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Subject: 999 (Nintendo DS)
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1  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Tales of PlayStation(s) revealed on: May 11, 2012, 04:46:49 PM
Thanks for the heads up! I was actually thinking about buying Xillia the other day, so I'm glad I put it off if this is indeed a Director's Cut.
2  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: How one man stopped Square-Enix from letting gamers kill Yahweh on: April 14, 2012, 09:48:07 AM
I actually thought that as far as Japanese games with religious content go, Xenogears was on the more lenient, balanced end of the spectrum. Many if not most JRPGs that present religion and divinity (Breath of Fire III, Grandia II, Tales of Destiny II, Takahashi's own Xenoblade...) have gods that are petty, flawed, controlling and ultimately antagonistic, and religions that are usually part of some nefarious scheme or another. Xenogears, on the other hand, contrasts its sham religion (the Ethos) with one that venerates a very real god and pretty much embodies all of the virtues that real religions preach (the Nisan sect). And though it has you kill a false god (Deus), it also has one that is shown to be both entirely real and entirely benevolent (the Wave Existence). The message of most JRPGs in regards to religion is "gods and religion are bad, and mankind doesn't need them", but Xenogears's is more like "religion isn't inherently bad, but venerating false gods and false religions can lead to catastrophe". Which is... pretty consistent with the teachings of most major religions out there.

Of course I'm not devoutly religious myself, so this is just an outsider's perspective, but I think if I were, Xenogears would be one of the few Japanese games that deals with religion that I'd actually be okay with. I think people just saw phrases like "kill God" and all the Judeo-Christian terminology and assumed it was much more blasphemous than it actually wound up being.
3  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenoblade on: April 06, 2012, 01:03:59 PM
The environments have some pretty low-res textures to them, actually, and as Robert mentioned, they do a lot of tricks to make the graphics seem better than they are. There are plenty of games on the Wii that look better than Xenoblade Chronicles, IMO, especially games from Nintendo. Yes, the environments are big but the graphics took a hit for it. I do like the art style, though.

Graphics are much more than just polygon counts and texture quality, though, and the scope and the design of the areas should be part of that score. For me, a couple of muddy textures and some not particularly brilliant faces (neither of which are hugely below par for the Wii anyway) aren't enough to drag the score down to 75%, which is generally below average for the reviews here. I suppose maybe it's just a case of different things being important to different people? I found myself barely caring about the faces and the textures, as I was too busy being wowed at just how beautifully designed the environments were. There isn't a single game on the Wii that has had a bigger impact on me visually than Xenoblade. And to me, that's worthy of a great deal of praise.

In any case, I stand by my criticism that Oblivion and Skyrim are not valid comparisons, and that Xenoblade's visuals being inferior to games like that is not a very fair reason to mark it down. You'd be as well criticising Crisis Core for not looking as good as Final Fantasy XIII. Again, it's not a criticism that's unique to RPGFan's review by any means, but it's one that I really take issue with.
4  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenoblade on: April 06, 2012, 12:03:49 PM
Have to say I'm a little bit surprised at only 80% being awarded for sound in the review here, with no mention of why in the body of the review itself, nor any discussion of the sound full stop (that I can see from skim-reading it in the library. Excuse me if I missed something). Music is highly subjective, but for me the game has easily the strongest RPG soundtrack in years, and one of my favourites ever. And while I can't comment on the English voice acting being that I played the game in Japanese, that sounds pretty good from clips too. Why only 80, out of curiosity?

Also, I think it's really, really harsh to slate the graphics because they don't compare to those of Skyrim or Oblivion. Xenoblade does some unbelievable things with the Wii's hardware, and while its models are relatively low tech, its environments alone make it one of the best-looking games available on the console. You wouldn't criticise a DS or PSP game for not having PS3 caliber graphics, so why should this be any different? Not that RPGFan's review is unique in this criticism, mind, but it's one that sort of baffles me whenever it comes up.

Other than that, absolutely agreed with the review. Really glad to see people enjoying the game as much as I did!
5  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: XSEED bringing Ys: Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin to Steam on: March 21, 2012, 05:29:19 AM
I'm plenty keen on PC games, but the thought of trying to play an Ys game with the keyboard sends a shiver down my spine. Especially some of the tougher boss fights on the higher difficulty settings.

It's probably not that hard. Ys games aren't known for having complicated control schemes.

They aren't, but they are known for having rather hectic, fast-paced boss fights that require some very precise inputs. Maybe it's just me sucking at action games, but I certainly wouldn't like to try that stupid tennis match of doom with the last boss of Felghana on a keyboard. :'D
6  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky on: March 16, 2012, 09:00:50 PM
Trails in the Sky is not only the first Legend of Heroes game that qualifies as non-crap

While I'm more of a Trails girl myself, the Gagharv trilogy are really pretty good if you play them in their native language. White Witch, in particular, is often described as a "poetic RPG" by its Japanese fans because despite its relatively straightforward plot, the dialogue and narration is almost novel quality at times, and definitely top tier stuff among JRPGs. The trouble is that they're extremely basic outside of the story and text, and thus require very good translations to really work in another language. And the translations Bandai put out for them... barely even qualified as competent, much less good.

In short, don't blame the games. Blame the incompetence of those who localised them.
7  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: XSEED bringing Ys: Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin to Steam on: March 15, 2012, 09:48:05 PM
I'm plenty keen on PC games, but the thought of trying to play an Ys game with the keyboard sends a shiver down my spine. Especially some of the tougher boss fights on the higher difficulty settings.
8  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: XSEED bringing Ys: Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin to Steam on: March 14, 2012, 04:16:25 AM
I'm definitely interested in Ys Origin. Anyone out there play it before? Thoughts?

It's loads of fun! It's a dungeon crawl, which is a bit of a contrast to Seven / Felghana / Napishtim, but they pretty much throw logic to the wind and have all sorts of different locales (desert, underwater etc...) crammed into the same big tower, so it never really feels like just one dungeon. The music is as fabulous as ever, if maybe not quite JDK's strongest work. And the boss fights are very likely the best in the series, and have the same brutal but never unfair difficulty level as the other recent Ys games. Absolutely worth a go, as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, this is just fantastic news! I've already played most of Falcom's PC games, but I'm really happy to see them reaching a wider audience. A thought, though: since there's a very competent English translation for Origin already out there by Deuce, the same guy who handled Felghana and Ys Eternal, I wonder if XSEED will license his work again? I must say I kind of like that idea. XSEED get a great translation at a smaller cost and in less time than they would otherwise, and a dedicated fan gets rewarded for his hard work. :)
9  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Best PS3 exclusive JRPG? on: March 14, 2012, 03:46:17 AM
Ni no Kuni is a pretty neat game, and though the battle system is a little outside of your comfort zone by the sound of things, the rest of the game is pretty much as traditional as JRPGs come. The whole game is essentially a Dragon Quest game with a Studio Ghibli coat of paint, after all. :D Unfortunately it's not due an English release until about a year after its Japanese counterpart. Go figure. :/ I suppose you could also argue that it's not an exclusive because of the DS version, but the two games are really quite different, and only the PS3 one seems destined for an English release.

Aside from that, I'd pretty much agree with what's been said. The Atelier games are indeed probably your best bet, with Totori and Meruru both being tons of fun, and Rorona being decent-ish. Just don't go in expecting something traditional in terms of structure, as they're much more open-ended than the English-released PS2 entries in the series. Pushing outside the realms of turn-based, Graces F, Folklore, Valkyria Chronicles and Demon's Souls are all worth your time, as others have already said.

Oh, and I'd go one further than Kevadu and highly recommend you stay far away from Ar Tonelico 3 even if you are invested in the series. I really quite liked the first two, but I found the third to be just... not very good at all. And also kind of creepy, offensive and squicky at times, even for a series that had you give the characters baths to improve their abilities in the second game.
10  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Blades of Time on: March 10, 2012, 11:30:24 AM
Wait, so Konami bought the IP? I know the first game was created by a Russian developer, but the article makes it sound like Konami actually developed this one themselves. Interesting. If kind of surprising, being that the first one was apparently horrible, and didn't seem to have anything particularly unique or innovative about it that would merit purchasing the rights to make a sequel.
11  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Ys Seven to be released on PC in China -- June 20, 2012 on: March 06, 2012, 05:03:37 AM
If you're really interested in the game then best to just get it on PSP and play in English, maybe grab a Chinese copy just to mess around afterwards.

Hence my saying "replay" rather than just "play". I already own the game in Japanese on the PSP and I've already finished it. :'D This would be said messing around copy.

And yeah, anti-piracy protection on modern Chinese PC games is horrible. There have been a couple I've bought legitimately only to find I had to crack them to even play them. Ridiculous.
12  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Shining Series: Biggest Thing in Series History Happening Next Week (This Week) on: March 05, 2012, 08:15:27 PM
I wasn't that impressed with Shining Force Feather, personally, and I'm really glad I didn't buy it at full price. Flight Plan + Shining Force seemed a winning combination, but it's a far cry from both Flight Plan's stronger games and the other strategy Shining titles. The battle system is sluggish and not very interesting, and I found every single one of the main characters incredibly obnoxious. I bought it in Japan to play on the train during a week or two when I was doing a lot of travelling, but after a couple of hours of play I put it away and just read a novel instead. If a game can't keep me entertained on long, boring train journeys, it's probably not a good sign. :'D

Anyway, KeeperX pretty much summed up my opinion. Unless it's a collaboration with Camelot, which truly would live up to Sega's claims, you can colour me indifferent.
13  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Ys Seven to be released on PC in China -- June 20, 2012 on: March 05, 2012, 08:07:15 PM
Studying Chinese at the moment... Eager to replay Ys Seven... A plan is rapidly forming here.
14  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Bravely Default: Flying Fairy on: February 29, 2012, 04:08:52 PM
That actually looks pretty fabulous. I don't have a 3DS, unfortunately, but I'll certainly be keeping my eye on this in case I pick one up at some point. Very curious about who the composer is, too. I'm liking the music a lot.

I don't know if there are translations of the trailer floating around already, but I knocked one together myself for fun in case anyone was interested:

It all began with a great chasm that split the earth without warning.

Countless horrors came forth from its belly, and our world was quickly overrun. Soon, most of our towns and cities were little more than empty shells.

Even the Crystals, which had once bestowed their light upon the people, fell to the powers of darkness.

Our world of Luxendalk now advances toward its own destruction.

Slowly, yet steadily...

There is but one way to clear the deep, cloying darkness which envelops our world.

And it is said to lie in the hands of we Priestesses of the Crystals.

But can it really be so simple?

Our duty is so great... I fear it may be beyond us.

Someone... Anyone... Please lend us your power!

I'll never forget that day. The day I met you.

My light of hope. My Warrior of Light.
15  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki for Vita on: February 25, 2012, 09:49:57 AM
Which is why I'm happy JRPGs are low-power.  I have a PC, but I run it maybe once a month.  I'm prettay sure she'll run LoH just fine.

I ran the trilogy on a PC that was outdated even when I bought it in 2003, and it was just fine. Bit of slowdown in places, and obviously I couldn't play it nicely at the highest resolutions, but suffice to say you'll be okay. They get slightly more demanding as the series goes on, with SC and Third generally having bigger bosses and fancier spell effects, but they're all based on the same tech, and the increase in demands from game to game is pretty insignificant.
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