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46  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The Best and the Worst endings on: April 30, 2016, 09:19:56 PM
It's interesting how so many fantastic authors fall flat when it comes to endings.  Like in my experience with Neal Stephenson's books (I've read Snow Crash and Diamond Age), the beginnings and middles are great, but the guy couldn't write good endings.  

Other cases for me were the Divergent trilogy where the first two books were good, but the third was terrible.   I appreciate the worldbuilding to bolster what many believe is a flimsy premise in the first book (though it's certainly not the first to pigeonhole people into 5 factions- Brave New World placed people into 5 castes a long time ago), but some of the characters' actions seemed arbitrary, illogical, not wholly in line with series continuity, and as if Roth was trying to write (sometimes retcon) herself out of several corners by hail mary-ing all over the place.  The result was a complete trainwreck of an ending with a shocker that felt artificially shoehorned in.  

To add insult to injury, Allegiant's the dual-protagonist perspective didn't work for me.  I love the idea of dual-protagonist perspectives and initially thought it was a nice change of pace (in Allegiant, the two POVs are Tris and Tobias), but the Tobias chapters were limp.  Veronica Roth cannot write a male character effectively.  Tobias' chapters read all girly/emo-kid and were indistinguishable from Tris's.  Tobias is supposed to be a tough guy and I didn't read any tough guy machismo in his chapters.  I get it that thick-skinned tough guys often have traumatic pasts that made them thick-skinned in the first place and hitting that hot button can be emotional, but tough guys don't turn into dishrags and still carry themselves with bravado in the face of adversity.  

And with the Harry Potter series, I thought book 7 of Harry Potter was terrible.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first 6 books, but I thought book 7 was an absolute slog to read.  Okay, the last 1/3 of it was solid, but the end felt like Rowling was desperately trying to suddenly write and retcon herself out of corners and a lot of little things fell out of line with the world's logic and characters' continuity.  And I will admit, Aberforth's story was good and I liked how Dudley actually developed a little bit.  Maybe there is a shred of hope for Dudders.  
47  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The Best and the Worst endings on: April 30, 2016, 09:00:23 PM
When it comes to endings, I always have to mention FF8.  The ending itself is visually stunning with artistic creativity and CG effects that are impressive even now, 19 years later.  But I felt that it was nothing short of wacky and nonsensical, castle sequence and all.  The entire endgame sequence (read: disk 4) felt completely tacked on, like the writers completely wrote themselves into a corner and pulled a "hail mary" out of thin air.  

For all its flaws, though, FF8 is still my favorite FF.  

And it's not lost on me that every time I talk about FF8's ending, I use the phrase "nothing short of wacky."

FF9, in my opinion, had the best ending of all the PlayStation-era FF games.  Everything made sense to me (even Necron's presence), and when Zidane
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sat with Kuja to comfort him during his final moments
was really touching to me. 
48  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Final General Fantasy Discussion Thread on: April 30, 2016, 08:50:42 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vvw42jvxUs Rose's special attacks in Legend of Dragoon are truly "special."  The conclusion of Astral Drain (about :25 in) and the beginning of Demon's Gate (about 1:07 in) are the best.  

I also loved the commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sua_zPsomXs

As for my feelings about Legend of Dragoon... http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/The_Legend_of_Dragoon/index.html

Was it the FF killer it was hyped up to be?  No.  But it was a good game when taken on its own merits.  The finicky timing on attacks was a serious flaw, though.  On the other hand, Shadow Madness was a game that tried to be an FF killer, but failed miserably.  I'm not surprised, because when FF7 opened the floodgates, everyone wanted a piece of the action.  Kinda like how when Nirvana became the "it" band that killed hair-metal and ushered in grunge, slews of imitators came in because every record label wanted a piece of that pie.  

EDIT: I mention LoD in the endings thread: http://www.rpgfan.com/boards/index.php?topic=16274.msg398805#msg398805
49  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: April 30, 2016, 06:26:57 PM
Oh God, Danganronpa 2 brought back the micromanaging mini-game and I'm once again super addicted. I played tonight until my battery died. Like, my Vita said the battery was low and I just kept saying "one more day and then I'll turn it off" until it just died. Luckily I had been saving frequently.

Why can't I get this into the Atelier games?
Maybe it's because Danganronpa has that sense of urgency in its narrative that the Atelier games don't?  Those games tend to proceed at a more relaxed pace than your average JRPG.  



If I were to review the game, it would totally echo Tooker's.  And if it didn't have those complaints I've spouted about ad nauseum, I would have given it an Editor's Choice.  Okay, a manual explaining the more obscure aspects of digi-volving and de-digi-volving would have been nice too, but that's not a fault of the game itself.

I might have to take that back, somewhat.  I re-read the tutorials and they did mention the aforementioned obscure/twiddly aspect of digivolving, but it didn't emphasize how important it was.  I'm all about figuring things out on my own, but this was one of those cases where I needed a more guided hand.  

I'm almost 60 hours in and I think I'm about to start the final chapter.  However, there are a bunch of sidequests I want to do (both in-game and DLC) so it will be at least another week before I finish the game.  

...and I encountered another incident in the game that felt awkward because the game assumed my protagonist was male.  
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There was a scene where the protagonist had to literally knock some sense into a male buddy who was acting like a whiny emo-douche.  It escalated into a full on fist fight and it looked really odd seeing the guy exchanging stiff punches with a girl.  Isn't that, like, not acceptable these days?  Like, if it was a pair of guys slugging it out then hugging it out later, that's fine since that's what guys do, but I chose to play as the girl.

EDIT: Although it seems that the DLC sidequests with Sayo have her dialogue reflect protagonist gender.  For example, she insulted the protagonist by calling her a little slip of a girl.  I failed miserably at the first battle, though.  So I may skip those. 
50  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The RPG Pet Peeves thread- 2016 edition on: April 30, 2016, 06:20:55 PM


The aim of these works is to re-imagine Japanese high school as a fun, flirty and adventurous time without any of the restrictions and negative aspects. It plays on a nostalgic fantasy of adolescence that never existed. Ever notice that the protagonist never has parents in these games? P4's Dojima is about as close as it gets, but usually he/she is in a dorm, or living alone for some reason. Eliminates that pesky authority figure from ruining any of the fun, enhancing the fantasy.

This brings me to a tangent.  JRPGs often seem to have a thing against parents.  Either they're nonexistent, there's only one of them, or they're off on business in a foreign country or something (the latter is the case in Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, but mom does text you in the game pretty regularly.)  Grandia III is one of those games that COULD have done the parent-child relationship thing really well.  It could, nay SHOULD, have been a simple journey of a boy chasing his dream and leaving the nest.  A good theme to tie into that could, nay should, have been his mom's psychological journey coming to grips with her son becoming a man and not her little boy any more (though any mom will always view her son as "her little boy" no matter how old he gets.)  A simple tale of a boy, his plane, and the changing dynamic of his relationship with his mom.  But it definitely didn't happen that way. 

It took what could have been a simple and beautiful story about a boy, his plane, the unbridled joy of flight and botched it all up with stupid JRPG cliches (e.g. Alfina's presence, the whole "power of love and friendship conquers all" trope.)  It also could have explored the familial relationship between the boy and his mom (because JRPGs don't like parents), but it never did that.  I wanted more about Sky Captain Schmidt and the hero's mom.

You know, Grandia III could pretty much be this thread.  However, its gameplay was good.  I love Grandia's battle system and III's was perhaps the most refined version of it. 


51  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The RPG Pet Peeves thread- 2016 edition on: April 30, 2016, 07:15:59 AM
I totally get that with media like this, you have to suspend your disbelief.  Many times we're able to do that subconsciously, but when you're consciously aware about suspending your disbelief, that's when you start thinking "WTF this is totally ludicrous" because something kills the immersion.  

And is there merit to the phrase "believable isn't always realistic and realistic isn't always believable" when it comes to games?

And I'll +1 whomever said breakable weapons.  Realistic, sure, but not at all fun.  The only game where the breakable weapons mechanic didn't grate on me was Hexyz Force.
52  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The RPG Pet Peeves thread- 2016 edition on: April 29, 2016, 10:16:44 PM
I think a footnote to that pet peeve is when teenage protagonists are more immature than need be and 16 year-olds come off like they're 8.  Granted, that was more a fault in older JRPGs and more contemporary ones aren't as bad about that. 

And to add to that, I think a common peeve is when things get overly sanitized, like booze becoming tea or milk even when the characters are of legal drinking age. 

Another pet peeve is "whitewashing."  I complain about this in detail in my Jake Hunter reviews.  Sorry, but I'm not buying the "Anytown, USA" setting when cars are right-hand drive and all the buildings in town, like hospitals, have Japanese signage.  And we're obviously not in an ethnic neighborhood like Chinatown.
53  Media / The Soundroom / Re: Song of the Moment: The Original RPGFan Post Count +1 Megathread on: April 29, 2016, 11:28:51 AM
A lot of people on my social media feeds are squee-ing over Babymetal's US debut, and quite frankly, I never got into Babymetal.  Yes I adore both death metal and J-pop, but not Babymetal. 


Hey Din, I'm curious if you want to share the JPOP you like?

I can't stop listening to the album "Blau" by Eir Aoi.  That's my kind of J-Pop.  Every song on that album is great, but my favorite is Avalon Blue.

Oh, and I listen to "Light up my Love" from the game Cytus every night.  I use it to time my 2 minute plank, which is part of my after-dinner exercises.

Oh I came across Eir Aoi, via some anime or something, she's pretty cool!

I've never heard of Cytus, but it looks interesting, maybe I'll check it out (and so music as well) =-)

"Green Garden Pop" by Yui is another one I've been listening to a lot lately.  It has a nice airy vibe to it.
54  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The Best and the Worst endings on: April 28, 2016, 05:51:18 PM
When it comes to endings, I always talk about Legend of Dragoon.  The "ending" ending after the final boss was very good (I'd say it did the "Grandia II" type ending someone mentioned before Grandia II), but what made that game for me was the entire latter half.  The first 2 disks were a slog, but disk 3 was when the story started to get really good and my reaction was, "Damn, what took you so long to finally get good?!?!"  So this was a game where the first half was a slow burn but it ended really well.  In contrast, Thousand Arms was a game that started off well, but the second disk felt immensely rushed. 

In terms of anime, I can't think of a more beautiful ending to a series than Cowboy Bebop's.  A lot of really good anime series don't end well (Escaflowne comes to mind), but Cowboy Bebop did.  Although I gleaned more enjoyment from Outlaw Star than Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star's ending was noticeably rushed since it kinda had to quickly sum up many volumes of the manga in two sentences and it didn't quite work in resolving all the hanging plot threads. 

In books, I loved how Brandon Sanderson ended the first Mistborn trilogy.  Everything felt "right."  I've read too many books where the authors wrote themselves into a corner or two and the ending suffered for it, often becoming illogical.  Sometimes there's that whole "big epic explosion" method of ending things when writers have written themselves into a corner with no way out. 
55  Media / The Soundroom / Re: Song of the Moment: The Original RPGFan Post Count +1 Megathread on: April 28, 2016, 02:34:08 PM
A lot of people on my social media feeds are squee-ing over Babymetal's US debut, and quite frankly, I never got into Babymetal.  Yes I adore both death metal and J-pop, but not Babymetal. 


Hey Din, I'm curious if you want to share the JPOP you like?

I can't stop listening to the album "Blau" by Eir Aoi.  That's my kind of J-Pop.  Every song on that album is great, but my favorite is Avalon Blue.

Oh, and I listen to "Light up my Love" from the game Cytus every night.  I use it to time my 2 minute plank, which is part of my after-dinner exercises.
56  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The RPG Pet Peeves thread- 2016 edition on: April 27, 2016, 08:20:45 PM
I'd say that falls under my "Tutorial Troubles" banner.
57  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The RPG Pet Peeves thread- 2016 edition on: April 27, 2016, 05:00:08 PM
There are several small pet peeves that could be classified under the label "Tutorial Troubles." 

I've played games where once tutorials were presented, they could not be revisited.  This was troubling, because said game had a LOT of obscure mechanics to keep track of that definitely warranted a tutorial revisit. 

I've played games where the tutorials given were great, but some of the most obscure gameplay and character growth mechanics were not explained at all and even the included digital manual said nothing about these either. 

Unskippable tutorials have been a complaint from several folks around here. 

I've played games where the tutorials were poorly done; obtuse writing, roundabout exposition, etc. 
58  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: April 26, 2016, 09:14:17 PM
52-53 hours into Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth and the plot's getting pretty explosive.  I'm refreshingly surprised at how mature the plot is and how it deals with some heavy themes.  It's not Persona by any stretch, but it's not a typical teenybopper JRPG either.  I also really like how they took various anime/JRPG tropes and showcased them in slightly different ways.  For example, the chapter I just finished is what FF8's "Remembering the Orphanage" scene wishes it could have been.  

If I were to review the game, it would totally echo Tooker's.  And if it didn't have those complaints I've spouted about ad nauseum, I would have given it an Editor's Choice.  Okay, a manual explaining the more obscure aspects of digi-volving and de-digi-volving would have been nice too, but that's not a fault of the game itself.
59  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The tri-Ace General Discussion (& Star Ocean 5) Thread on: April 25, 2016, 09:13:27 PM
The conversation here about controllers and the ergonomics of playing on a phone or tablet inspired me to start this thread about controllers: http://www.rpgfan.com/boards/index.php?topic=16263.msg398222#msg398222
60  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Final General Fantasy Discussion Thread on: April 25, 2016, 09:07:10 PM
So I assume this is not velocycle?  http://www.fieldtripswithsue.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/velodrome2.jpg

I mean, sure, it's a team of track cyclists riding specialized bicycles in the velodrome...

And I see your velocycle and raise you a Hardy Daytona: http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/finalfantasy/images/4/41/Cloud_motorcycle.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20080628022043
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