Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark (FFT-alike) aka "throw stone" memo

First, I have to come clean: they call it throw rock in FS:AM and it's an inventory item that's available to everyone [ie, as opposed to a skill].

What is Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark? It's a tight indie package reminiscent of FFT:TWoTL. You have jobs that you can transition your soldiers, including the starting three story companions and the two template healer/mage chars, in and out of. You can hire more characters if you want. I'd advise adding at least a handful. Or more, I ain't your supervisor!

The core build-a-soldier hustle goes something like this:
-Different stat growth for each job / class
-Your primary [current active] class earns the bulk of promotion points
-You can have a secondary class -- PB&J them together however you want
-Advanced classes will have all sorts of prerequisites to meet first though
-Each job has multiple skills you can rank up [well, down]through, often in a left side vs right side tree
-You can buy both the L and R skills in a tier if you want; trade off is slower unlocking of tiers down the tree
-Each class has two passives and a counter skill on top of their abilities and spells -- see below

Straight from the wiki: "Each character can have a total of 4 passives. 2 passives are automatically set from the character's current class, as long as they have spent the AP to unlock that passive ability. The remaining 2 can be selected from any passive the character has learned, regardless of their class."

You read that correctly, (2) of those don't have to be from your active primary or secondary class. Crazy combos and job ladder climbing, just to loop back to quirky combos on earlier base classes, galore.

Also, IIRC, you can have one extra counter skill assigned outside of your primary class' counter skill.

Just the passives are here, but you can click to each class from the list to eyeball all abilities: https://fellseal.gamepedia.com/Passives

Writing is sharp and generally won't offend your brain. It's a throwaway setting though, but you likely guessed that part already. It's serviceable enough to nudge you forward.

What else... oh, there's limited crafting and those items are reusable each battle (potions, rocks, etc etc). I sort of like it when games help break me of the potion hoarding.

Oh! some of the portraits are a bit goofy, but you can mix and match their outfits, hats, skin tone etc on the soldiers you create. As far as I can tell all classes (except for the separate lord and lady) can be set to M or F for soldier variety.

Ok, righty-o, might add more later. This dual wielding flintlock knight with magic isn't going to build himself.

ps. various outlets still have it on a ~ 15% off sale. Steam [pure convenience example] $25.49 USD right now.

It's no triple AAA, but it's proving to be a really great gem so far. What, start laundry before Monday? Hells to the no, it's only 11:30 and I gots jobs to grind for little pixel people.

edit-edit: based on feedback, slight title change

I’ll watch some videos and read some reviews in anticipation of a Switch release. I’ve been burned by quite a few games using the FFT name as inspiration and falling well short of my expectations, so I’m not holding my breath for greatness.

My reading indicates there [was?] a planned Switch release ; I'm unclear on when that has slipped to :/ It certainly strikes me as a good fit. The 6 Eyes Studio site indicates an XBOne and PS4 release.

As to the game, it's entirely 'budget' indie on the production visuals, but well received thus far as to Steam ratings, for what that may be worth -- "very positive", currently. Also appears to have made it to GOG.

If we're talking the original FFT then, yeah, that's a tough mark to hit. Then again I'm still a sucker for the whole 'ye olde "spoony bard" zaniness of WotL on top of it having a damn fine Jtactics core. Again, FS:AM is serviceable and I find the dialogue sharp and the mechanics well done but it's sort of a guilty please at $25 considering it's not on portable [yet]. Story is pretty throw-away though.

There are a fair amount of custom tweaks you can make to difficult in regards to things like how buff they get with items, bonus levels, abilities, wounds/permadeath, extra elite unit on map, potion and ressurection use etc. Also, AI seems decent once you start facing troops spawning in with better abilities for the scenarios.

I just had a dickens of a time with a mage/scoundrel and and archer plus some armored units on some steep terrain. Bastard archer kept hitting me with a root ability while the scoundrel-mage would run down the hill and troll me with AOE spells or backstabs then hoof it up the hill between two armored units who were just sort of camping there waiting for me to come up, halfway. Their damn healer spent half the fight sitting at the very top, further back, passed the harriers where the enemies would retreat and run back up the hill for heals.

It was amusing seeing as most of the other fights, thus far, were essentially warm up positioning / flanking tetris on the field -- damage is different based on front, sides, or back. Anyways, I just shoved a unit off a cliff and drowned another in water -- so it has my interest for now ;-P

Steam reviewer who laid things out in their first para allayed some of my worries:

People compare almost every tactical RPG to Final Fantasy Tactics where it's pretty much a cliche. In my book most games don't quite scratch the same itch. NIS's games like Disgaea are more about grind than combat tactics, Fire Emblem plays more like a strategy game with the lack of character customization, and most indie titles I've tried have trouble walking the line between having enough interesting options to build characters around and not having anything obviously broken that dominates the gameplay (to be fair, FFT is crazy broken as well). Of all the tactical RPGs I've tried in the past decade+, Fell Seal has done the best at living up to this comparison, and in many ways improves on the classics' formula.

As an aside, I clicked on this thread solely because I was massively confused by the thread title, mostly the "mini memo" part.

I WAS JUST CREATING A THREAD FOR THIS!

Here's what was going to be in my thread before I checked right before posting and saw this.

I'm surprised I haven't seen a single post here about Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark. Granted the title is just a word jumble but the game itself is wonderful. Fell Seal is extremely similar to Final Fantasy Tactics in combat, presentation, and structure. Turn-based party RPG with elevations, class-systems (and sub-class system), equipment, and skill trees per class. You have your story characters and your hirelings that you custom create.

The story is interesting enough. You take control of Kyrie; one of the few good cops left in an increasingly corrupted world ruled by seven immortals (Arbiters). The time has come to replace one of the Arbiters and each names a potential successor.

I'm only a few hours in but, so far, it nails every aspect of FFT. I think FFT still looks a little better but I like the art-style quite a bit here.

It's out for PC right now and, apparently, on GOG, Xbox, and Playstation.

Website
Steam page

IMAGE(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/699170/ss_a7124c46107bf40fa726a3692826b45225adf55c.600x338.jpg?t=1556896846)

IMAGE(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/699170/ss_dad35424b5e0ea6a63ad0fa7717160550d234cd7.600x338.jpg?t=1556896846)

IMAGE(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/699170/ss_d5328f5e269e8b8ca6dbb8bb5de001ffc5f9c89c.600x338.jpg?t=1556896846)

IMAGE(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/699170/ss_40e5e74ab5ab68a8bc6b75a68871b4a5320baf71.600x338.jpg?t=1556896846)

garion333 wrote:

As an aside, I clicked on this thread solely because I was massively confused by the thread title, mostly the "mini memo" part.

Hah! The hour twas late. *grumble* Also, I'm lost if something doesn't involve excessive amounts of cumulative /iterative markup. But yeah, strike mini from memorandum and it approaches the point more readily.

To wit, it's a simple awareness raiser post. I sincerely doubt there's enough gravity hereabouts, around the title, to merit a catch all (?)

edit/add: hurrah on Vector for some inline pics !

How long has that "Choose Your Tag!" been active for you? Need a CYT thread?

Recreational Villain wrote:

The core build-a-soldier hustle goes something like this:
-Different stat growth for each job / class
-Your primary [current active] class earns the bulk of promotion points
-You can have a secondary class -- PB&J them together however you want
-Advanced classes will have all sorts of prerequisites to meet first though
-Each job has multiple skills you can rank up [well, down]through, often in a left side vs right side tree
-You can buy both the L and R skills in a tier if you want; trade off is slower unlocking of tiers down the tree
-Each class has two passives and a counter skill on top of their abilities and spells -- see below

Straight from the wiki: "Each character can have a total of 4 passives. 2 passives are automatically set from the character's current class, as long as they have spent the AP to unlock that passive ability. The remaining 2 can be selected from any passive the character has learned, regardless of their class."

You read that correctly, (2) of those don't have to be from your active primary or secondary class. Crazy combos and job ladder climbing, just to loop back to quirky combos on earlier base classes, galore.

It's really good! I'm already building out a ranged specific class and thinking about what else is available. I like how quickly I've moved through the skill trees too.

Recreational Villain wrote:

Also, IIRC, you can have one extra counter skill assigned outside of your primary class' counter skill.

You can only have one counter passive equipped at a time.

Recreational Villain wrote:

What else... oh, there's limited crafting and those items are reusable each battle (potions, rocks, etc etc). I sort of like it when games help break me of the potion hoarding.

This is such a great feature. I love this in the Zeboyd RPGs and am very glad to see it here.

Not mentioned, there's an injury system. So if a character gets knocked out in combat, after combat there's a a chance they'll suffer an injury for a period of time (x1, x2, etc.) The injury means that character is available for combat but has all of their stats lowered until the injury is dealt with. To heal it, the character just has to sit out the necessary amount of combat encounters.

garion333 wrote:

How long has that "Choose Your Tag!" been active for you? Need a CYT thread?

Jiminy Cricket, just noticed. Suppose it's time I manned up and took my figurative spoonful of kerosene and castor oil Thanks.
----
@ Vector, thanks for the correction of the record. Wish I had the game in front of me now; hmm, do you recall if that (1) counter skill slot is uncoupled from your primary class? Maybe that's what I am thinking of. I'm certain there was something gimmicky there one could tinker with..

Hah, speaking of ranged shenanigans: one of the ranger's skills has the ability "range" simply defined as "weapon" instead of squares, and it's AOE <3 I went back to a melee build, but kept ranger as the second class, just so he can AOE with maul swings.

Recreational Villain wrote:

@ Vector, thanks for the correction of the record. Wish I had the game in front of me now; hmm, do you recall if that (1) counter skill slot is uncoupled from your primary class? Maybe that's what I am thinking of. I'm certain there was something gimmicky there one could tinker with..

It is uncoupled! Essentially what you have is All your primary class skills and it's two passives by default, then your secondary class skills, any two passives you've unlocked, and any one counter you've unlocked.

Below are some notes I've compiled. They don't cover all class skills, only the passive and counters that really stood out to me. To recap, you are slotted with (2) learned passives from main class plus you can assign any (2) others you know from any class skills that character has learned -- not just your active second class. Counters, as confirmed by Vector, are uncoupled and (1) can be set from any counter that character has learned across all of their classes.

Outstanding passives
--------------------------------
ranger +crit % | werefolf +crit % | scoundrel +crit DMG -- currently these can all stack
wizard: smart casting = [what it says on the tin] no FF of allies or healing\buffing enemies with AOE
wizard: boon = kill enemy to guarantee crit on next turn -- expires after
fellblade: versatile = skills and spells can crit; regain +5% of max MP
fellblade: malice = +10% debuff chance
alchemystic: side effects = buffs provide +HP and affliction debuffs add +dmg (based on MND stat)
lord and princess: all weapons and armor
lord and demon knight: cleave = bonus turn upon killing enemy
princess: double cast II = double cast, no dmg penalty (unlike mark I from druid)
vamp and marked: execute= DMG from abilities is + .45x when target's HP below 1/2
vamp: bat form (mobility thing, I think?) mostly seems to help with Z range movement
plague doctor: buff and debuff last +1 RND
sorcerer: economy = abilities MP cost reduced 1/3
vessel: hallowed body = ATK +20% of MND and MND +20% of ATK values
vessel: bonus DMG the turn after after using a regular attack (.35x ranged ; .45x for a melee)
gadgeteer: perfect focus= +.32x increased damage/healing when at full HP
gadgeteer: mana expert= +15 MP at combat start
gambler: initiative= (1) free turn at start of combat scenario
druid: double cast, but at 75% each
warmage: regular attack converts some DMG to MP
reaver: into the fray = DMG increases per adjacent enemy (.125x/.32x/.55x/.85x)
assasin: dual wield -- I believe guns are viable(?) but bows and crosbows are not
mercenary: studry grip = 2 handed weapon in one hand ; excluded bows and crossbows(?) ; can have shield in second slot, IIRC
knight: can't be flanked (both side and back are immune to bonus damage)
knight: life font = 4HP + bonus per [n] levels on each step taken

Outstanding counters
--------------------------------
mercenary: counterattack = regular attack vs offensive action by adjacent unit
templar: evade attack = always evades any regular attack
ranger: countershot = counters with regular attack vs ranged offensive action against character
mender: grants renew vs offensive action taken on character (heal over time)
alchemystic: mystic shield = if character has mp then damage is negated ; damage taken will lower current MP
sorcer: counters any offensive action by inflicting root on attacker
wizard: counters any damaging offensive spell with a non-elemental version of that spell reflected to attacker
fellblade: evade magic = character always evades spells (powerful?, may include friendly?)
gadgeteer: absorb mana = character targeted by offensive|damaging ability with MP cost, then gain some MP
werewolf: counter with cripple status effect
bounty hunter: counter with bleed status effect
lord and princess: grants DEF+ and RES+ after hit with any offensive action

NOTE: each (?) story character appears to have a special class they eventually unlock -- bounty hunter, demon knight, marked, spymaster, and other(?) Your custom, and I believe 2 starting soldiers, don't have access to these, however, they can instead acquire 'hidden' (via ~badge) classes of lich, vampire, werewolf, lord, princess, vessel , and others(?) which I believe the story character's don't get, on account of their obtainable unique classes.

I've put 30 hours in and have lost enthusiasm. Combat got tedious as that's the only thing in the game. It really needed some sort of metagame or another form of gameplay.

I hear it tops out at around 40-45 if you don't grind crazy class combos or hit the 'post' main game gauntlet dungeon.

I intended to dive in a bit more this weekend but became distracted with Mutant Year Zero. While I really dig both games, I'd put them in a "beer and pretzels+ " bracket. I'm sort of feeling the same about MYZ right now, for similar reasons, but I 'reckon the sessions overdose may be my own damn fault.

Good fun, but not everything in the ballpark has the same legs as, say, XCOM.

I’ve read that too but I just can’t see myself continuing on. I was actively frustrated and bored during the last two battles I had.

MYZ is one of my favourite games if the last several years (and there’s an expansion out in 2 months!). It was just short enough that I wanted more (20 hours) and the combat was much snappier.

^ Loving MYZ, that said a few things: does "snappier" include the 80% of MYZ's combat which is a total drawn out sneakfest? ; that's before we discuss the slow hoovering of every vacant corner, of every map, to gather "scrap" and "gun parts".

Don't get me wrong, I'm WAY sold on the expansion -- more than I can sensibly explain given the twitch-inducing quirks in the base game*.
----
*Like, seriously, hearing and sight are the SAME circular region around an enemy and not a view cone for facing?

Also, the progression of those skill trees.. every other tier is ONE choice that I HAVE to spend points on even if I will never use the skill in one of my equipped ability slots?

On that note, it's way tedious as the game is essentially telling me, 'here are good ambush skills' and here are good 'go loud' skills. You'll get them both, but you have to manually swap them out before each fight depending on your goal being stealth vs boomboom throwdown. Why? Not snappy. Let me keep everything equipped, it's not like there isn't a kill-to-refresh requirement on each use of a skill anyways.

And, seriously game, if I suddenly put one guy into immediate knee-down stealth mode not to get spotted, and then swap that slot to another character, why the everloving **** does the game believe I want to have that character, upon swapout, immediately whip out his flashlight to be spotted? WTF. I haven't found a way around that yet.

I cannot for the life of me figure out what "MYZ" means.

Mutant Year Zero

^Yup yup. To be fair, my standing gripes with it aside, I'm finding the overall package to be rather ace. Shoots the knees right off the bees.

I cannot say anything negative about MYZ. It clicked so damn hard for me.

^ I'd have agreed up to now, minor quibbles up to the forbidden city map, HOWEVER, apparently if you beat one (maybe both?) Of the Z800s it flags your save and thereafter whenever you load it up it makes this loud siren noise and quips onscreen to the effect of "lookie lookie we have a cheater", in giant text. Then this voice comes on and yells "Welcome!" Annoying and apparently a bug. Googled it after and folks claim this has been an issue since [at least] December 2018..

edit/add: easy enough to fix though, just go back to the ark and del the current save slot and make a new one. Anyways, game beat and the above annoyance aside I'm definitely in for when the expansion drops.