[Review] Bravely Second: End Layer

ブレイブリーセカンド エンドレイヤー
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Okay, so imagine playing a classic turn-based Final Fantasy game and there’s this boss that’s giving you a hard time. But then you go ZA WARUDO and shove your battleaxe up its ass (blade first) while time itself grinds to a halt. And then there’s gravy and puns and Chelly sings a really badass song four times in a row to make sure you learn the lyrics and can sing along with her. You know what, I take it all back, please don’t actually imagine any of this because it’s a pretty terrible and awfully confusing summary of Bravely Second, which, by the way, is the sequel to a game I’ve never played because lol whoops. But don’t worry, I still enjoyed it quite a bit! As it turns out, it actually works reasonably well as a standalone title.

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[Review] Tales of the Abyss

テイルズ オブ ジ アビス
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Despite its severe issues with backtracking and overall pacing, Tales of the Abyss is still, I would say, one of the most consistently enjoyable and well-made titles in the franchise that genuinely feels like a complete package with tight combat mechanics, a dramatic, twisty-turny plot, memorable characters and environments with a satisfying degree of visual polish and variety. I mean, sure, the Tales franchise is kind of the McDonalds of JRPGs in a sense, and for the most part Abyss is no different in that regard, but it still manages to be one of the juiciest, most succulent and content-rich burgers on the menu.

Hello and welcome to gareblogs, where we make food analogies at every opportunity we get. Please enjoy your stay.

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[Review] Tales of Legendia

テイルズ オブ レジェンディア
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Its strange cocktail of likable, well-developed characters, tedious gameplay, a unique setting and a number of baffling design decisions make Tales of Legendia probably one of the most divisive and controversial entries in the series, and while the characters mostly worked for me and made the oft-frustrating journey one ultimately worth soldiering through, I’m also pretty damn sure that I’m never, ever, replaying this game. Because holy shit does it have a boner for recycling all its content and throwing it back into your face.

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[Review] Tales of Destiny – Director’s Cut

テイルズオブデスティニー ディレクターズカット
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Trailer (Director’s Cut)

In 2006, Tales of Destiny (the second entry in the series, released a couple years after Phantasia) received a gorgeous-looking remake exclusively for the PS2, and then two years after that, it was further improved upon with a Director’s Cut version: aside from some balancing changes and extra content, this edition also added a new game mode called Leon’s Side, allowing you to re-experience the storyline from the perspective of everyone’s favorite dual-wielding bishounen. But putting that aside, the game itself is probably most notable for having the best 2D battle system in the entire franchise, which, I would say, is no exaggeration at all: when it comes to 2D Tales combat mechanics, it doesn’t quite get any better than ToDR.

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[Review] Tales of Phantasia – Cross Edition

JP title: テイルズオブファンタジア クロスエディション
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Here it is: the grand ancestor of all Tales games. The one JRPG that started it all. Well, more specifically, this is the PSP remake of Phantasia that comes bundled with Narikiri Dungeon X. At its core, it’s more or less the same game, though it does feature some enhancements and additional content, including a brand new character. (no, not Suzu)

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[Review] Fate/Extra CCC

https://vndb.org/v12369

Man, people weren’t joking when they said CCC was way better than Extra. Like, I’m trying to think of the best way to illustrate how true that statement is. Okay, so basically… this isn’t “just” an alternate version or a sort-of-sequel. It’s more like… the real story of Fate/Extra. No, I mean, seriously. If you were to ask me, I’d say the entirety of the original Extra exists for the sole purpose of serving as a prologue to CCC, which then goes on to use it as a stepping stone in order to tell the story Nasu truly wanted to tell. At least that’s the impression I got, considering how utterly unremarkable vanilla Extra feels in retrospect now that I’ve finished CCC.

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