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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sen no Kiseki I (Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Flash)

I've been playing this game for awhile now. It got off to a very slow start, esp when compared with other RPG titles like Natural Doctrine and Final Fantasy X-2 that I'd played, in which you leap into the thick of things straightaway. But once you get used to its pace, it's totally engaging. This is fast becoming one of my favourite games this year. 

I read on forums that the Legend of Heroes series focuses as much on its storytelling, which is vast and multi-layers, as it does on its gameplay (which is also fun). Here, we follow the adventure of a group of nine students -- Rean (main/ sword), Alisa (bow), Eliot (mage), Laura (sword), Machias (gun), Emma (mage), Jusis (sword), Fie (daggers) and Gaius (lancer) -- all having a back story. Their purpose/mission is only gradually unfold, with a cliffhanger right at the end (Part Two is coming out in September, around the same time I finish this game, I guess). Story-wise it's a bit like Final Fantasy Type 0 but with characters much better fleshed out here. 

Also cover image of the game guide,
which I ordered directly from Japan <3 td="">
Okay, the game did kick off with a quick battle that takes place in the future before rewinding back to the present. Playing the game is like reading a graphic, you can't just skip and get to the parts that you like. For instance, NPCs are there to talk to, not to be ignored as some of them hold important background information to the story, or side quests. Then there is the battle system, which is turn-based (my favourite), very traditional and challenging. It is never just about attacking but buffing and debuffing, as well as positioning of characters on the grid. So the opening battle isn't a problem for anyone who played this series before ... I dabbled briefly with Ao  no Kiseki, part two of the "Crossbell Arc", that directly precedes Sen no Kiseki. and the roughly the same. There are no elements such as "links" to the mechanism (think Persona 4 Golden) but it is easy to grasp. The slightly over-the-top animation of super attacks reminds me of the Disgaea games.

Sen no Kiseki is the first in the series that is presented with 3D graphic representation like in Persona 4 Golden ~ not that you need special glasses to play it but you are looking at the world at the character's eye level as opposed to looking from above. That I really like. Also the anime and music is just superb! So I'm now in the middle of Chapter 3, kinda half way through the game, and there are surprises at every turn as we learn more about each character's background and history. More and more characters are also introduced and not all of them are what they first appeared to be.

Unlike some tactics RPGs, weapons and accessories are not a major concern (like, weapons are automatically upgraded for protagonist's classmates) and accessories/ items/ skills seem quite easy to obtain (just open all the treasure chests). What is tough though is that skill points (for magic and special attacks) are easily exhausted and I'm still working out the strategy for saving them (sometimes attacks can be free!)

I'm gonna grind/farm a bit cos I really like the battle system as most characters can use both magic and physical attacks well there's always a bit of strategy involved. At the moment fav characters are Rean, Jusis, Fie, Gaius, Machias and Alisa cos of their 3D personality.  

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