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901  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Merged Final Fantasy XIII-2 Thread on: April 07, 2012, 08:56:05 PM
But it CAN work in games. Quite a few games these days have 3rd person omniscient narratives. Well, FFXIII-2 for example, and that HELPED A LOT. They were obviously aware of this shortcoming in the first game, and actually had two narrators for different purposes: Lightning gave poetic synopses before each new chapter, and some unknown british woman gave you a summery of events leading up to the locations you were traveling to in the Historia Crux. But even in un-narrated sections, they were clever in using characters in explaining things that didn't feel forced. It helped that the main characters were naturally clueless about the particular events of each location.

That's exactly what I'm talking about - narrative separation.  Books can deal with it because the character can go over the traits or knowledge in their head via third or first person over time. In games, you're getting it from an outside source somewhere. In XIII-2, as you mentioned, the female narrator and Lightning. XIII tried without the separation at all (except, oddly enough, when it came to emotional rants), but it simply doesn't work as well as it does in books.  Very few games fully go through this method and, for what it tried, it succeeded.

It also succeeded at showing it doesn't work nearly as well with games.

Which brings me to counter your last statement, I thought FFXIII-2 was a whole class of storytelling better than FFXIII. Sure, maybe the main protagonist wasn't quite as strong, but she's a different kind of protagonist. She's more the "every girl" thrown into a superhuman situation. Though I actually think Noel is the strongest male lead the series has had since Zydane, and even then, he can stand up to the best of the PS-era leads.

My issue is that I liked Noel, and the story, but found neither leave a lasting impact on me. I wouldn't consider them bad, per se, just not particularly memorable.  What defining traits do I know of Noel? He wants to protect Yeul. He doesn't like Caius. He wants to protect Serah. He wants to save the future. Sure, there are all traditional heroic traits. Digging in a bit, he has a softer side, too, one where he's insecure about how failures and how he hopes to overcome them.

Belated Edit here: After playing Graces f, I have a new respect for non-oblivious main characters.  Noel gets points for being knowledgeable and skilled, while also still having a lot to learn.  He strikes a good balance between the two.

It's just so. . .generic. None of these traits leave a lasting impression on me.  What I remember most about him is how he puts Snow in his place.  Generic doesn't automatically mean bad, it's entirely within the presentation.  And I found the presentation of his character, for the most part, somewhat lacking.  I suppose we're going to disagree on this, though.

Now, his character can reach utterly amazing territory for me if, for some reason, XIII-3 is created and how a certain ending scene impacts and influences his growth.

The storytelling is nothing stellar, but it's not horrible.   However, I really liked the Paradox endings and honestly wished they would have elaborated on a few of them.
902  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Class of Heroes 2 Kickstarter by MonkeyPaw Games and Gaijin Works on: April 07, 2012, 07:48:22 PM
Honestly? I think he's asking for too much.

Compare that to -

Who only asks for $100,000, yet promises much more, including hiring some big names now that they've surpassed their goal. 
903  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenoblade on: April 07, 2012, 07:38:14 PM
I just checked the status of my order from the Nintendo store, and it says that it's backordered! What the hell? Hopefully, it doesn't take too long.

My game apparently shipped from the future.

. . .I got my EMail yesterday.
904  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Merged Final Fantasy XIII-2 Thread on: April 07, 2012, 12:06:36 AM
Nothing worth mentioning.  It had a special fifth disk that had the E3 trailer (originally in English) in Japanese and a second, extended "final" trailer, also in Japanese.

The packaging was really nice, though.  The set is very tall and Amano's Lightning is on the front in a foil light purple.  Each disk has one of the five primary characters on it and is in a box the size of a PS2 game box - so it's very wide.  Like, 1500 page hardcover book wide.
905  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Merged Final Fantasy XIII-2 Thread on: April 06, 2012, 11:57:27 PM
Well, at the very least, you got yourself a nice OST.  I was surprised they actually gave the full thing; it made my importing of the SE version from Japan pointless.
906  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Merged Final Fantasy XIII-2 Thread on: April 06, 2012, 11:48:28 PM
In my opinion, the issue is not with XIII's story.  It's actually quite interesting and has some nice 1983 themes behind it, it's simply the way it's presented and how it doesn't work well with games in general.  Not to mention XIII actually has very fascinating lore, with more depth to it than most other games in the series.

Now, on one hand they did something very interesting - that is, they didn't tell anything to you, the player. There was no moments where they explained the magical terminology like in most every other RPG in existence.  There was no young, inexperienced character to go "Wait, what's a l'Cie?" and then the more mature characters elaborate.  It treated you as if you were in the game world itself, they just throw you into it.

This can work in books, but not as well in games, because there's that narrative separation.  It doesn't help that the most important thing for the game's backstory was a prologue book that explained characters, background, motivations, and personality traits. And that it was never released in the west beyond a fan translation. This should not have been a book in the first place!  For example, Sazh is developed a good deal, you're told his profession, his preferences, and about his previous family life.  None of that is in-game; instead, while probably the best character of the bunch, he still doesn't seem to have a lot of depth to him if you take the cutscenes at face value.

XIII-2 I won't bother trying to defend. It's a fun game and I very much enjoyed it, but I don't think its method of storytelling is particularly good. While I liked Noel, he and Serah weren't really more than just "likeable." I liked them on a superficial level, but didn't find Noel or Caius particularly memorable.  I did like Yuel, however.

Anyway, sorry. I'll shut up and turn this back to XIII-2 now.
907  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenoblade on: April 06, 2012, 05:51:48 PM
Mine shipped from NOA's store - I'm excited!

How does this look on a HDTV?  Would it be better on SD?
908  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Mass Effect 3 (expect ME1&2 spoilers) on: April 06, 2012, 04:25:23 PM
Yeah, it's getting worse than the Namco Facebook page, and that's saying something.

Do they whine about Tales localizations?  Because that's what happens in every Namco article on other sites.
909  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Merged Final Fantasy XIII-2 Thread on: April 05, 2012, 01:19:45 PM

More pictures.

I'm finding the Pupus to be far more adorable than is probably healthy.
910  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Merged Final Fantasy XIII-2 Thread on: April 04, 2012, 08:09:03 PM
What novels?

Episode Zero and Episode i.

Episode Zero was Japan-only and introduced each character and their motivation.  Really, it's must-read material because it actually expands on their characters greatly.

Episode i was actually officially localized and offered as a pre-order bonus from Best Buy.  It's a short little hardcover book that elaborated on the events between FFXIII and XIII-2.

Both can be found fan-translated online. Google "Dilly Dally Shilly Shally."
911  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Atelier Ayesha on: April 04, 2012, 03:47:30 PM
Given the rather bored (I wouldn't quite say "negative," but certainly "unimpressed") reaction even Japan had to loli Rorona from Meruru in general, I don't think they would be too averse to an older character.  Totori definitely got Rorona's maturity right in that regard.

I think there's a lot they can do with the female characters, but they're afraid to venture out too far- and quite honestly, given the state of Japan's market, I don't entirely blame them.  Whether or not you realize it, there was a huge shitstorm when the Iris games were released.  At least they seemed to have learned their lesson from AT3 in that overt sexuality doesn't necessarily make a better game.  Having a character who needs to be protected isn't necessarily a bad thing, given Alchemists for the most part aren't fighters, they're crafters.  For me, the issue is that, for the most part, they all have relatively similar personalities despite their quirks.  

But Iris from Iris 3 is a lot like what you seem to be looking for, yes?
912  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Re: Way of the Samurai 4 coming to PS3 only on: April 04, 2012, 02:38:15 PM
I just read that.

Guess I'll import the Euro version. There's absolutely no reason for this.

XSeed can just fuck off.

It's more likely SCEA than XSEED.
913  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Re: Way of the Samurai 4 coming to PS3 only on: April 04, 2012, 01:38:04 PM
Having played Hakuoki recently, I'm way more excited for this than I probably should be.
914  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Merged Final Fantasy XIII-2 Thread on: April 04, 2012, 11:42:35 AM
. . .I think they look pretty good, haha.
915  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Atelier Ayesha on: April 04, 2012, 11:35:20 AM
Annie did that.  She only became an Alchemist because she was, literally, dragged from her house and forced into it.  And even then she only became one so she could marry the Prince.  Not because she loved the Prince, but because he was rich and would make her set for life with his money.   She was lazy and did not particularly care about the art until later.
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