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46  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Music Podcast (Rhythm Encounter) Thread on: January 22, 2015, 12:30:05 PM
PFFFT.   What DOESN'T work?


Lose One's Illusions -- Plays at the start of disc 2 on Nede, lovely redone version of Rena's theme and the Venerable Forest

We Form in Crystals -- Ending theme, a rather melancholy yet lovely tune

The introduction version of "Star Ocean Forever" with that very "intro" sound that captures a narrator talking about the sights and struggles and context of the game.  Eh.  Added here for completion sake, but if you went this route I'd go for one of the nicer versions from SO3 or 4.  Star Ocean 3 having an aamaaazzing 7 minute long Jazz version that was toe-tapping and smooth.

Theme of Rena -- I feel like Venerable Forest is better, but I like the use of deeper vocals.

Field of Nede
Field of Expel
The main planet's themes.  I like how they're both epic but still somewhat melancholy sounding.  Certainly the fact both planets are in deep trouble and teetering towards disaster are conveyed within.


Incarnation of the Devil -- Boss theme that kicks a bunch of butt

Stab the Sword of Justice -- Main battle theme, makes me want to stab someone with the fork I'm holding

Dynamite -- Main boss theme; again, doesn't suffer from harsh sounds of more 'serious' boss fights.  I like the bit of crazy here.  And ya, it's 'dy-no-MITE'.

This epic track!!! ... No I'm kidding, don't do it.


Pyroxene -- One of the nicer dungeons themes.  The game has good dungeons themes, well, some, but this one is possibly the least "noisy" and less reliant on harsh synth sounds, or like, against shit like this which is almost impossible to love.

Rescue Operation -- Cool dungeon theme that's named after what it honestly sounds like

Mission to Deep Space -- Personally I like the more jazzy SO3 one, but a great bonus dungeon theme if there was one with all the techy synthy goodness


Venerable Forest -- The song I hear in the back of my mind when I go for a hike...y'know, along with this one.  Shut it!  I'm not weird!

White the Heart -- Town theme for a completely...optional Snowy Town, actually.  Very chill (hah) and lovely.

In a Lightsome Mood -- And HOW! Makes me wanna take a trip on a ship [rhyme points!!!!]

Walk Over - I love how this song feels rich and proper of a port town.  It's busy, it's beautiful.

Pure a Stream -- I don't think any village song is better to convey leaving a gross, polluted place to a clean and pretty one.  Arlia's theme is really nice.

Moderate --- Mars village theme.  Fucking lovely.  I love the weird flute work that kicks in about 40 sec.  Very peaceful and becoming of a magical planet theme.

Sacred Song -- Great tune used for the Castles on Expel.  I especially like that it doesn't sound completely archaic and medieval since the game depicts levels of technology even on its more "middle ages planet".

Cuddle -- The "nighttime" theme.  Again, this song works well in game and on its own for being relaxing, but I like how the game shifts the mood from Earth, Melancholia, and the Calnus to Expel being something completely different.

Yeah sorry, I honestly love the town themes in Star Ocean games and a lot of Sakuraba's more "pleasant tunes".  Except the song that plays in Salva, only because it's much more [appropriately] depressing sounding.

I always liked the weird use of, what may or may not be (when it comes to synthesized tunes), the bandura.  Odd choice, but works against some of the medieval backdrops.  But I do have some reservations is that in the harder-hitting and heavy synethesized songs I tend to tune out a bit more.  I love the Final Fantasy Tactics OST, but again, some songs are just really heavy on the electronic strings and it bugs my ears even despite a pleasant melody.  I also should admit that I'm not as BIG into battle and dungeon tunes, or when I am, they're more few and far between compared to other types of tracks (like event music or more relaxing town/world themes).

Don't get me started on doing Star Ocean 3... c-cuz I WILL!! >:(

I also confess I can probably do a game journal on this game without even needing to replay it though.
47  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Recently watched Episodes of TELEVISION BOX offerings! on: January 21, 2015, 10:57:22 PM
i just teared up during an ep of Parks and Rec...

Ron freaking Swanson.
48  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: January 21, 2015, 02:57:00 PM
^ always heard good things :(
Damn you Canadian Netflix for being useless!!!!

Speaking of Canada, I like to think the English translation of Cardcaptor Sakura is actually about a Canadian magical girl:

49  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Tales of PlayStation(s) revealed on: January 21, 2015, 02:55:42 AM
Aaaand the opening.

I gotta say, speaking UFOTable just finished a season of Fate, this is kinda...tame.  The animation quality is lovely as hell, but it doesn't really match the hard-hitting song at all.
50  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Youtube on: January 21, 2015, 12:29:15 AM

Top 10 Movies of 2014 (The Big Picture)

Solid list. I need to check out Snowpiercer and The Raid 2.

Loved how quick that video was and how much it packed in.
51  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Today's News on: January 20, 2015, 11:13:44 PM

URL says a lot, she was 11 years old and urged by parents to abandon chemotherapy (despite a 75% survival stat!) because of Jesus and faith.

I have no problem with religious people or religion, except when stupid stuff like this happens.

As a person of very little faith (besides hoping doggy heaven exists), I've always liked that quote "God helps those who help themselves" --- I feel like this is almost certainly applicable to the scenario.
52  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Youtube on: January 20, 2015, 10:32:50 PM

Of course, the Internet is there to tell me why I shouldn't like it. But in any case nothing has changed the enjoyment I've got out of one of the few series from Nintendo I actually like.

Likewise when the Internet tells me I should like it too. :P

This guy has some serious moves.  An epic strut if there was one.
53  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: January 20, 2015, 07:21:50 PM
I wish I had HALF that amount of stuff to say about the games I play, Dice.

Problem is my short term memory is so f#%$ed up, I can barely remember any details of what happened the last session I played of a game before I even start the next.

I just hope it's potentially interesting and not the rants of a way-too-obssesed gamer.  I really wonder if there's many games you can do it for; but like movies maybe only some really invite that kind of extended commentary.  Even though I like SHI a little bit more, the second game can make for way better discussion.

I'm pretty observant too I think.  But honestly, believe me when I say that I have some of these RPGfan responses just 'sitting there' for the entire day or even a couple of days before I actually post them (where I'm typing as I play, filling in blanks, or remembering details that, for example, I remember when I'm sitting on the toilet or at work x).
54  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Youtube on: January 20, 2015, 07:17:22 PM
Enlighten me.  Is it because I didn't agree with it or because I actually missed the point. :P

"Some guy defending the need for hot women to stay in games."

He was mostly bothered by how shallow is the judgement that characters like Zero Suit Samus get when the attention should be given as to how much fun is to play with the character.

I stand far away from the discussion itself since I have no business in being involved with it, but I do agree with him on that one.

I dunno.  I think it's a mixture of things.  People love and want to love the Metroid Series, but certainly Samus' first (and so far last and/or latest) big speaking-role left a really bitter taste in a lot of peoples mouths.  Plus, it's not like there aren't enough sexualized women in games.  Samus despite her almost unanimously acknowledged status as the first major leading woman in videogaming (which is just 'kind of' a big deal) likely wouldn't lose fans or respect for Samus if she was only an A or B-cup instead.  In other words, she's probably under a ton of scrutiny for any number of reasons.  Besides a fashion-angle, I don't have many issues with Samus and the rocket heels even though I think they're clunky and ugly.  At the very least, I don't think that design of hers was "terrible" with respect to feminist thinking --- just yucky (and certainly not in the same league of bikini armoured heroines or Bayonetta's perverted camera man). 

I think I've said it before too, but I think my problem with videos like that is that issues and arguments they bring up as seriously lacking a different outlook that females (or feminist) perspectives might have, or, simply making weak arguments that can't easily be rebutted.  Literally, I've not seen ONE of these kinds of videos where they consider a female gamer's thoughts who has to look and play as these characters. 

Anyways, I'm faster to judge Nintendo's direction with Samus more... truly the whole Zero Suit thing has taken a lot of what makes Samus an interesting lead is that 'privilege' to see her out of the Varia Suit; but now it's flaunted so easily taking a lot of the fun and surprise out of what made her character unique (it's a minor thing, but I just kinda liked it before, and it's not like her out-of-suit debut was a great start off to an otherwise esteemed and mysterious character).  But that's kind of off the topic of sexualization and more a personal disapproval. :P
55  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Tales of PlayStation(s) revealed on: January 20, 2015, 05:56:02 PM
Allegedly the opening theme (not animation).

I like the chorus for being very very different and having a strong sound...

I'm actually really happy it isn't JPOP-y like both Xillia titles offered.
56  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: January 20, 2015, 05:52:16 PM
Shadow Hearts Covenant

= Beaten!

= First off congratulations to Yuri, who went from looking like a bad cosplay CG'd character in the first game to someone reasonable looking.

Yep. Totally reasonable.

Don't think it isn't a coincidence: I consciously and deliberately avoided the word "handsome" or any work like it. :P
57  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: January 20, 2015, 04:40:19 PM
^ I've been wanting to play the SH games over the years, but never got around to them. Sounds like something I should really check out.

I highly recommend it, especially if you like that "old school RPG" feel.  It's a little dated in some ways, but the fact the game is dunked, steeped, and drenched in atmosphere from the start to end makes it a great experience.

I might be slightly bias, like I said I love the old 20th c. look and all of its basic elements just hit me in the right spot.  So it was that "love at first sight" kinda deal (but, uh, for a game).  Despite the praises I sing for Xenoblade, that one was way slower for me to warm up to (granted, they didn't make it as easy either).

Sounds like I need to play this series backwards.

Actually, you'd create a pretty cool narrative playing it backwards if you go for the good endings.
58  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: January 20, 2015, 03:41:43 PM
Shadow Hearts Covenant

= Beaten!

= First off congratulations to Yuri, who went from looking like a bad cosplay CG'd character in the first game to someone reasonable looking.

= I really, really wanna talk about Yuri Hyuga, the "rude hero" (since this game loves assigning adjectives).
I *love* him.  His progression from the first to the second game feels natural even if it's not always well-written.  The first game has him start off as a real foul-mouthed wannabe badass.  Alice, our lovely and tragic heroine of Shadow Hearts, manages to cool him down with her combination of good looks, kindness, and general innocence.  Cute enough, I guess.  The ending (provided you got the good one) has the two of them on a trip together.  Aww <3

Then, Shadow Hearts II starts up with sound and fury as Yuri's returns, punching and kicking his way through new enemies like he did the first game, and winds up travelling with a new motley crew of weirdos and do-gooders (once again).  He's still a smart-ass, but with a bit more experience and certainly more reflective than before.  Alice is missing though; and the game has no problem citing events from the first game, but Alice isn't seen or heard from.  Hell, she's barely mentioned at all for the first half of SHII.  Indeed, Alice isn't mention because she died in the "bad ending" of the first game and SHII treats that as canon.  I think the decision to continue from the bad ending of the first game as a stroke of genius to create a compelling scenario for the sequel. 

I think what I like most about this is that Yuri seems pretty much himself for most of Shadow Hearts II.  He's rude, he makes fun of people, he's concerned for the people around him, he butts heads, and despite a 'darker side' he always does the right thing.  He's never an exaggeration of any sort set of emotion (so he's not blurting platitudes like all too many young JRPG heroes do and he's never really based around one emotive trait).  He's pretty relatable.  The plot sort of meanders a bit, you have a new goal to stop a new set of villains which is hardly from what we've ever seen before and really standard.  However the last and final arc of the game, the title remembers to bring back Alice and start building up for its "grand finale".  Yuri never forgot about her; in fact he's been hurting about it for over a year.  He never showed it, but his speech gets chocked up the rare time it IS brought up, and I love that the big drama about it never distracts from the main plot or the main character until it's actually needed.  THIS IS GREAT and avoids a brooding hero in favour of some surprises.  And in a great and rare moment, you actually see the boy cry about it. 

I love that he hides a lot of this, that the world feels really grey to him because she's gone.  No, I don't mean that it's sweet in a romantic way (it's actually quite sad), but just that his drive feels so much different than a lot of other heroes who are simply "doing good for the sake of good".  Yuri wants to save the day, but in the end his mortality is less of a concern (contrast this against FF9's Kuja who can't handle it and goes insane trying to cope).  I love that Yuri and the central antagonist (a returning and minor character from SHI no less) share the same problem of grief and despair for women they both lost in the first game -- they're actually a comparable and contrastable hero and villain and with the first game we see how this new situation builds up into the actions of the second game.  And for a series that uses macabre, spirits, souls, and magic, this felt very appropriate thematically while still ushering in a 'splash' of history and a touch of JRPG "save the world" goodness.  I really didn't think much of SHII's story till the second disc where it really comes together beeautifully~.

= On that note, I love the ending.  A game with a memorable ending feels rare sometimes, doesn't it?  It was not just the standard "everyone lived happily ever after"; at least it is for the supporting cast, but for Yuri and Karen.... they're in a happy ending that means a lot of trouble down the road, as strange and wonderful as it is.
Karen's may just be destined to die later on unless history has in fact been completely altered; but Yuri starts off again at the beginning of Shadow Hearts 1 in order to "do it right" this time (and, I assume, get his and the actual "good ending" to the game). 
This is absolutely perfect; it avoids the all too abrupt "final boss is dead and peace came forevermore" type of ending, it avoids downer endings, and it avoids the sugary-sweet and wonderful endings.  This is just a cool way to finish things and a great was to please fans.

= Despite the love for Yuri, I got very little for Karen.  She's that unfortunate attack/mage hybrid that does neither well; her unique skills are "okay", but everyone else is capable of the same or better (Blanca being much more diverse).  I like her colour palette and the design comes together nicely, but dear god she's a little cleavage shy of looking like a prostitute (and if this is early 20th c., then she's pretty out of the norm, but this is a "fictional earth" so we'll just wave the magical-fiction wand on that).  She's pretty at least and probably has one of the better voice actors in this game.... but then personality sucks too.  If she's not the "supportive voice" to what Yuri is thinking, she's trying to wedge herself into his life because she's crazy for him.  Not even the good wedge, this is more like "you musta really loved that girl that died" responses which is kind of awkward and mean to an unfulfilling love.  The dude is grieving, leave him alone.... =/
I DO love the big spoiler about her being Yuri's mother after some space/time anomaly at the game's end.  Yeah, it's a little weird and gross... But I like it for that; it was a risky plot to tell and they totally went for it (way to go "Marty McFly").  I like that Yuri never really seems to return her advances.  Shame that despite her many level ups, she couldn't protect her son from a lame monster invasion.  Ah well, hindsight amirite?

= I *adore* the stupid tradition with the Valentine family of vampires.  In SHI you get Keith in your party and find out he has a brother (under the cover his Golden Bat transformation and you never in the [human] flesh).  In SHII you get that Golden Bat, Joachim, in your party and meet a Pink Sister Bat (whom again you never see in human for), instead she joins you in the third game.  Silly?  Yeah.  But I admire the consistency and dedication and that touch of "mystery" to their human appearances.

= I used Gepetto the least.  Funny. The game plays him as an old creepy, but his character's story is very sympathetic.  Indeed, I'm not keen on getting cutesy and sometimes revealing outfits for a little doll (one of them is full on leather strappings based off the game's sexy villain), but you find out the man's daughter is dead and the doll is meant to look like her and it's hard not to kinda sympathize for a man who has kinda 'cracked' about the loss of his daughter by using magic to make her move.  This fits with the game's look into love and loss, and it's played up in an elegant way for his character sidequest (where he was willing to end his journey with the party and be with her --- ie; he's willing to die right then and there).

= Blanca is adorable as hell (it's a wolf-doggy dammit), Lucia is a silly and miscast sexy character, Anatasia's sidequest is good for a chuckle (otherwise she's a standard "kid character"), Joachim is another goofball, and Kurando is absolutely gorgeous but lacking in battle (when he actually shouldn't; he's strong and fast, but almost completely lacks customization).

= Mind's Eye (2x damage, can't see the attack wheel) and the introduction of Ring Customization (larger hit areas) and Practice Rings (you can't "miss", but no criticals) made the end-game a breeze; as well as the multitude of broken spells and attacks.... but in that "you earned it" way because you got all the bullshit hidden items, secrets, sidequests, and so on.  Literally, to do be over-powered by the end you have to go "wrong ways" in the many maze-like dungeons, you have to return to old locations, you have to search invisible treasure points, you have to go that extra mile to super-complete every puzzle... Yeah.  I'm not ashamed to say I followed a guide; I don't really have the time/patience otherwise. =/

= VOICE: "We can do it if we really try"
SUBTITLE: "We can do it if we just concentrate"
This game is hilarious in the wrong ways sometimes. 

= THIS GAME AND SIDEQUESTS...YES, THER'S SO MANY, and they're all quite good.  I love the Instant Game Over you can get in the Black Forest since it's played up for clever laughs.  I love the Doll House for being yet another creepy mansion in the series and a great bland of the series' use of horror elements within a simultaneous real-world and early 20th century setting.  I always love that side quest "leaders" are swapped with Yuri as the on-screen character.  A small detail, but noticed nonetheless.

= While SHI felt like it had slightly more..."generalized" real-world settings (nothing in London makes you think it's London, for example), the greater attention to furniture, city design, decor, etc. is definitely much more appreciated in this game (I do think the 'Assassin's Creed' series wins for their ability to duplicate real centuries old settings, but clearly that was a priority there while this is more "fictionalized PS2-style Earth") 

= By the way, I really can't say ENOUGH for how much I love the game's setting.  I'm an "olde soul", so the wartime era setting, on Earth, making "real" of all the myths, monsters, and lore that us Earthlings have is just so fucking cool I get giddy thinking about it.  I want more!  I love that it wasn't just Europe either, we see 20th century Asia as well, and they look quite fantastic.  I really hope this is a setting another developer can revisit at some point some other time cuz I'd buy that without a second thought.

It also makes me sad in a way that I've avoided this title for over a decade!! DICE, YOU BIG ASS SILLY GIRL.  Anyways...

I still don't know if I wanna take on the 3rd title right away.  The cast of characters actually look stupid[er?], and I've heard it just 'aint the same'.  I think I'll get around to it...  quite frankly, I'd rather replay the first game.
59  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Recently Viewed Movies Episode 2: The Vampire Bites Back on: January 20, 2015, 02:34:37 PM
I never finished it when I saw it.  It was ok, but never connected.  Maybe I should give it a second go, but...
60  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Recently Viewed Movies Episode 2: The Vampire Bites Back on: January 20, 2015, 01:28:06 PM
He's not the best, but Matthew Mc...god his name is annoying to type out...has done some good stuff. He just gets tagged in some shitty stuff all too often. I mean, magic mike? Ghosts of girlfriends past? I know there are plenty more but I'm having a brainfart. Plus, it's not like he is actually bad in those movies, just the movie itself is bad.

Honestly, screw the haters, I liked Reign of Fire.

I actually liked Reign of Fire too. But more in an Evil Dead/Army of Darkness laul kind of way, so I figured it merited inclusion.
It's an awful movie, but still kind of entertaining. The dragon is bad ass.
Aren't dragon's always badass?

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