and the lighting and cel-shading are great.


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Summon Night 2 (DS) – First Impressions

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 pokedex demon 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.


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Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory – Impressions

This game was a pleasant surprise. I’ve been with the Neptunia series since the first game, so the much higher difficulty in V caught me off guard several times. Each boss fight so far (I’m up to Chapter 3) pretty much ended up eating all my resources on hand and were won with a dead party member and the remaining at critical HP. Bosses also have tremendous HP and regen, so staying alive and remaining offensive is the only way to do things. I got my ass handed to during a particular fight after getting Blanc because  It’s very easy to be underleveled for the next dungeon/boss since the dungeons are still small. Anyone expecting to breeze through things like in MK2 will get a nice wake-up call rather early on. Unfortunately this means “go grind.” Not that I mind since I like grinding here.

CPU mode is a nice balance between the first and second game. It eats up a set percentage of SP when you activate it and gives you a huge boost, but no longer drains SP per turn. Thus, it’s extremely useful for boss fights and strong enemies, but not broken so that you can spam it every turn. Combo system is similar to MK2’s.

Dialogue is as hilarious as ever, and they’ve ramped up the 4th wall-breaking, references, and innuendo. Plus Neptune is back as the superior main character, and Noire joins your party early and gets much time in the spotlight. Iris Heart is wonderful. Do-S characters bring out the best in everyone. All my party members have been CPUs thus far, so I’m excited to see the mascot characters. Especially Falcom-chan.

My major complaint so far is that monster drop rates suck. They are terrible. Even the risky enemies that only appear once or twice per dungeon have that shitty drop rate. Thus, fetch quests are frustrating as fuck.


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Ayesha is fun, but the Arland series have a better atmosphere

Alchemy is fine and just as complex when you get down to it, and battles take a more strategic turn as you can now position your party members around the enemy, affecting what support skills they can use. Through good usage of the battle system, a certain boss fight that is supposed to be “unwinnable” becomes winnable even on the first playthrough. The time constraints have become so lenient, even the quests from townspeople give you over a year to complete (even if it’s as simple as “get me 3 baguettes”), and hand out a lot of cash in comparison to the requests in the Arland series.  There are no deadlines, Ayesha just has to save her little sister by the end of the game (3 years) and that’s it. Levelling up is also a lot faster, and reaching level 50 in both alchemy and adventurer levels is quite easy. Boss fights don’t really happen until late game, where a bunch of optional bosses pop up in large numbers. Character models look great, English voice acting is bearable but disappointing in that only around half the game is dubbed (please, if you’re not gonna pay for the JP voices, put that cash into giving a full dub!). Soundtrack is wonderful as well.

The problem is, the game feels lonely. Kinda like Atelier Marie, except with more character events. Yeah, all the characters have plenty of events with Ayesha, but there is a lack of group events or interactions between party members. Remember back in Rorona where bringing different combinations of party members to the world map triggered different conversations between them? Doesn’t happen here. I liked the Regina and Juris events, but the other party members don’t have many events with each other. Plus, the amount of party members feels kinda few. Or maybe that’s just compared to Meruru, which had loads of characters and group interactions. Anyway, Ayesha’s fellow party members not interacting with each other just left a big gap in my heart. It was like in Atelier Marie, where the adventurers only interacted with Marie, and not with each other. Even the bath event was Ayesha & Tanya only.

Well, ’tis the beginning of a new (hopefully) trilogy, so some things gotta go back to square one. A15 has been announced to take place in the same land as Ayesha, this time with a twintail protagonist! Yeah, take my money, Gust! I hope it builds up to the same liveliness as the Arland games, with returning characters and group events. I’m not done with Ayesha seeing as how I’ve got more endings to get (only acquired the endings for party members other than Keith), so maybe it’ll be livelier in some of the other endings. I’ve got no complaints about the characters themselves. Wilbell is a fabulous loli and Linca is moe. Please return in the next game! The lack of Sterk is saddening though, hopefully we get someone who can cut the moon again. Extremely badass specials is the best kind of MANservice.

All in all, it’s a fun game, but not as good as Meruru/Totori. I liked Kishida’s art better, but the new artist is not bad at all. It’s sad to see cutscenes be in full 3D instead of visual novel style with portraits, as good the 3D models are.


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Majikoi First Impressions

Okay, maybe not so much “first” since I just finished all the main heroine routes and am off to do the side routes and the agave route. It has been fun and hilarious so far, so I’m definitely enjoying it. Ah, I love slice-of-life with a group of friends. The common route is riddled with ridiculousness that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the character routes usually carry on that spirit with some serious parts here and there. There’s also tons of references to other media, especially G-senjou no Maou and Baldr Sky (well, GIGA in general). Oh hey look, another thing that’s on my backlog!

The strength of Majikoi is definitely in the group dynamic rather than the individual routes (since the route-specific plot and character issues aren’t that outstanding), as well as the huge amount of defined and unique side characters. Lively casts are great~ Having bros who got your back is also a wonderful feeling. Much better than just having one dude friend who acts as the butt-monkey.

I like all the girls, though my favorite is Wanko. Flat chest and ponytail is a great combo. Her route wasn’t too exciting compared to the others, and ended up being rather serious. Miyako’s route is also on the serious side as well. Meanwhile Momoyo’s and Mayucchi’s routes were about battles and/or tournaments, which score ridiculous on a scale of 1 to crazy. No, seriously. Momoyo is OP enough to send a blast into outer space, hold back the German army, etc. This is a setting in which trained martial artists can catch bullets in between their fingers, and humans can become so strong that a military force armed with missiles has no chance of winning against them. Chris had the lovy-dovy bakappuru route that every galge has to have, and ended with a hilarious battle.

Of course the protagonist is a pretty cool guy. He’s the tactician of the group, but can handle himself in fights pretty well too. He is good at cheating at mah-jong and poker, and utilizing the grey zone like a politician. He’s got character, and doesn’t pale in comparison to his crazy friends either.

Majikoi has been really fun, I’ll be sad when I’m done with all the routes. Upcoming is Overdrive’s Deardrops, because I have to review it for OrgAsg. Then I’ll finally start Dies Irae.

Maybe I should check out some of Minatosoft’s other eroge.


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Fire Emblem: Awakening is great

First actual Fire emblem game for me (by that I mean I don’t count the time when I was middle school-aged and tried to play one and get pissed off at the fact that units die permanently, and then quit). I’m on casual because I can’t handle permadeath/resetting every time someone dies. I finished my first playthrough on Normal/Casual, which was pretty easy. Then I decided to play on Lunatic/Casual and table flipped on the prologue battle, then the chapter 1 battle, and then the chapter 2 battle which I’m still table flipping at because I can’t strategy. Thus, I went for Hard/Casual for a happy medium. So far so good, I just have to play a lot more defensively than my normal playthrough. I am in awe of those who play on Lunatic/Classic, or better yet, Lunatic+/Classic.

I am now determined to get all support conversations, and attempt some stat-maxing because this game is fun. The support conversations are hilarious. Come to think of it, Kid Icarus had awesome banter too. Nintendo’s localization teams seems to know what they’re doing. The gameplay is really fun, since I’ve always found SRPGs to be fun. Still, Fire Emblem is rather different from most tactical RPGs I’ve played. I like how the combat forecast tells you exactly how much damage your unit will deal to the enemy, and how much your enemy will deal to you, along with the hit rate and amount of hits it will take.  An interesting thing is that when engaging the enemy during your turn, the enemy will attack you back if they survive your initial hit. Of course you can do the same, so I’ve had situations where enemies ganged up on the MC (who uses magic), miss with their attacks, and get murdered by MCs counter attack. Each unit can also carry multiple weapons and choose which one to use when attacking.

Music and visuals are great, and the character designs look very good. The plot is what you’d probably expect, but I won’t bother nitpicking because this game should be played for the gameplay and characters anyway. I married Lissa on the first playthrough because twintail imouto is wonderful. This is certainly the best SRPG I’ve played in a while.


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Ragnarok Tactics – First impressions

To procrastinate further at school, I’ve decided to play Ragnarok Tactics. Yeah, it’s the time when there’s a shitload of projects and tests, plus those essays and personal activity forms I have to fill out for universities (because fucking retarded me chose to apply for engineering despite having unimpressive grades and shit work ethics), and here I am playing a recently-released PSP game. I’m not even working at that backlog of mine, haha.

Ragnarok Tactics is basically a very ordinary SRPG centered on a war between two countries. You get to create your character, who is some random mercenary belonging to a neutral “borderless” faction with cool middle aged guy Toren as your master. You meet two youngsters, belonging to the two countires in conflict, and they join you on your monster hunting adventure. After the first three battles, you go your separate ways and shit hits the fan (war breaks out). You now get to build your own army of generic classes and choose whether you want to help out Branshaldo, Aura, or Toren (neutral).

So far I beat the game twice, but due to different endings and the True Ending requirements, I’m still not done with the game. Each chapter you can choose between 3 or 4 different battles, so you can help out whatever faction you want. However, the same stuff still happens and the branching of routes happen at the end. I went for Aura first because I found Yuri to be cute (I-I like dudes who look like cute short-haired girls), but his route turned out pretty annoying with the whole “I’ll fight for my country and delude myself into thinking it’s obviously not evil” philosophy. Cynthia’s route was slightly better, but the events don’t change despite your helping in battle so you know exactly what happens, and you end up fighting for a princess that doesn’t get any development and barely any personality so you have no reason to care about her. I stayed for Cynthia because I liked her tsun moments. Next up is Toren, and I kinda saved him for last because I figured being neutral would be the most interesting and hey, he’s a cool middle aged guy. I’m not too far into his route, but I like it better so far (read: I actually manage to care about what is happening). It helps that he actually has some sort of backstory that sounds pretty plausible.

Plot gets pretty stale as you play further, and the characters don’t get much development or depth. The dude who rules over his country in tyranny and wants to purge the land of all members of the opposing nation (and anyone that doesn’t agree with his ways in general)? Stick in a “I’m doing all this because I have mommy issues and dead mother angst” and he gets his life spared. You can clearly tell they just stuck it in there for the sake of sticking it in there, because they put zero effort into making said revelation emotional. Both endings I’ve gotten so far are unsatisfactory, and go something along the lines of “you did all this shit in attempt to save the world, but no peace for you trolololol, enjoy being stuck in continuous conflict for what is presumably the majority of the rest of your life.” It feels like the routes just end off prematurely, like they should be the midpoint of the game but instead of getting into a plot-changing twist you get “okay that solved nothing, enjoy fighting more wars.” I’ll assume the True ending is where I’ll get my standard RPG “DEFEAT REAL BAD GUY AND EVERYONE IS FRIENDS” conclusion because I’m kinda hungry for that right now.

So yeah, the main story is pretty subpar. I liked the character interactions in the beginning, where they were just derping around on a monster hunt, but things became flat and boring when the game decides to go all SRS BSNS. The best thing narrative-wise so far are the sub-events. These things are pretty hilarious, and some of them are continuous and can give you a premature ending that you can make a clear file out of. I’m glad the sub-events are there, because they give you harder battles and more entertaining dialogue. You get a 5-episode series with a dude who falls in love with random girls and proposes to them in ways that would get him a good beating because he thinks he’s hot shit (and they end up calling security on him), a cook who can’t find inspiration and keeps telling you to grab stuff for him (it ends up with your beating him up as he spends a week making simple fried rice and not using the things you fetched for him), and a loli delivery girl who uses you as a meat shield and ends up falling for you (her subplot was probably one of the more interesting aspects, and I wished they explored it further).

Gameplay is not very outstanding, should I say. It’s basically your typical tactical RPG, except even easier. The enemy AI is so terrible it makes Luminous Arc seem hard in comparison. Nobody moves unless they get attacked, or you are in their attacking range. The classes are horribly unbalanced as well, and with the exception of High Priests (healers), they can be separated into massacre-the-map type and lag-behind-and-completely-useless type. Namely, Champions + ranged physical classes (Sniper, and Jonda to an extent. Kafras are cheap too, for something else) for the former, and everything else for the latter (mages in particular, since there’s a huge delay for using spells). Assassins are fast, but they’re pretty weak. Speed is the most important stat, and since Snipers have both speed and attack based off of dex, they are the best early-game classes. There isn’t really a reason why I should stick with this game instead of jumping to something critically-acclaimed in my backlog, but somehow I just can’t stop. The game is…so average it’s addicting? It’s pretty stress free, since I’m at the point where storyline battles no longer pose a challenge to me, but I can still easily level champions due to their broken skill than can pretty much wipe the map.

 


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Tales of Xillia – First Impressions

I’m 20 hours in, and this game is damn FUN. I still prefer Graces’ battle system because CC >>>>>>> TP and there’s no side-stepping here, but there’s a lot of fun new mechanics that make me WANT to go into random battles. You know a game is doing it right when you actually LIKE fighting normal enemies. Boss fights, however, are rather frustrating. I’m playing on hard, and damn these bosses are annoying. The first boss was alright, but I ran out of all healing items by the end and Milla was dead (and you don’t have a proper healer at this time yet). The second boss I managed to knock him down to low HP before he started summoning mooks like crazy and I ran out of TP recovery items. I said “fuck this shit” and lowered the difficulty. The fact that it takes place in a dark area makes it more frustrating to dodge. Third boss was fine until I ran out of items when it was at very low HP, then it proceeded to murder me because none of my allies can dodge. Fourth boss was fine, since it was a one-on-one fight with Jude with no crappy ally AI, so I just had to learn the boss’ attack patterns.

I have a  feeling this is gonna turn out like Abyss. Frustrating at first because you keep running out of TP, but much better later on when you can afford Pineapple Gels. Unfortunately, I still can’t buy Pineapple Gels in bulk without murdering my wallet. Jude is also extremely fun to play as, because of his awesome ability where if he backsteps an enemy attack at the right moment, he will teleport to behind the enemy. His attacks are also fast, which makes him very enjoyable to control. For a doctor, he sure is good at beating people up. Alvin plays more like your standard Tales hero with the sword and all, but he has a charge ability that increases attack power and changes some of his artes. Then there’s Milla, who I really, really want to marry. Those delicious thighs…She has a bunch of elemental spells, but her ability makes it so that if you hold X, she casts, but mashing X will cause her to do close-range elemental artes that have no casting time. She is my favorite to use because I can hit enemy weak points like crazy, but she’s out of commission right now so I had to get used to Jude. Elise is the healer, which means I’ll never play as her for the first playthrough because I will forget to heal my allies. Rowen is a standard caster with lots of spells, but fragile defenses. I just got Leia, who seems to be a thief character with healing artes better than Jude, magic, and physical artes? Seems to be a jack of all trades.

Aside from each character having a unique ability, there’s also the partnering system. Basically you can link yourself to another character, and they will have a useful support skill. You can also perform a powerful combined Arte with your partner. Jude’s skill is Recover, which basically heals you when you are knocked down (and brings you back up). Milla can bind enemies (even bosses), Alvin can guard break, Rowen will give you and him and anyone close-by auto-magic guard (VERY useful), Elise drain enemy HP I think (never paid much attention to what it does exactly), and I haven’t used Leia enough to know what she does. I think she steals.

Plot is taking off decently, but it has slowed down a bit where I’m at.  I think I like world design better than Graces, but it’s less interesting than Abyss (so far). I like all the party members, so that’s a plus. The fact that there’s at least 3 characters that are fun to play as even on first playthrough is great.

tl;dr: Fun game is fun. 

I realized that once I enjoy a game, I will immediately seek out as many games in the same series as possible. After Xillia I might even look into some of the older Tales games (although I’m iffy about Tales without either Free Run or side-stepping), or the PS3 version of Vesperia since I heard it’s getting a The Best edition which will make it cost like $50 instead of $80+ to import. Thank Sony the PS3 is region-free.