Just finished the game... hurray for me.

 
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Davzz
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Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:52 pm    Post subject: Just finished the game... hurray for me. Reply with quote
Immediately bought this game when it first came out but some time issues caused me to put off completing it until now. Completed the game on Normal with a party of Kaltos, Pyanpau and Grace. The game's well worth the money IMO.

Anyway, I guess I have to write my thoughts, although I think my comments aren't that unique. I like the story and the character selection where combinations have different interactions rather than the "Slot 1 is the jerk, slot 2 is the friendly guy and slot 3 is the smart one" thing that TSE-1 had going. I kind of miss character strengths/weaknesses from TSE-1 though and I wish there was some sort of epilogue that states what happened to the characters after the game though. Would be nice to hear that Kaltos's daughter finally got to read his journal and etc.

Which brings me to another thing, it seems like overkill to have both scaled down gains for assigning skill points AND the ability to reassign skill points. It never quite felt like I was gaining an advantage by properly assigning skills (except for the percentage based skills) and I think I was at 50 refund points throughout the entire game, except for Grace who had a complete rehaul when I found that Explosive Shell and Flashbang weren't working as well as I wanted them to.

As for the battles, I like the added complexity but there's way too much micromanagement to play this game on anything other than "slow" and that feels rather odd. Even on slow I had to pause the game once in a while to juggle skills around.

As for skill balance, I guess it's fine overall but it seems like most of my battle strategy involve just empowdering the Knight and then using Thunderstrike for non-boss battles, and for boss battles it's some form of a Charge/Overdrive/Slay combo with everyone else casting support like Bless and Empowder.

Ironically the Musketeer, the class that's meant for ranged support didn't really attack much in the game, only squeezing off Black Bullets once in a while because of its raw damage potential. Instead she supports with Empowder which helps Thunderstrike pierce resistances and Smokescreen, which is broken IMO because it causes the battle to completely halt. Once the battle has stopped you can heal yourself or build up an inpenetrible Aurora barrier or buff yourself before going back on the offensive.

For my priest, for random battles he used Sprite Summon and then just hit stuff with Strike until they died. In theory Staggering Blow would do just fine but if I wanted to be defensive I would just Smokescreen so I decided a extra damage of Strike would be more useful. Without Sprite Summon their offense isn't anything to speak of and in the end they can only hit one enemy at a time.

Out of the priest support abilities, I think Aurora is the most useful since without it your priest will just die a lot against magic using enemies. I never understood how effective Bless actually is and unlike Empowder I couldn't quite see how it helps me pierce resistances, which seems to be the point of buffing abilities, since otherwise attacking twice would give you more damage overall.

Incidentally, I really hated the timed mission on the Ice mountain stage, if the enemy spawns ice mages, unlucky frozen characters will sometimes run you out of offensive power and time to actually kill the enemy off. I think that area needs to be made easier somehow since it's the part where I had to retry the most number of times.

The very late boss which reflects damage onto you is another one that really annoys me because it isn't really that hard, just awfully slow because he reflects damage back onto you and regenerates health slowly, but he can't seem to actually hurt you that much, meaning it's a battle of attrition that I think takes way too long.

The item system is where I thought the game had improved the most, items have a wide variety of bonuses and abilities and I liked the hard decisions I had to make on whether I should use Sword X because it had Party Heal or Sword Y because of it's huge Ethereal bonus and so on. My only complaint is that I don't think there's enough inventory space and it's painful when I had to pick one of my equipment to drop whenever I find a new one because I usually have little to no space.

That's all I have to say I guess, good job on this game and good luck on whatever you may choose to do in the future.
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Mark Pay
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Joined: 09 Aug 2006
Posts: 623
Location: Margate, UK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks for the feedback Davzz, especially the critical assessments, they're really useful. I hope to now be able to focus on such balance issues in future patches instead of bugs.

The game is intended to be played on slow with pauses, and the other two speeds are there to fast-forward waiting times.
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