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31  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Atelier Series on: October 21, 2014, 03:17:03 PM
Nope, that's how it was.  I did that too, and on my very first playthrough as well.  I had all of my ultimate equipment synthesized about 3 months before the time ran out, too.  It was even more prominent on the second playthrough.

There was something very wrong with E&L's balance.
32  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Atelier Series on: October 21, 2014, 02:33:28 PM
Yeah, they clearly tried with E&L with how it went from the 3 month plan at first, then later gave you an entire year to run around and do whatever you want.

In my opinion, it didn't work.  It was just too lenient, even during the "management" parts.  Then the last year was basically a "let's burn time!" year without any real point to it other than two or three story events.  I'd rather them just stick with one or the other so that both gameplay styles don't suffer.

And to be clear, just because I'm whining about how the series has changed doesn't mean I don't enjoy the newer games.  Admittedly I didn't like E&L, but I adored Ayesha. And I might have been annoyed by the overt moe by the time Arland ended, but they were still great fun.
33  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Atelier Series on: October 20, 2014, 09:13:41 PM
Ah I need to order my Shallie artbook.  Thanks for reminding me, Dice.

And ah yes, you're right, it does seem that Violet did get a PSP port.  My mistake, I suppose.  I don't know about the sales, I suppose I could look  them up, but to be honest it's not really worth it.  If it didn't sell, I suppose it just says that the "traditional-only" fans aren't particularly numerous, which is a shame, but understandable.
34  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Atelier Series on: October 20, 2014, 05:20:37 PM
I think you're right about E&L's characters, Tomara.  Maybe given more scenes with them I'd have liked them a bit better. 

And that's fine Dagas, it just shows the difference in fan preference that I was illustrating above!   I play the series for entirely different reasons!
I prefer the more management-heavy Atelier with less sugary, but not all dark and broody, characters.  Annie's my favorite heroine in the series, though I can admit she is not the best.  I enjoy her because she's a very flawed and shallow heroine at first. 

I think your "walk in the park" comment is a consequence of the modern path the games have taken.  The earlier games, while easily inferior in Alchemy, were definitely much deeper titles that required very strict management of resources.  Certain endings are close to impossible to get without knowing exactly what you're doing and going for them right from the very start.  And this is what I enjoyed.
35  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Atelier Series on: October 20, 2014, 03:44:31 PM
There are plenty of people who love all or most of the games in the series. Atelier is going more Final Fantasy in route with its different styles than Dragon Quest's consistency.  And, just like FF, people are bound to favor one game or style over another.

The issue is that in Japan there's a pretty big split in how perception of Atelier has progressed. I believe I had a pretty big rant about it earlier in the thread, but the basics is that the series genre and tone have changed drastically since Atelier 1-6, Marie-Violet, and, has on a whole, been (forgive the slang) "casualized," and Shallie removing the time limit entirely is basically the furthest step from what Atelier originally was and represented, which was a management-heavy title with light RPG elements, great characters, an interesting world (how many other series are based on the German renaissance?), good music, and a light, fun attitude.

This is an issue for Atelier because it is so niche.  FF can keep, even gain fans, by changing genres, but Atelier needs its core fans.

It's going through growing pains, especially now that TemcoKoei owns GUST and wants it to appeal to a wider audience.  Especially after Totori's surprise popularity and Totori was a huge step in the "less management" direction.  They haven't been able to emulate Totori's popularity yet, even with Meruru, which is objectively superior, from a gameplay perspective.  

The problem for the traditional fans is that the re-release of Judie on the PSP might have sent all of the wrong messages to GUST about what they want in the series.  Judie is generally considered to be one of the worst games in the series, though it does have its fans; if they had gone with the superior Violet, conversely considered one of the best, the sales might have been better and showed GUST there is still a market for the older-styled Atelier titles.

Edit: For all my rant, I also like that they switch out styles.  I personally found the moeblobs in Arland to be a bit grating by the time Meruru hit, for example, and enjoy the darker tone they went with Dusk.  If every game in the future had E&L's characters, I probably would drop the series.
36  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: i hope we get this too(WA5) on: October 20, 2014, 02:59:15 PM
Agreed, she's a great character. Very interesting and balances out the rest of the cast.

(That being said, I don't think the amount of a clothing character has necessarily makes them a better or worse character.)
37  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Atelier Series on: October 20, 2014, 02:24:05 PM
Ah, stalker!  (Not that it's not totally obvious that it's me) If you have a MFC account feel free to add me as a friend.
(And since we're talking about Atelier figures, I just won this lovely GK at YAJ: http://myfigurecollection.net/item/97756
Hopefully I can do her justice!)

I think Shallie might be another one of those polarizing games in the series.  People in Japan were upset because they removed the time limit entirely.  I haven't played it yet, as I'm waiting on the western release, but I'm interested in seeing how that changes how the western audience perceives the game since there's always a ton of bitching about the time limits.

Great news though! I liked the music more than E&L's at least.

Somewhat related, I'm not sure if any of you own the E&L artbook, but the very first Escha designs look exactly like what was later used for Shallie.  Pretty interesting.
38  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Tales of PlayStation(s) revealed on: October 17, 2014, 09:48:57 PM
Yeah, that's what I did: played a different game while I did Xillia 2's post-game so that I wouldn't get burnt out.
39  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: i hope we get this too(WA5) on: October 17, 2014, 10:11:06 AM
The adult=evil is symbolism that really only works well in Japanese culture and falls pretty flat in the west.  It's a bit similar to how highschool settings are used so frequently because highschool is considered one of the last bastions of "freedom" that they have before taking on larger responsibilities that require giving up on childish dreams, so to speak.  I've commented on the story of WA4 before in another thread in that it's more about tradition and change than adults actually being "evil."

Being honest, it could have done with a bit more localization rather than the direct translation.

The bigger problems with the story come in the clear, blatant, hit-over-the-head nuclear opinions.
40  Media / Game Journals / Re: Dice plays FF7 (Sponsored by Maxx) on: October 17, 2014, 01:06:58 AM
I felt that the greatest source of pathos in the game was the Cid and Shera scenario where she aborted the launch due to a faulty tank and Cid held a grudge against her for a long time for killing his dream.  I thought Shera's story was the saddest in the game.  For her to endure the abuse from Cid for so long, that's a tragic plight; especially knowing that she saved his life and he won't believe that.  Poor Shera. 

Cid/Shera's story is amazing, he's my favorite Cid in the series; I didn't fully appreciate him and Shera until replays.  He's just such a broken man, with broken dreams, whose hope was shattered by Shinra in a way very similar to Barret's and Shera is a broken woman filled with regret who beats herself more than Cid ever can.

Also, he has an amazing character theme remix.  Very western.
(Have I mentioned FFVII has great music? Because it has a lot of great music).
41  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: i hope we get this too(WA5) on: October 17, 2014, 12:51:46 AM
WA5 is the only WA I couldn't bring myself to like.  It's like it sucked out everything I enjoyed from WA and replaced it with...bleh.
42  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Tales of PlayStation(s) revealed on: October 17, 2014, 12:48:28 AM
Paying off your debt will come naturally as you go through the optional dungeon.  Just keep Leia in your party (Gald double skill) and keep the same skill equipped on Ludger.  Then eat Gald+ food.  You'll be at 20 million in no time at all.  That paired with the money from the Hard Mode bosses (quest board) and you'll be okay.

The final parts of the Arena are going to be a good deal more difficult, as it requires higher levels than the optional dungeon. 

What I did was:
1. First few optional hard mode quest board  bosses.
2. First tier enemies in the optional dungeon until level 80-90ish.  I don't remember the specifics. 
2.5 You'll probably be able to kill some of these first level bosses in the optional dungeon at this point, but there's a big, big difficulty spike after and the normal enemies jump about 10 levels and the bosses 15-20.
3. Prep for the second tier enemies and bosses by leveling and doing the basic parts of the Arena.  You can't beat the Arena entirely and get the ending yet, but doing everything possible here (you should be able to unlock Hard, but not the final difficulty) will unlock new armor and weapon dealers that sell the best possible weapons and armor that are buyable and not craftable.  These will get you through the rest of the optional dungeon.
3.5 Kill some more hard mode quest board bosses.
4. Finish off the dungeon, but you might want to wait a bit for the final character clearance, since once you've cleared the final path, you're going to be put automatically into the final optional dungeon fight, which is much, much more difficult than anything else in there.
5. Grind EXP, and weapons/armor materials.  If you didn't finish your Gald in step 4, you will here.
6. Arena hardest modes, which become available after the optional dungeon.
43  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Tales of PlayStation(s) revealed on: October 14, 2014, 02:02:46 PM
Yeah, give it 6 months or so before playing Xillia 2. Some people I've spoken to played them in succession and enjoyed them, but I can easily see getting burned out on it.  Giving some time in-between games also lets you more greatly appreciate the changes in character development and the world, methinks,
44  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Atelier Series on: October 14, 2014, 01:59:33 PM
And surprising absolutely no one:


(PS: I really enjoyed Siliconera when it was just Ishaan and Spencer doing the news about 4 years ago, but some of these newer guys have no idea what they're talking about and are giving the site a bad name with their strange choice of translations.  This link has flat out misinformation; Iris 2 and MK2 both had two protagonists before E&L).
45  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: RPGs and the horrible path they follow on: October 11, 2014, 08:51:21 PM
It is numbing when you feel like you're just putting your brain on auto-pilot for a game, but sometimes it's done wrong.  Like in Legend of Dragoon, the Additions system is so [expletive deleted] finicky, that even basic battles feel somewhat fatiguing and you want to rest your brain on auto-pilot for a little while. 

I think LoD is more "your mileage may vary."  I never had any problem with Additions. Some of them are quite hard (for example, the leap in difficulty from Lavitz to Albert in general), but they're intended to be.  Mastery of the last additions make them the strongest attacks in the game, stronger than even Dragoon form for some characters - Rose comes immediately to mind. But you're not required to master the strongest ones.  You don't even need to max out Dragoon form to beat the game. LoD has a surprising amount of flexibility in the way you play; even if there's an obvious "best" you don't need to use it.

That being said, I admit I have something of a 10 year-old muscle memory for LoD.  I just recently discovered that even though I hadn't played the game for 3 years that I still know, at least the basics of, the Addition timing.

When it comes to strictness, I'd say the more crazy modified grids in Shadow Hearts 2 and 3 were much more difficult and finicky.
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