Nier Automata: It Was Meant 2B

March 1, 2017 2 comments Posted in PC, Playstation & Sony, Video Games

DISCLAIMER: I have finished all endings, and anything you say I’ve missed from later branches is probably just me covering up spoilers for people yet to play the game.

 

The original Nier (which I have written about here in the past) is a game I hold as one of the best examples of the medium in spite of itself. It is a game with a poorly balanced, shallow combat system, graphics many would describe as pig-ugly and a poorly placed quest marker in an early-game mission that caused a number of prominent game reviewers to stop playing right then and there. You may be wondering why I place this game alongside greats like Metal Gear Solid 3 and Super Mario Galaxy. It managed to claw out from its own mediocrity with a storyline and soundtrack somewhat unparalleled in its art form. Despite being cut to pieces (and those cuts really showing) it manages to tell a story that does things only a game could get away with (and even then it didn’t get away with it in the eyes of many), while also managing to have one of the most endearing casts of characters this side of Persona 4. So then, why have I been talking about a different game for nearly 200 words at the start of this review? I simply can’t separate Automata from its predecessor.

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-Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne- Review

September 25, 2016 one comment Posted in Playstation & Sony, Video Games

-Demi Fiend’s Bizarre Shine Megan Tense Game FEATURING DANTE FROM THE DEVIL MAY CRY SERIES –

So lately I’ve been playing JRPGs made by Atlus, probably more than a Leaving Cert student should. I originally wanted to talk about Persona 4, then I played Persona 3, then Persona Q and it got to the point where I couldn’t let myself put together a good enough review on Persona 4 or 3 because they were no longer the thing I had the most recent memories with. Hence this review is on the last Atlus RPG I have currently played; Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. (more…)

-Dissidia Final Fantasy- Review

June 29, 2016 no comments Posted in Playstation & Sony, Video Games

Super Final Smashtasy Brothers was a tad on the nose.

Ever wanted to play a Final Fantasy fighting game? Well here you go. Dissidia Final Fantasy was released for the PSP in 2008. Tetsuya Nomura started the idea off as a spin-off of Kingdom Hearts but decided to use Final Fantasy characters instead since apparently the idea of Disney characters fighting each other wasn’t too comfortable for them. Although the game wasn’t directed by him, Nomura did the designs for all the characters and worked along with the staff to make it appealing to a international audience. Did it work? Well, let’s see.

Warriors of…….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Ladies and Gentlemen, even in the realm of Final Fantasy, a fighting game like this is not going to have a plot worth diving into. Not like this game actually knows that, the amount of cutscenes in this game are fucking staggering. From Final Fantasies I to X, protagonists have been summoned by Cosmos (goddess of harmony) to defeat Chaos (the god of discord) and his team of Final Fantasy antagonists. However this war has been continuously repeated. Everytime a side wins the losing side loses the memories they had of the previous battle, take a long nap, and wake up when they are called back to the war. However Cosmos now wants her warriors to find their “crystals” which will give them the power to end things for good. Thus the warriors fuck off to wander around, have a tiny arc that doesn’t mean anything but drags out, get their crystal under convenient circumstances and watch their goddess die at the hands of Chaos. The warriors almost die, live thanks to their crystals, beat the shit out of Chaos and end to war. They return home and the game ends.

That’s skipping over a good deal I know but hear me out, I have quite a good number of reasons for telling the story like this besides it not needing to be in a fighting game. Firstly the story is split into ten main chapters, covering how each warrior gets their crystal. You only need to beat one of these stories to unlock the final chapter. Of course I did EVERY chapter and let me tell you how each arc can usually go.

  1. It’s a poor recreation of the arc that character had in the game they came from.
  2. It’s a arc detailing a underwhelming problem that character has and why we need them to fight their respective antagonist to get resolution. Problems include: Cloud not having a reason to fight, Squall learning how fight on his own….but with his friends (makes the same amount of sense in context), Terra for some reason losing control of her powers at times, Cecil fighting Golbez to prove how his friends make him stronger (ugh this shit sucks).
  3. A story that just has the characters go about, talk shit to the villain, have the villain talk shit to them which somehow gives them doubts, and then they fight after a resolution scene with the character by himself or with his friends.
  4. A poor excuse to overuse bad purple prose every ten seconds and/or repeat what the person just said using different words in a attempt to sound deep.
  5. A combination of the story sets I just mentioned.

Combine all that with the amount of cutscenes there are and you WILL get sick of the fucking story soon after the first chapter you play, especially since there are only 11 locations in the game for cutscenes to happen in. Now I know a lot of people enjoy this story, specifically for the backstory about the gods and how it serves as retelling of the Final Fantasy I story but JESUS it’s a fucking roundabout way of making that story have some kind of connection to this one. The story as expected, leaves nothing to cherish besides a few good cutscenes here and there but the amount of repetition and nonsense and prose and overall NOTHING to the narrative as a whole makes me VERY surprised that Nomura didn’t direct this game. Some of you out there may get some enjoyment out of it, personally I think skipping the story wouldn’t exactly leave anyone missing out on much. Hell, I would only consider the voice acting meh or passable besides a few exceptions; mainly the returning voice actors from other games and Golbez’s fucking awesome voice. Exdeath and Garland are pretty good too with their ham factor but besides them the rest most likely just didn’t get any good voice direction with their characters.

Now the actual fucking game

Dissidia is a 3D fighter with RPG elements. Each character has something that makes them unique and better than others in specific areas. Zidane is great at air combat, Onion Knight can perform light and quick attacks that can chain into more attacks, Cecil has the ability to swap between his paladin and dark knight persona’s for different atatcks, Bartz mimics attacks from everyone with different touches added, and Terra is a powerful spellcaster. That’s only some of the 20 different ways the game lets you fight so there’s bound to be a few out there that you enjoy.

However I said this game has RPG elements for a reason. Half of the trick to winning is having good gear, which follows the rules you’d expect. All your gear can be bought from the shop which is accessible via the customization menu. You can also use materials you get to trade for new items. The shop gets new stock via getting new materials and levelling characters up. The shop also lets characters power up with new materials; this lets them equip weapons from what you own that they normally wouldn’t be able to or increase their equipment slots. We also have accessories which, along with raising stats, also can have their effects multiplied. When you equip a accessory with a yellow-ish ring icon, if you equip items that say things like “When HP is maxed” or “When Level is 1-9” it means that any yellow ring accessories you have equipped will have their effects multiplied when their requirements are met. A good set up of these can really make things go well.

Levelling up does a number of things besides raise stats: You can learn new moves, skills and abilities as well as increasing your SP so you can have more of those abilities and moves on you at once.

In battle characters can lock on with the “L” button and jump/double-jump with “X”. Triangle is used for interacting with the environment, indicated by orange arrows appearing around the character. Using this you can do things like wall-run, grind on rails and dash across large distance. Pressing “R” and Triangle at once will have the character fly quickly towards what they’re locked on to. Circle is used for BRV (Bravery) attacks and Square is for HP attacks. BRV attacks drain the opponents BRV and adds it to your own. HP attacks uses the number of BRV you have to damage the enemy, reverting your BRV back to zero if it connects. When your BRV hits 0 it’ll regenerate to what it was when you started, the speed of which can be altered via different methods. BRV Break is when a BRV attack drains all of a character’s BRV, giving the person that attacked them a Stage BRV bonus. Obviously you don’t want your opponent to have this but when they do its countering time. “R” lets you block a BRV attack leaving your opponent open if you block successfully. Dodging is done by pressing “R” and “X” as well as moving in the direction you need to dodge.

Now if the opponent is close to winning there are ways of tipping the scales (lol).     EX Mode can be activated by pressing “R” and Square when your EX Meter is full. EX Mode gives the character regeneration as well as abilities unique to them but the best part is the EX Burst. Connect a HP attack in EX Mode and press Square again to do a EX Burst. During this you’ll do great BRV damage though this can be increased if you do what the game tells you to during it, which is different for specific characters. FINALLY there are also Summons which can be activated at will or during certain situations depending on whether they’re AUTO Summons or not. They fuck shit up in various ways, like tripling your BRV or swapping it with a opponents. You obtain Summons mainly through story mode so you’ll have to play a great deal of it to get a lot of them.

NOW if that sounds complicated, don’t worry you have the game to give you loads of good tutorials/tips and many battles to try different things out.

Time to move onto the different modes.

Story mode has you pick a chapter and then you go through 5 boards with that character. Each board has you move with DP (Destiny Points not Double Penetration) towards enemies, chests and items. DP is used to get PP and items at the end of each board, you’ll still be able to move without DP but you’ll be missing out on some stuff if you waste it by running from battles and getting DP penalties. Bonus DP can be gained by performing specific actions in battles like winning within a certain amount of time. The main idea of the board is to use your DP wisely so you get some good items by the end of the board. Board Skills are there to help you out too when you get them, which lets you do things like being able to lower the enemies’ health or heal before the fight begins. Its not the most interesting set-up, and its best you play Story Mode in moderation to avoid losing your sanity but the thing is not a lot is unlocked before you beat story mode. Beating this mode in itself can be a chore since the final chapter takes a LOT of levelling and good gear to clear but at least I can pick whatever character I want to play as during that.

Arcade Mode is you taking a pre-set character through a bunch of fights for PP and a couple of items, there’s not much too it even on the unlockable difficulties. Quick Match is self explanatory but since XP is determined by the enemies HP you can do some neat grinding tricks by beating a enemy that is high in LV but has a dumb AI thanks to you tinkering with the Quick Match settings. You have to unlock the ability to raise the enemies LV far above the one you’re currently at though.

Sadly the only thing you can do before beating the game is unlocking the playable antagonists via the PP Catalog as well as a whole bunch of other things there like new battle music during the post-game. PP is gained by winning battles, enough said. Villain characters I don’t generally use because they don’t have a board in story mode you can go through to get them stuff and XP, its Arcade Mode and Quick Battle only for them till you beat the game. Duel Coliseum is unlocked in the post-game, letting you fight enemies of different levels, earning you medals. Medals can get all sorts of different things when they appear in the Coliseum Deck but you can also just trade them in for PP when you leave the mode. After beating the game some Story Mode chapters open up. 2 of those chapters lets you get Shantotto and Gabranth as playable characters (Vaan isn’t here for some fucking reason, Gabranth is the only FFXII representative). The final extra chapter consist of gruelling fights against Lv. 110 characters (you cap at 100) then ends with a rematch against a overpowered Chaos. I’ve gotten to that rematch and cant fucking get past it, the fucker is next to impossible even with my Lv. 100 team of Zidane, Onion Knight and Cloud.

The Chocobo and Moogle Messages stuff are simply there to encourage you to play the game. The former lets you pick a chocobo that gives you bonus’ for battling while the latter gives you PP and items for interacting with it if you play the game once per day. Calendar bonus’ give increased payouts for battling depending on the day and what calendar you use which depends on what gamer you tell the game you are (which can be changed at any point). Completing Accomplishments and performing specific actions for Battlegen get you new stuff too. In Battlegen’s case it’s for getting a good chunk of all of the materials and you only have a chance of getting the material when the action is performed. Even then specific materials can only be created by certain characters with Battlegen.

Sweet mother of god, just fucking say if that game is good or not.

Look I’m going to cut myself short here because you probably get the picture by now. While there is LOADS of repetition in this game full of countless amounts of battles that one go through, there is loads of fun in picking my favourite character, in using tons of different means to make mine the strongest one, in turning the tides at the last second, in using strategy to get around a really tough opponent, and in unlocking all sorts of shit. I think you get the picture. If not let me put it this way; unless the in-game clock is somehow wrong (which I really, really doubt) I’ve spent over 90 hours on the game. And this does not surprise me considering how much I’ve played it since I got it nearly a year ago. It’s a fun handheld fighting game with a bunch of bells and whistles. I have my problems with how a lot of things are set up and the story is utter garbage but I had a lot of entertainment with this game specifically its post-game stuff. The remixed music is pretty nice too. Too bad its multiplayer is really fucking limited since there’s no online multiplayer, its only wireless local multiplayer. Who the fuck wants to play this with me? I found my copy for 10 euro in Gamestop, the digital version is a bit more expensive. If you have a PSP/Vita and are interested then go ahead and get it, I don’t think this one is just for Final Fantasy fans though the references to the series help a good deal when going into the game no doubt. Also might make the time I put into this game have some kind of slight real-world application if I get people to buy it.

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-TheAceAlucard

-Final Fantasy Explorers- Review

February 22, 2016 no comments Posted in Nintendo, Video Games

What a first, huh? A review that of a recent game rather than a SNES RPG

I have rather little to talk about before getting into the main portion of the review which is the gameplay. Explorers was released late 2014 in Japan, taking until January 2016 to be released in the US and Europe. All I could garner for development info was the director Atsushi Hashimoto making the game based off the concept of a multiplayer Final Fantasy adventure with a job system being incorporated. Soon after the game came out my drive to purchase this immediately was rather flustered by reviews generally not going higher than 7 out of 10 (Fun fact IGN indeed rated the game 6.8/10. I presume too much Final Fantasy) but after purchase has my fears been unfounded? Well first off the game isn’t being sold for the general 50 or above euro Nintendo games get as price tags for no fucking reason so scrounging 40 euro for the game wasn’t as much of a problem.

The story? Please. This game can be summed up as a Final Fantasy version of Monster Hunter, a series that does not bother with plot as far as I’m aware. The basic premise is there for the sake of it, people who hunt for powerful life and technology powering giving crystals are known as Explorers. YOU are a Explorer heading to the island of Amostra, which is newly discovered as a vast source of crystals but on the way there your airship gets blasted by fucking Bahamut. After booking it you (I’m getting fed up with this already) get to the town of Libertas to began questing around for questing’s sake in search of the island’s Grand Crystal. After about 20 hours of doing stuff and having a rather pointless lesson in what the search for crystals do to the world you get to the Grand Crystal, the story stops pretending it’s a thing and most of the game’s quests start opening up. Now let’s get to the REAL review.

First off the avatar customisation is rather shit with a very limited number of options, though I don’t mind not spending hours increasing the size and shape of every part of my character’s face. I do mind having to shorten my character’s name to Chris due to character limits that shouldn’t be there. Like usual you start off in your Freelancer Job, to get more you need to unlock them. You unlock a bunch early after completing one of the tutorial quests but you unlock most of them by finishing the Job Test quests that you’ll get along the game. Other Jobs are unlocked by specific means such as learning Firaga, Curaga, and Blizzaga to get the Red Mage Job or killing 500 monsters to get the Dark Knight job. You shouldn’t have any trouble with the requirements except the “Make 20 Monsters” one but we’ll get to that later. Jobs as you’d expect change your stats, the abilities you can use, weapons you equip and so on and so forth.

You get equipment mainly through the shop in Liberta using the materials you get from defeated monsters to either make more stuff or upgrade your equipments’ stats until the piece reaches its stat limits (haven’t reached the Buster Sword’s one yet so I don’t plan on replacing it). You don’t level up for killing things Liberta serves as the main hub, you select your quests there and after each quest you get sent back although you can choose to explore the island but certain areas are blocked off till you get a quest telling you can pass through and then the area is unlocked for good. These area barriers get rather annoying to see and I can’t think of a reason for them to really be there. You can select main areas you’ve discovered via the airship outside of quests but the in between areas leading to the main ones like mountain passages or forests have to be travelled through during quests and they’re much more repetitive since its basically 3 similar areas till you reach the next main area.

After a certain point you can also select a number of subquests to be done during quests for rewards like killing monsters or delivering a item. Regardless all quests cost a bit of money to actually start for some reason, it’s not like you’ll ever run out of gil in this game. Quests you unlock come in set difficulties which determines the monsters’ strength and exploring Amostra is always done on the highest quest difficulty available to you but Lv. 2 and Lv.3 item drops don’t happen unless you’re above a certain difficulty whilst Lv. 1 drops are always guaranteed. If you want to make finding new materials easier use LibertaExplorer, it’s a site opened by a bunch of fans at the start of February that contains a enormous deal of Explorers info that players should definitely check out, it’s really convenient. No matter what however you will get annoyed at how enemies tend to not appear in areas that they should like the humble Chocobo which you can kill but only if it decides to show up.

Let’s get into mechanics now. Explorers can all do a normal attack and sprint. Your AP meter is the fuel for your abilities and sprinting, it fills as you attack, use a ether or stand still. For the love of god don’t overuse it and run out unless you want to be left walking after your teammates as they sprint away. You can lock on to nearby enemies by tapping R and have the camera move to in front of you by tapping L, holding L or R opens the ability lists allowing you to use what you have on them. Abilities also have a charge time after use but usually you should always have at least one ability to use if you spam all of them. Holding both L and R opens the Crystal Surge menu when the game tells you have one available. The controls do have a hefty use on the shoulder buttons but it’s easy to get used to, my main issue is how the lock-on always locks on to any boss monsters if they are in the vicinity and not the small fries unless you press “Track Small” on the touch screen.

You learn all your abilities from the Main Crystal in Liberta and they all cost CP. CP is what you get from killing things and is multiplied heavily after a quest. CP is also used during equipment upgrades and monster fusions. The Main Crystal also lets you learn any mutated abilities you’ve found. What are those? Let me explain that with Crystal Surge. You have a count of your Crystal Resonance on the top left that you raise by using abilities, when it gets over 100 a Crystal Surge can occur. The Crystal Surge menu then can be opened allowing you to choose a temporary status change for example all of your attacks are Critcal Hits or all of your attacks are Fire Elemental , but the 4 that appear are random and you won’t know what they do unless you look them up in the game or just try them out. Anyway when a Crystal Surge is active some of your abilities may turn yellow. Use them and you unlock a ability mutation which is a extra add on for the ability you have and all mutations can be stacked and added with whatever other mutation the ability is compatible with. For example:

  1. I have a ability called Sonic Steel
  2. I activate the Fire Crystal Surge that makes my attacks all do fire damage
  3. Sonic Steel turns yellow and I use it during the surge, the game prompts me that I’ve gotten the Fire Mutation
  4. I purchase Sonic Steel1 (which has the fire mutation) from the Main Crystal and replace it with the normal Sonic Steel.
  5. I get a poison mutation for Sonic Steel1 allowing me to purchase Sonic Steel2 which now has a chance of poisoning and burning a enemy.

I can increase the power and chance of success of abilities by repeatedly mutating the same Surge. If you don’t want to use any of the Crystal Surges that appear in the list you can change it by using abilities a couple of times. If you want to get the most of your abilities, GET EVERY MUTATION YOU CAN.

Now there’s Magicite (no not the Final Fantasy VI stuff) which you unlock after you Encase your first Eidolon during the quest where you learn how to. Eidolons are the series’ summons that fight you in specific areas and can be defeated for items but when they are at low HP the Encase Crystal Surge can appear allowing you to capture the Eidolon and use their magicite. It is REALLY annoying trying to capture a Eidolon for the first time so here are some tips that you should keep in mind every time you attempt it:

-Use abilities or Crystal Shards that don’t damage the Eidolon to raise your Crystal Resonance

-Use the Oracle item to change the Surge list

-When playing in a team you all have individual Crystal Surges at around the same time and raising Resonance is much faster. Having 4 people with Surges increase the chances of one of them having Encase.

When you Encase an Eidolon, you unlock its Trance for permanent use and can sell the Magicite as a Eidolon. Your Trance meter fills as you attack and use abilities. When its full you can go into Trance which fills your HP and AP. It also lets you use a Trance Surge when you get another Crystal Surge which is a really strong special but what it does depends on the Eidolon you have equipped. Now WHO WANTS TO TRANSFORM INTO LIGHTNING FROM THE POPULAR FINAL FANTASY XIII!?!?!?!? Like unlocking Jobs, you can unlock Magicite from the Libertas Moogles after completing certain requirements that let you transform into veteran Final Fantasy characters in Trance and use their Trance Surge. No Final Fantasy IX characters sadly. You can also unlock and forge Final Fantasy outfits but they’re generally overshadowed in terms of protection and convenience.

Now Monster Creation. This thing mainly exists so that people playing solo can have some semblance of “team”. When a monster dies they have a chance of dropping their Atmalith…it’s their soul so to speak. You use this to create monsters to fight with you and they can…level up even though you can’t. I split Monster Creation into two catagories: Either they’re shit or they’re broken damage dealers. My personal favs are the Black Knight, Cactuar and Magic Pot who deal really high magic damage.

So people like playing with other people right? This is self explanatory, you can play with up to 3 others in different quests, the difficulty is raised depending on how many people are there so good job synergy and teamwork is necessary. This can be done with friends or people you find online that may or may not be cunts and run off whilst you try to get materials. Can’t do much in profanities though, you have a set list of things to inform the team of.

I think I’ve covered more than enough. The game is rather clunky but still great fun as it serves its purpose well. Like some other games (BRAVELY DEFAULT) I think it would’ve benefitted greatly from some more time, attention and additions to make things more convenient. The music is…decent but with a game like this you’re probably listening to music or a podcast (wink wink nudge nudge) when playing. It’s worth the price that its going for and fans of the series have already bought the game because of all the beautiful fanservice. I wish Gilgamesh and Omega Weapon weren’t the only non-summon boss fights though, some more fanservice in optional boss department pls.

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Anyone want to see what review comes up next? I’m leaving that up to you.

-TheAceAlucard

Chrono Trigger Review

January 28, 2016 no comments Posted in Nintendo, Video Games

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Disclaimer: I rushed this one out the ass.

-Release-

In 1995 Square released Chrono Trigger saw its release on the SNES, a creation of what was dubbed the Dream Team; Hironobu Sakaguchi (creator of Final Fantasy), Yuji Horii (creator of Dragon Quest) and Akira Toriyama (who most of you probably already heard of) with the game being produced by Kazuhiko Aoki. It was critically acclaimed upon release although official PAL cartridges of the game were not created for some reason and it wouldn’t be until 2009 that PAL regions got Chrono Trigger via the DS version. There was a PS1 port created in 1999 but like Square’s port of Final Fantasy VI and such, it was absolutely filled with load times and they were almost 10 second ones at the least. I presume this has something to do with the PS1’s RAM or lack thereof which is why SNES ports got these load times. The only new addition to the PS1 version was a set of animated cutscenes that would play at different intervals created by Bird Studio and Toei Animation. They’re great and all, especially with the opening’s version of the main theme but they’re also included in the DS version of the game along with bonus features, a better translation and such. Predictably the DS version is the best one out there, while I did manage to cope with finishing the PS1 version that’s something I’ll never do again and there are already iOS and Android versions of the game if you need them.

-How Trigger got triggered (lol)-

Crono is a young swordsman who’s a mute. Oh boy. In all seriousness the kid wakes up excited (at least that’s what his mother says) for the festival the Guardia kingdom is holding to celebrate its long prosperity. While testing out his friend Lucca’s teleportation device being showed off at the fair a girl named Marle, who tagged along with Crono after bumping into him, tries the machine out but her pendant causes a malfunction which opens a random portal that she gets sucked into. Crono picks up the dropped pendant and decides to open the same portal to find her while Lucca stays behind and tries figures out just what the hell happened. He finds himself in the Middle Ages where he finds that Marle has been mistaking for that era’s queen whose been missing. Marle suddenly and rather painfully disappears in front of Crono just as she begins to explain why she was mistaken for the missing Queen Leene (lol). Lucca appears to tell Crono that Marle is actually the present’s Princess Nardia who took on the name of Marle to go off doing non-royal things. Leene is the Nardia’s ancestor and because she is still missing with Marle taking her place, a grandfather paradox occurs causing Marle to simply not exist. Crono and Lucca team up with a frog knight named…Frog in order to rescue the missing queen and restore the royal family line. After doing so Marle is restored and using Lucca’s new device designed to open gates in time that are appearing for some reason (sort of explained later on) they return to the present. Upon doing so Crono is arrested upon escorting the princess back to the castle under the pretence of “kidnapping her” (don’t worry there’s a sidequest also explaining this well enough) and escapes from jail with the help of Marle and Lucca. After escaping to a time gate leading to the distant apocalyptic future they discover that at some point the planet was ravaged by a unknown force named Lavos. Deciding to try and find a way to stop the event from happening they begin their journey through time to save the future and that’s where I’ll stop for now. The game may be over 20 years old but I don’t feel up to spoiling a lot of elements that make it easier to enjoy. Besides this synopsis is pretty bare but the depth to the game and the characters start coming about from Antiquity onwards along with the endgame sidequests mainly focusing on character events and development for example going back in time to stop Lucca’s mother from losing the ability to walk by getting caught in the active machine right in front of the poor girl (just save beforehand so you don’t fuck it up and make Lucca watch it a 2nd time). It’s what they went for I think, mainly giving you a romp through the world and characters they created until you get to Magus where things start adding up. The time travel logic isn’t pure perfect, it never is when changing history is the subject, but it uses it really well ignoring some paradoxes .

 

-Gameplay-

We have quite a number of new things to cover but nothing too in depth. Trigger does away with random encounters and transitioning into a different screen for battle. Battles are initiated by coming into enemy contact or going to a specific tile for fixed battles and battles all happen on the same map. This was considered quite innovative to have battles happen where they start, however there’s one major problem with this: There are a lot of fixed battles, combine that with enemies respawning everytime you leave the room and come back and you have a annoying number of repeated fixed encounters when you step on a tile on your way back to somewhere. EarthBound didn’t have this problem because dungeons had one way to go most of the time and avoiding encounters was more of a element there. In here its more in theory. One thing that makes it a bit harder to take is how because you fight on the same map YOU KNOW that you’re fighting the exact encounter again in the same area whilst with random encounter transitions you feel more like fighting just another one of that enemy type if they show up. You get used to it fast enough and if you don’t it’s not something that hampers the whole deal but it’s something that’ll make it hell to play the PS1 version where battles have load times where they didn’t. At least thanks to this system there are no encounters in the world map. Battles run off Final Fantasy‘s Active Time Battle. Basically everyone, enemies and characters, runs off a ATB Meter which gets full when they can perform a command. The higher a characters’ speed the faster the meter goes, although I recommend altering the battle speed and ATB in the Options menu to go faster or slower and whether or not it still fills when selecting through Items and Techs in case you don’t want to feel pressured to pick something in those menus fast before the enemy snags you. Techs are basically where all a character’s special moves and spells are and they cost MP to use. You learn Techs by gaining TP but unlike XP a character has to be in the battle to have earned it, whilst members out of the party can gain some XP on their own. Techs generally have a field of effect, some work more when the enemies and lined up or in a particular area of range; for example Falcon Strike is a Tech that attacks diagonally so anything next to what your attacking gets hit as well. What makes creating a party in this game unique in terms of strategy are the powerful Dual Techs. When two character’s ATB are both filled you can use any Dual Techs they may have. Dual Techs come about when character’s Tech’s can be combined for example Crono’s Cyclone Tech can be combined with Lucca’s Flame Toss to create Flame Whirl. Dual Techs cost the characters using the Dual Tech the amount of MP that their normal Tech would cost on its own meaning Crono spends MP needed for Cyclone and Lucca spends the MP needed for Flame Toss   learning Dual Techs is a matter of changing around party members once in a while when they learn new Techs and seeing what appears in the Tech menu. It gets even further with Triple Techs which require a specific party and in some cases a specific item to use. Party members can be swapped at any time outside of battle so making a new party is a button push away if needed. Since TP has to be earned during battle I generally like to fight the respawning Rubble on the Mountain of Woe past the halfway point of the game, the bastard drops 100 TP which is not something I can pass up to grind on until everyone has their Techs which is something you WILL do before getting to the near end anyway. I don’t think this game will ever force you to grind too much but there are bosses that you will need to think of a good strategy to beat…or be like me and just abuse strong Techs when I can get them early. Basically fights give good challenge either way, they’re difficult enough as things go on so that you need to keep your eyes open and learn the enemy starting with Magus and especially with the fucking Golem boss.

One of the main gimmicks for Trigger is, well, time travel. Different version of the same planet through a number of time periods allowing access to new locations; The present, middle ages, prehistory, apocalyptic future, antiquity and finally the year 1999 where Lavos rose and destroyed the planet. And when I was born. Lovely. The End of Time which you enter soon into the game acts as the main hub for any Time Gates the group come across until you get the time machine Epoch and eventually its upgrade to fly. Gaspar will generally give you hints of where to go next so getting confused on what to do isn’t ever a problem. Just don’t touch the bucket’s Time Gate, that takes you straight to the final boss. Gaspar does warn you not to touch the bucket when you meet him but fuck he could’ve mentioned where it lead. The Epoch comes majorly into play when doing sidequests which are basically the meat of Trigger‘s final chapter. Getting Crono back into your party endgame is technically one since at that point you can beat the game with any party you want but the others serve to strengthen the party for the fight against Lavos so ignoring them is a very bad idea unless you want Lavos to wipe you out. I won’t go too in depth to them but they’re enjoyable side quests nonetheless and give you great equipment for the final battle as well as the time travel coming into play for stuff like the Sun Stone and Rainbow Shell. The game is designed quite straightforward until that point, and it helps cut down the backtracking by a mile.

I think I’ve covered the main gameplay so far so let’s get into the DS version’s additions. Besides some interfaces changes we also get a self filling map which is always nice to have. There’s also 2 Lost Sanctum areas which basically have you do fetch quests and things for reptites in return for rewards. I never bothered since the stuff opens extremely late game and you all know how I feel about areas being dedicated to fetch quests. We also have this Arena of the Ages. Ever wanted to raise a monster? Now you can, although this is accessible from the End of Time it doesn’t anything I deemed worth going after although some items can be nice to get a bit early and the raising mechanics are extremely straightfoward. I just get a kick out of watching my raised pet out damage another one but that’s about it. Finally we have 4 extra boss fights against a few shade versions of your party members and then the Bucket will take you to the Dimensional Vortex dungeon. This does get you some more awesome equipment but it’s the last thing in the game so I didn’t feel it was worth trying out and Square usually made extra dungeons in ports a pain to get through. Maybe when I bother to go after the Dream Devourer (yeah that’s the name of it) and the other ending, I’ll update the review but not now.

Speaking of extra equipment Chrono Trigger was one of the first RPGs to introduce the holy New Game Plus. Replay the game with all your badass equipment, levels and Techs? Fuck yeah but now we can get into alternate ending territory. There are a large number of endings you can get that the game keeps track of, all based on when in the game and how you beat Lavos. The ending most players should get first is the ending that comes after you rescue Crono and fight Lavos after going through the Black Omen. A lot of the endings are more of a play for laughs like what if you went into the Bucket defeated Lavos before helping Ayla take out the reptites in Prehistory, thus turning the present’s humanity into repitites. Another ending is…the female characters going through a list of the male characters of the game. Fucking hell.

-Presentation-

Sexy on all accounts; the music is phenomenal and definitely my favourite SNES soundtrack. The graphics were spectacular for the time make the game hold up extremely well amongst the DS library although the numerous uses of the SNES’ list of special graphical effects (can’t name them all myself right now) does age the game to some extent. The story is what I feel it needs to be, its less about deep questions but still keeps characters’ and story’s development and has good writing with twists that are strong as they need to be. I recommend the game for everyone to at least try out, I know a lot of people aren’t very friendly towards some of the ideas implemented (specifically ATB and encounters started by touching tiles) but it’s a great game given a fair shake and worth any gamers’ time. The DS version is great despite my disinterest in a lot of the extras but seeing as the other options are the PS1 version (huge load times), the SNES version (90’s RPG localization), and iOS (touch screen controls), I think you’ll come to the conclusion it’s the best choice out of them.

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-TheAceAlucard

 

 

 

Wanna know why this was rushed? I wanted to review Mother 3 but I realised how long I would take writing a plot synopsis so I looked over a couple of things I could do. I tried rushing a playthrough of the original Ratchet and Clank as a nod to the upcoming reboot game and film but it was agonizing going back to it. I had about four days to decide, most of which I wouldn’t spend writing so I picked Chrono Trigger as a easy ticket out.