Welcome to our Week Two updates for #JRPGJuly, hosted by Chic-Pixel. Last week I shared the progress of all the participants who sent me updates. This week, let's see if the staff made any progress in their current games.
This week I was fairly busy, so I didn't make as much progress in #JRPGJuly as I would have liked. I did get some time in with Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana. At this point I am roughly fifteen hours in, and grinding for the boss in the dungeon known as Atelier Iris. The story has definitely become a lot less funny at this point, but I did manage to take a few more pictures of some of the lighter-hearted moments.
Other than the little bit I played of Atelier Iris: Etermal Mana, I did manage to squeeze in some time with Ar noSurge Plus, which is still very much the same game I reviewed last year, simply on a handheld. The main new features I've noticed are the abundance of costumes, in which right now I have Casty and Delta dressed as a dominatrix duo (WHAT! That's what they look like!), and Ion for whatever reason in her new costume has mad underboob. I can also use the touchscreen during the purification sessions, but I find it awkward... and not because I'm touching Casty's boobs. I know your brain went there, reader, so get it out of the gutter.
The voice acting and localization are still a little special. Zill is still being called 'Jill', and some of the spelling of names is different, but otherwise it seems all right. The music is still absolutely breath taking, and I've been definitely keeping my volume on as I play. This week I powered through Phase 1, and am now beginning Phase 2. Yay, review games!
I hope to have more of a real update with my progress for both titles next week.
You can follow Sam on Twitter (@merrygodown) for more updates.
Last week I wrapped up the original Septentrion story arc, and dived straight into the new Triangulum arc. It was clear from the time I started the story something had gone very, very wrong. The world was supposed to be better – and it definitely wasn’t. Because the game is so new, I’ll leave it at that, because I don’t want to spoil the insanity that follows.
Like the original story arc, the story ultimately comes to a head with a choice, which will impact humanity as a race. To kick things off a little faster, players start at a higher level, and can choose which one of their stats to boost right off the bat; that stat will be 15 while another will be 7, with the other two in the middle, so players may find themselves “rebalancing” their character on their way to level 30.
I also elected to work on Fates (similar to Persona’s social links) that I hadn’t in the original arc, maxing out Ronaldo, Keita, and Otome first. The Triangulum arc also changes how the Fate storyline events work – as people know each other from the first story arc (there’s a reason for this), Fate events now include at least two people, which gives an additional depth to the story.
Of course, there will be several paths to pursue towards that goal, and some of the endings are pretty heartbreaking. I’m looking forward to playing both arcs again at a later time, but for now, I’ve moved on to two other games I’ve been waiting to play!
First up, I always have a game to play on the go, so I jumped right into Pokémon Alpha Sapphire. I bought this right when it came out last year and then promptly lost it in my father in law’s couch for the next eight months. I went with Mudkip as I’ve never had one (ever!) and technically it is the most statistically strong of the three starters. Thus far I’ve ‘rocked’ through the exp candies Geodudes of the first gym and I’m rolling on with one badge.
Next, I’m also playing Atelier Escha & Logy. I played Ayesha Plus earlier in the year and it left me very curious how the next game in the Dusk series would play, as it was a stark departure from the bright and light Arland trilogy. I’ll be talking about it more next week, so for now I’ll just leave you with this screen.
Sadly, this week has not been very productive for me. In Final Fantasy XI, I merely found a leveling spot in Cape Terrigan and fought some raptors and cockitrices to get from level 65 to 69. Still loving the Trust system.
I did get to spend a little more time with Xenoblade 3D and mostly did side quests. Gaur Plains is still a great place to explore, but I have to blame the music for that. Since I don't have any new screenshots, enjoy these musical samples in the meantime.
I didn't get quite as far as I was hoping to, though I don't entirely know how much longer I've got until I finish the Triangulum Arc. I'm currently on Wednesday at 19:30 as I write this, about to face Spica for (probably) the last time. Evidence points to there being three days total, though I'm not sure. There's some spoilerific plot points I can't get into too much detail about, but I am intrigued as to what the whole story is. Will I have this game beaten by next week? We'll see.
Below is a screenshot of my current, haphazard team. While I didn't get enough points to get a discount on the Compendium, I've been using it to re-summon old demons. Most of my roster are 30-38, but Brigid and Badb Catha are 44 and 49, respectively. Nothing has yet been too difficult to fight thanks to being able to summon demons at higher levels than the human characters. The first of the Triangulum, Denebola, did throw an interesting wrinkle in that battle with its resistances. I have to wonder how long this ease during fights will last, though.
Shortly after that boss fight, Miyako Hotsuin formally introduced herself. She's more polite than Yamato and approachable enough for Daichi to try be chummy with her. She does not appreciate being treated so casually, though, and has a ruthless side to her. She's certainly hiding something, likely many somethings, but what those are will have to wait. Amusingly, the protagonist can ask Miyako if she's Yamato in drag in certain events. I haven't seen her response to this, but if she doesn't take kindly to being called "Miyako-chan," I doubt she'll like being called Rule 63 Yamato very much.
Much of Tuesday was spent finding the remaining playable characters and restoring their memories. At this point in the story, though, the ones I can actually use in battle are the hero, Io, Diachi, Hinako, Airi, Joe, Keita, and Jungo. There's been lots of amusing dialogue and interesting introspection on how different the characters' lives are in this world. Having two sets of memories must be awkward, too. I still find how goofy this game is compared to its predecessor odd. I do enjoy games that are lighthearted and don't always take themselves seriously. However, the first Devil Survivor took itself very seriously, and the tone suited it very well. Devil Survivor 2 jives strangely with what the first game's tone. Oh well, it's not as if the first game lacked comic relief, which came mainly in the forms of Midori and Black Frost. Also, the comedic moments are genuinely funny.
Much like Overclocked, I find the voice acting in Record Breaker to be exceptionally good. Granted, we are long past the days where voice acting in video games tended to be awkward at best, but I find that the acting still stands out. The only character who took a little while to grow on me was Io, but that's long since passed. My favorite has to be Benjamin Diskin's as Daichi. He just has that mixture of goofy, dorky, and occasional sarcasm that makes Daichi more realized as a character. His delivery on certain lines is hilarious. Also, yes, I still half-expect Airi to say "Mrgrgr."
To end on a random note: the male Tico's strange capitalization in this screen is likely a reference to the Laplace Mail in the first Devil Survivor. All of the emails ended in "have a nice day," though they would get increasingly more glitchy. I had not heard Tico say that phrase in a noticeably awkward way, but I've been told he loses his accent and it sounds like a voice synthesizer. I'll have to pay more attention next time.
So a smaller amount of progress was made, thanks to two challenging maps. The first involved a relatively tightly enclosed area that was scattered with jars that impeded progress. They could be destroyed with a simple attack, but doing so causes either status ailments to nearby characters, or if lucky, some mild healing. A lot of reinforcements showed up on the map as well, so a lot of careful maneuvering and strategy was required to make sure I had some good units for the final challenging enemies at the top of the map.
The map after this was quite the opposite, a wide open stage with two different approaches into a village area. The openness is a bit of a trap however, as you can quickly get into a situation where your army is too spread out and easily picked off. Choosing one of the paths into the village and carefully using the terrain is vital. Making this even more important is the presence of multiple units that are extremely powerful against certain types of units. The game will highlight these units when moving a character that is weak to them with a handy red exclamation point.
Also this week required some careful consideration on deciding which characters to promote to advanced classes. The main character was obviously a must, but other than that many party members have shown themselves to be quite useful. With only enough gold to get a few upgrade items, it was a tough choice to make. Ultimately, I went with some of the most important units including a healer on horseback. The game continues to be a great time, so there should be more fun battles ahead.
You can follow Mike on Twitter (@AskWheels) for more updates.
Finally got some nice LS/FC people (along with some randoms, cause 8 person fight) to help out with Chrysalis. I watched some videos to prepare, and it honestly looked a lot harder than it actually was. We wiped out the first time because one of the loldps used the limit break because he "wanted to see what it looked like" before we needed it, thus losing in the second phase. But we went on and won the second time and we all did a lot better. It wasn't as bad as I thought, so that was a relief.
Then they helped me with a Hildibrand/Gilgamesh fight, which was strangely funny because of music, but it was also pretty hard. People were turned into chickens or frogs, and we had to keep a couple of them "confused" so we didn't all turn into chickens. Good times!
Hildibrand is my favorite questline of all time, and I'm excited I finally got past that fight to continue on. The following cutscene from the fight made me laugh the entire time. EVERYONE NEEDS TO DO THE HILDIBRAND QUESTS IMMEDIATELY! No excuses. Do eeeeet.
I was also able to get Santasha Hard mode done, which was short cause it can be done uncapped, and two level 60 LS members burned it in the face and I still get credit. It's difficult to heal the anarchist pet who was tanking the last boss, though. Pets don't show up in your party list, so it makes it difficult for healers. But alas, we did it. Hurray!
Closing remarks: FFXI mandragoras are cuter than FFXIV mandragoras. They also speak playstation.
Week Three Wrap Ups — complete! Check back with us next week and see who makes some progress, and who stumbles to get any further. Remember to follow @RPGamer to see some updates, or use #JRPGJuly to get in on the action.