Addendum to last night's post

I forgot to mention last night that there is a lot to Graveyard Keeper that makes the game feel unfinished. You never get the opportunity to reach The Town, getting struck down by lightning before you can, and losing your Town Pass in the process. Multiple times throughout the story, they mention The Ship of the Dead, but nothing is ever actually done about it. There's multiple people that you meet that seem to serve very little purpose besides to sell you one or two items, with one in particular called only The Captain, who is always sitting in the tavern and rolling dice, but you can never actually seem to interact with him; he always says the same thing every time you talk to him, and although he's listed in the NPC's tab, there's literally nothing to be done with him.

On the other hand, the game also seems aware of this and makes fun of it at the end. So I'm feeling like the game was designed this way. It's really confusing. I kind of want the game to get some DLC that explores more of what is not actually explored in this as it currently is...

~MaxKnight

Graveyard Keeper is a fun game

So I picked it up some time ago, but only started playing it a little more than a month ago. It took a little bit to get used to the controls, but eventually I started to get the hang of it. In a small way it resembles Stardew Valley, which is an excellent game with the same mindset as Harvest Moon, but instead of managing a farm instead you are the local mortuary and have to manage the graveyard next door. There's a nested crafting system, in which you have to build things that let you make materials that let you build other things, and there is in fact some farming you will need to do, though getting access to the garden and then actually using it takes a short time.

Your end goal is to "get home", as apparently you were hit by a car and suddenly ended up in this odd place as the new Graveyard Keeper. You are directed to speak with people and learn what they want and in the end, there are six people you have to fulfill to finish the game. In a lot of ways, this game is high energy and moves quickly, but that only goes so far. The end game is very slow, forcing you to waste a lot of time to get it done as you are only waiting on one or two things that are needed to complete it.

That's one of the few complaints that I have about the game, the end game pacing is atrocious. Under no circumstances should it take as long as it does. The example here is the last person you are likely to need to help has a trigger involving one of the other people getting to the end of their quest line, and once you reach that point, you will be able to move his forward. The problem there is that the next two things he needs are things you likely won't have any time soon and even if you did, you can't give them to him in rapid sequence; you have to wait a week before you can give him the second, and then you have to wait yet another week to finally finish it. It's entirely possible that you got three of the six done before this last sequence, though, so it's a lot of waiting around. A streamer I watched playing this ran into the same problem and used the meditation spot outside of the house to pass time instead of doing anything during that time.

Although I only first started playing this game maybe a month and a half ago, I've completed it twice now. The reason is that there's a mechanic in the game that lets you automate several things, in fact, almost everything. After getting access to the Diary of the previous Graveyard Keeper, you also gain access to a smart zombie that was chained up in the basement of the chapel. This person enlightens you to zombie workers, and points you to where two of them were left behind in a rock slide. These first two zombies are really inefficient, but they server to give you an idea what they are capable of. You also are given three of the item that will let you animate new zombies.

There are advantages and drawbacks to using them, though. While they can perform crafting tasks for you, albeit at a slower speed than you could do, they will not generate any of the colored orbs that count as "experience" that you gather in the game and spend to unlock technologies. Zombies are great for doing the menial tasks that don't give much in the way of experience, though, and they come with several technologies which will make the game much easier than it could otherwise be. There is a quarry fairly far away from the house that you can get chunks of stone and marble from, and a mine that only zombies can enter that supplies chunks of iron and coal. Further, zombies use Porter Stations which allow them to run the chunks and coal from the quarry to home, where they will drop things off if there is room in stockpiles or trunks for their load. This is a godsend, as the closest source of stone and marble are far enough away as to make it untenable to try to use them overmuch.

Now that's all I used the zombies for, and in the end I wasn't actually doing anything with the load that they were sending to me, so I can't say I got all that much use out of them. There are many stations made just for zombie use, though, including the zombie garden, zombie alchemy table, and of course the random text generator, which makes things automatically that I even didn't know you could make! As such, I decided to try again and rush to get access to zombies, then go out of my way to accumulate enough of them to make the game go by faster.

Now this game keeps track of how many days have passed since the game started. It also keeps track of the rating of the church and the graveyard. I just finished the game for a second time tonight, and I finished it 54.4 days faster, with the same church rating and a graveyard that is 2 points higher in quality. I'm convinced that it should be possible to finish it even faster, however that depends on timing some things better, including taking the time to plumb the dungeon as far as you can, as soon as possible. On the other hand, there are ways to shortcut several things, meaning you only have to go to the dungeon for one thing: 5 bloody nails. Everything else you need from there to advance the needs of one of the characters you can either make yourself or purchase from elsewhere. In fact, many things that you would otherwise need to make for a quest you can just buy from people.

I could probably go on at length, but the takeaways should be that the game is a lot of fun to play, but the quests to finish the game require too much time with literally nothing else needed to be done. The pacing is terrible to that end. Definitely play it, just be aware that advancing to the conclusion will likely sap some of your strength.

~MaxKnight

So I had a new thought regarding Touhou

Specifically, Marisa. One thing that is basically known is that the characters from this series are supposed to have particular abilities mapped out to them, either that they were born with or they acquired at some point. I figure that this is not any different for Marisa, either. However, as far as I can tell, no special abilities are actually stated for her, just her magic (which she taught herself first, then Mima taught her later), and an artifact that she uses to boost her power enough to make her actually strong enough to hit well above her weight class (the Mini-Hakkero, a magical furnace that is able to amplify the magical power fed into it).

So then, what power would Marisa have? It's actually fairly commonly used in fiction, fan or otherwise. In this case, I'm talking about being able to near-instantly copy magic that she sees used; an intuitive ability to understand the magic that is cast around her and immediately be able to use it. It explains why, after seeing Yuuka use her Master Spark laser, Marisa was able to use it as well, not to mention getting access to Patchouli's Non-Directional Laser as well. It also explains Marisa's frustration with Reimu's power, since it's not magic but spiritual power, and that's not something Marisa can copy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Marisa is a slow book learner, but if she's in the presence of someone casting magic, so long as she's paying attention, she will then be able to use it. The only reason she didn't steal more of Patchouli's spells is because Patchouli is foremost an Alchemist, and such Alchemy spells would generally require reagents; such things would be cumbersome to carry around, and many might be harmful or outright deadly to handle as a human (which Patchouli hasn't been for many years, being a Youkai Magician now).

Thus, it makes sense, and why it sometimes seems as though Marisa's magical repertoire is so haphazard, compared to some that might be more uniform. And now I have more to work with in case I ever get around to writing any of these myriad stories I've hinted at over the years. And yes, I still think about them from time to time. I just don't have the creative spark to actually do it, like, ever. Well, that or it's just my own inherent laziness...

~MaxKnight

I have an unpopular opinion

Well, I probably have a whole lot of unpopular opinions, but this one in particular I feel is REALLY unpopular... And that is that Birth of a God is a far superior final boss music than One Winged Angel.

That is all.

~MaxKnight

Some thoughts on Golden Sun

Okay, so many years ago I found out about Golden Sun, but well after the games first came out, so I missed getting them when they were new. I got the chance to play through Golden Sun and The Lost Age via emulation, and actually beat them as well. They were a lot of fun, I thought, though I never really did any of the super bosses (that I can remember). Cut to a few years later and Dark Dawn was finally released, and after it had been out for a short time, I picked it up and smashed my way through it.

I never really gave it too much thought, though. In the last year or so, HCBailly did LPs of Golden Sun and The Lost Age, and I just finished rewatching them the other day... and it occurred to me that these two games were originally meant to be one huge game, but was split in two, likely due to issues with cartridge space and time constraints. This is mostly down to the fact that there are placeholders for both items and Djinn that are in Golden Sun which translates directly to counterparts in The Lost Age. Beyond this, the map from Golden Sun is still there in The Lost Age, but devoid of all towns and dungeons except for Mt. Aleph and the Lighthouses (none of which are actually accessible).

Dark Dawn takes place 30 years after the end of The Lost Age, and much of the world has changed. Entire continents have shifted, and the terrain is all very different from before. The Golden Sun caused a lot of devastation throughout the world in the process of reviving the power of Alchemy, and it caused many features to appear, disappear, or move outright. An example of this is Kolima Forest and town, both of which physically moved further northeast, the forest into the mountains and the town to the base of the mountain. Apparently, the town moved directly on top of a swamp, which wound up causing issues later, during Dark Dawn. The Golden Sun event caused the reappearance of Beastkind, a humanoid race of people with animal features which mostly lived in the Kolima area. The Kingdom of Sana conquered them, so they rose up and struck when they could, forming their own nation with the newly built Belinsk as the capital. Due west of their, Bilibin rose to their own nation as well with McCoy as its ruler; the border between the two is a place of contention.

The arrival of the Golden Sun caused many things to be uncovered, such as the existence of many Alchemy machines throughout the land. People are apparently predisposed to settle on or nearby these Alchemy machines, thus why Ayuthay, Kaocho, and Passaj are where they are. Most of these machines are entirely beneficial, owing to the fact that ancient cultures were mostly peaceful and desiring to advance the science of Alchemy. This shows in how the Alchemy Well creates a spring of water for one town, the Alchemy Forge allows for amazing works of engineering, and when the two are working together, pump large quantities of water to an entire region, preventing the place from becoming a desert.

On the other hand, there are Alchemy machines that do not have beneficial results, such as the Alchemy Dynamo that Belinsk was built on top of. This was a machine to activate the Eclipse Tower, which apparently had power over the moon to force an eclipse that caused monsters to run wild. This was likely an example of the power that Alchemy could wield to perform evil, and amongst the reasons that ancient culture decided to seal the power of Alchemy away, not knowing that doing so would cause their world to crumble and die. Apollo Sanctum was clearly built to combat the Eclipse Tower, though whether it was used back then to put a stop to the disaster, or only built but not used before Alchemy was sealed is currently not clear. One thing that is clear is that after Alchemy was sealed, all of the old Alchemy machines were sabotaged so they would not work should Alchemy be unsealed.

The Wise One, a living Philosopher's Stone, was likely amongst those that made the choice to seal away Alchemy. This is clear from the way that there are Wise One statues scattered about the world in Dark Dawn that restores your characters when you examine it. Between that and how it appeared in Sol Sanctum after the Elemental Stars were stolen, we see a being that has made it the sole mission to prevent the unsealing of Alchemy. It's hard to tell if The Wise One knew the world was dying due to the seal on Alchemy, but it made its choice on that matter when it charged Isaac and Garet with preventing the lighting of the Elemental Lighthouses.

There's still a lot of unanswered questions, including what's going on with the Psynergy Vortexes, who the Tuaparang are and what their aim is, what is Alex playing it, and what really causes the Mourning Moon every 10 years. Golden Sun is a series with many years between titles, and I think we are due for a new one, especially given how Dark Dawn ended. There is hope for a new game, given the rumors that Isaac made it into Smash Ultimate, but I'm not holding my breath. If, and this is a rather massive if... if a new Golden Sun comes out and it's only available on the Switch, I MIGHT get one for that. But again, that is a very, very big if.

Had an idea while on vacation

Don't ask me why I get these weird ideas, but they just sort of happen and I don't know what to do with them other than get the general idea down in here and come back to it later...

Cutting this...Collapse )

I think that's all I have for it. It's really more fleshed out than I thought, probably because I wasn't able to write it out at first. It's really a pretty interesting story, and it averts some of the more annoying things, like the competition between Daisuke and Takeru. Now could I write this? Not until I do some more research, which I've been meaning to do for quite some time now. But yeah, that's all for now...

~MaxKnight

Sometimes... Digimon disappoints me

Finally managed to watch part 6 of Adventure tri. At least Daisuke and the others from 02 weren't just completely written off; they made it seem like they were singled out to be removed from play before the events of tri started. As if they would tip things just enough to prevent the events that actually happened.

But in the end, it all hinged on Taichi and Yamato once again. They didn't even manage to truly bring the 02 crew on screen, just showing them as shadows in stasis tubes. I mean, I get it, they apparently weren't all that popular of characters. I blame the way that 02 was written/produced; it was haphazard and there were things that were planned but then cut due to infighting by the ones actually making it. Further, Adventure had a lot that 02 lacked: actual developed antagonists from almost the start, uncertainty with the survival of the kids due to be cut of completely from home... In comparison, while we do learn about the Digimon Kaiser fairly early on, he didn't feel quite as sinister as Devimon or Etemon did. Further, the fact that the kids in 02 are able to leave and go home every night kind of removes a lot of the suspense and in many ways, let the kids succeed without forcing the kind of growth that the original 8 had to go through. It's likely this that drove people away from liking them compared to the original children.

And that's too bad, because Daisuke is my favorite protagonist from the Digimon anime. One of V-mon's final forms is my favorite digimon, period.

Of course, my disappointment has been building for years, since the first time I managed to watch the English subbed original anime. The localization has completely destroyed much of what the anime was going for, from changing the names of both the kids and digimon, to outright censorship that was really unnecessary. There's really too much to list here, and I believe I've gone over much of it over the last 5 or so years.

But this makes the fact that I loved playing Cyber Sleuth and am really enjoying Hacker's Memory that much harder. They keep a lot of the terrible localizations of names and whatnot in the English text, but the Japanese voice overs that were kept in the games uses the actual non-localized names, which gives a bit of disconnect. On the other hand, every so often, they manage to translate something better than what was done originally. This is the case with Paildramon's special: what was called Desperado Blaster in the English dub was localized to Death Parade Blaster in Cyber Sleuth/Hacker's Memory. That name feels much closer to what should have been.

Eh, I felt I had to say something since I finally got around to watching part six of tri...

~MaxKnight

It bothers me...

When I go to read Harry Potter fan fiction, and they age up when Hogwarts starts. Everything is balanced properly against it starting at age 11, and not any time later or earlier. Earlier and they would graduate before becoming adults (unless you start adding years to the education), later, and you are forcing them to stay well after they become adults, which for that level of education, is really stupid.

I get why they are doing it; it's because they want characters to wind up in incredibly violent or more adult situations in earlier years but are too chickenshit to let it happen at younger ages. I refuse to read stories like that. It ruins my immersion.

Had another crazy story idea, but I haven't completely fleshed it out yet, so I don't want to say much... other than it requires a much alternate history where the Cold War escalated and what amounts to Global Thermonuclear War breaks out... and no Tic-Tac-Toe is gonna prevent it from happening...

Some notes about Ogre Battle 64

So a streamer friend of mine is currently playing Ogre Battle 64 casually on Twitch right now, and having never played it before doesn't want to be spoiled or have too much revealed about the mechanics of the game. Now this can be a really intimidating game to the uninitiated, and the player is very, very uninitiated for this kind of game. The fact that there are particular characters that you have to perform very strict requirements to recruit, and certain ones will lock out certain others...

And then there's the most important and nebulous thing in the game, Alignment. Alignment is a number that ranges from 0 to 100; 0 means completely Chaotic, 100 means completely Lawful. There are a variety of classes that need very particular alignments to change into, with the general rule that warrior classes run the gamut of alignments, casters tend to be lower alignment, and healers tend to be higher alignment. Male lawful classes include Knights and Paladins, neutral classes are Fencers, Swordmasters, Phalanx, Cataphracts, Doll Masters, and Enchanters, chaotic classes include Wizards, Archmages, Beast Tamers, Beast Masters, Berserkers, Black Knights, Ninja, and Ninja Masters. Female lawful classes include Clerics, Priests, Valkyries, and Freya, neutral classes are Archers, Dianas, Dragon Tamers, and Dragon Masters, chaotic classes include Sorceresses, Sirens, and Witches. There's also a variety of different monsters and demi-humans that also have their own alignments.

When you create a unit in OB64, you select up to 5 normal sized characters, or you can substitute a large size character such as a dragon, a golem, or other varieties of beasts in place of two normal sized characters, meaning that it can be any combination of 5 normal, 3 normal and 1 large, or 1 normal and 2 large in a group. Whenever you form a new unit, the characters alignment will try to average out with each other. This means little if it's a full high or low alignment unit, but if it's mixed, they will start to even out towards neutral at first, though this can be moved along somewhat in one direction or another depending on your actions.

To clarify that last point, lets talk about what causes alignment to move in one direction or another. To increase your alignment, it helps to keep the units level lower than who they are fighting. It also helps to fight units that are mostly lower in alignment than they are. Finally, the method of attack helps, too; choosing a battle strategy of Attack Strongest and refusing to give chase to units that have lost their leaders will keep their alignment from lowering.

Decreasing alignment, though, requires the opposite effect. Allow these units to have a higher level than the enemies they are fighting, and target units full of high alignment enemies. Choose the battle strategy of Attack Weakest, and hunt down and destroy the enemy. Keep a neutral alignment is much more difficult, though, as you are likely to see many ups and downs with them depending on what you do. The best attack strategy in this situation is Attack Leader, which will simply attempt to attack the leader with everyone that can.

Forming good units, though, can be difficult to do. Some of the most obvious are the Beast/Dragon/Golem units, where a single tamer leads two of the larger monsters. The most effective of such units tends to be one Beast Tamer/2 Hellhound unit, as well as the Doll Master/2 Golem unit, and the Dragon Tamer/2 Dragon unit. There are variations, though; substitute a Wyrm for one of the Hellhounds will be slightly weaker early on, but gets a breath attack when the Wyrm upgrades later in the game. The types of dragons are also of concern; Young Dragons upgrade to the appropriate colored dragon depending on the dragon's patron element, though if you carefully cultivate their alignment and stats, they can also become powerful Black or White Dragons as well. This also doesn't take into account the possibility of other unit configurations, such as the 3 Vultan/Gryphon or 3 Raven/Wyrm unit, or a particularly nasty combo I thought up recently of Cleric/Golem/Dragon.

But those are just for beast-type units. What about others? You generally want to mix like with like where alignments are concerned. This unfortunately means you'll be light on magic on high-alignment units, as only the Valkyrie gets magic naturally without equipping an elemental weapon, and it's not that strong. Similarly, you'll be light on healing on low-alignment units. A typical high-alignment unit might have 1 or 2 Knights, a Fencer, Phalanx, or Valkyrie, an Archer, and a Cleric, situated to take advantage of the most attacks and highest damage available. A typical low-alignment unit might have a mix of Berserkers and Ninja in the front protecting a Wizard and Sorceress in the back.

But it's also up to your imagination. An Archer in the center with Valkyries in the corners fights equally well no matter which direction they are attacked from. Other concerns include those that can use magic and which spells they can use, as there is such a thing as combination magic. There's also concerns such as the middle row: there are very few classes that can fight effectively from the middle row. The Archer, Doll Master, and Beast Tamer are amongst the few that have their best attacks from there; most classes will want to be in the front (physical classes) or back (magical classes) for more and stronger attacks.

The final consideration for forming a unit is their items. Specifically those held by the unit and used on the map. The number of slots that can hold items is determined by the classes that make up the unit; most physical classes can hold 2 items, while most magical classes can only hold 1, and large-sized can generally hold 3 items. Depending on how much space you have, you'll want a healthy mix of healing items, both those that heal HP and those that heal stamina. Heal Leaves and Power Fruit are good at the start, though money is tight and you won't be able to fully kit everyone out at first. As you continue through the game, you'll be able to afford to fill every space and use more powerful items: Heal Seeds and Packs (300 HP to 1 or 150 HP to all) and Angel Fruits for almost full stamina recovery. Of course, there's also passive items, like the Ansate Cross which reverses the gender of promoted soldiers (so male leaders promote soldiers to Amazons, and female leaders promote soldiers to Fighters), and rarer, more expensive items like the Resurrection Altar.

There's so much more I could probably say, but I think I've mentioned all that I can for the moment. I'll leave it at this for now...

~MaxKnight