Welcome to our final update for #JRPGJuly, hosted by Chic-Pixel. In this last instalment, staff share their final thoughts about the event and the games they played.
Annnnd Platinum Trophy GET for #ArnoSurgePlus! #JRPGJuly pic.twitter.com/Z9wXIa5fbX
— Sam Wachter (@merrygodown) July 26, 2015
This was my crowning achievement for the week. I managed to platinum Ar nosurge Plus. It didn't take me as long as I thought it would, but I'm happy with the results. I saw more of the game this time around, and story really grew on me in this second playthrough. Other than platinuming Ar nosurge Plus, I didn't really play any games this week, just noodling around with Sword Art Online: Re: Hollow Fragment, which is an odd duck of a game.
This means I beat two games during the event: Shin Megami Tensei IV and Ar nosurge Plus. I wanted to go back to Atelier Iris this week but I remembered I was at a part where I needed to do some heavy duty grinding, which I wasn't in the mood for. I enjoyed all the games I tried out during the event, and I hope #JRPGJuly runs again next year!
You can follow Sam on Twitter (@merrygodown) for more updates.
After two weeks of radio silence, I've emerged on the other end of EWII with a chestful of medals and most of a squad of heroes.
I enjoyed Valkyria Chronicles at lot. I've grown to accept the tonal clashes between modern warfare and archetypal anime sweetness as a benefit rather than a distracting splinter. The characters have grown on me, especially Largo and Rosie. Their solid stats helped, but in the end it was gentleness and earnestness than won me over. I would've appreciated more side chapters to explore the stories of the secondary members of my squad (e.g. Dallas, Coby, Wendy, Wavy.)
These bombs are important. #JRPGJuly pic.twitter.com/gcx9jHlgbx
— Zach Welhouse (@ZachRPG) July 21, 2015
Michael A Cunningham
When I first jumped back into Final Fantasy XI during the return campaign, I wasn't really sure what I was going to do. There was a lot of content I never got into, despite having finished the main storyline. There was additional story content for each nation still left to do as well as five expansions that I'd barely touched. I figured I would just play for a week, remember what made me quit the first time around, and move out. So when I brought my retired level 60 Warrior back into Vana'diel, my first goal was to try different jobs and see what I thought. It didn't take very long to get back into the swing of things and I level quite a few jobs up to 60 and collected their Artifact Armor (the cool looking armor that looks like the classic Final Fantasy jobs). I leveled up Samurai, Monk, and Dark Knight, but truly fell in love with the Dancer job.
Over the month of #JRPGJuly, I finished the nation missions and started in on the other expansions. I figured I wouldn't finish everything in a month, but I wanted to see how much progress I could make. My focus was on the main nations and the Wings of the Goddess, but once I got Rank 10 I started on the Zilart missions. I've gone from level 60 to level 84 on Dancer and went from needing high level help to being able to solo content. I fought through most all of the Zilart content solo and tackled the final boss at level 80 and didn't win. Four levels later, I was ready to try it again and almost didn't make it. The last boss has two forms, and I was using Trusts (NPCs characters that you can summon as party members. I brought two healers and lost one at the end of the first form. Going into the second form, my tank was taken out really quickly and I was bound and unable to move. I thought I was dead when the boss showed up right behind me and attacked, but I was able to break free and using a Curing Waltz to bring my HP up to safe levels. My second healer was getting low on MP and my mage was out, having blasted the first form to death for me. It was back and forth with me and my healer taking turns getting heals in while I built up for a special weapon skill. I finally had the boss down to about 10% health and got one last heal in to boost me up. I used a skill that gave me a shot to use one last weapon skill and the boss was at just a sliver of health. My healer was completely out of MP, I was a few hits from death now, and the boss was readying a powerful attack, when suddenly my mage had recovered just enough MP to cast one last spell. And that was it, one Stone IV later the boss was dead and I had beaten the final Zilart mission.
While #JRPGJuly might be ending, my time with Final Fantasy XI isn't. I plan to work my way through the rest of the expansions and reach level 99 with full relic gear to consider the game beaten. Then I can eventually work my way back to Final Fantasy XIV to finish off the new main storyline quests and dive into the Heavensward expansion, too. I might take some time before that, though. For now, I'm loving Final Fantasy XI, because everything I hated about it when I quit is gone. You can solo things, there's no waiting on parties, and the time it takes to get around the world has been cut into a fraction of what it once was. Now excuse me, Zeidome has to practice his dances.
#JRPGJuly #FFXI I love how much you can solo in this game. pic.twitter.com/UK2xuRhSKW
— Michael A Cunningham (@FinalMacstorm) July 29, 2015
I finally finished the Triangulum Arc for Record Breaker over the weekend. I could have kept a save around the deciding point for the ending, but due to various bonus bosses in Devil Survivor, I prefer to tackle new endings on subsequent playthroughs so that my demons are strong enough for them. I leveled Akira, my protagonist just enough to be able to fuse Amaterasu. Kohryu requires the protagonist to be 87 though, and I had no need to be that high in my first playthrough, awesome dragon or not. I mistakenly called it "Huang Long" in a previous update. Both names translate to "yellow dragon," and refer to the same celestial creature in Chinese constellations. I have no idea why it is translated as “Kohryu” in some MegaTen games and “Huang Long” in others.
Below is a snapshot of my final setup for the last boss, at least demons wise. I didn't actually take Otome to the final battle. The last boss was quite the cakewalk thanks to my demons and party members’ levels. It was still a fun fight due to the layout of the maps, but Polaris was tougher. I started a new playthrough and transferred over four of my demons, Hecate, Amaterasu, Culebre, and Garuda. I may continue in several months to a year, depending on whether or not a third game is announced within a year‘s time.
Overall, I'm pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker. While I knew I would like this game, I didn’t think it would raise my opinion on the sequel all that much. The gameplay is still as solid as ever, but as I stated in a previous update, I'm amazed at how much I came to really like the cast as compared to the original version. I also came to like Miyako quite a bit, despite a rocky start. Some of the new music tracks are good too, especially "Triangulum." I still think Overclocked is the superior game with its better story, characters, and music, but I do have a newfound respect and love for the sequel.
To end on a final, somewhat random note, here's Daichi playing with what looks a lot like a Comp from Devil Survivor Overclocked. It could also just be a 3DS, since that's what the Comp in that port was made to resemble. While the system itself is a cute Easter egg, the game Daichi appears to be playing is more so. It's difficult to make out, and he never says the game's name, but it looks to be "Devil Buster." An in-universe video game called "Devil Busters" has appeared in the series a few times, mainly Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei II and Persona 3, though that latter one gets changed to "Innocent Sin Online" in the localized version. It is also a term for an organization in a few other games.
With Record Breaker done, I continued EarthBound Beginnings, a game I still prefer to call Mother. It just seems fitting that after I finish a recent Japanese RPG that actually takes place in Japan, I then play an old Japanese RPG that takes place in a fictionalized United States. I have played this game twice, both the ROM of the prototype and on Mother 1+2 for the GBA. Sadly, this version lacks some of the conveniences of the GBA version, like just pressing A on anything to talk or check something without having to choose from a menu. Anyway, it's still neat that we finally got this game after all of these years. I mentioned this in a few places, but EarthBound Beginnings is so far my favorite RPG from the 80s. It definitely hasn't aged well, but there's just so much of the charm that EarthBound on the SNES inherited. It's a quirky game with a unique premise and setting for its time. Heck, its story is still original compared to today's games. The localization is quite rough, but there’s more effort in the script than you would expect from a game made in the late 80s/early 90s. It is genuinely funny and clever in spots. Maybe if the game were actually complete, those grammar issues would have been ironed out. This being the game that it is, though, much grinding is needed, money and EXP are fairly low, encounter rates are crazy high, and what I find most frustrating of all, the inventory is too darn small. Poorly aged or not, I do enjoy this game, and not just in a historical sense.
I'm going to keep playing EBB until at least August 1. I'm not sure if I'll continue after it. I still have quite the backlog of newer games to play. Mother is easy to play on the Wii U pad while watching something else, so maybe I will continue it while also playing something on the 3DS. Either way, #JRPGJuly was a blast, even if it wasn't a break in my usual gaming habits. It was certainly fun to share it with you all. I hope you enjoyed whatever games you played and got some amusement out of my ramblings.
It certain has been an interesting #JRPGJuly with Fire Emblem If. I've yet to finish, so I won't be stopping with it any time soon. Progress did slow down, but this is just the nature of a game like Fire Emblem to some extent.
I'm now in the meaty parts of the game, where my party of available characters is well beyond the allowed size in any mission. That's a lot of characters to manage between missions and I'm still agonizing over which characters to promote.
What should you, dear reader, take away from this? Fire Emblem If is proving to be a fantastic game, taking the many good things Awakening did right and mixing in some style from the earlier games. Missions have kept me on my toes as there are rarely any straightforward battles with no twists or other interesting parameters. The last battle saw me in enclosed area with enemies is two directions to deal with, and I also had to track down an enemy character disguised as a neutral unit. This is all while an amount of reward gold ticks down the longer you take. It's going to be a long wait for the localized versions of Fire Emblem If!
You can follow Mike on Twitter (@AskWheels) for more updates.
The following exchange sums up my experience with Radiant Historia this week:
My verdict on Radiant Historia is that the story and characters are very interesting, but the adventuring environments are dull, dull, dull. Boring cave, boring sewers, incredibly dull giant desert fortress... yeeeah. I think I would have preferred it as a visual novel. I do hope to finish it eventually, but my boredom whenever I'm set loose to explore and fight is making progress very slow. I'm glad I took this opportunity to try it, though!
You can follow Becky on Twitter (@BeckyCFreelance) for more updates.
It's hard to write about what I'm going through right now without spoilers. If you haven't gotten this far in Final Fantasy XIV yet, prepare for feels. SO MANY FEELS. Look at my pissy feely face.
I am also catching up on Hildibrand quests, because let's face it. It's the best side story in the game, and sometimes one just needs a break from the feels.
This week I did a butt load of duties. (So many puns, so little time.) A lot of duty finder quests to complete along with the story duty finders. Four of us from my Free Company were able to do most of the duties uncapped to get through them pretty fast. I think we did Garuda Extreme in like 7 mins. It was crazy. These are the ones that gift ponies, but it didn't drop. :(
Thursday night I got through as much 2.55 content as possible. It's getting pretty creepy and pretty good. Like a mystery novel. In the many times I had to run back to Minfilia, I would always seem to get distracted as to why she would never sit in her chair, but always just stand next to it.
Much like the distraction of Aymeric's hotness in Coerthas. He's a major storyline player. Rough around the edges, but he means well. He also graces the Heavensward button.
Aside from distractions, I had to do one of those "find all these random NPCs in this area and fake talk to them" story quests. Can I just say how I hate those? I can always find the first few, cause they're the easiest, but then they hide one or two of them in really difficult places. So after running around Mor Dhona for 20 minutes unsuccessfully looking for the last NPC, I had to consult the internets. Luckily, one page proved fruitful in my quest in the location of the last guy. They stuck him upstairs in a place where no one ever goes, because there's nothing up there. Afterwards, I fumed angrily and then pouted on a ledge, like one does.
After many other running-around-type quests, I have gotten to the Steps of Faith. The last great battle of 2.55. You're basically fighting underneath the belly of a dragon on all fours. With adds. Lots of dragon babies. It's an 8-person fight, and whilst it's been nerfed since 3.0 came out, it was still a pretty annoying fight, because all get dragon butt a lot of the time. I had watched a video beforehand to figure out what to expect. If you read my week two report, I had some lolDPS in the last major story battle. Well, that has happened again. I spent most of the time releasing and running back to the dragon. Luckily with this fight, you can release, come back and continue in the boss fight. Usually if you release in a boss fight you are locked out of the arena until the party either wipes or wins. Not the case in this one, which made it easier for us white mages not to have to worry about raising people. The other white mage was getting pretty pissed at the tanks for not keeping hate off the healers, while some of my FC (Free Company) members were pretty upset at the DPS for not using the cannons to kill the adds, which inevitably kept killing the white mages. I would die, run back, cast esuna a bunch of times on the tanks cause poisons, hit a Medica II and then die. Release, run back, heal the tanks, die 10 seconds later, rinse, repeat. It was really messy, but we ended up winning for some reason. The other white mage gave me a player commendation, and one tank gave me one. Maybe cause of all the death, and the heals that barely kept him alive until I died.
I didn't take any screenshots, I think I was too frustrated with the whole fight. Dying every 10 seconds does that to you..
Pretty close to the end of 2.55 I had a lot of cutscenes to go through. However, this is the first time I've ever seen a warning about them. Square Enix is like, "Wait. There's these really long cutscenes, so you should set some time aside to make sure you watch all of them." I've sat through some long ones in my day, but never seen a warning due to length. I've been told these are like a movie. An hour to an hour and a half of sequential cutscenes. I decided not to do these now. (It was about midnight at the time.) They will have to wait untiltomorrow (Friday), when I can get some food, relax, sit back and watch a FFXIV movie while hitting A on my controller.
You can follow Sarah on Twitter @yournoodleface for more updates.
That's a wrap on #JRPGJuly! I want to thank Anne Lee (@apricotsushi) for sharing the event with us and the rest of the world. I also want to thank the staff members that participated throughout the month, as they put in a lot of hard work to share their love for the genre these past few weeks. We hope you enjoyed this event, played some JRPGs, made some new friends, and we'll see you next year!