Another Eden Protips

Just some random notes, and some screenshots at the bottom here.

You should be playing this, right now. It's one of the best JRPGs I've played in ages. It's not quite on par with Final Fantasy VII, or Dragon Quest 8, or Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, or even Chrono Trigger, but it's pretty close, which is just incredible from a mobage.

Characters in the back row of your party restore HP & MP every round of combat, so once someone's tapped out, switch them back, and pretty soon you can switch them forward, fully healed and ready to go. Once you have Robot Girl Riica and another healer, one of them can stay in the back all the time, while the other heals. You'll never have to run back to town!

But even then, you may run out, the volcano dungeon especially just took forever and ground me down. Hit Food on the main menu, and you can fully heal once. You'll get another food for free the next time you visit an inn.

Death isn't the handicap it used to be in the olden days. When a party member is KO'd, a cat comes on screen and pulls them off (!), and they revive after the fight. If you're TPK'd, you restart at the start of the area. Which I don't love, but there's no save points, it's just perpetual autosave. Certainly it fits the mobage experience better.

There are hidden passages in many areas. When you find a dead end, try to walk through it. Of course, sometimes this backfires and you fight a giant monster… I'm going to have to scour all the early areas again when I get up to level 30, assuming I can get back to them.

There's a flower-buying sidequest which is the worst thing in the game, after trying everything the horrible old woman tells you, and getting them wrong because I fell asleep mid-speech: mouseover for spoiler here.

Unsolved: My main party's Level 18-21, but the only high-level gear I have is a few Level 21 items I picked up in chests. The weapon shops are now at Level 16 gear, which I can't make because I don't have the mats from the next zone; most of the gear I can make and have equipped is Level 10 or 13. This is not optimal. I have at least 7 characters I need to equip with weapons and armor, and soon "Badges" (we don' need no steenkin' badges!). I hate falling behind.

There's a lot of Chronos Stones (premium currency) from Record events, but you can also get 10 free every day by hitting + and tapping the free offer link. No videos or any other scams, just a hidden freebie. This is a shockingly fair, non-ripoff gachapon game. Which means I do need to buy something to support them, but I dunno if they're going to make their money back on it.

I got to 1000 Chronos Stones, did a 10-unit pull, and got a really great ★★★★★ half-beastman pugilist, Lokido; a ★★★☆ (so she can star up, but starts weak) knight/tank, Soira; a spare ★★★★☆ druid healer, Mariel, who I haven't levelled yet, even tho technically she's better than my main healer; and 4 of 7 ★★★ "sisters" who all suck, and 3 of ? ★★★ knights who all suck. The character mix in this game is weird, and there's not much backstory yet; though they all have individual quests after I finish many chapters of the game, so maybe there's more there.

Another Eden

Finally available and patched, let's see.

It's very cute. The characters aren't quite chibi, but not realistic either. They move a little silly, like puppets waving their limbs around. Each area is a side-scroller, you can only move west or east, but there's a lot of things to tap on and they interact or give you loot, and then swipe up or down to move north or south. There's a minimap and a world map, but not really a middle ground where I can scroll around a big path map.

Opening is very, very cliché. You wake up late for your first day at work as town guard. Mysterious backstory of you and your sister abandoned in the woods. Peasant village has a bunch of wells you can climb down into and there's loot or events. Some running around to teach fighting Goblins (sigh) and gathering sparkly things in the woods. Then obviously monsters attack your beloved peasant village and kidnap your sister, because of course women only exist to be put in refrigerators. You get a literal sword from a stone that makes you a "hero". SIGH.

I got a couple free character pulls (pre-order bonus of Miyu, ★★★★ sword girl who is stats-wise literally the main char gender-swapped, and Bivette, ★★★★ mage with regen and fireball, so that's nice), and spent some "free gems" for a third (Urania, a ★★★ pugilist furry) so I have a full party, but they don't back me up in the story event.

Characters have a lot of skill-ups on an Ability Board, the first board is linear, but the second and later ones give you multiple paths/tech trees. After half an hour I still have no equipment, though, lots of materials but the shop won't make me anything.

Combat's a standard turn-based thing, though so far only attacks and Switch (to change out party), no defense, items, or other actions. I've certainly seen better, but it's functional. There's giant monsters in the woods that are FAR out-level, they just one-shot me, so I guess I get back to those much later. They remind me a bit of the dungeon bosses in Etrian Odyssey, being marked on the map even when you can't see them.

Finally I beat the mini-boss in the main quest and reach the actual title sequence, and get to the time-travelling part.

I didn't level-grind enough in the woods, because now I'm a little under-level for fighting robots in the future, but that'll fix itself soon enough.

What I'm Playing: Langrisser, Another Eden

Langrisser's a long-running series of tactical RPGs, later succeeded by Growlanser. The mobile game is very similar to the PSP Growlanser remake, or to Fire Emblem Heroes. Move around a map and fight battles with usually 2-5 heroes chosen from 10 classes with rock-paper-scissors interactions (Infantry -> Lance -> Cavalry loop, Holy -> Demon, Archery -> Flyers, Sailors, Mages, and Assassins are neutral). This has the usual mobage stuff of arenas, "Magic Rift" areas to grind because there's not enough content, gachapon to get more heroes and equipment. There's less blatant "waifu" T&A exploitation material in Langrisser than FEH or many others, there's a few but it's a more serious game.

The combat UI is excellent, maybe one of the easiest to control and see movement and combat ranges. Every character has a band of soldiers with them, which act as a sort of HP buffer, extra damage before you take damage and die; you can swap out what kind of soldiers to change your combat interactions! The scenarios are modestly hard sometimes, not Final Fantasy Tactics hard, but decent tactical puzzles, and many of them have bonus "Feats" like killing optional targets, finding a chest, and so on. Far better than FEH, which bored me to death, it never got interesting.

The main screen is the world map with a bunch of buttons around the edges, better than a blank button-filled home screen like most mobage, but it still has some annoyances. 3 or 4 places you have to tap every time you log in or do anything to collect all the little rewards.

Levelling up characters is absurdly complicated but I kinda like that. You increase "star" rating by collecting soul fragments in gachapon and quest events, but the overall rating of N, R, SR, SSR doesn't change, except for three of the main-story characters; you don't really want to use anything below SR. You also add experience levels, mostly by spending EXP potions, they only gain a little bit from combat. You also upgrade classes, first getting more abilities, then progressing to a more advanced class along a 3-5 stage tree. Equipment starts out scarce and at level 1, and also has to be increased by absorbing "hammers" and other equipment, and eventually by adding enchantments. After 3 days on and off, I have the main-story characters at R, and three SR characters (Imelda, mage, T&A BDSM waifu; Lance, flyer, stern badass; Silver Wolf, assassin, masked mystery man) almost fully equipped, levelled up, and I'm doing fine in the arenas. I have a lot of junk R characters who I wish I could recycle their souls for EXP or something; the only one I've used at all is a pirate captain.

I'm not sure how long I'll keep at it, but there's a lot of depth in the game so far; but I say that a lot just before I quit playing these mobage.

AnotherEden

The more important game got pre-released today, and goes live tomorrow:

I have very high expectations of this. Masato Kato, best known for Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Chrono Cross, and Final Fantasy XI, has been working on this. So, I know there'll be time travel, branching stories, characters making heroic sacrifices, and a ton of crunchy turn-based combat and level-up strategies for the characters. Apparently it's only going to be solo, no events, arenas, or other mobage stuff, but does use gachapon for adding non-main-party characters. A huge contiguous world, no loading screens or warping.

The quotes from the staff in the interviews are interesting:

"This game was created with love by myself and the other staff who were raised on JRPGs. I want everyone to feel the same emotion and surprise I've experienced."
—Takahito Exa, art director

"This is a game which expands on the possibilities of the JRPG genre. It feels nostalgiac, yet modern. I think it's a game not only old-school Japanese game fans will enjoy, but also something younger people can get into as well."
—Shinwoo Choi, character designer

"If I was stuck on a deserted island and could only bring three things with me, I would bring a smartphone, charger, and Another Eden. If I have those, I don't need anything else in my life. I want everyone else to feel that way about Another Eden, too."
—Conomi Akahori, animator

Poke Mon Questions

I'm as amused by Ryan Reynolds, middle-aged comedy/action hero, as any other unfrozen caveman would be, but this "Poke Mon Detective Pikachu" thing leaves me with many questions. The big ones are:

  • Why is it "Poke Mon" instead of "Poke Man"? Are they not men? Are they Devo? I seriously saw that second "o" as an "a" for decades, and the accent marker is clearly delimiting two words.
  • What's a "Pikachu"? Is that a species or the individual? Where are the packs or herds of these things? Final Fantasy has moogles with families and lifecycles.
  • Why is it now a talking animal in a deerstalker cap instead of a dumb fighting cock?

Seriously. I know very little about this whole genre. So here I will enumerate what I know about the poke mons:

  • Infants in the '90s had poke mons which were cock-fighting games and the yellow one is their… leader? I know it makes some sort of noise, and the trailer suggests it's "pica pica". The trailer also suggests it's able to electrocute someone? That's weird, right? Does it grab a frayed extension cord, or is it a fuzzy electric eel, or what?
  • It was a videogame first, a Dragon Quest ripoff; I never played it or saw more than a screenshot. Then a card game, a Magic the Gathering ripoff; I know these only from the booster pack wrappers left behind by prepubescent crack junkies, never seen a card. Then some badly-animated… I want to say Chinese or Vietnamese? cartoons, didn't look like even the cheapest Japanese anime; I've seen maybe 2 minutes of this and it was incomprehensible squealing and Hanna-Barbera-quality slideshow "animation". Then movies, a quick duck search shows there's 20 of these movies!!! That's fucking bizarre, I've never heard of them; admittedly, I haven't watched broadcast/cable TV since 1999 and I block all advertising online, so how could I, but you'd think someone would have said to me, "Did you know there are twenty fucking poke mon movies?!"
  • I know about the trap balls from parody references and Poke Mon Go (which I tried for a couple weeks but I live many km from any dots on their map). It's weird that a tiny ball holds a whole fighting cock in it. How does it breathe and eat (and other science facts) in there?
  • There's an enemy team named Rocket, with a hot pink/redhead chick (who I've seen in some parody porn), which automatically to me means they should be the heroes, and the team with the kid who owns the yellow one should be the villains.
  • I'm totally skeeved out by people doing even pretend cock-fighting or dog-fighting for fun. Taking a dumb animal and making it hurt another dumb animal for entertainment is unacceptable. You can kill (humanely, which ironically means not how we treat other Humans) and eat or process an animal for leather or other parts, fine; or make intelligent beings fight each other in an arena; but anyone doing it to animals is wrong.

"I Apologize for the Delay"

Anytime I feel bad about my slowness of production, the inconveniences in my life blocking me from getting work done, I remember the MegaTokyo Visual Novel, which I paid $50 for in 2013, and of course Fred never shipped, he never finishes anything. I knew I was throwing my money away then, and the $299,184 he raised may as well have been set on fire for all that'll come of it.

Today, MT rant has a bit of a status update, first one in a year.

So in comparison, I'm a fucking machine cranking out the awesome. Where's my third of a million bucks?!

What I'm Watching: Cells At Work

Most bizarre thing ever: Cells at Work. Your body as a city with every cell as a person. Paramilitary white blood cells and hapless red blood cells delivering oxygen, protecting their world (you) from horrible tentacled monsters (germs).

I've been watching some dull horror movies (The Strangers, among others) which I haven't blogged, and this is better paced and has better characters than all of them combined.

The world is a little too generic with street & industrial scenes, lazy animation, but overall a neat trick.
★★★★☆

What I'm Watching: Godzilla

I grew up with KSTW-11 every weekend playing monster and kung fu movies (those being cheap air-filler for a non-network station), and Godzilla to me is rubber suits smashing balsa-wood cities and toy trains. After a long dry spell of the '80s and '90s Godzillas being pretty terrible, I loved the Lovecraftian GMK: Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack and the very goofy Godzilla Final Wars. But I haven't kept up with the last few.

So, anime Godzilla on Netflix? Sure. Long weird backstory about aliens coming to Earth, Godzilla winning anyway, Humanity & two alien species (who look just like pale or red Humans; no Xilians or mutants in this one) fleeing to space, was this in the last couple movies? Anyway, long recap/setup I didn't care for at all.

Then 20 years in deep space later, after spacing the old people, they argue a long time and eventually space-warp back to Earth, but it's 20,000 years later there.

Earth is overrun with Godzilla and smaller monsters, the atmosphere full of chaff from the monsters so long-range comms don't work, but criminal/Space Captain Awesome is gonna save the day.

"What? Send the landing ships to the front line? It's too dangerous. If they get shot down, how will we return to the mother ship?"
"But we're already home. There's nowhere else to return to but here. Isn't that right?"

The alien high priest says Godzilla is divine punishment for thinking you rule the world. Or as the song says, "History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man. GODZILLA!"

Of course, the Godzilla you can defeat is not the true Godzilla.

Visually this is OK, a lot of it is just filtered 3D CGI to look cel-shaded, which I've mostly only seen in shitty sports anime or later-generation Transformers; it doesn't look bad, exactly, but it doesn't look like animation. Give me Neon Genesis Evangelion any day.

Plot, there's a lot of arguing and not much gets done from that arguing. A serious editor could cut 50% of this and make a better movie with the same plot. Most of the dialogue is "Space Captain Awesome! Sempai!" "Yes, we must throw our lives away for heroism!" and screaming, it's not good.

Godzilla's new wrinkly metallic look isn't my thing, but it's functional; she doesn't move much, just stands there and fires atomic breath, occasionally swinging at something. I so much prefer the classic rubber suits jumping around and being physically in the scene.

Meh. I'll watch the rest, but at present I'm not impressed. Maybe I'll just rewatch GMK.