Posts tagged ‘Tales of’

12/04/2012

In which I respond to aspersions cast by an internet necromancer

by wfgodbold

Nearly two years ago, I posted an overly long and verbose piece on why, despite my preference for region-free consoles and gaming, consumers don’t have the right to region-free games. This was mainly in response to Nintendo’s decision to region-lock the 3DS. Early this morning, through what I can only assume was the use of the necromantic arts, someone responded to that post. Because my response to that comment would have been far longer than a comment has any right to be, I chose to respond in a new post. Consider this a sequel to that original post.

In the two years since my original post, Nintendo launched the 3DS (region-locked), and then had to drop the price because it was too expensive and no one was buying it. I still have not bought one (the last Nintendo console I bought was the DS Lite–I haven’t bought a Wii and have no plans to buy a Wii U), though I have bought a PS3 and PS Vita in the meantime (both of which, you will notice, can at the very least play out-of-region physical games).

This, dear reader, is a little thing I like to call The Market.™

Sony has made choices with which I agree, and to support those choices, I am willing to pay for their consoles and games (and I have games for both systems from both the US and Japan).

Nintendo has continued to region-lock their consoles and games. The prices of those consoles and games have not dropped to the point where I would be willing to forego the ability to play games from all regions on one console, so I have not bought them (even though I would dearly love to play Tales of the Abyss with load times that aren’t measured in geologic time, and Project X Zone looks ridiculous enough to be awesome).

Sullivan, in his comment, says,

And Nintendo doesn’t owe you anything? You are a customer. Neither Nintendo nor their shareholders would make ANY money without the customers. They sure as hell owe you. And what you get for your money is that they patronize you and severely restrict your freedom. It is not okay. And telling people not to buy the system because of that is just stupid. It is not a solution. It was not the game developers’ choice to make games region locked.

In response, I would like to point out that Nintendo does not owe me anything.

I bought a DS Lite. Nintendo fulfilled its side of the bargain bye delivering what was promised–a region-free handheld gaming system. Since then, I have not been a Nintendo customer–I haven’t bought anything because I don’t want to pay them to restrict my gaming options. If you buy a 3DS/Wii/Wii U knowing that it’s region-locked, Nintendo still doesn’t owe you–you’re still getting exactly what you paid for.

I don’t owe support to game companies. Game companies don’t owe me good games, bad games, mediocre games, region-free games, or region-locked games. If a game company has a game I want to play, I buy it, and the relationship ends there.

Not buying the system because it’s region-locked is not only the solution, it’s the cheapest solution (it’s certainly cheaper than trying to get a big enough block of Nintendo stock to control the company’s decisions). If you’re not willing to give up the ability to play the games that come out despite the region-locking that Nintendo has foisted upon consumers, then you’ve made an economic decision that region-free gaming is not worth as much to you as it is to someone who chooses not to buy a Nintendo console because of the region-locking.

Nintendo is free to choose to region-lock their consoles and games. Sony is free to choose not to region-lock their consoles and games.

And the consumer is free to vote with his wallet and support whichever philosophy he agrees with, if he even cares. Sadly, I suspect most consumers don’t care about whether or not their consoles are region-locked.

06/04/2012

Still busy.

by wfgodbold

So here are some links:

Namco’s next Tales of game is Tales of Xillia 2! I wasn’t expecting this at all (since only a few of the Tales of franchise have had actual sequels), and now I’m really looking forward to it.

There’s a Kickstarter page up for a new Tex Murphy adventure game! The only one in the series I played was The Pandora Directive, but it was pretty good (in spite of a few esoteric puzzles).

Good Old Games has the Ultima and Wing Commander games on sale (for another 6 hours) at half off. I played so much Wing Commander II back in the day. I had such a blast shooting down Kzinti Orions Catians Kilrathi. Once I had the computer properly configured, anyway (which was never trivial with Origin games).

I’m still pretty pressed for time (though it’s not as bad as I thought, since the law review write-on ends next Monday and not this Friday (like I originally thought)). Hopefully things will clear up by next week.

05/29/2012

I live again!

by wfgodbold

The first night of summer classes went okay. I’m taking Pre-trial Criminal Procedure and Patent/Trade Secret Law. My evenings/afternoons for the next 2 months are going to be full of law and headaches.

And weekends and daytimes too (for the next week and a half until the law review write-on ends).

Three more of my Diablo III hardcore characters have died; another barbarian (who made it to level 51 and nearly finished nightmare before I fat fingered my way to death) and two demon hunters (one at 48 in Act III nightmare to a pack of annoying elite monsters, and another at 24 in Act III normal to a pack of annoying monsters’ exploding corpses). Somehow I’ve managed to turn into a mainly hardcore player; in Diablo II, I strictly played softcore. I think it’s the shared stash and gold; banking good items is so much easier when you don’t have to switch between characters or get a mod (to share stashes between offline characters). Thanks to my disproportionate time spent on hardcore mode, I’ve now got 6x the gold there that I do on softcore.

I didn’t post for Memorial Day. I’d like to say that was by design, but it wasn’t. Borepatch has a great post, and Mark Tatulli’s Liō strip for yesterday was pretty good, as well.

Swiss Army Knife maker Victorinox is making a bunch of Upotte-inspired knives (Upotte, if you recall, Weer’d mentioned a few months ago, and is about a bunch of anthropomorphized rifles attending a school for girls. Really.).

Ys Origin comes out on Steam this week for $20. Once things calm down, I may have to get it (assuming I don’t just wait for one of those inevitable Steam sales).

For some reason, the Army is banning polymer magazines. Which seems crazy, since they’re light and awesome. All of my mags are polymer!

Namco is teasing the next Tales of game. No subtitle yet, just some vague question about whether or not you’re prepared to break the world on behalf of a girl.

Ever wonder what those electronics instructions actually say?

The Penny Arcade Report takes a look at XCOM: Enemy Unknown (AKA the good upcoming XCOM game). I’m seriously going to have to give up sleep for all these games, what with law school. Especially once this comes out.

This guy has NFI how taxation, social security, or anything else works. Especially in a country with demographic decline issues.

And now that my browser is relatively empty, I can actually tell what webpages I’m reading.

Your help with this episode of Tab Clearing for Diablo III Addicts™ has been greatly appreciated, dear reader.

03/28/2012

Good news on the PSN front!

by wfgodbold

Atlus has finally lowered the PSN pricing for some of its PSP games (most of which were originally priced at the release MSRP).

I’ve been interested in giving one of the Shin Megami Tensei games a try; sure, the Persona series is just a spinoff, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

I just haven’t decided if I should start with Persona (the first game in the spinoff series) or Persona 3 Portable. I don’t think they’re strongly connected, more just set in the same universe (or even just with the same basic battle options and game mechanics, like the Final Fantasy or Tales of series).

On the one hand, Persona started the spinoff series, and I do like starting at the beginning.

On the other hand, it was a PSX game, and is bound to look dated, especially compared to Persona 3, which was ported from a PS2 game.

On the gripping hand, the characters in Persona 3 have an … interesting … way of summoning their personas into battle.

I’m not even considering starting with Persona 2, since for some reason it’s $10 more expensive than the other two games. Good job on consistency there, Atlus.

I suppose I should be happy they responded to the demand from Vita owners, though; since the only way to play PSP games on the Vita is by purchasing the PSN version of the game, everyone who was interested in Atlus’s PSN catalog complained vociferously about how they hadn’t reduced prices on most of their games since the first of them were listed digitally almost three years ago.

If anyone has any suggestions about whether Persona 1 or Persona 3 is the better starting point for someone who’s never played a SMT game in his life, feel free to share them.

03/02/2012

Livin’ la (PS) Vita loca?

by wfgodbold

Vita game-wise, I have Tales of Innocence R and Uncharted: Golden Abyss. I also bought a couple Vita-compatible PSP games off the US PSN (Ys: The Oath in Felghana and Ys Seven), and I’ve put in some time on each of them. I’m a ways into ToIR, a couple chapters into UGA, and almost to the end of Oath (aside from making sure Ys Seven worked, I haven’t played it), and the PS Vita is great.

Unfortunately, the screenshot functionality doesn’t work on PSP games, only on Vita games (at this point, anyway; maybe Sony will patch it so it works later). Uncharted looks better on the system than it does in the screenshots (damn compression!), but ToIR looks about the same. The analog sticks are great, and far better than the slider the PSP had. Even the d-pad is much improved.

Uncharted falls prey to the same problems most first-party games on new, innovative hardware do; it uses the touch screen, rear touch panel, and gyro controls in gimmicky ways when they’re not really necessary. I should be able to navigate the menu without using the touch screen if I want; balancing with gyro controls as you walk over logs was stupid in Uncharted 1, let alone here (and was rightly absent in UC2 and 3); and having to tap the ammo indicator to reload instead of a button is unintuitive. That said, a couple of the uses of the Vita’s capabilities are actually good: coarse aiming with the analog stick coupled with fine aiming via gryo controls makes targeting enemies a breeze, and using the rear touch pad to control zoom on the sniper rifle is very quick.

The touch screen is barely used in Tales of Innocence R; you can assign each party member a spell to cast when you tap their portrait during battle. Other than that, it’s only used when saving/loading (which appears to be a Vita system-level requirement, like the PSP save/load system). I’m inclined to believe Namco was working on this “reimagination” for the PSP, and just switched tracks when Vita development was feasible.

I’ll play through these games before I get any new Vita software (probably, at least). Until Disgaea 3: Absence of DetentionGravity RushYs: Woodland of Celceta, and possibly Zero no Kiseki: Evolution come out, I’m not interested in much.

Which basically gives me a month (until Disgaea 3), and then another month or two (until Gravity Rush), and then however long for those other games. Unless other games pique my interest in the meantime, anyway (Thanks to the launch 3G bundle deal, I’ll get Super Stardust Delta for free in another 3-4 weeks).

All in all, I’m pleased with the Vita launch; there are plenty of games in plenty of genres, and while most are worth at least playing the demo, some are actually even good!

 

 

02/18/2012

Fighting of the Spirit

by wfgodbold

The original Tales of Phantasia boss music (for fights against the spirits) was pretty good.

S.S.H.‘s arrangement is even better (not really surprising, since the SNES, while pretty good for music, was still limited by the hardware).

Of course, I tend to think just about any music can be improved by fusing it with metal. I must have been dropped on my head when I was a child.

12/10/2011

Tales of Graces f hits stores on March 13

by wfgodbold

And if you want Namco Bandai to keep brining Tales of games out in the US, you’ll buy it.

Heck, I might even buy a copy (even though I already have the Japanese version).

If you’re not sure if you’ll like it or not, you can read my impressions, or go on the Japanese Playstation Store and download their demo (more information on how to do that here).

The combat system is the best in a Tales game.

Period.

Sure, the story might be a bit cliched (or, you know, more than a bit), but there’s so much combat that it doesn’t matter. Battles using Tales of Graces’ CC system are a joy.

09/20/2011

More TGS: Tales of games and PS Vita news

by wfgodbold

Bamco announced two new games in their popular Tales of series at this years TGS, hot on the heels of the smash-hit Tales of Xillia’s release (in its first week, it became the best-selling Tales of game of all time with ~525,000 copies sold).

The first game is a PSP action game in the style of Dynasty Warriors, called Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave; from the trailer, it looks like you choose pairs of characters from various games and then rampage through hordes of enemies.

The second, Tales of Innocence R, is a reimagining of the original DS game; it’s scheduled for release next year on the PS Vita. I never played the original; I might give the remake a shot, though.

Coupled with the official news that the PS Vita will be region-free* (take that, Nintendo!), it’s looking more and more likely that I’ll get Sony’s new handheld system long before I get the 3DS.

*I should note that I’m not that surprised by this news (though I am glad it’s finally official); when Sony first announced the PS Vita (then merely known as the NGP) in January, I speculated that they would continue their region-free gaming trend. I’m pleased that they’ve continued down the path they started on with the PSP and PS3, and will let any region’s console play any region’s games.

09/16/2011

Tales of Xillia impressions

by wfgodbold

I’ve finished the first part of the game (though I’ve no clue out of how many), and my party finally has all of the playable characters in it, so I thought I’d collect my thoughts.

First off, I got one of the first print copies; these included a Cless costume for Jude and a Stahn costume for Milla. My preorder was also early enough to get me a bonus cell phone strap dongle, which was Jude in the Cless costume (the other three possibilities were Milla in her Stahn costume, and both characters in their regular costumes).

When you start the game, you see a short anime intro for for Milla and then one for Jude; after those, you pick which you want to use as the main protagonist for this playthrough (when you get separated, your control reverts to that character, and you will miss out on various events that only happen to one or the other). I chose Jude, and after wandering around the medical school he’s a student at, I ran into Milla and followed her into the first dungeon.

Once you finish that dungeon, you’re done with the prologue, and the actual opening animation plays; depending on your chosen protagonist, you get either the Jude version or the Milla version.

The whole game looks gorgeous; Ufotable’s animation is excellent, and the in-engine graphics are extremely well-done. The environments are large and detailed.

The combat is a combination of Tales of Graces’s CC system (though in ToX, the points are called AC) and the more traditional Tales TP system; each attack, regardless of type, costs one AC to complete, and if it’s a special attack (an arte or a magic attack or whatever), it also costs TP. Regular melee attacks regen TP, and, depending on your skill selection, you can regen AC when you hit critically or dodge (you also regen full AC when you guard briefly, or after pausing in your attacks).

Instead of the overlimit gauge we’ve had in the past few games, system in ToX is conflated with what they call a Link Artes system; your character is joined to another in your party by an ephemeral blue line, and when the overlimit gauge has been filled 20% (and the icon is flashing), after an appropriate arte attack the two linked characters can combine their powers and do a linked attack (generally combining the attributes of the individual attacks). When the gauge is completely full, instead of just one linked attack, it’s possible to chain them; “chain chance” will flash on the screen just after the attack, and if you hit the button for a different arte (that has a link arte with the character you’re linked to), the pair will execute that linked arte without having to do the regular arte first. You can swap your linked partner on the fly with the D-pad, even during chains; if you time it right, you can get in four or five linked attacks before the gauge empties.

In addition to being able to change your linked partner during battle, you can also swap in characters who aren’t in the active party; by pushing R3 and the corresponding direction on the D-pad, one of your backup party members will take the place of an active one. This is a first for the Tales of series, I think.

The crafting system isn’t as extensive as it’s been in the past several games; it’s practically nonexistent, in fact. Instead of collecting raw materials and using those to upgrade various items, you use raw materials to upgrade shops, and those shops then sell new items (you can also spend money to upgrade the shops as well, but it’s a bit expensive; you get XP multipliers for shops, making it far easier to use items than gald).

So far, I’m very pleased with the game; it could be the best Tales of game yet!

The forums at NeoGAF have a long thread full of screenshots and gameplay information, if you’re interested.

08/07/2011

Final Battle Theme

by wfgodbold

Take a hit slapstick alien invasion anime series and tell Namco Bandai to make an RPG out of it, and what do you get?

Tales of Keroro RPG: The Knight, the Samurai, and the Legendary Pirate!

Sergeant Keroro and his platoon of incompetent froglike alien invaders are thrust into adventure when the old game system Keroro bought crashes, somehow causing the RPG he was playing to crossover into the real world.

What follows is an RPG filled with Tales of series style battles and fetch quests (the predominance of said fetch quests was the only complaint Famitsu had). Namco Bandai never brought the game out over here, and I haven’t played it; I remember reading about it when it was in development, but it wasn’t until I was watching Sgt. Frog on hulu the other day that I remembered it.

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