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Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Shockbox, May 4, 2009.

  1. So in other words....take away everything that make games challenging?
    Most games have plenty of ways to overcome harder bosses and to spice up grinding if you need to. Also, you keep saying "do better!" but offer nothing as an alternative? If you can't handle a game that has difficulty spikes and don't want to put the effort into making your team as good as possible (high levels or not) then find other games to play, like Barbie Horse Adventures or something.
     
  2. I feel like you're taking my post out of context.

    I'm not a game designer, so I'm not sure about the alternatives in terms of gameplay complaints. But since I have a MFA in creative writing, I could absolutely make some suggestions about how the story could be better in Tokyo Mirage Sessions. But I don't want to bore everybody.

    I obviously can handle the game since I am still playing it and did not rage quit but that doesn't make difficult spikes less annoying.

    You say I want to get rid of the things that make a game challenging, but challenge does not have to mean difficulty spikes. Most of the time difficulty spikes coincide with cheap boss design. So, to deal with the cheap difficulty spikes, you have to grind to power past them. Difficulty should be well-balanced, so that the game gets harder in a way that is even. I don't understand why you think a game has to have level grinding to be challenging. Also, how does tediously going to the game menu to heal after a battle make a game more challenging? How does not being able to skip cutscenes make a game more challenging? You're literally coming at me for wanting quality of life improvements.

    I'm not calling out legitimate challenge. I'm calling out artificial challenge. There's a difference.

    Also, I would totally play the Barbie game if it was actually good.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2022
  3. I discovered this extra dungeon in Tokyo Mirage Sessions where you get shittons of these tomes that basically give you unlimited free level ups. It almost feels like cheating but this boss is cheating, so...

    Edit: I beat the boss that was giving me trouble. I just leveled up very high and took him down with unrelenting brute force.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2022
  4. Four years late but God of War is a stunning game.
     
  5. JRPGs are my favourite genre and I've played tons of them over the years, and I honestly don't remember ever having to just sit there grinding levels to be able to beat a story boss. Post-game superpowered bosses, sure, but I usually don't bother with those (now that's a JRPG thing I could definitely do without), but with regular bosses, unless you've been skipping battles and are underleveled because of it, it usually just comes down to strategy/gear.
     
    Number likes this.
  6. This happened to me once. I phoned customer service and they sorted it within 15 minutes.
     


  7. Happy anniversary to one of the greatest games ever to be released!
     
  8. I beat Tokyo Mirage Sessions. Although I didn't like the story and the direction it went in, the cutscenes leading up to the final fight+the final fight+the aftermath was a pretty good narrative stretch. I love the anime sequence before the final battle.

    While the attempt to cross Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem was one of the big reasons for the story being an incoherent mess, the part where the bland main character turns into Marth is pretty epic.

    The game really does show how powerful good gameplay is. The story is very "this will do?" but the gameplay systems are so elegant and well done and the gameplay loop is so addictive that for a long time, I didn't want the game to end! If it had a Persona quality story, the game could have been god-tier because I would go as far as to say that gameplay-wise, Tokyo Mirage Sessions was a bit better than the Persona games I've played. It just doesn't measure up to Persona in most other ways.

    As I always do when I finish games, I'll post a review soon!
     
    soratami likes this.
  9. Omori just got a console/Game Pass launch. Sort of Earthbound/Undertale with a more mature and horror styled vibe. Heard great things so will report back
     
    He likes this.
  10. To be honest, it sounds like Bravely Default addresses a lot of the issues you have with JRPGs, @Raichu. That’s been a model for the genre since it came out, I’d say; grinding is either gone or streamlined, and the difficulty spikes are often solved by “job” decisions, gear, or skills instead of levels. And I don’t think I find it true that many modern JRPGs do things like make you watch cutscenes again, or grind endlessly—though I will admit that SMTV most recently veered into that problem area, but battling is like 70 percent of what that game is.

    I can’t say I play every modern JRPG, but I have played quite a few. So it sounds like you just had a rough time with Tokyo Mirage Sessions in particular?
     
    soratami and Raichu like this.
  11. How you described Bravely Default is exactly what I want in a game. When you hit a roadblock, you can just overcome it with the right strategy. That is good game design.

    I was definitely pissed off with Tokyo Mirage Session' cheap penultimate boss (it had been good about not being cheap before that) and probably took out my anger on the genre but nearly every JRPG I've played required me to grind at least a few times. And I'm not the kind of player that will default to grinding immediately. I try EVERYTHING before admitting to myself that I have to grind.

    However, when I think about it, I have played more older JRPGs than newer ones, so maybe that has something to do with it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2022
    bakerboy92 likes this.
  12. Tokyo Mirage Sessions Review:

    Tokyo Mirage Sessions is one of the more awkward cross-over games in recent memory. Starting as simply “Fire Emblem versus Shin Megami Tensei,” it took one of the least expected approaches to fusing two dissimilar properties. For reasons only known to the developers, the game is based on Japanese idol culture, which seems very antithetical to Fire Emblem and its overall aesthetic. And while the game’s superficial incorporation of Fire Emblem elements does make the overall narrative package incoherent and uneven, the entertainment industry aspects are a breath of fresh air, lending the game an inspired campy presentation and an enjoyably left field setting. Most importantly, Tokyo Mirage Sessions transcends its thin and aesthetically inconsistent story because the gameplay systems are so elegant and well-conceived, resulting in a thoroughly addictive gameplay loop that motivates you in ways the story cannot. It doesn’t hurt that the difficulty is incredibly balanced, making it the perfect middle ground between the more casual Persona and the brutal difficulty of other titles in the Shin Megami Tensei series.

    Let’s just get the story out of the way because it deserves the least ink spilled on its behalf. The story revolves around two Mirage masters---Itsuki Oi and Tsubasa Oribe---who, along with their friends who are also Mirage masters (Mirage masters are accompanied by these very cool looking Fire Emblem warrior spirits who give them the means to fight in battle), find themselves in a struggle with dark forces called Mirages that are invading the world for generically sinister reasons. Alongside this struggle, Itsuki, Tsubasa and friends rise in the entertainment world, all the while using their connections to investigate the Mirage problem. Itsuki and Tsubasa are quite milquetoast and a couple other characters in the cast---the feisty aspiring Hollywood star Eleonara and the seductive talent agency president Maiko---pick up the slack as far as charisma and personality is concerned. The problem with Itsuki and Tsubasa is that they are Mary Sues: they are just too saintly and too generic to be relatable and the game tries its best to force you to like them, which is always a sign of weak writing. Show, don’t tell, developers!

    While there are some surprisingly good character development moments hidden deep within tedious side quest hell, the two charismatic characters mentioned earlier feel like diamonds in a desert. There is not a lot of flavor to the cast and regrettably, there is not too much flavor to the narrative as a whole. It doesn’t play up the entertainment industry nearly enough and, in my view, doesn’t push the camp far enough. This is because of the developers’ obligation to incorporate Fire Emblem, a problem that rears its ugly head constantly. Because the developers feel compelled to include its lore and aesthetic, what should have been an RPG committed to entertainment and pop idol culture feels split between that sensibility and more standard old timey RPG tropes. This makes the story feel tonally incoherent and spread thin. The writing itself is too generic and beholden to cliches played weirdly straight to pick up the slack of a narrative that doesn’t really commit to its best ideas. As a result, everything related to the story feels flavorless even as the vibrant aesthetic begs for a campier approach. For instance, playing with a generic everyman like Itsuki feels like such a lost opportunity when you imagine what kind of bad ass pop diva you could have played as if the developers had felt friskier. Even the most famous popstar in the world (named Kiria Kurono) feels, with the exception of a few strong side quest moments, entirely too RPG tropey. Because Tokyo Mirage Sessions is a pop-inspired RPG, cliches were unavoidable but I wish the game would have had more fun with them. It hurts my heart that there are so many opportunities for play but the developers skip over them for stock RPG conventions.

    While the story is mostly a failure, the game’s overall design is quite slick. The menu system that allows you to jump to different Tokyo locations is a bit bloodless but the areas themselves have appropriately cheerful urban atmospheres (except for when the Mirages invade; in those moments, the city turns dark and shadowy) and are convincing enough to feel immersive. The world is very small and it could have done with more side attractions but its overall design gets the job done. When Mirages invade, different sections of the surreal Idolasphere open up (one per chapter). These are the game’s dungeons and surprisingly, they are quite enjoyable. I say surprisingly because early reviews of the game indicated that the dungeons were a chore, but I found that they respect your time and the puzzles are painless. I thought each dungeon had a cool gimmick and an eye-catching visual presentation that takes a topsy turvy Alice in Wonderland approach. Add a lack of random encounters and you’re left with dungeons that are relaxing and pleasant to navigate. Because the gameplay is by far the strongest part of the package, I looked forward to reaching the next dungeon rather than wanting to get the dungeons over with to reach the next story revelation.

    The dungeons wouldn’t be as enjoyable as they are if it wasn’t for the game’s excellent battle system. On the surface, it seems like your usual turn-based affair with attacking, skills, items, party member swapping, defending, etc. But because it’s a Shin Megami Tensei game, you cannot survive without exploiting elemental and physical enemy weaknesses (enemies can do the same to you) and making effective use of buff/debuffs. The interface is similar to that of other Shin Megami Tensei games, but the main difference is that characters learn new skills through their weapons and not via demon collection. Furthermore, you can pull off devastating combos in which your entire party beats down enemies in a gloriously flashy team attack; you need to outfit your characters with sessions skills to make these chains longer (enemies can also use session attacks, though it is somewhat rare). At first, it’s tempting to think of session attacks as a cherry on top, but they are key to victory. The damage accumulation that they offer is essential for bringing the high-HP bosses down and session attacks can also give you extra money and rare items. What really makes this battle system is how crisp and intuitive it is. The battles require a lot of strategy (I love how the game provides enough challenge that the player must come to grips with the system’s subtleties), but it is also elegant and simple. The game’s depth comes from its well-calibrated challenge and the various strategies the player can employ.

    One of Tokyo Mirage Sessions’ greatest strengths is how balanced it is. Bosses start out simple like any other game but soon settle into a pitch perfect difficulty. They will test you, but they are not cheap. The challenge is reasonable and not masochistic. Bosses have intelligent limitations but they also force you to think about their weaknesses and how you can best maximize damage while avoiding taking damage (even regular enemies hit hard as hell). This sense of balance lasts for most of the game, but the final two bosses violate the aforementioned balancing principles and employ a few cheap tactics, like instant death. In the scheme of things, Tokyo Mirage Sessions’ difficulty balance is still impressive, but it’s a little disappointing that the developers didn’t maintain it from start to finish.

    If the combat system is excellent, the customization systems are perhaps even better. The key to a good customization system is that it makes you actively feel that you are getting stronger; in other words, the work you’re putting in is clearly manifesting. Tokyo Mirage Sessions is incredibly good at giving the player a sense of tangible progression. This is partially because characters level up fast. In one of the more ambitious dungeons, my characters gained almost ten levels. However, the main reason that the customization system feels so rewarding is the existence of radiant skills, which are the game’s passive abilities. These abilities appear as you level up and you use materials looted from enemies to unlock them. They are extremely useful, giving you perks such as the inability to sometimes withstand devastating attacks, cheaper MP costs, the ability to regain health per turn, etc. The list goes on and on. Once you unlock some of these abilities, the difference in your overall combat abilities becomes immediately apparent. The perks make you feel like you can take on any challenge in the game; their effect is that profound. Not to mention that completing side quests give you new special attacks and random perks in battle, such as occasional super attacks and heals (these are cleverly given to you through performances of song; I wish the game had infused pop music into the gameplay even more). The side quests themselves can be very dry and often boring, but they are well worth your time. The game tells you they are optional but they are really not. The enemies will beat you into oblivion if you don’t utilize the bonuses acquired from side quests.

    The presentation of Tokyo Mirage Sessions is pretty good. Character designs are tasteful and the environments are colorful and accurately depict real locations in Tokyo. The battles are particularly attractive due to the flashy battle effects dominating almost every inch of the screen. Tokyo Mirage Sessions doesn’t have very technically impressive graphics, but creative and vibrant art design make up for the lack of technical prowess. The stylish graphics are not quite as distinctive and original as Persona’s, but if that game is a feast for the eyes, Tokyo Mirage Sessions is at least a satisfying meal. The sound, on the other hand, is okay. There’s nothing to complain about when it comes to the basic sound design. The Japanese voice acting (which is the only option) sounds good to my non-Japanese speaking ears and the pop songs are pretty enjoyable, but, with the exception of a few tracks, I didn’t find the instrumental songs to be that memorable (and the pop tracks sure didn’t compare to the ones from Persona or even the main themes of the Tales games). I wish the battle system theme had been a high-octane pop bop rather than the droning mess that is the default battle theme. Again, why not lean harder into the subject matter?

    Ultimately, the team behind Tokyo Mirage Sessions could have tried harder to make the non-combat aspects of the game just as compelling as the combat itself. That would have elevated the game to legendary status. As it is, Tokyo Mirage Sessions provides an irresistible gameplay loop with enough style to keep things interesting. Bland characters and a missed opportunity of a story will keep Tokyo Mirage Sessions from every truly taking off, but if you like turn-based JRPGs for their depth and you like immediate and empowering progression, you absolutely should give it a try.

    STORYTELLING: 2.5/5
    VISUALS & SOUND: 3.5/5
    DESIGN: 4.5/5
    GAMEPLAY: 5/5
    OVERALL: 8/10
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2022
    soratami likes this.
  13. I played this really recently too and loved it.

    I'm playing Spiritfarer at the moment. I'm only an hour in but I can already tell that I'm going to love it.
     
    silkandskin and soratami like this.
  14. Spiritfarer is truly magical.
     
  15. I started Final Fantasy XV up and it's making a great first impression. The game is extremely pretty and the overall art design/feel of the world reminds me of FFVIII. Combat is much better than expected. I'm skeptical about how much depth it will turn out to have, but it feels good, looks cool, and has some interesting ideas. Some aspects of the combat feel slightly awkward but I'm a fan so far.

    As usual, the menus and interface are gorgeous and I'm actually enjoying the all male party. The characters are wholesome enough that journeying with them doesn't feel like a sausage fest usually does.

    My favorite thing about the experience so far is the game's use of Stand By Me. So beautiful.

    I have a feeling the story will start to negatively effect the experience at some point, but as I said, the game is definitely putting its best foot forward at the moment. I'm very early however.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2022
  16. Fall Guys is out now everywhere and it’s free, for the girls who are interested. I recommend trying it out, it’s a fun little online game.
     
  17. It will be interesting to see how will you feel around ch. 8 because that is when I think its pretty obvious they were rushing it to the end, it all kind of falls apart but at least they improved ch. 14 later on.

    By the way, definitely listen to Too Much Is Never Enough after you finish the game, it fits perfectly to the story as the lyrics are from Noctis' point of view.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2022
    Raichu and DominoDancing like this.
  18. Yeah, I heard about Chapter 14. Sounds painful. Unfortunately, I don't have the Royal Edition, which I heard is the one with Chapter 14 improvements.

    I'm thinking about playing two games at once whereas I usually only play one. Perhaps I could have both a turn-based and action RPG going at once. I want to squeeze more games into my summer break from work (summers off is one of the best things about being a high school teacher) and I want to cut down my backlog a bit. It's getting out of hand.

    I'm going to need my copy of World of Final Fantasy to arrive though. Amazon told me it would deliver in one day and then the timeframe got shifted to several weeks. I want to play it so badly. It looks so cute and wholesome.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2022
    soratami likes this.
  19. You can always buy Royal Pack that has those improvements, I bought that and I definitely recommend it as some other things are added other than ch. 14, Armiger Unleashed is pretty cool. But yes, ch.14 is so much better, in the original release it was truly bare bones.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2022
    Raichu and soratami like this.
  20. Yeah I'd definitely recommend getting the Royal update and the other DLC for FFXV, they improve the game a lot. The various character DLC episodes are probably the best part of the game to me.
     
    Dreampopboy, aaronhansome and Raichu like this.
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