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Username: Kyle Clarthy
Joined: 23 Nov 2006
$poons: 2463.20
Total posts: 2005 [Show all]
[0.26% of total / 0.74 posts per day]
Post Score: 4992  ( 4995 / 3) [Show all]
Total votes: 8533 [Show all]
Location: Middle of Nowhere, Victoria
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Kyle Clarthy's buddies: dloiscute, Pagan's Mind, Bish, ZeroX03, Cyph, admeister, vizzini111, UWSguy, Jessara, Jahanzeb
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Kyle Clarthy's Recent Forum Posts
Hey, guyyyyyyyyyyyys ... and girrrrrls! No, it's not that announcement everyone has been waiting for, but it's still something to keep an eye on.

Take a look at this TEASER COUNTDOWN.

I wonder if anyone can see any similarities to a certain game ... I'll put the rest of my post, taken from RPGFan, in spoilers because I want to know what's the first thing people think of when they see the site.

RPGfan wrote
While we don't know for sure if this is a sign of a new edition of Persona 4, possibly following in the footsteps of Persona 3 before it and landing on the PSP, there's several reasons to think so. While we don't normally report on rumors here, there's several reasons we think this countdown may be a legitimate reason to get excited:

* The site name and page title, 'Mayonaka TV' is nearly identical to Persona 4's 'Midnight Channel,' as mayonaka can be translated as 'midnight.' It's also the name of the Midnight Channel in the Japanese version of the game.

* The offbeat yellow and black colors within a TV set aren't something you see everyday, and bears more than a resemblance to images seen in Persona 4 (see in particular the official Persona 4 site.)

* The mayonaka-tv.jp domain name can be traced to a registrant of GMO Internet Inc. A trivial piece of information, until you consider GMO Internet is also linked to Atlus' online store in Japan. We've seen several cases before where a company will register a domain through an affiliated company, so the teaser site can't easily be traced back to them.

So again, while not confirmed, we believe all of this information combined is a little more coincidence, and paints a fairly convincing argument that a Persona 4-related announcement is coming. We'll know for sure in a couple days if this pans out, when the countdown expires, but we'll keep our fingers crossed.
... Might be worth keeping an eye on it.
Cyph wrote
So... to PSP or not to PSP... I'm thinking no for the moment. I know I'll kick myself, but yeh... too much on my plate at the moment. Plus, and this is shallow, I look at those graphics and shiver. I hate nothing more than icky 3D graphics.
... And I thought I was indecisive! icon_wink.gif Wow. At least you made for a couple of pages of discussion.

I'm not sure what you mean by icky 3D graphics, though ... Okay, so, I'm not some leading expert on graphics or anything, but I reckon the PSP does a fine enough job in that department. Besides, a lot of the RPGs I'd recommend on it are titles that are more artistically designed rather than being mega realistic or what have you.

It's the same for the DS, too, though. A lot of the RPGs on that are perfectly fine for what they are, even if they aren't cutting edge. I think a lot of us play RPGs for reasons other than graphics, whether they're ugly or cute or realistic or anime-ish ... but that just may be me!

I seriously think that if you're an RPG fan and you don't have a DS or a PSP, you're missing out on a lot of good stuff, the RPGs of this gen, I guess. Let's face it, the only console title off the top of my head that I could recommend to anyone would be Tales of Vesperia at the moment ... but the DS and to a lesser extent, the PSP, are overflowing with them. Keep in mind that I have a few console RPGs I still need to play, but haven't gotten around to them.

But, I hear you about the time thing. RPGs, time, and new consoles don't mix very well.

But seriously, I need to question this graphics obsession that a lot of people have. I was talking to someone about Trails in the Sky the other day, and they said it looked interesting, but they wouldn't buy it because it was a 2d game. I didn't question it, but wow ... okay ... and there's something wrong with that?

I'm all for everyone having individual tastes and so forth, but yeah ... I guess I can't think of anything diplomatic to say, but I didn't really agree with that line of thinking at all.

Or is this just me needing to get with the times or something?
Re: Pokemon B&W (3 years ago)
Yeah, you're right, but apparently in BW the Masuda Method has been increased yet again. I can't remember the exact amount, but the odds are in your favour even more this time.

Still, it's all about chance, so you could still hatch roughly 8000 and get nothing. Fingers crossed it's not the case for you, Luke.
Luketheman5 wrote
Ah yes, that's exactly what I'm thinking of. I was wondering why so many people would like a sequel to an apparently average game, thank you!

Wow, Luke ... that's so harsh. Possibly true, but harsh. The Atelier series is pretty good, but they've apparently gone back to basics with Atelier Rorona and it's more like a HD version of their earlier titles ... or so I've heard. Atelier Totori, Rorona's sequel, apparently mixes it up by bringing a lot of the newer additions back whilst retaining the old Atelier stuff, too. Totori is one of the games I can wait to hear of a translation coming in the near future ... but I must admit that Rorona isn't something I'm dying to play over other games I have.

Oh, here's something else I found about Trails in the Sky. It's a ten minute demo/interview. Take a look.

(I'd love to watch it, but I bet that grandpa wouldn't be happy ...)
Also, thinking back, if you were at all interested in the series, like a certain person I know (hint: it's not me or Ad, he'll know who he is, and he might like to dob himself in if he wants!) you would obviously have some sort of interest in the game, right? What better way than to start at the beginning, because something about the game intrigues you, so you might as well experience the entire series in order.

Having said that, there's still some copies of Ar Tonelico 1 on ebay, I think, Luke, if you were interested ... I'd recommend the first one, at least. I think it sucks you in pretty well as it's not a typical RPG ... Well, it does have typical RPG elements, like turn based battles and so on and so forth, but the setting is quite unique, and the premise is quite different, too.

Now, you're thinking of the Atelier series, made by the same people. They deal with alchemists and item creation and characters doing kooky stuff for the main part. They're like your typical light hearted RPG that doesn't take itself overly seriously.

So, the Ar tonelico series is:

Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia for the PS2
Ar tonelico: Melody of Metafalss for the PS2
Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel for the PS3

Oops, I was a bit too slow! Or longwinded, one or the other.

Anyway, yeah, I really liked the first game, I liked the second game ... for the most part ... but something is holding me back. The second game did have a lot of flaws ... I mean, a lot of sexual innuendo in amongst a lot of spelling errors and grammatical trouble. It got a bit too much for me.

Oh, and by the way, that person in question who is just about to get into the series ... well, he better make a post about the game when he gets it, detailing what he thinks.
Re: Pokemon B&W (3 years ago)
Good luck with that, Luke. Don't give up, whatever you do. It's worth it when you see it sparkle, that's for sure, and also knowing it's your very own Pokemon that no one else has is a nice feeling, too. Oh, and also knowing that you didn't cheat for it, either. Oh, and that you have the patience for it, as well!
No, it's not, and it's probably recommended to play them in order to get the full effect. I mean, there are characters who appear in Ar tonelico 1 that appear in AT 2 and I'm guessing in 3 (Qoga) ... and characters that appear in AT 2 that appear in Qoga, too. Not to mention the game play gets more refined and while each story is kind of standalone, there's a few ties between them all, even if they're minute and are probably only going to appeal to a gamer who cares.

There are some posts about the first couple of titles by Admeister and me in this thread somewhere, if you wanted to find out more about what the series is about, by the way.

Moving on ...

Here's something else you people who like TiTS may be interested in.

Siliconera wrote
Trails in the Sky Impressions

One night five years ago, Estelle Bright’s shining Bracer and former war hero father, Cassius, brought home a young boy named Joshua. He tells Estelle he found Joshua and the amnesiac boy moves into their home. Estelle and Joshua, both 16 years old now, follow in their father’s footsteps. They too, are on their way to joining the Bracer’s Guild. That means they’ll become mercenaries and take on missions protecting people. Right after the two pass their final exam and become Junior Bracers, Cassius gets a note calling him away for at least a month. He travels to a number of places to keep tabs on some suspicious activity. Estelle and Joshua begin their new lives as Bracers without his guidance and recruiting all kinds of new friends to help them on their way.

While The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky eventually develops into a story with elements of political intrigue, much of your time is spent helping Estelle and their friends complete Bracer’s Guild missions. Everywhere you go has a guild branch and getting a new mission is as easy as checking the board. It may sound simple, but it actually adds a bit of realism since it isn’t like people are just randomly running up to Estelle and Joshua, begging for help with important missions.

Polished is the most appropriate word to describe The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. It is absolutely beautiful and clear that Falcom put an extraordinary amount of detail into the game. The character sprites and environments look fantastic. The orbal arts system offers a lot of customization options and there are many tiny touches that weren’t necessary, but will make you smile to see them. Birds scatter when Estelle runs towards them and there’s an amusing newspaper in the game to help you keep up with current events. Townspeople may even move from one area to another too.

Xseed put just as much detail in their localization. The script is wonderful. Trails in the Sky is funny and engaging, with many clever lines throughout the adventure. I also liked the characterization for each party member, their dialogue always matched their personalities perfectly. Actually, this even applied to NPCs. Sometimes games are about seeing how many great one liners you can shove in there. When you play The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, you can tell the script was a labor of love.

With all this text, you’d think it’d be hard to keep track of things to do in The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. Never fear, as there are in-game notebooks, which take note of every detail so you don’t have to. The Bracer notebook holds all of the information pertaining to the jobs you completed or have to do. There are also rather helpful bestiary and recipe books as well, which can help you prepare for battle encounters or recreate tasted food to restore health. Even better is that these notebooks, like map directions, are assigned to hotkeys so you don’t always have to go through the menus to find them.

Ah, those wonderful hotkeys. With a press of a button, you can instantly bring up handy information. Pressing the triangle button lets you instantly access the Bracer notebook, recipe book, monster guide or Liberl map by pressing left, up, right or down on the D-pad. Pressing and holding the square button adds location names to the area you’re on, so you can see if you’re heading on the path to the right home or location. I got the most use out of that. It was so much easier than constantly checking the Liberl map to see if I was following the correct road.

The Trails in the Sky battle system nicely blends turn-based and strategic elements. When battle begins, characters and monsters appear on what is essentially a grid. On the left side of the screen, you can see character portraits, the turn order, and if any special bonuses are in play. Attacks have ranges though, so your party will occasionally have to spend a turn moving closer to get an attack in.

There are also special orbal arts, which are obtained by tweaking your characters’ orbments. Putting a quartz into an open orbment slot allows a character to use certain skills and boost stats. These special skills require points to use in battle and have a casting time, which means you have to wait a turn for them to take effect. The advantage of using Orbal Arts is these skills can hit anywhere on the map, attack evasive enemies, and are often more powerful. Plus, arranging quartz properly in an orbment can unlock more powerful skills to use in battles. Of course, you do level up after battles too, but it’s nice that you can also augment your character to try and customize him or her and enhance certain areas.

Everything comes together to make battles more of a thinking process. Trails in the Sky avoids the pitfall of spamming "fight" to defeat enemies. You actually have to plan. If you’re clever, you can attack enemies in such a way that they don’t even get a turn in. The S-Break special attacks really help with that. These become available after characters have taken or inflicted enough damage to fill a CP gauge. You can then press triangle and either up, down, left or right at any time to make them use the S-Craft attack assigned to the directional bottom immediately.

It may have taken five years to reach North America, but The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky was absolutely worth the wait. Even more so, because Xseed did an exceptional job of preparing the English release. I know, I’m gushing over it, but I can’t help it. I haven’t enjoyed a PSP RPG this much in a long time.

Food for Thought

* I like that the save file also saves a small image of what location Estelle and her companions were at. It’s helpful in case you keep multiple save files, so you know where you are.
* The ability to save everywhere is nice too.
* Even through the characters do sort-of fall into some video game and anime stereotypes, you barely notice because they have interesting personalities and most end up being quite useful in battle.
* I recommend waiting to use characters’ Break buttons. You never know when you’ll encounter a slightly stronger than usual enemy, and an instant S-Break attack can really help.
* Don’t expect voice acting. You’ll only occasionally hear the characters speak during battles.
* You have to beat the game once to unlock higher difficulty levels, but since some items do carry over from your previous game it makes it worth it.

I know a lot of this has been stated before, but it's still nice to share the information and hopefully get a bit more interest. And yeah, we've been told about the ratio between interaction/exploring/dialogue and battling, but this is the RPG thread, after all ...

Something about this title just strikes me as great.
Cyph wrote
In other news, I took some games I no longer want/play (including Folklore and Ateleria) to Game/JB/EB today (all in the same complex) with the intention of picking up Ar Tonelico. However, after reading some mixed reviews and thinking the game may not be for me, AND, seeing Yakuza 4 on the shelf, I picked up the latter! I loved Yakuza 3 so I think I made the right decision.
I'm still waiting for Ad's "review" about Ar Tonelico before I even begin to make up my mind on that game. It's sad, but I feel the same way you do about it, Cyph.

chibiandy wrote
Found copies of Trails in the Sky L.E on Ebay going for $55 + $7 postage....tempted but the 3DS has effectively shut my wallet down
Strange, but I questioned for a moment whether I had pre-ordered Trails of the Sky or not. I think I did ... it was so long ago now. I'm sure I did. I think.

Anyway ... I guess if I did, I will get an email saying it was sent at any moment, right?

Here's something funny in regards to the Xenoblade Chronicles PAL announcement. People crying about Nintendo of America shafting them and so on.

Now, I understand that importing a Wii game is a little worse than a DS or PSP or PS3 title, but some of the stuff they're saying is ... well, read on. I'll choose a mixture of the sad, the bad and the just plain mad.

Beggar wrote
I swear to God NOA. Do not disappoint me again. The way you've been ignoring my favorite developer is really, really terrible. Honestly, every time you guys pass on a game from them my respect goes down a bit. You guys were talking so much about how you wanted to please the core gamer...well, localizing these games is one way to do it.

Just at least give me this game. Okay? Please? I'll try and get over the sting of having no Disaster or Soma Bringer if you just give us this game, okay? Please, NOA?
Seeing the Light wrote
I see a light...and I have a feeling it's going to be blocked off by NOA with a giant boulder >_>
Douchebag wrote
I guess we can call this confirmation: a U.S. release simply isn't going to happen.

Look. If Europe gets it before America, then that means that NOA has officially passed it up. So yeah, it'll probably be playable in something resembling English, but I'm not modding my Wii for a half-baked Euro translation.
Gardenia wrote
This is my face when I'm not seeing a U.S. release any time soon.

Right? wrote
It would be terrible if we dont get it (like with that Inazuma game on the DS that Europe got, right? icon_sad.gif
Shocked Dude wrote
I'm surprised this game got announced for EU before NA
What about me? wrote
Means nothing for us NA gamers.
There's a Downside to Everything wrote
The plus side...I can play it in English. The downside...may have to import it...
What about me, too? wrote
now what about the US?
So ... yeah, I guess that people can learn to import or something, can't they?

Here's some more information about that Grand Knights History game from Vanillaware/Marvelous. The artwork looks really nice.

Siliconera wrote
Vanillaware and Marvelous are working on Grand Knights History where three kingdoms are locked in a battle to control Ristya. Famitsu has a look at the regions plus a few screenshots of the PSP game.

Logres – The Ancient Country

Logres is hidden deep within the mountains and was once ruled by a tyrant. Fausel (his full name is Fausel Wald Logres) led a rebellion and overthrew Aless to become the country’s king. He’s the character on top of the mountain.

Union – The Country of the Knights

In the northern region of Ristya, lies a country with faith in church and holy sword. Union’s residents take pride in becoming honorable knights. Leon (left) is the country’s young king. Known for his resolute appearance he received the nickname the Lion King. Princess Sefia (lady below Leon on the left) is actually from Logres. Leon rescued Sefia and protects the princess after her exodus from her home country.

Avalon – The Magical Country

In a remote region of Ristya, within the Forest of Bewilderment, is where you can find Avalon. Founded by the great witch Theresa, Avalon is a land where sorcery reigns. Residents of this nation feel as they are one with nature. Queen Muse (below Fausel on the right), their leader, is an expert on magic. She studied the Wisdom of the Ancients and gathered the Treasure of the Saints.

You get to create a warrior to play as in Grand Knights History, but your squire is pre-set. Liscia, supports the player character throughout the game.

Grand Knights History is slated for a summer release on PSP.
I guess it's too early to begin getting worried about it getting translated, isn't it? I'd really like to know some more about it.
Onislash wrote
OropherX wrote
Oh no, is this one of those 'i have to follow a faq or i'll miss out on the epic ending'? :/
No. The deciding point is as subtle as persona 3, but not quite as blunt.
Don't worry too much, Oropher. I think that you should really just go with the flow and choose whoever you like the most. If you don't and you want the "true" ending (for lack of a better word) then you're not really following your (Lyner's) heart now, are you? icon_wink.gif I think you should just choose whatever/whoever/whenever and see where it takes you and enjoy the show.

Or make a lot of save files.
Re: Pokemon B&W (3 years ago)

Humor me again, people.

I just found another shiny. I feel so lucky. I don't believe I've ever had such shiny luck in such a short amount of time.

Well, here's the obligatory short story. I just got out of Twist Mountain and I thought ... Hey, Shelmet appears here. Considering I love Accelgor, I thought I'd try for a shiny Shelmet. My game has been in sleep mode for a few days now, and I've picked it up to hunt Pokemon and level up Gooze whenever I could, so I don't really know if it means anything in regards to how lucky I was, but it's not as if I just turned the game on and found a shiny straight away. Anyhow, I was biking back and forth, battling anything I came across, and I was just posting something on PALGN when I looked down and immediately knew I had found a shiny due to how drastically different the color of the Pokemon was.

So, yay!

Normal and Shiny

It's not the Shelmet I was after, but I'm not complaining in the slightest. I just don't know how to EV train it, so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know. Oh, and Flounder is just the name I gave it to begin with ... I am not sure whether I will keep that or think of something else.

By the way, I nickname my Pokemon all in caps because in the older gens, all Pokemon names were in CAPS, and when I nicknamed something normally it just looked weird ... now they've changed it so that Pokemon names are no longer in caps, but I can't change any of my old Pokemon's names anymore, due to being traded from their original games, so I have a bit of a dilemma. I'm wondering whether to keep naming Pokemon LIKE THIS or not ... icon_lol.gif It sounds so stupidly funny, I have to admit.


I will be hunting for a shiny Shelmet again, though, so I'll try not to leave this area until something else shines. I don't want to give up.

Oh, and here's a pic of Gooze after he's fully evolved. Such a peculiar little guy.

I can't believe how lucky I have been so far.

(I know ... I'm so obsessed.)
I have to post this again, just because it's pretty exciting. Jarrod brought this to my attention, he's always so fast off the mark.

Anyway, is anyone else excited by this? It seems like the RPG drought on the Wii is about to dry up, and this will hopefully make the system worth having! Well, I think it does, but I can't speak for everyone, so you'll have to tell me what you think.

Siliconera wrote
Xenoblade Chronicles on the PAL Horizon

Yes, at long last, we have confirmation of a Xenoblade localization, at least in one territory. Nintendo of Europe just confirmed that they’re publishing the game via a new teaser site for Xenoblade Chronicles.

Xenoblade is a Wii role-playing game developed by Monolith Soft, developers of the XenoSaga games, in collaboration with Nintendo.
Here's a trailer for anyone who hasn't seen it.

And here's 3 minutes of gameplay!

I think I recovered a bit.

Curse you Jarrod for posting this news before I did. It's always the way ... icon_wink.gif ... but it is pretty appropriate that you did post it. Ah, it feels like forever since we were all in the DS/Wii RPG topic posting any scrap or morsel we could find ... I thought this was destined to disappoint me in the end, but I'm so glad it's finally happening.

And the best part is, this seems like a very decent RPG, so it's not as if we're getting some lame game no one wants. I can't wait. I keep on getting surprised lately. First Tales of Graces F, and now this.

All I need now is to hear information about The Last Story and Dragon Quest X, and I will be satisfied about owning my Wii.
This has made my day!

I'm ... speechless!
Come now, don't speak like that!

Well ... It could be true, I guess. But hey, you never know ... you might be 190 and playing FF886 or something. Never say never.

But yeah ... that is the issue, I suppose. It's not like a few months in between, this could be a long time. Still, I guess it's nice to be able to experience some of the series instead of none, right?
Oh, thanks for the heads up, Oropher! I'll go grab it now to share with everyone.

RPGFan wrote
When RPG Fans think of Falcom, they likely think of the Ys series. It's their most well known series, and the one that gained the most Western exposure. In Japan, however, they have another flagship series called The Legend of Heroes. Does the name sound familiar? Years ago, Namco Bandai of Japan ported a trilogy from PC to the PSP and later released it into the US, but it was met with negative reception. You can say that the series itself might not be so good, but apparently, it turns out that Namco Bandai tampered around with the ports. In Japan, they altered the gameplay, which turned out worse, and in the US, the games got released in the wrong order, not to mention a shoddy translation. Because of this, we never truly experienced the series in its pure form.

The series continued to be strong in Japan, and Falcom released three chapters of the sixth installment known as "Sora no Kiseki" (Trails in the Sky). I had heard about the trilogy for a while back and how it was hailed as the highlight of the whole series. I kept hearing about its rich story and characters, lush soundtrack, and strategic gameplay. I wanted to play it, but no publisher wanted to bring a niche title over that bombed before... until XSEED stepped in that is. Last year, they struck a deal with Falcom to release their PSP games; a deal which successfully brought over the latest Ys titles. Now it's the famed trilogy's turn, and players finally get to see what the games are really like. Trails in the Sky has flaws, but it's also extremely charming, and I had a blast during the 41 hours spent completing the game.

Trails in the Sky stars Estelle Bright, a spunky, tomboy heroine who enjoys collecting bugs, has a sneaker collection, and enjoys a good fight. Alongside Estelle is her adopted brother Joshua, a calm and rational fellow who usually stops Estelle from doing something wreckless. He was brought into the family five years before the opening of the game when Estelle's dad brought him home out of the blue one night. Joshua has been under his care since and, being the same age as Estelle, they've always been together. Over the years, both of them have been training to become Bracers, just like their dad, who is quite famous at that. Bracers are a freelance police force that goes around keeping peace in the land. They take on various jobs ranging from helping people with small tasks to monster slaying. Eventually, Estelle and Joshua become junior Bracers after completing a simple test. In order to become full-fledged ones, however, they need to gain recommendation letters from all the branches of the organization in the Liberl kingdom. Their journeys as Bracers begin, going around the kingdom to maintain peace, one city at a time.

For a while, there isn’t much of a plot to speak of. Initially, the story revolves around their Bracer work, structured in an episodic matter through multiple chapters. Each chapter focuses on the two protagonists completing tasks in a particular city and later resolving major incidents within the area. As the story progresses, pieces of the main plot begin to slowly unfold through subtle foreshadowing and key plot events. That's when things start to get more interesting, which kept me interested to know what happens next. The story builds a nice mystery, which starts to pay off when it slowly shifts from an easygoing adventure to a conspiracy plot. Later chapters get more intense, the stakes get higher, and everything gets quite epic during the last couple hours when the heroes go off to go save a whole kingdom.

What impressed me the most is that despite being the first game in a trilogy, Trails in the Sky avoids the many pitfalls of other episodic RPGs. It manages to successfully deliver a complete standalone story while also building things up for later games. After the main conflict gets resolved, the story unveils a very big twist and ends on a major cliffhanger to pave way for the next installment. It already left me wanting a lot more after dropping a major bombshell, but after the credits rolled, a trailer of the next chapter rolls in to bring up the hype. That's just evil.

Though the story turned out well after a while, the characters are where this game really shines. At its core, the game has a very lighthearted tone, displayed mostly through the main cast. They're a very likable and fun bunch, and I love how the game focuses on their interactions. A great deal of time involves interacting with characters, and the dialogue gets comical at times as characters make sly remarks and tease one another. Some jokes can be a bit childish, immature, or a tad risqué, but it all comes off feeling natural and never forced. There is also a fine balance where characters get serious when necessary for the dramatic or tender moments. No matter the tone, dialogue flows well and comes off believable, partially thanks to XSEED's localization. Supporting characters also have a strong presence, and the game spends enough time getting into their mindset, ideals, and manners of speech to give them depth. Unfortunately, outside the main leads, some characters have less development and/or screen time than others, but hopefully, later installments will remedy that. Regardless, the sheer amount of character interactivity is what fleshes out the world and drives the story forward.

This level of care for the playable characters also gets extended to NPCs, and they're the best I've seen in a long time. Each one has a bit of personality in them, and whenever a story event occurs, their dialogue changes to reflect the current situation. NPCs tend to provide their input on a current situation, or get into another kind of discussion. Some NPCs even have their own mini stories where they talk about their lives and appear at different places at different plot points. One of my favorite moments is talking to a maid who works at a mayor's house. In the household, she talks about how the mayor's wife also helps her with the housework, and how she is considered a family member. Hours later, I see the maid in a Church where she prays for the health and happiness of the mayor and wife. It's such a minor thing, but it's beautifully done, and there are many more such moments. I also like how some of the NPCs you can help out later make appearances in other towns, where they reflect on the party's past actions. The dialogue constantly changes, which gives more life to all the places you visit, and even empty treasure chests feature awesomely humorous messages.

With such heavy emphasis placed on story and characters, the gameplay portions are very secondary, but still solid. Combat uses a standard turn-based system that implements a range mechanic. Battles take place in an arena, and everyone has a certain movement and attack range. If either party is unable to make contact with their opponent, they just move closer to them instead. There is a magic system called arts which takes an entire turn to use, but allows a character to attack from anywhere. For those familiar with the Lunar games, the combat mechanics here work the same way, minus the charging.

Turn order also plays an important role due to a passive bonus system. Depending on whose turn it is, a party member or enemy can receive a bonus such as attack boost, minor healing, 100% critical, and so on. The turn order display shows what bonuses will be played at what turn, which comes in handy for strategic play.

There are eight party members total, and up to four can be in battle at once. Each has their own set of unique abilities called Crafts, which cost craft points (CP). Characters gain CP when attacking and receiving damage. When the CP count exceeds 100 or higher, characters can unleash an ultimate ability called S-Craft. It's also the only ability that can be triggered at any time, which ignores turn order. Customization is also present for everyone through the use of a little device called orbments. Each orbment has six slots for the placement of quartz gems, which provide stat boosts, passive traits, and magic. The magic a character receives depends upon the placement of the quartz and element types. Every party member has a different orbment layout, with some slots confined to one element. Even with this flexibility, there is no way to grant all party members access to the same, best magic.

The battles themselves can be quite challenging, even against some regular enemies. This is mainly due to incorporating anti-grinding measures to maintain the steady challenge. EXP gain is relatively low, and level requirements are typically high. EXP also sharply decreases to near 0 when a party member's level is higher than an enemy's. With no random encounters at all, players are bound to avoid many fights after a short while. This makes the fights tough, but also fair, and encourages strategic play. This leads to some exciting battles later on, but they can occasionally drag. Some enemies and bosses have massive HP pools, spam healing, or use other abilities to prolong fights. If defeated in battle, there is a retry option that immediately takes you back to the fight, and weakens the enemy to make it easier. From my experience, this certainly helps, but some fights are tough either way.

Since the nature of Bracers is to go around helping those in need, there are lots and lots of sidequests. Each Bracer Guild branch has a bulletin board listing the quests. These quests are the standard kind such as killing a monster, fetching an item, or meeting certain people. The quests present themselves in various ways, however, to keep things more interesting, and they occasionally contain some great dialogue. Upon completing a quest, players get rewarded with cash and Bracer Points (BP), which are needed to rank up. With each rank up, players get rewarded with a special quartz or accessory. The quests all have to be completed by certain times and fail automatically if the player progresses too far in the story. Bulletin boards are not the places to get sidequests though. At points of a chapter, a random NPC can make a direct request, and it works out the same way. Most of the quests are easy enough to do, but some can get a bit overly complicated and vague later on. They're mostly fun to do, but it does heavily tie in to the game's biggest annoyance: the backtracking.

Sometimes, there's a fair bit of backtracking during the story, which becomes heavily amplified if players want to complete every quest. While each quest is confined within the region it's received from, it usually requires going to remote areas, or frequently bouncing back and forth between multiple places. These areas can be quite long, and there are no shortcuts nor any kind of quick traveling service or ability. Everything is done by foot, and while it makes sense in context, it's an inconvenience for players. At least load times are nearly instant.

For the music, the Falcom sound Team took a radically different approach from their other works. Whereas most Ys songs are progressive rock Trails in the Sky is largely the opposite, with airy and lighthearted tracks. These songs fit well with the tone of the game, and showcase versatility, but in the beginning, they aren't too impressive. Most of the songs are just okay and lack the magical effect of the Ys songs. Fortunately, the soundtrack slowly picks up during the game, but it isn't until the last few hours of the game that the best songs come into play. The soundtrack managed to redeem itself at the last minute, and some songs warrants listening to outside the game. As a whole, however, I've heard a lot better from the sound team, but this one's respectable in its own right.

As for the visuals, they're the weakest part of the game. Granted, the original game came out on PC in 2004 and got ported to PSP in 2006. They still hold up pretty well, but certainly look dated by 2011 standards. The 2D artwork and sprites are nice, but the 3D portion is a bit low in quality. In comparison to the PC version, the sprites were scaled down to a much smaller size and lost some of their detail. Some can also be hard to see on the PSP as well.

Trails in the Sky is not a game in which the gameplay shines, but rather the story and characters. It isn't deep nor compelling by any stretch of the imagination, but it is fun and extremely charming. It’s been quite a long time when such a likable cast won me over this much, not to mention the thoughtful NPC conversations. The story takes a little while to get going, but once it got rolling, I wanted to keep playing. Thank you XSEED for bringing a fine game over and doing a proper localization. The wait for the sequel is going to be a long one...
I just highlighted some parts I thought were interesting.

It sounds really good, but I really do hope they release the other chapters if the game does end on a major cliffhanger like that.

A lot of the stuff I've highlighted, like the party banter, is right up my alley, so I can't wait. Just something else to look forward to ... or not!
So, those were preorders, right? icon_confused.gif And that means some guy takes them from a shelf and hands them to you? Sounds pretty professional to me ... Some people seem to get shafted, it's a real bummer.

Oropher, if you want to embed a Youtube Video, Right click the video itself and choose the Embed option, and then use [*embed] [*/embed] but take the asteriskeses out.
Does this have a chance to get here, do you think?

Siliconera wrote
Grand Knights History Is The Next Title From Vanillaware And Marvelous

Muramasa: The Demon Blade was the first game from Vanillaware and Marvelous. The two companies are working together again on Grand Knights History.

Yoshifumi Hashimoto, producer on Muramasa, is also the producer on Grand Knights History. This upcoming title is an original RPG and its in development for PSP. Since Princess Crown was a port, Grand Knights History will be the first time Vanillaware created a game for Sony’s handheld.

Grand Knights History is slated for release this summer in Japan.

The stage is set in Gran Knights History for three kingdoms to fight over for control of Ristya. Famitsu’s scan shows King Fausel is the ruler of Logres. Queen Muse is the leader of Avalon. King Leon and another character control the other land cut off by the scan. You are a knight in the army. Before the story begins you get to design your own character. Players can choose a gender, what their knight looks like, and voice acting.

Gran Knights History uses a turn based battle system with royal rules in the mix. A sliver of the scan shows this PSP game has some kind of network support, but the details are also cut off.

I know there's not much info to go on, but I'm still interested ...
Re: Pokemon B&W (3 years ago)
admeister wrote
Kyle Clarthy wrote
Wow, Ad, how calm can you be?! I mean ... IT'S A SHINY SNIVY!!! Talk about lucky ... Nice work there. How many times do you think you started a new game to get him.

I'd love to look after him for you, but oh well.
It would have been around 15-20 times, I'd say. I wasn't really counting.

So, is a meet up next Thursday good with you? icon_wink.gif
15-20 times? That's really cool. Why did you start the game over so much, for a good natured Pokemon, or just because you've finished the game that many times and there's only one save file? icon_wink.gif Sounds awfully suspicious to me, sounds like you were shiny hunting to me or something ...

Actually, no, Thursday doesn't suit, but not many days suit me lately. I have so many appointments I'm getting sick of them, and now that grandpa is awaiting the time for his operation and he can't do much around the farm, I've got to pick up the slack for him on top of everything else. It really sucks.
Re: Pokemon B&W (3 years ago)
I wanted to get a shiny Tepig (yes, some people like the little guy) so I SoftReset 100 times, but the lure of the game prevented me from trying any more, and I thought I'd get one later through egg hatching ... hopefully!

It strikes me as amusing how some people hunt for shiny Pokemon and have the worst luck, and then others who aren't even trying get lucky. But I guess that's how it is, the luck of the draw.

I assume you want a shiny Drifloon, Amara?

I would really love a shiny Scrafty, Accelgor and Swoobat and I would retire from the shiny hunting life content.


But having said that, I think if you have the shiny gene, you can't ever really not stop looking for one!
Re: Pokemon B&W (3 years ago)
Wow, Ad, how calm can you be?! I mean ... IT'S A SHINY SNIVY!!! Talk about lucky ... Nice work there. How many times do you think you started a new game to get him.

I'd love to look after him for you, but oh well.

Yes, yes, pity me and all that, everyone. icon_wink.gif Why must my grandpa have his net locked up like Fort Knox?

In other less tragic news, I'm still EV training up Gooze so I can use him, but maaan is he slow. He's level 36 and a level 13 Woobat can still outspeed him. I know that the Macho Brace lowers your speed, but that's pretty sad, I reckon!

Whenever we've been training against Maractus and Sigilyph in the desert, he can't run away from most of the Pokemon there. If it's a Sandile, and I switch in to another Pokemon to run, it sometimes uses Sand Tomb, trapping me in battle, so I've had to resort to capturing them in Poke Balls, because I can't switch my Pokemon or KO them, otherwise Gooze will get the EV, too. What a drama.

Does anyone here hate EVs? I know I do, but now that I know about them, I feel like if I don't pay attention to them it makes my Pokemon inferior somehow. I'm alright with normal Pokemon, but if it's a shiny, I have to EV train it.
Just a friendly reminder ...

Jessica Chavez wrote
Last time I outlined all the reasons you should be getting The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, but I really want to illustrate A) just how much this game has to offer, B) why it’s right for you (assuming you haven’t stumbled onto this blog from a chain-letter or suspicious link) and C) what happens when you cross that 4-coffee-a-day threshold. Enjoy!

It looks more like an exclusive pamphlet than a book ...
the_spensa wrote
ugghh Kyle, why did you remind me of those two games. I think they are the only two games left on the Wii that I want to buy.

Also in regards to Tactic Ogre on the PSP. Considering that the game is a sequel to the SNES / PSX game Ogre Battle, does anyone know if that is needed to be played in order to get the best experience out of Tactic Ogre.
Lol ... Sorry, but we're all suffering here together, I suppose. Still, they need to be brought up every now and then to keep the spirit alive or something. And it sounds like you've forgotten about them until now. What if I told you they were released, like, yesterday?

I'm seriously considering selling my Wii, but then I think of games like ToS: DotNW or Little King's Story, or even Zack and Wiki ... stuff that I couldn't stand not to be able to play anymore. But the fact was, I bought the Wii for games very much like Graces, and Dragon Quest and Xenoblade and Last Story, and so far it's been pretty lame.

As for Tactics Ogre, apparently it's episode VII, according to that thing I posted from Siliconera, but it's pretty much standalone, so you should be fine.
lol ... The PS3 and TV is already in my room. Otherwise I'd have to watch English comedy all the time (and Gardening Australia) because that's all my grandpa watches.

And the only Anime I watch is Pokemon ... and that would be the last place to hear about virginity. Sure, they might have some strange words, but that's about it.

I guess I'm a bit of a prude. That's the right word, right?

I'm thinking I'm going to have to pass on this game ... You haven't played it long and it's already sounding dirty and in your face.
Bish wrote
I didn't use them!
I guess It also helped that I stumbled upon the Bioware topic about it before I had gotten Isabella, so I was pretty cautious from then on.
But yeah, the fact that it's still not fixed? That's just bloody horrible support.
Lucky. I stumbled upon the problem accidentally, but it was too late. I'd swapped out and sucked up and so on and so forth, so I guess it was my fault I was a bit of a party mage ...whore? Anyway, yeah, the battles are just so noticeably different ... I mean, is a character meant to stagger all the time, or is that something completely unrelated? I just assumed it was something to do with it, because it seems to happen no matter what I'm fighting/attacking now.

Admeister wrote
It's...pretty interesting so far. Yes, interesting is definitely the word!
Sounds interesting. I think.

Stop being so cryptic ... icon_wink.gif

Is it the good kind of interesting or the bad kind? Or something altogether different?
Thanks, Bish.

Did Isabela or Sebastian get to you, or did you, by some miracle, happen to avoid them or not be friends with them?
OropherX wrote
Well PS3 is region free and DLC takes forever so can just import Totori. NISA has partnerships in Japan so it's almost guaranteed they'll release totori eventually. I just want someone to bring Rune Factory Oceans for the PS3 over here <_<
They sure are taking their sweet time announcing something about it, though ... or maybe I'm impatient. And a little scared that they won't release it in America, no matter how irrational that is.

Pagan's Mind wrote
I'd like to pounce but my Paypal account is bare until I get paid next or sell some things icon_razz.gif. It'll still be around next time, I hope. I'll grab the second game from Ozgameshop later on too.

Where did you get your Ys Chronicles, Kyle? Play-Asia? I bought a copy so fingers crossed it arrives okay but trusting my luck I wouldn't be surprised if it got damaged.
Seriously, if you want to just owe me, I will buy the game for you? That way you'll have it and you won't miss out.

Yeah, Play-Asia. I didn't have much money in my Paypal account, and I wanted both Radiant Historia and Ys Chronicles, and I had just enough to get them both, but with the cheapest shipping. My own fault, I guess.

Nice screenshots, by the way. It's the same reason I like the Tales of games, everything is bright and colourful. I'm sick of the greys and browns of a lot of games, as more often than not their mood drags me down, too.

When was Totori released in Japan? It seems like ages ago. I just wish they'd do a Tales of Graces F at least, and just announce it as coming.

*ahem* *cough* The Last Story and Xenoblade should learn to do that, too ... *cough*