JRPGs that Aren't Final Fantasy Catch-All 2.0

Gameplay rundown of Blue Reflection: Second Light.

I'm so burnt out on CrossCode. The first 50-70% had me incredibly invested. It has such clever writing and mechanics. It's genuinely something amazing!

But I'm approaching 50 hours and I'm just at the final dungeon now. I had a quick look at a guide and idk if I have it in me to finish.

I love the story, so I set the enemy difficulty down to low about 3 hours ago...but that doesn't make the puzzles any less arduous.

I want to see the end and I feel like I should just smash it out in a single sitting, but these long puzzles are making me resent the game. I'm a firm believer in not playing games of they stop being fun but I need to see the story.

I hate when a game is just too long and it ruins the experience. As incredible as CrossCode is, the pacing and flow between events is a huge sore spot. Maybe I should just watch the final 2-3 hours on YouTube while I play FFXIV or something -_-.

Anyway, I still recommend it but I may have approached it differently had I known it was such a grueling commitment when I started. Sigh.

A_Unicycle wrote:

I'm so burnt out on CrossCode. The first 50-70% had me incredibly invested. It has such clever writing and mechanics. It's genuinely something amazing!

But I'm approaching 50 hours and I'm just at the final dungeon now. I had a quick look at a guide and idk if I have it in me to finish.

I love the story, so I set the enemy difficulty down to low about 3 hours ago...but that doesn't make the puzzles any less arduous.

I want to see the end and I feel like I should just smash it out in a single sitting, but these long puzzles are making me resent the game. I'm a firm believer in not playing games of they stop being fun but I need to see the story.

I hate when a game is just too long and it ruins the experience. As incredible as CrossCode is, the pacing and flow between events is a huge sore spot. Maybe I should just watch the final 2-3 hours on YouTube while I play FFXIV or something -_-.

Anyway, I still recommend it but I may have approached it differently had I known it was such a grueling commitment when I started. Sigh.

If you go to watch it, I would recommend Wanderbots, who did a pretty good job doing an LP of the game while also voicing all the character dialog with some help for the female characters.

A_Unicycle wrote:

I'm so burnt out on CrossCode. The first 50-70% had me incredibly invested. It has such clever writing and mechanics. It's genuinely something amazing!

But I'm approaching 50 hours and I'm just at the final dungeon now. I had a quick look at a guide and idk if I have it in me to finish.

I love the story, so I set the enemy difficulty down to low about 3 hours ago...but that doesn't make the puzzles any less arduous.

I want to see the end and I feel like I should just smash it out in a single sitting, but these long puzzles are making me resent the game. I'm a firm believer in not playing games of they stop being fun but I need to see the story.

I hate when a game is just too long and it ruins the experience. As incredible as CrossCode is, the pacing and flow between events is a huge sore spot. Maybe I should just watch the final 2-3 hours on YouTube while I play FFXIV or something -_-.

Anyway, I still recommend it but I may have approached it differently had I known it was such a grueling commitment when I started. Sigh.

I very much feel you on this. I played a ton of it via Gamepass, and then recently purchased it because I want to support the developer's efforts. But I could NOT bring myself to redo a lot of the puzzle mechanics and stuff I knew were in the dungeons. It's a shame, because they're very cleverly designed, but damn if they're not also frustrating as crap. Some of the later ones were just infuriating with regards to timing, even with the accessibility turned up to the max.

No shame in just seeing the content!

It really is such a shame.

These are THE BEST puzzles I've ever seen in a game like this. Every single one is so cleverly designed, and perfectly logical.

But there's just no downtime. You aren't allowed much breathing space to relish the satisfaction of finishing a cool room.

Gonna give it a few days break and see how I feel later. YouTube or not.

Also Ty for the above LP recommendation!

I finished the second temple (Faj'ro) over the weekend. I'm still enjoying the game, but by the end a couple of the more demanding dexterity/timing puzzles annoyed me. I guess it's going to get worse from here?

That temple is, by far, the longest and most tedious. The next few are half as long and so much more enjoyable.

If you're playing on console, I'd recommend turning the puzzle speed down by 20%. I found the dexterity puzzles a lot more manageable when slightly slower (any more and you'll likely be waiting too long for orbs to fly around).

You'll reach a raid soon. That's the absolute high-point. It's sooo good. The story really kicks off (you'll know when it happens). The "red" area is easily my favourite part of the game so enjoy!

Thanks, that's encouraging. I ended up doing the temple in 3 sittings because it was quite a bit longer than I expected. Looking forward to diving back in this week!

Tiny little interesting bit of news: DQXII will be co-developed with Orca again as they're hiring. I don't know anything about them except they've worked on DQXI and Ace Combat 7. AC7 was my first AC combat game and I loved it, so Orca gets a thumbs up from me, as a support studio.

Aha, turns out Orca was founded by a producer at Cavia, a company best known for the Korg DS-10 synths for the DS. Love those apps. Oh, and that Nier game.

ComfortZone wrote:

I finished the second temple (Faj'ro) over the weekend. I'm still enjoying the game, but by the end a couple of the more demanding dexterity/timing puzzles annoyed me. I guess it's going to get worse from here?

+1 on the slow down the puzzles thing if you need it. Honestly, the most annoying thing to me is getting around to all the high points on the outdoor maps, which is only sometimes required, but feels like you always need to get to them.

Yeah some of those outdoor maps I find hard to interpret as well, but I'm not forcing myself to reach every chest. Related question - as far as I can tell, there are no movement upgrades in the game. So in theory, I should be able to reach every high point at any stage in the game?

Did Fantasian (Apple Arcade) get much play here? It seems like a spiritual successor to Lost Odyssey, although perhaps not as mature as that game. I'm liking it quite a lot, 5 hours in. The turn-based combat is interesting so far. A lot of attacks are area based (straight/curved lines, circular spaces), so positioning your attacks among groups of enemies is key. Reminds me of the Legend of Heroes games. Just the lack of spoken dialog seems odd considering the overall production values.

I so dearly wish I could play it. My iPad isn't new enough and I have no plans on buying an iPhone. Crossing my fingers for a Switch/Android release...

Mac and Apple TV are also options. Actually, it wasn't until I was reading more about it today that I realised it wasn't just iOS. Impressive!

It makes me wish for a port of Lost Odyssey to Apple Arcade!

Given how many Apple Arcade titles make it to Switch, I am mostly waiting for it to make that jump to play and hopefully enjoy.

Ok, I'll be blunt. I'm 5 hours deep into Tales of Vesperia and I'm hating it, is this really the series peak?

The writing feels so shallow and juvenile. Skits are non-stop, and I just can't bring myself to care about them.

The combat not only feels slow, but also lacking in strategy. I've read that this game is supposed to be similar to a fighting game?I understand I'm very early on, but first impressions are very rough. I'm just mashing attacks into artes, and everything feels exactly the same.

How long should I be giving this? I told myself I'd see it through to the 10-hour mark but I don't know if I want to sacrifice that much time.

Maybe I'm just in a ~mood~ due to my last game burning me out. I do want to enjoy this, but something needs to happen soon to stop me dropping it

A lot of it was time and place. For me, this was the first game where the combat actually felt good (compared to Abyss and Symphonia). Later games have improved on it. It was also a very early 360 game and looked amazing compared to anything else in the JRPG space at the time. I think if I went back now I would enjoy it for the nostalgia but, objectively, it's probably not the best Tales game anymore.

Maybe give it a go at a later date. The writing won't suddenly get better, but if the PIPE SMOKING DOG doesn't at least keep you entertained then there's really no hope.

The combat is overly complex for no reason leading to button mashing because it was before they fully dropped the Linear part of the combat design. Once you are free to move in 3d space during combat things begin to feel better. Vesperia falls into the middle period where it's partially 3d while retaining the 2d stuff.

And, yes, you can button mash through all their games, but if you slow it down and try to perform certain actions then you will find more depth to the combat. The game is simply too easy to force you to learn its depth.

Don't mistake my post as a ringing endorsement, I'm not a big fan of the game but I didn't play it on release.

And don't feel the need to view all the skits.

So I played Vesperia last Decemberish, and got up to the point where I finished Act 1. My Switch says 15 hours, so it may be a bit more. I moved on from it at that point and haven't gone back. And it really didn't get better up to that point. The protagonist is basically carrying the game up to that point (and he does some more interesting stuff later on), but if that isn't getting you there now, it's not going to change for awhile.

I had basically all the complaints you did, although I was much harsher on the combat; too slow, doesn't really flow at all, etc. And since it's one of the main things you do in that game, it needed to be better. I think I saw on other forums where you can make things faster and more fluid if you get good at animation cancelling, but I didn't pull that off.

My guess, and I've only played a few games in the series (Symphonia 1 back in the day, Symphonia 2 which we don't talk about, and Abyss which was pretty good), is that it was the high water mark when it came out where all the elements were good and it was well rounded, which not all the games in the series are. But I think the march of time has not necessarily been kind to ToV, and many games that have come out since do the different parts of Vesperia much better than it did.

I would still be interested in revisiting it with the JRPG club, but I probably wouldn't go back to it on my own, and I'm normally very much a 'try to finish what I start' gamer.

I have it sitting on the Switch pile but haven't started it. I did love the games right after it, Graces F and Xillia. Oh sweet Xillia. I still think I need to play Xillia 2 and say goodbye to my PS3.

I finished Vesperia in 2019, but I played it over a long period of time. I would say that if you're not enjoying it after 5 hours it's not going to suddenly change your mind later on. The characters and story do get more interesting in acts 2 and 3, but to me it was really about the simple charms of an old fashioned jrpg. I never really figured out the combat, and button mashed my way through most of it.

I bounced off of Tales of Vesparia after a few hours. It wasn't feeling good and my time is too precious.

I did play the demo of Tales of Arise, and that felt much better. I hope to start that up in a few weeks.

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Sounds like dropping Vesperia is the way to go.

I can see the appeal for some, but it's not for me.

I played Vesperia for a bunch of hours last year. It was actually a game that my wife was really interested in, so we bought it as a 2-player game. It was bright, and fun, but eventually we both dropped it. For me, I think part of it was that the story didn't make a whole lot of sense. Yeah, I got the overall story of Yuri chasing down the stolen McGuffin, but a lot of the beat-by-beat story felt like a little kid telling a tale: and then this happened! And then this happened! And I kept feeling like "who are these guys? What's going on?"

I will say, though, that because my wife was player 1 and handled Yuri, I dug into Estelle, and then eventually Rita, and really enjoyed her fighting style. Playing as some character other than the main actually helped me get away from button mashing and learn the battle system better. But the game was NOT friendly about adding a second controller. That was a whole process the first time I tried to do it.

Huh, I had no idea co-op was available in the game!

For what it's worth, the story does ramp up and become more coherent later on. It actually presents some real dilemmas about reliance on non-renewable resources, at least a little beyond the usual JRPG tropes. And Yuri develops more as a character in ways I wasn't expecting. But yeah, it takes a while to get there.

It’s a spoiler but in the Axe of the Blood God Tales rankings it made it to

Spoiler:

first place.

The Great Tales Ranking, Part 2
The time code is: 1:26:30

You could listen to the segment and see why they like it.

Well, I was expecting Scarlet Nexus on Game Pass, but I wasn't expecting it this soon.

Guess I might be playing that after I finish Lost Judgment.

Now I'm really thinking it'll be wise to hold out on Tales of Arise.

ccesarano wrote:

Well, I was expecting Scarlet Nexus on Game Pass, but I wasn't expecting it this soon.

Guess I might be playing that after I finish Lost Judgment.

Now I'm really thinking it'll be wise to hold out on Tales of Arise.

That trailer didn’t help me understand what kind of game this is, but that song had me dancing in my seat.

Second Blue Reflection: Second Light promotional video

Finally confirms that Yuzu and Lime will be returning, but it also shows one of Blue Reflection Ray's villains is also returning. That's three-ish characters coming in from the anime (-ish because a fourth character was introduced as more of a cameo than a character in the story).

I'm keeping an eye on Tales of Arise for impressions and price cut because it has been pushed WAAAY back on my list due to trying to play 3 RPGs prior: Kingdoms of Amalur Re-Reckoning, Persona 5 Royal, and Atelier Ryza 2.

I'm actually splitting time between the first two since they are so different, but I feel like I will give Ryza more attention. I will buy Arise if it drops to $20 before I get through with all 3. I honestly wasn't impressed with the Tales of Arise demo, but I've heard such great things about the game. My issue was that the battle system felt too chaotic (not helped by the constant screaming of attack names). I think part of that issue is that the demo just drops you in with all those characters and you don't know how to use their attacks to the fullest. I had no idea how to strategize for the enemies. So, unless Happy Console Gamer says he hates it, I'll get it on sale - I don't normally make decisions based off any reviewer, but this is basically his domain of gaming and at the time of this post, his is the only impression that I have not seen from the people I trust for JRPGs.