カレーまみれ勇者の冒険 Curry Chronicles


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Finished first playthrough of Sen no Kiseki

Sen runs parallel to Ao, except the viewpoint is shifted to the Erebonian Empire, which is going through internal conflict between the noble families that have power over the land and a revolutionary party led by the Giliath Osborne. The protagonists are members of the special class VII of Thors Military Academy, and as a part of their special training, they get to visit a different city in Erebonia each month (chapter) and carry out tasks. I expected the game to be similar to Zero/Ao where the protagonists operate from a central city and occasionally travel to smaller surrounding towns, but due to the size and diversity of the areas in Erebonia, Sen feels much more adventurous and refreshing. I’d say that Sen is more similar to Sora FC than Zero due to the larger cast of playable main characters and the variety of locations you get to visit.

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Ar Tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel

Officially Ar Tonelico 3, NISA gave the final installment of the series a different name, likely to encourage those who have not played the first two games to pick this up. Unfortunately, I’d say that Qoga is the game that only an Ar Tonelico fan who has played the previous games and gotten invested in the world-building and concepts can enjoy, and it is probably the worst entry point into the series. Deciding to forgo the improvements from Ar Tonelico 2, Qoga (which I shall refer to as AT3 from this point on) tried to return to the atmosphere and character dynamics of the first game, but did so in a half-hearted way that relied too much on distracting gimmicks rather than improving the core aspects that made the series memorable compared to other RPGs.

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I finished Time and Eternity

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.


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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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Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory final thoughts

I typed a longer review somewhere else and voiced my rants a post back, so let’s just keep this short. This is my first platinum because I’m not a completionist nor am I a trophy hunter (the first Neptunia would’ve been my first platinum instead if my beastiary wasn’t stuck at 98% due to some early missable one-time-only story dungeon enemies), and that says quite a lot. Alright, so the last 10-15 hours of my 75 hours spent on the game was endlessly grinding on easy coliseum enemies to get the Lily rank and level 99 trophies with a moege put on auto so that I don’t get bored to tears from the repetitiveness, but I made it through due to the power of the imoutos in maid outfits. I wouldn’t go through such a mindless grind again, especially with a huge backlog begging to be played, but I guess I now understand the feeling of getting a platinum. It tingles.

Pros:

  • Neptune is back as the (superior) protagonist
  • You get all CPUs with good battle capabilities right off the bat (no untransformable makers who hold the party back)
  • HDD mode fixed so it’s no longer infinitely spammable like the first game, nor useless like mk2
  • Blanc is buffed up and more useful
  • One playthrough is ~40 hours, compared to mk2’s ~17 hour length
  • Higher difficulty spikes between bosses
  • Good custom accessory system
  • No preachy “piracy is bad” story
  • Cutscenes use 2D portraits instead of mk2’s lame 3D models

Cons:

  • Scout system is a pain
  • Quests are your usual tedious MMO-style fetch/hunting quests
  • Bad drop rates (not as much of a problem later on with drop rate increasing chips)
  • Grindy. Very much so if you preferred mk2’s lack of difficulty
  • All makers are DLC
  • Makers aside from IF and Compa have no role in the main story, and even those two are much less relevant than previous games
  • Less amount of side scenes/events
  • Platinum requires everyone to be at Lily rank 8 with everyone else. No Lily rank raising scenes, so all you can do is keep battling

I would say this is my favorite entry in the series so far, despite my complaints. The focus on the interactions between the main goddesses are what I’ve always wanted, and Compile Heart finally delivered. There’s also more yuri fanservice and game references, and the story follows the 1980’s-90’s game industry. The lack of makers is disappointing, because I liked them as much as the goddesses (I want my Nippon Ichi and Gust back!!). I’ll probably buy some of the maker DLC when they come out because I’m a sucker. The battle system builds upon mk2’s.


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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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Atelier Meruru – 1st playthrough complete!

The Arland games get more lenient with time-management each installment. I managed to get the Normal end, Good end, both endings involving Rorona, and one of the Strong Meruru ends (lost terribly to Masked G). I also reached level 50, but that isn’t so hard this time around with enemies that are over level 50. You can even get to lvl 99 if you build the statue. Boss fights got harder, they actually feel like legit boss battles where you have to craft good equipment and bring lots of healing items and utilize buffs/debuffs. I kind of miss the old days where I could just make a Terabomb with Explosion Damage and Narrow Range, register it, and wipe the floor with it. The strongest boss in Rorona went down in 2 Terabombs lol. Attacking items in Meruru feel severely nerfed, although it was going down that path since Totori.

For those too intimidated by deadlines to play the Atelier series, rejoice as Meruru has one mandatory deadline that is pretty much impossible to miss unless you do absolutely jack shit for 3 years. I found it to be the easiest of the Arland trilogy for the first playthrough. It’s also got the most polished gameplay, and not surprisngly, the nicest graphics. Man, Gust has come a long way since Rorona. I remember playing that and not caring for the music, but I’ve grown to like the soundtrack since Totori. The main disappointment with Meruru is the fact that there are no character endings. You’ve got the friendship events and a CG event at 80 friendship, but you don’t get actual endings with anyone bar 2 Rorona-based endings. The 10 endings are the general “what happened to the kingdom/Meruru’s life” ones. Ever played Atelier Annie? Yeah, the endings are like the ones in that.

As for characters, Meruru is awesome. Moreso in some endings than others. I find her to be the most awesome Arland alchemist, although Totori wins for hnnnnnnng level. Rorona is now a loli because Japan don’t want 30-year-old Rorona, despite the fact that Kishida Mel’s 40-year-olds still look 20 so I don’t see why anyone complains about it. He could have just palette-swapped 22-year-old Rorona’s outfit and voila! If 2ch is anything to go by, people actually prefer older Rorona. Gust, Japan might like lolis, but they also like tits!

Sterk is badass as usual, with an awesome special move where he cuts the moon. Mimi has grown since the last game and is even more delicious now with higher grade zettai ryouiki. Esty is awesome, with high speed and AoE normal attack. エスティさん意外と萌え!Totori returns looking just as flat-chested as ever, with a calmer voice. Gino clearly looks older, but keeps his shota voice which isn’t very fitting. Also, apparently Peter has a wife!? So in Arland, it’s only playable characters who are forever alone. Seems legit. Oh yeah, and those composer comments are freaking hilarious.

The True ending and Popular ending are only available on New Game+. Since it’s summer and all, time to do another playthrough!


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Beat Xillia on Jude’s side!

Man that was one annoying final boss. It wasn’t “rape your team in one hit” bad, but the fact that you fought 2 people at the same time and one of them could heal like 10K HP instantly…yeah. An All-Divide actually made the fight much, much worse. I used one, and not only did the boss keep healing whenever it got to low HP, your damage is halved so you won’t kill it fast enough. Then, since the enemy’s damage is halved too, you’ll never get killed. I put everyone on auto, and sat back to watch in hopes that I get killed soon so I can restart, but the stalemate went on forever. I was on second instead of hard because I realized I’m pretty bad at this game against quick-moving human enemies.

I ended up with 4300+ grade, so I might was well continue with post-game stuff before starting Milla’s side. Honestly I should’ve started with her first, because I like her better than Jude and she feels more like an actual protagonist considering how the awesome moments primarily go to her. Jude was okay, but he didn’t really stand out and could have become much more badass.

I liked Xillia a lot, despite being lackluster near the end. Chapters 1-3 were great. I liked it enough to really want to play Xillia 2, and I hope Bamco learned their lesson about bad sequels from Dawn of the New World. The battle system was fun and the way of getting grade is the best I’ve seen so far.

Also…I just beat this game and they announce a localization. Herp derp time to buy Xillia again next year. It’ll be my first time buying the same game for the same console from two different regions. That’s OK, this isn’t the first time I buy the same game (in terms of content) twice. Maybe I’ll be able to snatch Xillia 2 from the dealer I got Xillia from at Anime North.