Quick and dirty impressions of the latest Yakuza…

Quick and dirty impressions of the latest Yakuza game (Like a Dragon The Man Who Erased His Name)

Apparently this was originally planned to be DLC. While the story itself feels more than DLC, it’s not hard to see from the rest of the game that it was pretty barebones. 90% of the settings and extra stuff were things present in previous games. The few new additions (namely some of the combat gadgets and one new location)were things that wouldn’t be out of place for a DLC either.

I understand somewhat why they would want to release it as a standalone game. That being said, I don’t think it’s really worth the price it goes for. At the most, I could say it’s worth 25 maybe 30 bucks. 50 is way too much, even if you consider that new games these days cost 70. If someone disagrees, all you have to do is look at Yakuza 8 coming out in January to see how much more content there is than this game)

Thankfully the game was available on Gamepass, and the monthly subscription is more than worth it if you’re a Yakuza fan who wants to experience the story. I loved the game’s story. It’s probably one of the most emotional in the Yakuza series so far.

I didn’t care as much for the combat. It might be partly due to them not putting their full attention into it, but I have a suspicion that it’s more because I’ve grown tired of the beatdown mechanics. While initially I wasn’t happy with Yakuza 7 becoming a turn-based RPG, I feel like after the fact, I’ve started to recognize it as a proper evolution to the series.

Looking forward to 8 next year. While I’m excited to see Kasuga again, I hope they do resolve Joyru’s story a bit with it. That man deserves a happy ending.

Star Ocean 2r Review/Impressions/Retrospective/whatever the hell else I feel like

Several months ago during a Nintendo Direct, a remake of Star Ocean the Second Story was announced, and I lost my fucking shit. Why? Well. I could just leave it at “It’s one of my favorite psx era JRPGs” but then again there’s a lot of those (the Playstation was stacked) For anyone that doesn’t know the game, it probably doesn’t do a good enough job on selling it. And while I don’t feel obligated to sell it, it’s one of those games I want to sell because of how underappreciated it is.

First, a little bit of context on my original experience. Star Ocean is a series that is made by Tri-Ace, a group of developers that split off from the original group who made the Tales of games. If you’ve ever played a tales game before, it will become immediately evident with some of the same systems (even the items are similar, just different terminology)

The first game was released only for the Super Famicom, at first, and didn’t have much of a presence until the 2nd story was released in the west. Why the second story was brought west, I could only say is probably thanks to how well Final Fantasy 7 performed.

I don’t think I ever bought the game myself. Rather, I had an online friend at the time I would exchange RPGs with that I think let me borrow it. Though I did buy my own copy later I know (because I think I ultimately sold it like an idiot)

The game features a dual protagonist system (which I thought was neat) but I only ever ended up playing the guy my first and only time back then. Why? Well I think I indentified more as a man back then and was more interesting in the potential romance relationships.

You see Star Ocean 2 has over like 100 endings (you get multiple of them per beating the game) and they’re all based on which of your characters have the most affection with other characters. For someone like me who was just getting heavily invested in romance VNs, I found that aspect really appealing and incredible ambitious

That’s actually the running theme of SO2. It’s incredibly ambitious. There’s like an overabundance of shit you can do and while it’s not all implemented flawlessly, it’s still all pretty fun. You can, as one example, pickpocket any NPC(even your friends) for rare items. Or you can craft incredibly powerful things and easily break the game as early as the first couple of hours. The game possibilities seem endless.

Combine that with the private action system where you can see special events with characters you travel with. There was a lot of stuff that made the game feel a lot BIGGER than it actually was. For people in the west who had never experienced the first game, I think it carved out a huge niche for itself to live up to..

The plot, while nothing incredible(still enjoyable), was still fresh as most JRPGs were fantasy based. Again, I think it was FF7’s success that convinced them a futuristic RPG like Star Ocean could do well.

Unfortunately, the subsequent entries weren’t as great. Partly because they made some odd directional choices with the story (the story of the Star Ocean games are all in the same universe) and partly because they didn’t quite expand enough on what the second story had set up. Of course, I’m mostly speaking for myself here, but ultimately while I didn’t hate any of the subsequent games (even 5 which everyone seems to hate) I found them incredibly lacking in comparison to SO2’s glory

Replaying the remake, and playing the game for the first time in over two decades, I definitely enjoyed experiencing a lot of the stuff I never did in the original (starting with the girl character, recruiting a lot of characters I never played with before) Though I do admit that a lot of the initial excitement I had for it (both when I played the original and when I heard about the remake) fizzled out. I think because I knew that even though it was a good game, that there wasn’t a lot of of hope the Star Ocean series could ever be that again

Like it’s most recent game, 6, isn’t bad at all, but now I’ve mostly forgotten it. It was more of a filler game while waiting for other big releases. Telling people who like the 2nd game to play it or any of the other entries just feels wrong (even though I don’t think they’d be as impressed given what they have available today)

So yeah, In short the original SO2 was godly. The remake is also good. It could have used a bit more quality of life in the form of things like being able to fast forward everything (you can only ff scenes) and by incorporating some kind of cursor memory/last item used system for some of the crafting. I also kind of wish they had included the English voices from the original PS game for nostalgia..

OH Yeah speaking of voices, if you do JP voices, I highly recommend you do the SE voices rather than R voices. Much much better.

In terms of other recommendations, I see a lot of people recommend Rena these days, but I think the best protagonist is still Claude. True you miss out on ONE exclusive character who can be pretty good, but he’s not THAT important (especially considering he’s outclassed by other characters) The reason I suggest Claude is that I feel like the game is kind of designed around his perspective more. Ultimately it doesn’t matter that much, but if you’re facing choice paralysis, I’d say go Claude

The past couple weeks or so I’ve been…

The past couple weeks or so I’ve been primarily playing the newly released Lies of P on Game Pass. As a huge fan of souls games (played every one of them excessively minus Sekiro), the game seemed the closest souls-like game to a Fromsoft title ever. Turns out it was a lot more similar than I was expecting.

Maximilian Dood, a popular Twitch Streamer/Youtuber, said it was the first game that wasn’t a souls-like but rather an actual souls game, and I’m inclined to agree with that sentiment. Nothing else has ever come this close to feeling like a Fromsoft game. Now that this exists, in fact, it’s caused me to look a lot more critically at other souls-likes (It’s much the reason I didn’t pick up Lords of the Fallen)

I can’t sing the game’s praises any higher other than to say it’s given Resident Evil 4 a good run for it’s money as both game of the year and as one of my favorite games. I eagerly await DLC (moreso than Elden Ring at the moment, though that’s more recency bias)

I’m not a huge fan of horror media…

I’m not a huge fan of horror media. While I like to occasionally feel unnerved by a story, I don’t tend to take a lot of enjoyment from being scared. In fact, due to a somewhat traumatic experience when I was young, I mostly try to avoid horror media.

That extended to games until I watched a friend play Silent Hill 2. I’m not sure if it was due to it being dated (this was in 2014 or so) or if it was just being older that gave me courage. However, having enjoyed his playthrough, I wound up playing both Silent Hill 1 (Clunky and doesn’t hold up), 3 (Amazing game), and 4 (bit different, but not bad)

Since the success (relative) of Silent Hill, I was tempted to try other games I’d long avoided. On that list was Resident Evil. Resident Evil however was even more dated than Silent Hill (with 3 entries being on PS1) and were notorious for their tank controls (Which I think Silent Hill 1 might have had, but honestly I can’t remember)

I ended up getting involved with other games and forgot about Resident Evil for a while. It wasn’t until they announce a remake of RE4 (the one a lot of people heralded as the GOAT) that I thought about giving it a shot again. I played RE4 remake and was blown away.

It’s too bad that RE4 is considered to be a lot different than it’s predecessors. Namely all the things I liked about the remake, I’ve read aren’t huge part of the previous games (The open nature) Thus it’s unlikely I’ll ever play the previous ones at this point, but it looks like Capcom might be working on more games that go in that direction

Most recently, they released a DLC for RE4 called Separate Ways for 10 bucks. After spending 3-4 hours on it initially, and then at least 20 hours on replaying it, I have to judge it as amazing as the original game. Especially since it’s only a 10 dollar DLC (honestly they could have gotten away with more)

Even now I still find myself booting up RE4 to challenge myself further. It’s one of the few games I can say really belongs on a list of being the greatest games ever (Along with games like FFVII, Suikoden II, Doom, etc)

I recently played Todd Howard’s recent hype beast…

I recently played Todd Howard’s recent hype beast Starfield. Despite it being available on Game Pass (which I had an active subscription to at the time) I decided to buy it for full price (well actually $10 cheaper through Greenmangaming) for the deluxe edition (or whatever the edition that let you play early)

It was mostly because I wanted to play it early, but I also justified buying it as an investment. Since it came with a future expansion and would probably support a ton of mods one day, I figured it wasn’t a bad idea to just own it rather than relying on gamepass and having to inevitably purchase later.

The game itself was a mix. I really liked a lot of the ideas that seemed to be behind Starfield, but the execution all left something to be desired. Ship combat, for example, was something I was excited for, but the difficulty of which is unreal (unless you level up skills specific to ship, in which case it only becomes somewhat manageable)

There was also a lot of things that were downright broken as most Bethesda games tend to be. Sometimes quests would bug out making them impossible to complete, or at best you got something comical like NPCs walking around naked on the surface of Mars. The only good thing I can say in regards to major bugs is that actual crashes were somewhat minimal…

I liked the concept behind New Game+ which made me play through the game about a total of 10 times. Though truthfully I only wanted to play through it about 3. The only reason I kept playing was some bogus info that you got something special after playing through 10 times (maybe it wasn’t but I never saw any differences in my 10th playthrough)

One kind of interesting thing is that in New Game+ you can randomly get a playthrough where things are different. Explaining how would be spoilers, but essentially it only happens like 13% of the time and changes the setup of the game somewhat. I only had this happen to me once, but if it would have happened to me more and if it would have affected more (It only really affects a small part of the main quest) I would have no issue playing this game the 10 times I did.

As it stands, Starfield is a decently fun game. I wouldn’t say it’s worth the full triple A cost, but on game pass it’s not a bad deal. I could also see it being great in a year or two’s time after people have had the chance to mod and fix the shit out of it (similar to Skyrim)

I know I posted a video two weeks…

I know I posted a video two weeks ago of me rolling in a gacha, but I’m here today to say I’ve quit gacha. Well, for the most part at least.

At first my decision was to quit Fate Grand Order on the JP server. Reason being is I had gave in a moment of weakness and spent money on the game. The bad news is that it was a lot and I wasn’t able to actually spend it on the game (due to me attempting to do it through google play cards) The good news (kind of) is that I potentially can get a refund, but I have to wait until someone else purchases that card

Regardless, I felt like I was out of control and needed to take away what was tempting me.

Then I chose to quit Honkai Star Rail. Not because I feared being tempted, but more because I haven’t found the time to play a lot lately. Plus, getting Kafka had been my ultimate goal since starting the game, and now that was finished, it felt like there was nothing left to shoot for (and I didn’t feel like getting sucked in by another character) It’s a shame that while I really enjoyed the story, it was still a bit of a chore to keep up with everything they throw at you (Kind of what happened with Genshin too)

That leaves the only gacha game I’m playing right now as Fate Grand Order English server. I contemplated quitting that too, but in comparison to the other two titles, there’s a huge difference in terms of play time investment and danger of spending money. That is in FGO English’s case I have all the servants I want for at least 2 years and it takes me no more than 10 minutes every day.

Part of me wants to quit that too to make things feel complete, but it’s harder to cut oneself off completely when the community (anime/videogames) is probably going to keep exposing me to Fate for the forseeable future. I know I’m probably going to be tempted back. Thus, for a while at least, I think the best thing to do would be to hold off. Considering there’s no pressing need to spend money and it wastes no time, it’s shouldn’t be a problem I have to deal with right now.

https www youtube com watch v=62Pru33udWQ&ab channel=Mae I…

I forgot to post it yesterday, but one of the gacha games I play, Honkai Star Rail, debuted the banner I’ve wanted to pull since starting the game. You can see the results here.

This is mostly all f2p with a scattering of battle pass and the other pass.

Hoping to get another copy of Kafka before the banner ends

I’ve been playing bits and pieces of Suikoden…

I’ve been playing bits and pieces of Suikoden IV every night, and I’m amazed at how terrible of a game it really is. I would say I remember this happening when I initially tried playing it, but I honestly don’t. Here I’m going to write down some of the complaints I have so far.

#1: The Hero has no personality, or background. He’s just there at the start to fill as your proxy.

The hero of Suikoden games (except for 3) is always silent. However Suikoden IV is the only game where the silence feels like a detriment. Normally the other games do a good job at showing you the protagonist reactions or how other characters interact with him. IV though, there’s none of that. He feels pretty emotionless and just kind of accepts things. The choices you’re given don’t allow you to give him much character either (at least so far)

#2: Fuck the enemy encounters

Okay, to explain how annoying enemies are, I have to explain some other stuff first.

A lot of the early game, so far, has been spent sailing on this boat in this WIIIIDE ocean. To give you an idea of how wide, imagine it taking you a solid 5 minutes to get from one place you’re at to another. If that doesn’t sound like much, keep in mind there’s almost nothing in modern games that takes a person 5 minutes. You could get from one end of a map in Fallout 4 to the other in that time if you booked it (heck even less I think)

That alone wouldn’t be so bad, but ontop of that 5 minutes it takes you (keep in mind I haven’t timed this) imagine random encounters every 15 seconds or so the whole way. Also imagine that these random encounters are not only pretty rough but after a certain level fail to provide worthwhile exp. So imagine you’re at a fairly high level, can’t get exp, and are forced into these somewhat harder than they should be battles every 15 seconds of a 5 minute boat trip

If that doesn’t sound annoying yet, well let me just tell you of something that happened in my game.

I went to this island to recruit some guy for my army (that took me about 5 minutes to get there and another 5 to get back to where i was supposed to be) Then the plot said I needed to go to that very same island and recruit another character there. So imagine I’ve already spent close to half an hour just travelling.. Not a very fun thing (especially when I’m already playing this in small bursts)

#3: Plot?
In other Suikoden games, it doesn’t take much to get caught up on what’s going on. 4 I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. Sometimes that can be an appealing thing, but with the first 2 complaints, it’s more like “why am I even bothering with this game?” At which point, I can’t even really give a good answer other than I need to finish it to feel like I’ve experienced all of Suikoden

For those that aren’t aware I play Fate…

For those that aren’t aware, I play Fate Grand Order on a daily basis. I play on both NA and JP. My NA account is about 6 years old now, while my JP is a little over a year (I used to have other JP account I played that are older, but I don’t have access to them anymore) My NA is a bit of a whale account (where I’ve been known to spend more than I should) whereas my JP is more of a dolphin.

Most recently on the NA server I got the last support servant that I wanted for my account (Oberon) and decided to go F2P (free to play) It wasn’t a hard decision (there’s not much I feel I want for it) but it was a decision I probably should have made sooner given my financial situation (I’m not in trouble, it just makes it hard to save) JP too, by extension needs to be free to play too (or else nothing really changes)

Last night I stayed up until 3:30 AM watching JP’s anniversary stream. Normally, I don’t want JP streams and just wait until tomorrow to find out what’s been added. However there were posts from the NA side that seemed to suggest something big was going to happen, and because of that, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to sleep that night.

I wont deny that I was hoping they would announce a speed-up of the NA server (for those that don’t know NA is two years behind in content compared to JP) Even though I know it would fuck with my plans to be F2P in terms of being able to save, I’ve never liked the fact that I have to wait 2 years for translations of story content (which is the main reason I play FGO)

Sure, I could use other translations or even put some effort into reading JP myself, but I’m also pretty lazy. Not to mention I’ve become attached to my NA account more due to all the time and money I’ve put into it. I feel like if I start reading story on JP it has to be my main account (which may seem like a weird hang-up but oh well)

Unfortunately, there was no announced plans of a speed up, but I could have forgiven that if only NA had announced something worth the time I spent staying awake.. NA however announced a fat load of nothing

Okay they technically announced some stuff we knew coming and there was a character upgrade that was coming early.. But that was really about it. Majorly disappointing

On JP’s side of things, it was also kind of a let-down. Sure there was some cool stuff like a new kind of special paid summoning and teases of things to come. But there didn’t seem to be anything major. No coin fix, no pity adjustments, no quick fix. It was all bog-standard “here’s a bunch of quartz and a smidgen of QOL updates”

The only part I really liked about JP’s anniversary was the anni servant. After recently reading LB6 (latest chapter of NA’s story) I’ve started to really like the character of Morgan more than Castoria. The new character being Morgan pre-LB6 version made me want her bad.

I tossed about 300 SQ into the banner. First ten spin I get a 5 star caster spook (spook means instead of the rate-up servant you get an off rate-up of the same rarity) Second spin I get a 5 star lancer spook. Last multi I got a 5 star rider spook. I was not very pleased.

My special anniversary summons (ones that guarantee you a 5 star that you need to pay a little bit for) were not quite great either.

I’d post some pictures, but I forgot to actually take some. If I roll gacha in the future, I’ll be sure to show any time I get 5 stars or anything noteworthy. Don’t expect much though since I am trying hard to be F2P now (Even more so since I haven’t been able to get to anni servant… hopefully I can get her with free quartz I can scrounge together)