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Friday, November 30, 2007

Tales of the World - Radiant Mythology First Impressions

While I do understand that having played already 10 hours into a game can't really constitute a "first impression," my version of a first impression is really a review of an anime or a game that I'm currently in the middle of or haven't finished. I feel that a review can only be a review once one has thought hard after finishing and brought up a well thought opinion of the subject in question.
Mind you, I'll be under the assumption that you've played most, if not all, of the Tales games and understand the story. If you haven't and don't plan to, then that's fine. If you haven't and DO plan to, I'll be revealing spoilers that you may not like.

In short, I'd have to say that Tales of the World for the PSP was a big disappointment. I had heard of the new "Tales" game about a year ago and was psyched that they were recycling a bunch of the characters from the older games,(not just for Coliseum mind you.)but when I heard it was for the PSP, I knew that something was off. I'm well aware that Tales of the World was a spinoff game, but still, I didn't expect to be that much of a disappointment.

It starts off with the character creation screen, which showed promise for a good game. So I just picked the generic cold-looking woman with a ponytail and blue hair and then set her class as a thief (later changed to swordsman) and named her Nagi. (Kudos for those who get the reference, google won't help you here my friend) You, as the hero, are awakened by a flying cat with two tail/wings that flap around and keep him aloft, named Mormo, and are told that you are a "Descender" from the world tree to save the world that is in peril. You find a girl, named Kanonno, under attack and save her and later find out from Chester (from Tales of Phantasia) that you show promise for a group known as Ad Libitum. What is Ad Libitum? It's an organization spread out throughout the world that is there to help people and those in need. Not too bad for starting. Apparently, the town you spawned near, Ailily, has a tyrant ruler who keeps a firm grip on his citizens. You end up meeting with the head of the Ailily Ad Libitum Branch, Kratos (from Tales of Symphonia. Add cheering here) and join Ad Libitum, Etc etc.

Playing the first hour or so of it left me with a really bad taste in my mouth. Forgetting that Kratos was in the game, the story seems to have taken a turn where everyone is just unbelievably weak. First of all, the plot to begin with is reaaaally shaky. You're born to save the world that is in peril, so what's the first thing you do? Join a guild... Another problem is with the tyrant that's ruling over the city and the Ad Libitum sector that has been forced to go underground. (Mind you by this time, the Ailily Ad Libitum sector includes, Lloyd, Arche, Chester, Genis, Raine, Kratos, Luke, Tear, Raid (Reid) and Kanonno,whom you never see fighting so far.) Forget that the branch consists of Elite powerhouses who've saved the world, Kratos being an Arch Angel, and Luke having probably enough power to tear a hole in the world. It seems that they're unable to fend for themselves and overthrow this tyrant alone and are really just lying on their asses waiting for some noname god send with a familiar to find his/her way into town to help save the wo----oh wait... That's EXACTLY what they're doing. Also, all of these characters are also equipped with their strongest weapons from their respective games. Problem two (or is it three?), Mormo, that flying bugger that accompanies you is supposed to be a Descender like you are. He was summoned by his own world tree to save his world from peril. Thing is, he can't do squat. In the words of Cortana: "All you can do, is just sit there and sputter." This seems to make no sense, so you are this super strong character, yet another being in the same class as you is about 1/4 your size and 1/infinity-th your power. Even with the difference in the mana from the world trees (as they seem to have justified it) Mormo, can't do anything.

The gameplay is mediocre. Towns are split into menus that each consist of Guild, Inn, Tool shop, Blacksmith, Plaza, House 1, House 2. Every town. All the other Tales games have featured vast towns that you can explore and interact with. This staple of the series was just pulled as if it was insignificant. Second, after a while (not really) you start to get the feeling that it's more than just repetitious. If I had to compare Tales of the World with an analogy, it would be a Tales game with the style of Final Fantasy Tactics ADVANCE. All you do are petty quests by petty citizens over and over again. "Oh help, Monster X is ruining my flower garden! Kill X number of them!" or "I need X items." The cutscenes, while sometimes humorous, had "choices" which they gave for conversation but in reality weren't choices. Rather, they were two different sentences with the same implication and context applied.
The Battle system is like that of Abyss and Symphonia mixed, but there are a lot of elements that really bother me. They used the free run mode from Abyss but I've never seen any use for that. Since the Field of Fonons aren't in ToTW, there's really no point in free run. I mean, there are already many ways to avoid monster attacks (dash back, Dash forward, jump over) and if the monsters are stacking, re-targeting and taking out the closest one is probably the best decision anyway. While it was fun just running circles around the enemy while waiting for the run timer to deplete, there's really no use for it.
There's cooking in the game, but you can't use it right after battle, and there aren't any variations to the recipes you're given.... Ok, so what's the point of cooking then?

My main issue with Tales of the World is with the characters in the game. Now, this is from a "purist" stand-point so my words are beyond bias right now.
Recycling characters? Awesome, changing everything about the characters that made them awesome? not so much awesome... One example would be Genis. In Tales of Symphonia, he was seen as a child prodigy who had fun with his magic (Like when he yells "Pancake time" before casting Stalagmite), and while he had a slight complex pertaining to his age and how people perceived him, I didn't see it as an issue. In Tales of the World, he's seen as this uber-diligent kid who has a BIG issue with how people perceive him because of his age. In the end, he ends up looking like a real brat.

Other issues would probably be voices. While they were able to get Raine, Kratos, Luke and Tear's original voice actors, the others hired for this game were... ehhh... There were some recently popular voice actors casted, but for the characters that I usually didn't use... (For example, Raid (Reid)'s VA is the same with Krious's voice actor from Growlanser: Heritage of War) Another character issue I had would be when the team decided to cut the story for the characters and place them in Tales of the World. Luke, for example, happens to be at the stage where he's that spoiled, aristocratic ass that he is when he enters the game. But for Tales of Symphonia, there's a suggestion that the symphonia party entered the game after one as beaten it since there are many times where you feel an awkward tension every time someone mentions how Kratos talks to Lloyd like how a father does to his son...

The development team's decisions for which characters to put in conflict with my own views. Generally, I think that for a game like this, you need a lot of strong (character-wise) characters who can add a nice variety into the game. Generally, I'm more or less fine with most (except for Raine, Eugene, Senel, Chester, and The Tales of Destiny crew) but I feel they didn't really pick that big of a range of characters. Despite the amount of classes you have, you don't really have a "hero" character than can correspond to each class. Warriors are apparently brute force wail the enemy down with axes kinda people. There's no one for that. Honestly, I would have loved it if Presea was added as she not only would be the archetype to go for, but her personality would put a spin on the game. There aren't any ninjas, Bishops or fighters. A good example of a fighter (hand-to-hand) in my opinion would be Anise. Along with her unusual style of fighting, her personality is one of my favorites. She's a money hungry girl who acts all sweet in front of Luke to try and marry into the family but has another side to her that yells brazen assassin. (She yells "I'll kill you bastards!" at the start of the battle whenever Luke isn't present, and makes death threats to people she doesn't like)

I've been bitching about this game for a while, so let's now get to the good parts.
Kratos. Despite what people say about how hard Zelos was, I still had Kratos 'till the end. While a generic character, he's a good generic character and one that I'll stick with as a nice choice for the game. The equipment in the game make it fun to customize your character. While it is frustrating when a piece of armor that you're particularly fond of is trampled by far superior armor, in the end it's all about looks. Stats are only an issue if you're really bad at these Tales games. In my opinion, the opening cut scene was very nicely done. I had a blast watching it. Some things worth mentioning are how the "main character's" face is never really seen until the last 10 seconds where they flash a bunch of possible faces. Another nice part is when Raine lectures Raid and Chester in the Symphonia school house.
Graphics aren't bad. Since it is a Tales game, it gets extra points for its battle system. The cooking aspect has expanded to tool making, weapon refining and cooking which gives a bit more stuff to burn time with. But what really made a lot of the Tales games were the "hidden" cut scenes that activated when you met certain requirements. Mostly purely for comical relief, this is what usually kept me hooked on a Tales game.

I won't say that Tales of the World stoops to the barbaric atrocity of what Tales of Legendia for the PS2 was, but it isn't really note-worthy either. You lose nothing skipping this game and you don't really gain nothing beating it. On a final note, the lack of gender sensitivity seems like a really poor part on the dev team. (Mind you that I'm still the blue haired female swordsman with a ponytail named Nagi) Kanonno more or less professes her love to you and I'm kinda stuck there going "what...?" I have nothing against lesbians, it's just that I feel that with such a lack of difference in dialogue between the two genders (There's no date-gossiping with Arche if your a guy or a girl) something like this wasn't actually intended.

Yes... You may hit me now for writing such an obscenely long post.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Ok, well I'm gonna have to start getting a schedule up of generally when I'm gonna post. I'd like to say about once a week, but I'm not sure if that's possible while I'm still getting the applications for college done. Although there's still a lot of material that I can talk about, I don't go through games nor anime in about a week and I'm afraid I'll run out soon... I could give an overview of the anime episodes I'm watching, but honestly... who cares about that? Each episode helps make the bigger picture and so giving an overview of something of such a small portion seems trivial. I'll try to go for a review every friday or so, but general posting will probably be completely arbitrary.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Phoenix Wright - Ace Attourney: Trials and Tribulations

I've finished the 3rd installment of the Gyakuten Saiban (otherwise known as Phoenix Wright though it translates to "The turnabout judgement/trial(s)") games to see that the localization team for Capcom is still one of my favorites. (Second would be the Tales of Symphonia team) If you're unaware of who/what Phoenix Wright is then I WON'T simply send you to a wiki link. Phoenix Wright was originally a GBA game ported to the DS and is what people seem to classify as a "visual novel." It's a linear, text based game in which you take the role of a defense attorney, Phoenix Wright. The game is split into two distinct sections: Investigation and Trial. So what makes this "visual novel" so interesting? Well, besides yelling OBJECTION, TAKE THAT, and HOLD IT! (or  いぎあり if you're playing the japanese version...) in the middle of a crowd or in the recesses of your own home, the story itself is compelling. Think about it for a second... The game can't be sold in terms of gameplay, so it would have to rely on other forms... More specifically, how the port was, music, graphics, and oh yeah.. STORY. In general, the first game was a nice overall with a especially nice DS exclusive case that made you want more. The second game was a port, nothing more. No DS case, and it felt like they were milking it, but each story was somewhat compelling, nonetheless .

The third game however. Wow. Of course like the other two games, there was a new variation on music but the writers did a great job linking nearly everything together. It made me realize just how good of a suspense writer they could be. There are somethings objectionable but they were minor in the big scheme. The minor details that they put in just made it that much better. It's a good DS buy, and while there are other means of retrieving it, I will not say.

This would lead me to the 4th installment that Capcom is localizing.

I got another good laugh. Not because of the new attorney's hairdo but rather his name. It made me realize just how good these guys were. His name has been localized to "Apollo Justice" but his original name: 王泥喜 (odoroki) 法介(housuke) was what got me. Now, the name in itself seems normal. His name can be translated to "the King who attaches himself to rejoice" so to speak, but let me give you a bit of insight into japanese. Odoroki in Japanese means a surprise/astonishment... The Hou in Housuke is the same character used for the Hou in "law." Get it? It's a pun. Phoenix Wright was regarded as a sub-par defense lawyer who surprised the court for his surprisingly logical deductions. As the 4th game is set to take place 7 years later, the main character's name is already a reference to the predecessor. In addition, according to the voice clips from the trailer, he's a very...verbally clumsy kinda guy, similar to phoenix, which seems to emphasize the pun even more... Maybe I'm thinking too deeply about this, but it doesn't feel like a mere coincidence. Regardless, I can't wait for this new game to be localized. Though I feel like now I want Capcom to release Japanese voice overs along with the english ones due to how fitting the voices are already....
BTW, Phoenix is the last person who yelled Objection! Yeah, he dumped the suit and tie and seems to be speaking in a more refined tone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Why does this happen?

I don't get it. I just tried to think of new names, such as the other opinion. Well, if you can think of it, it probably exists. I'm well aware its similarity to the original rule 34: If you can think of it, there is porn of it, but being the wiki that it is, some nutjob changed the original rules of the internet. Regardless. otheropinion.blogspot is another failed attempt at some kid's attempt at a blog only to leave it hanging so it could rot in hell while the creator does jack. theotheropinion.blogspot seems to have been some korean kid's attempt at a blog only to leave it hanging so it could rot in hell while the creator does jack...

I'm not gonna say it. I'm not gonna say the world hates me, but the inverse is definitely true. And probably has been for a while.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Who am I?

Assuming that Teh Gunrun actually followed through with my request and added me as an affiliation... You're probably wondering "Just exactly who the hell is Zerreth?" If you came from his CNC Retarded blog, then you should be aware of just exactly how different this blog is from his and wondering as to why the hell should he put a blog such as mine. Simply put, it's because I asked him to and we're friends and I'm more or less mooching off his publicity....

If my name actually rings any bells, it would probably be from this article. I'd like to let you know that this blog is somewhat resembling a similar format to that except that I also review anime, and, to some extent, games. That said, this may actually not be your type of blog. While I am pretty connected with the gaming community as well, I'd have to say that Teh Gunrun has a better sense than I do.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


After a bit of thinking, I asked myself why did I just do I mean, it's pretty egotistical of me to do such a thing. So I checked if I could switch to
To my dismay, it was taken, so I decided to check it out.

I wish people like the person who made didn't exist. Seriously. It's probably the remains of some loser 14 year old wanting to voice his idiocy just to look back at it in a narcissistic fashion. So, how is he different from me? He's not getting paid to have people stare at his blog and it's not just some stupid pipe dream. Second, I want more than my little clique of friends to be looking at this. I intend to try and actually make my voice somewhat heard. I should be able to get a couple affiliations which could help boost my "popularity."

I could've resorted to wrath-invoked swearing but I decided against it.

edit: Just tried "thirdopinion" despite how absolutely pitiful "The third opinion" sounds. Apparently even THAT's taken and this time, THERE'S NOTHING THERE...