5

JRPG with a FF like fighting system, nice graphics, placed in a cool big world, and yet it all amounts to nothing imo.

First of all, the port, this is a X360 game that was ported to PC and its hell, you'll probably fight with the controls like me for the first hour, give up on the criticals and set them to automatic and just swear a lot with them and the camera. That's the first obstacle, I actually tried to play this game years ago and gave up back then, having a tutorial teaching you the XBOX buttons and not the PC counterpart annoyed me quite a bit. Let's just say, a some patience, the manual and redefining several keys will get you going remembering you started with the left foot here.
The following impression were the graphics, they are good, but the animations were stiff and there are 10 or so motions that are repeated along the game (in general), the art design is nice and the whole world has lots of elements of japanese fantasy, character designs and storytelling. I played the whole game with japanese voice so I can't vouch for the english version, the jap voices are well done, many anime voice staff sounded familiar. All in all I liked the art and the ambientation of the game, I know japanese and like the "culture" so that was a big plus, it's a pity it was not all voiced but that just picky.
So the ambientation, and the fantasy world created is what I liked the most, big world, many places, several cities, several monsters (a lot but there are like 15 families of monsters and many variations) and a lot, lot, lot of components, equipment and customization, which could have been good.
Next the bad sides. I already mentioned the controls, but I find that, while annoying, minor. What got me really worked up were mainly 3 thing, the fighting system the lack of info and it being so time consuming. The fighting system is like a Final Fantasy game, but unlike it, you control several units of up to 5 members each, since it would be hell to give 18+ instructions (played normal only don't know if there are more) each time, they made unit commands, so for example you get a "heal them" command and what each member does if you want; now that sounds nice BUT, there are a LOT of skills, as a result, I hardly got what I wanted to do when I wanted, the picks are often random, you'll seldomly get the chance to use the special powers and when you do you probably won't need em and viceversa, you'll want to cure someone and not get the option, same fore resurrect, do magic, cleanse poison, silence and so on, I found it enervating, and the only control over it is telling beforehand what skills are available to each member. It's probably hard to see why this is bad but you'll notice half way through when you start getting your units crowded and more and more skills all the time.
Second is the lack of info, really if it wasn't for the wiki this game would have been unplayable, the amount of places, chars, but above all customization components and upgrade trees is brutal. just imagine 2000 components each has a drop ratio of X monster but varies by places and you don't get any clue to where is what, or what they are for, etc, and you'll need em to upgrade your and your mates armament. If you play this, get ready to spend a lot of time on the wiki. Which leads to the third point, time, looking back on the game, it's story and side-quests could hardly extend more than 20 hours or so, really, but I played over 100 hours. Why? First, again, the fighting system, by the end of the game, you'll give the command and then just watch the same thing as all the previous hours, 5 secs to tell them what to do, 30s to 1m to see it carried out, probably 30+ hours were spent WATCHING the same crappy fight scenes (not so crappy maybe but it will win you in the end), that's one. Second, the wiki, info, checking components, why the quest ain't working, why is there no place to check what I have to do (like get so and so component, they just put "tony will be waiting in pub"), etc, without the wiki this game is unplayable imo, even with it it's was a headache. Lastly the monster spawns; there are quests were you need to kill a specific rare monster, well you go to kill it but he's not there... well ok, I'll come back later, not there, wiki; turns out the rare spawn is random... so you'll find yourself walking the same path over and over and over and over just to find a critter!!! so you say screw it!, nop, you can't, unless you want crappy equipment. Ppl spent like 5 hours doing the same zone over and over, to kill 1, and there are over 50 of these monsters (won't care to look for the correct number), what's the need in a solo game? playing is for having fun, this beats it's purpose. So I spent ~20hs in the story and others, 30+hs watching fighting animations, 10+hs reading the wiki and 20+hs looking for items or critters to customize my weapons. By the time I realized I had already invested many hours, I wanted to finish it, and now here is the best part, it was all for nothing, in the end I finished the game with a weapon and shield half way through the upgrade tree... I'm guessing the ubber weapons are for the extremely hard modalities, cause the last boss wasn't even a hard fight.
Well it turned out to be quite long 'cause of my rumbling and frustration. After finishing the game I feel an arse for spending that many hours in it, so a little advise it I didn't dissuade you of playing thus far. If you play in normal, ignore the items completely, more so, your companion requests for them, don't waste your time, unless you want something specific of course (not advisable on hardcore I guess thou). Also, don't follow the plot-line in the beginning, even if it's completely stupid to just go wander of playing hero when you have to rescue your sister, just level and do side-quests, or you'll find yourself weak for the main early fights and you'll miss quest that no one told you should be done before certain points in the story, I'd even question the idea itself of this game being RPG but that's just my opinion I guess and might get flamed.

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