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Thread: The Franky Tank's Ramblings

  1. #61

    Default Re: The Franky Tank's Ramblings

    I look forward to seeing your thoughts again when the time comes. If it ends up not grabbing you after another earnest try, then it's just not the series for you. Whether it's the Sky games or the Cold Steel games, both are a lot more about the characters and building the world/setting, and waiting until around the last quarter of the game to really start picking up steam with the main plot. I might have to do a run down here about why the Sky trilogy resonated so well with me at some point.

    Alright, on to the next character I want to talk about. Let me introduce you to the up and coming hero with an explosive temperament, Bakugo.

    Spoiler:


    So it's been less than a year since I started the series, and this character was one that surprised me with how much I like him. First of all, I thought he was just going to be a one note character. In the first chapter, we get introduced to our protagonist, Deku, and Bakugo is just an arrogant bully that just seemed to be a way to show off a bit of Deku's motivation. Fast forward 100+ chapters, Bakugo has a presence through the series at large, and is a foil to Deku's character. He still has an abrasive personality, and still can be quite arrogant, but has become the character I'm most invested in the series.

    Of course, this was a long journey of me warming up to him over time. One large hurdle was how he was initially introduced, as a cocky bully who had no redeeming qualities at all, and in one chapter gets you to look at him in only a negative light. Despite the fact that you get a scene with him being less abrasive towards Deku not too many chapters later, his personality just makes it hard to get behind him. The other problem was my imagination of what this character was ultimately going to be, and I went through a large chunk of catching up thinking Bakugo was going to be a character who I would just end up hating. In the end, once certain events happened, I figured out that my image of Bakugo was unfounded in some ways, and that the direction of his character was going to be quite different than what I expected.

    I have yet to reread the chapters again, so my memory of a number of things are hazy, but I think there is one defining reason that made me understand him, and got me to like him despite having such a personality and initial introduction. His outlook on what a hero is all comes down to power, and only the strong can become a hero. Deep down, he wants to be a hero like his idol, and when he becomes a hero like that, he will be doing a lot of good. We've also seen him be less abrasive towards others, and while still not charming, he does have respect towards fellow classmates. We saw this in one arc, where despite others chastising him for taking a class mate seriously in a mock battle, he went all out as a sign of respect towards that person, because he understands that so many others are fighting towards their goals like him.

    So this is where my greater appreciation of him as a character comes in, as I look at his relationship with Deku. Deku was initially shown as a weak person who dreamed of being the best, while Bakugo was introduced as someone born with the ability to go far. Deku and Bakugo did hang out when they were younger, and at first I found it weird, but I think Bakugo does have that soft spot for helping others, and for a weakling like Deku, was willing to help him out as a person who aspired to become a hero. However, Deku showed strength and willingness to help Bakugo, and now in the present, Deku is not the weakling that he once was. This presents an issue for Bakugo, as he believes in strength being the force for good, but still can't get past the idea of Deku being capable of being a hero despite the appearance of being weak. It's a struggle that plagues him, and is quite well done through the series so far.

    In a way, it's kind of relatable. It's easy to have certain expectations of something, where you look at some sort of group, and equate it with a specific trait. For example, it can be easy to assume that a job is held by certain kinds of people, and when you come across someone who doesn't fit inside that tight view, it can be hard to imagine that. It's something that I certainly struggle with from time to time, as well as my family and friends. Bakugo's character, to me, seems like a message of how you shouldn't judge a person, and that you can't expect them to go certain way you think they should. Typing this all out, his character in many ways was like my time looking at him as a character, judging based on a few points from introduction, and not giving him a chance for so long because of that.

  2. #62

    Default Re: The Franky Tank's Ramblings

    It's been around 7 years since was introduced to my first Persona game, Persona 4. From there I played the others and many of the SMT games. With the release of Persona 5 this year, I was quick to hail it as superior over 4, but I've become less certain of that over time. 5 did a lot of thing great, but something about 4 just seems to continue to resonate with me more compared to the other games. Still, both are great games with great characters and themes that reflect with the current times. One thing I can say for certain, is that while I loved a number of characters from 5, Persona 4 still has my favorite character from all the games, my man, Kanji Tatsumi.

    Spoiler:


    Compared to the other characters I talked about before, one standout for me is I can relate with Kanji in some way. Kanji has that tough looking exterior, one that says don't mess with him. One look at him and many would assume he's a jock type, and be "manly". However, that couldn't be further from the truth. As the game stresses over and over, appearances are deceiving, and you can't judge somebody on shallow things such as looks. Kanji is actually a big softie, one who will get angry and yell in frustration, but he wouldn't really attack somebody. He's pretty much all bark and no bite. Add on to the fact that Kanji has hobbies and likes things that people would find "unmanly". This is a huge part of his character arc, as he has to become comfortable with who he is and not worry about what others think of him because of that.

    While I don't have that tough look, I have been around plenty of people from work offshore that assumed things about me because of my stature and being male. When certain people found out things about me that went against the idea of masculinity (being a virgin, never having gotten drunk or been in a fight, not liking sports, guns, hunting), reactions were less than pleasant. While at that exact moment I wasn't thinking about it, I believe Kanji was a bit of an inspiration to me. He loves cute things and has a knack for crafts, and while that may be considered unmanly, he's still a cool guy despite what some may say. In those moments when some thought less of me, I shrugged it off because their opinion of me didn't matter, it didn't change who I was or made me any less of a person. It's something I can't put into words, but the way Kanji is written is just done so well.

    Now I do want to say, a lot of the main cast of Persona 4 is amazing. Naoto fits quite a bit into the same conflict Kanji has, dealing with how society views your gender role and getting past that. Rise has an image crisis, unsure of who she actually is. Yukiko and Chie are great individually, but I really love their friendship as well. All that said, Kanji was chosen over the others mainly because I can relate to him, and I found him a little more charming compared to the others.

    Next will be my last character for the time being, a timid chef who should be the main character of this cooking series.

    The other thing that really works well for me is just Kanji's personality. There is that tough guy act he puts on as a front at times, but he is quite earnest and even if others poke fun at times, he can be pretty upfront about what he thinks and feels (except for one particular thing). If he see's something he finds cute, he won't hold back and will comment on it. If something gets under his skin, he will get a bit snappy, or get flustered. He's not great with words and isn't book smart, but he still has some insightful moments, and once he is committed to something, he goes all in. Kanji may be the butt of a joke more than he would like, but he doesn't let that get him down, and he can get back on his feet and move on. Put all of that together, I just can't help but smile and cheer Kanji on.

  3. #63

    Default Re: The Franky Tank's Ramblings

    (being a virgin, never having gotten drunk or been in a fight, not liking sports, guns, hunting)
    Spoiler:
    Original Stories:
    Hybrid
    Four Swords

  4. #64

    Default Re: The Franky Tank's Ramblings

    Over a year ago, I watched the first season of Shokugeki no Souma (Aka Food Wars). It was a fun show with some fun characters and the cooking stuff was done pretty well, with references thrown in for fun. Shortly after that, the second season came out, and after that ended I decided to read the manga. While I still enjoy the series overall, it has definitely dropped in quality quite a bit, and many of the characters that I came to love have become little more than background cheerleaders. Still, there is one character who still has prominence, and despite what happened in the most recent chapter, is still a character I enjoy, Megumi.

    Spoiler:


    While Soma is the lead character, I consider Megumi more as the main character even if the series hasn't given her a lot of focus for a while. When first introduced to her, we learn that she came to the school bright eyed and ready to impress, but she quickly got shot down as she was unable to make much of an impression. Throughout her middle school time she barely skirted by until she got to high school, which she was on thin ice. She quickly becomes impressed with Soma's skills, and while she doesn't have much confidence, the spark that was all but gone was beginning to flame up again.

    Where most characters feel like they remain static for the most part, Megumi has the journey of improving and showing that despite her size and demeanor, she has the ability to go up against some of the best. She shows ability to adapt and make impressive dishes, but her nerves get in the way a lot of the time. While she still gets nervous, she has improved overtime and once gets past her initial nervousness, she comes out and cooks with confidence. That's when she really shines, and shows her potential which has slowly unlocked overtime.

    I seem to have a soft spot for these kinds of characters, those who are shy and nervous, but overtime can come out of their shell and show that despite their timid nature, there is a fierce fire within them that can be unstoppable at times. This most likely stems from the fact that I had a period where I was shy and timid, and had to overcome some anxieties to become who I am today. The other thing is that there's just something great about a timid character who shows confidence in certain situations. A lot of times it shows what gets them to tick, or what they find important that get them riled enough to speak up and hold their ground. So when Megumi has those times her eyes shine with confidence, it just makes those scenes with her that much better.

    I'll talk about more characters at a later time, but those 4 are the ones I really wanted to talk about. Will probably talk about a few travel stories, then I really want to go in depth about a topic I've been wanting to do for a while, even though very few if any who read this will be able to appreciate it much.

  5. #65

    Default Re: The Franky Tank's Ramblings

    I had plans on taking a trip to China in December, but with having to quit my job and now taking a class to transition into a new field, I had to cancel that and put any hopes in travelling on hold for the foreseeable future. It's been over two years when I left for my huge 3.5 month trip to Europe + Egypt, which during my work day I find myself thinking about various parts of it. Lately, I have been thinking back on the Italy part of my trip, and it was definitely part of the trip I was looking forward to quite a bit when I first started. I spent over a week there, spending a number of nights in Rome, then taking a tour bus to a number of places in the northern area. For now, I think I will talk a little about my favorite place in Italy, Venice.

    There's something about me that even a small pond adds to a scene to me. Perhaps it's all my time offshore and studying marine biology, but a body of water added to any scene makes me like it that much more. So having a city filled with water ways is definitely going to make me that much more appreciative of the place. I arrived outside of Venice in the evening, and shortly after getting into my room, I headed out to a boat taxi to arrive at the main square of Venice. We walked around some narrow ally ways to see some of the place, and it was pretty desolate at night. Most of the time was spent just being at the main square free to do whatever we wanted.

    That night stays fresh in my mind even two years later. It was a full moon that floated above the nearby cathedral, which was partly obscured by thin clouds passing by. For a little while I just stood by a pillar and looked at the moon, but quickly I became hungry and went to get my daily Gelato fix (though I think I had Gelato before, but since I was in Italy, I wanted to get Gelato as much as I could). After getting two scoops of two different flavors, I found myself a spot to stand at to get the best view of the whole square, as well as the Cathedral with the moon above it. There were multiple small orchestra's around the square as well, one would play a song, and once one finished, another started soon after. I spent a solid half hour finishing my short evening there staying in the one spot, slowly eating away at my Gelato, being serenaded by the music and just soaking in the scenery. That whole time I found myself at peace and wanted to stay like that the whole night, but unfortunately, I had to leave with my tour group.

    Spoiler:



    The next day was a lot more open. After a brief visit to the cathedral in the main square, we were allowed to do as we pleased the rest of the day. Before walking around, I took a nice ride through the canals in the Gondola, enjoying the city from a different perspective. The rower moved through the narrow passages with ease, and for a little while we were in the main canal. A few gondola's behind us, a person was playing music which I could hear throughout most of the time. It was a nice change of pace, being able to sit back and enjoy the view as the gondola moved along. Seeing the people moving along the bridges as we passed under them was quite enjoyable as well. It was a quick half hour, but it was definitely a great time.

    Spoiler:



    Once done, I did what was suggested by the guide for the afternoon, walk around the place without looking at the map. The city could be a maze at times, but there was always something to find, which wandering made much more interesting. each turn I made there was always a new discovery to be made, which made me want to continue on. I spent a good hour just walking around, seeing what my feet would take me to, until I got hungry and found a small place to eat during my travel. I found myself in outside in a random square, and ordered myself a pasta dish with wine, and decided to go farther by getting a Tiramisu with a hot chocolate. It was quite an enjoyable meal in a nice little area.

    Spoiler:



    Once done, I spent the next few hours wandering until I happened upon the bus station, which at that time I was tired and it was getting time to head back to the hotel. Each turn always lead to somewhere new, and the buildings along the canals was a magnificent view. If and when I return to Italy, Venice is definitely a place I want to revisit.

    Spoiler:


  6. #66

    Default Re: The Franky Tank's Ramblings

    So my first evening in Rome, I did a walking tour to a number of sights, starting at the Spanish Steps. The tour started out interesting, because an older lady came with her two daughters, and she needed a cane to move around and was already looking out of it. She asked if this tour was going to have lots of walking. Yes, asking questions isn't bad, but this was one that they already should've known about. It was specifically advertised as a walking tour, which described it as walking around for a good few hours, with a company name called Walks of Italy. Good news is the lady was able to make it through the entire tour, but she was behind the group constantly, and the moments of being free to look at areas ourselves, she had to spend those fleeting moments sitting down to catch a breath. As for myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the tour, and even though there was a light drizzle the entire time, I actually found myself enjoying the tour more because of it. However, the tour ended at a completely different place than where I started, and it took me walking around and asking how to get to the nearest station to return to my hotel. When I arrived, my wet hands ruined my 3 day ticket I had purchased, and ended up having to pay for a new one. I lost a bit of money my first day, having that happen, and getting into an unlicensed taxi which had charged me almost triple the rate it should've been to get to my hotel.

    Spoiler:



    The first full day I took a tour to Pompeii, which was around a 3 hour bus ride. The traffic in Rome was crazy, so seeing the driver maneuver through the crowded streets was quite a spectacle. The first destination was the volcano, and when we arrived it was raining, which meant they wouldn't allow people through to trek to the top. Thankfully, it stopped shortly after arriving, though we were at cloud level, so visibility wasn't the best. I could only see so far in front of me, and not see much below me. I was getting unhappy with the conditions, but as luck would have it, the clouds opened up enough to get a view, and I got a gorgeous view of Naples resting along the coast. It was definitely my favorite sight of the volcano portion. At the top, I could barely see into the volcano, just rocks and moss. For a minute, it did clear up, and I could see steam coming out of some areas. After stopping for lunch, getting a margherita pizza, we made out way to the ruins of Pompeii. We were shown around some of the streets and some areas before getting to the forum, where we were free to walk around at out leisure. It offered the best view with both the ruins and the nature backdrop.

    Spoiler:




    The last day in Rome I did a few other things, but the main attraction for me was the Coliseum. Since I went with a tour group, I got to go on a different side from those going in without a group, and got to see the area below and go to some floors above. The top floor gave an incredible view of the entire place, and it also gave a nice view of the surrounding area. Once it was all over, I found a little cafť nearby where I could get a nice little view of the Coliseum while eating. After that it was a trip to the catacombs, which was a very different site. Walking through the narrow corridors gave an eerie vibe, and it felt like a maze that I wouldn't have found my way back out if not for the guide. I wish I could've taken pictures, but that was not allowed. The last tour was of the Vatican museum, and ended with the Sistine chapel. Of all the things I did, I feel like this one was a waste. I probably would've found it more enjoyable had I not tired myself out doing everything else before then. The bummer was no pictures of the Chapel.

    Spoiler:



  7. #67

    Default Re: The Franky Tank's Ramblings

    The year is winding down, and it's that time of year where I look back and think about all that happens. While my personal life has been in flux and had ups and downs, one thing that is for sure is this year for video games has been the best for me in a long time. Usually, I only bought a few games released that year, and most of my time was spent playing games that came from previous years. While this year I did play some old games such as Dark Souls, new games that I bought this year include Resident Evil 7, Breath of the Wild, Persona 5, Trails in the Sky 3rd, Ys VIII, Metroid: Samus Returns, Zwei: The Illvard Insurrection, Crash Bandicoot: Insane Trilogy, and others I am surely forgetting. So many great games that have given me so many wonderful memories, which I would love to talk about. Around New Years time, I'll do some posts about the various games I played this year and go a bit more in depth on my thought there, but for now, I want to talk about my favorite game Trilogy, a trilogy that I feel really speaks to me on many levels, the Trails in the Sky trilogy. I'm doing it here so I don't needlessly bump the actual thread that pretty much gets no attention.

    I'm going to talk about each game without giving anything in the way of spoilers. I'll talk about why I like each game and give more general reasons and anything specific will not be spoilers, and if I feel like I need to mention an actual story plot point, I will make sure to tag it. Before talking about each separate game, I'm going to do a little blurb about some of the many characters that I came to know and love as a start. Once I finish my talk about the games, I may do a post or two with spoilers, for those who have either played the game, or don't plan on playing and don't care about spoilers. I have a feeling no one is really going to care about these posts, but even if nobody else cares, I really want to put my thoughts about the series into words finally, as this trilogy has consumed years of my life, and I still can't stop thinking about it now.

    So to end this post, a brief history of me and this game series. Back at the start of 2013, I realized I didn't get a whole lot of use with my PsP, and decided to buy a bunch of games for it. I bought most of the Ys series and Valkyria Chronicles 2, and after looking up some articles about hidden gems on the PsP, I picked up Trails in the Sky. Out of all the games I bought, I saved Sky for last, since I knew the Ys games were shorter, and I had been wanting to play a Valkyria Chronicles game for a while since playing the first. I found myself engaged in the game immediately, and by the end of the game I was ready for more. After the credits, there was a teaser for the second game, and I had to look up plans for releasing the sequel. My heart sunk as at the time there were no plans for the sequel, and sales seemed to not be great from the few articles I read. Things looked grim and I gave up hope on the sequel releasing, until later that year it was announced that XSeed (the publisher), was going to bring the sequel over in 2014!

    2014 came and I played the first game again, thinking the sequel was around the corner, and enjoyed the game a lot more. However, things stayed quiet and 2015 came with no release of the second game. Then it was announced that another installment in the saga of Trails games, Cold Steel, was coming to the West that year, and the second Sky game would come out around the same time. Flash forward to being in Greece, where I saw a post on this forum that said the game was coming out in a week (shout out to Darth Asthma). To get myself ready, I played the first game again, and then after beating it went directly into the second game. It was an emotional roller coaster and I loved it. Now there was a third game that I knew about, but at the time from what I heard, many were doubtful of the Third game coming out. I was fine with it not coming out, since the main story of the trilogy was over and the third game was a separate story. Then XSeed announced the third game would be released, and it came out this year in May. Played the first two games again before playing the Third one, and finally, I played and beat the whole trilogy, after 4 years of waiting for everything to be released.

    Between all my play throughs of each game (played 1 4 times, 2 twice, and 3 only once so far), I have put between 2 to 300 hours into this trilogy. So saying I'm a fan of this trilogy would be putting it lightly. Hopefully you will enjoy my analysis of the serious, and hopefully entice some of you to try it. See you next time, where I talk about some of the amazing characters, including my current avatar.

  8. #68

    Default Re: The Franky Tank's Ramblings

    Alright, since I already did a lengthy post on Estelle earlier, I'll be skipping her for this character talk. All that I will say is that she is my favorite of this series, and later will do a post looking at her more closely with some spoiler talk. For now, I will talk about some other characters from the game, once again, no spoilers. I'll try to be brief.

    First up is my second favorite, the warrior of love, Olivier Lenheim

    Spoiler:


    Olivier is the kind of character that takes the right kind of balance to really make endearing. He is very eccentric, and has a very flowery language, which he uses to go on about his adventures, and at times to exclaim how he finds a person beautiful. All of this can be a recipe for disaster if the balance is even just slightly off. If anyone has ever played Bravely Default, there is a character named Ringabel who hits on all the ladies. While he was one of my favorites in that game, it was way too heavy handed at times, which made it hard for me to like him early on. Olivier, however, hits that right balance for me. He may remark on how he finds someone attractive, but it's not constant, and there's a number of Male characters which he hits on as well. There are also moments he gets punished for underestimating a situation. Then there's the fact that when a situation is quite serious, while he may make a quip or two depending on what a person says, it's nothing that takes you out of the moment. There's also the fact that a lot of times, his playful banter shows that he actually has a keen awareness of the situation. He may act weird and sometimes stupid, but you quickly learn he is quite good at reading people and situations.

    Next up, wrapping up the trifecta of my favorite characters, Kloe Rinz

    Spoiler:


    Kloe is the opposite of Estelle in many ways, the main one that gets focused on is how she is more timid and hesitant. Estelle will jump into a situation without a second thought, but Kloe is hesitant about her abilities and as a result, has a harder time making decisions on the fly. However, if someone or something close to her is on the line, that's when she will jump in with no hesitation. Those moments in which she steps up, confidence showing from her eyes, are some of the greatest moments she has. Her greatest moment comes in the second game, when she finally gains confidence in her abilities and moves forward with no shred of doubt. I don't dare spoil it, but if you aren't a Kloe fan before that, you most likely will after that moment. Also, she has a pet falcon

    Next up is the man formerly known as Zane, Zin

    Spoiler:


    Unlike a number of characters in the series, Zin doesn't have much of a character arc. The second game delves a little more into some of his past, but overall, he's the guy who stands there solid, and ready to give out advice to those who come for it. It's hard for me to zero in on what exactly makes him so likable to me. I think it mainly comes down to subtle things about his actions that make him endearing. Whereas Olivier will proclaim out loud his thoughts, Zin will make a small passing comment about certain topics instead. Another part of it is there's his relationship with another character that adds depth, and also takes him out of his usual calm demeanor at times.

    Now for the hot head with the heart of gold, Agate Crosner

    Spoiler:


    Much like Bakugo from My Hero, this is a character who comes across quite brash and hard to like at first. However, after a certain point, you can see that despite his bluntness, he does care about others, and even if he's not quite good with words, can have some great moments. His story and arc are much more in depth in the second game, and his relationship with another character is a great foil to his personality. Which brings me to the little genius, Tita Russell.

    Spoiler:


    On her own, I find it hard to say a lot about her. She is likable and adorable, but as far as the first game is concerned, there's not a whole lot to her. However, in the second game, her and Agate have a familial relationship, and both stand out a bit more for that. Agate shows a kinder side more often with her, and Tita gets some great moments as well. As a duo, they elevate each others arc. As for Tita by the third game, that's where it feels like there's a certain purpose she is building towards, which works in the end because as the youngest member, she doesn't need to have a big story arc with some of the others.

    Up next is the Silver Streak, Scherazard Harvey

    Spoiler:


    Much like Zin, there isn't much of a character arc for her, and her past is explored a bit more in the other two games. That said, she is established as a mentor for Estelle, and even more than that, a sister figure. Scherazard has known Estelle since she was little, and have grown a connection with each other over that time. She helps reign in Estelle at times, but they both deeply care for each other, and at times confide in each other about stuff. It's quite the touching relationship they have. Scherazard also has great moments, and while calm, she can come out ferocious and cut through the bullshit.

    This character took me a long time to appreciate, Joshua

    Spoiler:


    Joshua is sort of an adopted brother to Estelle, one who we meet at the very beginning of the first game. He is calm and collected, and always presents himself in a pleasurable manner. For the longest time, I found him to be more on the bland side. However, that was when I first started playing, and seeing subtle details was impossible for me. Josh is a person who can't emote his feelings, despite having a way with words. He can explain things well, plan out well, and read into a situation with great clarity. When something is bothering him, he shuts it inside, unable to explain it. This is a great contrast to Estelle, who doesn't have the book smarts or the gift of the gab, but she will speak her mind with ease, and has a warm personality. Add on to how things play out in the rest of the trilogy, I found myself attached to Josh a lot more.

    Those are just the party members, and there are so many story characters that stand out to me, including antagonists. However, I already went longer than I wanted, and talking about a lot of those characters would spoil the game, so I will have to leave them out for now. Next up, breaking down the first game and why it works so well for me.

  9. #69

    Default Re: The Franky Tank's Ramblings

    Trails in the Sky FC (First Chapter)

    When I think back to this game, the first thing that comes to my mind is the opening cinematic and the theme that accompanies it. It really is appropriate for how the game plays out, with things being calm and simple, and as the game goes on things slowly get bigger. While many ultimately may not like the pacing of this game, I feel that it's all the stronger because of it. You start in a small town where life is simple and mundane, and as you move on you get to bigger places such as a market town, a coastal town, to eventually the capital of the Kingdom. Each chapter takes place in a section of the Kingdom, and helps not just introduce characters, but get a feel for the uniqueness of each place as well. Even if you ignore talking to the NPC's and seeing their lives go on as the game progresses, you will still have some interaction with NPC's with the story, and it all helps make the country feel alive. By the end of the game, I knew the layout of the entire country and had a connection to it. While this may not seem that important, it's quite vital for not just this game, but for the second game as well.

    Getting back to the start, the first chapter is Estelle and Josh becoming junior Bracers, a guild that helps citizens with various problems, which can be us mundane as a missing pet, to things such as body guarding, to greater things than that. In that chapter, you get familiar with Estelle and Josh, and allows you to get an easy bearing of the world in a simple town that doesn't have much going for it. Heck, the climax of the first chapter is chasing after a thief that stole a small jewel. Most games would try to have some huge event early on as a plot hook, but this game doesn't go for that. Despite no central conflict or plot introduced, I was hooked quickly by Estelle, and despite the simplicity of life, I found myself connected to the place. By the chapter end, an event occurs that causes Josh and Estelle to leave for a different area, and from there things just keep building.

    In the first play through, it can feel like nothing really matters early on, and near the end of the penultimate chapter is when things really hit the ground running, with a conflict and antagonist finally established. Having played the game a number of times, it's actually impressive the details that are put in and how you can connect certain threads pretty early on. In fact, I would say no scene was really unnecessary, because it either helps connect to later events, or helps establish characters. It's not just this game that early scenes play into, there are things that you can hear people say if you talk to them enough that connect to the next game, and some which may even connect somewhat to the Cold Steel games. Much like pre Grand Line One Piece, each area crafts its own story, and helps build up for later moments to give more impact.

    The most important part of any RPG for me is the characters, and this game does a great job selling them. Estelle is always fun, whether it's her optimistic outlook, or her non nonsense attitude with certain characters like Olivier. Josh makes a nice contrast to Estelle as the more level headed person and analytical person. Olivier, for the bits he's in, is a hoot, getting under other's skin and baffling people with his flowery language. Each character brings something to the table, and by the end, you know who they are, and for a number of characters like Estelle and Kloe, have an idea of where they need to grow in the next game. That's one of the strongest points of this game, introducing characters to fall in love with, and leaving them with lots of room to grow.

    A big thing that I appreciate is that while there are some loose ends that let you know that a second game will be coming, this game does wrap up the story it set out from the beginning, so even though I craved for the next game, there was still a satisfying conclusion. As for the antagonist, while I can't go into detail because of spoilers, I will say the antagonist is not your mustache twirling villain, and by the time you face off, I found myself understanding the motivations. Personally, I find this particular antagonist to be one of the best developed ones, especially since it feels like most RPG's don't go for much nuance and characterization can be clunky.

    When the credits rolled, I was hit with a wave of emotion. It was quite a journey, where things started out so simple, but after a while it was anything but. So many characters that I met and fell in love with, and I knew that I would have the opportunity to see them again in the second game. What was going to happen next in Estelle's journey also intrigued me. She went from a small town girl into a full fledged bracer, filled with knowledge about the Kingdom and the people who inhabit it. Her optimism kept her going, and even if something got her down, she got back up to keep on fighting. I was ready to see her grow, learn how to be a better bracer and not have to always rely on people to get her out of a pinch. In my gut, I had a feeling great things were in store for her.

    To me, this is the closest thing to the perfect game for me. The game takes its time to build up, and when the main conflict presents itself, it's all the more enjoyable because of that. I never find myself bored, even when I know exactly what is going to happen, because each scene has something for me to enjoy, and a lot of times, the connections to later events is something I enjoy discovering. I'm still amazed how early some things connect to later events. Character interactions are great, and leaves me wanting for more, especially for characters who didn't get to interact in the first game. The game may not be the best graphic wise, but there is still a lot to enjoy, and there's a lot of emotion form the character portraits, and some of the movements by the character sprites I find quite charming. Throw in a satisfying conclusion with some bait for the sequel to keep me hooked, it just works so well.

    The Second and Third game may have bigger emotional moments and stakes, but the First games structure is just done so well.

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