#JRPGJuly – Week 2 Round-up
Welcome to another weekly update of everyone’s favourite monthly gameathon! #JRPGJuly is hosted by Anne Lee @ Chic Pixel, and once again the RPGamer team is showing their support for the event by playing some JRPGs. Here’s how week two went for the RPGamer staff!
This second week of #JRPGJuly was a bit of a bust for me. Between moving and working, finding some time to play Final Fantasy XV was a bit tricky. I did manage to make some progress, as I am now at the end of Chapter 6. I ended up having to do a few stealth sections, and ugh, I was not fond of it. I think my frustration came from the AI, as I’d be warping about, trying to hide from Imperial soldiers, and I could never figure out where Ignus was hiding or if he was even following me to start. Half the time he’d just magically show up behind me and it was terrifying. Iggy, I get that you are the most perfect bishonen butler, but can you give me warning the next time you just magically show up behind me? You’re giving fans the wrong impression here!
On the plus side, I have my car back, but it was reverted back to the standard Regalia. I wasn’t into it, so I went back to Hammerhead and got Cindy to change my car back into its proper form: Type-D monster truck. Seriously, why would you drive anything BUT a monster truck? I’m the crown prince driving around with my boy band and I feel like you aren’t living if you aren’t driving a monster truck.
Story-wise, I am finding myself not as engaged as I’d like. The main story feels fairly hollow, but the character interactions truly are the selling point. I really am enjoying my road trip with the boys, driving about, hunting monsters, slapping around the Imperial army and taking photo ops when necessary. I don’t know how much time I will get in this week to play since my move happens next Sunday, but I am determined to see if I can make some real progress.
I started off week 2 in Zwei: The Arges Adventure stuck on a boss. A Phoenix was blocking Pipiro and Pokkle’s path through a volcano, which resulted in a time-honored RPG tradition: grinding. However, this isn’t just a matter of slaughtering a host of enemies like a normal RPG because Zwei has a decidedly nontraditional experience system. In this game, characters only gain experience by consuming food, which is randomly dropped by defeated enemies. Conveniently, the bar in town will exchange ten of a single type of food for one foodstuff that has considerably more experience than the ten exchanged put together. It means that I’m balancing using food to heal in dungeons but trying to hoard enough to level up. It’s a unique system, but it does leave players at the whims of the RNG.
There are huge differences between levels in Zwei; an enemy that gave me fits on level ten was a cakewalk at eleven. I spent a bit more time than I would have liked collecting enough food to level up my characters, but ultimately additional experience with the battle system proved to be more beneficial than the extra levels. I finally got a handle on using Pipiro’s magic spells and when to swap between the two characters, so when I took on the Phoenix again and it ran away when it was low on health, I was prepared this time to hit it with magic.
At first, I wasn’t fond of the combat in The Arges Adventure; I’m just coming off playing Ys VIII and few games match the pure joy of the frantic, fast-paced combat of Ys. It’s also not easy going back to an earlier game in a series, but I’m starting to warm toward the system.
As far as the rest of the game goes, Pokkle and Pipiro are just the best. I enjoy groaning at Pokkle’s puns that are so bad, they should be criminal. Pipiro continues to be a hoot. She’s quickly becoming one of my favorite characters of all time. I’m probably close to the halfway point, and Zwei certainly has its issues, but it just keeps bringing a smile to my face every time I play it. What more can you ask for really?
Anna Marie Privitere
I played through the remaining half of Odin Sphere for the second week of #JRPGJuly, completing Oswald’s story as well as Velvet’s tale. Each has their own interesting way of playing; Oswald is a slow melee character until he berserks, at which point he becomes lightning fast. Velvet is a mid-range fighter who gets stronger the further she is from enemies, relying on fire magic and burning foes.
As I progressed through the fourth and fifth books, the stories slowly started to weave more tightly together and secret relationships came to light. Once the five regular books, each starring a character were complete, a final book finally ties everything together in one epic ending. The writing shines through the full game, but the endings really bring it home. The bad endings are spectacularly bad, whereas the complete ending is stunningly satisfying and worth pursuing. Don’t hesitate to use a guide; finding all the necessary scenes without one may be a little tedious.
I really loved my romp through Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir, so much so that I decided to Platinum the game (one of only four I have). It took me about 35 hours to fully complete the game, and it’s the 20th title I have finished so far in 2018. Next in my JRPG adventures is Shining Resonance Refrain – look forward to my thoughts after playing the Switch version in next week’s update!
Ys VIII feels like it is really starting to come into its own. I had my first raid, protecting the survivor village from waves of monsters. Pretty simple, but given the quality of Ys VIII‘s combat, it is a great way to break things up from the normal exploring and storytelling. Not sure what extra wrinkles will get thrown in later on, but so far I enjoyed it quite a lot. More importantly, I met my first extremely powerful dinosaur. Naturally I tried to take it on and see how low I could get its health bar, and failed in spectacular fashion. I like how Ys VIII is slowly stretching out into what seems like quite the massive adventure. I haven’t even seen Dana, the character mentioned in the game’s full title, in action yet. If the island exploration is as extensive as these early bits are making it out to be, this may quickly move up the list of my favorite Ys games. The voice acting and the vast majority of the localization so far have been great as well. It’s been awhile since I dug into one of Adol’s adventures, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to figure out why I’ve waited so long.
On The Alliance Alive side of things, I’ve taken down another Ether Gear, which required using ultimate attacks from nearly my whole party to defeat some water demons. Yes, this is a reminder that the waters in the Alliance Alive are home to some of the nastiest enemies out there and you should avoid all bodies of water. Of course, this fight was unavoidable and it did not disappoint in difficulty. For those unfamiliar with the game, using ultimate attacks requires breaking a weapon, so as things went on in this fight I started to run low on damage and had to hope I could power up more ultimate attacks before running out of resources. Thankfully I was able to overcome, and now its off to find another Ether Gear and talk to the heads of more of the world’s guilds. Gotta finish that whole “Alliance” and keep it “Alive” you know.
As for The Lost Child, sadly it looks like the recent release of Octopath Traveler is very likely going to eat up any remaining time I might have for the game.
Check Out Mike Apps’ Video where he plays Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana!
Well, I clearly did not remember that part of Radiant Historia‘s story correctly. Rather than staying in the Standard timeline for an extended period, I ended up switching back and forth between timelines for a while. At this point, I’m part way through chapter 4 in both timelines, the party having just saved the capital of Cygnus from a nightmare of a spider.
Since this is Perfect Chronology, my goal is to obtain every node in this game. Nodes are important plot points, and many of them are based on decisions Stock makes. Several of these nodes turn out to be bad endings of sorts. I say “of sorts” because the game does not end when obtaining these bad scenarios. Instead, Stocke is sent to Historia, which acts as a hub world for the timelines, then told by two mysterious children with pointy ears why it was a bad decision. Sometimes one decision isn’t feasible right away, which means it’s time to switch to the other timeline to obtain the item/skill/etc in order to proceed.
In my first playthrough with the original game, I went with the choice that seemed best. It just didn’t feel right to me to pick a purposefully bad choice. In order to complete this game one hundred percent, though, all the bad scenarios must be seen. They can be rather interesting as well. The twins in Historia, Teo and Lippti, must find it odd that Stocke tends to pick the wrong choice first. More startlingly still, that sometimes he picks the right choice, then goes back and picks the wrong one. That’s got to make him seems like some kind of sadist.
To backtrack a bit, one odd thing about switching between timelines is that sometimes characters experience a change of heart despite there being no direct alteration, such as bringing an item or learning a previously unknown skill. As an example, in the Alternate timeline, Rosch is severely demoralized and the best way to help him is to get a part needed for his gauntlet to fix it. This is obtained by going to the Standard timeline and fighting Rosch to the death. In that timeline, he was being forced to fight for General Hugo despite how corrupt he is because he had Rosch’s love interest, Sonja (voiced by the venerable Wendee Lee) held hostage. Once Stock takes Rosch’s gauntlet, and jumps around time a little to extract the needed parts, he has Rosch’s arm fixed, but not before calling him out on his mopiness. When returning to the point Rosch is originally killed in the Standard timeline, he instead tells Stocke that he, Sonja, and other important characters should escape the country of Alistel and are making plans to take it back from Hugo. Somehow, having a renewed sense of purpose and morale in one timeline influenced Rosch to see the path Hugo is taking his country and to flee before things get worse. It’s a really neat story aspect, but it doesn’t make any sense as far as time travel goes. These are two timelines, practically two parallel universes, and it’s never explained how this changing of minds happens, just that it can. Oh well, I guess the rules of time travel can be broken if it’s done magically.
I could go on, but I can save that for next week. I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface, despite (I think) being more than halfway through. Playing Octopath Traveler before the end of the month looks unlikely, but I don’t mind so much, as Radiant Historia is a great game.