A dungeon-crawling RPG where you use various methods of torture on teenage girls to get them to learn battle skills. Developed by Imageepoch (known for the Luminous Arc series, and more infamously, Time and Eternity) and published by Nippon Ichi Software. It looks low budget like a cheap fanservice game, and while I wouldn’t argue against such accusations, I also found much enjoyment in it as a light RPG that’s reasonably balanced and easy to get into without having to make huge commitments or decisions. This might interest those who want a simple and straightforward RPG with some lewd mini-games.
I wrote a more detailed review at OrganizationASG and rambled about final boss strategy elsewhere so this is just some random babble. At 23:51 with all subquests cleared, that wasn’t a very long game. Nearly half that time was spent on subquests, so if you rush through the story, you could finish it in less than 20 hours. It’s also very easily broken, considering that magic is ridiculously overpowered and Time Freeze can be used without downtime and for as many times as you want in battle as long as you have Time Splinters to refill with. Also combine that with the chemistry system and you’ve got a game so easily broken you can make it so that the final boss never gets a move in on you.
While the game was really flawed and doesn’t appeal to a lot of people, I wouldn’t consider it absolute shit that no one should touch. It was miles more fun than Lunar Dragon Song. If I had to compare it to something, it’d be like the McDonalds’ of RPGs for me. There’s no way I can call it actually good, and the health benefits are low. But it is fast, edible without tasting like utter shit (alright, subjective here, but as someone whose high school cafeteria once served noodles with bits still raw and hard, McDonalds was a decent and affordable alternative), consistent, and you don’t have to put any mind into eating it. Sometimes you can enjoy the taste of a Big Mac (or in the case of poor student me, three McDoubles which will end up costing the same as the Big Mac) without thinking much about it, but it’s not something you want to eat all the time. Of course those who only enjoy the fine dining or healthy meals with carefully counted calories aren’t going to like it, but some people really do crave McDonalds’ at times (or eat it daily, but let’s watch our health at least somewhat, okay?).
Time and Eternity is just like that: a short game that flies by fast without overstaying its welcome, flawed, and has gameplay that never evolves. Enemy attack patterns and difficulty will remain constant whether it’s the first few hours or the last few hours (certain bosses not withstanding), and everything is just as expected. It was some 24 hours of shallow and mindless repetition, which isn’t a bad thing sometimes, just not what I’d pay $50 for (hooray for review copies). Of the girls I liked Enda the best (twintail loli always welcome), but you can only pick between Toki and Towa so I chose the latter (of course I reloaded later to get the former’s ending). While redheads are delicious and tempting, I like tsunderes and sword users so I chose Towa. Tsunderes with low-pitched voices are always great. Plus Towa’s magic is more useful for chemistry. There’s a true ending on NG+ that requires balancing both girls’ affection, but I don’t like the game enough to want to play it again.
Speaking of comparing food to RPGs, I’d have to compare some other games if Time and Eternity is McDonalds’.
The Atelier games are like dessert: sweet, delicious, always welcome but don’t last that long. They give that pleasant feeling, and you never feel tired after finishing.
Disgaea games feel like if you won a “cake every day for a year” prize. It’s definitely enjoyable and delicious, but somewhere down the really long line you’ll get tired of it. Of course, when the next one comes out, you’ll jump at the opportunity again.
Tales games are probably that one Hong Kong-style restaurant that serves their stuff in large plates. They’ve got lots of content compared to what you’re paying, and you can always rely on them to have something that you enjoy (for my particular tastes, anyway).Their servings are huge though, so you might have to force yourself to finish the last few bites, or get tired of what you ordered. You’ll often leave the store full, and while this stuff ain’t fine dining, it tastes good and feels comfortable.
Modern Atlus games feel like fancy five-course meals: good, but they take a long time to finish and your wallet probably took a critical hit or maybe even ate an instant-kill. You’ll probably feel satisfied at the end, but not before facing several hardships.
I have a huge bias for Falcom’s Legend of Heroes series so they are my waifu’s homemade meal specially prepared for my birthday (ignoring the fact that anyone I can call my waifu doesn’t exist in the third dimension). Always love, always want, always a lot and takes time to finish.
On another hand, Lunar Dragon Song is like this one noodle lunch I once had in high school: tasted terrible, had several pieces of hard, raw noodle that I absolutely couldn’t accept. I said “fuck this shit” partway through and threw it away.
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?
Damn, it’s not every day that a game gets me to complete 3 consecutive playthroughs and get 100%. Even for my most beloved games I don’t usually do this. It must be my galge tendencies kicking in, telling me to collect all CG and get all endings. I guess I really do love this game. My favorite is still Sara.
Anyways, now that I’ve 100% Normal mode (not tempted to play hard mode, at least any time in the near future), I actually have to go play the games in my backlog that I got sidetracked from before I get distracted by Tales of Graces.
Luminous Arc 3: Eyes is the only game in the Luminous Arc series to not get localized, and also happens to be the best one. It is the most polished in terms of gameplay, and compared to the first and probably the second game, LA3 can actually stand on its own ground to appeal to a greater mass as an SRPG rather than a easy game with a very bad system that only a small fanbase charmed by its characters can love. Okay, screw it, trying to sound semi-decent isn’t working out for me. What I’m trying to say is, LA3 is a great improvement over previous games in terms of gameplay. It’s not a ground-breaking revolutionary kami-ge that will be remember by lots of people 10 years after release, but it is a very solid SRPG with the same appeal as previous games in terms of character interaction.
Localizer: Aksys Games
I beat the game back in November, but I was too lazy to type about it so I’m typing my review now. I was excited for Fate/Extra despite indifferent about Type-Moon since the game looked great. After playing it I’d have to say that it’s not bad since I did manage to beat the game and had fun for the most part, but the battle system is very hit-or-miss. If you don’t like having a deadline or playing day-by-day in your games (if you felt restricted by the calendar system in Persona 3/4), this game is probably not for you. Also, if you cannot stand relying on luck and memorization, you will probably ragequit.
THAT USES HAND-DRAWN ANIMATION FOR EVERYTHING.
Oh god WANT. The girl’s design looks great, not digging the dude but as long as there are even more fully animated girls, the guys can look bland for all I care. RPG with fully HAND-DRAWN animation is what I’ve always dreamed about, not photo-realistic models. The fact that Imageepoch is the developer means that this game can go either way in terms of the actual quality of the game though. I liked Luminous Arc 3 and Fate/Extra had a unique battle system but ended up being a hit-or-miss, but I’ve also heard that their recent productions looked great but ended up being very disappointing (Saigo no Yakusoku no Monogatari had nice character design and looked good in the PV, but apparently everybody hated it in terms of plot and gameplay).
This game I would probably buy for graphics alone (HAND-DRAWN 2D animation makes my artist side all giddy), although I am praying for a fun battle system and likeable characters + decent plot. A traditional turn-based system will do.
Oh hey NISA, wanna bring this over? Oh wait, this is being published by Bamco in Japan. Well there goes chances of localization.
I’ve been checking some sites, and it seems like NISA is bringing over the PSP version of Phantom Brave eeveryone’s been wanting, along with Neptune (named Hyperdimension Neptunia for NA release). There’s actually a lot of stuff I didn’t know about, so I’m compiling a list for upcoming RPG both NA and JPN release.
Japanese releases are in italics
Pokemon Black & White (Spring 2011, DS)
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation (Feb 14 2011, DS) – This should probably go under another company, but it’s listed on Nintendo’s website and counts for Club Nintendo points so I put it here.
Valkyria Chronicles 3 (January 27 2011, PSP)
Radiant Historia (Feb 2011, DS)
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 Tsumi (March 3 2011, PSP)
The Little Battlers (March 17 2011, PSP)
Hyperdimension Neptunia (Feb 2011, PS3)
Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle (March 2011, PSP)
Ys I & II Chronicles (Feb 2011, PSP)
Rune Factory Oceans (2011, PS3 + Wii)
Tale of the Last Promise (TBA, PSP)
Black Rock Shooter: The Game (Summer 2011, PSP)
Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection (Spring 2011, PSP)
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (February 15 2011, PSP)
Atelier Violet: Alchemist of Gramnad 2 (February 3 2011, PSP)
Tales of Xillia (2011, PS3)
Venus & Braves (TBA, PSP)
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 3 (Feb 2011, PSP)
…actually, I don’t wanna see any more news of Namco Bandai stuff so I’ll stop here unless they’re releasing something in English.
I probably missed some stuff here and there, but I’m pretty sure that’s it so far for English releases and noteworth Japanese games. I’m interested in the Atelier games by Gust, and anything NISA decides to bring over is at least worth a look for me. I’ve already got Radiant Historia pre-ordered and I’ve got my fingers crossed for P2. I do like FFIV and Tactics Ogre seems to have a lot of praise so I’ll check out SqEnix this time. Level 5’s The Little Battlers seems interesting, but I’ll wait to see how it does first. Imageepoch’s game has permadeath so I’ll have to wait and see instead of rushing into things head first. Now that they’re partnering with NISA, I’m more relieved for the company’s games being localized.
On a side note, on the PSP dating sim scene, we’ve got Photo Kano (links to Siliconera article), where the PSP is like an in-game camera and you take pictures of the girls. The 3D seems to be very well done here, especially the girls’ expressions. I’m not too fond of such realistic hair tones though. I prefer crazy anime hair colors to just browns and blacks. One of the reasons why I’m interested in Dream Club more than other recent-ish dating sims is because they’ve got a variety of hair colors.