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526  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Atelier Series on: March 30, 2014, 09:54:02 PM
I haven't played a lot of Atelier games, but I have a mixed relationship with the series.  I loved Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana.  Veola, the magic shop clerk, has one of my favorite JRPG character stories.  Killer soundtrack too.  I still play the Deceitful Wings guitar arranged album during my commute.  

The only others I've played are Atelier Annie (which I reviewed positively for the site), Mana Khemia (which I simply could not get into), and the first Ar Tonelico (excellent music, but I couldn't get into that game either.)

It is a series I'd like to return to someday.  Though, like my homegirl Dice, I prefer something more in line with Iris than Annie.  

And as an aside, Marie is one of the best looking JRPG heroines http://www.game-ost.com/static/covers_soundtracks/1/5/15537_840252.jpg

Mixed feelings about this franchise sums it up nicely for me as well. I too am on the "Iris" side of the coin.

Thing is, the Atelier series in very peculiar for me in a certain sense. That is, when I think about what the more traditional Atelier games concern themselves with and reflect on the mechanics they don't entice me. However, once I am actually playing them I couldn't be more engrossed. Even Rorona (which I couldn't stand for a lot of reasons) had a certain "hold" on me that kept me playing to the end and even caring a great deal about what ending I got.

This is usually the complete opposite for me... Typically I find myself being enticed with idea of a game, only to be let down with the actual experience.

One thing is for certain though, when it comes to art and soundtracks the whole Atelier universe and spin-offs are a cut above in my book. I really wish Gust would apply such talents to more Epic/Traditional games as an aside to the Atelier stuff to be honest.

And for the record, I do certainly feel that if Ar Tonelico were dubbed "Atelier Tonelico" no one would have questioned it.

Lastly (since you brought up shop keepers), I want to throw out a little "Pamela" love. Not only a fav shop-keeper, but a spectre to boot!
527  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Atelier Series on: March 27, 2014, 09:15:20 PM
Was feeling vulnerable today, and vulnerability equals impulse buying for me. Thus I bought the new Atelier despite having not played through the other 4 Atelier games I have. Feeling really silly about that.

Don't feel bad Klutz. I totally do the same thing on occasion. In fact, upon seeing the costume DLC for Drakengard 3 I went ahead and pre-ordered then immediately paid it off in full without having any knowledge of the other titles.

Luckily, in your case, the Atelier games are pretty forgiving in regard to picking up anywhere and not really missing out on much. Gust does a decent job of writing direct continuations with strong standalone value. Its not like hopping into say, Lunar 2 without any knowledge of Lunar 1.

Seeing Ayesha's returning cast is cool, but they all are introduced in E&L in a manner that would not seem at all strange having no pre-existing knowledge of them. (Mind you, I am still early on and may be entirely wrong on this point.)

In fact, having prior experience with some of the returning cast has made it harder to accept them in E&L for me. They sort of took odd creative liberties with some...
528  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Atelier Series on: March 26, 2014, 10:34:53 PM


I love Iris 1, too.  Despite being rather primitive, it hits a lot of good notes with me.  The music, the atmosphere, and the characters re all great.  The shopkeepers are some of Gust's best.

We are in agreement on that note my friend. Iris 1 rocked. Its the reason I became an Atelier fan, though oddly I never followed through with the trilogy (still on my shelf).

As to Escha and Logy...

I feel like Escha and Logy will be a regarded as a real "love it or hate it" amongst fans of the series for the very same subjective reasons that our opinions differ. I feel this way because we both came to the same conclusion that it is a hell of a departure for a direct sequel to Ayesha. Drastic changes in direct sequels make for die hard fans as well as hurt feelings-LoL

My opinions are still subject to change though considering I'm very early on in the title yet.

Oh yea. I also agree with the Escha hate. I eluded to the fact that her tail bothers me as a nice way of saying she bothers me (alot).
529  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Atelier Series on: March 26, 2014, 07:53:38 PM
you beat me to it!!! I was actually coming on here to start an E&L thread.

Anyhow, I just started playing and am really surprised by it. I thought I knew what to expect after playing Ayesha but I was mistaken it seems.

My initial thoughts...

THE GOOD:
-I think Logy makes a great MC.
-Beautiful characters that somewhat escape cliche' archetypical roles more so then past titles. This is debatable but I really didn't feel Ayesha's cast too memorable outside a few whom I REALLY liked (namely Marion and Keithgriff)
-The world is much more "Dusk" appropriate if you ask me. The departure in tone and style from Ayesha to E&L fits the dying world description far better.
-The music is very much of a different "tune" in this title. More jazzy and energetic (so far). It is a subjective matter but I'm fond of it.
-Menu surfing/alchemy, though complex, is streamlined in a fashion thats makes it so hell-a-accessible and even better then Ayesha. I didn't think that was possible as, in Ayesha, I was able to craft at warp 9 with wild abandon by the end of the game but they pulled it off.
-Wilbell is back.... I like Wilbell.
-Smashing barrels with Logy in the fields feels good. LoL

THE NOT SO GOOD:
-The freakin' camera SUCKS!! With a capital SUCK. It is simply too herky-jerky. I feel like this is a result of lazy production... I don't see why they couldn't smooth this out a bit. In fact in doesn't end with the camera... character movement feels a wee bit floaty and the general product just feels rough around the edges. I can't help but feel there was yet some much needed tweaking and polish before this was released.
-The characters are graphically TOO over the top for the simplicity of the environments. They are rendered complex and beautiful to a point that they look almost out of place at times.
- The tutorials make things seem far more complex then they actually are. I can see how the first 2 hours could really intimidate someone and make them feel there is a great deal to wrap there mind around when in practice it all proves far more simple.


THE "I'M NOT SURE WHAT TO MAKE OF IT"
- Why is Linca's personality so different?
- Does Marion come across as younger and less mature to anyone else...??
- A subjective matter but I can't stand Escha's tail.

That is all I can really say until I put more hours in.

Don't however misread my criticism as harsh. In truth I am really enticed thus far and appreciating E&L a great deal more then Ayesha which is really saying something because I thoroughly enjoyed Ayesha.

EDIT: I feel sort of like they could have called this game "Atelier and Wolf" or alternatively "Spice and Alchemy" for some reason....
530  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: March 25, 2014, 08:40:26 PM
Nah, I'm fully aware of Squeenix's love for cramming faxu Sci-fi (or Syfy if you will) into everything they do lately, especially in regards to Teh Wunder Years' plot. I was merely pointing out FFIV's Sci-fi shenanigans just to give you a hard time (and yet I somehow failed to mention the tanks, I even mentioned the Giant of Ba'bil and still forgot about those dwarven tanks).

It's cool man. I forgive you for forgetting the tanks in light of the fact that you remembered the frankenstein spoof boss on account of it being a personal favorite boss of mine no matter how far out of context it takes things... Can you get more epic that a Dark Knight turned Paladin squaring off against frankenstein's monster???? I think not.
531  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 on: March 25, 2014, 08:38:22 PM
This is pretty cool in my eyes considering I felt mechanically MK2 was on point, whereas characters and writing were far better in the first title.

I can't speak for "V" since I didn't get to it yet... all I can say is the collectors edition lunch box was a really cool packaging concept for a CE-LoL

I wish this had a PS3 release for jerks like me who can't handle a hand-held.

532  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: March 25, 2014, 06:32:41 PM
To expand on my second point. *SPOILERS*
Code:
Final Fantasy 4 had an appeal to me in that there was little to no Sci-Fi elements in the 4 universe save a little trip to the moon. It was ALL magic and crystal shenanigans. They throw that out the window here in the last 20 minutes of the game. I feel like the end game writing essentially rewrites everything you've come to know and love about FF4 lore, turning it on its head in the interest of a cop-out-omnipotent-alien-race sci fi plot "twist" that is better forgotten in the interest of salvaging your fond nostalgic recollection of eidolons, mages, sages and knights.

If that came across as a harsh criticism, then I have achieved my aim. I'm outright saying that the end-game SUCKED and DID NOT jive with the FF 4 universe at all.

Another oddity I cannot understand... why the final boss battle was so simple and easy after the brutal difficulty of the last bosses prior. The last 3 to 4 bosses in the final dungeon had my palms sweaty while any difficulty in the final battle is utterly stripped away with the use a simple "slow" spell (yes the final boss was vulnerable to "slow"...)

You mean, outside of the Big Bad's main goal of setting a giant robot free to rampage Godzilla style across the face of the earth. Or the hovercrafts, airships, floating fortresses, human experimentation, and the occasional mad doctor piloting his Frankensteinian Monster like some kind of Ride Armor. Or even the cop-out omnipotent alien race that the Main Character and The Dragon both descended from (making at least one of them the super special chosen one that all JRPG protagonists need to be) and that the Big Bad and that other guy were both a part of. Amiright?

Well, when you put it that way... LoL

But I still hold firm that TaY's ending takes a far more sci fi angle than any of the aforementioned. Airships, machines, the Lunarians and all that jazz were very "Final Fantasy". Maybe if we care to split hairs, I would call it steam-punk esque or industrial-type-fantasy or something.

Whereas the big departure of...
Code:
The crystals are in fact data collection devices/tools from another alien planet and race roaming the galaxy to find a new home.
It proves, at least to me, to be a  poorly developed "revelation" that drastically changes my perception of pre-existing lore and takes it from the sci-fantasy styling of FF4/FF6 into an unfitting star trek realm of sci-fi that just doesn't fit.

Let me give an example of how this disturbs me. I will do so in code so as not to possibly drop *spoiler hints* as to the nature of things.. 
Code:
Imagine you got to the end of Lunar and found out that Athena was an alien probe, the Dragons were in fact all robots collecting data for her to complete her mission for Ghaleon, whom turns out to actually be the last of a surviving alien race. It might "work" in some sense, but it sure doesn't fit together very neatly.

One more example and I'll rest my case...
Code:
The Lord of the Rings. Lets say the hobbits turned out to be engineered Eugenic flunkies who were lab-made reject results of elves and dwarves. Lets take it further to say the rings of power were in fact just pieces of machinery intended to monitor and manipulate middle earths inhabitants and were planted by Sauron who was in fact an alien.
The FF4 TaY development felt strange along those lines to me...

I guess when it comes to fantasy that incorporates sci-fi anything could be written in and work. However there exists a fine line as to what is acceptable and what is not given the fantasy in question. Ultimately, my bottom line is that FF TaY is a lazily thought up piece of the puzzle that doesn't fit for me. The only appeal was the returning cast which can arguably not even be considered new in any sense.

NOTE: My bias and disdain also stems from the fact that I liked the writing to begin with. I felt they "set the stage" nicely in TaY. In fact, if the end game revelation was fleshed out with more then one boss and a few dialogue boxes, it may not have proved so jarring to me. Execution is just as much at fault as the actual content (maybe even more so) for the major fail in my eyes. There could easily have been 2 or 3 more chapters that made the existing TaY's ending an awesome twist as opposed to a cheap wrap-up.
533  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: March 25, 2014, 04:48:24 PM
Well guys it FINALLY happened.. The final dungeon in FF4TaY ENDED!!! Only took about a week and a half, 30 boss fights and 2/3's of soul to beat it.

I gotta say two things... ONE) I haven't been this proud of beating a game in a long time. TWO) The plot development at the end is so far removed from what I feel is "Final Fantasy 4" I don't know whether to call it shocking or a disapointment.

To expand on my second point. *SPOILERS*
Code:
Final Fantasy 4 had an appeal to me in that there was little to no Sci-Fi elements in the 4 universe save a little trip to the moon. It was ALL magic and crystal shenanigans. They throw that out the window here in the last 20 minutes of the game. I feel like the end game writing essentially rewrites everything you've come to know and love about FF4 lore, turning it on its head in the interest of a cop-out-omnipotent-alien-race sci fi plot "twist" that is better forgotten in the interest of salvaging your fond nostalgic recollection of eidolons, mages, sages and knights.

If that came across as a harsh criticism, then I have achieved my aim. I'm outright saying that the end-game SUCKED and DID NOT jive with the FF 4 universe at all.

Another oddity I cannot understand... why the final boss battle was so simple and easy after the brutal difficulty of the last bosses prior. The last 3 to 4 bosses in the final dungeon had my palms sweaty while any difficulty in the final battle is utterly stripped away with the use a simple "slow" spell (yes the final boss was vulnerable to "slow"...)

All in all, while seeing more life and development given to the returning cast was cool, FF4 TaY was a total failure in my book. I love the graphics, music and what they did with Kain, Polom and Porm and that is where the appeal ends for me.

Now on to something entirely different.... For my next game I did decide to go for Atelier E&L instead of Blue Dragon. Too early to say much yet aside from I'm pretty happy with my decision.
534  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: March 23, 2014, 06:25:59 PM
Damn its been like a decade and I still remember hating the Kimahri fight....

Just checked out some sceens of Blue Dragon. Holy heck does that SCREAM Akira Toriyama. Way more visually "Akira" in my eyes then most of his work (Chrono Trigger and Dragon Quest).

Just looking at the screens, I feel like if you told me this was an RPG set in Dragon Ball universe I'd believe you.

My decision is becoming somewhat easier.

Something about Toriyama's style captivates me boy... it isn't good per se in terms of "art" by my standards, albeit very unique and signature of him... Can't explain it for the life of me but I love it.
535  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: March 23, 2014, 05:55:44 PM
6 more bosses down in FF TAY. Still no end in sight. Found it strange that there was a "Bartz" reference at the end of a battle considering this part of 4 universe and 5 came after 4 (I don't know why that disturbed me)

In other news gaming ADHD is kicking in as I muse over what to play next. I was pretty sure it was gonna be Atelier E&L but now I'm realizing winter is ending and the place in my house where my XBOX is becomes ungodly hot (can't move systems, very intricate set-up coupled with laziness) in the summer...

 Long story short, my mind is beginning to gravitate toward Blue Dragon. I know it is not the most well regarded but I have been on an Akira Toriyama kick since last august and only have about 50 episodes left of Dragon Ball (I already re-watched all of Z and GT, its been quite the marathon) and I feel like Blue Dragon is just appropriate now. I think it is also tempting because I pretty much know what to expect from Atelier and most of everything else on my shelf but I have yet to touch a Mistwalker game.

EDIT: Gamecube is also in the "winter room" in my house.... Skies of Arcadia is also a possibility but it doesn't have the Toriyama appeal to me. Hmmmmmm decisions.... Hell, by the time I finally get through FF4TaY 3 more games will probably come out I want to play!-LoL

536  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: March 22, 2014, 05:55:06 PM
I think the last dungeon in FF TAY is a bad joke that doesn't ever end.

Seriously, I've been in it for a week now. I beat like two dozen bosses so far.... This is becoming absurd.

I thought the last dungeon in Persona 2 IS was pretty epic in volume but in contrast to TAY it was small taters'. The primary difference being I felt/knew the P2 IS dungeon would eventually end because I felt I was making progress.... I'm beginning to have my doubts about TAY's.



Dragon Force - Played this for like an hour.

*INSERT JEALOUSY HERE*
537  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: True Facts on: March 22, 2014, 05:52:29 PM
That owl video was stellar. I like it enough to share it on facebook. I don't ever share anything on facebook....

Thanks for enlightening me to these. I want to watch em all now.
538  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Atelier Ayesha on: March 22, 2014, 03:37:40 PM
In a bizarre coincidence, I actually bought Ayesha off of Amazon earlier today. o_O

The only one I own is the DS one. Annie? Never cracked it open. Been meaning to someday as I clear my backlog.

As someone who liked "Iris" a lot but didn't care enough for "Arland" to move beyond Rorona, I really loved Ayesha. I have no MK or Annie experience so no frame of reference in that regard.

Same as always for me though, its typically a matter of characters, worlds, environments and superficial things. Ayesha was a joy for me to play-through thanks to the cast (Loved Keithgriff, Willbel, Harry and Marion although I probably just spelled them all wrong) and the soundtrack. Additional love for the uber-fast menu surfing and selecting for synthesis.

Ayesha was also the first game where I felt the time limit was actually motivating as opposed to a hindrance. I loved pursuing the plot events in such a loosely guided fashion with town requests taking a back-seat in terms of necessity.

As for my year 4 and 5 dilemma... I think I decided against re-purchase to see it through. I don't know what I missed, but felt like everything concluded nicely by the time I achieved whatever ending I did. In the future however I need to start paying more attention to available content once the credits are through-LoL

539  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Atelier Ayesha on: March 22, 2014, 01:15:56 AM
So I umm... screwed up :/

I turned off Ayesha last year once the credits were done rolling and didn't realize my clear data at the start of year 4 was actually the start of 2 additional years.

I then proceeded to trade Ayesha in at Gamestop for some magic beans and power up rewards points.

Now I was ready to move on to E&L but don't want to skip out on anything signifigant. So give it to me straight guys.... Should I re-buy Ayesha and play year 4 and 5 before I touch E&L? Or was it essentially just more time to explore the world/characters a bit?

Remember guys, I'm a ninja. I can take the (brutal) truth if I must...
540  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: March 20, 2014, 05:14:14 PM
FFX marks for me the end of the 2014 new releases I wanted to care about but couldn't... It started back with Lightning Returns and now finally begins the release of stuff I really care about playing.

FFX was the beginning of the end of my love affair with FF, even though I played through it twice (don't hate me for hating Tidus, I'm jealous of his hair).... Symphonia was my least favorite Tales (albeit good, I would just rather embark on eternia or xilia 2 next)... Lightning Returns would have been cool for me if not for the horrible motion sickness issues with XIII-2 I experienced, coupled with the fact that LR was NOTHING like I wanted or hoped for.

Long story short, I've been enduring a terrible sense of false desire to play stuff I really don't want to play for awhile now due to new release clamor and whatnot.

Atelier E&L marks the beginning of the new releases I'm genuinely stoked for..... Now if I can just get through end game FF TaY (hell) so I could play it! LoL
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