placeholder for images info, yadda yadda later. Playing game now, will compile a nice OP later.
L'arc Bright Lagoon - Nakamura Yuuichi
Lyphia - Makino Yui
Cecile Garushia - Tomatsu Haruka
Adelle Nevanrinna - Katou Emiri
Alphonse Zena Meridia - Ishida Akira
Weiss Dona Meridia - Takehito Koyasu
Nicol Benikus? - Wataru Hatano
Serge - Konishi Katsuyuki
Lasutona Oigen? - Keiji Fujiwara
Leslie Furahati? - Asano Masumi
Dinos - Saiga Mitsuki
Soare - YUKANA
Luse - Satou Rina
Polla - Yu Kobayashi
Luna - Ryo Hirohashi
Fraya - Shizuka Itou
Well, wanted to get that out of the way so I could post some impressions myself. That said, did anyone else get this? I was surprised myself it came out, was able to order and get it next day EMS style tho. Go NCSX! Oh and I don't recall if there was already a topic, but hell search is dead so.
So straight to the point, it really does seem to have the foundation of a Tales game, but just not Tales. Got a pretty typical story thus far, L'arc runs into a mysterious girl and JRPG antics ensue. Although like Tales, there's a lot of character interactions via skits. The battle system was a surprise though, maybe I didn't watch enough of the videos. Or maybe I'm not that far along. I originally thought it'd be a super tedious game with the animations. It is turn-based, but it's pretty fast paced. It uses an AP system similar to that of Skies of Arcadia. You can assign as many commands as you want with any character as long as you have enough AP. IE I could have L'arc attack 3 times and leave Refia to do nothing. Anyway, you have a few options to work with in battle, you can either: Attack, use magic, reposition yourself, or use items. Magic is limited in that not only does it use AP, but you also only have certain amount of MP per level, similar to that of the original Final Fantasy. The reposition bit is neat as it's pretty similar to Grandia's usage of it. Positioning will determine when attacks will hit, if they'll miss if the enemies already been defeated or trigger a combination attack if another ally is nearby. There's also an autocommand system if you want to just mash thru battles. I haven't messed with that function outside of having everyone just attacking endlessly. To sum up how a battle flows, once you assign all the commands, you let it play out and everyone will move out and attack at the same time. Battles breeze by pretty quick if you're really good about inputting the commands. It is slightly annoying though that it doesn't automatically move command selection to the next character, so you might accidentally input the same order twice. At least you can always cancel and redo.
Now onto the technical side of things, the game probably doesn't have the highest poly count out there, but the art direction helps save that. It's a pretty vibrant game in terms of colors, and there's tons of foliage and detail to the scenery. (Mind you I've only touched the surface of the game, this may change later!) Unlike a Tales game, the World Map isn't anywhere near as barren, there's literally trees everywhere. It's almost hard to navigate or see enemies. Oh and yes, that means onscreen encounters, not random for battles. Doesn't seem like you can change the on field character tho, or maybe I don't have the item for it? Also, load times seem nonexistent, be it from battle transitions or entering a town. Upon entering a town, you're treated to the usual camera pan and town name introduction. The towns can be explored with full movement, but buildings or shops tend tend to just be a stills like that of an adventure or visual novel game. As for options in the game, Arc rise supports all forms of controllers, Wiimote+Nunchuk, Gamecube Controller and Classic Controller. Using the wiimote myself personally, doesn't seem too bad. There's also message speed, command memory, demo movie skip, and sound volume. On the music side, I'm not quite sure how much Mitsuda is involved, but it's pretty damn nice so far. His name is plastered on the intro credits in the composer portion tho, and I didn't see anyone else mentioned or I forgot.
On the mechanic side of things, aside from how battles run, there's also skills you can learn from your weapons that you can trade around between the characters. I haven't seen the full extent of what you can do aside from stuff like damage up or magic +2. But you also have to position these skills in a grid. Each skill is a gem that takes up a certain amount of slots. I imagine weapons will get more slots later.
Alright, that covers it for now. Hopefully more as I dig deeper into it!
Alright, about 10 hours into it now. Really loving it, it's basically filling in that JRPG gap I was missing this Spring. (Endless Frontier doesn't cut it, super fricken mindless) Also updated the OP with more cast info. I finally got someone to tear away @ the flash site so char art up soon! Hopefully system breakdown as well.
Finally got a better idea about how Armforce slots work. Armforce being the weapon customization you can do. First off, unlike normal RPG weapons, they don't come with any base stats, but instead come with secret abilities that you can trade off to other weapons to customize with. They first start off mostly locked away, with a 1/3 of the usual available space. But as you earn WP in battles, you'll unlock the full potential of the weapon. There's only one ability that can't be traded off to other weapons, so you might find yourself switching between weapons for certain situations.
Back to battle, the special abilities in this game are known as Accel acts. They usually eat up a good amount of SP and AP, but they're practically the artes in this game. That said, like Tales, you also learn newer Accel acts randomly in the middle of battle once you've reached the requirements. You can also combo certain Accel acts to form Trinity Acts and Trinity Accels, which are basically a triple team attacks on the scale of a Mystic Arte. and Another bit I haven't learned or messed with yet are Tandem attacks. Well, I explained the basic ones earlier, but they're not based on position as I thought. There are various different types of Tandem attacks however. One form are Atttack Tandems, in it's Single Connect version, if you have one character attack the same enemy over 4 times in a succession, instead of attacking the enemy slash by slash, they'll do a combo attack on them. Party Tandem was what I explained before. Next, are magic Tandems, the Single Connect variation will let that character cast a stronger version of the spell. The Party Connection variation will do the same, but involve 2 characters instead of 1. Finally, we have Leystone Tandems, which rely on using Leystones on the field to buffer your magic.
Speaking of magic, the system reminds me of Sora no Kiseki, as in you have slots for different elemental gems that'll determine what magic you'll have. You also get to expand your magic at the magic shops. You can increase elemental affinity, fuse smaller gems to make whole gems, increase how many slots you have, or increase your MP per level. Also while I'm talking about shops, there are guilds you can visit to take up sidequest missions. They're the typical ones that you'd normally see, such as kill this many monsters, or collect this many items. Completing these requests will net you some Rico and items. Finally on options, I forgot to mention there was flicker level, or more like I didn't toy with it myself. You can add a bit more vibrant contrast if you kill the flicker level, it also removes that blur that images out there had.
Onto personal thoughts. Again and again this really is a Tales game in disguise. I mean, learning attacks mid battle? And all these skits! And actually, some of these skits get pretty long winded. But the characters are showing some personality at least. On the art direction side though, it really does remind me of Abyss. In terms of scale anyway. An example would be the city of Diamant . It's so huge, I'd actually run into some slowdown and pop-in when it got really expansive you take elevators to each section of the city, and there was a ton of people to talk to. .That was interesting though was some of the stuff I'd see in the houses was a bit more hip and modern compared to other fantasy RPGs. Like when I checked out Adelle's room, she had these chairs that looked like they're from a modern diner. I think part of it is that we have Kenichi Yoshida (Eureka 7) in charge of the character designs. It's just very slick and refreshing compared to Fujishima and Inomata. Then again on personal preferences, it's really cool seeing E7-stylized characters come to life in an RPG. I've also finally come across swimsuits already! Practically given to you, they're treated like titles but, they only show a difference on that status screen. You won't see a difference on field or anything. They will trigger special party talks involving the actual designs, but that's it. I have yet to run into party dress where it actually will be in effect for all party talks. But man what a tease :lol
Give this a listen if you haven't yet. seems to be the vs boss or certain organization theme. So good, it does demonstrate some of the battle mechanics if you're interested:
Here's a less spoiler version if you don't want to watch that:
I really wish I knew who was really composing in this game. Certainly a lot more listenable than the Tales ambiance that Sakuraba usually has.
I think that covers it for now, hopefully more later!!!