カレーまみれ勇者の冒険 Curry Chronicles


Yeah! 1 Year Anniversary!

It was exactly 1 year ago from today that I started this blog and made by first post. I feel so accomplished that I managed to regularly update this thing for an entire year lol. Every time I tried to start a blog I would ditch it after a few posts since no one came.

I got something like 17k views this year. It’s not much, but I’m not exactly feeling forever alone either. My most popular post is the Starry Sky in Spring walkthrough that I typed up, and I think the blog got a huge popularity boost after I started blogging Yu-Gi-Oh every week. My art blog had a much better start than this one, but this one has more fabulous memories (cry5D’sendedcry).

Anyways, the most fabulous things during the past blog year:

1) Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s (crycrycry)
2) Persona 3/4
4) G-Senjou no Maou
5) Little Busters

I have 1 more exam and it’ll be summer vacation. I definitely will play a lot~~~~~(and learn to use RPG Maker VX).

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Yeah! Shigenori Soejima Artbook GET!!!

I came home to a cardboard box sitting right outside my front door, and almost missed it since I go in from the garage. This time YesAsia was faster with my order since Tokimeki Memorial 4 and the artbook were both available in stock on day 1. My P4 artbook took 2 weeks to ARRIVE at YesAsia main location, and around 3 weeks to ship to my house. Then after my order it got listed as sold out. Man, I lucked out that time.

Anyways, I was so giddy I took some photos of my artbooks.

My artbook and game that arrived today

 All my Atlus artbooks. From left to right: Luminous Art (NA version), Persona 3 Official Design Works, Etrian Odyssey Forests of Eternity (NA artbooks), P4 Official Design Works, Shigenori Soejim Artworks 2004-2010

Luminous Art, contains some artwork from LA 1 & 2. This is the artbook that came with preorders of LA2 in North America, where the series was published by Atlus.

P3 Official Design Works. Awesome artbook for P3 fans, has all the character cut-outs and expressions from the original P3

Etrian Odyssey artbook that came with preorders of the NA version of EOIII. Contains backgrounds and characters from all 3 games, but they’re really small =_= I would gladly pay standard artbook price for a giant artbook with full-size backgrounds from EO, since they’re really beautiful.

P4 artbook, with character cut-outs and stuff. This is actually thicker than my P3 artbook, and harder to find too.

Shigenori Soejima Art Works 2004-2010. An artbook consisting of his full CGs, plenty of P3/P4 artwork, including P3P. It also has stuff from Stella Deus, but it’s mostly Persona 3/4. It has the most full CGs, so if you can only buy one artbook and you love the Persona series (or his art), I’d recommend this one unless you really want to see rough sketches and concept art. I also comes with a protective plastic book cover, so there’s less chances of the cover getting bent or folded during delivery.

I’ve also got some other artbooks that I can’t help but take pictures of:

Collection of artwork by KEI, the concept artist for the Vocaloid characters. I bought it in a convention in China, and it’s hardcover. It shows off his soft, bright Vocaloid art early on, but also contains his other works that are darker.

HaruToki artbook, contains stuff from the first two games. I bought this at a convention when I was really into the games. Sadly, it doesn’t include HaruToki 3.


Since I’ve got Soejima’s artbook, I’m taking a break from buying now. I’ve got TokiMemo 4 to play, and I’m expecting ZHP this or next week. I think I can hold back until boxing day.

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Persona 4 Review

After calming down a bit (e.g. Not screaming ZOMFG PERSONA 4 SO AWESOME ASDFSDFDFLKLKH everywhere I go), I decided to review it. I’m something like 2 years late, but I need to practice my reviewing and writing skills in general so here I go.

Persona 4 revolves around a murder mystery in a small town called Inaba. You play as a young man in his second year of high school (in Japanese school system), or grade 11. He moves to Inaba for one year as a result of his parents’ work, and lives there temporarily with his uncle and cousin. Shortly after he arrives, a dead body is found in town hanging in a unnatural fashion without any evidence that points out the cause of death. The protagonist makes friends and find out about the Midnight Channel, its involvement in the murders and his power to travel into a world inside the TV. The game follows him and his friends who decide to save to-be murder victims and get to the bottom of the murders by going into the TV world and keeping an eye on the Midnight Channel.

First Impressions:
The introduction is looooong. It’s not like the usual RPG where it throws you into your first battle shortly after the game begins, and the rest consists of dungeons and battling. No, it takes like 2-3 hours for the plot to get started. Definitely not a game to get started on if you don’t have time, patience, or both. Presentation-wise, the beginning of the game features many nicely animated cutscenes so you don’t have to click through text all the time. You also get to save at times during the introduction sequence, so you don’t have to go through all that text again in case you need to do something else. Fortunately, despite the fact that the intro is long, it’s also interesting. You may have to site through 3 hours of text, but at least it’s interesting and engaging text that introduces some major characters and fun interactions between them.

Persona 4 is a half dungeon-crawling RPG, and half life-sim game. First, I will talk about battles. Battles are turn-based, which means you make actions by selecting from a list. The options are standard RPG fare, with the exception of “Persona”, which lets you change your Persona in the middle of the game. The camera angle is constantly active, either zooming into the attacking party or the one recieving the attack. It’s much more dynamic than the usual turn-absed RPG battle system. I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard too much about how awesome the P4 gameplay is from other people, so I’ll keep it short. First of all, you get lots of customization, No more default skill sets; the main character’s skills, stats and elemental weaknesses change with the Persona he equips, and although your allies learn the same skills every time, you get to control which skills they keep/forget. You’ll be familiar with Persona fusion if you’ve played anything else in the SMT series, but in case you don’t, I’ll explain. Persona fusion is when you combine two or more Personae to fuse a different one. The fused Persona can inherit skills from the ones used as fusion material. This system can become very complex, even allowing the user to fuse Personae with attacks covering all elements. The best thing about it is to try for yourself.

If you tried tearing your hair out due to idiotic AI movements in Persona 3, then you will probably enjoy Direct Command very much. You can directly control your party members! The game is also more forgiving, as hitting an enemy with its weakness twice makes it dizzy, whereas they get back up in P3 FES. P3P has a similar battle system to P4, which I believe was the right choice since I really can’t stand not being in control of party members. Even looking at videos of P3 FES gameplay made me rage (especially The Answer bosses).

Oh, and word of warning to players not used to SMT games: Status effects and intant kill spells work. On you, and on the enemy. Also, buff and debuffs can save your life. Oh, and element boosting skills stack. It’s the fact that fighting strategically really works that makes SMT games fun.

Battle System : 9/10. I loved it that much. Persona 4 is the type of game where if you get caught up in a battle when trying to leave and save, you’d go, “Ok, one more battle!” instead of “Another one of these? Argh. *run*” The one thing that I raged over is how you need to wait for the chance to run, and once the MC dies, it’s game over even if your allies are alive and you’ve got 99 balms of life. Also, the game, instead of starting off easy and gradually getting harder like most games, starts off with a huge difficulty curve but gets easier as time goes by. I was struggling against Yukiko, had some fun with the difficulty of Kanji’s shadow, struggled a bit with Mitsuo’s shadow and completely pwned the rest. The final boss was a joke.

Simulation part/Characters
The system outside of battle is a bit like your standard dating sim stat-raising gameplay, except not all relationships are romantic. If you’ve played Tokimeki Memorial, then you’d know that doing well on exams raise your popularity, or in P4’s case, social link points. You’re also able to go after multiple girls, which isn’t like most love adventure games. You get part-time jobs than you can do for money and up a stat, and some even have social links! It’s a good thing, doing social links and getting paid at the same time, along with raising your stats. Anyways, the social links. Most of the game’s side stories are involved with social links. It’s like a life-sim since you get to choose who to hang out with, like in real life. The characters are not cardboard cut outs; they have depth and character development if you go far enough into the social link. Although you get social links with party members and are recommended to max them out so they reach their full potential, the story shines through the non-party members you can hang out with. This game proves that normal, everyday people can be just as interesting and deep (or even moreso) than the combat-able RPG heroes. Showing the day-to-day lives of characters make them much more relatable, like real friends. At the end, I loved the characters so much I dragged out finishing the game for as long as possible. I still didn’t finish Naoto’s S.link though…T_T

Characters: 10/10. I loved everyone. No one could piss me off except for maybe Morooka. Not even Hanako or Kashiwagi. Sure, they fall into the DO NOT WANT category, but at least strange teachers make school life interesting. My favorite girl is a tie between Naoto and Chie. Naoto for moeness and Chie because she seems like a fun friend to hang around, brings lots of lulz moments and I see bits of myself in her. Guy-wise, I always have a special spot for the comic-relief-best-friend character so Yosuke was a default favorite for me. Then his S.link came…BROSUKE!!!!

Shoji Meguro. That is all.
On a more serious note, the music is excellent, as with Persona games. The regular battle song is an earworm, and the regular boss battle themes made me tingle with excitement when fighting. I’m not very critical about music, especially videogame BGM. The vocal pieces are also very well-done; the ending theme totally got me with the quality of Shihoko Hirata’s singing and the lyrics. Oh maaaannn…the lyrics. They make the MC look less like a dick, since his straight face during the ending where everyone else was crying fet unnatural. The ending song was just a whole touching friendship speech, coming from the silent protagonist. Damn, I get touched very easily by friendship and bonds between family, don’t I? Back to the point though, the game’s music is undoubtedly fitting to the cheery atmosphere. My major complaint is “Why no long version of the OP!?”. Seriously, why didn’t the P4 OP make it to the Persona Music Live Band CD? The P3, P3P and even Trinity Soul openings got remade…why can’t I have my P4 opening?

Music: 9.5/10. Giving out such high scores make me look like I have no standard, but even to the most critical person, there will always be one game that blows them away. Heck, that game may be what made them critical. I was in kindergarten or earlier during the hype of the revolutionary FF7. I basically missed out on the entire PS1 and most of the PS2 library. My first console was a Wii, and my first handheld was my DS. I’m like a little kid who got wowed by a cool big bro from a shounen manga, and that’s fine. Persona 4 is an amazing game. Cooler than my shounen manga awesome big bro.

Nothing ground-breaking. Persona 4’s graphics don’t push the PS2 system to its limit, but they are pleasing to the eye. Although the graphics aren’t too impressive, the art direction is great. Soejima’s artstyle is more distinct than your usual big-eyed moe moe manga style girls. The character designs are great too. The 3D models have rather realistic proportions–what’s great is that they don’t use chibi-fied sprites or models during free roam or battle. The animations of each individal character during s.links made it more enjoyable, and some character, especially that of the MC, was lost in the more visual-novel style P3P. There aren’t all that many expressions for the character portraits, so it’s the 3D model that does the showing, and not the expression of the character.

Graphics: 8/10. I don’t have much standard for graphics, TBH. I liked the art direction, and the graphics, although not ground-breaking, served their purpose. What I like most, as mentioned in the gameplay section, is the movement of the camera during battles. The backgrounds are not bad, but Inaba feels more beautiful at night, when you don’t get to roam around town.

Story, I decided, was a seperate category from characters. Good characters can make a sucky plot interesting, whereas bland characters can ruin a well-written story. I felt that the story of P4 had less of an impact than what happend in P3. P4 had good pacing, as opposed to P3’s where nothing surfaced until the final 2 months that had very good writing. The murder mystery aspect started off interesting, but gradually lost its shine. The killer really didn’t have a reason other than “he was bored.” The true antagonist didn’t surface until the very end, and the game basically doesn’t want you to get to her and directs you away from the true end as much as possible. Izanami was basically non-existant for most of the game, and the Big Reveal didn’t really surprise me. I was basically like “oh, she’s behind it…yeah, whatever.” I didn’t feel the tension or excitement before facing her like I did for the entire January of P3. It didn’t help that she was piss easy.

Story: 8/10. Started off very good, and kept my interest. Dulled at the end, but overall a solid story. I kinda liked the fact that it was on a smaller scale, and involves a small country town instead of the entire worl right away. The final boss was a let-down, both story-wise and battle-wise. Sorry Izanami, you don’t compare to the tension before and during the fight with Nyx.

Total scores:
Gameplay: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Music: 9.5/10
Graphics: 8/10
Story: 8/10

Overall: 44.5/50, or 8.9/10. I’ll round up, so 9/10.

We’ve all heard debates about what is the most important part of a game. The countless gameplay vs. graphics or gameplay vs. story arguments we’ve seen too much. When it comes to a quality game like P4, it should be great in every category. A good game may excel in its battle system or have an amazing story, but many different aspects make up a game. You have to do well in all or most of them to make a great game. Remember, the main girl/guy in dating sims always require you to be high in every stat. Other guys have several stat rquirements as well, so it’s not recommended to just pump “study” for the nerdy glasses character. Heck, it even works this way in real life: you’ve gotta have high grades, good attendance record, lots of vounteer hours, good relationships/teacher reference, high involvement in clubs and extra-curricular activites and pleasant personality and attitude for the best jobs/universities. Persona 4 did it for me – it excelled in everything. If I start being harsher on games I play in the future, it’s probably my fault for playing a quality game so early.

I really wanted to give this game a perfect score. I ended up being a bit harsher, because I know I shouldn’t give a perfect score. Sure, I love this game, but it has its faults and I believe that a even better one can exist. I have hope in Atlus, and I will believe that they can blow my mind away once again. Persona 3 and 4 are my favorite games, but I do believe something better can exist. I don’t want to limit my optimism just yet. Perhaps I’ll never give out a 10/10, but it’s too early to decide what is perfect right now. I’m only getting started in gaming afterall.

I definitely recommend Persona 4. You may never look at generic RPGs the same way again, but it’ll give you a good impression of the genre through gameplay alone.

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Persona 4 afterthoughts

Spoilers for game, obviously.

Yesterday, I finally beat the True End of Persona 4. I went in fully knowing the quality I was expecting after playing P3, and I still came out amazed. The characters were even better than I expected, and managed to like and care for every single one of them. The battle system was clearly awesome, the same way P3P hooked me in. I probably wouldn’t have been able to stand the AI-controlled teammates in FES. I enjoyed the music better than I did in P3 (although I’m sorta biased, since I played the majority of P3P on mute in class whereas I played P4 in front of the TV), especially the boss themes. I fell in love with “Mist” at first sound. The ending and final boss wasn’t as memorable as P3, but P4’s strengths greatly overcome the flaws. I’m glad I got into the Persona series.

P4’s ending tugged at my heart in a different way than P3’s. For an SMT game, Persona 4 ended very positively and happily. It’s probably the happiest an SMT game can get, and very cheerful despite the theme being on murders. The ending was truely a genuine happy ending, but made much more emotional by the ending theme. P3MC’s death at the end certainly got me emoing for a bit and left a huge impression on me, but P4MC’s leaving of Inaba makes me want to cry just as much (not saying that I actually cried, of course). Happy and a bit cheesey, P4 ended off with MC’s friends seeing him off at the train station, running after the train saying their ultimate final farewells. The lyrics of the ending theme lets us peek at MC’s feelings about the friends he made in Inaba (or how he is supposed to feel, assuming that the player isn’t a jerk). It makes you sad in a way you can probably relate, since many people have had the experience of moving away and leaving their friends. A boy (well, a teenager) leaving his beloved friends and the town he grew to love is a sadness different from dying. The impression isn’t as strong as a sad ending, but it leaves you a bit reassured since the MC is alive and can keep in contact with his friends.

…Oh shit, I do get emotional easily–over fictional characters, that is. It’s because after the end, you don’t really see what they do anymore.

I didn’t max all social links yet, I only focused on party members since they get more useful as you progress in their social links. My favorite social link is, surprisingly, the Magician arcana (Yosuke). It does the friendship bonding very well, and having a physical fight at the end as friends makes it so much more awesome. Fist fight between friends FTW (FRIEEEEEENNNNDDDDS! Must. Keep. BLfangirlside. Away.)! I always enjoy it when the fight strenghtens the friendship, just like between Okazaki and Sunohara in the Sunohara siblings route in Clannad. Not an epic magical battle with lots of flashy skills, but a raw fistfight with straight-out punching. It just amplifies the manly friendship.

I’m also really liking Naoto’s S.link, but I didn’t finish it because I maxed courage too late. I somehow always end up liking kuudere girls ❤ Ai’s story was also very interesting, but I didn’t get the chance to complete it due to idiotic action on my part (fighting Adachi early). There weren’t really any social links that bored me here (no more fat jerkass kid and hanging out with old men at night), and some of them even raised stats!

The music is great, like the usual with SMT games. The regular battle theme is an extreme ear worm, and the melody makes an epic return at the final boss fight. Mist (song for fighting Izanami’s first form) made me instantly fall for it. I’m just pissed that they only give you Side A of the soundtrack with the game, and not the complete set. Damn I love rock battle themes in RPGs. Actually, screw it. I love game music. There.

Also, the ending theme (especially if you know the meaning of the lyrics):

Persona 4 holds a special place in my heart, right next to P3. They’re so special, I will refrain from comparing future RPGs I play with them unless it’s from the same series (Persona 5 will make me get a job and buy a PS3). I will never sell or give away my copy. Ever. Haha, if my house caught on fire, The things I’d take with me would be A) PS2 & PSP Memory card (proof of my existence for many hours), B) Persona 4, C) Persona 3 Portable (easier to find, so lower on priority list), D) Artbooks, and E) Handhelds and consoles. Damn right I have my priorities straight. I said “artbooks” because I will never let go of my Persona 3 Official Design Works (and P4 version that will come in the mail).

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Summer is indeed wonderful~

Most people are always longing for summer break when they are at school, but have nothing to do once summer actually comes by. Throughout the break, I keep hearing things like “there’s nothing to do in the summer”, “summer break is boring” or “I can’t wait to see ____ at school again!”. I sure disagree. Summer break is precious to me. I can play videogames for longer periods of time than during the school year, and still get yelled for the same amount. In other words, I just got Persona 4 in the mail but only get 2 weeks to play it, which is not enough since I intend to play it more than once and I usually take longer in finishing console games. Yeah.

Overall, this was probably my best and most productive summer break spent in Canada. Usually I just sit around and browse at home when I don’t go on vacation, but this year was really productive. I attended summer school and saw some old classmates, went on painful family road trip, and played quality games. Those quality games were Persona 3 Portable and Dragon Quest IX, and P4 is about to be thrown onto that list once I start. I also played the very memorable eroge, Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo. I’ve got the Sharin fandisk to complete, and also just started Shukufuku no Campanella (which attracted me due to good character designs and cuteness). Sure, I could’ve played more, but I like taking my time to savour the feeling you get during your first playthrough.

The summer of youth is surely wonderful~ Sitting at home and being absorbed in good games and storylines is something that gets harder as you become less carefree and more cynical. Everything seems brighter when you’re young. It’s just like how I enjoyed class time at school and learning “fun things” when I was in kindergarten. Nowadays, what used to be “fun things” just seems like a tedious routine. Work is probably no different except that you don’t even get a summer break. Youth is to be enjoyed! I’m sure those 20, 30 year old RPG veterans who think newer RPGs are just cliched and unoriginal felt just like I do now when they played Chrono Trigger during their school days. Later on I might start thinking that RPGs these days are all the same, re-hashed formula about teenage kids, but I will never forget the feeling I had when I completed Persona 3 Portable for the first time. Hopefully I’ll still be interested then, just like how my interest of anime and manga never dies out. I think “maturing” is different from “letting go of your hobbies from when you were a kid.” I’ll be sure to prove to the adults around me that I can “grow up” and still be into games and anime. Yeah, I won’t forget this summer and my feelings. I’ll grow up and get a job, but I’ll keep playing. It’s not like I have to sacrifice my hobbies to do well in the real world.

Being a kid is great, isn’t it? So now my list of purchased things during the summer is like this:

Persona 3 Portable, DQIX, Etrian Odyssey 3 pre-order, Persona 3 Official Design Works, Persona 4. Thank god for being able to order online, because the nearest EBGames that has P4 in stock is in Niagara Falls.