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Radiant Arin

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Radiant Arin last won the day on June 24 2018

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About Radiant Arin

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  • Birthday March 27

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    Jack of All Trades

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  1. Yeah yeah, I know, I'm only slightly a little bit late to the party with this one. But in the wake of the imminent coming of Borderlands 3, I finally decided to get off my lazy ass and finish up this series once and for all. As you guys may or may not know, Borderlands 2 was my favorite "looter shooter" game with lots of ingenuity, care, and cleverly disguised memes that makes the experience worth it. But does the Pre-Sequel live up to one of the most iconic games of this generation? Let's take a look and find out below. Story: Contrary to popular belief, I actually enjoyed the story much more than Borderlands 2. As this is NOT going to be a spoiler-free playthrough, it is highly advised that you go ahead and skip this section. HERE IT IS IN BIG BRIGHT BOLD LETTERS TO GIVE YOU YOUR WARNING OTHERWISE DON'T BLAME ME FOR WHAT'S ABOUT TO HAPPEN. The story follows...soon to be "Handsome" Jack before he became the head of the Hyperion corporation. But it is told through a sort of flashback sequence through the narrative of Athena's eyes, one of the characters that you get to play in the game. Contrary to Borderlands 2, in the Pre-Sequel, you can play as one of three of Jack's different henchman. The fourth is a sodding CL4P-TP unit, who actually comes with his own perk. More of that is explained later on in the gameplay section of the game. The story starts with Jack and the 4 characters aboard the Space Station "Helios", which is the large artifact that orbits around Pandora's surface. The story gets right into it, straight away, with a faction called The Lost Legion attacking the Space Station and trying to overthrow Hyperion in a coup fashion. The mastermind behind all this is Colonel Zarpedon (yes, that is her actual fucking name), who orchestrated the coup. Jack is forced to stay behind on Helios ultimately while the four henchman, Nisha, Wilhelm, Athena, and.....dipshit....are sealed into an escape pod aboard the Helios, and are sent crashing down into Pandora's moon, named Elpis. Since Zarpedon now has control of the Helios, the Eye in the Sky, she now uses the power of Helios to torment and terrify the people of Elpis and Pandora alike, sending multiple laser beams from the Eye of Helios to destroy multiple settlements on both planets under the guise of doing something good for the better of everyone else. One death to save millions of others. This actually becomes a plot point later on in the story. Eventually, Jack comes up with the malicious plan of creating an entire robot army to overthrow Zarpedon and take back the Helios Space Station. You befriend a robot AI named Felicity, which you later sacrifice to create the Constructor Bot AI. And even though she is glitched (in more ways than one) to hell and back, seeing Felicity be sacrificed really set something straight in my mind: Jack would really stop at nothing to make sure he has complete and dominant control over Elpis and Pandora alike. This is when you start to see the signs, and this is what really pulled me into liking the story, as it specifically tells as to how Handsome Jack, the, in my opinion most well crafted villain that I've met in a first person game, became the way he is. Jack, after taking down Colonel Zarpedon, leads you down to the Eye of Helios aboard the Space Station, where it is said that he used the Eye of the previous Vault Guardian (the one you fight in Borderlands 1) to power the entirety of the beam array, which is what was giving it all that power and destruction. He then hints that he is going to find another Vault, and enlists the aid of two additional vault hunters who we are very familiar with: Roland and Lilith. Under the service of Mad Moxxi, Roland, Lilith, and Moxxi all betray Jack by siphoning the power of the Eye of Helios, and destroy it outright. This is when Jack snaps. He then gets the idea to open a grand Eridian Vault, that was mined up on the surface of Elpis (which is the coolest dungeon in the game). Eventually, you fight through massive hordes of Eridian defenders, much like in the first game, to go and defeat the Sentinel that occupies the Eridian vault. Now under the pretense that he wants to wipe out the Vault Hunters once and for all, he uses the power of the Eridian Sentinel to dig deep into Pandora's surface, and unlock a much more menacing beast: The Warrior. Who just so happens to be the final boss of Borderlands 2. After his debut, however, Lilith comes through the Eridian portal (shown above) and brands Jack with the Vault symbol, by giving him a good ol' fashioned bitchslap. This demoralizes him and forces Jack to play his final card. At this point in the story, Jack has gone completely insane, going down a path of destruction and torment. The best part of the story is Jack himself. Which I know is an odd thing to say, but it really is the best part of this entire game, as it ties up a lot of things about Borderlands 2 and what made him so menacing. Now it all starts to make sense. Because when I first loaded up Borderlands 2 after playing Borderlands 1 I was like "Who is this fuck"? And now it makes sense. However, there were some inconsistencies in the story primarily, and I'm just going to throw them out here for people to ponder over. Where the fuck is Angel? It was mentioned that Jack had a daughter, but between the events of Borderlands 1 and Borderlands 2, we are given no indication that Angel was Jack's daughter right until the end of Borderlands 2. I know I'm spoiling Borderlands 2 here but it kind of ties in with the big complaint that I have with this game's story: There is no mention of Angel anywhere. And given the fact that he was so desperate on unlocking the power of The Warrior in Borderlands 2, and used Angel to power the Eridian Key to unlock the Vault, I honestly felt like Angel's inclusion in this story was a missed opportunity. It would have showed the audience just how maniacal and depraved Handsome Jack became to be, and it would have hit home to see him go down that path. After the final scene, Athena leaves the madman behind, claiming that he wasn't the hero he once was. Rightfully so, considering the above caption. This is when Jack returns to the Space Station Helios, and takes his claim as the leader of the Hyperion corporation, with Jack becoming "the new face of Hyperion". Which sets in motion the events that happen in Borderlands 2. It all ties in together really well, even though there were some missed opportunities to show off Jack's conniving attitude, maliciousness, and just in general douchebaggery. Overall: 7.5/10. Gameplay: Alright. So, we all know that Borderlands 2 paved the way to becoming a vast, rich-quality looter shooter with horde-style combat and makes the experience much more fantastic. The Pre-Sequel does not live this down, and in fact, introduces a whole new array of weapon combination and strategies. In the Pre-Sequel, the all too familiar Slag element is replaced with Cryo, which is a welcome edition as Slag weapons upset the balance of Borderlands 2 in my opinion. It was impossible to play through True Vault Hunter mode without the use of a Slag weapon. Here, since Slag was taken out of the game and replaced with an entirely new element all together, it made the game balance that much more fun to play. Plus, you didn't have to center your build around using Slag weaponry or making the most use out of your Slag weapons by speccing straight into Weapon Swap Speed. Yes, looking at you Axton. Weapons are still fun and amazing, and there are lots and lots of different weapons for you to play around with and customize. In fact, there are multiple different styles of weapons that you can choose from, with each manufacturer of weapons having a different perk. For those that don't know, there is Jakobs, Vladof, Maliwan, Tediore, Hyperion, Dahl, and Torgue. Jakobs weapons are old fashioned: high recoil but insane damage, and are actually one of my greatest guilty pleasures as a Nisha player. Vladof weapons are ALL rapid fire, full auto bullet hoses. Maliwan makes only purely elemental weaponry. Tediore weapons are the most annoying and honestly the worst archetype of weapons in my opinion. When you run out of ammo in a Tediore weapon, you throw the weapon like a grenade shortly thereafter, which causes damage to the enemy. This gimmick is honestly horrible and deals very little damage for what you actually put into the weapon. Of course, because of this, they have the highest reload speeds, but the weapons themselves still suck and don't do nearly enough damage to be worth using. Hyperion weapons come with stabilizers built in, meaning that the more you fire, the more accurate they become. Aside from Sniper Rifles, which suck, the stabilizers actually make Hyperion the most damaging and most pristine weapon choice for people who like spraying, but not praying. Hyperion SMGs and Shotguns are honestly overpowered just because of the sheer accuracy they can accrue. Dahl weapons have burst fire when zoomed in, which keeps recoil low but damage output high. Unfortunately, the problem with Dahl weapons, like Tediore weapons, is that their base damage is subpar, and you won't know the contents of how many bullets you'll be firing until you zoom in and fire. Ever had a Sniper Rifle shoot 7 bullets at once in burst fire? It's kind of stupid, and not in a good way. Finally, Torgue weapons are the second most awful weapons. They only make Explosive weaponry, but the problem with Torgue weapons is simply they aren't hitscan, like most of the weapons in the game. They fire slowly, are clunky to handle, and are just downright awful. But they have some of the greatest weapon names in existence. Aside from gunplay, there are four different characters that you can play as: Athena, Wilhelm, Nisha, and CL4P-TP. Athena is built around using her melee weapon, which isn't very fun in a game filled with guns. Wilhelm has a drone that can either protect and heal you, or dish out damage to enemies. Nisha is a Lawbringer, a caricature of old sheriffs back in the day, and she was honestly the most fun to play as. Her ultimate ability is basically Soldier 76's aimbot, which makes her that much more stupid. Finally, CL4P-TP has some random abilities tied into his ultimate, but his perk is that he does not need an oxygen mask when traveling on the surface of the moon. Which, while I'm here talking about it, is a good point to bring up. Since you are on the surface of the moon in this game, you need an oxygen mask if you want to survive for any length of time. A lot of people, and I mean A LOT of people, were turned off by this fact, calling O2 management "a chore, unfun and incredibly stupid". Honestly, it's not all that bad, as O2 is plentiful EVERYWHERE. There were some sections where you get into a large fight and you didn't have enough time to run to an oxygen vent, which made me annoyed only slightly, but I never outright died as a result from not being able to breathe. There's a new archetype of weapon that wasn't available in Borderlands 2, and that's lasergun/railguns. These were a welcome addition to the game and I like them a lot, but I feel there were too many of them that littered the loot pool in lieu of other weapons. In the example above, there are 3 different lasergun/railgun weapons, 3 different rocket launchers (which I never use because they're awful), 1 shotgun, and 1 peeeeestol. It was pretty much like that with all of the other weapon vending machines in the game. It becomes excruciatingly annoying during the ending of the game where you are fighting the Lost Legion, and ALL they drop is laserguns/railguns. And they're white trash weapons. The difficulty was...a little bit ramped up this time around. On Borderlands 2 it was a little bit more tame, but this time, the difficulty was a little bit more unforgiving in some sections, and there were just moments of pure bullshit and fuckery that made me lose interest in the game for a little bit at a time. But the game was better balanced as a result. Remember when I talked about Slag weapons before and how it made the game near impossible to play without one? Now that that was taken out of the game, it made enemies much easier to kill and you didn't spend 30 minutes trying to fight a single trash mob. It's much more balanced in the player's favor this time around. The single greatest change from Borderlands 2, however? There are more weapon machines around and they are plenty more accessible. ALSO THE LEVEL OF THE WEAPONS SCALES WITH YOU. So for example, if you were Level 25, the weapon vending machines will sell you Level 24-25 weapons where if you were earlier in the game at Level 11, the vending machine will sell Level 10-11 weapons. This is a great addition and I hope it is added to Borderlands 3. The single thing that pissed me off the most about Borderlands 2 was that weapons didn't scale with you, and I'm glad that was remedied. All in all, it's still the same Borderlands experience with a few new gimmicks. Overall: 8.5/10. Quality: Mostly the same as it was from Borderlands 2. The atmosphere of the moon's surface was amazing, even though my ears started hurting at the sounds of all my enemies dying as I mowed them down with Showdown. The soundtrack was barely there, which is sad. I would have loved to hear more of the game's soundtrack other than just the final Eridian palace. The controls were fine, used KB+M to play the game. Everything felt as perfect as it should have been. Graphics are amazing and they recently added a new package that upscales everything to 4k. So if you are a graphics geek, unlike myself, then that would definitely be something that would interest you. This was kind of a short section as the game's quality is honestly an 8, but Randy Bitchford's quality is a 1. So it balances out. Overall: 8/10. Replayability: Just like in Borderlands 2, there is True Vault Hunter mode. This is essentially an even more ramped up version of the game with stronger enemies but better loot. This gives you an extra incentive to play through the game again just to see all the ridiculous loot you can get your grubby little hands on. You can also make a new character at any time and play through the game using that character, so if you are getting bored of playing as Nisha, you can swap to an Athena build, Wilhelm build, or CL4P-TP build. Nothing has really changed in regards to the replayability factor from Borderlands 2: No one playthrough is ever going to be the same. And if it is, you've got some serious black magic tricks I want to get my hands on. Overall: 7.5/10. Now, it's time for the final wrap-up. In this section, I'll detail if this game is truly one for you, and if you should decide to play it or not. Would I recommend this game?: I think there's no question here that the Pre-Sequel lives just as much to the expectations as Borderlands 2 did. It's still as good of a game as Borderlands 2 was, but made everything a bit more accessible and perfect. For the asking price of $40, I would say its well worth it. Overall: 7.8/10. Great!
  2. Radiant Arin

    Even For Eternia [RPG Maker MV]

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/1050010/ "Take one step towards ending the hatred you have accumulated all these years. Take one step forward towards the path of salvation, and let your anger, hatred, and dissonance fade away. ...But not without a price to pay." Welcome to the world of Even For Eternia! This is my first very serious project for RPG Maker MV. I've been developing RM games for the last six years, starting off with a game called The Last Prince, finally making another project in Ace called Broken Destiny, and then finally, switching gears and moving to RPG Maker MV for Even For Eternia, my first serious release on Steam and to the RPG Maker community. When I set out to make this project I had one thing in mind: Making the game as best as it can be, to show that when you put your heart and soul into everything you can, you can make something truly marvelous. And I wish to share that with everyone. A lot of people say RPG Maker gets a bad reputation, but know that its the developer who can make something glorious, not just the engine. Reserve your copy of Even For Eternia for $8.99 now! With this, you can experience: • An amazing story that lets you take control of six characters, all being tested by their faith and feelings. • Character driven narration. • A Unique Wraith System: For every enemy you defeat, monsters of that particular archetype (fiends, reptiles, dragons) will get stronger over time. Akin to Final Fantasy X-2's Oversoul System but much more streamlined. • Hours upon hours of Side content. • Use emotional fragments, like Sorrow, Depression, or Hatred, to make yourself and your party members stronger. • A Unique Alliance System: Align yourself with six different Alliances; The Faithful of Yvonne, The Scarlet Knights, The Dahlia Corporation, Ahrnalia, The Black Eye, and the Bersera Foundation. Then, reap the rewards of the chosen Alliance in combat. But be careful, some Alliances don't take too kindly on which choices you make, and there will always be a consequence. • Soon to be implemented: Steam Achievements! I highly encourage everyone not just to look at the project, but to see for what it actually is worth: An astounding RPG Maker game that I have put my heart and soul into. Itch.io release: https://radiantarin.itch.io/even-for-eternia GameJolt release: https://gamejolt.com/games/even_for_eternia/315868 If you would like to get in touch with me on a more personal level, then please check out the Discord link below: https://discord.gg/7JkZ9tD Thank you for reading!
  3. Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet is the third Sword Art Online game to come out since the original inception of the anime many years ago. This came out after SA: O (Sword Art: Original), and after that, Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization. Then finally, Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet that takes place in its own separate universe. So let's go ahead and get jumping into the game. Story: I'll just save you some time here. It sucks. I mean, I was going into this game thinking that the game was going to be an absolute shitshow because the entirety of the SAO franchise has about as much consistency as a paper airplane that wasn't folded right. As I said before, Sword Art Online takes place in an alternate universe that is nothing like the original two. As SA:O takes place in its own universe, and SAO: Hollow Realization takes place in the universe of ALO, Fatal Bullet takes place in a universe called Gun Gale Online, or GGO for short. Which, by itself, was actually the best arc for SAO. But it's still bad. Okay, so I'll just save you some time here and sum up the story in a few sentences, as the game doesn't really have a strong story department: It's bad. There are consistency issues all throughout the game, and the inclusion of different story modes throws curve balls at you like Nolan Ryan threw strikes (that's a baseball reference, folks). And some of them don't even make sense. For example, about 3/4s of the way through the game, a new mode is introduced called Kirito Mode. Because of course, we need to include our shining hero of the franchise just to make sure he gets his screen time. The entire reason you have to do this Kirito Mode is because of a player within GGO's universe who is killing players. Even though PK'ing in the game (which was said multiple times) is completely okay. He goes by the name of Death Gun, the most edgiest name that would put Shadow the Hedgehog in his place. This moment, this plateau of action, unfortunately, only happens about once you're 2/3s of the way through the game. The rest of the time, you'll be going from Point A to Point B in between, learning all about your characters backstory and what brought them to GGO in the first place. There's Kureha, Zeliska, Itsuki, and Bazalt Joe who are new players to GGO, then you have all the favorite characters from SAO: Kirito, Asuna, Silica, Sinon, Leafa, Agil, Klein, and Lisbeth. I'm sure I am missing a few but I don't care because the game doesn't give me a reason to care about these characters other than the fact that they were stuck into the game just to ensure they got their appropriate screen time. Okay, so going back onto the plot: Death Gun actually ends up being two different people. Which, looking back on it now, was a cool concept, because ever since NerveGears were banned due to the events that happened in SAO, new technology was implemented to stop that. However, Death Gun was working in conjunction with another person in the real world to keep his visage, his image, of being a psychotic murderer, while the person in the real world did the dirty deed. This was a cool idea to me, but.......there was no resolution to anything. You go into Kirito Mode, because you have to in order to find out who Death Gun really is, go into a championship, beat his lanky ass, and figure out that there was another person behind the scenes pulling the strings. ...And that's it. There's no proper resolution for the arc, unless you go back to playing your created character. It feels as though the entirety of the plot was mashed together in a blender when they were trying to make a margarita, but instead they ended up making a smoothie with ice chunks still in it. So to wrap it all up: Nah man. Just don't. Also, you can date your sister in the game in Kirito mode. No, I wish I was making this shit up, but no, it's an actual thing. Which goes to prove that Reki Kawahara is nothing but a pervert. But we already knew that. Overall: 3.5/10. Gameplay: Alright, in the vein that the story sucks, the gameplay is actually the most redeeming and probably the most addicting part of the game. There are so many good gameplay features. But in the same sense, there are also some bad gameplay choices that don't make sense unless you actually look up a guide of what you are supposed to be doing. So let's get the negative out of the way first. After the Death Gun arc, a new mechanic unlocks called "Affinity" between all of your party members. You have to raise this Affinity to near max with all the original GGO characters (Kureha, Itsuki, Zeliska, your Arfa-Sys Unit, and Bazalt Joe). However, the game does not tell you about this new gameplay mechanic change in any way or fashion. And if you don't do it, you won't get the true ending. That kind of pissed me off. HOWEVER, the gameplay features of this quickly outclass the shit story the game presents. As I am a gameplay trumps story kind of person, I quickly fell in love with how much you can actually DO in this game: From creating your character, from changing your outfits, to minmaxing your weapons to making sure they are the best goddamn shredders in existence. So let's start. There is an extensive weapons system in this game that allows you to customize and enhance your weapons, up to a certain point, making it essentially a minmaxer's paradise. For example, Handguns in this game have some of the best Critical stats but have shit stopping power. So to compensate, you would stack some Weapon/Physical Attack on them to make them slightly stronger. Up to a point. There's a hard cap on how much you can upgrade your weapon and its stats, but when you reach that point, you are already powerful enough that you can destroy bosses in mere seconds with your weapon. And there are many many weapons you can acquire in this game. Handguns to Full Auto ARs, Burst fire ARs, grenade launchers, and rocket launchers. You can even hold a fucking Gatling Gun. A GATLING GUN. The world of SAO: Fatal Bullet is massive, with 4 different areas (5 if you count the DLC) where you can go to...kill monsters basically. My favorite Area was an Area called The Old South, because it literally is a callback to NieR Automata's City Ruins. There are Side Quests in this game as well, which augment and complement the world of SAO: Fatal Bullet as well. But these are basically kill X amount of Y quests, looking for Treasure Chests in the overworld or in dungeons, or PK'ing other players. Basically, there's lots to do actually in SAO: Fatal Bullet, which is why I enjoyed the game so much. There are so many different build combinations you can do for your characters that one playthrough isn't enough to justify the game. For example, you can be a DPS Sniper, a tank who uses a Shotgun with CC abilities, a debuffer, a Support with massive Strength, basically anything you can put your mind to, you can do it. So for all the faults that the game has, it has an equally amount of good gameplay parts. However, I will say without the DLC, you can't get into all the dungeons in the game, which I don't personally agree with. If you're gonna lock content behind DLC, it should be free, or not be in the map in the first place. Because I'm trying to get into the Demon Cave without the DLC and it wouldn't let me, even though there was a Quest there which required me to go to the Demon Cave so I couldn't complete it. So all in all, the gameplay isn't bad. Gameplay: 8/10. Quality: It's.....about what'd you'd expect from a port. It works. That's just about it. I could run it at 60 FPS with no problems. Although, in some certain situations my frame rate would lock itself to 30 for no reason. I don't know if it's a Steam or a port issue but that was a minor inconvenience to me at most. What WAS actually an inconvenience for me is that sometimes, button inputs are locked, or don't register. Since I played the game with a KB+M (because that's how you play shooter games you ingrates) my Sprint Dashes would sometimes register twice when I only pressed it twice, or I could get stuck in a crouch position after Evading for some reason. So that was mildly irritating. The art for the game is...well, we all know the writer of the game is a pervert. There's no dancing around that. And yes, you can romance all the characters in the game. And you kind of have to in order to keep the game moving along. So nothing really special here. It works sometimes when it feels like it. Other times it's a nearly flawless experience. Overall: 6/10 Replayability: So like I said before, this game has lots of redeeming features when it comes to the replayability of the game. Especially when trying different builds, or different characters, or different weapons. There are near limitless combinations available at your disposal and they are all at your finger tips. However, the only downside to the replayability I will say is that NG+ is actually harder in terms of coping with the mechanics than it is on NG. Which is why I highly recommend against NG+. Instead, just make a new character and build them up again with a particular build you have in mind. It will save you a lot of headache that way. But yeah, in terms of Replayability, there is A LOT to have. Overall: 8/10. Now, it's time for the final wrap-up. In this section, I'll detail if this game is truly one for you, and if you should decide to play it or not. Would I recommend this game?: This is kind of a tough one to decide. If you are one of those people who prefers story in their game, I would say give this one a hard pass. And probably the whole SAO franchise in general a pass. If you don't care for a bad story but want a good game, then yes, I definitely would say get this game. HOWEVER, I would highly advise against getting this game on a sale for -50% on Steam, for a comfortable $20 instead of the full asking price of $40. This game is not even worth $20 in some regards but that's a whole other can of worms that I won't open. Overall: 6.3/10. Just okay
  4. https://www.twitch.tv/radiantarin
    Come watch me fail at Dark Souls 3!

  5. https://www.twitch.tv/radiantarin Going live with some more RPG Maker games. This time we will be playing Root of All Evil!

  6. https://www.twitch.tv/radiantarin Preparing to go live with some RPG Maker games.

  7. Oh man. Oh fucking man. This was a joyride, a rollercoaster of emotions that had me biting my metaphorical fingernails until the very end of the presentation. No other game has had me as captivated as this game, and Square Enix did a miraculous job with this title. I'll break the game down into several segments, consisting of story, gameplay, quality, and replayability, and judge the game on all of these criteria. Story: "Everything that lives is designed to end. We are trapped perpetually in a never-ending spiral of life and death. Is this a curse or some kind of punishment? I often think about the God that blessed us with this cryptic puzzle... ...And wonder if we'll ever have the chance to kill him." NieR: Automata follows the story of two characters, androids who are fighting machines on the surface of Earth several thousands of years into the future. The story follows 2B, a combat model, and 9S, a Scanner model. Their target: a large massive machine that is classified as a Goliath-class Unit. Being led by several other relative Units, named YoRHa Units, 2B commences a strike on the Goliath class Unit, striking at its weakness. Afterwards, you meet 9S and team up with him to scavenge the abandoned factory for the large Goliath class Unit. The true enemy is swarming all over: machine lifeforms. After quickly dispatching them, 2B and 9S make their way to the very top of the factory where they fight and seize the Goliath class Unit. NieR: Automata actually has a really strong opening that gives you a sense of danger and loss immediately, which pulls you into the gameplay that much faster. It's executed very well, and from that, keeps you on a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. That, combined with storytelling from multiple fronts (we'll go into detail about that later in Replayability, as there is a lot to cover in that one). As you progress onward, you'll see that the machines start to form feelings of hatred, wanting to have families, conceptuality; almost akin to human emotion. With you, the player, as an android, you are sent to strike down these machines, but you wonder along the way...How did these machines start to develop feelings? Or should they even be allowed to develop feelings at all? Or to even understand what it means to have emotions and feelings? As humanity was wiped out several thousands of years ago, the inhabitants were launched onto the moon and were forced to live there while the fighting between androids and machines continued on the surface of Earth. Remember that as we go along. Yoko Taro blends so many references together in a congruent fashion. You'll soon discover as you play through 2B's "route" (again, refer to the Replayability section), the machines soon become deranged, wanting to fell others to become Gods in their own right. And the mastermind behind this large scale attack? Two machines named Adam and Eve. Yes, the very same names from the Biblical reference. Eventually, before long, you kill Adam in order to quell the machine uprising, which however, throws Eve into a maniacal state and going on a rampage. And that's the end of Route A. And yeah, that's what I thought, too. That's it? That's the whole story? But then the game tells you to play it through again to experience the game from someone else's point of view. Now, you play through the game again as 9S. The very same character that made his first appearance helping out 2B. You play through the story again, but as you play through the game...you realize that machines want to become human, more and more, displaying emotions that machines shouldn't exhibit. 9S however often reports that "machines don't have feelings" and that "the things they say aren't supposed to make sense". You'll see more development coming from Adam and Eve as characters than you did when playing through 2B's route, which gives Eve his motive for...you know, being an asshole. You also discover as you wake up from a strenuous fight one day while repairing your system as 9S that there is a confidential Bunker notice. It is explained throughout the game that YoRHa was established in order to fight the machine threat on the surface of the Earth. A separate subfaction, known as the Council of Humanity, was created to lead YoRHa along the right path. However, in the records established, there is no such thing as a Council of Humanity. Meaning that once 9S has access to this knowledge, he begins to become aware that something heavy is going on with YoRHa and the Bunker in general. I for one personally had a problem with the fact that if something is supposed to be that confidential, what is it doing sitting in 9S' memory banks but whatever. You then kill Eve again, and unlock Route B. And then...whew, the game takes you for a wild ride. Route C, D, and E, are probably where you are going to get most of your "feels" from the game. Route C, D, and E lets you play as the rogue YoRHa Unit, "A2", a defective combat model who was originally in YoRHa, but left. Originally, when playing as either 2B or 9S, you run into A2 during the course of your travels, fight briefly, then she leaves with a very cryptic message. "Command was the one who betrayed you." Now, Route C starts off with 2B and 9S acting as a guerrilla tactical Unit providing support to other squadrons throughout the city, who have gone on a rampage ever since Adam and Eve were destroyed. Their rampage, however, isn't caused by them dying, it's actually from being disconnected from the network, a vast port where machines reside. At least, in theory, it's never really explained that well in the game aside from Archives (refer to Gameplay section). After wiping all of them out, a group of machines comes in, and, to pretty much sum up about ten minutes of backstory, fucking wrecks your shit, infecting the YoRHa battalion and all the androids in the vicinity, leaving 2B with a viral infection that, you, as 9S, have to solve. However, it's not enough and 2B is ultimately left to the fate of becoming corrupted by the virus. She isolates herself by slowly walking her happy ass (refer to CTRL + F and then "pacebreakers") all the way to an abandoned commercial facility where she is ambushed by several corrupted YoRHa models. And this is where you take control of the rogue YoRHa fighter A2. By fighting them off, you are alleviating 2B of the responsibility of being a badass main character and shoving all of that on A2. Oh yeah, also, you kill 2B in the meantime because she doesn't want the virus to contaminate any more androids. 9S, however, is in the distance, and notices A2 killing 2B, and now he swears revenge on all machines and A2 for killing 2B. So edgy. After 2B's death, a giant tower struts up from the ground, mechanical in origin, which is explained later on as an "ark that is used to transport the memories of humanity to space to preserve their knowledge". Now the game gives you options: To fight either as A2 or as 9S. Both of them lead to the same conclusion, it's up to personal preference on how you want to complete it: 9S first of A2 first. On A2's path, you discover machines attacking other peaceful machines who have no desire to fight. A2 originally thought, same as 9S, that all machines need to be destroyed because they are the enemy, but she then quickly realizes and changes her stance when these peaceful machines want to help androids. A2 is a character that comes off as incredibly jagged, almost careless and only pursuing one goal, while 9S however deteriorates into a manic being bent on revenge on all machines and A2 for killing 2B. As 9S, your responsibility is to acquire "keys" which are needed to get inside the monstrous tower. As you do, a girl in red, called the Red-Girl Assassin in the game, calls out to 9S, stating "We cannot be killed. We are infinite, yet we are finite. We are the collective consciousness of all humanity. We are the embodiment of the perfect being." As you play along, A2 and 9S eventually meet up, fight a large Goliath class enemy. The game rapidly switches back and forth between A2's and 9S' perspective in dealing with the huge threat, and eventually the two team up and destroy the Goliath together. I use the term "team up" loosely, because after the fight, 9S wants nothing more than revenge for what A2 did to 2B. And then, depending on who you choose, you get to see two different endings, with humanity's thoughts and logic being launched up into space. As you play through 9S' route, you discover that there is no more humanity. Nothing at all. Not even the people on the moon are real; their collective thoughts are stored on a consciousness on the moon. 9S begins to question the meaning of their existence if there is nothing to protect, as androids were tasked with killing machines and protecting humanity as their only values. Which...becomes the focal point of the story as you play as 9S. What is the meaning of life if there isn't something to protect? Yoko Taro does an excellent job blending so much together in a cohesive fashion, even if the first ten hours or so of the game felt like filler and then playing through Route B again made it all completely impactless and pointless. At the very, very end, though, once you struggle through the entire game, you start to understand and empathize for all the characters: machines because they want to feel as human as possible in a desolate, lonely world, 9S because there is nothing more to protect since his concept of revenge has been shattered, and A2 because she goes from being narcissistic and angry to caring about machines, and even 9S, to protect and preserve his memories. Overall: 8.5/10. Gameplay: Alright, let's get the negative out of the way first. YOUR CHARACTERS ARE THE CLUMSIEST DUMB SHITS EVER. And what I mean by that is they trip over every single object that they can find, or they just run through bushes at 200 miles per hour and stop for no reason. Now, this is one of the biggest gripes I had in the game: Pacebreakers. I didn't care at all about the fact that when I'm trying to get from Point A to Point B that my character that I was controlling stops ALL of their momentum and trips over a bit of rock or sand or goes into a bush and stops all forward momentum. It's irritating. I want to play a game to get immersed into THE GAME. I don't want to have to be constantly watching my feet to jump over every spot of what might be considered a trip spot or a pacebreaker because that's not fun. I didn't want to have to walk at 2 miles per hour when I was controlling 2B when she was infected by the virus because it breaks the pace of the game and makes it much slower than it needs to be. I don't want to be able to lose all my forward momentum when coming off a Glide because that's also a pacebreaker. The world of NieR: Automata isn't as big as I had imagined it to be. Considering we are in an age of JRPGs with notoriously big areas and cascading plains, mesmerizing forests, and big blankets of snow areas, it disappointed me that the world of NieR: Automata only consisted of a few largely inhabited zones, but nothing really more grand-scale beyond that. I would have liked to have just a slightly more tad bit of variety with the maps. The Desert Area, however, was easily my most favorite area, tied with the Forest area. Alright, now that all the negative is out of the way, let's focus on all the things the game does well. The game can be split up into three different types of areas: 1. 2D top-down Flight Unit sections that function similarly to games like Galactica or Space Invaders, 2. 2.5-D Flight Unit Sections that function similarly to twin-stick shooters by using the Left Stick to move and Right Stick to Aim and fire, and finally 3. The RPG aspect of the game, where you are running around killing badass machines that are the size of skyscrapers. And in those RPG sections, you can get 2D environments like this (which I didn't really care for), and other 3D environments which are gorgeous as hell. The amass of enemies you can fight are incredibly vast, ranging from bipedal enemies to large cylindrical enemies that shoot out of all sides, to enemies that crawl around 2D environments like snakes. And then you have chances to fight insanely huge Goliaths in flight Units, making combat exceptionally large-scale. Each character that you play as in the game has their own skillset and moves that you can utilize. As 2B and A2, you have a second weapon which you can equip that you can use with Y to keep your attacks going, and as 9S, you can hack into enemies with the Y button and get into a 2D top down twin-stick shooter portion, where you have a certain limit of time to defeat all the enemies in order to hack the enemy, dealing a shit ton of damage to them. Unfortunately, I didn't like these sections too much because I'm horrible at twin-stick shooters. Don't expect me to be playing Metroid or any other twin-stick game in the future from now on. And the bullet hell when unlocking Route E....uggh. Never again. As for the actual RPG portion of the game, it's quite robust. There's a multitude of Side Quests you can do if you're ever bored out of your skull and want to kill some time. Given the size of some of these quests, some of them take literally like five minutes to do. I think the longest Side Quest was still Emil's Determination, and that only capped out at about thirty minutes give or take. You have a weapon selection system, ranging from Short Swords (Katanas), Large Swords (giant ass Katanas), and Spears (duh). I found Spears to be rather fun to use, but also clunky in some regards when fighting as 9S, but as A2 and 2B, Spears were incredibly fun. Short Swords are all around balanced and Large Swords favor more damage and swing really really slowly. Duh. The kick though is, each weapon comes with its own backstory that you can view in the weapon information tab of your Main Menu. This adds a really flavorful portion to the game and making weapons have sentimental value, instead of them just being static icons with damage values and combo values. I really appreciated that little touch. There's a skill system in the game where you can apply chips to your characters to augment their combat abilities. But to be honest, once you have all the required chips, all of the other ones seem pointless. This is your chip setup for about 99% of the game once you get these chips: Deadly Heal, Vengeance, Anti-Chain Damage, Overclock, and any of the Maximum HP, Short Range, or Long Range Attack Up chips. Deadly Heal makes it so that you heal a certain percentage of your total HP after defeating an enemy, and since the game is pretty much a horde mode game where enemies come at you by dozens, except during Boss Battles, Deadly Heal is pretty much an auto-include. Vengeance reflects all damage back to the attacker, so it's also an auto-include. Anti-Chain makes it so that when you are hit, you are invulnerable afterwards for a brief moment. Overclock is whenever you execute a perfect Dodge, time stops for a brief amount of time, making everything trivial in said horde mode game. All of the other chips are pretty novelties you can collect, like EXP gain, Offensive Heal (where you recover HP when you deal damage), and Auto-Collect Items (Hey, Warframe fans, there's your universal vaccuum). You can also remove your OS Chip and get a bad ending. And the hilarious thing about the chip system is that it works with flight Unit sections as well, so each time you destroy a dinky little ship after taking essentially 2 hits, you recover 50% of your HP, completely trivializing the game. Of course, however, this is all for a Normal Mode setup. On Hard Mode, enemies become much much tougher, and Lock-On is disabled, and in Nightmare mode, you die in one hit. And yes, I'm ballsy enough to try and do a Nightmare Mode run. There's also online functions in the game. For example, if you are connected to the Network, you will find the corpses of all your YoRHa buddies scattered all over the world. You can pick them up and get their goodies, which augment you with certain abilities for a time, depending on what they were wearing when they died. Or, you can alternatively repair them and they can become your ally for an extended period of time. Which is cool. The combat is very fun paced and I thoroughly enjoyed the combat in some regards. The beginning of the game is much much more challenging than the end of the game because enemies scale with you. It reduces the need to grind basically and lets you gather chips you may need in order to completely roflstomp the game later on. Oh yeah, and you also get to fight a huge colossus later on in the game in a sort of 2D fighter fashion- MAN YOKO TARO IS A FUCKING GENIUS. So the overall consensus: The game difficulty is just about right for what the game presents. Fast fluid combat is balanced by expertly dodging and tactfully taking out opponents as they come at you. Or if you have Deadly Heal just go apeshit and kill everything in sight. It nails down some portions of the game completely right, but misses in actually immersing people in the game and WHY they want to play a game: to be able to run around fast and not be distracted by clutter on the ground. Overall: 7.5/10. Quality: Compared to probably about 99% of the dumbass Steam populace that can't seem to get this game to work, I actually had zero problems with running the game. I just wanted to get that out of the way. You all have seen my computer specs. It's a fucking rig. And yet, I'm happy to announce that I had zero problems running this game at 60 FPS. The only time where my game would hiccup is during the City Ruins because it's a high foliage area, but otherwise, I ran everything at max settings and had zero problems. So...git gud. The quality of the game is probably THE BEST part of this game. The game is fucking beautiful, the script and deliverance of the lines in said script is amazing, the characters feel alive with intentions, and the best part is... THERE ARE NO SPELLING ERRORS IN THE SCRIPT. Compared to the last two games I've played, not seeing any errors in what the characters say versus what the game shows us as text is relieving. Each zone you go to feels so alive and beautiful that words like "mesmerizing" and "beautiful" don't even begin to describe it. Especially in the Forest Zone where you see giant castles and giant waterfalls cascading the landscape. You can definitely tell work went into this one, compared to the two previous shitty games I've played that were probably released within two months after the first idea was conceptualized. And here's the kicker. If any of you have watched the first twenty minutes or so of the recently hosted Game Awards show on Twitch, you will have seen that NieR: Automata got the award for the best OST for ANY game out of the year. And rightfully so. Regarding Voice Actors for the game, Kira Buckland completely nailed the part of 2B, Kyle McCarley fluctuating between a respectable Scanner Unit to a ravaging husk filled with revenge and yelling, screaming even, to get the full inflection of his emotions, and Cherami Leigh nailing A2 in it's most professional form. This is the first time I will have ever given a game 10/10 for its quality. Everything it does about Quality, it does right. Except for the people who can't get this game to work. But they should just git gud instead. Overall: 10/10. Replayability: Alright, so, I mentioned before that Replayability was going to be the key of this playthrough. This game forces Replayability on you, and it blends in with the story exceptionally well. So while it's not a replayability versus story thing per se, there is absolutely a reason to go back over and play through the game again. You get a Chapter Select so you can easily go back and clean up any side quests you may have missed. On your first playthrough, you'll probably be playing just for the story, but on your second playthrough, you can go back and get any side quests you may have missed as 2B, plus a few extra on top of that. And on your third playthrough, you finish everything humanely possible. You can pretty much get 90% of what you need done in a single playthrough. The other 10% you need a guide for, since there IS a missable achievement/ending that you can't get one way or the other. And filling out all of the Archives takes patience and time. My finally tally was getting all the endings except for that one missable ending (because I played through without a guide) and getting about 75% of all the achievements? Give or take. But yeah, in terms of Replayability, there is A LOT to have. But be warned if you're trying to 100% the game, the game will force you to delete all of your save data, so if you want to 100% everything, you have to do everything else first before you do that. Just a word of caution. You can go to the fextralife wiki and look up NieR: Automata if you ever need to confirm the location of something, or to get that side quest you need, or that one ending you need, before trying to clear your Save Data. Overall: 8/10. Now, it's time for the final wrap-up. In this section, I'll detail if this game is truly one for you, and if you should decide to play it or not. Would I recommend this game?: Umm. Yes. Just yes. Overall: 8.5/10. Amazing. While definitely not high enough to give a Game of the Year medal or anything like that, this was definitely one of the better games that I was waiting to get my hands on, but wanted it to go for a reasonable price because of all the intense negativity on Steam and not getting the game to work. Also, yes 2B's ass is good. Become ass gods.
  8. Emotions are a very fragile core of our very hearts, but they can also become the strongest weapons if wielded properly. To watch friendships blossom, to have true love and friendship come to life, to have people rely on you and you rely on other people...these are all emotions central to the human heart, and why friendship is such a critical aspect in our lives and why it should never be taken for granted. I'll break the game down into several segments, consisting of story, gameplay, quality, and replayability, and judge the game on all of these criteria. Story: Emotions. They are the basis of a human heart. And Blue Reflection is a compelling story following three girls who help those in their school, Hoshinomiya High School, overcome their emotions and let them fight on. Because I want you all to experience the story the same way I did, sit down in your chair, your bed, or wherever you are currently at right now, close out of other distractions...and put this following song on repeat and listen closely. Blue Reflection follows a girl named Hinako Shirai, a first-year student attending Hoshinomiya High School. When the game starts up, you see her in a very solemn and very lonely state. Hinako originally before was the famous star of a ballet school, almost at the top of her class, but due to an unfortunate injury concerning her knee during ballet class, she would never be able to dance again. After the accident, she switched schools and was made to live a "regular life", as a schoolgoer. She was put into the 1-A Regular Class of Hoshinomiya High School, which has a less strict curriculum than the Special Class, but more about that later. Hinako shortly thereafter runs into another girl, Sanae Nishida, who originally was in the same grade as Hinako in their previous school, has also transferred to Hoshinomiya to work on her cooking. The two bump into each other in the hallway, and Sanae is simply ecstatic. However, this triggers a change in the atmosphere...a side effect of uncontrolled emotions called "rampancy". Hinako becomes teleported to this strange world thereafter with lots of flowers around and a very calming and serene atmosphere. However, a strange entity on the other side of the riverbank, a Demon, as it is called in the game, attacks Hinako and forces her into the river. Hinako drifts downward to a nearby spot, crawls out, and is surprised. However then, she hears two voices in her head that allow her to give her the power to eliminate the Demon. The two girls, Yuzu, and Lime, give Hinako the power of the Reflector: the power to balance human emotions through kindness and understanding. After completing the dungeon, Sanae returns to her normal state, still admiring Hinako, but in a much less over the top way. The next day, Yuzu and Lime appear as classmates of Hinako's, with the intention of collecting Fragments, a collective of human emotions, to bolster the Reflector's power. The game then becomes about the three girls, Hinako, Yuzu, and Lime, as they collect Fragments through the Reflector's power in order to defeat the most menacing of foes in the world: Sephirot. Along the way, you'll find more girls around the high school, such as Sarasa Morikawa, who originally looked up to Hinako as a rival in ballet and aspired to be everything she was, Rin Sanada, a tennis ace with a perfect record, who is amazing at cooking and loves older men (personally, my favorite girl), Ako Ichinose, a news reporter/broadcaster who wants to make friends through videos and sharing her upbeat personality, Shihori Sugamoto, who is a pervert and we don't associate with her, Chihiro Inoue, a cute girl who uses her arts and crafts to charm and make friends with everyone, Fumio Taya, a musical prodigy who works tirelessly to become the best musician, Kei Nariyama, a high school basketball star with pizzazz in sports, Kaori Mitsui, a gamer girl who was originally on the track team, along with Rika Yoshimura, track star who wants to break out of the "normal" nomenclature, Yuri Saiki, a genius girl who is emotionless and the toughest nut to crack, and Mao Ninagawa, a famous actress with dual personalities. Each of these characters brings so much life to the game and makes each character shine as though they were really alive, and not just 2D models in a game. Eventually, emotions within the real world start to become more complex. Things start blending together and human become harder to understand for Hinako as she tries to fight her way to save her friends' hearts. Fear can spill into sorrow, happiness can spill into anger, anger can spill into sorrow, and everything just...comes together so well. The story was so amazing from beginning to end, as we see Hinako fight for what she believes in: her friends, her compassion, and her sense of conviction in doing the right thing. There are many beautiful moments throughout the story that can occur in every day life, ranging from dealing with troubled teenagers spouting rumours about you over the Internet, dealing with a high-class versus low-class daughter who can't follow their dreams, splitting from the track and field team due to not having confidence, not having someone to look up to in your darkest hour, and so on. Through the collection of many Fragments, Sephirot appear to attack the school, and as is your job as a Reflector, it is your duty to reflect them off. However, later on, you get the ability to kill them outright anyway, which kind of makes the first half of the game just plot armor for Hinako. Which is one of the things I kinda didn't like about the game, personally. I would have rather they built up the power to completely annihilate Sephirot in the first place rather than it fall victim to plot convenience, but that's just being very nitpicky of me. Also, Sephirot look fucking cool. As you fight and fight, you discover that the "dungeons" you can go to is actually the basis of the human conscience and emotion. Now, I'm gonna draw a parallel to Persona 5 for a second here, since this game has taken a lot of inspiration from that game. This game has a place called "The Common", the place you go to to find Fragments and fight Demons in order to increase your power. Persona 5 has a place called "Mementos", the place you go to to find Quests and fight Personas in order to increase your power. Seem familiar? Yeah, this game is a lot like Persona 5 in a lot of ways, where emotion and friendships are your quick ways to victory. However, I will say one thing, though. The two games are completely worlds apart. If we were to compare the two games as pizzas, for example, Persona would be a sausage and pepperoni extra large pizza with stuffed crust and a side of cheesy garlic bread. Blue Reflection would be a nice Hawaiian pizza with a side of bread sticks. Simple, but MUCH more casual than Persona 5. Streamlined in such a fashion that makes it feel like you aren't stressed for time trying to do the things you love and balance it out with fighting Sephirot. Now I'm hungry. As you play along, you'll discover the secret of the two young girls, Yuzu and Lime, who they really are, and why they chose Hinako as the source of the Reflector's power. Turns out, Yuzu and Lime are already dead. In a freak experimental accident gone wrong (totally not senor plot convenience, right?), a previous Sephirot wanted to try and merge The Common and the human world together, but failed. Yuzu and Lime were the result of that experiment gone wrong. However, their souls remain in The Common, but their actual identities are masked and no one knows who they are unless they have specifically come into contact with Hinako first, and given a ring to show that they are friends. By the way, if I ever got a ring from being friends with a girl, I'd marry her. Then, the Sephirot who wants to erase all human emotion and existence comes after you defeat all the previous Sephirot. Humans can be so frail and fragile as their bonds with friends crumble apart. Friends go away, relationships and hearts can be broken, people can even die. But that doesn't mean we should give up and lie down. It's in the endurance of the human heart to always persevere, no matter what, and this game has no shame in telling you that. The final boss makes you realize your fear and regret, your sorrow and your anger, and your wish to persevere humanity's wishes, with the concept of "never forgetting the people who made us get here in the first place", even if they aren't really there. The story is easily one of the best parts about the game. GUST has always made games with really really good storylines because they work. Even though it's overly cliche with the whole schoolgirl trope, it still works. Unlike "That game which shall not be named" that I did last time. Overall: 8.5/10. Gameplay: Oh boy, is there a lot to talk about in this one. This game is very casual. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, because it follows a system that is very barebones, but still gets the job done. Unlike Persona 5, where you had to grind to Level Up in missions, in Blue Reflection, all your Level Ups are handed to you as you progress. Meaning, that there is no real way to grind, except by doing missions and getting "Growth Points". So, while it doesn't typically follow the usual RPG trope, it's still a good experience. As you can see here, you can level up individual stats for Hinako, Yuzu, and Lime, and depending on how you level them up, they will get skills based on the different types of "trees" you invest in. There's ATK, which is obvious, DEF, which is obvious, SPT, which stands for Special Time, which effects how fast you go in combat (more on that later), and TEC, which does things you may not normally expect from typical RPGs, like Critical Strikes and Luck, and also getting skills that decrease enemy stats or increase your own. The fact that you can mold your characters to suit any role is actually really really fun, and offers a lot of replayability in how you want to build your characters. To start off with, though, Hinako is generally a Jack-Of-All-Trades good in every scenario character, Yuzu is a tank......which is really strange considering she's the smallest character in the game, and Lime, who is a glass cannon. Every character can learn some sort of healing skill, technical skill, or attack skill that makes them completely not worthless, but not every character will be strong in every situation either. So in that regard, you have to balance your characters through certain trees and make certain that you are investing your points wisely. Now, let's get into the real bulk of gameplay: Battles. Battles are fought as Wait-Time ATB, for those RPG Maker nerds out there who know what I'm talking about. You have your timeline at the top which is incredibly easy to follow: Your turn on the left hand side, the enemies on the right hand side. When a target gets to the middle, they get to take their turn. Incredibly easy, straightforward, and to the point. And there are also attacks that help manipulate the timeline, for example "Bewitching Ivy" for Yuzu, which can knockback a foe on their timeline, and puts two "nodes" on the timeline that, when they get to their turn, knockback the same foe again. So there are lots of clever ways to manipulate the timeline to your advantage. However, with it comes a little bit of a negative I have with the combat. It's too easy. Along the way, you get a skill for Yuzu called "Grape Wave", which deals a shit ton of damage, knocks back foes, and has very little Wait Cooldown before you can take your turn again. Although it costs a lot of MP, you get all of it back anyway at the end of the fight, so all you have to do is spam "Grape Wave" for a majority of your fights, and....you win. And it's like that for a majority of the game after unlocking "Grape Wave", which might I add is a Story Skill, not a skill you get from unlocking and investing Points into trees. If "Grape Wave" were like that, I would have had a MUCH MUCH more fun time with the game, prioritizing strategy and actual thinking, rather than just spamming one single move over and over and over and over and winning constantly. That's not really fun. And because of that, a LOT of other skills during combat aren't really that usable, especially anything with "over time" in it's skill description. There is difficulty select, but all it does is make the enemies more spongy, doubling their health. It doesn't change the attack values for the enemies or increase their loot drops or anything like that, which is really a bummer, because if that were the case, I could have flown through the game on Hard difficulty without even breaking a sweat. Another reason why the combat is so easy. Do you see the Reflect 40% in the corner? That's a special mechanic called Ether Gauge. When it's at 30%, 60%, or 90%, you can use a special ability called Overdrive, which gives up a portion of Ether Gauge to give the turn character an extra action. If enemies didn't die to Grape Wave from Yuzu, the next step would be to use Overdrive on Hinako, use her Attack Up Skill, and then use an attack that hits all enemies and kill them that way. No matter what I did, it seemed like I was always striving for a challenge in combat when it really wasn't there. Even Sephirot fights are ridiculously easy if you know how to use Overdrive, Guard, and other commands at your disposal. There's no Equipment, no money system, or anything of the sort. Everything is done by stats. Which is both kinda positive and negative. It makes it more casual, but it also makes a lot of the game straightforward and one-dimensional in terms of what you can do. So while the combat isn't that great, there's a lot of variety with what you can do regarding skills. It's just a shame that Grape Wave is so ridiculously overpowered, especially in a game where you get all your HP/MP back at the end of the fight. If that didn't happen, combat DEFINITELY would have been a lot more challenging and more strategic. However, onto some of the good things about the game. Like Persona 5, at the end of the day, you can invite certain girls to hang out with you at various locations: The Tomb, The Convenience Store, The General Store (which is kind of the same thing, game. .-.), the Theatre, the Arcade, the Photo Booth, and the Bus Stop. Do this repeatedly, and you'll get special perks in combat when you fight against Sephirot. As you develop Friendship Points with your friends, you can unlock some of their most powerful Fragments. And Fragments are easily the most awesome thing about this game, which is why I'm super frustrated why I didn't take a picture of it when I did my playthrough. Fragments are, in essence, upgrades to your already awesome abilities. For example, think back to Grape Wave being ridiculously overpowered. Now imagine it having a less Wait Cooldown time and always guaranteeing a critical hit with 20% more critical damage. Or a heal-all spell that charges up your Ether gauge and also gives everyone an Attack Up buff. Or my personal favorite, a spell that increases every party member's Attack and Critical Rating, but lowers their Speed, which is then counterbalanced by a ridiculous "target party member gets ATK+, DEF+, SPD+, LUK+". Yeah, there are a lot of crazy synergies you can pull of in this game to make your combat experience even sweeter. And that's definitely one of the high points of the game for me. Grape Wave is still broken though. And each character you are friends with comes with their own set of Fragments, and as you do their Dungeons, you can get some of their most powerful Fragments. Your best friends are definitely the ones that increase efficiency when over 20% Ether, "Changes the equipped Skill", and anything that gives an ATK+ buff, as those are your most powerful tools. As you fight in The Common, you can obtain items from the monsters you defeat, which can then, in turn, be used to craft certain things. And while I couldn't get a screenshot of the crafting menu, the crafting menu is entirely complex, needing materials from three different, sometimes all four zones, and finding all the similar ways to get the items actually is the only real "farming" you have to do in this game, especially if you're going for 100%, like I am. So yeah, while the combat is very bare bones, it's still experimental in some regards. Bottom line, I wish it would have been more challenging, but we can't always have everything great in life. Overall: 7.5/10. Quality: This is both the best and worst parts of this game, strangely. And I'll go into a few details why. This game is fucking beautiful at 1080p. I know the screenshots don't really do it justice but EVERYTHING LOOKS SO FUCKING GOOD AND IT'S LIKE HNNNGGGHHH I CAN'T TAKE ALL THIS BEAUTY. And it runs wonderfully in 60 FPS as well with no frame drops! ....And then there's cutscenes, which look ugly as hell with 480p definition and choppy texture, like it's run through a grain filter from something in the PS2 era. And they're locked to an ugly 30 FPS, which is one of, if not my biggest pet peeve in games. If you're gonna have a game, make it run at either 60 FPS all the time or 30 FPS all the time. Preferably the former. But don't have inconsistencies in your game that ruin the quality experience for viewers. Maps are fucking beautiful and sometimes I just spent my time walking around the Sorrow Area (pictured below) and Happiness Area (pictured above) just taking screenshots because I had nothing better to do. The music is easily the best soundtrack I've heard in years. And that is not an exaggeration. Every track in the game has a beautiful oscillating piano line that is absolutely heart-trembling and amazing. Every track in this game felt vibrant and colorful. The best word I can use to describe this game's soundtrack is....electric. When you're fighting a Sephirot, the music absolutely makes you want to get your blood racing. When you're out in school and the rain starts pouring down on you, there's somber music to go along with it. When you're hanging out with one of your friends, it plays really calm music. Everything about the soundtrack is so incredible and easily one of the highs of the game. Every track fits in with the game so well. Especially in the Fear Zone, which is easily the most unsettling track in the entire game, with off-beat and off-key piano strokes hidden behind a filter that screams uncomfortable. ...*sigh* And then camera angles like this can happen where you're stuck looking at the ground and not being able to take in the scenery of the game. And yes, that's me with the maximum amount of tilt DOWN I can go. And now for the negative, besides the gross looking cutscenes. The script looks like it was rushed and made in two days. There are spelling errors and grammar mistakes all over the place. It really ruins the immersion of the game when there are constant spelling mistakes. Mistakes that can easily be rectified by plugging your script into Microsoft Word, hell, even NotePad of all things! And the port on Steam is riddled with gross and quite often, frequent, crashes whenever a cutscene decides to play. I know TecmoKOEI aren't the best at making ports, given their ignorance to the DW series and Toukiden, but come on, this is ridiculous. I don't want to have to lose 45 minutes worth of progress in the game due to a random infuriating crash. Quality is hit and miss, honestly. Depends on if you're a graphics freak like I am, but infuriating random crashes aren't tolerable. Everything else about it was good, though. Overall: 7.5/10. Replayability: As stated before, there's a lot of different things to do regarding building your characters, and there's a New Game +, but unless you're going to 100% the game the first time, there's really no reason to go back for a second playthrough unless I really really loved the game as much as I did. So ultimately, that's not really the greatest of determiners for a game's replayability value, but honestly, there needs to be a reason to go back through the second time and cherish the game as much as the first time. Overall: 6/10. Now, it's time for the final wrap-up. In this section, I'll detail if this game is truly one for you, and if you should decide to play it or not. Would I recommend this game?: Absolutely yes. However, don't buy it on a whim like I did for the $59.99 price tag when it has glaring issues with the port development, such as lackluster cutscenes and random crashes. Wait until it goes on sale for about $40 before trying to consider this game. It's at least not as bad as NieR: Automata in terms of port development, but it still has glaring issues. Unlike NieR: Automata, there's no fixes for the crashes either. But if you want a casual RPG you want to breeze through while looking at cute girls, then this is absolutely your dream game. If you want to buy this thinking it might scratch your Persona fix, you'll be disappointed as those two games are worlds apart. It's still a very fun game in its own regard, and I highly recommend it. Overall: 7.6/10. Great. Now take the absolute best track in the entire game no questions asked.
  9. Man, Hinako is pretty.

    1. PhoenixSoul


      If I may, who is Hinako-mima?

      (Sorry, I don't know every single anime/manga character in existence; there's far too many...)

    2. Radiant Arin

      Radiant Arin

      Main character in the game Blue Reflection.

    3. PhoenixSoul


      Cannot say I am familiar...

  10. Well, it's been a while since I've last been on here.


    As far as games go, currently have Trails of Cold Steel on the backburner, as well as Vanquish, a Third Person Shooter similar to Warframe, and currently, Blue Reflection, which I highly recommend if you're a fan of Persona 5.

    1. Chaosian


      I got Vanquish as well, though I have yet to play it.

      Backlog is too big, still trying to 100% Automata.

  11. I'm hanging by a thread, a rope, the noose around my neck. Cause every time I fall in, love falls out of me...

    1. Kayzee


      Oh dear... Though I think bleeding out would be a more fitting metaphor then being hanged to match the last line... Er... Please keep it just a metaphor though, I would be sad if anything happened to you!


      Anyway, I don't know if I every really fell in love or just skipped on the surface, but I don't think love should work like that should it? Investing your feelings into things may be a gamble sometimes, but shouldn't you get back at least some small returns before it falls apart at least? I know me blabbing probobly won't help, but I really want to. :/

    2. PhoenixSoul


      Are you perhaps, a fellow songwriter? These sound like lyrics to some hardcore music to me...


      But I do second @Kayzee on her concern.


      Need a bassist? I'm your girl.

  12. Why the f*** is Harrow so ridiculous?

    1. lianderson


      You play warframe?

    2. Guyver


      Because battle priests are awesome.

    3. lonequeso


      It's just part of larger plan to drive you insane.

  13. Next In-Game Review: "Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel"! Coming soon in maybe about six months or however the fuck long it takes to get through the game.


    But already it's looking better than Tales of Berseria (except for the fact that Alisa exists).

  14. Here's my (archaic) rating system: 1. Dogshite. 2-5. Horrible. 6. Okay. 7. Good. 8. Great. 9. Fantastic. 10. Perfect. Though I've hardly ever given out a perfect score for a game.
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