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Julius

Live A Live (22nd July 2022)

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Posted (edited)
Spoiler

So our little "OD" friend can possess AI now, huh? Guess it's thematically appropriate to the time period.

Narratively speaking, this is the strongest chapter. Which shouldn't be surprising, seeing as it's a massive homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Between this, and the hidden reference in Prehistory, someone was a fan) The foreboding atmosphere throughout was very well done. Even if I did get a few heart attacks from some sudden Behemoth appearances.

I did like that all the loading tips were replaced with OD-10's warning telling you to stop at some point. Obviously a change for the remake that adds to the creepy.

It seemed like there wasn't much room for secrets and such, but I found a real doozy right before the credits. If you didn't find it, it might be worth reloading that chapter and exploring the ship once Darthe asks you to make him coffee.

Spoiler

I tried to leave the break room at this point, and the game let me. So I decided to go to the interface room where the Behemoth attacked Darthe.

After getting the fright of my life for a brief moment walking in there and seeing the Behemoth corpse. I tried using the computer, got some information about how Cube has been made the commander due to every other crew member being unable to, I got a password, 'JUDGE'.

Well, the only place on the ship I wasn't able to get into was the main computer on the third floor. So I tried putting in the password, and it worked.

Thing is, I needed another password, good thing I thought ahead and took a picture of a seemingly random set of letters that showed up at one point. 'OAKFDE'

Soo...

Spoiler

The whole thing was some kind of simulation or training exercise? That's kinda messed up. I wonder if the crew knew about that. And what was the purpose of it? Either way, the whole thing was deemed a failure and will be abandoned, whatever it was...

 

 

That's all 7 chapters done now.

Spoiler

There's an eighth character and time period? Didn't expect that.

I mean, I expected something to happen after completing all 7 chapters, duh. But I wasn't expecting a completely separate scenario.

I'm too tired right now though. Distant Future tuckered me out and I need sleep.

 

Edited by Glen-i

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On 25/07/2022 at 6:58 PM, Julius said:

I'm glad I'm not the only one who immediately got that vibe :D

Didn't get the chance to play yesterday thanks to adulting (woo... :nono:) but from the sounds of it, Near Future or Ancient China might be the ones up next on my agenda.

Bit of a shame the Twilight of Edo sounds like a little bit of a mixed bag going off this thread (at the very least in its layout), though, as I was looking forward to being a ninja! I say that like it's a rare occurrence: I'm always looking forward to being a ninja :p

I see you're a man of culture as well. I'll be checking back for what you think about the opening segment of the Twilight of Edo music. Forget what we've said on that chapter and be sure to weigh in with some fresh thoughts on it. 

Have you got around to making any more progress on the Near Future or Ancient China?

@Hero-of-Time It's been interesting to watch our points of view on LAL start at different ends of the spectrum, zig-zag up and down as we've ticked off chapters in different orders, and it now looks like we're going to settle on a similar final opinion by the end of it. 

Wild West was my 7th and it was such an underwhelming way to cap it off. There's "leave them wanting more" and then there's LAL. If you heard this was the first SNES RPG and they put all this together as a showcase for what to expect in the 16-bit generation you could believe it. It's like a 16-bit RPG tech demo.

@martinist how's it been going for you?

@MindFreak did you get Live A Live, then?

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, darksnowman said:

Have you got around to making any more progress on the Near Future or Ancient China?

Yeah, I played through and posted thoughts on Ancient China yesterday (got lost on the last page) :p in short: loved it, easily the best chapter I've played so far. 

1 hour ago, darksnowman said:

It's been interesting to watch our points of view on LAL start at different ends of the spectrum, zig-zag up and down as we've ticked off chapters in different orders, and it now looks like we're going to settle on a similar final opinion by the end of it. 

Wild West was my 7th and it was such an underwhelming way to cap it off. There's "leave them wanting more" and then there's LAL. If you heard this was the first SNES RPG and they put all this together as a showcase for what to expect in the 16-bit generation you could believe it. It's like a 16-bit RPG tech demo.

It's funny with this game how much people playing in different orders has really highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the game in unique ways, and at different points for everyone, to the point that I do wonder if momentum going into the last part of the game will see a wide swathe of opinions on how it concludes.

While I think there are some good ideas (I said it on the last page, but seriously, someone needs to mix the Present Day and Imperial China up into a cocktail of a JRPG and really zero in on it, that'd be right up my alley), I just think they lack depth resulting from little/no exploration and, frankly, not enough time. There are trace elements of a JRPG in there but going from chapter to chapter, it's not really clear why this is a JRPG. In hindsight, it was probably made one more because it was what they knew at the time, and was a relatively simple way of translating their thoughts into a game. 

I agree with you on it feeling like a 16-bit RPG tech demo, I said something along similar lines...

 *checks notes*

On 24/07/2022 at 2:41 AM, Julius said:

It's the flesh of a visual novel with the bones of an adventure game wrapped in the skin of a JRPG. 

That's what I posted after playing through four chapters, but honestly, it's how I felt after the first two (Prehistory and The Distant Future), which just made for a super weak start to the game. I think I enjoyed The Wild West and Present Day more because they were so lean compared to those chapters, again just goes to show how easy it is for the progression order to have an impact. Can't imagine how letdown I'd be if I'd played Imperial China and [insert another good chapter, by the sounds of it The Near Future?] first and then being left with the rest of the game to kick on with. 

Again: there are good ideas, but just some really muddled execution. Still got a fair bit to go though, so hopefully it improves a bit from this point!

Edited by Julius

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Welp, fair warning, best not read this until you've finished the game.

Spoiler

Welp, you opened it, so you must be aware of the fact there's 9 chapters in total. Your own fault if you didn't know.

Hell, you could make the argument that there's 10. Because technically, I've not gotten the normal ending.

Yes, I chose to play as Oersted first. It was pretty cool to go back and fight as the 7 final bosses and totally own everyone.

Well, except the Steel Giant, that one put up a proper fight.

In fact, there's two endings when playing as Oersted! The one where you win all 7 battles, and one when you use "Armageddon" if you're at low HP. Although that second one brings you straight to the Title Screen.

Speaking of Oersted, alarm bells started ringing when I realised his name begins with O and ends with D. I figured it was gonna end with him getting possessed by Odeo. It's an interesting take on the classic Medieval RPG plot, I give it that.

Anyway, I'm obviously not satisfied with Odeo winning, so I'm gonna do the 9th chapter with someone else. The game seems to keep track of who you finish the game with, so I'm gonna do it with Pogo.

 

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9 hours ago, darksnowman said:

 did you get Live A Live, then?

No, I'm getting Xenoblade for review purposes this week. And I'm not that interested in this game, though I admittedly haven't seen much from it.

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Yesterday evening I started the Near Future chapter and even though it has a good amount of battling/levelling in it, I just wasn't feeling it. I think the previous two chapters have soured my experience of the game. 

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11 hours ago, Julius said:

Yeah, I played through and posted thoughts on Ancient China yesterday (got lost on the last page) :p in short: loved it, easily the best chapter I've played so far. 

It's funny with this game how much people playing in different orders has really highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the game in unique ways, and at different points for everyone, to the point that I do wonder if momentum going into the last part of the game will see a wide swathe of opinions on how it concludes.

Indeed you did. I knew there was something else but I was getting distracted by the women's euros match at the time of posting. :)

Imperial China is a good one. The way the story goes and the delivery of the final blow are among the best moments LAL has to offer, imo. I chuckled at the introduction of the first disciple, too. Still, there is something I'd change in it which I'm going to mention below.

It's a weird one because when you think of the conceit for each chapter, they all sound cool with their own unique twist. But beyond that bullet point idea, there's plenty that could've been fleshed out. I came in via the demo and it's still managed to throw me for a loop. Perhaps the next step is S-E putting up a poll for people to vote on which concept they'd like to see developed into its own 25-hourPG. 

Steer clear of spoilers for the conclusion if you can. 

3 hours ago, MindFreak said:

No, I'm getting Xenoblade for review purposes this week. And I'm not that interested in this game, though I admittedly haven't seen much from it.

Ah, right you are. Best of luck with that.

You can always check out the Live A Live demo sometime to see what you think of it.

2 hours ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Yesterday evening I started the Near Future chapter and even though it has a good amount of battling/levelling in it, I just wasn't feeling it. I think the previous two chapters have soured my experience of the game. 

I was so glad to have some chapters resembling an RPG by the time I got to that I enjoyed it quite a bit. 

He ended up being my highest-level character because I didn't mind clearing the (Pac-Man) streets almost every time I was out and about. Something I noticed in this chapter that applies to several... The Origami King.

Battle layout recognition. A lot of battles in the near future are groups with a leader. It's not long before you see the patterns repeat and you have the path to the enemy leader memorised. "Oh this one's up around the side, across the back, he'll try to poison me on this square, then I'll move in for the victory." And so on. I cruised through a lot of those encounters on autopilot. It reminded me of how people described ring combat in TOK.

Also: no exp! There are a few chapters/ sections where you're battling but not gaining exp. TOK did not get a pass for this and it's been a niggle for me in LAL every time it's come up. Yes, the parts of LAL with no exp are so easy you don't need to be levelling... but still, every time I've battled for no reward it's felt like a waste of time, similar to TOK. Players who want to should be able to level the wee robot. Let him plug in like R2D2 to collect the exp or something. In Ancient China, he could receive 1 exp point from normal battles and higher exp when training the disciples because he discovers that he's learning from them, too. Or something. Near future has a part where exp is disabled yet the streets are still filled with enemies. Exp distribution could have been calculated in such a way that players who take the time to clear the screen will gain a level. In the gunslinger chapter, exp gains could be set so that you will level up after the final duel. You're overpowered for these parts already, so what difference is an extra level going to make. Better than battling for no nowt.

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Yeah, I noticed the patterns starting to repeat quite a bit. It made the battles super easy once you learn what was where. 

At least when the exp stops you can still gain items to power up the other character. I've managed to get a few bits and bobs for it but I can't see me grinding to fully level it up due to the RNG nature of the drops.

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The other character offered so little I mostly passed on their turn unless they were able to punch or kick an enemy in the vulnerabilities. 

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46 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

At least when the exp stops you can still gain items to power up the other character. I've managed to get a few bits and bobs for it but I can't see me grinding to fully level it up due to the RNG nature of the drops.

Might be too late now, but I wouldn't bother using the robot enhancements on Near Future.

Yes, I know I said I was just using them as soon as I got them, but that's in the past!

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14 hours ago, darksnowman said:

@martinist how's it been going for you?

Took a break after prehistory just finished Imperial China last night. Will be moving on to Edo today.

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I finished the Near Future chapter earlier and wasn't impressed with that one either. I've read that the Distant Future is one of the worst scenarios and so I'm not that hopeful going in to that one. At this point I just want the game over and done with. 

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8 hours ago, Glen-i said:

Might be too late now, but I wouldn't bother using the robot enhancements on Near Future.

Yes, I know I said I was just using them as soon as I got them, but that's in the past!

Do you mean the wild west, feudal Japan, imperial China, prehistory or...?

2 hours ago, Hero-of-Time said:

I finished the Near Future chapter earlier and wasn't impressed with that one either. I've read that the Distant Future is one of the worst scenarios and so I'm not that hopeful going in to that one. At this point I just want the game over and done with. 

Oof. :( Just Distant Future to go now? Don't worry, it's not all 2001, there's other sci-fi influences to enjoy in it too. 

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Distant Future was indeed awful. Thankfully chapter 8 seems to be just what I want out of the game. 

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13 hours ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Distant Future was indeed awful. Thankfully chapter 8 seems to be just what I want out of the game. 

How dare you. It was the first one I did on the demo and the first one I continued with in the full game. 

Perhaps it was because I was still in my Live A Live infancy but I thought things played out in a pretty shocking way. At least for an "RPG".

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3 minutes ago, darksnowman said:

How dare you. It was the first one I did on the demo and the first one I continued with in the full game. 

Perhaps it was because I was still in my Live A Live infancy but I thought things played out in a pretty shocking way. At least for an "RPG".

I think I hated it as much as I did was because it's essentially a visual novel and at this point I want a proper RPG. It's why I've enjoyed what I played from chapter 8 so far.

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47 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

I think I hated it as much as I did was because it's essentially a visual novel and at this point I want a proper RPG. It's why I've enjoyed what I played from chapter 8 so far.

I can get on board with that feeling. 

Can you believe in the early going I was wondering if Live A Live was a proto-13 Sentinels? 

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11 minutes ago, darksnowman said:

I can get on board with that feeling. 

Can you believe in the early going I was wondering if Live A Live was a proto-13 Sentinels? 

No, because it's Kirby Super Star.

A bunch of different games that share the same base mechanics, but each have a different gimmick to them.

Anyway, I finished the game yesterday. I'll be writing the N-E Review, so I won't be giving my thoughts yet.

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Played through Twilight of Edo Japan last night. 

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Spoiler

This is an incredibly pretty chapter to play through, possibly the prettiest of the bunch I've completed so far. 

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So, I actually really like this chapter, it might be my second favourite behind only Imperial China.

I didn't go for a no-kill or 100-kill run as I've since learned playing through was a thing, though I feel like the game did a really good job of alluding to something like that, I just started killing folks because hey, it's a JRPG and I want EXP, but I couldn't be bothered to track everyone down, which brings me onto my next point: I think this is the most feature complete level and the level where it is easiest to comes across its features just by exploring, which I loved doing, and I feel like I found a lot. I ended up with a mimic, saving someone from the dungeon, and I even ran into not one, but two of what I believe were hidden bosses, the Lord Iwama and Bloodthirsty Samurai fights...

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...which I tried a couple of times halfheartedly, but didn't really commit to completing. I know, I know, I probably should have to enjoy the challenge, but being six chapters deep into this game, I just don't feel like the game has done a good job of making me want to seek out and really try these additional hidden challenges. 

Despite killing a bunch of people at the start of the level, I then started sneaking around a lot, completing a few puzzles in attics and hopping from roof to roof, and after a bit of snooping around, found myself on the Fourth Floor of the Castle Keep, where the Puppetmaster and his minions kind of wrecked me. Went away, did a bit of grinding up in the attics, came back and wiped the floor with them after learning Phoenix Call - think that's the first time in this game so far I've felt compelled to actually do any grinding.

Also, speaking of Phoenix Call, I've just got to wax lyrical about how great some of these move animations are and how quickly most are carried out (very anime); my favourite for sure was Phantom Butterflies, just sweeping across the screen in a swarm and more often than not wiping out foes at full health:

After wrecking those guys, I actually descended to the front of (and underneath) the Castle Keep, which is when I found those hidden bosses, and there were just really shorter scenarios I came across which just made this feel a bit more like a fleshed out idea, like the guy murdering folks trying to become an Oni, or the "Princess". What gave me a really good chuckle was seeking out and defeating this Old Maid, who proceeded to turn up in just about every single room I entered :laughing:

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Also: love the sprite for being hidden, that's some good stuff right there! 

Anyways, saved the guy (Goemon?) in the dungeon which led to me finding a bunch of coins, which allowed me to go back to the slot next to where I took out the Puppetmaster and get the Mimic, whose time with me abruptly ended in a very unexpected (but hilarious) way:

Anyways, shortly after I continued heading upstairs until, alongside The Prisoner/Ryoma, I had two battles against Ode Iou, which were a walk in the park. And then I decided to join Ryoma's struggle, thus ending the chapter with a beautiful sunrise...

FYvrBQMVsAISyYJ?format=jpg&name=large

Think I ended up with a kill count in the high 30s, nothing too nuts. Also, nearly forgot the music: while I liked it and it definitely contributed to the vibe, I don't think it had any standout tracks like some of the other chapters did. 

Got The Near Future left, and then it's onto whatever is beyond that, I'll probably need to do some grinding I imagine if/when these characters all come together. I'm out tonight so probably won't get back to it until the weekend, but while I think the game is a bit of a mixed bag of efforts, I'm looking forward to seeing how it all concludes. 

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

No, because it's Kirby Super Star.

For some reason, the visual novel style of that first chapter accompanied by the battle at the end I thought recalled 13 Sentinels. The character selection ring also played into that perception.

My opinion of LAL morphed and skewed between those bright-eyed early days and reaching the credits. After a couple of chapters, I realised that the game would have to go out on a strong note (whatever that was going to be, I did not know) for it to be regarded so fondly or else it would have been labelled as the nearly man of RPGs all these years, and everyone would have long since moved on.

EDIT: It occurred to me that it's sort of like Rayman Raving Rabbids (the first one), with its scattergun approach to gameplay. If they had waggle at the time they'd have used it. 

Edited by darksnowman
rabbids!
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1 hour ago, darksnowman said:

I can get on board with that feeling. 

Can you believe in the early going I was wondering if Live A Live was a proto-13 Sentinels? 

Thing is, each of the 13 Sentinels chapters/stories/characters are actually good but in LAL....not so much. :p 

For me, for something like this to work all the stories have to connect and intersect at different places. I think that's why 13 Sentinels works so well, whereas the likes of this and Octopath Traveller don't. 

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27 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Thing is, each of the 13 Sentinels chapters/stories/characters are actually good but in LAL....not so much. :p 

You're comparing those two, but one is a SNES game. A SNES game with voice acting and a decent localisation, but it is still a SNES game at heart.

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26 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Thing is, each of the 13 Sentinels chapters/stories/characters are actually good but in LAL....not so much. :p 

I wasn't to realise that as I did space and ancient China first. :p  I thought those, despite their shortcomings, were two pretty well-done stories with strong climaxes--especially considering their SNES origins. The doubts crept in as I went on to do feudal Japan (nice looking but, honestly, if there was something to that story it completely passed me by...) and the present day after that. Anything I could say about the present day would take longer to write and read than that chapter lasts. :woops: Twas but a fleeting moment, much like the present itself. 

30 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

For me, for something like this to work all the stories have to connect and intersect at different places.

Yeah in LAL they're connected by hate/odio but not a great deal more.

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Put a little more time into the game yesterday evening. At this point this is me trying to finish the game...

leonardo-di-caprio-drugged.gif

Tales of Arise has now got competition for my least favourite game of the year.

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1 hour ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Put a little more time into the game yesterday evening. At this point this is me trying to finish the game...

leonardo-di-caprio-drugged.gif

Yep, it gives you some hope then reduces you to that, pretty much. :laughing: 

1 hour ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Tales of Arise has now got competition for my least favourite game of the year.

You're getting dafter all the time. A SNES game cannot be in competition with a modern generation game!

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