JRPG Catch-All

"Hexes Force"?

Hmmmm, I'm going to go with hex-EEZ.

necroyeti wrote:

Hmmmm, I'm going to go with hex-EEZ.

That sounds like a laxative for strategy gamers.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
necroyeti wrote:

Hmmmm, I'm going to go with hex-EEZ.

That sounds like a laxative for strategy gamers.

Finally - a cure for turtling!

Bah, I've gotten stuck again, 45 hours into Infinite Space, hopefully someone can give me some direction.

Spoiler:

The Lugos have invaded the LMC now. The guy that designed that superweapon was trying to surrender to the Lugovs and I was told to go capture/kill him before he reached the enemy. I did so, but was then trapped by a handful of fleets as I tried to get back to base. The Desmond Gate popped in randomly and in the confusion I got away. We charted a previously unknown course towards the sun, hoping to lose the pursuers in the plasma jets. We got through them but found Ursula waiting for us with her battleship and four shield ships out in front of us. "Luckily" (I totally could have taken her, I think) a reinforcement fleet showed up to rescue us.

I went back to the forward base at Oz and talked to everyone there, but I don't remember getting any sort of mission. I went back to Federation headquarters and handed over the plans to the superweapon. I found out that Lennox was investigating some sort of accident in the next system, so I went there to meet him. He told me that a ship vanished through the gate, but I don't think that he told me to do anything about it, but I think that he is my lead. When I go back to the federation headquarters and go to the third floor someone reminds me in yellow text that Lennox in at Luzir or something like that, but since we talked he has moved on, and I have no idea where he is now.

I have been wondering around for some time now, there aren't any walkthroughs on this yet, so I'm hoping the goodjer collective can help me out.

Bah, once again I figure it out 30 minutes after posting here. Turns out I needed to go to the

Spoiler:

LMC Observatory

Annoyances like this aside, I really am having a great time with this game, it's pretty sweet and I highly recommend it.

GameTrailers did a preview on 3D Dot Game Heroes. I don't think it's actually a jrpg, but I'm sure most of us are interested in the 2d Zelda clone anyways.

The winner of the Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love comic contest was announced today. I didn't win, but I'll be honest that I like mine better (as I would). For reference, here's mine:

IMAGE(http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll59/adam_greenbrier/swars_comic.jpg)

Here's the winner:

IMAGE(http://nisamerica.com/pra/tstore/sakura1.jpg)

And the runner-up:

IMAGE(http://nisamerica.com/pra/tstore/sakura2.jpg)

The winner does a better job of advertising the product than mine, so I'll give it that.

In other news, I've updated the original post to move games from upcoming to released.

The runner-up has a funny punchline, but has a worse-than useless leadup. The whole point of those commercials is to establish the cost of several steps needed to perform the priceless final action, however in his three steps: Hotel Service, Broadway Musical, and Buffet, the first or third step all by itself would get you a large sandwich, and the second step has absolutely nothing to do with anything. None of the steps get him the critter or the child. Now if his first step was going to a zoo or pet store, and the second step was going to an elementary school in a creepy van, then a third step of buffet would lead naturally to the punchline.

I also have another problem with the "Hotel Service" panel. I don't know what kind of crazy ass hotel ties a rope around your neck, puts a hot water bottle on your genitals, then rubs off your nipples with sandpaper, but I never, ever want to go there. I certainly wouldn't pay $65 dollars for it.

I sold my (original) Xbox, so I had a bit of extra cash in my pocket for Sakura Wars. I'll post some impressions tonight or tomorrow after I've had a chance to play it.

Edit: So, I played the first half-hour or so of Sakura Wars before bed last night. I didn't make it to any of the combat portions, yet, but I did get through the first dating sim segment where you're introduced to a few of the characters.

First of all, the game is very Japanese. If Elysium were to be captured by the CIA on suspicion of being a terrorist, this is the game they'd make him play to get him to confess his crimes. The character designs, the way they interact with one another, and even the premise (robot fighting squadron disguised as Broadway musical theatre group?) are straight out of some wacky anime. The Japanese influence is even more apparent since the game is ostensibly set in New York City. Their New York bears almost no resemblance to the real one, but it does look a hell of a lot like Japan.

About that premise: I either hadn't read enough or hadn't read the right things, but I hadn't realized that the game's robot fighting squadron doubled as a musical theatre group. It certainly explains all of the outlandish costumes and sets in the comic competition panels.

The portion of the game I played last night was largely non-interactive dialogue interspersed with well-animated anime-style cutscenes. Occasionally, I was required to select an appropriate answer to a question or response to a situation. You're given a number of choices, or else a range of responses (e.g., from enthusiastic to neutral to negative), and a limited amount of time to respond; for comparison's sake, it's like Mass Effect's dialogue system, but your responses are timed and aren't neatly sorted into obvious Paragon/Renegade/Neutral positions. I'm hoping that the dating-sim portions open up a bit and become more choose-your-own-adventure as time goes by.

I'll post more when I've had time to play through at least a battle or two.

FYI, there is an actual anime that's entitled "Sakura Wars."

LarryC wrote:

FYI, there is an actual anime that's entitled "Sakura Wars."

They're related, actually. Sakura Wars is one of those properties—like Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Bakugan—that you see a lot of in Japan that span many different media.

I have a thirty dollar best buy credit and can't decide if I wanna buy Red Steel 2 or one of the numerous JRPGs that came out over the course of the last month or so: Sakura Wars, Infinite Space, maybe Resonance of Fate, etc etc.

By the by, what's the word on Nier? It's awful close for me to have heard absolutely nothing about.

Also, the winner of that comic contest is god-awful.

Blind_Evil wrote:

By the by, what's the word on Nier? It's awful close for me to have heard absolutely nothing about.

Ask and you shall receive.

Blind_Evil wrote:

I have a thirty dollar best buy credit and can't decide if I wanna buy Red Steel 2 or one of the numerous JRPGs that came out over the course of the last month or so: Sakura Wars, Infinite Space, maybe Resonance of Fate, etc etc.

By the by, what's the word on Nier? It's awful close for me to have heard absolutely nothing about.

Also, the winner of that comic contest is god-awful.

Resonance of Fate is a lot of fun. It's captured my attention pretty well.

I can't really say about Sakura Wars as I'm not far enough into it, yet.

I second Resonance of Fate if you're into JRPGs and want the JRPG experience. That said, Red Steel 2 is awesome and the harbinger of things to come (hopefully). It's the first motion control brawler that feels like it's a brawler rather than just a gratuitous race for points. There's a decent amount of enemies, lots of moves, and enough incentive for you to use most of them, provided that you play the game on Ninja setting.

Sakura Wars is also something that's a bit different. I've been itching for a game on that franchise for a while now, so I'm going to get that, too.

My advice is to get 2 other friends together for a swap system and get them all.

LarryC wrote:

My advice is to get 2 other friends together for a swap system and get them all.

My only gamer pal is not at all into quirky RPGs. Mainstream stuff only for him. And no Wii.

That's unfortunate. Well, if he's into the more mainstream stuff, maybe you can interest him in chipping in for Sky Crawlers. It's a flight combat game from Project Aces - it's pretty good and dirt cheap now. With two or three buddies to share the cost, it's about $10 each and you can even sell the game afterwards.

Shame about Sakura Wars, but it is a niche JRPG game in a Western market. I don't expect it to sell at all regardless of how good it is. Just watch the price drop and pick it up when it's cheap enough.

Dirty, I know, but at least you're buying, right?

EDIT: Ah, yes no Wii. Really? He's missing out. Like, majorly.

I actually already own Sky Crawlers. Good stuff.

If it influences your decision at all, Sakura Wars is only $30 new (for the Wii; it's $40 for the PS2, which is actually the superior version here).

I can't find Sands of Destruction or Infinte Space anywhere.

And I only managed to find SMT Strange Journey in one store in my city.

What is going on with DS RPGs?

Sega published both of the first two, and they seem determined not to sell their games. I went to Best Buy once looking for SoD, turns out they were only selling it online. SMT...well that's a SMT game. That's how they are.

I finally reached a combat section in Sakura Wars (1:30 on the game clock; forewarned is forearmed). The combat mechanics are decent if unspectacular. I'll admit, though, that I'm a bit biased; it's weird and a little disappointing to be getting such a basic tutorial fight an hour-and-a-half into the game.

Combat is turn-based, and each of your characters gets their own turn. You start each round with a set number of mobility points (I think it's ten), and every action you take uses up a certain number of points: moving, attacking, performing special maneuvers, etc. If you've played any sort of tactical game with an action point system (Fallout springs to mind first), you'll know exactly how this works. The only unique features that Sakura Wars brings to the table, as near as I can tell, are its stat system and joint attacks. Stats in this game aren't determined by experience levels or the like but are instead based on the characters' relationships with the protagonist and with one another; the better they get along with your character, the better they'll do overall, and the better they get along with one another, the more powerful their joint attacks will be. Joint attacks are basically special attacks performed by any two characters on the field; they're more powerful than regular special attacks, but they require that the targeted enemy be within range of both characters.

That said, I'm going to put Sakura Wars on hold until I can get a classic controller of some kind. Frankly, Sakura Wars on the Wii is a second-rate PS2 port and suffers for not being played with two analog sticks. The dating sim portions of the game occasionally have quicktime events that require you to manipulate two control sticks in certain ways (e.g., making half-turns or quarter-turns, or moving them up and down rapidly). These are difficult to do well on the Wiimote's d-pad and make portions of the game unnecessarily difficult. While I admire that the game is waggle-free, there have to have been better ways of controlling those sections. The game's PS2 roots also show in the video display: some of the backgrounds are blurry and obviously interlaced at 480p, and the game doesn't support 16:9 at all, not even offering bumpers to keep the image at a 4:3 aspect ratio.

You don't have a classic controller for the Wii, yet?

It sucks that the Wii version is the lazy port. You'd think they'd lead on the current-gen platform, at least. Leading on the PS2 SKU would make a lot more sense if PS3s were still backward compatible.

LarryC wrote:

You don't have a classic controller for the Wii, yet? ;)

No. And I'm irritated now because I spent the last week looking for one and couldn't find one locally. Nintendo has discontinued them in favor of the Classic Controller Pro coming out next month. I'll probably still get an old one off Amazon because I like the SNES-style design.

Yeah, that's why I got one as soon as the PRO got announced. The writing was on the wall for the Classic right then. The only way to play games like Muramasa and Tat vs. Capcom is with a Classic (or a fight stick), and I was concerned with the Aces game being only playable on dual analog controls. RPG's, too. As it turns out, my choice was more prescient than I expected.

You actually like the classic controller? I thought the thing was incredibly uncomfortable. Wavebird/GameCube controller all the way for me.

I have the GameCube, but can't find a Wavebird anywhere. Never liked the GameCube controller. It pissed me off major that I can't play GameCube games with the Classic. The GameCube controller's buttons were too clicky, and sometimes they'd catch. Could just be my unit, but since I've already bought three such units with identical problems, I don't think so.

I liked the Classic very well - about as much as the Dual Shock, actually. I'd actually like the 360 Controller better than both because the triggers on the 360 Controller are better, except that the 360 Controller's dpad is hellishly awful, and I like using the dpad. Shame, really.

The Classic has, by far, the best feeling dpad of them all, which makes up for the slightly less ergonomic form factor.

garion333 wrote:

You actually like the classic controller? I thought the thing was incredibly uncomfortable. Wavebird/GameCube controller all the way for me.

I prefer the GC controller, it's really one of my favorites all time, but either is fine.

I love the GameCube controller (although the Z button sticks, like LarryC said), but not all games that support the classic controller also support the GameCube controller. Rune Factory Frontier and Sakura Wars, for instance.

I'm seven or eight hours into Resonance of Fate on the 360, and it has my hearty endorsement. I agree with whichever reviewer it was that said it's difficult to imagine this game spawning too many knock-offs or sequels, though. The combat mechanics are a lot of fun, but they're done so well here that it's difficult for me to imagine how they'd be refined or extended. Typically, you'll see game mechanics take hold that are either incompletely realized the first time around or are so flexible as to be applicable in almost any setting; the mechanics of Resonance of Fate are neither of these. I can't help but think that this is a fascinating one-off experience.

In other news, RPGGamer has an interview with Aksys Games about Record of Agarest War. They're really pushing the sex appeal of this one, but it sounds like it has some interesting mechanics:

Q: What makes Record of Agarest War different from other tactical RPGs? How does it compare with other TRPGs on the market?

A: Extended Areas allow you to link with other members during your current character's turn, if they're in the right formation. It can open up a lot more strategic options, such as having a slower character act sooner or allowing a party member who's out of range to join in the attack. Because of this mechanic, you'll often find yourself deciding between a defensive layout of your troops or an offensive battle formation, trying to link as many characters as you can for a focused attack.

The Soul Breeding system is something you don't see too often here in the States. Most JRPGs are very linear in their story, usually having one, set heroine or love interest. Agarest gives you more control over that and gives you a choice.

As for how Agarest compares to others in the genre, I'll leave that for the gamers to decide. I will say that it has a lot of things that are expected of it: 80+ hours of gameplay for a single playthrough, multiple story paths, multiple endings, monster collection, a gallery, and a new game+.

Q: Since this game focuses on generations, how much does the gameplay change as the generations transform? How are generational changes handled in game?

A: The gameplay mechanics don't change as much as you think, aside from the usual increase in the variety of items, spells, monsters, and Extended Areas. The most drastic change comes with the characters, setting, and plot. Each generation is pretty much a self-contained story, though there is an overarching goal linking all of them together.