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61  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 25, 2016, 05:02:28 PM
Mana History!! Yup, I did me some reading and I think it might have been after you mentioned it here in the Journal, Mesh.

The neatest part about the lore presented (at least to me) is how it fleshes out a ton which was glazed over (if even addressed) in the earlier games. Coming from a background of Mana and reading the first 10 odd entries and how it explains the cycles of the Flammy, Moon Goddess and dieties give you as a player or fan cool insight into the scope of things. That is, unless I understood it wrong, it accounts for the continuity between the games without jeopardizing any part of the writing that could otherwise be considered plot holes or at worst total retcon. Sort of like if Final Fantasy suddenly explained why there are so many "Cids" and actually had it make sense so that "Cloud" and "Terra" were in fact part of the same history WITHOUT compromising what we've already come to learn about FFVI and VII (I cite this as example WITHOUT mention of Dissidia because that game is sort of the opposite of what I am talking about here.)

That aside, it also helps out the ending seeing as how I wouldn't have understood a freakin' thing about what was happening otherwise. Not that I FULLY got it anyhow, but I imagine once I go back to it and explore the other arcs and get more history it will paint a more full picture.

62  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 25, 2016, 11:33:50 AM
I was in the mood for horror/spooky/actionee because, although it is 90 degrees out, summer feels like it is somewhat ending after my Legend of Mana time.

Torn between going back to Dark Souls 3 or trying something new (to me) by way of Van Helsing.

I went with Van Helsing to satiate my curiosity. Also Dark Souls has the uncanny ability to make it damn near impossible to enjoy anything else. That MIGHT be the hallmark of a great game but it can also sort of (totally) suck if there is other stuff I want to play. Case and point, I cannot imagine enjoying the combat in OnechanbaraZ2 (which I also plan to play sometime in the not so distant future) coming off of or while playing DS3.

Van Helsing impressions soon to come. What I will say is this will be a HARD sale for me. I am somewhat hyper-critical of anything with the Helsing name. I adore the VH lore but it has been tied to as much satisfying media as it has been utter crap by my measure.
63  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 24, 2016, 10:50:44 AM
Man-o-man. Decided to "update" my Backloggery because I knew there were a few games I needed to add.

I am now entirely disgusted with the amount of games I have accumulated without even realizing it. The funny part is I didn't even get to adding the steam library yet.

On the flip side, I am THRILLED I did this now before I started adding games to my agenda because I'm feeling pretty finished with what I have on deck now with the exception of Ori and Blind Forest.

Borderlands TPS -- Made to chapter 6. Navigating my way to find the A.I was a pain in the ass. The level-design SERIOUSLY hurts this game a bit. That being said, I did find the whole segment chuckle-worthy but SCREW running around this pirate fort for echoes/sidequesting. No more for the time being, I've had my fill of shooting stuff.
64  Media / Game Journals / Re: Josh blindly flails his way through a natural magic/no esper run of FFVI on: July 23, 2016, 04:09:16 PM
What's Really Going On?

- So Shadow bailed on the party before I even got on the train. He left when I was in the forest on the way to the train, but I was wondering if anyone had heard of him leaving before they even made it to the forest?  

- I always have a strange dilemma when it comes to recruiting ??????? ghosts on the phantom train because while they make getting to the front a lot easier, they also force you to split your Xp among more party members (which means that Sabin and Cyan ultimately level up slower).  I figured it was best to just avoid them this time.

- Phantom Train is a walk in the park (even with only 2 party members) if you just spam it with Blitz' and the level one SwordTech.  I had to use a few potions too I guess.

- After jumping off a cliff? and fighting some angry fish comes the part where you meet Gau (ugh) and jump off ANOTHER cliff.  If it wasn't already obvious I can't really stand Gau as a character.  Getting all of his rages always seems like much more of a hassle than he's worth.  Unfortunately, since this is a natural magic/no esper run, I suppose I'll have to learn to use him.

- Final thought before I reunite with everyone in Narshe: I don't seem to ever remember being at a loss over where to go next in this game when I played it as a kid, but now I keep running into places where it feels like if I didn't already know where to go next to move the story forward, I'd just have to explore and hope for the best.  Was confusion and forced exploration common among other people's experience with FFVI?  

Shadow leaves as soon as you earn a determined amount of GP with him in the party.  To keep him around as long as possible before he becomes perma-selectable means minimizing the coin you earn (no easy workaround really).

I'm reaching back here, but I also vaguely recall a few instances early game that lack obvious direction as to where to go or at the very least, how to get there. Considering I played this enough to literally draw dungeon maps purely from recollection at this point, I can't confirm that.
65  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 23, 2016, 04:01:52 PM

10:45PM: Stepdad finally goes to bed, I turn on Ancient Aliens (shut up, guilty pleasure) for background noise while I continue to wait for the eShop to open

I'm gonna stop ya right there and just say there is nothing wrong with Ancient Aliens. In fact, to expand, there is also nothing wrong with UFO Files, Weird or What, Sightings, "Beyond", Ghost Hunters or Mysteries of the Bible for that matter.

MMMMkay carry on.
66  Media / Game Journals / Re: Josh blindly flails his way through a natural magic/no esper run of FFVI on: July 23, 2016, 10:26:17 AM

Am currently navigating Sabin, Cyan and (ugh) Gau through Serpent's Trench.

*Totally bummed* I think you forgot someone...
67  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 23, 2016, 10:10:41 AM

Its too bad that you're stopping here since as was mentioned before, the other two major quest arcs are definitely better in the writing/presentation department versus the Dragoon arc with its far more straight forward setup (both in accessibility and writing).

I guess I sort of don't see it as stopping so much as leaving myself something to look forward to.

I do this often with some of my favorite games. I put off getting to the Pre-Sequel in Borderlands, after I finished borderlands 2, for like a year til I REALLY needed a shooter. I have the DLC and Post Game in Disgaea 5 in my back pocket along with the DLC to Bloodborne and Dark Souls 2 as well. These are games that I know I'm not going to be able to avoid wanting to go back to in the worst way at some point and leaving myself content to go back to makes that enjoyable/enticing for me.

^^ These titles play a special role for me in my gaming agenda as they become titles I pick up purely for enjoyment, can easily put back down without some retarded overwhelming sense of obligation (that I totally spin in my own madness mind) and are front line defense against the conundrum of "I don't know what I want to play".

And on that note...

BORDERLANDS PRE-SEQUEL/ In chapter 5 and hunting down an military AI. Core to construct a robot army at the moment. I picked the lawmaker/cowgirl class and am SERIOUSLY happy I did at this point. My first experience with this game I picked the Doppleganger (of Jack because I love Jack's character) and this chickee's "Showdown" skill makes the game infinitely more enjoyable. I gotta hand it to the Dev's for including classes that don't rely on being so accurate or "neat" with your gunplay as its part of what makes borderlands feel somewhat unique to me and far more accessible (I'm referencing the Mecro-Mancer class from BL2 here as well).

The only thing I don't like thus far about the Pre-Sequel is the platforming elements. To put it simply, jumping around in moon gravity can get frustrating. They rely way too much on vertical level design that relies on it and I can't help but feel that the straightforward design in BL2 just worked much better for a fluid experience.
68  Media / Game Journals / Re: Josh blindly flails his way through a natural magic/no esper run of FFVI on: July 22, 2016, 09:58:34 AM

Because if I just power leveled my way through the game it would mitigate the challenge of figuring out the perfect strategy (with the perfect equipment/relics) to beat some of the harder bosses without espers or magic.

Keep multiple save slots FOR SURE. Running under-leveled, SOMEONE here just may have completely screwed himself one playthrough long ago whilst escaping Vector...
69  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 22, 2016, 09:48:40 AM
Legend of Mana (FIN)

Welp in a strange turn of events I did not expect at all, I somehow triggered the end-game quest at the "home" to begin while bouncing around looking for my cactus some more. I need to thank everyone for their discussion on the matter as I likely would not have picked it up for a few more days otherwise, but the journal here left me with nuttin' but MANA ON THE MIND.

This made no sense to me. I did NOT go anywhere new, complete anything new, get any new AF's out on my map nor do anything else that seemed relevant. I visited some local's and came back home to forge me some new equipment and the "Cage of Dreams" just started out of nowhere.

And thus my first run of LoM officially comes to a close with Bud still sick on my floor and my Cactus still missing! And ya know what? Knowing damn well I missed as much as I did, I will still contend the ending was every bit as satisfying as I'd hoped.

My time with Mana here, in summary, FAR exceeded my expectations. That isn't to say it is "the best game I ever played"  (it wears all it's flaws on it's sleeve) but I'd be lying if I didn't state "I sure wish LoM-Styled became a sub-genre of light RPG's altogether". I'm more then content in the peculiar way I feel this is more a "to be continued" than a "fin" for me. Having good reason to re-experience this title a time or two is nothing short of comforting and that is not something I typically feel after the credits roll, ever.

@ Mesh and Aeolus -- Since I finished I figured I would check out the cactus hints for the hell of it. FOR F**KS SAKE, HOW DID I MISS THAT!!!???

70  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 21, 2016, 08:01:55 PM
@ Aeolus -- You good sir, have tempted me not once, not twice, BUT THREE TIMES WITH YOUR SINS spoiler solutions in code during my journey through the desert Mana. Well my friend, I may not know truth but I do know temptation when I see it and I WILL ABSTAIN from viewing. Man Ninja does not exist on bread and water hints but he needeth also faith in the father the Mana Goddess to find his solution in these matters.

None the less you have my thanks all the same :)

Yes, but I even explored the dungeons. Over and over.  And every time I left a screen, more enemies would respawn.  Making exploring dungeons extremely tedious.  So I always ended up dropping the game after several in-game hours of nothing happening no matter what I did.

I change my stance on your situation Arv. I don't think you were stuck. I just don't think the game held your attention. The way you talk it sounds like a strong case of "I want to love this game but I hate it." There is no shame in this. In fact I made a thread about it a few months ago as I find it a REAL issue.

ON THE ODIN SPHERE TALK/ Talk about a game that holds a special place in my heart. I can't believe I didn't jump on OSL day 1 a month or so ago. For some useless Klyde-Trivia, I was playing the original Odin Sphere when I was arrested in a former life. I swear to you folks, I'd be lying if I didn't say a STRONG motivation to get out of jail (and stop behaving like a delinquent) was solely to FINISH THAT GAME! LOL!! I did get out and beat the original in case anyone was wondering how the story ended.

I'm pretty stoked to here such trusted community members here singing the remake's praise. Makes me certain I've got something to look forward to down the road somewhere.
71  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 21, 2016, 01:48:16 PM
Somehow, I am getting the impression that both Aeolus and Klyde totally misunderstood me.  It's not that I am "bailing" on quests.  It's not that I am trying to do everything.  It's that I am trying to do ANYTHING, and the game WILL NOT LET ME.  Every time I play, I get to a point where I am exploring everywhere, and talking to everyone, and NOTHING IS HAPPENING.  I am getting no quests, no story, no progression, no new artifacts, nothing nothing nothing.

And this happens every time I try to play the game.  Why?  What is wrong with me?

That is curious. If I had to take a stab at it I would say you are simply looking in the wrong spots based on how you've been trained to treat JRPG's. Thing about LoM that I have found to be odd is where and how events trigger.

Typically, you talk to a suspect NPC in a town and BOOM stuff happens. In LoM you may surprisingly find an event trigger in some offshoot path in a dungeon you think you've already explored the heck out of (this is actually more common then not).

I can't tell ya how often I stumbled upon a signifigant questline whilst visiting/re-visiting an area to farm for something or just because it was "pretty".
72  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 21, 2016, 09:05:00 AM
Well after catching myself up on the posts since yesterday, I can safely say I'm back on the Mana. Feeling pretty motivated now. I did take some time last evening to cleanse the palette by shooting some things in borderlands the pre-sequel.

BorderLands PS/ I think after having played the BLs franchise for the last 2 years or so I finally realize I've been TOTALLY playing it wrong. I've actually been playing it like I would approach an RPG and it is way more enjoyable/time effective NOT to be a thorough completionist. That is, searching and leaving no stone un-turned and fighting everything pales in comparison to blitzing through everything and firing like a maniac to reach objectives.

This whole "non-completionist" approach to playing my games for the enjoyment is something I need to work on adopting readily.

Wait I thought the Dragoon Arc DID give you the mana tree artifact and opened up the end game? or at least triggers the thing at your house that does?

-- edit --


I'm just gonna respond with an "uh-oh" because I now fear I done-gone and really screwed something up, and I'm pretty sure I know what that something is.

and @AEOLUS -- My tree (upper corner) is mondo-full bloom and has been for a minute. The other quest-lines I really wanted to save for new game+/another playthrough because I'm far too aware of things I'd like to do differently in terms of my placements and whatnot.

Map placement aside, I also played nearly the whole game here WITHOUT my cactus because I NEVER FOUND HIM.
He is still gone although I was hot on his trail until a penguin pirate told me someone named Almettelle (I'm totally spelling/recalling that name wrong, forgive me) was taking him home.

In short, based on what I've gathered here I suspect it is this ^^ which is preventing me from... something integral (such as finishing the game!!!) although I could be wrong. Regardless, this game works itself out.  I am totally confidant that as I meander about to take care of other business I will come across the solution no matter what it might be which brings me to my final point.

No, I mean I finished it and saw the credits, and I just don't understand all this talk about navigating it like something labyrinthine, because I don't remember ever hitting any obstacles. Felt really short because I'm sure I missed a lot of stuff but that never impeded me from finishing the game.

Potential 4th time playing in the near/distant future: "I'm using a dang FAQ from beginning to end.  Either this game is dumb or I am."

I think Klutz hit the nail on the head as to how to enjoy Mana proper. Kudos to you, sir Klutz.

@Arvis (and expanding on what I mean). The key here is Klutz' final line. Playing this game without worrying about what your missing and can't figure out resolves almost all the issues. Don't pick up a guide to figure out a quest your stuck on just go tend to another and you'll likely see most of which you couldn't initially figure out resolve itself. Accepting that you are "missing things that never impede you from finishing" is crucial to enjoying this title, if not altogether NECESSARY to appreciate it for what it is.
73  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 20, 2016, 11:26:15 AM
Hmmmm. Makes me wonder what I am missing. As I didn't get the tree yet. Then again, I didn't go to the Tower of Lierre (spelling?) yet so I'm gonna assume that is the last piece of the puzzle.

*Sigh* -- Ya know, maybe I spoke too soon. Given this development, I think I should invest a wee bit more time in Mana right now. Seems silly to put her aside if that is all I have left to see my first run through to it's official completion.

Thanks for the tid-bit, Scott. Very helpful without being spoiler-ific.
74  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 20, 2016, 09:59:06 AM
LEGEND OF MANA/ I feel like I beat the game having finished the Dragoon Arc. I don't feel that way because of any difficulty or achievement but rather because of the way the writing frames off that resolution so "neatly". I seriously expected the Mana Tree artifact or whatever officially ends the game to drop upon completion and was rather surprised it didn't to be honest (mind you, this expectation was a total shot in the dark as I really have no idea how this game actually ends)

I contend now that ^^ this (comfy narrative points to put her down) is what result in some folks not finishing this game more then anything else.

As much as I have enjoyed LoM, I may have had my fill for a moment.  I really like the fact that there is primary story/content to return to as soon as I have the itch again and I LOVE the sense of completion LoM grants you as one moves through the self contained "shorts". I did intend to happily "beat" the game after the Dragoon Arc, with a very satisfying experience having been had.. More games need to make me feel satisfied like this WITHOUT having to see the credits roll.

One last random observation. In geo I believe the statues in the throne room of Kristie are intended to reference the heroes of SD3. If not it is a hell of a co-ink-ee-dink. This had me all sorts of excited because I don't typically notice these things unless they are pointed out to me. The more obvious FF Black Mage outside the academy was cool too.

75  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 17, 2016, 08:13:18 AM
@Mickeymac -- The very last statement you make about the grind and character build undermining the the exploration is the achilles heel of Soulsborne for me.The real star of the show ARE the environments and you get to a point where the sense of discovery is undermined by the fact that you realize 90 percent of discoveries are worthless to your specific aim. I think that is what makes the early hours far more rewarding then the end-game for those title (for me personally, although I can't speak on DS3 yet).

@Mesh -- Nothing I've learned/discerned about LOM has seemed a bad thing thus far. Quite the opposite actually, as this may be the ONLY game that I feel really baits me into NEW GAME +. It is so obvious that there are too many things you can find/miss that as I approach the end of a main story arc I can't help but already think on starting anew. Getting to know this game, going back to it periodically when I crave some Mana-tastic-experiences with the sense that there is more is part of appeal for sure.

One remark about the difficulty which is NOT exactly a boon by any measure. I'm killing bosses before I can even charge my "special attack" meter. I mean, easy is one thing but this is seriously getting ridiculous. I knew going into it that the game wasn't exactly challenging, nor were its predecessors but at least "game over" was a possibility in SD2/3.

LEGEND OF MANA/ Bone fortress done! 5 star spooky environ and another dungeon that didn't overstay it's welcome. I sort of like that these areas b-line you to boss fights, I just wish (as stated above) the fights were a little more intense.
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