Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

TG17- Nicest Evil People You Know

Even more powerful than her moderating hugs! A kiss able to turn Hiero into a dopey, mushy fool. Waitaminute...
Balance has a bit of a better view of the Sins than everybody else. Partly because they just built that into her, but also because she focuses more on their being awesome and less on the not so nice things they do for fun and profit. Liiike, say, stabbing your rivals to get them to leave your home world. That's the sort of thing that you would remember and bring up later. If you're a wuss! Man up, Hiero.


Long, I feel uneasy Review: Luminous Arc 2- LA2 was my SRPG for the year, my turn-based strategy itch has been sated, and it was a rather pleasant experience. The art style and characters are cute and anime-y without being in your face anime-y. The dialogue is occasionally pretty funny especially with the bossier characters (I went from liking Dia to making sure she was always on my team when she screamed "Boo-urns!" at a fleeing enemy) and the Team Rocket-esq bad guys go full on into being incompetent but doing it while being awesome. The heroes are dumb and I grumbled at some stupid thing they did but in the next dialogue box, the bad guy showed up and yelled at the heroes for the same reasons I did. It's Japanese and it's an RPG, so its very wordy and has plenty of overly long and drawn out dialogue. There's no rhyme or reason as to what lines are spoken and what lines are just text so it makes for an odd experience at times when trivial segments are fully voiced and you're skipping over it because it's pointless, and then an emotional important to the story moment is silent. Points against the game for having a character named “Pip” and making him detestable. His personality, voice, art, and the fact that he's the only character that knows a healing spell so you're FORCED to use him a the beginning. You do pick up a second healer later in the game and while her voice is extremely annoying, she's far less hate-worthy than Pip. The story's rampant sexism starts off as so stupid that it's comical, but as the game moves on, you start to get the impression that they're kind of serious about it and it gets really creepy. Sure it starts off with mocking the highly capable hunter and tracker that she's a failure of a woman because she can't cook but when you learn that the source of magic and power is polygamy... eh, that's just too weird. The gameplay is nothing revolutionary, but it's complex enough that there's different tactics to use but not so overly involved that you have to micromanage anything. It rewards good strategy like taking the high ground, surrounding enemies, and simple elemental weaknesses and but you can also ally characters together to get new moves for a few rounds and build up a strength gauge each time you attack to unleash special moves when you're in a pinch. The bosses, unfortunately, are ludicrously overpowered. There's one reoccurring boss that has a vastly higher speed rating, can fly, has vastly better movement than you, has ranged attacks, casts debuffs, has a one hit kill special move, and is programmed to strike and run away which given his insane speed and movement ratings means that you'll have trouble just keeping up with him, never mind killing him. The game has an issue with the enemy's speed kind of all around. They randomly get two turns whether they attack or not so they can travel much farther than you, do more damage overall, and generally screw with planning and strategy. There are some enemies that use kamikazee attacks when injured so you have to kill them quickly, but they'll get unexplained speed boosts so it's random whether you'll be able to plan out enough strong people to kill them quickly and not leave them alive with one or two hits left. The game isn't difficult because the enemy plans well or uses any remote kind of tactics (in fact, they're terribly easy to bait), there's just a heck of a lot more than them, they can warp in mid-battle, and their levels and stats are always so much higher than yours. Once you're about midway through the game, any character that uses physical attacks is useless. Enemies level up so quickly that you're not able to even hit them (attacks with accuracy ratings of over 80% will miss almost every time) and even when you can connect, it does so little damage. Magic is always 100% accurate and often does splash damage, so there's almost never a time when it isn't the best option. Other battles just have the game giving you the middle finger with no shame. One has you fight two bosses at the same time, they get reinforcements that are stronger than anybody on your team and about even with the bosses that spawn next to your team, and then after defeating them, you're immediately sent into another battle with no chance to save or change your items and you have to fight THREE bosses at the same time. The final boss, it should go without saying, is ludicrously unfair. Its kills all your characters in one or two hits, gains 5% of its health back every round, can go 2 turns in a row (thus getting 10% of its health back), physical attacks are about worthless, has 7000 HP while my strongest character has 800, and is preceded by another 15-20 minute battle that you have to do over again if you lose and quit. The only way I could beat it was to grind one quest that gives you a consumable item that does 1000 damage. Only once every attacker in my party had at least one of those did I bother fighting her again. You level up and earn experience like in Shining Force but the game is super stingy with what it gives you. SF would give you 10 or 15 experience just for a good attack against a monster stronger than you, but LA only gives you 2 or 3. Killing a monster gave you 49 experience in SF but getting 25 in LA is considered great. My wuss healer killed a monster ten levels higher than her and she only got 57 experience. This means that in your party, you'll really only have 3 or 4 great characters and everybody else will quickly fall behind. You're also only allowed to bring 6 people into battle out of a party around 15 so once you reach a certain point, it will be all but impossible to make any use of characters you've had for a while but not used a lot. Switching around your items after battles is a huge pain because of the terrible menu system. You wind up with dozens of useless items that you can't sell, store, or do anything with and you can't even organize them so any time you want to use a good item, you have to scroll through pages of the useless ones. Trying to change equipment for multiple people is annoying too. The game defaults you to stupid choices and it requires too many key presses, confirmations, and cancels for each item for every person. Handheld game or not, it's going to take you a good while to beat this game. And it's not just drawn out with filler, so it's actually enjoyable to play across the 15-20 hours it takes to beat it. LA2 isn't fantastic, but it's a solid, good game that I enjoyed playing so I'll probably try to dig up the other games in the series after I put in enough time to say "Man, I haven't played a good strategy game in a while".
Sins Committed: Super creepy sexism, Fake difficulty, Bad menus
Virtues Acted: Good writing, Good art, Good characters, Good battle system, Long