| Original message (2826 Views )
Red Carpet Regular Member
| "Re(1):Yo, Polly!" , posted Thu 16 Dec 10:14|
I finish less than half of the RPGs I play.(erm...I think?) If a game doesn't hook me fast, I don't wait for it to get good. If it gets boring, then I give up. So...games that don't push some sort of boundary get dumped pretty fast.
Onto Stella Deus....
I haven't finished Stella Deus, so it's hard for me to make a totally accurate analysis of it, but I've put in a good 15 hours, so I know what's going on at least.
First of all, it looks great. The fights look great, the dialogue scenes use full screen artwork, you get to see the full screen artwork for every important location you go to, there are multiple dialogue pictures (small and large) for all characters, the characters animate reasonably well and the camera zooms in with no pixilation in fights...etc. etc.
The music is good (I think it's the Final Fantasy Tactics composer?) and I like the character designs more than any I've seen in years.
The battles are fun and interesting because you have "stamina" instead of 1 turn/1 attack. If you have full stamina, you can attack 3 times, but every square you move reduces your stamina. (so you could move a very long way, but not actually attack) So in addition to picking targets, you have to worry about range and wearing your opponent down. If you surround a boss to wipe him out like you would in any normal SRPG, then he doesn't have to wear his stamina down to reach you and might have be able to wipe you out in one turn. When someone dies, they take a permenant hit to their luck, so you want to avoid it if possible.
I really like the story and the characters, though. It's not -totally- original, but it's certainly not standard RPG fare, either. I don't know where things are going...which is nice, but I suppose it could mean that the plot could get bad. As it is now, it keeps things interesting. Rather than having "obstacles" in your path before you reach a greater goal, unexpected things happen. Errm...lessee if I can describe that better.
In a normal RPG, say you need an item from a mountain. Going to the mountain may take hours and be filled with time-wasting obstacles in the way. In Stella Deus, when you need to go somewhere, you either get there immediately, or unexpected plot twists happen along the way.
There are some irritating things about the game, though. Menus, for example, are really bothersome. When you're doing something like learning a new move or buying items for alchemy, you'll have to go in and out of menus over and over. It's nothing horrible, but it seemsl ike it could have been streamlined a little better.
The alchemy system is sort of...irritating and sort of generous at the same time. Pretty much anything can combine with anything to create -something- and you'll always know what you're getting BEFORE you make it (so you don't waste items). At the same time, there are so many different combinations and they make such little sense that you'll spend hours with trial and error nonsense to see if you can get a new spear (or whatever).
EXP balance is also bothersome. If you're 2 levels under a boss, you can't win. 2 levels over and you can't lose. So you have to make sure you stay at a certain level so that the challenge of the game isn't broken.
I could have gone on and on, but I've done that enough already.
Red Carpet Regular Member
| "Re(3):Yo, Polly!" , posted Sat 18 Dec 06:46|
...as for me, I agree with everything Pollyanna said about the game, except that for me, I found that the battle animations took waaaaaaay too long. And I didn't have time. So I stopped playing the game.
Ah! I didn't notice your reply until now. How far did you make it before you gave up?
The battle animations are a problem for a lot of people who play it, so they may bug me after a while as well. I'm surprised to hear complaints about it, since a lot of SRPGs have this problem I haven't heard people say this before. Maybe since the last SRPGs I played were Sangokushi Senki and SRW MX I don't mind the wait on animations AS much. I remember when FFTA first came out I thought that it moved way too slow. Even though I owned the game, I played it on emulator so that I could put it in fast forward.
I'm actually happy to get away from the insane customization of a Nippon-1 game for a little bit. I'm not bothering much with the immense number of skills you can learn from alchemy, though. Too much kanji and too much time figuring out how to make the items hurts my head.
Hmmm...and for me...Ligne is a monster. It was Grey for a while (and still is), but I have my "favored characters" and "not favored characters" which hasn't happened in a while.
Red Carpet Regular Member
| "Re(1):Tell me more?" , posted Sun 19 Dec 13:23|
I've always found this... mystifying.
Maybe I'm just old, but back in the day there was a standard name for this system, and that name was "action points", and the king of all that was was XCOM UFO Defense. Yeah, some other game had it before, but XCOM was a brand of perfection such that even today, the game system cannot be fundamentally improved; we all want new stuff like falling damage, physics in buildings, multiple squads entering a sector (which Jagged Alliance 2 did!), dual guns, etc... but those are just expansion level wants.
In SRPGs for consoles, except for maybe Front Mission, somehow somewhy they need to come up with a fancy new name for "action points" and pretend that it's ZOMG WHAT AN INNOVATION!!! Maybe I'm just cynical.
I want to gush about XCOM, and how great it was and still is.
Red Carpet Regular Member
| "Re(1):Tell me more?" , posted Sun 19 Dec 18:19|
So, I'm guessing no animations are skippable? How often do the really elaborate moves come up?
But hey, could you tell me more about the system? The stamina idea sounds cool, I kind of wish it weren't grid-based though (I'm becoming so progressive in my tastes).
How do the team attacks/counters/specials work for example?
The animations for everything (which you can't skip) are just a BIT longer than the usual SRPG. Like, when Grey attacks he slashes with his spear, does a spin kick off of it, then impales the enemy. So...there's another second (or two) of animation you don't normally get. Spells also have character animations that take a few seconds, but they aren't any longer than spells in other games. The "long wait" moves are the double/triple/quadruple/etc/etc attacks which take a bit longer than the ones in Disgaea do...some more than a bit longer, but nothing like Final Fantasy 7/8 summons. There's never any "long wait" on anything in the game, it's just that when you have everyone doing it consistantly, it might get a bit tiresome. The fact that you may perform up to 3 attacks a turn lengthens things a bit as well. It doesn't bother me at all when I'M attacking, though I usually look away or talk to someone when enemies are doing it.
The combination moves are done when the acting character has a certain degree of stamina (AP, I think it's called?) and is in the same "EZ" field as another character. The "EZ" field is a series of grids surrounding the character that differs between characters. (some form a circle, some extend long in 4 directions) You can only do so many combo attacks a battle, but you can increase that number by learning new skills. All characters can combo with each other in a generic attack like you'd see in Disgaea, but there are a series (quite a few) of character-specific combos that have specific animations and do much more damage.
The EZ field is modified by a type of skill you learn that gives it different effects. For example, you could equip an EZ skill that makes all enemies in your radius lose HP or get poisoned. Similarly, you can heal party members or rejuvinate MP.
The two other types of skills are the "SS" skills, which alter your stats/give various bonuses and the action skills, which are like spells or sword techniques. Each character has a class (that can be upgraded)with specialized skills, but can also learn skills from items made through alchemy. You can't really "change class" in a meaningful way, but when your stats get high enough and you make the right item, then you can "class up" to unlock new skills and get a stat bonus.
Skills are purchased with points that you get outside of EXP and can also be put towards raising your stats, if you so choose.
You don't automatically counter attack like in some SRPGs, but you often dodge attacks or block (taking zero or greatly reduced damage) and counter for a full hit.
I don't mind grids, because I know exactly how far I'm going and if I can hit an enemy or not. It also keeps the sprites looking good, since they don't work from all angles. I loved Phantom Brave (in terms of gameplay at least), but the sprites looked awful and I was constantly moving and re-moving my characters to get a few pixels closer or further away on a background that I looked pasted onto. Oh yeah...I didn't mention that the backgrounds look nice in Stella Deus as well. They aren't fancy or beautiful, but the characters fit in them nicely.
Phew. I think that's it? I can answer any other questions, though.