Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tales of Vesperia and Other Stuff

So, it's obviously been a while since I updated this blog...work and actually gaming's been keeping me pretty busy amongst other things, but now that the summer/fall rush of interesting games is over for a bit, I've decided to start this up with a mix of both news, commentary, and just random babble covering gaming with some other misc topics mixed in.

Since late June of this year, there have been a multitude of titles that have been released in Japan which have interested my somewhat "eccentric" tastes.
  • Agarest Senki ZERO
  • Atelier Rorona: Alchemist of Arland
  • BlazBlue
  • Tales of Vesperia (not the β-version)
Of the four, Tales of Vesperia is probably the more interesting of the bunch considering the, relatively speaking, high profile nature of the game and the general popularity of the "Tales of" franchise. To note, I did play the β-version; paid a grand total of ¥1500 in the wagon at a Sofmap store and plunked down quite a few unhealthy hours into it.

That said, I decided to double dip for the PS3 release since the game in its original form was rather good. It's a week and a half later and am happy to say I haven't had any regrets. The PS3 release does have a few downsides; namely the loadtimes being noticeably longer, but not to the point where it's annoying. For those that tried the demo off PSN, it is considerably improved from that. One other issue I'm finding is, for some odd reason, every time Patty does a specific arte in Advance form, my receiver loses synchronization with the PS3 for a split second, resulting in a loss of sound. Looking past that, though, it's great to be playing again with a PS3 controller, and the new additions are really quite nice.

Repede as party top is something I wished in the original release, the Artes Ball allows for 8 additional artes slot by pressing L1, and the additional voicing is nice.

So the big thing is, how's Patty and the modified storyline? The devs did an excellent job, thus far, of incorporating Patty into the game. Instead of cramming her into the midst of the Blastia story from the get-go, they opted to create a storyline that ran parallel, for the most part, to the original story. There are a number of points where the storylines intersect; namely, when Patty and the rest of the party so-happen to be at the same place at the same time, but things start getting rather interesting about 1/2~2/3 of the way through the story.

As a character, she's very fun to use, but due to how the story's arranged, I'm not sure if it's wise to become dependent on her from the get go. The multiple forms she has adds a bit of depth to the gameplay, and a good number of her artes have a "gambling" selection on them with different results (including damaging your party).

As for whether this will be localized is unknown, it does appear, from a comment made by Yuri's western VA, that localization is indeed in progress. If you're competent at Japanese, though, aside from the slightly higher price, I'd recommend importing this game. So you spend $20~30 more, now...you can always cut back on those lattes from Starbucks for a few days.

Beyond that, Agarest Senki ZERO was surprisingly good and sucked up almost as much time as the original Vesperia did. Atelier Rorona was very reminiscient of the pre-Mana Khemia/Iris series and was a good departure from your typical "save the world" RPGs. The crafting system, like most Atelier games, was rock solid, and the events that pepper the game itself add quite a bit of charm to a cute and warm game. I'll be adding a post soon for Agarest and Rorona as well as an actual Tales of Vesperia review after I finish that up, as well. BlazBlue was a bit of a surprise and while I'm still pretty horrible at it, I ended up putting in about 1500 matches on Rachel alone...

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