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Mozex
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"Stella Deus US release" , posted Tue 3 May 13:34post reply

It's been out in America for a while now, anybody have any impressions of the game or of the porting job?





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Makondo99
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"Dubbing will make you cry" , posted Sun 8 May 23:31post reply

quote:
It's been out in America for a while now, anybody have any impressions of the game or of the porting job?



I've spent about a couple of hours into it. It failed to hook me... like Disgaea did. Characters somehow reminded me of Persona (animation and style-wise). Intro is beautiful. Music just does its job. Dubbing is BAD, really BAD. Voices fail to give any emotions at all. Hope there's a swich to turn them off. Battles seem a bit slow-paced. I'll give it another try when I have some spare time, but overall I didn't like it.





Spoon
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"Re(1):Stella Deus US release" , posted Mon 9 May 04:25post reply

quote:
It's been out in America for a while now, anybody have any impressions of the game or of the porting job?



The game dramatically improves the moment you go to the options menu and set Voice volume to 0%.

The game is more like Hoshigami/FFT/etc. than Disgaea. Since I don't actually like playing Disgaea that much, that's ok by me. The graphics are kinda weird in places.... the menus are boring and sometimes flatout ugly, the character portraits are ZOMG, etc.

It's not a bad game.





Mosquiton
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"Bit of a let down" , posted Mon 9 May 04:36post reply

quote:
It's been out in America for a while now, anybody have any impressions of the game or of the porting job?



As for the port, the writing is quite good (lines like "Pretty big talk from a big pretty man" to androgynous hair guy) but yeah, I turned the voice the hell off. I don't think battle voices can't be turned off.

As for the actual game... as much as it looks like the next big SRPG, and as much as I like Atlus, Stella has some pretty backwards mechanics. And shitty required leveling (as in cave/catacomb/tower of trials). And a boring class change system + useless 'not main' characters.

But it's the really overt game logic that pisses me off. And you definitely can't bend it to your will as in a Nippon Ichi title.

Height is not implemented well at all. Jumping is very limited, and characters that look like they could hit each other (one character head level with another guy's crotch, both using swords for example) that can't. Ridiculously, ALL skills and team attacks ignore height completely.

These 'special' attacks look cool thanks to elaborate character animation, but they take place on a completely different screen (totally isolated from the rest of the field) and are always shown with preset character positions. It disconnects the action from the battlefield... a step back really, considering that the isometric perspective was meant to solve the 'separate battle screen' problem in the first place.

Most character's attacks are multi-hit, so the animations can take some time... but characters often attack more than once a turn due to the nature of the system. That means mutliple multi-attacks per turn... which strikes me as incredibly redundant. No special animation for criticals either.

Arrows/projectiles don't use line of sight, and have no flight path so they basically warp right through walls/ceilings/floors regardless.

I have to admit I'm disappointed with it. Makes me ache for Tactics Ogre (or possibly FFT). Great art and animation though... definitley something I want to see more of.

I consider Growlanser Collection to be the best SRPG released year.





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Pollyanna
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"Re(1):Bit of a let down" , posted Mon 9 May 06:49post reply

First of all, excuse me if I get any of the names wrong, since I played the Japanese one. Actually...no...excuse Atlus of America for translating them wrong.

I didn't like the soundtrack...but it grew on me. It wasn't my style, but I think the composition is quite good. Vizer's theme is in a class of it's own, though. It makes me want to cry...and waltz...in the best way possible. I still go back and listen to that today.

I don't think the "long" battle animations are a problem, since some SRPGS like to make their characters move so slow that it takes them as long to slash once as it takes the SD characters to slash 10 times. However, when you add the multiple attacks, it compounds the issue considerably. Maybe they should just do one stab for a "1X AP amount" attack and do the whole combo for a "3X AP amount" attack. To me, that makes so much sense that it's idiotic not to do it.

I totaly disagree that the cave of trials is mandatory, though. I'll go ahead and be a snot and say that if it's mandatory (or at least mandatory on more than a very ocassional basis) you either suck, or you aren't playing the game right. Between skill management, alchemy and sidequests, you can get around the cave. If you take on a really hard mission, you can level your characters up 4 times a fight (these aren't too terribly common, though). If you don't like submissions, alchemy OR micromanagement, I don't know if the game is to blame anymore.

Or actually...no, I take that back. There's one thing I CAN blame them for. The alchemy system is afflicted because it doesn't record what you've already made. It's so goddamned complicated, you just have to get a guide. And even WITH a guide, you have to take tons and tons of notes. I got addicted to the system, but not addicted in a fun game kind of way...addicted like a bad habit. Addicted like biting your nails.

I liked the game at first, but later it COMPLETELY falls apart. You go for hours and hours and NOTHING happens. They put fights in your way that are too easy to die on and serve no plot purpose. They're just elongating the game. I'm absolutely SICK of this in games today. It's everyone's fault, too, because everyone complains about games being too short. A 30 hour RPG is too short by today's standards, so they have to make a 60 hour one that wastes 30 hours of your time. I'd rather have a 30 hour RPG that's good enough to play twice than a 60 hour one that's not good enough to finish. I've played lots of 50/60 hour RPGs with 30 hours of good content.

I also don't like how when you get "hidden" characters on your team, their levels are sometimes ridiculously low. Low enough to completely invalidate them.

So...I think Stella Deus would be a great 25/30 hour game without the hours spent doing alchemy or fights that you can't lose that amount to nothing anyway. Oh...and I guess the time spent on repetitive animation.

And if the art looks like Persona, it's because the Persona in game artist did the character designs. I'm pleased to see that he's not just Kaneko Jr. The designs for the game are my favorite part, for sure. And the US voice acting is a shame. The Japanese cast was really excellent. Well...except for Seion, who thought he was sexy by talking quietly, but was really just hard to understand.





Spoon
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"Re(2):Bit of a let down" , posted Mon 9 May 07:22post reply

quote:
tons of stuff



I'm not very far in the game, but:

The Catacomb is NOT mandatory. In fact, it seems that the best way to level is to pick the first Catacomb floor where you can swat away all but one enemy (who isn't even really a threat), and then bang away at your teammates. Easy EXP with no risk of getting killed, and your healers can earn tons of EXP/SP from all the healing. But this seems far, far from required to me. I haven't actually needed it... except for what? Bringing up Cody who joins at level 1? And I don't even use him.

Fusion makes the game easy already. If the normal enemies are threatening to you, fuse some ridiculous items together. Bosses CAN kill you, but that's why you learn to hit them and then TAKE A STEP BACKWARDS. There's a difference between letting the boss get two attacks on you and one attack on you; it is often literally the difference between surviving handily and dying.

Y'know, Wizardry for the PS2 had item fusing (to create spells), and it would list spell you have found/can currently fuse and then in a subtree every item combination for the selected spell. Why doesn't this game have that? And Wizardry wasn't even the first game to have that.

I had some other random comment.
But I have forgotten it now.





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"Re(3):Bit of a let down" , posted Mon 9 May 07:32post reply

Wow, I was waiting for this game with a lot of hope, and your comments (and the unanimity of them) have surprised me. I STILL have Disgaea waiting to be layed since I know it's a high time consuming game and now I don't want to be too distracted with videogames, so I specially understand Pollyanna's comment about games' length and time lost with pointless situations.





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"Re(2):Bit of a let down" , posted Mon 9 May 07:38post reply

There's so much to miss if you don't read a guide before playing, especially the more interesting (and abusable?) alchemy system, hidden tricks (x00,000 easy gold banzai) and really secret characters.

Like Pollynna said, the alchemy system is a mess. First time I tried playing it, I took down notes and it looked like I was writing a thesis on the game. It's not that it being complicated makes it not fun. Seiken Densetsu 4's tempering engine is a good example of a fun complicated system (or maybe I'm just weird).

The optional quests are pretty weird though, weirder than even Phantasy Star Online's quests.

The 'stealing' system will make you want to live a crime-free life.

I restarted my game and found much more enjoyment by:
1) Abusing the alchemy system and creating super equipment early on. Well, not too super as noone can move with all the extra weight...
2) Super money trick --kita!-- Don't feel bad as alchemy can be very very heavy on your wallet.
3) No more recruiting non-story characters. They take up space and I can't kick them off my team. Made the game a tiny bit more challenging I guess. But there's the pain of having to level them up to your party's level again.
4) You get no experience for kills made when you counter attack. Throw away those 50% counter attack items!

Basically, I think that it's more fun overkilling the enemies rather than planning a good strategy and facing them fairly, Nippon Ichi style. Plus the game actually rewards you for overkill damage! The blood of so many level 1 weakling enemies on my weapons...
If I want a game to test my skill and strategy for the fun of it, I wouldn't pick this one.

Anyone wants to complete the

Spoiler (Highlight to view) -
100 catacombs challenge? My main party is around level 70~80ish with super equipment and I still get killed.

End of Spoiler







Spoon
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"Re(3):Bit of a let down" , posted Mon 9 May 09:58post reply

quote:
rather than planning a good strategy and facing them fairly, Nippon Ichi style.



I wasn't aware that that was the N1 style.





Mosquiton
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"Re(2):Bit of a let down" , posted Mon 9 May 12:02:post reply

Okay, I take back that the catacombs are mandatory.

I only went there to level up my Level Retarded secret characters, who were later replaced by infinitely superior story characters with the exact same abilties... plus better abilities. And stats. Goddamn mercenary characters suck (and they have such a cool style too). Those 'generic' voices suck ass, though... anyway...

By the time I got under-level Axe guy, I decided I just wasn't using him. I actually like Mercator, goddamnit, and maybe I can suffer enough to alchemize him a fly skill or two...

I quit playing a while after that because the game is a time-sink and not really a test of my skill/strategy. I've played a lot of decent and better-than decent SRPGs, and to me it just wasn't worth my time.

I admit that hard-fought victories are nice though, and that I played through most of Hoshigami.

Another note about fighting non-critical battles (what I should have said instead of catacombs in the first place)

Overleveling is pretty much required to fullfull the stupid requirements for, say, recruiting Vizer.

Not to mention that certain skills are nearly essential for some of the boss fights (anti-fear, for example). In this game you have to 'train' skills if you decide you want one, which is more often than not useless leveling (catacombs are ideal for this).

Of course, the skill system is terribly limited anyway. Very little differentiation between characters and no real way to 'customize' effectively.

Maybe I'm a bit down on this game, but I really wanted it to be better. Oh, and Polly you're right on about the attack animation. That same idea had occured to me.





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[this message was edited by Mosquiton on Mon 9 May 12:24]

Spoon
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"Re(3):Bit of a let down" , posted Mon 9 May 13:46post reply

quote:
Okay, I take back that the catacombs are mandatory.

I only went there to level up my Level Retarded secret characters, who were later replaced by infinitely superior story characters with the exact same abilties... plus better abilities. And stats. Goddamn mercenary characters suck (and they have such a cool style too). Those 'generic' voices suck ass, though... anyway...

By the time I got under-level Axe guy, I decided I just wasn't using him. I actually like Mercator, goddamnit, and maybe I can suffer enough to alchemize him a fly skill or two...

I quit playing a while after that because the game is a time-sink and not really a test of my skill/strategy. I've played a lot of decent and better-than decent SRPGs, and to me it just wasn't worth my time.

I admit that hard-fought victories are nice though, and that I played through most of Hoshigami.

Another note about fighting non-critical battles (what I should have said instead of catacombs in the first place)

Overleveling is pretty much required to fullfull the stupid requirements for, say, recruiting Vizer.

Not to mention that certain skills are nearly essential for some of the boss fights (anti-fear, for example). In this game you have to 'train' skills if you decide you want one, which is more often than not useless leveling (catacombs are ideal for this).

Of course, the skill system is terribly limited anyway. Very little differentiation between characters and no real way to 'customize' effectively.

Maybe I'm a bit down on this game, but I really wanted it to be better. Oh, and Polly you're right on about the attack animation. That same idea had occured to me.



I suppose we had vastly different expectations from these things.

I expected something decent and pretty.
It hasn't totally failed on either regard, yet. I did expect some pretty cutscenes and pretty portraits, since those were prominently on display. I've gotten those.

See, I had this experience once. I was looking around for something RPGish, and stumbled onto all this stuff about all these free trial MMORPGs. Each one looked prettier than the last (in screenshots) and each one sounded better than the last (in description). They were all garbage. Once things got moving, the pretty screenshots meant SQUAT since the games looked hideous in motion. The game mechanics weren't fun. And so after that, I truly understood how to properly accord expectations. A soul sinking experience like that has now made many a game a pleasant surprise for me, and has kept me from being too disappointed by anything.

I failed to learn this long ago, because many games that I got excited about over a few media items turned out to be GREAT. But that was back then.

So how long is it until Minstrel Song comes out in North America?





Ammadeau
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"Re(4):Bit of a let down" , posted Mon 9 May 20:26post reply

Because exp is weighted depending on the character's level, its very easy to level underleveled characters during story maps you have to do anyway. Just give them shock blast, which has 100% hit rate, and they'll get 25 exp per hit even if they do 1 damage. If they kill an enemy, they'll get 100 exp, which is one level right there. Outside of some boss fights, I never needed all six so it was pretty easy once I figured that out.

I beat the game clearing only 9 levels of the catacombs and those were nine levels I never really had to do in the first place. For some reason, my Grey became a god somewhere in the second half of the game and was pretty much unstoppable. Some of the boss fights were still irritating, especially the lame spirits one that's repeated four times, but I managed to get through somehow.

Overall Stella felt like an unfinished game that could have been great if it had another six months of dev time. Still liked it though.





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Mosquiton
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"not so great expectations" , posted Mon 9 May 23:03post reply

quote:

See, I had this experience once... And so after that, I truly understood how to properly accord expectations. A soul sinking experience like that has now made many a game a pleasant surprise for me, and has kept me from being too disappointed by anything.

I failed to learn this long ago, because many games that I got excited about over a few media items turned out to be GREAT. But that was back then.



I think you're misunderstanding me here... I actually expected the game to let me down a bit after the initial impressions I'd read from early importers.

So why am I so down on it? First, it's just a shame to me that a game with such an original aesthetic is so unoriginal and so often awkward. But more importantly, like I mentioned earlier I've played so many damn SRPGs I can't wring any enjoyment out of mediocre ones anymore.

I really liked Saiyuki back in the day. I used to be addicted to the original Front Mission. I didn't completely dislike Hoshigami... though I ended up hating some of its systems.

I'd say Stella is a lot more balanced than Hoshigami, and I always liked the "RAP" system (I forget what they called it this time) but it still has about a million small things that piss me off.

I don't really feel like I'm jaded. Hell, I enjoyed Future Tactics a good deal despite its broken nature. I just don't like Stella and wouldn't recommend it to people who want to play something more than just a decent but good-looking SRPG.





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Pollyanna
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"Re(5):Bit of a let down" , posted Tue 10 May 05:25post reply

quote:

I beat the game clearing only 9 levels of the catacombs and those were nine levels I never really had to do in the first place. For some reason, my Grey became a god somewhere in the second half of the game and was pretty much unstoppable. Some of the boss fights were still irritating, especially the lame spirits one that's repeated four times, but I managed to get through somehow.

Overall Stella felt like an unfinished game that could have been great if it had another six months of dev time. Still liked it though.



I agree on all points. Could have been great, lame spirit fights and...God Grey. Holy crap he got strong...yeah, about halfway through. I got addicted to his "power" and kept giving him better and better weapons. It was sick. I don't feel they balanced character usefulness very well.





Mozex
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"Re(1):Stella Deus US release" , posted Tue 10 May 15:05post reply

I got it over the weekend and played it a bit on Sunday, here are my impressions.

This game is Hoshigami all over again, except the fights aren't as hard. I tried comparing the credits to Hoshigami, but my H. manual doesn't list any.

The sprites are often very ugly. What the hell is up with the squid-priests and planter-pot-fighters?

Quests are a good idea, and most seem to be used effectively.

The voices are bland and I'm just as happy not having them there.





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