With SeaBed out of the way (and reviewed here *nudge nudge*), my free time has been absolutely consumed by two different JRPGs.
Langrisser I & II (PS4)
This remastered collection of the first two games in the strategy RPG Langrisser series (the first was released in English under the name Warsong on the Sega Genesis!) has its hooks in me thanks to its class-based party composition, but not so much the story.
It’s a pretty basic affair, with you controlling the prince of the Baldea kingdom who flees an attack on his home base by the evil Kaiser Digos. There’s a legend about a powerful sword called Langrisser and, being an evildoer, Digos wants it for himself. Long story short, your dad stays behind in order to buy time for your escape, dies in the process, and thus the game’s events are put into motion.
As far as combat goes, it’s an SRPG: battle takes place on a grid and each unit is granted one turn for moving and another for attacking. However, you don’t control just one basic unit. Instead, you’re given commanders that have their own job classes (leveled into by spending points earned in battle) and each job class can bring a set number of grunts (i.e. fodder units) to help even the odds. Some jobs grant more grunts while others prefer smaller, more powerful units. There are standard ground units, mounted units, flying units (on DRAGONS), etc., and it’s been a lot of fun replaying previous missions in order to unlock different jobs.
Two more aspects I really enjoy are the soundtrack (which is full of shredding power metal) and the character portraits — not so much the models used in-game, which resemble just about every other mobile RPG like Fire Emblem Heroes, but the illustrated portraits. You can even use the sweet 90s anime portraits and classic maps from the original games as well, or just choose one or the other.
Supposedly, Langrisser is only about 15 hours long, so I’ll hopefully have the first game finished by next weekend. Although it’s a collection of two games, I’d prefer to review them independently.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (PS4)
This game has been in my backlog for what feels like forever and it’s often touted as one of Nihon Falcom’s best. I loved their previous work on Tokyo Xanadu Ex+ and fell in love with Trails of Cold Steel 1 & 2, so I’m not sure why I waited this long to begin with.
Like the previous Ys titles, this is an action RPG that feels very much like a more fantasy-based Tokyo Xanadu Ex+. You can switch between your three party members mid-combat, everyone has standard combos and mid-air strikes, and you can set special attacks to the four face buttons while holding down R1. Combat feels fast and fluid and switching between the different characters to exploit enemy weaknesses is always fun.
Storywise, you play as the series’ mainstay adventurer Adol Christin who’s working aboard the sea vessel Lombardia when it suddenly shipwrecks on the fabled Isle of Seiren. Your first order of business is to comb the island for survivors and collect resources to build a base of operation. Then you keep doing that (between dungeon crawling, boss fights, and a tower-defense mini-game). It’s a gameplay hook that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed for the last 10 hours.
I’m not sure who Dana is yet, or what the hell a lacrimosa is (it’s Latin for “weeping” according to Google), but I’m in it for the long haul.
Outside of these two games, I wanted to do some housekeeping here at the end of the blog. I had some really bad IRL stuff occur over the last few months, suddenly losing my uncle three days after Christmas. He was my big brother growing up, we were super close, and I’ve taken it pretty hard. I just… needed a break. It also doesn’t help that we’re in April, which is the two-year anniversary of my old best friend’s suicide. But now that I’ve gotten the itch to write again, here we are.
I’d like to do more with this website than just my weekend wrap-up and whatever reviews come my way, but I’m not exactly sure what “that” is yet. Ideally, I want to focus on the three genres I love the most: RPGs, survival horror, and visual novels.
I”ve never been big on smaller WordPress sites regurgitating press releases for the sake of content, but if a smaller game genuinely has my interest, then I want to share that with you folks. I’m not saying expect one person (me) to flood the website with trailers and stuff, but maybe expect one or two here and there. My goal from the beginning was to talk about games with like-minded people and sharing info about upcoming titles that I find interesting kinda lines up with that.
I’m also a sucker for lists. Sure, they’re cliche and usually relegated to social media tweets, but sometimes I just want to share my top 5 favorite wrestling deathmatches or songs to cook to. Who knows. I just know I want to write more than I do, so expect a short transition phase while I figure things out.
I’m also down to host stuff for other people who don’t blog too regularly, so if that sounds like you and you have a game you want to review, then feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (my @ is up there in the top-right).
I do still plan on contributing to The Well-Red Mage, who is one of the best dudes I’ve ever met online, but right now I’m easing my way back into writing, doing things on my terms, and figuring this whole “thing” out while self-isolating and drinking WAY too much coffee at weird hours.
So yeah. More content, even if it’s just to appease me.
Anyway. Hi. Yes. Video games. What are you playing this weekend?