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16  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 25, 2016, 10:02:41 PM
So just got the true end in Nights of Azure...and at this point I feel like this is easily the worst Gust game I have ever played (yes worse than Ar Tonelico 3). I really can't even explain the why. Just the story and the battle system did not connect with me. I'm actually missing three trophies (besides the platinum), but I dislike the game to the extent where I cannot bring myself to slog through it for those three trophies anymore. >.>

That is disheartening to hear. I really didn't think any effort could disappoint me more than AT3.

I'm pretty sure this one's gonna require a second opinion, as, from what I could tell, the game just kinda came and went. Compared to AT3 which was where the AT series finally crossed that line into creepsville, and didn't really justify itself for doing so (at least the fanservice was sorta equal opportunity, kinda).
17  Media / Game Journals / Re: Josh blindly flails his way through a natural magic/no esper run of FFVI on: July 25, 2016, 07:18:40 PM
The Battle of Narshe (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the BlackBelt)

Celes: "When I was a baby I was taken from my parents and forced to be a magic soldier for the Empire. It's actually pretty fucked up and scarred me for life"

Terra: "mmmk...but have you ever been in love?!??"

Celes: "WTF is wrong with you??"

Terra: "I'M SO MISUNDERSTOOD"

- As you all know, during the Battle of Narshe you have to split your party up into 3 groups.  Since there are only 7 members right now, you are really only left with 2 choices on how you put them together.  Either 3-2-2 or 4-2-1.  I tend to lean towards using the 4 person "power party" in order to bull rush the attacking Imperial army with one powerful group and then use the other 2 to mop up anyone who gets past.

- No one is higher than lvl 14, so I feel like I'm on a pretty good pace as far as not over leveling.

- Group 1: (healer), (cause tools), (dispatch is quick and powerful) and (Rage?).  I put Terra in the back row and equipped her with both of the Earnings I've scrounged up so far in order to make her a more effective healer.  I also put Edgar in the back row because he'll pretty much exlusively be using tools for these battles and they have the same damage from the back.  I also made an effort to give Gau the strongest armor possible since he is going to be functioning as a tank here.  Cyan is only going to use Dispatch every single turn (and I'm not sure if that ignores row or not so I put him in the front to start).

- Group 2: (sort of ok at everything) and (healer)

- Group 3: (most powerful fighter, can just spam blitz' to get out of a jam) I put the genji glove on Sabin so that when he counters being attacked (due to also being equipped with BlackBelt) he gets two swipes. Incredibly helpful trait when you're in a group by yourself. It almost plays like there are two of him.

-  This strategy only sort of backfired.  I placed Sabin directly in front of Banon and had Locke/Celes block the path on the left side on the map.  Then I sent my "super party" down the right side.  Everything was going according to plan (murking fools, all day) until A) an enemy group snuck through and immediately KO'd Locke and Celes and B) I'm an idiot and had Terra (aka my only healer in the group of 4) equipped with a Rune Blade* that uses her MP to augment its attacks.  I was down to less than 30 mp before I realized what was goign on. 

- This mental gaffe necessitated the use of my only 2 tinctures to refill Terra's mp and forced me to have Sabin franctically run up and down the back row in order to stop 3 separate enemy groups from reaching Banon.  Thanks Zeus his Blitz' are so powerful and AuraBlast can usually oneshot enemies because otherwise I would have been completely boned.

- By the time I'd cleared the map of regular enemies I was down to 3 potions and totally out of tinctures.  Not wanting to risk depleting my main group of HP and MP they couldn't refill, I took a HUGE risk and had Sabin attack Rider (aka the goofball sprinting back and forth in front of Kefka)

-
The battle went exactly like this: Sabin AuraBlast for 320 damage. Rider attack for 48% of Sabin's health. Sabin counter for 150 x2. Sabin AuraBlast for 320. Rider attack for another 48% of Sabin's max hp. Sabin counter for 150 x 2. Sabin AuraBlast for 320. SUCCESS!!!   And there was much rejoicing.

-
Kefka was actually a cinch.  I just had Terra heal every turn and unleashed the other 3's most powerful attacks. It would have been MUCH better forsight on my part if I'd included Celes in the party of 4 instead of Terra so I could have ultilized her Rune skill to absord Kefka's Ice2 spell that he cast every other turn.  But ultimately it didn't end up mattering.

* This is ok for Celes and Terra to use because they have mp innately and it doesn't teach them anything new.

- Up next: The Part Where Terra Freaks Out


I generally throw Gau into a party by himself and have the other six split into two groups of 3. That way I have two power parties (Locke at this point is falling behind in the power curve and without Espers, he's never going to catch back up) and thus I can effectively choke points on the field and prevent anybody from slipping by.

http://www.gamefaqs.com/snes/554041-final-fantasy-iii/faqs/73488?print=1

If you look carefully, you can spot two locations that choke map in half about 45% of the way down.

As for Rune Blade, I either don't bother with it or stick it on Celes since it goes well with her Runic (Rune Blade has been a pretty nasty troll to players since FFV).
18  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 25, 2016, 07:01:26 PM
Mana History!! Yup, I did me some reading and I think it might have been after you mentioned it here in the Journal, Mesh.

The neatest part about the lore presented (at least to me) is how it fleshes out a ton which was glazed over (if even addressed) in the earlier games. Coming from a background of Mana and reading the first 10 odd entries and how it explains the cycles of the Flammy, Moon Goddess and dieties give you as a player or fan cool insight into the scope of things. That is, unless I understood it wrong, it accounts for the continuity between the games without jeopardizing any part of the writing that could otherwise be considered plot holes or at worst total retcon. Sort of like if Final Fantasy suddenly explained why there are so many "Cids" and actually had it make sense so that "Cloud" and "Terra" were in fact part of the same history WITHOUT compromising what we've already come to learn about FFVI and VII (I cite this as example WITHOUT mention of Dissidia because that game is sort of the opposite of what I am talking about here.)

That aside, it also helps out the ending seeing as how I wouldn't have understood a freakin' thing about what was happening otherwise. Not that I FULLY got it anyhow, but I imagine once I go back to it and explore the other arcs and get more history it will paint a more full picture.

Yeah, no. The problem with this is that there really wasn't any strict continuity between the games until SD3 happened (there's like one small reference in SD2 beyond the presence of the Mana Tree and the Sword of Mana; whereas SD3 references a bunch of SD1's locations and brings back characters like Flammie, but is still mostly its own thing). While Legend does a lot to create a mythology/world lore and tries to tie a bunch of that back to SD3's game/setting (the Godbeasts are direct references to SD3's Godbeasts/Mana Stones; and then Sword, Heroes and Dawn all try to build off of the combination of SD3's and Legend's settings in increasingly clumsy ways).

That said, said mythology/world lore is important to actually understanding the themes/mythology of Legend in of itself (it basically tells you why you're collecting artifacts and trying to bring back Mana). It also helps to explain a number of the game's characters and a few locations (the Junkyard's initial inhabitance are fallen soldiers from one of the wars that took place in the backstory, and even that unique doll with the red eyes is a reference to a character that's heavily important to the lore but is otherwise generally not really referenced (but so important that Dawn's plot tries to build upon the character...badly), and that's not covering other people/assholes like the Wisdoms or that Magic Circle guy who also have ties to the mythology (the Wisdom's in particular is useful to know while doing Bud's Wisdom quest as it references a peculiarity about the Seven Wisdoms; and makes doing the quest easier to boot)). Or in short, this is one of the few games where referencing the Datalog is actually a good idea as the game ties itself to its pre-game events quite well.
19  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: I am Setsuna (or whatever name you changed it to) on: July 25, 2016, 06:31:43 PM
I wasn't using Ndir at all in this playthrough. I was using Ednir setsuna and aeterna and didn't have stop equpped because I didn't think it work on a boss.  So that dimension werewolf would just go around and one shot setsuna and aeterna.  I was stuck in a never ending cycle of casting life and dieing.  Once I tried stop with aeterna and took Ndir for provoke+paralyze it was easy.  But like I said I never really used Ndir until then because I didn't want too plus I never sat and grinded anything so I am only like level 25.  The yeti boss after him was the same way had to put in Kir just to use dispel to stop his self heal.  Once you have the right skills it's stupid easy again but still dnot like when games do that.

I don't mind switching characters but when the game almost requires certain skills and it's a little bit RNG to get those skills it's a bit annoying.  Even funnier you get Stop from a chest after the werewolf boss almost like the game was mocking me.

Yeah. Unfortunately, I'm kinda getting the feeling that this game just wasn't all that well made. Like it wants to pull a Bravely Default and give players a bunch of ways to break the game over their knee, but unlike BD, this game never really challenges you enough to seek any of them out. Or in short, the tools are way too powerful for the game they're in.

Not that the game's derivative-ness helps all that much either. Turns out it really was Chrono Trigger's gameplay with FFX's plot pasted over it and some kind of sudo-Materia system stapled on for good measure. Unfortunately, CT's gameplay was the game's weakest part (it was ATB with AoE-abilities in a game with non-controllable deployment against what was essentially fixed encounters), the FFX plot is pretty goddamn weak to begin with (there really wasn't much beyond Yuna's death march and Seymore's bullshit, the Crusaders die off on what's essentially Disk 1, the Church in a JRPG was evil all along, and the Al-Bhed and their forbidden/ancient technology saved the day) and again, Materia is just too powerful for this kind of game (it'd be like implementing a Job system into FFVI, suddenly Cyan, Shadow and Locke are completely redundant, everybody's taking up Summoner for the Mag Pow+, and now you have an all new form of grinding that the game didn't want or need). And of course, because of its derivative nature, the game doesn't really have its own legs to stand on and the whole thing just feels like it was cobbled together from better games, kind of a lot like Sword of Mana did with all of its systems cribbed from previous Mana games and thrown together over a butchered version of Adventure's plot, without any rhyme or reason beyond "that's how they were used before".

I guess you could say that isn't a straight up bad game, but its not really worth the $40 price tag either.

Also: Cyclone? X-Strike? Luminare? Dark Matter? Seriously? You guys aren't even trying.
20  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Final General Fantasy Discussion Thread on: July 25, 2016, 09:22:09 AM
http://gematsu.com/2016/07/dissidia-final-fantasy-arcade-adds-kain-highwind

And there's Kain Jumping into the Dissidia Arcade fray. But on which side?

(Got close with that one, wrong rival though...)
21  Media / General Games / Re: Misc. Gaming News Topic on: July 25, 2016, 05:36:33 AM
http://www.siliconera.com/2016/07/25/compile-hearts-chaotic-teaser-showing-characters-various-titles/

For all you Compile Factory aficionados out there, have a Cross-Over (an on purpose one for once, and not just in the 'gameplay mechanics/art assets recycling' sense).
22  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: I am Setsuna (or whatever name you changed it to) on: July 25, 2016, 04:40:55 AM
I think I m closing in on the end and I got to say the game was super easy until two boss fights in a row.  If you don't have the proper characters with the proper skills in at those times you either die or the boss out heals your damage.  There are save points before every boss but its kinda annoying to not be able to use who you want.  If you wanna force people to use other characters, the game or narrative should force it instead of running you into a brick wall.  

Other than that the game has been great.  Not OMG I need to play and finish this right now great but very solid and a lot of fun.  More JRPGs need to take notes from this game in terms of gameplay.  Def worth 40 bucks but I do wish the locals varied a bit more.  I am an avid hater of snow, winter, and cold but I can enjoy it sometimes and snow towns/areas in some games are amazing.  When every local is a snow town, ice cave, snowy forest, and frozen mountain top it gets kinda annoying fast.

You mean there's a battle you couldn't just Cross-Cut/Blowback + Gagnrath and forget it?
23  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The tri-Ace General Discussion (& Star Ocean 5) Thread on: July 24, 2016, 07:33:31 PM
As for the secret ending... something I've been thinking about since coming to this forum a lot of those old JRPGs were kind of insanely nitpicky and kind of hard in annoyingly silly ways.

My most hated thing was actually the last "boss" of Lunar Silver Star Story Complete, where if you didn't play the Ocarina you would die to Dark Luna's random non-combat attacks. I seriously must of been the only person that actually died to that, and after that insanely long boss fight.

I basically returned it via rental and have had kind of a sour sense ever since.

Breath of Fire 3 was pretty great but also like that killer Shroom boss and a few other blocks were kind of absurd... or the bone dragon in BOF3 after you finally become an adult. I seriously think I must of fought that boss for like 18 hours.

Tri-Ace is definitely one of the most... you know... like the best ending in VP and how obscure it is.

That's one of the reasons I think I can appreciate FF a lot (and Tales, also) they really kind of understand their identity well, the cheapest FF boss is probably like... some FF4 boss maybe or something, 4-7 had some cheap ones, at times. FF1 could be pretty hard in kind of cheap ways at times though.

The fairest and best balanced FF was probably FF3 I think.. something like that.

It's also one of the reasons I like Dark Souls, or the Souls series in general, rather than kind of surprise you with cheap things it kind of sets the tone from the beginning that there's going to be obscure secrets, bosses that hit super hard, etc, and a mechanic based around dying.

I think sometimes maybe a lot of JRPGs were trying to be hard to be "games" when really they were.. well... JRPGs.. a combination of story in game in this unique way.

If we're talking about bosses who are brick walls, then FF games have a few. The most notorious of course is FFT's Wiegraf/Velius fight, followed immediately by the first encounter of not-Dracula and the bullshit assassins (its amusing that once their true identities are revealed, they become complete pushovers compared to what they were a minute ago), but other games as well like the Famicom version of FFIII's Salamander and Garuda are just total assholes. Now if you're referring to FFVI, then its generally fair in the 'piss easy' way as outside of some annoying gimmicks (like Wrexsoul's possession technique or Goddess's 'hope you brought some kind of Charm protection' gimmick).
24  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Unpopular Opinions on Popular Games on: July 24, 2016, 02:00:07 AM
Hm I got another one I think the M&L series is basically just as good and worthy as SMRPG.

That's not an unpopular opinion.

*states that OG Paper Mario is the only good Paper Mario*

Now that's an unpopular opinion.

/ParaphrasingCrocodileDundee

Because seriously, Thousand Year Door is dull, overrated and suffers from way too much backtracking.
25  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Random and Amazing Pictures, Please! on: July 23, 2016, 11:26:11 PM
26  Media / Game Journals / Re: Josh blindly flails his way through a natural magic/no esper run of FFVI on: July 23, 2016, 10:38:19 PM
What's Really Going On?

- So Shadow bailed on the party before I even got on the train. He left when I was in the forest on the way to the train, but I was wondering if anyone had heard of him leaving before they even made it to the forest?  

- I always have a strange dilemma when it comes to recruiting ??????? ghosts on the phantom train because while they make getting to the front a lot easier, they also force you to split your Xp among more party members (which means that Sabin and Cyan ultimately level up slower).  I figured it was best to just avoid them this time.

- Phantom Train is a walk in the park (even with only 2 party members) if you just spam it with Blitz' and the level one SwordTech.  I had to use a few potions too I guess.

- After jumping off a cliff? and fighting some angry fish comes the part where you meet Gau (ugh) and jump off ANOTHER cliff.  If it wasn't already obvious I can't really stand Gau as a character.  Getting all of his rages always seems like much more of a hassle than he's worth.  Unfortunately, since this is a natural magic/no esper run, I suppose I'll have to learn to use him.

- Final thought before I reunite with everyone in Narshe: I don't seem to ever remember being at a loss over where to go next in this game when I played it as a kid, but now I keep running into places where it feels like if I didn't already know where to go next to move the story forward, I'd just have to explore and hope for the best.  Was confusion and forced exploration common among other people's experience with FFVI?  

Shadow leaves as soon as you earn a determined amount of GP with him in the party.  To keep him around as long as possible before he becomes perma-selectable means minimizing the coin you earn (no easy workaround really).

I'm reaching back here, but I also vaguely recall a few instances early game that lack obvious direction as to where to go or at the very least, how to get there. Considering I played this enough to literally draw dungeon maps purely from recollection at this point, I can't confirm that.

I think Shadow's departure is more randomly determined than just from accumulated GP/Gil, but it really doesn't matter once you get Cyan since Sabin's biggest issue is being alone (not that there's much to really threaten him at this point). Really, Shadow's supposed to be a Guest/glorified crutch character (except that mechanically speaking, he's only kinda mediocre beyond Interceptor, which can get hilariously glitched out of existence; and that's before you factor in Espers and his general lack of availability).

As for direction. The game's pretty straightforward so long as you pay any attention to what's going on (though overworld navigation can get a little dodgy at times, but its hardly even an issue in this game in particular), but coming into basically any JRPG from this era cold turkey is gonna be hella confusing (as the lack of any persistent objective markers, indications as to previously explored regions versus newly opened up ones, world designs that aren't almost literally straight lines and perhaps some missing info on basic mechanics can lead to some easy confusion, especially in event light sections like the post Defend Narshe segment of FFVI). Then again, certain things wouldn't be obvious to an inexperienced player like being able to revisit the Veldt prior to the Defend Narshe segment or the character related cutscenes/Shadow's second stint with the party.


Also, since this run is natural magic/no Esper/limited grinding, Gau's gonna become one of your best party members if you bother to put any effort into him at all. Granted, he's an MMO level grind in an SuperNES era JRPG, but picking out the few essential Rages can easily make him a beast of a party member (just figure out which Rages provide him with Elemental Firepower).
27  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Squeenix' best surprise EVER!! (Adv. of Mana) on: July 23, 2016, 01:36:35 AM
I would suggest asking that question on GameFAQ's community.  Someone should probably have the answer there.

But don't we have a bunch of GameFAQ posters here?

Not that its important or anything, just idle curiosity on my part. I was just amused by the fact that Squeenix actually addressed this otherwise glaring issue from the original game, even if the solution doesn't seem all that elegant (because I do know that it drops from the Mantis Ant boss, who unfortunately is the last boss prior to Dime Tower, which is the final point of no return to the Overworld, which makes the addition kinda redundant by that point anyways; it also supplants the Dragon Buster Sword as the game's penultimate weapon and I was merely curious as to whether the stats/abilities reflected as such, and if so, by how much).
28  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Tales of Berseria on: July 23, 2016, 01:23:29 AM
http://gematsu.com/2016/07/tales-berseria-details-artorius-seres-code-red-daemon-hunting

More side-characters/sidequests.

Also, nice pallet swap/haircut Lailah (I bet you dyed your hair that color to enable you to move 3 times faster).

Also also, I think I know who gave Velvet Demon-Arm-pies.
This is Velvet, correct:


Here's the thing, based on the screenshots of the game I have seen, it looks like she's a melee character.  All of her alternate costumes, additionally show even more skin than this get up.  What the fuck?  I like fan service as much as the next guy, but her outfit really annoys me.  She should be wearing something far more practical for combat.  If she was, the alternate costumes wouldn't bother me as much.

Seriously, she can be dressed sexy and practically at the same time if that's the developer's goal.  This costume isn't it.

While not much of an excuse, it's surprising better than what she had before that...



Which in turn started out as this (hard to find a decent shot of this one)...



Not that she's the only offender of the sensibly dressed dress code...

29  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 22, 2016, 09:20:48 PM
Legend of Mana (FIN)

Welp in a strange turn of events I did not expect at all, I somehow triggered the end-game quest at the "home" to begin while bouncing around looking for my cactus some more. I need to thank everyone for their discussion on the matter as I likely would not have picked it up for a few more days otherwise, but the journal here left me with nuttin' but MANA ON THE MIND.

This made no sense to me. I did NOT go anywhere new, complete anything new, get any new AF's out on my map nor do anything else that seemed relevant. I visited some local's and came back home to forge me some new equipment and the "Cage of Dreams" just started out of nowhere.

And thus my first run of LoM officially comes to a close with Bud still sick on my floor and my Cactus still missing! And ya know what? Knowing damn well I missed as much as I did, I will still contend the ending was every bit as satisfying as I'd hoped.

My time with Mana here, in summary, FAR exceeded my expectations. That isn't to say it is "the best game I ever played"  (it wears all it's flaws on it's sleeve) but I'd be lying if I didn't state "I sure wish LoM-Styled became a sub-genre of light RPG's altogether". I'm more then content in the peculiar way I feel this is more a "to be continued" than a "fin" for me. Having good reason to re-experience this title a time or two is nothing short of comforting and that is not something I typically feel after the credits roll, ever.

@ Mesh and Aeolus -- Since I finished I figured I would check out the cactus hints for the hell of it. FOR F**KS SAKE, HOW DID I MISS THAT!!!???

You were so close too. She even has an entry in your NPC Journal (in a rare instance where one of those Journals was actually useful for something; they're otherwise full of either redundant or misleading information).

Also, yeah. Cage of Dreams kinda comes out of nowhere. At least the game is kind enough to stick the trigger to that particular quest in a place that the player will inevitably end up in (provided they don't just straight up shut the game off after completing one of the arc finales).

Its too bad that you're stopping here since as was mentioned before, the other two major quest arcs are definitely better in the writing/presentation department versus the Dragoon arc with its far more straight forward setup (both in accessibility and writing).


And speaking of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, FE:Conquest. Welp! That's what I get for rushing in a turn too soon. And by that, I mean a dead Silas from having his Speed debuffed by one point too many and eating a double attack from Hinokopter's remaining copilot. Fucking Seal Speed. On the plus side, it gave me a reason to peek ahead and see just how badly my stat screwed Corrin really was. Yikes. Its suddenly a good thing that I suddenly have a whole new chapter to go and get him some extra levels on.

Also plowed through another dungeon in Xenosaga III. For a game that's supposedly on overtime, that dungeon sure was a complete waste of time.
30  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Squeenix' best surprise EVER!! (Adv. of Mana) on: July 22, 2016, 06:12:02 AM
Say, is it possible to get someone to post the specific attack power of the Mantis Sickle and which enemies it can damage (i.e. can it damage the same enemies that otherwise only Magic and the Silver Sword can damage, or are some enemies immune)?

I ask because its the only actual change to the game beyond the graphics (that I know of).
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