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Messages - Grainofariver

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Single-Player RPGs / Re: Tales of PlayStation(s) revealed
« on: January 26, 2015, 09:48:09 PM »
I need to vent. I'm aware that I'm mostly just venting, and I'm very sorry if you have no interest in it. If you do read this, please forgive the wall of text and horrendous grammar. I have avoided anything spoiler related. Once again: I'm sorry.

Now that Zestiria has been out less than a week and most people don't even have their copy, the internet is flooded with opinions. After having both Xillias spoiled, I've been serious about dodging major spoilers for Zestiria. This means avoiding streams, avoiding any threads that even slightly appear to contain spoilers, and watching very few videos on youtube. That said, I've still visited a few places, and the general response is absolutely killing me. I don't want to post on those places because I think arguing on the internet is the biggest waste of time imaginable. However the community here is smaller and more likely to think before posting, so I wanted to throw out a few opinions and get some thoughts, point by point.

 - 30 FPS
So it seems that Zestiria runs at 30FPS. Bummer. I don't particularly want to get into the 30v60 debate, but in short: I can tell a difference between the two, and I prefer 60 FPS. For the longest time I let that prevent me from getting Symphonia Chronicles, however recently I gave it a shot and found 30fps worked with Symphonia's slower paced battles. From what I've seen of Zestiria, the battles are much slower than Xillia's and Graces', so I'd make the argument that 30FPS is acceptable so long as the game was designed that way. I won't miss the Xillias' slowdown.

- Graphics
Arguing about graphics on consoles has always felt silly to me. I built a PC. It plays everything on ultra. I also have many, many consoles, because I love me some JRPGs. Unless those are made by Square-Enix, the graphics are usually average at best. That being said, I think Xillia's Fennmont looks far more interesting than anything I can find that strains my computer. I'll admit to having a unique opinion on this point, because to me consoles aren't about graphics.

- Battle Camera
An actually valid complaint, made even more valid by the fact that we live in an era where "release an incomplete game and patch it" is the norm, yet there's hardly any chance of a patch to fix it. The west got the complete version of Abyss PS2 back in the day, yet now that developers can easily patch things, I doubt we'll get a fix for this.

This is seriously one of the things that drives me insane to hear, especially since I've heard it non-stop since Xillia. The fact that Tales even has multiplayer is an awesome ADDITION. There are several games that feel like they should have it (I can only think of Star Ocean at the moment) but don't. Then Tales tries to do something to make the single player a bit more interesting (linking, chromatus, fusion) and people cry about the multiplayer. I've played through Vesperia, Graces, and Xillia with friends. We had fun. This doesn't change the fact that Tales is primarily a singleplayer game, and anything they can do to enhance that experience is welcome. Seriously: if the Tales games never had MP to begin with, nobody would be complaining about this stuff now.
Of course, I do want to say that the camera does appear to ruin MP, and I can understand the anger over that.

- Party Restrictions
Since I saw this a lot on Xillia 2, it's also kinda tiring to hear. Yes, it's a bummer. Does it kill the game? Does it REALLY make the game SO unplayable that you have to whine about it constantly?

- DLC and lack of in-game costumes
I doubt we'll ever get a game with as many costumes as Abyss or Vesperia again. While I think it sucks that they are locked behind a stupidly steep pay wall, I also think that there are SO many worse ways for DLC to be handled that I can let this one go with a smile.

- Vote with your wallet: don't buy the western release! (and also: a true fan will buy the game anyway)
This is just a terrible situation to be in. From where I stand, both of these arguments are damaging. First, not buying the western release won't have any impact on future design choices. They have already stated that they don't develop Tales games to western tastes. Instead it will give the impression that there isn't enough of a market for the games, and we won't get any future localizations. At the same time, I really hate the idea of buying a bad game only so that we have a chance of getting the next (quality unknown) game localized. I think this is simply a painful reality with no good answer.

How many of the people complaining have actually played the game? Because almost everything I hear is "from what I've seen". How silly is it that people (including what I just did here) spout their opinions with such venomous fervor despite the fact that they've never played the game?
This point is also interesting because I remember the absolute hype for Xillia leading up to western release. I heard constantly that Xillia was 'okay', but Xillia 2 was the 'best in the series'. While I do enjoy Xillia 2, I believe the game was hyped far beyond the actual quality. In a way, I'm almost happy that Zestiria's reception is so lukewarm, because it's at least more believable than what people were saying about Xillia 2.

So if you bothered reading this, thanks for taking the time to do so even if you don't respond. I would probably get a failing grade if I turned this in to a college professor, but typing it out has really helped organize my thoughts on the matter, and I look forward to discussing it with anyone!

 I know they said Star Ocean has ended, but it doesn't mean Tri-Ace can't continue something new as a 'spiritual successor', re-using (and improving) many of SO's systems. Then again, I don't even know what Tri-Ace is doing anymore aside from helping with 13-2 and LR. But, trying to bring it back to music, perhaps they could bring Sakuraba and give him more freedom than the Tales studio to actually make some awesome music (I don't hate Tales music, but it's far from his best work). Who would you like to see compose for a spiritual successor to SO? (sorry if I sound like a teacher leaving prompts - I just want to add to the conversation)

 So after checking the lists, it doesn't seem Star Ocean 2's soundtrack has ever been brought up in any episodes (I could be wrong - sleep deprivation tends to do that to people). The Venerable Forest (also Rena's Theme, though they are similar), Field of Expel and Pyroxene are all, in my opinion, fantastic. Although it's not perfect - hilariously I actually dislike the main battle theme - I think it does have a unique sound that I haven't heard in anything since. It's a pity because Sakuraba can do some awesome things with the criminally underused woodwinds. What are your thoughts on the sound of SO2?

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Shining Resonance announced for PlayStation 3
« on: January 14, 2015, 12:59:37 AM »
 I really wish there were a few solid reviews of this game, preferably video reviews. As it stands, I can't even find a decent written review. With my Japanese being at the level of "I can somewhat grasp the occasional discussion", I've been slightly interested in importing a game for fun. When I first heard of this game, several people used it to shame Tales of Zestiria, including a friend who pre-ordered Shining Resonance's CE. Being a massive Tales fan, but not wanting to import a Tales game (I can't imagine playing one unable to understand the character interactions), I was interested: a positive reception could mean for a fun import experience once the price drops. Yet, now that SR has released I have heard nothing except for the occasional post like Cyril's and Kevadu's. Oh, and the friend who imported the CE? Died on the first boss and hasn't touched it since.

 If SR ever gets a western release I'll still pick it up just because I've lost my patience for most turn-based JRPGs, which leaves me pretty desolate aside from Tales (I own all 4 Star Oceans, but the combat feels too shallow). As for importing, it's looking to be a pass, but if anyone knows of any solid reviews (in English) I'd be grateful if you would share. Thanks!

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Tales of PlayStation(s) revealed
« on: January 06, 2015, 03:27:47 PM »
Oh god how I wish. 99% sure it's not happening, but god how I wish.
There's a small chance we'll get subs, at which point you can just hear スレイ, and ignore the 'Sorey' at the bottom.

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Shining Resonance announced for PlayStation 3
« on: January 05, 2015, 10:30:24 PM »
Sony localizes Yakuza 5 for the west.
Sony localizes Shining Resonance for China.

Come on Sony, you're so close - it's right there, I know you can do this...

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Tales of PlayStation(s) revealed
« on: January 04, 2015, 05:03:27 AM »
After watching the special I must say, I'm greatly looking forward to Sorey's character. I've seen a lot of people complain that he appears super generic, but then most Tales protagonists are super generic at first. What appeals to me is that he seems to have more confidence than Jude or Asbel, and more personality than Ludger and Milla. I know trailers aren't much to go on, but it appears that he has no problem being the "Shepard" (I liked 'monk' better), and is willing to do what needs to be done to save the world, even if it has a negative impact on himself. Given the solid character development of the series (usually - poor Jude), I'm stoked that Sorey's character arc has the potential to be something different than "finding self-confidence".

Of course, I could TOTALLY just be seeing what I want to see. It's a bummer getting excited for a game that launches in 18 days - in Japan.

 Given that Dragon Age: Inquisition wasn't the return to Origins I was hoping for, I found myself wanting for a CRPG. This is bloody weird for me, as in the past I've found them to be far to deep for my tastes (Origins was simplified enough for me to enjoy it). Despite fearing for the worse, I picked up Neverwinter Nights on the GoG sale. Finished it yesterday and had a blast. Picked up NWN2, Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, pre-ordered Pillars of Eternity and will get Divinity: Original Sin when it goes on the daily steam sale. Probably extremely overkill, especially considering the length of these games, but it's always a pleasant feeling when a genre you thought you disliked turns out to be a goldmine for new experiences.

General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast (Random Encounter) Thread
« on: December 17, 2014, 12:55:23 AM »
Xillia 2 in 2012, which makes the context about yearly releases false.

It depends as here in NA the yearly release has been true since the 'year of tales' was announced.

While true they made no developmental changes with the western releases. Tales of Graces, released in 2009, was the last mothership title before 2011's Tales of Xillia. Thus the comparison to an annualized series like Assassin's Creed is false or unfair.
Sorry for not being clearer on that.

General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast (Random Encounter) Thread
« on: December 16, 2014, 09:40:16 PM »
 So, uh, I see that there's a massive debate over physical vs digital media, but I want to interrupt quickly with some thoughts on the latest episode. I know I'm late on this - I've been catching up on podcasts while playing Neverwinter Nights (which I bought on the recent GoG sale because I lost the play disc for my physical copy), but I'm hoping better late than never applies here, because I think it certainly applies to the western release of Tales. I'll not pretend that I'm not insanely biased towards the series. I did feel a little thrown off by the opinions here though, because they didn't seem very fair. Obviously it's not fair of me to expect everyone to know the details of a game's history, but the context (framing?) of many criticisms rubbed me the wrong way. I don't want to make a list because I fear I will come across as "LET ME EDUCATE YOU ABOUT MY FAVOURITE GAME SERIES" (which I fear I might already be doing), but as an example: Putting aside Hearts R and Symphonia, both of which are re-makes, Tales hasn't actually had a new mothership title since Xillia 2 in 2012, which makes the context about yearly releases false. That's not to say that you didn't make good points: I do agree that the Xillias have problems (I haven't played Hearts R), but the context (framing?) of the arguments bothers me.

 I love your podcast, and it has provided a great background to NWN. As I said earlier, I don't expect everyone to know every detail of a game's release history, but as an RPG podcast that clearly has a great love of the genre, it felt very off putting to hear so many unfair or incorrect statements about an RPG. Hopefully we can all look forward to Tales of Zestiria, which despite coming out next year, has been in development since the (Japanese - 2011) release of Xillia 1.

 I'll let everyone get back to arguing about physical vs digital now.

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dragon Age 3
« on: November 12, 2014, 05:03:40 AM »
 I dunno if you're answering questions, but if you are, I have one: how do the characters fare compared to other Bioware games? In your review you stated you liked them, but in a different review the characters were described as being fairly flat (at least initially). I enjoyed DA:O and ME1, but have greatly disliked every Bioware game since. With that in mind, I wouldn't consider DA:I, however aside from The Witcher 3, I honestly can't think of any other AAA fantasy WRPGs on the horizon. The initial reviews for DA:I all look very good, but considering the gap between my opinion of ME 2/3 and reviewers, I don't think it's smart to place too much faith in these scores. Specifically I'd like to know if the character's personalities change throughout the story. In DA:O and ME1 they didn't evolve as much as I would have liked.
 - Sorry my posts are always such a mess -

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Tales of PlayStation(s) revealed
« on: October 01, 2014, 01:39:34 AM »
I loved Gaius too, which is interesting considering I wasn't expecting to get much out of him or Muzet. I can't help but wonder how different his personality and character interactions might if, instead of Xillia 2, we got a director's cut of Xillia 1 with everything they originally intended. What exactly was originally intended I see debated regularly, but I'm pretty sure Gaius was supposed to become a party member. I imagine it would be different to see him with Jude's group without the year-long gap.

Also I find it weird that the debt intervals so constantly hated. I wouldn't call them a plus, and I certainly hope to not see something similar again, but I find it strange that people mark them down so hard. I got the required money by doing the event requests, character episodes and elites, so really I cleared the job board once (which took around 30 minutes or less) before starting the next chapter, and even then mostly for the points. I personally had a far more irritating time with say, The Witcher 2, which always drove me insane by having the plot heat up, then dropping you in a hub with a bunch of side quests. I wanted to complete the side quests, but it brought the story to a full-on halt. Compared to that, I (personally, again) found debt intervals a minor bother.

All in all I feel like everything Xillia 2 fell short on, Vesperia excelled in, and everywhere Vesperia fell short, Xillia 2 excels. Still loved X2, and I'm really looking forward to Zesty's world and dungeons, which appear to be far better designed than the Xillias'.

General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast (Random Encounter) Thread
« on: July 29, 2014, 11:31:48 PM »
 This is a very open question that will require some narrowing down: Do you think storytelling in video games has reached a point where it can be favourably compared with other mediums in terms of depth and complexity of the plot?

 See why it needs some narrowing down? If you'll permit, I'd like to do so in the following ways:
   I'm not interested about how a video game speaks to a concept. I'm sick to death hearing about Bioshock Infinite's Racism, Gone Home's sexuality, The Last of Us/Bioshock Infinite/The Walking Dead's "making you the guardian of a young girl". These are all good arguments to have, but not what I'm looking to ask.
   Secondly, I'd like to focus on plot. Whenever storytelling in games comes up, Bioware gets regularly brought up for having interesting worlds. Most arguments I hear favouring Bioware speak to world building, not the actual plot. The same with Demons/Dark Souls. Lore/World building is an integral part of storytelling, but it's not plot.
   Lastly, I understand the difficulties when comparing across mediums. It's hard to compare a movie to a thousand page book. For games it becomes more complex, as length varies greatly even within the medium. Personally I love the depth offered by multi-book fantasy series (Malazan, A Song of Ice and Fire, Wheel of Time, etc.), so that's where I'm approaching the question, but depth and complexity can mean different things to different people, so take that as you will.

 If this is too long or too limited to use, I understand. It's difficult to articulate exactly what I'm trying to ask. As I said earlier, I am an avid reader of massive fantasy series, and for me  the only way to enjoy games is by separating in my mind: video game plot and novel plot, so I'm curious to hear the thoughts of a more... optimistic group. I'd really rather discuss this than hear it discussed, but I take what I can get and walk away smiling.
 - Good Day

General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast (Random Encounter) Thread
« on: August 12, 2013, 07:01:17 PM »
 I wanted to post this because I've seen the dragon's crown argument several times around the internet, and unfortunately I've had few open-minded people with which to discuss and criticise my view on the issue.

  I am both a gamer and a reader. As a fanatic of fantasy novels, the genre I love is currently a shared space between the traditional Lord of the Rings/Song of Ice and Fire fare (my preference) and supernatural romance books in the vein of Twilight. Whenever I go to a website like Goodreads, the fantasy section is a combination of things which appeal to different types of people. I have yet to see a full on campaign demanding that one side change itself to be uniform with another. People simply support what they chose to support.

 Why can video games not be the same way? I can understand being frustrated that nearly every game today is targeted at younger males, but the method by which people are voicing their frustration leaves me confused. When you attack something people like, they react instinctively, shifting into a rabid defense of the things they enjoy (as we are seeing). Secondly you give TONS of free advertising to the offending product. To be fair, I had never even heard of Dragon's Crown before this silliness started, and I'm usually rather aware of things which go on in the gaming world. As a result of the assault against Dragon's Crown, it is more likely that the game has sold FAR more copies than it would have if everybody had simply kept silent on the matter. Further, by selling so many copies, it just might get a sequel. This is capitalism at work.

 This is not to say that people who find the current state of gaming offensive should keep silent, rather they should direct their energy into the CREATIVE side of a CREATIVE medium. Without denouncing that which offends, support that which you feel does things well. If you believe there isn't anything which does things well, then feel free to voice that opinion, but in a way that supports the creation of new ideas. Try to fill that void rather than trying to warp what people already enjoy. I see no reason why games can't be like books: coexisting.

 Those are my thoughts. Would love feedback, since it's difficult to form a solid argument without it.
 Edited for those who read English.

After taking three days to listen to it, I can properly say that this was a fantastic episode. Likely I could write an essay (perhaps even essays) on thoughts regarding these songs, as I recognize many of them and the moments surrounding them stick out in memory. Instead, super fast summary time of a few select tracks because nobody likes a wall of text, much less several of them.

Anything by Shoji Meguro - Thank you, I need to replay about 4 games now... I enjoy the uniqueness offered by Meguro's work, yet what I've heard remains diverse enough that I will never be unable tell apart a Persona 3 track from say, Nocturne.
Prisoners of Fate - I swear I've heard this somewhere before, but either way Mitsuda is amazing and I still wish Chrono Cross didn't have the issues it did (would love to discuss that, but this is a place for music discussions, and the music is fantastic)
Ornstein and Smough - I would have recommended Gwyn's music earlier if it hadn't already been said that final boss themes aren't applicable. Good follow up choice, hearing that DaS was done by Sakuraba was a shock, especially as a fan of the Tales games.

Boss music is always interesting, and I often wonder how it must feel from the point of view of a composer. So often I find boss themes grand or epic (forgive my lack of knowledge when it comes to music terminology), but truly having it fit within the situation provides the most memorable effect. For example, the melancholy nature of Prisoners of Fate works with the situation, creating an experience that sticks to the mind. Similarly, while Magus' Theme is probably my favourite boss theme, everything that came about before it helped set it up. Would the situation be nearly as memorable without the flames, the tower, the quest for the Masamune, etc. before hand? That the music fit with the situation so well made that entire sequence absolutely stapled in my mind as a defining moment of my childhood gaming. (I just noticed that the two tracks I chose as examples are both by Mitsuda - no, I do not fanboy, thank you very much)

Great episode, and I enjoyed the changes. Looking forward to the next. As a closing note, that transition caught me entirely off guard. During the time I was listening to the podcast, playing a game and holding two conversations. Upon hearing the sound of the opening gate from CT the oddness of it brought everything to a crash as my mind froze. I would equate it to juggling five balls at once and one of them suddenly catching fire.

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