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Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (no not X)
« Last post by Agent D. on Today at 11:44:47 AM »
I care for his 3 word review about as much as I cared for his term paper-length evaluation and comparison.
Single-Player RPGs / Re: Top 10 Story-Driven RPGs
« Last post by Frostillicus on Today at 10:30:03 AM »
I wanted to put a "1" in front of them all but thought it would affect the integrity of the message I was trying to send. 

There's no integrity in extreme fanboi-ism.
Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (no not X)
« Last post by Arvis on Today at 10:12:46 AM »
@Agent D. is not going to like that three-word review at the end of your post, @Grainofariver :P
Single-Player RPGs / Re: Top 10 Story-Driven RPGs
« Last post by Arvis on Today at 10:12:10 AM »
@Kevadu - I wanted to put a "1" in front of them all but thought it would affect the integrity of the message I was trying to send.  But then again, maybe it would have further reinforced the message.

I'm happy to see Chrono Cross being discussed here, despite its story really kinda being all over the place.  I prefer Cross to Trigger (because it's a better game), but Trigger is pretty good about managing to be straightforward and explicable, and with a video game time travel story, no less!
General Games / Re: Fire Emblem Heroes
« Last post by Tomara on Today at 05:26:18 AM »
Possessed Takumi comes with Fury. Because he's angry.

Actually, no, angry may be the wrong word. I spoiled myself by reading the mined data, and he's mostly confused and sad and says 'The enemy!' only slightly more often than Brave Lyn.

The Fury 3 is not a joke though.

On that note, I really hate the concept of the Chill SPD skill. I guess they want to punish the speed-centric game a little bit, but it's stupid to have a debuff that just works on the best opposing unit with no thought needed into how it's used.

I took one look at my Celica and gave her Renewal.
General Games / Re: Fire Emblem Heroes
« Last post by Hathen on Today at 04:45:24 AM »
I only have ~130 orbs so I'll probably sit on them until the Legendary banner or something. There's also another new heroes banner early next month which will totally be the Thracia banner this time pinky swear'd.

Anyway having themes for the new hero banners like that sibling one early on is cool, but it'd be nice if we actually got some new heroes on the new hero banners instead of the second of third Celicas we'll have and the, what, 5th Robin? Arabian King Incel is in though so that's something, and we now have that blue armor with a legendary weapon I thought we'd never see.

It's nice that they added Bold and Vengeful fighter to the regular pool, but I'm expecting them to remain 5-star exclusive while Celica drops down (if one drops at all) and offers Hone Attack 3 at 4* instead of any of the shiny new skills they just introduced. On that note, I really hate the concept of the Chill SPD skill. I guess they want to punish the speed-centric game a little bit, but it's stupid to have a debuff that just works on the best opposing unit with no thought needed into how it's used. At least with Gunnthra it was unit-specific, but you can stick Chill SPD on your dancer or whatever and let it fly (it doesn't seem to have any limitations whatsoever so you could stick it on a staffbot too I guess). I guess Harsh Command might get some real use now, though.

Also I know it probably won't happen, but it'd be hilarious if we got a bunch of free Close Counters. It probably wouldn't even be that broken because Close Counter is usually put into weird niche builds, and the one unit that completely dominates with it comes with it in her base kit anyway.
General Games / Re: Fire Emblem Heroes
« Last post by Tomara on Today at 03:19:35 AM »
I feel conflicted. Yes, we're now a step closer to Takumi emblem, but that isn't really Takumi. Okay, the Heroes version seem to have atleast something left of himself compared to the Fates version, but still... I'm going to feel bad if I use him too much.

Speaking of Takumi, holy shit, I've been lucky with my pulls ever since I got the New Year's version! A Saber for a free pull, three 5 star heroes from the Legendary banner for a little over 30 orbs including two with ideal boons, a Lovely Lyn within 50 orbs or so (and some good fodder to boot), and now, after pulling a total of seven characters from the Fallen Heroes banner:

1. Hardin
2. Hinata (4 stars, so perfect Fury fodder)
3. Nino (3 stars, but draw back is always nice)
4. Marth (MY FIRST! oh, and 4 stars)
5. Marth (also 4 stars, but this one is +atk!)
6. Lon'qu (4 stars, so Vantage 3 is ready to go)
7. Duma Celica

Having a Grima!Robin as well would be cool, but I'm not going to push the luck Takumi has given me. I'll save my 400+ orbs for something else.

There's a downside though: I'm running out of basic fodder. There isn't even a Swap left for Hardin!
Single-Player RPGs / Re: Top 10 Story-Driven RPGs
« Last post by Kevadu on Today at 02:52:42 AM »
1. Trails in the Sky: First Chapter
2. Trails in the Sky: Second Chapter
3. Trails in the Sky the 3rd
4. Trails of Cold Steel
5. Trails of Cold Steel 2
6. Trails of Cold Steel 3
7. Trails of Cold Steel 4

In that order?

And what about Zero and Ao!
Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (no not X)
« Last post by Grainofariver on Today at 01:09:53 AM »
Well, I just finished the game.
Spoiler: show

So, okay, you've got Space Pope, Jin/dickhead, and Rex-boy all blathering on that they're doing God's will. We can start spinning the sci-fi roulette, because we know that God will either be:
A) Human, and this will all be about the folly of man's lust for power/knowledge.
B) A giant bastard who will call us weak little nothings before we beat him into submission
C) There is no God/God is dead

I placed my bets on C because I thought it was the least stupid/most interesting option. So then Space Pope Freiza 3 dies, and we get a cutscene about inter-dimensional travel, because that's directly below time-travel in the list of things you should never-ever touch in your story. We arrive at Zanarkand Elysium, and surprise, it's actually a barren wasteland, but fortunately nobody has time to think it over too much because dickhead is going to explode everything.

Next we have a scene where Rex is tested by having all his party members accuse him of terrible things. In an ordinary JRPG, this would be the part where Rex goes, "No, you aren't my teammates -- they would never say such things!", or alternatively, "They might think that, but I know there's more to them than just this!". Instead he runs, cries, and accidentally murders Tora, Hana, Zeke, and Glasses. Due to his marvelous performance, he convinces the bajillion year-old man-god (yes, we landed on A) that humanity is totally cool now.

Rex promises man-god that he'll punch dickhead in the face, but of course that lasts about three seconds, because dickhead has a giant robot. You begin a fight that's so easy that you're instantly convinced there'll be a second form. He drops to two-thirds health, and then it's cutscene time! There's lots of screaming, Rex and Homukari are doing their thing, so this must be when his true form- nope, wait, the fight just resumed as per-usual, except all the orbs you put on him are now gone.


So you smack the robot until he can't take any more ouchies, and then Rex screams really super loud and blasts the crap out of the poor thing. Dickhead pops out, only he's kinda dying, so that whole salvager's code thing seems to have failed for about the bazillionth time. He explodes into the air having finally found his purpose in life, which is apparently to be an extremely generic and forgettable villain in a JRPG.

But oh no, the Ridley music is playing, and you know what that means! So while the space station is on a collision course to SR388,  Homukari decides that she's not a generic enough heroine yet, and deceives the party into escaping while she dies to save the world. Unfortunately the fantasy-land characters recognise escape-pods on sight, so she tricks an elementary-school-aged robot-girl into making sure that nobody can make it back. Rex tries to explain that this is the stupidest thing he's ever heard, but everyone tells him that he needs to man-up, because despite multiple conversations about how the blades would rather not survive without their drivers (and Jin's entire story arc), if he really loves Homukari, he should be totally cool about living the rest of his life without her.

Homukari then replaces Rex's iron-man heart with the regular human model, leaving him with a grey rock as a memento of their time together. Along with his original heart, he also managed to retrieve his original weapon, because I think the devs forgot that Nia is also a blade. The fantasy protagonists then pilot the space-pod out of the station, and the universe is so confused by this that it doesn't even incinerate them on entry into the atmosphere. The escape pod then explodes, allowing Gramps to turn into a dragon and save everybody, thereby totally justify his not dying back in the first chapter of the game.

Man-god's final gift to humanity is to make the cloud sea go away so that all the people can live on a massive Pangaea. Nevermind that the titans are an integral part to this new evolutionary cycle you've created, or that the warring nations probably won't be super stoked about being placed right next to each other. Omnipotence must have gotten sucked into the portal with the other half of him.

The credits then begin to roll as a montage of all the defining moments of Rex and Homukari's relationship plays out, except that it doesn't actually start until three minutes in, because they didn't have enough material to fit the full six minutes. Then the credits end, and everyone is happy except for Rex, because his super-real and believable relationship with cardboard and tsundere cardboard was all that matters to him- oh wait, they're back, and for no explicable reason, no longer share a body. Rex stares on, while the two chuckle at the look on his face when he thought they were going to die. Nia shoves him forward, and he takes a few tentative steps, his mind frantically trying to figure out the words to describe the sheer level of bullshit they just pulled. Something is mouthed, but what it was will never be known, for in a game where every character has sausage-fingers, nobody in their right mind would even attempt to hide an important message behind lip syncing.

Also if you were waiting for Vandham's thing about how you can put a blade into your body to use its mana to come to anything, or that Addam's appearance or identity might be integral to the story, or that any other of the game's myriad set-ups might have some payoff, then you can join me in feeling like a right fool for expecting that the game's writers not to have skipped that day in storytelling 101.

It was okay.
Single-Player RPGs / Re: Top 10 Story-Driven RPGs
« Last post by Grainofariver on Yesterday at 09:02:31 PM »
My complicated answer would delve into the crux of what is it that makes a story "good" to us?  Events/event scripting?  Compelling characters/relationships?  Pacing?  Comedy?  Tragedy?  Philosophical bents? 

Is it a bombastic larger-than-life epic that compels us (e.g. Xenogears) or something more subtle and introspective (e.g. To The Moon) that moves us? 

Is it the storytelling that compels us more than the story?  After all, a good storyteller can make even a mundane story engaging, right? 

Even the concept of "writing" is pretty nebulous.  Take a look at Lost Odyssey.  The "Power Point" scenes were the most compelling because they were written by a novelist, whereas the majority of the game was JRPG cliches written by a JRPG scenario writer. 

I mean, to me the answer to all of these questions is that it's subjective, so the only answers that really matter are the ones you come up with yourself. Although some believe in objective art (I used to argue with my lit professor about this frequently), the fact remains that books are just ink and paper until our brain interprets the language. That interpretation is further informed by your personality and experiences, so that every reading is unique, even unto yourself. This extends into all forms of storytelling. When one considers that the function of art is to provoke an emotion reaction, isn't it impossible for me to say objectively what will resonate with you? Or rather, the you that exists in this moment?

The inverse is true as well. I know many people who enjoy Nier and Nier: Automata's stories, but for me they always end up falling apart because things feel too rushed. Character arcs feel forced because characters aren't given enough space for me to believably accept their changes. For instance, in Nier
Spoiler: show
when Kaine seals herself behind the door, I found Emil's response disproportionately dramatic, given that the two had only just met, in game time, less than an hour ago.
Or in Automata, when
Spoiler: show
A2 attempts to save Pascal's village. She goes from hating all robots to emotionally attached to the robot village inside of, no exaggeration, 15 minutes.
The end result is that, rather than feeling much emotion, I'm often extremely disconnected with the narrative. I know many people who think I am wrong; who believe that Yoko Taro is a genius and that his games really speak to them. I think that Taro needs to spend more time developing his characters.

Who is right? I think we all are, because what we seek in -- and how we resonate with -- stories is just inherently different. To me the important things are to keep an open mind to new experiences, constantly examine and re-examine your thoughts and understandings, and have faith in yourself and your tastes and preferences.

Also Pandora, I fear there might be a misunderstanding. I haven't actually played Setsuna or Sphear myself. What I'm saying is that both built their identity based off of Chrono Trigger, and the reception has made it clear that they've failed to attain that goal in a broad sense, as do most games that make the comparison. I also perfectly believe that AAA quality RPGs are not only capable in the modern age, but exist. Persona 5 became my favouritest games ever, and I'm waiting with baited breath for DQXI and Cold Steel 3. That's not to mention SMT5, which made me break down and buy a Switch even though I haven't really cared about Nintendo consoles since the Gamecube (I got a discount Wii after the launch of the Wii-U to play Mario Galaxy, and that's about it).

Heck, I wouldn't even mind trying Lost Sphear, but considering the price point and the backlog 2017 gave me, there's just no way.
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