Jerec's Games of June 2021
June 29, 2021

Another month of steady game progress, although some things are still getting left behind. This lets me at least keep track of the stuff I'm currently neglecting, at least.

FINISHED

Mass Effect 1 (PS4)

Finished Mass Effect. It's still a really great game due to the story and the characters, and although this version has seen some improvements, some existing issues remained. It really took me out of the game on multiple occasions when I go around opening containers and just getting mutliple guns thrown at me, then I keep bumping up against the inventory limit, so from time to time I just have to sell or gellify all my low level items. Inventory management was handled better in the two sequels, but it looks like they didn't bother fixing it for this.

Still, I completed the vast majority of quests in the game and stopped Saren. I've finished Mass Effect quite a few times since first playing it in 2007, but I think this is the first time I'd played it in 8 or 9 years. It was amazing how much I remembered very clearly (Eden Prime, The Citadel, Virmire), and how much I had forgotten (the other planets). I'm glad I left it so long between revisits, since of it was quite fresh once again.

I decided to go with a predominantly paragon run this time around, although with a few renegade moments sprinkled in for a bit of spice.

I jumped right into Mass Effect 2 after this.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure (Ao No Kiseki) - PC

Man, the latter half of this game was just non-stop. Azure is the game that overlaps the most with Cold Steel I&II, and it was amazing to finally see this side of the story. I think playing Cold Steel first was the best way to go, in hindsight, since Cold Steel doesn't really spoil much of events in Crossbell, but the same cannot be said for the other direction (which is impressive since this game came out earlier). It was great to see recurring characters pop up, and learn more about my own party members.

Interesting that only about a month after the translation patch was made available, it is now gone, because Zero and Azure are getting official localisations - the guys at Geofront who did these patches (and they are undoubtedly professional level) are working with NISA. It's great that the barrier for entry for the Trails series are going to be removed in the coming years. Still, I'm glad I got to play it now. But I'm also glad that in future, this will be easier to recommend to people.

Immediately after finishing this, I started up Cold Steel III, which I've been dying to play for months now (since finishing II earlier this year).

Pixel Puzzles: Japan (Steam)

Found this in my Steam library. Knocked out all the puzzles over the course of this past month, got all the achievements. Decent fun.

IN PROGRESS

Mass Effect 2 (PS4)

The gameplay of this really took some adjusting to coming straight from the first game. This does handle the shooting aspects better than the first, but downplays the RPG-ness of it all. I noticed a lot of the missions tend to be long stretches of set-pieces where I just mow down wave upon wave of enemies, and I am finding that gets a bit old. It's the story sequences that I really like - especially with the paragon/renegade triggers you can activate in cutscenes. The Mass Effect Legendary Edition disc got evicted from my PS4, so progress has halted.

Trails of Cold Steel III (PS4)

I was playing Mass Effect 1/2 and Trails to Azure simultaneously. But when I finished Azure, my PS4 has been taken over by Cold Steel III. 60 hours in, so far, and it feels like I only just started it last week (which... maybe I did?). I love it. Characters and story elements from Trails in the Sky, and Zero/Azure come together here. I've seen Cold Steel III compared to Avenger's Infinity War, with Cold Steel IV being linkened to Endgame. This excites me.

Yeah, there's a lot of busywork quests you don't technically have to do (but I do them anyway), but it's nice to explore parts of Erebonia that I heard about in the first two games but didn't get to visit. Oh, and Crossbell. Man, that Crossbell chapter hits so hard. I am so, so glad I did not play this immediately upon finishing Cold Steel II. I needed to play those two Crossbell games to really grasp what was going on there.

The battle mode is similar, though it adds a few new features, such as "Orders", where characters in your party or support can issue orders that boost certain stats for a few turns - which adds a new layer of strategy to those tough boss fights.

I like the new characters and it's fun to see returning characters show up from time to time. Rean's new companions give him more and more crap at how many attractive women he seems to know, much to his embarrassment.

This series continues to impress me. Knowing that Trails of Reverie is getting released here in 2023 is reassuring, even if that is still two years away. I should slow down, but I won't. I'm on the 8th game in this series of 60-80 hour JRPGs that I've played since late last year, and I have not come close to burning out. I think that is the greatest compliment I could give this series.

Ys II (Steam)

With all the other stuff I was playing, this one kinda got lost in the shuffle, but I did make some decent progress today (so it would not join the neglected list), tackling some areas of the Shrine of Solomon. The layout of this place is a nightmare, and even following a FAQ I tend to get lost. On the plus side, I'm probably over-levelled at this point.

Xenogears (PS1)

I only made a small amount of progress this month, getting out of the caverns and onto the big desert crawler. The battle mode is annoying and the camera gives me the shits, but I'm still keen to see what this is all about.

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD (Switch)

I picked up a physical copy for Switch before it disappeared. I'm a couple of hours into this. It's a very different vibe to Persona, although a lot of the mechanics are similar. This is dark, lonely sort of game, where I'm one man alone exploring a new world inhabited by demons and a handful of human survivors. Battle system is pretty good, and I know my way around demon-fusing from the Persona games. I guess my aim is to finish this before SMT V comes out later this year.

Steins;Gate ELITE (Steam)

Completed the Luka ending, went through the amazing Moeka chapter (she doesn't get her own ending), then got the standard Kurisu ending, before doubling back and getting onto the True Ending path. I've only got the last little bit to go before I finish this, except that I also need to go back and get the Mayuri ending (which is mutally exclusive to the Kurisu/True Ending path). Figure I'll be adding this to the completed list next month.

Muv Luv (Vita)

The same friend who introduced me to Steins;Gate gave me his Vita copies of Muv Luv and Muv Luv Alternate. It's a very weird story (and also weird for me to read/play a VN that seems to be a parody of this sort of slice of life high school anime/visual novel genre). I'm only a few in-story days into it so far, so it hasn't really clicked for me yet.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

Just doing my daily's.

Faerie Solitare Harvest (Steam)

Minimal progress, but to be fair I'm on NG+ so I could just let this one go.

NEGLECTED

Haven't gone back to any of these, but I leave them here as a reminder.

Ni No Kuni
Bug Fables
Uncharted
Danganronpa 1-2 Reloaded
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem: Fates
Pic-a-Pix Pieces (Vita has been busy with other stuff)

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Genj Genj - July 01, 2021 (06:36 AM)
Have you never played Nocturne before? I played it after finishing Persona 3 when that game was relatively new (so like 14 years ago). I recall it being really good, but it's a bit less "casual" compared to the P3 and on games. FYI the stat up and stat down spells are extremely good in Nocturne since they last for many turns AND stack with multiple casts. I recall abusing them a lot in my playthrough. I heard the HD remaster is pretty bare bones, so I've been waiting for a price drop. SMTV is definitely a day one purchase for me.
jerec jerec - July 01, 2021 (06:42 PM)
First time. I did pick it up digitally on PS3 but never got around to it. Yeah, in hindsight I could've waited until this was half price...

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