Devil May Cry, but Valkyria don't care.

Alternate title: ArbitraryWater versus lengthy tactical RPGs and also heavy metal demon murdering.

Oh, what's that you say? A new year and only one blog from famed bloggist ArbitraryWater? Well, that's about to be fixed. Now there are two blogs. Before we talk about a video game, let's talk about a different video game.

A DIFFERENT VIDEO GAME:

It's not necessarily the best game in the series, but it is worthy of being part of the series

DmC: Devil May Cry is successful at being a Devil May Cry game. While, admittedly that isn’t a high bar considering that DMC2 and 4 are also Devil May Cry games, it’s also a good Devil May Cry game and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as DMC3, at least by me. While my attempts to play the first one have fallen flat because of the controls and camera and my playthrough of 4 was halted by the realization that I was going to have to play the entire game again, backwards, as Dante, Devil May Cry 3 remains one of my favorite PS2 games and probably one of my favorite old games that I’ve blogged about. So basically, what I’m saying is that a lot of the vocal opposition to this game is unwarranted. While the controls have been tweaked and the lock-on removed, I can still do the thing where I hit dudes, juggle them in the air, slam them down and then rush them with Stinger/Trillion Stabs. Maybe I’m not hardcore enough or whatever, but I think that DmC nails the gameplay of the series quite well. I’m not going to go as far as to say it’s better than DMC3, but it also makes up for it with visual aesthetic and storytelling flair both of which are lacking in the other games outside of my ironic enjoyment of the kind of nonsense that comes from Dante surfing on missiles or whatever. If I have any qualms, it’s that the game didn’t break my knees and then kick me while I was down. I played on hard and was distinctly not getting horribly defeated like I was with the third game. That probably has to do with the game having fewer bosses and fewer asshole bosses, so I’m hoping that Son of Sparda mode fills that void when I inevitably go for another playthrough. Point is, I like this game and think you should play it if you like this kind of game. Speaking of games I like and think you should play if you like that kind of game…

Some short impressions of other games, if you care:

The original Star Fox for SNES is interesting. As a game, it’s not dense enough for me to be able to write a blog about it (also, I’d have to play through it on the other levels), but as a technical achievement for the SNES it’s impressive. As a game… it’s still totally ok. The controls aren’t quite as smooth as its N64 counterpart, there’s no lock-on, but I’ll be danged if it isn’t Star Fox.

Tactical maps and anthropomorphic animals. Really, why did this get canceled again?

Star Fox 2 is a lot weirder, and not just because it’s a complete game that was never released and then leaked to the public like it was Thrill Kill or maybe that PS1 port of Baldur’s Gate (which is horrendous, by the way). It’s also even weirder in hindsight, with a lot of the mechanics it used being incorporated into the underrated Star Fox Command for DS. That means there’s this whole pseudo-RTS portion with your goal being to intercept enemy missiles and blow up bases, and you can also select from different pilots who have different characteristics. It also probably holds up better, because the draw distance is less of an issue and the controls are a bit more responsive, at least on my Xbox controller (and yes, I have a real one now as opposed to that horrible bootleg one I’ve been complaining about for all of last semester)

Dino Crisis is Resident Evil with Dinosaurs, and being that I could use some more old style Resident Evil in my life, I will attempt to play more.

Now then, our main event:

Valkyria Chronicles II: It's not as grindy as those other grindy games!

Being that I don’t own a PS3 and don’t intend to until an undetermined date (On my list of consoles to buy, a 3DS ranks higher. Because Fire Emblem) I haven’t played Valkyria Chronicles. Right next to Demon’s Souls and MGS4 (and maybe like... Ni no Kuni?), it would probably be one of the first games I would buy if when I eventually get one, and thus I decided to go for its sequel instead, which is generally seen as inferior for reasons I’m not entirely sure of because I don’t know enough people who have played both games to give me any sort of valid opinion, other than that the Japan-only 3 installment is of course the best. Luckily for me, Valkyria Chronicles II is pretty dang fantastic in its own right, and if this is what I have to expect from the original, I think I will do just fine. Like the other 75% of my PSP library, it’s some variety of tactical and some variety of RPG, but whereas Final Fantasy Tactics is grindy and slow, and Tactics Ogre is grindy and slow (but I like it far better than FFT for some reason and have played significantly more of it), Valkyria Chronicles II is… less grindy and slow. Hey, it’s tactical RPGs we’re talking about here. If the hour count is less than 40 hours then it’s either in the Fire Emblem/XCOM camp of simple mechanics extrapolated into brutal deathtraps or it’s not actually a SRPG. Also there is crafting, because of course there is.

Oh, I'm sorry, did someone say Class systems? Sold. Like, really. The international version of Final Fantasy XII? I would totally buy that if I didn't have to do horrible things to a PS2 and also learn Japanese.

The best way to describe the gameplay is that it’s kinda like XCOM or maybe Fire Emblem, but with a bit more FFT/Tactics Ogre type of thing going on and you directly control your units when you move them. Also it’s anime WWII, but I’ll get to that later. It also has a branching class system, and as you know from my love of Final Fantasy V and my irrational love of Final Fantasy X-2, I really like class systems, but thankfully unlike all of those games every class in VC2 is actually useful. Ok, to be fair I barely ever used engineers because of my kamikaze style of engagement (which the game encourages by rankings only being based on how quickly you finished any given mission), but I guess if you wanted better healing or universal stat boosts that only last a turn (part of the Anthem Corp sub-class) they’d do the job perfectly fine. The same goes for Mortarers, whom I rarely used because just rushing a dude with a shocktrooper or gunner would usually produce superior results and enemies would rarely group up in a way that would make a mortar worth using. If there were classes which I considered invaluable for most missions, I’d probably go with fencers and snipers, both low-movement units capable of one-shotting most enemies and putting a dent into bosses. I also found little use for the commands features, which are basically CO Powers from advance wars if the CO Powers made it so you couldn’t make as many moves. I don’t care about a nebulous boost to my anti-personnel attack power. It costs 4 Command Points. 4 Command Points I could use to make 4 other units move and be far more efficient with their murder sprees. And really, the only way to beat some boss characters is by bum rushing them with your fencers (or snipers, at least until they run out of ammo) anyways, which is made more annoying by their tendency to dodge your attacks. There’s also a nice variety of missions, most of which can be solved by killing everyone, but there are also escort missions that suck and collection missions that suck less.

If you took a drink any time any of these characters said anything stupid, you'd be dead before the game even starts.
But on the other hand, you kill tanks by shooting them in the back, so I guess all is forgiven. If you like these kinds of games, play this game. Or the first one, because that's apparently better.

Regardless of how much I hated the escort missions due to the fragility of the escort APC, the fact stands that I think VC2’s gameplay is fantastic. Like most games of the genre it starts slow, perhaps too slow, (also it doesn’t help that the mechanics aren’t necessarily explained all that well) but by the 7-10 hour mark most of the systems have been revealed and you can start messing with the advanced classes and building a more diverse squad that suits your play style. I would say it’s a shoo-in for a high spot on my inevitable “Best of 2013 that didn’t come out in 2013” list, except for one thing… The story and characters are really, really, really bad. How bad are they? That’s a good question. While the story of the first game is apparently no masterwork and the story of the third game is apparently pretty good, the story of Valkyria Chronicles II is predictable and generic throughout. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue. You all know that I’m fine with generic stories if the gameplay is good, but the problem with VC2 is that there is a lot of story and all of it is the worst anime tropes and archetypes imaginable. The three main characters are a headstrong young guy who’s kind of an idiot but is full of determination and heart, a supportive young girl with a tragic past and a dream, and a cynical fellow who is a foil to the main guy, but still goes along with all of his boneheaded schemes. If you find these characters original or interesting, play a few JRPGs, maybe watch some high-school anime and get back to me. Oh, and don’t worry, the rest of the supporting cast falls squarely into bad archetypes as well. Yes, I am aware that archetypes can be used for good, just look at Persona 3 and how it handles and develops its cast, but the character development is all of the most unsubtle moments of stupidity. I think my favorite is still the part where Avan shoots himself so that Cosette will overcome her fear of blood and whatnot. Then we get into the whole dichotomy between these hilarious anime high-school antics and the part where all of these characters are mass-murderers and it gets a little more… weird, let’s say? I was fine with it in Full Metal Panic, where the entire point of the parts that were good (i.e. everything that they would later put into Full Metal Panic Fumoffu), was that Sosuke’s utter inability to view the world through anything other than the lens of combat was a gold mine for comedy. But I’m ranting again, and falling down the “Talking about Anime” hole. I’ve also started watching Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, and think it is pretty dope, if we’re on the subject.

Dinosaurs

But enough prattle. I think Valkyria Chronicles II is sort of awesome, in spite of it also being the worst high-school anime ever. I’m glad I sunk my requisite 50+ hours into it, but I also don’t think I’ll be sinking any more, at least not anytime soon (even though it has some postgame content for funsies). I’m nearing the end of World of Xeen, and the only real handicap preventing me from finishing it are the parts where leveling up now costs absurd sums of money, and my characters have a lot of leveling up to do. You can expect that one… soon? Dinosaurs?

28 Comments
29 Comments
Posted by ArbitraryWater

Alternate title: ArbitraryWater versus lengthy tactical RPGs and also heavy metal demon murdering.

Oh, what's that you say? A new year and only one blog from famed bloggist ArbitraryWater? Well, that's about to be fixed. Now there are two blogs. Before we talk about a video game, let's talk about a different video game.

A DIFFERENT VIDEO GAME:

It's not necessarily the best game in the series, but it is worthy of being part of the series

DmC: Devil May Cry is successful at being a Devil May Cry game. While, admittedly that isn’t a high bar considering that DMC2 and 4 are also Devil May Cry games, it’s also a good Devil May Cry game and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as DMC3, at least by me. While my attempts to play the first one have fallen flat because of the controls and camera and my playthrough of 4 was halted by the realization that I was going to have to play the entire game again, backwards, as Dante, Devil May Cry 3 remains one of my favorite PS2 games and probably one of my favorite old games that I’ve blogged about. So basically, what I’m saying is that a lot of the vocal opposition to this game is unwarranted. While the controls have been tweaked and the lock-on removed, I can still do the thing where I hit dudes, juggle them in the air, slam them down and then rush them with Stinger/Trillion Stabs. Maybe I’m not hardcore enough or whatever, but I think that DmC nails the gameplay of the series quite well. I’m not going to go as far as to say it’s better than DMC3, but it also makes up for it with visual aesthetic and storytelling flair both of which are lacking in the other games outside of my ironic enjoyment of the kind of nonsense that comes from Dante surfing on missiles or whatever. If I have any qualms, it’s that the game didn’t break my knees and then kick me while I was down. I played on hard and was distinctly not getting horribly defeated like I was with the third game. That probably has to do with the game having fewer bosses and fewer asshole bosses, so I’m hoping that Son of Sparda mode fills that void when I inevitably go for another playthrough. Point is, I like this game and think you should play it if you like this kind of game. Speaking of games I like and think you should play if you like that kind of game…

Some short impressions of other games, if you care:

The original Star Fox for SNES is interesting. As a game, it’s not dense enough for me to be able to write a blog about it (also, I’d have to play through it on the other levels), but as a technical achievement for the SNES it’s impressive. As a game… it’s still totally ok. The controls aren’t quite as smooth as its N64 counterpart, there’s no lock-on, but I’ll be danged if it isn’t Star Fox.

Tactical maps and anthropomorphic animals. Really, why did this get canceled again?

Star Fox 2 is a lot weirder, and not just because it’s a complete game that was never released and then leaked to the public like it was Thrill Kill or maybe that PS1 port of Baldur’s Gate (which is horrendous, by the way). It’s also even weirder in hindsight, with a lot of the mechanics it used being incorporated into the underrated Star Fox Command for DS. That means there’s this whole pseudo-RTS portion with your goal being to intercept enemy missiles and blow up bases, and you can also select from different pilots who have different characteristics. It also probably holds up better, because the draw distance is less of an issue and the controls are a bit more responsive, at least on my Xbox controller (and yes, I have a real one now as opposed to that horrible bootleg one I’ve been complaining about for all of last semester)

Dino Crisis is Resident Evil with Dinosaurs, and being that I could use some more old style Resident Evil in my life, I will attempt to play more.

Now then, our main event:

Valkyria Chronicles II: It's not as grindy as those other grindy games!

Being that I don’t own a PS3 and don’t intend to until an undetermined date (On my list of consoles to buy, a 3DS ranks higher. Because Fire Emblem) I haven’t played Valkyria Chronicles. Right next to Demon’s Souls and MGS4 (and maybe like... Ni no Kuni?), it would probably be one of the first games I would buy if when I eventually get one, and thus I decided to go for its sequel instead, which is generally seen as inferior for reasons I’m not entirely sure of because I don’t know enough people who have played both games to give me any sort of valid opinion, other than that the Japan-only 3 installment is of course the best. Luckily for me, Valkyria Chronicles II is pretty dang fantastic in its own right, and if this is what I have to expect from the original, I think I will do just fine. Like the other 75% of my PSP library, it’s some variety of tactical and some variety of RPG, but whereas Final Fantasy Tactics is grindy and slow, and Tactics Ogre is grindy and slow (but I like it far better than FFT for some reason and have played significantly more of it), Valkyria Chronicles II is… less grindy and slow. Hey, it’s tactical RPGs we’re talking about here. If the hour count is less than 40 hours then it’s either in the Fire Emblem/XCOM camp of simple mechanics extrapolated into brutal deathtraps or it’s not actually a SRPG. Also there is crafting, because of course there is.

Oh, I'm sorry, did someone say Class systems? Sold. Like, really. The international version of Final Fantasy XII? I would totally buy that if I didn't have to do horrible things to a PS2 and also learn Japanese.

The best way to describe the gameplay is that it’s kinda like XCOM or maybe Fire Emblem, but with a bit more FFT/Tactics Ogre type of thing going on and you directly control your units when you move them. Also it’s anime WWII, but I’ll get to that later. It also has a branching class system, and as you know from my love of Final Fantasy V and my irrational love of Final Fantasy X-2, I really like class systems, but thankfully unlike all of those games every class in VC2 is actually useful. Ok, to be fair I barely ever used engineers because of my kamikaze style of engagement (which the game encourages by rankings only being based on how quickly you finished any given mission), but I guess if you wanted better healing or universal stat boosts that only last a turn (part of the Anthem Corp sub-class) they’d do the job perfectly fine. The same goes for Mortarers, whom I rarely used because just rushing a dude with a shocktrooper or gunner would usually produce superior results and enemies would rarely group up in a way that would make a mortar worth using. If there were classes which I considered invaluable for most missions, I’d probably go with fencers and snipers, both low-movement units capable of one-shotting most enemies and putting a dent into bosses. I also found little use for the commands features, which are basically CO Powers from advance wars if the CO Powers made it so you couldn’t make as many moves. I don’t care about a nebulous boost to my anti-personnel attack power. It costs 4 Command Points. 4 Command Points I could use to make 4 other units move and be far more efficient with their murder sprees. And really, the only way to beat some boss characters is by bum rushing them with your fencers (or snipers, at least until they run out of ammo) anyways, which is made more annoying by their tendency to dodge your attacks. There’s also a nice variety of missions, most of which can be solved by killing everyone, but there are also escort missions that suck and collection missions that suck less.

If you took a drink any time any of these characters said anything stupid, you'd be dead before the game even starts.
But on the other hand, you kill tanks by shooting them in the back, so I guess all is forgiven. If you like these kinds of games, play this game. Or the first one, because that's apparently better.

Regardless of how much I hated the escort missions due to the fragility of the escort APC, the fact stands that I think VC2’s gameplay is fantastic. Like most games of the genre it starts slow, perhaps too slow, (also it doesn’t help that the mechanics aren’t necessarily explained all that well) but by the 7-10 hour mark most of the systems have been revealed and you can start messing with the advanced classes and building a more diverse squad that suits your play style. I would say it’s a shoo-in for a high spot on my inevitable “Best of 2013 that didn’t come out in 2013” list, except for one thing… The story and characters are really, really, really bad. How bad are they? That’s a good question. While the story of the first game is apparently no masterwork and the story of the third game is apparently pretty good, the story of Valkyria Chronicles II is predictable and generic throughout. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue. You all know that I’m fine with generic stories if the gameplay is good, but the problem with VC2 is that there is a lot of story and all of it is the worst anime tropes and archetypes imaginable. The three main characters are a headstrong young guy who’s kind of an idiot but is full of determination and heart, a supportive young girl with a tragic past and a dream, and a cynical fellow who is a foil to the main guy, but still goes along with all of his boneheaded schemes. If you find these characters original or interesting, play a few JRPGs, maybe watch some high-school anime and get back to me. Oh, and don’t worry, the rest of the supporting cast falls squarely into bad archetypes as well. Yes, I am aware that archetypes can be used for good, just look at Persona 3 and how it handles and develops its cast, but the character development is all of the most unsubtle moments of stupidity. I think my favorite is still the part where Avan shoots himself so that Cosette will overcome her fear of blood and whatnot. Then we get into the whole dichotomy between these hilarious anime high-school antics and the part where all of these characters are mass-murderers and it gets a little more… weird, let’s say? I was fine with it in Full Metal Panic, where the entire point of the parts that were good (i.e. everything that they would later put into Full Metal Panic Fumoffu), was that Sosuke’s utter inability to view the world through anything other than the lens of combat was a gold mine for comedy. But I’m ranting again, and falling down the “Talking about Anime” hole. I’ve also started watching Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, and think it is pretty dope, if we’re on the subject.

Dinosaurs

But enough prattle. I think Valkyria Chronicles II is sort of awesome, in spite of it also being the worst high-school anime ever. I’m glad I sunk my requisite 50+ hours into it, but I also don’t think I’ll be sinking any more, at least not anytime soon (even though it has some postgame content for funsies). I’m nearing the end of World of Xeen, and the only real handicap preventing me from finishing it are the parts where leveling up now costs absurd sums of money, and my characters have a lot of leveling up to do. You can expect that one… soon? Dinosaurs?

Posted by ArclightBorealis

My experience with DmC last weekend started off really promising but started feeling really dull for me as the game went on. The combat is definitely close to the feel of the previous and was pretty fun in those first few levels, but it got bogged down by a lot of other things for me between the color coded enemies, broken style rank system, poor boss fights, among other things. Story being a whole other issue that I'm not gonna get into right now. I'm glad I played the game so I could know what it was, but it did not impress me a whole lot in the end (Obviously it being more on my end and having high standards for this genre than most others do). That said, I wouldn't object to a DmC 2 if there were major improvements made.

Edited by Encephalon

I really liked VC1, even though it was basically the JRPG version of the All-Story. Never got around to the sequel, but I don't have PSP so whatevs. Shame the third never left Japan.

VC2's ill-considered high school motif, and the narrative juxtaposition it creates with this modernish war story, seems a bit reminiscent of SeeD in Final Fantasy VIII. It struck me as absurd that the world's most feared private military is staffed entirely by teenagers. The girls even wear sailor fuku into combat!

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@Alaska_Gamer: I can understand that, though I disagree about the poor boss fights. The second real boss is... something else, that's for sure. I guess what I should really be doing is tracking down a copy of Bayonetta so I can make a more modern comparison instead of comparing it to the last "one of these games" I played. Really though, on its own merits, I like DmC a lot, and don't feel like this is a Dragon Age II scenario where I am defending my appreciation for something I know to be sort of bad.

@Encephalon: Yeah, probably should have mentioned the sailor suits, but I kinda just put that in with "Anime lol" at this point. As I said, once I get around to the first game I will definitely have to make a comparison.

Posted by Hailinel

Valkyria Chronicles II strikes me as a less grim Gunparade March.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@Hailinel said:

Valkyria Chronicles II strikes me as a less grim Gunparade March.

And one quick search of the wiki later suggests that you are probably right.

Posted by golguin

It was kinda an interesting read until you called FFT grindy and slow. Now I don't know what to think.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@golguin said:

It was kinda an interesting read until you called FFT grindy and slow. Now I don't know what to think.

As a guy with a Prinny avatar, I think you would know yourself some grindy and slow games where you can't skip or speed up battle animations. FFT is pretty dang grindy, at least where I stopped playing. Apparently the difficulty curve is such that the endgame becomes a bit of a cakewalk if you've built your party efficiently, but I didn't really get that far. To be fair, the PSP remake of Tactics Ogre is a lot less grindy, but it's still a tactical RPG.

Posted by golguin

@ArbitraryWater said:

@golguin said:

It was kinda an interesting read until you called FFT grindy and slow. Now I don't know what to think.

As a guy with a Prinny avatar, I think you would know yourself some grindy and slow games where you can't skip or speed up battle animations. FFT is pretty dang grindy, at least where I stopped playing. Apparently the difficulty curve is such that the endgame becomes a bit of a cakewalk if you've built your party efficiently, but I didn't really get that far. To be fair, the PSP remake of Tactics Ogre is a lot less grindy, but it's still a tactical RPG.

I never thought battle animations were slow in Disgaea because of all that crazy that went into those attacks. The only argument for a slow attack animation in FFT is if a player decides to calculate the Holy spell and kill everyone on the field except for the party units that can absorb Holy. Back in the day I'd calculate the hell out of Holy with more than 12 units on the field. It went something like this, but 12 times. I'm not even going to talk about using a Mimic to copy the calculated Holy.

Skip ahead to the 50 second mark to see it in action.

Edited by Ghostiet

I like DmC too, even though some things bug me endlessly - mostly the lack of difficulty and the incredibly bland Dante.

His design is alright, it's just amazing what a boring protagonist he is. In previous games (apart from 2) it was always about being as hammy, cheesy and loud as possible, here he's the most bland rebel-type character imaginable, dishing out the lamest puns. Maybe they shouldn't ape that directly, but the great opening sequence with Dante getting drunk and fucking two strippers (including an up-close shot of the smuggest smirk possible) made me hope he would be this permanently hungover, sociopathic asshole which would be fun in a completely different way - especially once character development kicks in. But instead, he just threatens to stab Kat for half a second and quips badly throughout the rest of the game. And curses. The exchange with the Succubus is one of the weakest, most forced use of vulgarisms in existence. It's not street, it's not funny. Even Bulletstorm was better, since Sarrano was incredibly creative with his insults and the game hung lampshades on the frequent vulgarity, even if it did get annoying quickly.

It's a shame, really - especially when the devs basically shat on the previous games' plots and characterization only to deliver something that is maybe technically better, but completely unmemorable and unremarkable. But in the end, I'd like to see a sequel. Especially since the ending confirms that they've planned this game as some sort of "origin story" for this new Dante.

Posted by Hunter5024

I'm having a lot of trouble getting into Valkyria Chronicles II. Maybe it's because I'm still only about 6 hours in, but almost every mission I've been on so far was pretty bland compared to the first game, and if I'm not mistaken they are already liberally recycling maps. Does that change later on? I think I'd be willing to forgive that shortcoming if the presentation was as lovely as it was in the original, or if the narrative wasn't unbearably boring, but so far the game is just coming off like a second rate version of the original that has no unique ideas to bring to the table. Like I said though, I haven't spent that much time in it, and you generally have pretty good taste, so I'm inclined to believe you on this one.

Posted by coakroach
Posted by endaround

VC1's story is good, not sure why someone would say otherwise. VC2's story is not. Some of the party missions are decent, but in general it is bad and inconsistent. The tone due to how its set up is so wildly inconsistent (let's humorously undermine the rival girl and then make her a tragic figure). The gameplay in VC2 however is much better. VC1 has huge maps but you are still graded based upon speed to completion. There are fewer grind maps so you have to replay the missions until you get a good enough score to get enough experience for the next map (and it makes really hard to replay the last mission after a bad grade). You ended up using only scouts and tanks because the other units are too slow.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@ArbitraryWater said:

@Hailinel said:

Valkyria Chronicles II strikes me as a less grim Gunparade March.

And one quick search of the wiki later suggests that you are probably right.

And one quick search of the wiki later suggests I should speed up my Japanese learning so I can play the hell out of this and alert you all to it.

Posted by Sarumarine

Star Fox 2 never getting released is right up there with Seiken Densetsu 3 not getting localized. I don't understand it.

It was nice to read about Valkyria Chronicles 2. I really liked the first game but never bought a PSP to play the sequel. I would say it's what I hoped Advance Wars would be if it ever got brought to a console proper. Or they could just do the Fire Emblem thing and just make the turn based strategy game with higher production values. Either way would be fine with me, I guess.

Posted by Mento

I enjoyed Valkyria Chronicles quite a bit. From the horror stories Pepsiman's been telling about VC 2 and how much it tends to disappoint compared to its antecedent and descendant, I'm not quite as enthused for its first sequel, but I still want to give it a shot (hell, it's on my Z-A of Ztuff I Want To Play list). I'll just have to keep an eye out. If the terrible high school drama of it all wasn't enough to diminish your determination to beat it, it's got to be pretty OK, right?

I'm right there with you regarding Star Fox Command and its generally overlooked status. After replaying the otherwise excellent Lylat Wars/Star Fox 64, Command is still my favorite among talking space animal games. I love all those branching paths and secret endings, like the one where he falls out with that blue fox lady and decides to become an F-Zero racer with Falco.

Dino Crisis, eh? Have fun with that. Hope you like disks.

Also FFT doesn't get easier when you have a well-developed party of high level characters in which you've invested a lot of time and effort; it gets easier when you hire T.G. "Fuck strategy, Holy Explosion!" Cid.

Moderator
Posted by Mesoian

@Hailinel said:

Valkyria Chronicles II strikes me as a less grim Gunparade March.

That's, tonally, the most apt description of that game that I've ever heard.

I should finish Gunparade March...

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@Ghostiet: I can agree with you there. I feel like they introduced Dante as uncaring asshole protagonist, and then immediately made him care in the second mission. Not quite an arc and more of a bait and switch, really. Old Dante surfed missiles.

@Hunter5024: I probably should have mentioned the map recycling. It's... significant. Also, the game clicked for me around the 10 hour mark, when I could start promoting my units. If the former bothers you though, then you should not play it, straight up. The game introduces maps at a clip of about one per in-game month and never bothers to increase that pace.

@coakroach: Sadly, no. Avan was really my fencer of choice, with Alexis backing him up as a mauler. And, of course, I found the other permutations of the tech class disappointing by comparison, mostly because they couldn't one-shot most enemies and instead had the mostly useless ability of removing land mines.

@endaround: I'll have to keep that in mind. Given that the game tells you what level your opposition is, I got the impression that my team was actually kinda underleveled at the end, but it doesn't really matter because weapons do the same damage regardless.

@Sarumarine: I may or may not have... *ahem* obtained Seiken Densetsu 3 with translation patch. It's not going to be played anytime soon, but (once again) it has branching classes so of course I am into that.

@Mento: It's pretty ok, that's for sure. Though it is also nice to see someone else who appreciates Star Fox command like I do. Haven't played that game in a while, but a lot of Starfox 2 scratches that same kind of itch, albeit in a scaled back form. And one day I will get back to Final Fantasy Tactics. Right after I beat Tactics Ogre, which I got pretty far into, saw that the next map was going to be against a bunch of monsters and thought "I can do this later".

Edited by Ghostiet

@Sarumarine said:

Star Fox 2 never getting released is right up there with Seiken Densetsu 3 not getting localized. I don't understand it.

Add Mother 3 to that. Nintendo has to literally ask Tomato if they can use the translation and just release that shit. There is all there is to that. And it will never happen. :(


@ArbitraryWater

Seiken Densetsu 3 is a classic. Play that shit.
Posted by Yummylee

It requires no reiteration, but imma do it anyway: VC1's story is also completely generic and rubbish! But it's the writing and the voice acting that really tear so much of the good will down that was established with the gameplay. I haven't even completed it actually. I'm up to what I imagine to be the final battle, but it's one of those alternative missions; you know, the ones that try to break things up a little and don't simply require you to take over bases, which is where the game truly shines.

As for DmC, it really is pretty good. Not my favourite, though, as I still much prefer both DMC3 and DMC4. But it's a totally solid DMC game all the same. The environmental twisting is the highlight of it all, and while the story and the writing are well below NT's usual standards, at the same time it's also the most engaging you'll find in a DMC game. Well, DMC3 had its moments, but man... the voice acting was pretty dicey across all of the earlier games. I'll admit that I wanted a little more from new Dante, too. I wanted him to be a lot more antagonistic towards Vergil and Kat, and not to mention be completely fucked up. I was disappointed that there was never a moment where he's looking as battered as he was in the announcement trailer. Plus it's kind of a staple for Dante to get shot and stabbed a lot, and DmC was sorely lacking in Dante abuse.

Besides the Bob Barbas and ending Vergil battle, boss battles were kinda subpar for a DMC game. And there wasn't as much weapon variety that I'd have liked, nor was there anything quite as creative as Dante's demon guitar in DMC3 or that crazy briefcase thing in DMC4.

Still, great game. I don't love it quite as much as the majority are appearing to, calling it an early GOTY contender and all that, but I'm happy with the end result and I'm really looking forward to where NT may take the series from here. I can't wait for the Vergil DLC, either <3

Edited by takashichea

I was thinking of trying out Valkyria Chronicles 2 after playing VC1 back in January for the first time. It does sounds like a cliche high school anime show when you described it. It's such a big contrast with VC1 whose story is more serious and to an extent if you love a character, it can be a tear jerker. Also, there was no escort missions in VC1. The game is a bit short but challenging at first when you're playing.

I got a damn Fire Emblem vibe from the game with the blue flames, silver haired women, and the name Gallia. I should buy number 2.

Posted by Yummylee

@takashichea said:

I was thinking of trying out Valkyria Chronicles 2 after playing VC1 back in January for the first time. It does sounds like a cliche high school anime show when you described it. It's such a big contrast with VC1 whose story is more serious and to an extent if you love a character, it can be a tear jerker. Also, there was no escort missions in VC1. The game is a bit short but challenging at first when you're playing.

While it wasn't a traditional escort mission since you yourself can still control her, making your way through the forest at night with just Welkin and a wounded Alicia was rather crappy.

Posted by takashichea

@Yummylee:

Oh yeah, that mission. That was a tough one when trying get both the Ace and both Welkin and Alicia to the destination. After I got a B, I saw an A rank video where those flowers actually replenish movement.

Edited by Yummylee

@takashichea said:

@Yummylee:

Oh yeah, that mission. That was a tough one when trying get both the Ace and both Welkin and Alicia to the destination. After I got a B, I saw an A rank video where those flowers actually replenish movement.

Oh, I knew about the flowers. I just didn't like it switching into a super-linear corridor-crawl with just 2 units. I came to VC for its large-scale strategy battles, not some highly restrictive stealth mission.

Posted by mwng

I've enjoyed my time with VC2 too, even if I did dislike the cast. Luckily most of the cast from VC1 are unlockable, so I sidestepped the issue by just using them in my squad. It's not nearly as good as the first game, but I'm of the opinion not a lot of things are...
 
Coming from VC1, scouts aren't death machines anymore, and I really enjoyed the new class system (even if it does sometimes make the game a little bit of a grind if the token you need NEVER DROPS), and having a more customizable tank/APC made missions loads more interesting. I miss how pretty the original game was, and as you said, the map recycling is pretty heavy. But I didn't mind the escort/find the boxes missions as much as I thought I would. In all, they seem to have done well with the limitations of a handheld. I'd say if you're a fan of any part of the combat in the original, this is a pretty easy buy, though if you were in it purely for the story, you'll probably be disappointed.
 
I tend to roll with a light tank using AP rounds, a couple of commandos to do the leg work, fencers to sit on points, a sniper elite for bosses/aces and a medic, because medics. I did have some heavy gunners, but they seem to become less useful as the game goes on. I've sunk around 60 hours into it so far, and still have the DLC missions to go. Though if I never hear Avan's STUPID STUPID STUPID laugh again, it'll be too soon.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@Yummylee: Hmmm. Maybe I'll have to give DMC4 another look, whenever I am able to play Xbox games again (sadly, my brother gets to keep the 360 at home). I wonder if I deleted my save file? I hope I didn't.

I'd also like to play the first VC to make a direct comparison, both in how utterly cringe-inducing the story is and how much I like the story. You should probably finish it though, but I'm not going to be the guy telling you to complete things you haven't completed, considering my large pile of shame in that regard.

@mwng:Light Tank B is totally the best tank, hands down. Also, scouts are overpowered in the first game? Hmmmm...

Edited by Yummylee

@ArbitraryWater: It'd be interesting to see if your opinion may have changed after all this time with DMC4. While it's flawed, no doubt about that, I can't help but find it completely unfair for anyone to call it a bad game. After going on a complete DMC binge lately, I've naturally been brought back into DMC4. Unfortunately the last time I played DMC4 was on my old phat PS3, so I gots to start again. Ordinarily I wouldn't mind so much, but this was one game where I actually aspired for a little leaderboard recognition. S ranked all of the missions on Dante Must Die mode and was constantly trying to up my score. Overall I remember I was somewhere in the... top 200. Which I was OK with, especially since I was sandwiched by an awful lot of Japanese and Korean players. Because naturally. It admittedly stings a little to lose of all that, even though I'm sure I'd probably be more so in the top 1000 now.

Anywhoo this game is still super fun. I'd go as far as to say that the combat is better than DMC3's, it just loses out in terms of the level design, story, and voice acting. Plus there aren't any unlockable costumes, nor even any DLC costumes surprisingly enough. That sucks. Also, really easy on the default normal difficult. In fact DMC4 even on DmD mode was a cake walk compared to both DMC1 and DMC3 (both versions) before it, so it was always annoying to hear people levy complaints about DmC's difficulty when the DMC series has been this accessible for a while now, since the DMC3 SE.

I take it you're planning on blogging about Dino Crisis soon? I'll be willing to play through that again as well, just so I can more clearly contrast and compare with how you found it. Though as I've mentioned in the past, I wouldn't consider Dino Crisis to be one of Capcom's best efforts and I actually much preferred Dino Crisis 2.

Posted by EXTomar

The core of VC2 is solid and they wasted it. They won their freedom but it came at the shocking revelations that would be easy enough to build a game upon. Oh well...

Online
Posted by ArbitraryWater

@Yummylee: Dino Crisis isn't necessarily my next game to be bloggerized about, but it's probably going to be close. I'm also going to see how long it takes me to resort to a walkthrough, but I'll see about that when I get there.