Category Archives: Video Games

Tales of Berseria

This is a follow-up to my post on general Tales games from last year, so read that first if you haven’t already.

So, wow, Berseria totally blew me away. My favorite Tales game of all time, easily. What made it so great? The story. Last year I talked about how really, all Tales games had the same bland story about saving the world, with the only thing that distinguished the different games being the cuteness of the girls and the amount of bad puns. Well, those are still critical factors, of course, so let’s discuss them first. Continue reading Tales of Berseria

Trails of Cold Steel II

First, read my thoughts on the first chapter if you haven’t already, because not too much has changed. The school setup kind of limits things with all the themes you usually find in those kind of shows, but it still has some superb characters and an interesting story. The shipping isn’t that great (Fie is best girl) because it’s essentially a harem. Leading to a complete waste of most of the characters romantically, as you can only pick one for the protagonist. Although Jusis x Machias is a good gay ship.

What Happened?

Not much. Which was the main problem with this installment. It felt like a waste, especially compared to Trails of Cold Steel I, which never had a dull moment and was full of twists and turns and exploring new places. In Cold Steel II, you revisit all the places from the first game, and see how things have changed after a few months. The second half of the game especially felt like a slog, when you have to visit all these dungeons and complete random quests. It didn’t have the strong narrative structure of the first game.

And Yet…

I think they’ve set it up for an amazing concluding chapter. A reckoning is coming. Throughout this chapter, the class has talked about accepting the responsibility for their actions. And yet… they have quite conspicuously failed to do so, in all but the most trivial of ways. They claim they are fighting for their friends. But in reality, they are fighting for the maintenance and extension of empire. This episode focuses on a civil war, in which the students claim to be “neutral”. But they are most decidedly not “neutral”. One side has orders out for their arrest, and they effectively serve as a branch of the other’s military. Their only claim to neutrality is they only intervene to protect innocents, yet somehow this always involves fighting the same single opposing army. This being the side supporting the recent chancellor, who has expanded the empire through invasions, conquest and violence. At the end of this episode, the protagonist ends up being the deciding factor in invading yet another country. Despite this, he claims what he does is just because he fights war to end war as quickly as possible, preventing further bloodshed. We all know how well that always turns out… In short, the protagonists are a band of raging hypocrites. They think they’ve grown up, yet they haven’t realized this most obvious truth.

So yeah, the ending should be good. But for this episode, more plot development happened in the last 30 seconds and the epilogue than in the entire remainder of the game.

Combat

Also, the game was way too easy. For the last half of the game, most of the bosses never dealt a single point of damage to me. They never even got a turn. My Rean was equipped with lots of delaying equipment and speed up equipment, he used the attack that delays, just spammed that over and over again, and no one could attack me. On the off chance they did attack, I’d put Fie in front, who would evade their physical attacks with 100% probability. Then Laura and Emma did shitloads of damage as I sat back and relaxed. For the occasional boss who could actually damage me I’d bring in Alisa to heal everyone’s CP and unload on S-crafts. Then using the overloads, lost arts, the robot and rean’s beast powers just felt like cheating. Oh well, I guess it’s not like I was playing this game for the combat anyway.

Conclusion

Looking forward to the final chapter! But yeah, trails in the sky is so much better than this. Especially the writing and translation. This is just nowhere near as funny.

Trails in the Sky First and Second Chapters

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I finished Trails in the Sky Second Chapter last night and was going to write a post about it. But r042 already did and said what I wanted to much more elegantly than I would have. He even used the same screenshot I was planning on! Great minds think alike.

So go read r042’s post. But to summarize, one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played with some of the best writing. Amazing escalation of the story. A few further thoughts: Continue reading Trails in the Sky First and Second Chapters

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness

My latest excuse for not writing any posts is that I haven’t been home all month. I was in Japan, so I’ll write something about that eventually… maybe after I finish writing about my trip from two years ago…

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But my other excuse is that I’ve been playing Star Ocean 5. As should come as no surprise to anyone who has played the other games in the series, it wasn’t very good. So why have I played every single one…? Honestly, I can’t really say. I do think I enjoyed 1 and 2, but since then it’s been pathetic. 3 I couldn’t finish because it kept crashing on my PS3, and 4 I just forgot about. Continue reading Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness