Jerec's Games of August 2021
August 30, 2021

Finished three games this month, all Falcom.

FINISHED

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV (PS4)

I finished this in the first couple of days of August. It feels like a long time ago now, oddly. It has been a long month of lockdown. So, yeah, the first ending was kinda meh. But once you've seen that ending you can load up the game again and go into the "true ending" which was very satisfying in an end of a saga sort of way. I spent close to a year playing through the nine games in this series, and it was some of the best JRPG experiences I've ever had. It does mean I'm taking a break from the series until the next game is out in English, which is sometime in 2023.

Ys II (Steam)

Finally knuckled down and finished Ys II. Solomon Shrine was not quite as confusing as Darm Tower in the first game, but there was a lot of back and forth (zipping back to town for certain things), which seemed to inflate the length of it. The layout is also pretty confusing. A good ending, though. The final boss was really easy, but I may have been over-leveled at that point. In fact, I found Ys II a lot easier than the first game, but maybe that's due to magic adding an extra level of tactics. A solid pair of games, though. I finished this fairly early this month, leading me into...

Ys Origin (Steam)

I like this game a lot. Story-wise, it adds a lot of context to the lore of Ys I & II while also telling its own story - a daring rescue mission set in Darm Tower. It is interesting that the entire game is set in the tower over 25 floors, with boss fights every few floors. You have three characters to choose from (the third being unlocked after beating the game once). Yunica and Hugo play so completely differently, so it is interesting how you need to change your approach to defeating enemies - particularly bosses. The story also takes some variations, so while you are climbing the same tower again, you're uncovering different layers to the story. The third character takes this in a completely different direction, and you really get at the truth of what is going on. Each run takes about 10 hours, so I put in around 35 hours overall. The bump system from Ys I & II is gone - this time you have an attack/jump/skill/boost setup, similar to Ys VI. Music was incredible, too, but I always expect that from Falcom. Following the story path, Ys: Memories of Celceta is up next, which is apparently a remake of Ys IV.

IN PROGRESS

Mass Effect 2 (PS4)

Continued in with Mass Effect 2. Just plugging away at missions, can usually only handle one or two per sitting, because a lot of them basically consist of moving through linear setpieces and killing waves upon waves of enemies. I really love the conversations and character stuff in the game more than the action, so I dropped the difficulty down so I could enjoy it more. The game itself is not as fun as I remember. I replayed 1 and 2 the most back in the 360 days, so I am looking forward to Mass Effect 3, which I only went through once. Havingh all the DLC makes it sweeter.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch)

Picked it up again for a while, progressing towards the end of the Blue Lions campaign. Been stalling my progress by grinding support levels between my characters, because I want to unlock all their dialogues before I finish the game this time. I put it down again soon after.

Dragon Quest XI S (Switch)

I played about 25 hours of this back when it first released on Switch. And then I just stopped. Can't remember exactly why. My save file was from November 2019. I was at some mural that sucked people in. So I got into the game, had no idea what I was doing, and just sort of did some grinding while I found my footing. I ended up watching all the prior cutscenes on YouTube that someone had uploaded, and that gave me a good recap of the game. This month, my progress has reached 55 hours, and I'm really enjoying it now. The battle system is pretty clunky, especially compared to how spoiled I've been with the Trails series' excellent battle system, but the world is colourful and charming, even if it does lean into its quaint "this is a classic SNES-era JRPG with modern graphics" sort of vibe. Act 2 was a considerable improvement, where I suddenly felt like I had a goal and a purpose other than just chasing macguffins. Hopefully I'll stick with this game until completion. At this point, I'd be surprised if I dropped it again.

Muv-Luv Extra (Vita)

I'd been slowly chipping away at this visual novel, not really understanding or vibing with it that much. It was really tropey, with a love triangle thing, where all the girls are in love with the protagonist (for reasons that never seem clear). The story started with the two main girls competing with each other by providing lunch for the protagonist (and he'd have to choose). Then it went into some story about lacross, then there was the requisite hot springs scenario. But I think what kept me going were the occasional moments of depth and thoughtfulness in the dialogue that made me realise there might be something here beneath the surface of this very anime-tropey experience. There is a decent message of taking action - you can't just let things go the way they are indefinitely. I've completed the endings for the two main girls, but I'm going through to get the others before moving onto the second VN (in the same package). But I'll probably stop since my Vita is going to be occupied with Ys for the next little while.

Ring Fit Adventure (Switch)

Dunno if I should even bother mentioning this. I did try this again for a few days, but I've already kinda given up on it again. I thought it might be a good way to get exercise, but jogging in place on an exercise mat isn't all that good. Lockdown and a lot of footpath/roadworks/mandatory masks has made going for a walk a lot more difficult than it needs to be... but I don't feel like this is the answer.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

Yep.

Pic-a-Pix Pieces (Vita)

Finished another big picture, but progress on this is slow. Maybe my nonogram obsession is dying down now.

NEGLECTED

Ni No Kuni
Bug Fables
Uncharted
Danganronpa 1-2 Reloaded
Fire Emblem: Fates
Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD
Xenogears

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dagoss dagoss - August 31, 2021 (08:10 AM)
DQXI was the first game I played when I got a switch. I made it about 20 hours in before I decided to try out Breath of the Wild. After about 50+ hours of BotW (which flew by), I tried to go back to DQXI and--holy hell. Playing those two games together like that makes DQXI feel extremely antiquated. I kept trying to climb and navigate like I was still in Hyrule, and getting frustrated that the game wouldn't let me. Maybe I should switch to 2D mode :D
jerec jerec - August 31, 2021 (04:29 PM)
Yeah, though they are two very different games. DQ has some pretty big environments, but isn't open world. It needs to keep you on a path from place to place. I think my biggest complaint about DQ is the fact you can't save anywhere - you've got save points in towns and campsites, and if you're lucky, you might get one in a dungeon. I really hate losing progress in games these days - Trails again spoiled me since it lets you retry boss fights without booting you back to the title screen first.

Still an enjoyable game with some frustrating elements.
Genj Genj - August 31, 2021 (04:59 PM)
DQXI was one of my favorite games of last gen and I frankly liked it a lot more than FF15 or FF7 Remake because I miss classic JRPGs. It's unapologetic in it's old school design, so it can turn a lot of people off.

I should play those Trails games if I ever find myself with a 1000 hours to kill.
overdrive overdrive - September 01, 2021 (11:04 AM)
Yeah, I liked DQ XI for the reason Genj gave. It's a pure old-school JRPG that just happens to have more modern-looking graphics. Played through the entire game and really didn't find anything to get tiresome until those final postgame dungeon challenges. Can't remember if I did all of those or not. I mean, I beat the postgame true final boss, but there were these optional trial dungeons that you could do in order to make wishes or something like that and I think I burnt out after doing a few of those because they took place in versions of old dungeons, but with new monsters. Been a little while, so I don't remember the details too vividly, but I think it went like that.

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