What Are You Currently Playing?

Your general gaming entertainment thread.
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Alunissage
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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby Alunissage » Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:52 am

Played some of TSS in Japanese. Had to keep redoing due to technical difficulties though so I'm only up to meeting Quark (for the first time). Got distracted by the (English) text, which I'm still trying to organize better.

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Nobiyuki77
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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby Nobiyuki77 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:44 am

Trying to finish up Ys VIII, Chapter 5 is taking forever. DX
-Nobi

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby ShugoHanasaki » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:03 am

Nobiyuki77 wrote:Trying to finish up Ys VIII, Chapter 5 is taking forever. DX


Such a great game! I destroyed it! ^_^
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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby Monde Luna » Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:03 am

Just finished Tales of Berseria and Persona 5. I can't decide what to play next Dragon Age Inquisition or The World Ends w You.

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby Imperial Knight » Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:35 am

I recently got the itch to revisit Growlanser II. The last time I played it was roughly eight years ago. Here's some thoughts now that I'm five hours and some change into my current playthrough.

-I'd forgotten just how much of the story is optional/missable. I've gotten in the habit of going back and revisiting places after each story event before heading to my next destination, and more often than not there's something to discover when I do. Fortunately the point-to-point world map facilitates doing this without taking too much time. It's also a good way to get a little extra experience and money in without just wandering aimlessly about. Speaking of...

-I like how the game forces the player to make choices. You never have enough money to buy everything you'd want so you often have to choose between say upgrading your armor and getting a gem (accessory) with an effect you really want. Likewise each character's ability tree is far larger than could reasonably be completed in the normal course of the game (there is optional content available for players who do want to overpower their characters) so you need to choose for each character what sorts of abilities they should focus on.

-It's not that the game is all that difficult, but it can be rather punishing if you get careless. At one point I stopped paying close attention in the random battles and the game quickly reminded me that you can't do that.

-When I first played through the Growlanser Generations collection, I liked Growlanser III better than Growlanser II, but upon replaying I decided II was the better game. III's story is a bit more cohesive (II can sometimes feel a bit like three separate stories stuck together) but on the other hand I do prefer II's heavier focus on political intrigue to III's more fantasy-based story, as the former plays more to Career Soft's strengths. On the first playthrough III also felt more fleshed out to me, gameplay-wise, but the second time around I had a greater appreciation for II's more streamlined approach, and what felt more fleshed out in III the first time seemed more like bloat the second time (most notably the game's random dungeons, which don't really work well in a series centered more around encounter design than resource management). I guess we'll see this time around which one I prefer, but I have no doubt I'll enjoy both quite a bit.

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby Alunissage » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:56 am

I've been thinking of getting back to my replay of II that I started in...um. 2005? I never have played III because I wanted to get all of the characters' endings of II first, and I think I was less than halfway through that when I stopped.

When I first played the game I was really admiring of how good the balance was. I think I'd probably still feel that way. Even in the replays, when you have most of your equipment (I think?) from the previous playthrough, you can't just whiz through the game with the best stuff, because there's a strength requirement for the armor, and I think your characters' stats reset, so while you can put on the armor you'll barely be able to move. I loved that. Just gave me this mental image of a scrawny teen in giant super-heavy armor.

I assume you've played the Wolfgang branch? It felt a bit incomplete but it was a nice touch to have this totally different alternate storyline.

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby Imperial Knight » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:15 am

Yes, I did the Wolfgang branch but it's been so long I've forgotten much of it. I'm making sure to set myself up to be able to do it this time, i.e., making sure I get a Mission Complete rating for each battle and finding the necessary story scenes.

Your memory is correct that on New Game+ your characters start from scratch in terms of stats/levels/abilities but you retain your items (perhaps with a few exceptions, I know III and IV for instance have some gems you're only supposed to obtain at a certain point in the plot and those don't carry over on NG+). If one really wanted to, it is possible by making extensive use of the Arena to get items to carry over that would allow your party to rapidly become overpowered but the design is meant to make NG+ give your party an advantage for sure, but not an overwhelming one.

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby Alunissage » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:23 pm

Do you start NG+ with an extra +2 Whup-Ass, sorry, I mean Hyper-Attack? The gem that Wein gets from Logan at the beginning, I mean. (And yes, that was its pre-release name. I almost wish it had stayed.) I also remember a really awesome Lv9 gem from completing the cat-girl's sidequest that might unbalance things a bit if you could keep getting them -- on the other hand, you don't get many rings with Lv9 slots, so maybe not. (Memory of Alviis is the one I'm thinking of, though possibly I'm mixing it up with the Wings of Something.)

Okay, now I really want to replay this. Need to find my notes. I actually made a table of all of the conversational options and what friendship stats they affect, by matching the import guide with the translated lines, as well as the results from the initial exam battle. I hope I still have my saves on the PS2 somewhere.

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby Imperial Knight » Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:52 am

In all honesty I don't remember the specifics. I know in IV you can't carry over the Cooperation gems since they'd allow you access to powerful magic from the beginning. I could see Memory of Alviis being excluded on the same basis, but I don't remember for sure. I think you probably can carry over the Hyper Attack gem (after all, you're meant to have it, if not necessarily be able to equip it, from near the beginning). As far as breaking the game one I do remember you are allowed is to bring over the Strength/Dexterity/Intelligence Growth gems as well as the Miracle Trainee gems, giving your characters increased stat growth from the former three and the opportunity to gain additional levels rapidly from the latter.

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby MaroonChan » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:35 pm

As usual still playing Sailor Moon Drops.

XD Yes I know I need to play a real game. Been itching to. Probably should get back to playing Secret of Mana that I started months ago.
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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby AkagisWhiteComet » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:45 pm

I really loved Growlanser II and III the first time I played through it. I always seemed to enjoy II quite a bit more just for the aforementioned political storylines that play out and Charlone is one of my favorite Urushihara characters (if the game would have just given me Charlone, Riviera, and Arieta I'd have died a happy man). The whole Wolfgang plot line actually amazed me the first time through because there's not many games I can recall before the current generation of open-end games that gave you such choices in how the main character's story progresses, be it for "good" or "bad". That also made the game incredibly enjoyable.

There were some small things that always irked me just the slight bit playing those two games. The first was the second game was actually a direct sequel, and even reading the in-game back story seemed like a lot was missing. There were characters there that should have been really developed - Carmaine, Louise, etc - that had all of that lost due to not experiencing the first game. The other major thing, and I believe WD even addressed this directly, is that the voice over work is very shoddy. You can tell that some characters were recorded in a different setting than the other, and it really gives this effect of disengagement between particular characters when they speak to one another (Wein and Charlone in particular sound like they're in different settings each time they speak to each other, which didn't lead to the best "closure" for Charlone's route; it's my opinion of course).

Otherwise I had fun with them, and I enjoyed the fifth game on PS2 and the fourth's "re-release" on the PSP. I can see why the fourth game was so popular in Japan.

Currently playing:

I'm deep in Tokyo Xanadu ex+. Enjoying it a bit more than Trails of Cold Steel simply for the modern setting over Cold Steel. I do like the noticeable homages to Cold Steel though.

I tried playing Blue Reflection and kind of lost interest. That game really needed a lot of work to be enjoyable.

The typical driving games; Gran Turismo Sport, Project Cars 2, etc. I have a LogiTech G29 wheel and pedal setup for my PS4.

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby Imperial Knight » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:50 pm

Growlanser II tries its best to fill in the player on what happened in I, but there's no way to reasonably piece everything that happened together because, well, a lot happened in that game. I played through it using the script translation as a guide to what was going on (which is certainly not the ideal way to experience a game). A big issue with trying to convey what happened in the stories and side dialog is how intricate, even convoluted, the story could get because you had so many different factions operating at the same time, both overtly and covertly, at various times using each other, getting in each other's way (both intentionally and unintentionally), and working with highly asymmetric knowledge of the situation. Even as a player you're not really supposed to understand half of what's going on at the time it's happening, but rather piece the puzzle together after further revelations. There's really no hope of getting all of that across in another game that, after all, has to tell its own story too.

In a strange way though I think II benefitted some, perception-wise, by being the first game in the series most North American players experienced. It allowed people to play the game on its own terms, rather than judge it solely as a sequel to I. Fans of the first game tended to react somewhat harshly to II because of its perceived shortcomings as a sequel (most common complaints were that it was too short and that all exploration of dungeons and towns was removed). III kinda tries to get back to what the first did but in a bit of a rushed fashion (especially those random dungeons) while IV as an experience is pretty close to what the first was like.

Speaking of harsh receptions, I still remember how much hate V attracted when it was first released in North America from reviewers and players alike. There was a lot of frankly hyperbolic talk about it being the worst RPG on PS2, etc. While I understand the disappointment and consider it easily the weakest entry in the series (with the possible exception of VI, which I've never played), it's nowhere near as bad as it was often made out to be.

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby AkagisWhiteComet » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:18 pm

You know I remember at lot of the criticisms of V during the time and I really never thought of it being a bad game either. One personal thing I enjoyed about it was even in the later PS2 era a lot of RPGs still had the "change-over-to-battle-setting" -type fighting for 3D era games, and GL V fighting engine didn't have that awkward switch over. I also kind of liked how "direct" the game was in that the characters - at least for me - were well-developed and not part of a massive amount of party characters like in the prior games (I do like IV quite a bit but it has a ridiculous amount of characters in it, especially with the PSP re-make). The only real negative thing I can remember about it is I only did one play-thru and I didn't really touch on the Sherris route. In fact I only remember the main character conversing with her at one story point and then it was like I never saw her again. Other than that I enjoyed the game quite a bit and found it to have a nice balance of difficulty.

I feel most unfortunate also is publisher ATLUS in light of releasing a lot of modern titles likely missed the "window" for both Growlanser and Langrisser in the US, and V's luke-warm reception probably didn't help. I do love Working Designs a lot but it would be nice for Atlus to give the entirety of the series a nice modern release of some sort. Atlus was still very weary of titles in the US during the time Growlanser was first published in the US, the changes in Persona and the rebranding of Atlus' 'Touge Max' racing game as 'Peak Performance' and removing all it's Japanese visual novel elements among examples.

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby Alunissage » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:41 pm

Drat, I missed that there had been further replies on this. Oh well.

We played a bit of Growlanser V but never got through the kind of prequelish bit of playing as the previous generation. I think the main issue was finding the combat a bit clunky at the outset (in the sense of controller operation, not the battle system itself) and I didn't find the "flow" mechanism very well explained. But mostly we just ended up moving on to other games.

I still need to play IV, and I even got the import deluxe edition in its massive box. But when I play it it'll probably be the PSP version.

I've pieced together some of what happens in I, but yes, it sounded impossibly complex. It probably did help to play II without knowing much about I, though I think there's an error in II somewhere regarding whether Richard (was he called LeSharle in the final? I forget) was prince or king at that time. It's in the history summary between Max and Wein's entrance exam and perhaps in the flashback scene with Lyell and Richard.

Since I did most of my playing of II on pre-release versions, the English voices always sounded weird to me anyway. As a friend of mine put it, I liked Hans a lot better before he started speaking Spanish. Couldn't get used to Wolfgang's drawl, either. I didn't play enough to notice specific recording issues, though. I tend to be a bit oblivious to that anyway.

Speaking of Wolfgang, I checked my notes and it's easier to get his branch on a second or later playthrough. The first playthrough you need the relevant stat to be 90; on later playthroughs the threshold is 80. I don't know if you actually need to get all Mission Completes or if that just makes it easier (Clear is +2, Complete is +5 or something like that).

Memory of Alviis is a tournament prize, but it's a level 8 so probably would have limited use anyway, especially if not much MP.

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby Imperial Knight » Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:28 pm

Clunky is a good way to describe a lot of the problems with V. Menus are ugly and unintuitive, controls are unresponsive, things of that sort. If you're willing to work around the problems it can absolutely be an enjoyable game, but I can hardly blame those who aren't.

The error you're referring to is something I've never caught before, but you're right. It's when Wein and Max are talking before the entrance exam and Max lists King Richard as one of the current Imperial Knights when he would be prince at the time. Between Richard's reign being so short (his coronation occurs several hours into Growlanser I and he's deposed in favor of Elliotte with several hours left in the game) and there being several time jumps early in Growlanser II (the first of which skips over the entirety of Richard's reign) it's hard enough to keep it all straight even if you have played I, I always kind of assumed it would be basically impossible to follow what's going on if you aren't familiar with it. I guess Max got confused by it all too :)

More obvious are the many errors in the Sandra's Story minigame you can unlock after you complete the game. As far as I can tell, not wanting to commission art for a side story, the creators just reused portraits from the main game to represent the characters in the minigame and this seems to have terribly confused the translator, with the result being a bunch of really glaring continuity errors. Two that come to mind are having Richard as a character in a story that takes place before he was even born and conflating the characters of Maxwell and Charlone's father (the former is dead by the time of II).

I did remember Vic saying something about the requirements for the Wolfgang path being easier on replays but I didn't know the details. There's always been a lot of speculation in the community as to what exactly the requirements are for various options like the Wolfgang path or recruiting Ernest. It's too bad the game never got an official strategy guide.

You're probably right about Memory of Alviis not actually being all that game-breaking due to not having enough MP to cast any of those spells to a high level, so it most likely does carry over on a replay.

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby Alunissage » Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:29 am

The game did get an official Japanese guide, which is why I know the numeric stuff. A lot of very painful kanji lookup was involved. At one time I considered putting the stuff I'd gathered on GameFAQs, along with my collection of mission strategies, but never did. I still need to do a playthrough with Sereb and Bruce instead of Arieta and Lyell to record their conversational options.

Sadly, when I played, a lot of extra things were not yet translated (Sandra's stuff, some novels, the later catgirl scenes), so I didn't have any idea of what was going on with Sandra anyway. That wouldn't be the only place where the presence of a character portrait was confusing; in the Japanese game you can rename Carmaine (since he didn't have a name in I and players might want to name him whatever they named him when playing I), and his character portrait appears when you're given the option. It's pretty early on, when you learn a bit about him from a travelling minstrel. Naturally the renaming option was removed in localization -- why rename a relatively minor character (in this game) and no one else? -- but the presence of the portrait in that scene, before it was fully translated, led to the impression that it was possible to actually recruit him then, which of course it is not. I think the portrait was removed in the final, but am not sure.

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:31 pm

Mostly sticking to the stuff mentioned earlier, but I thought it was worth mentioning that I went back to my Final Fantasy VII save file, ground like crazy, and beat Emerald WEAPON.

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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby ShugoHanasaki » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:04 pm

AkagisWhiteComet wrote:Currently playing:

I'm deep in Tokyo Xanadu ex+. Enjoying it a bit more than Trails of Cold Steel simply for the modern setting over Cold Steel. I do like the noticeable homages to Cold Steel though.

I tried playing Blue Reflection and kind of lost interest. That game really needed a lot of work to be enjoyable.

The typical driving games; Gran Turismo Sport, Project Cars 2, etc. I have a LogiTech G29 wheel and pedal setup for my PS4.


I loved Legend of Heroes! Trails of Cold Steel Part 1 and 2 were awesome! Can't wait for 3 and 4! I saw my friend playing Tokyo Xanadu! I heard a lot of bad things about it. What are your favorite plus things about the game?
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brit
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Re: What Are You Currently Playing?

Postby brit » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:57 pm

Right now I’m working on the following after work:
Lost Sphear, Ni No Kuni 2, Secret of Mana (PS4), Alphadia (3DS), and Trophies in Final Fantasy XIV.
As long as you live there will come a day when you can smile from the heart.


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