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#0: 08-18-2012 @ 08:04:39 am
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  • Real Name:Ahmad Rasheed
  • Joined:2011-06-29

Words cannot adequately express just how much I am in love with this game right now :). More useful post later, possibly.


#1: 08-18-2012 @ 06:49:47 pm
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  • Real Name:Ahmad Rasheed
  • Joined:2011-06-29

So, mini-review will have to wait till later. For the time being, suffice it to say that this game reminds me of Chantelise in terms of gameplay style, except:

1.) Disgaea level of character customization, levelling etc.
2.) A *VERY* entertaining power-up/skill usage system.
3.) By far one of the best "99 floor random dungeon" systems I've ever seen.
4.) Disgaea level of hillarity.

Per Steam, 13 hrs played in one day. It's just that fun :).

Here's some of my captions/screenshots. Enjoy:

This post was edited by BountyHunterSAx on August 18, 2012, 11:53 pm

#2: 08-20-2012 @ 11:49:07 am
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  • Real Name:Ahmad Rasheed
  • Joined:2011-06-29

So it's been a good two days (and just under 18 hours) of playing this game and now that I'm stuck at work I think I'll go ahead and review/explain it.

For any of you who played Chantelise, you'll notice some superficial similarities right away. The game is an action JRPG, though rahter than 2d cutouts on a 3d background the entire game plays out as a top-down 2D game (think Link to the Past appearance). The graphics are intentionally more retro-styled and it totally works for the theme and tone they try to set. You've got a bunch of classes - each of which have a few weapon types they prefer ot use and gain skills for. You've got a single hub-town with all your shopping needs and then the "revolving door gate" which you use to access (and replay, if you so choose) the different dungeon levels the game has. The average dungeon floor level takes <5minutes to beat (though it may take ~10 the first time, assuming you arne't getting killed). Every time you complete one by getting to the exit you unlock the next. Death is a wrist-slap. You lose 50% of the exp and gold and all the items you gained during that "trip", so at least during the main game it's not a steep penalty at all.
The game doesn't force you to commit to a main character. You can create tons of characters (I don't know if this is capped), and switch your 'main' character from the menu at any time amongst them. Further, if you've already levelled him and don't want to restart, you can rename, retitle, and re-gender your character whenever you like (though you can't class-switch as easily - but I'm getting ahead of myself).

So far all pretty standard JRPG fare. But that's where the simplicity ends and all the fun "depth" comes in.

Magic Circles:
By far the most innovative idea this game brings to the table - and incredibly fun to mess with - are the magic circles. While you can only control one character while running through a dungeon, you're able to have up to 8 sub characters who each gain exp via the magic circles you set up.
The magic circles provide slots for placing sub-characters, each of whom has a set amount of resource (mana) that can be used on artifacts. Artifacts are a special kind of item you can pick up which will be placed in these magic-circle slots (attached to a character) and enhance the main character, provided their is enough mana to cover it. Enhance by increasing the ATK, DEF, SP, item-find chance, EXP gain (or exp gain of the subcharacter), etc. Like with any items, these too can gain up to four titles with a wide variety of effects and changes in mana cost.
But wait! There's more :). Apart from the artifact slots, there are other effect-slots that can be automatically filled if a condition is met and/or if you add enough artifacts to reach it. It's way more ocmplicated to explain than to do so I'm not gonna go into it. Suffice it to say there's a ton of depth to any given magic circle.

And each character class can unlock 20 different magic circle arrangements. Yeah. That.

I have spent literally hours (5-10minutes at a time) shuffling and creating multiple different magic circle combinations, trying to find an optimal mix - it's incredibly rewarding, fun and addictive.

Item Titling:
As alluded to before, items each come with titles - up to four of them. Titles vary in usefulness and type significantly. You've got your usual Atk+1, WalkSpd+5, FireDmg+5's; but then you've got some really good stuff too and even some more bizzare stuff. Further it's not just one title, but up to four titles on any given weapon. Titles are transferrable . . but doing so is tricky. To get a title off an item you must destroy the item. This gives you one copy of it. You need 4 copies ot place it on another item. And that's just for the first-slot title. The second takes 8 copies. Then 12...then a whopping 16.
Needless to say, title-grinding is very much an endgame type of dealie. And in no way required to win the game.

"The Random Dungeons":
I don't want to go into the full details on this as my post is already running long. But I mentioned earlier that the setup for these random dungeons is one of the best ideas I've ever seen, so I have to share some details. For simplicity's sake, I won't discuss the Tri-Geons [more complicated version of the basic random dungeon]. I'll just discuss the basic one, the Neo-Geon.

So, in your typical random-dungeon setting, you've got the floor which is populated with baddies randomly and you've got to go through it to find the exit and go down a floor where everything is a bit harder and rewards a bit better. Continue till infinity or till you get to the end or use your exit item. That's what Disgaea has.
In the Neo-Geon system, anywhere from 1-5 gates (biased towards 2) will appear on every floor. There are multiple types of gates: The angel gate, the hell gate, the warp gate, the gambling gate, the doom gate, and the exit; with no guarantee of recieving any specific kind or set of these from floor to floor. Enemy levels, item drop probability/level, and title drop probability/level all start out at 1 (out of 9999, 999, or 999 respectively). When you enter a , heaven or warp gate, enemy level will go up by a small or medium amount (slot-machine style, you stop the number randomly), and the item value/title vlaue goes up by a medium to larger amount. A gambling gate may reduce or increase the item-value, by a large or small amount -- but somewhat biased in your favor. Hell and Doom gates? I don't think I need to explain.
The reason this system is so *brilliant* is because of just how well it exploits that natural tendency to greed :)! If you're having a reasonable string of luck or doing kind of well, or happened to get your item/title level up to 150 with enemies you can still handle - it's really tempting to not leave the dungeon. You can handlej ust another floor! But if you pass up that gate leading out, you might find the next roulette landing you with too tough enemies... or the one after...and with no exit for three dungeons in a row.

From what I've seen, there's a guaranteed "boss" fight every 10th floor, with one of each gate spawning + a treasure chest, so some level of planning is permitted. Of course, if your warp gate warps you forward too far you might end up skipping it. It makes for a very entertaining experience trying these things out, and I can totally see myself spelunking them for hours to come.

Everything is customizable. Weapon names, weapon appearances, character appearances, preset NPC speech patterns, background musics, you name it. And this was true for the PSP version! It's obviously a lot more convenient on the PC. I found a nice Prinny-face and have been using it for my main character quite happily :).
All told,though, this is a feature I will not likely be making much use of. But it is there.

And that's enough for now. Suffice it to say, this game hits all the right notes for me and at $15, has already paid for itself in terms of time spent on it.


PS: Steam Demo available, and currently 20% off, if you're interested.

This post was edited by BountyHunterSAx on August 20, 2012, 6:25 pm