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Sen no Kiseki 3

PS4

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#1 uiruki

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 08:19 AM

Its ts finally here!!!

I wont go deep into the story stuff because to be honest its so long since I finished Sen 2 Ive forgotten what happened in the ending. Anyway, its a year or so since the end of that and theres a new Thors Military Academy, Rean being selected as instructor for the new Class VII alongside some old faces, more of which I probably should have recognised. Im pretty sure theres a recap on the title screen so I should have checked that!

Anyway, they do a Sen 1 and start things with a flash forward, allowing you to get to grips with the additions to the battle system. There are a few; the first and most obvious change is that battles now start instantly with no loading. Very impressive! The battle camera is much more dynamic, swooping around all over the place and moves have more effects going on. Reans S-Craft is particularly cool, partly because it just goes without any pauses.

In terms of new systems, there are the Break and Order systems. Break is a bar under enemies health which drains, and when it reaches 0 the enemy is stunned and made completely vulnerable (4 stars) to all weapon types for a full turn. It seems borderline unfair and is very satisfying on bosses! Orders are new buffs which are initiated using the same BP you get from enemy weakness attacks and can have some pretty nice effects. They usually have a small heal included so firing off one before a big attack seems to be a way to turn things around.

The battle interface has been modernised too - instead of scrolling around a menu, everything is bound to a button or direction. Circle is attack, square Arts, triangle Crafts, and so on, putting S-Craft onto R1. Out of battle theres the usual attack to stun enemies but now theres a special field attack on R2 which starts a fight with enemies Break bars 50% drained. Breaking field items refills it.

Ive just reached the first point where I can wander around the new academy; the new areas have definitely been upgraded for the PS4 but it still keeps up a nice smooth 60fps pretty much all the time, and the dynamic resolution system seems to be in effect keeping resolutions high (visually close to 4K at times).

Im impressed so far; Falcom seem to have taken a lot of the little irritations and delays out of the game. Thats probably for the best given how much story they have to get through this time around!

Edited by uiruki, 28 September 2017 - 08:19 AM.


#2 uiruki

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 09:33 PM

About 5 hours in now, settling into the new town, Leeves. The student population isn’t too out of control thankfully and there’s a nice mix of old and new characters. There’s a Tokyo Xanadu style character note system though, so prepare to run around a lot if you want to get that filled in! Plenty of character events already, and Silent Rean is definitely back with a vengeance. Honestly, I kind of hope they kill him off in the end of this game so the sequel can have an actor that Falcon can afford to pay for a proper lead role. Also one who can emote a bit - he’s still completely flat way too often, maybe even more so than sulky Rean in Sen 2. For all avoidance of doubt, Koki Uchiyama is terrible.

The card game this time around is a nice little Hearthstone clone called Vantage Masters, with appropriately 90s artwork. There’s a bit of Triple Triad in there as you can win cards from NPCs by playing them; it’s a fun little diversion.

#3 uiruki

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 07:55 PM

Little under 20 hours. Really getting into this. Characters are reappearing all over the place and the plot is really starting to kick into gear. Still in chapter 1 too!

Theyre making up for them resetting the level counter by massively increasing the stat upgrades per level and the number of levels gained it seems - Im already hitting level 20 and have characters over 4000 hitpoints. The new order system and the other battle updates make for some fun encounters as enemies hit really hard and status effects like burn hurt a lot. Youve got a lot of options but youre expected to use them; though of course hitting a load of S-Crafts is still a good way to ice most groups.

Im really looking forward to seeing how everything develops, both in terms of returning characters and the true nature of some of the new ones. Like all the Kiseki games before it, it operates firmly within a lot of tropes and conventions but takes everything to a breadth and depth not usually seen. This is the eighth game in the series and it really feels like anything could happen, even though Ive a good idea whats going to happen in the end. With all this stuff theyre introducing I wouldnt be surprised at all if we got a fourth Erebonia game and to be honest, as it is I dont think I would mind.

Annoyingly, I have a work trip tomorrow and Wednesday so Im going to have to put this on hold for at least a couple,e of days. Its clear that theyve been able to expand things like cutscenes with the move away from portables but that doesnt make it any better!

Edited by uiruki, 02 October 2017 - 08:00 PM.


#4 uiruki

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 03:07 PM

Finished chapter 2. 45 hours in now. Chapter 2 alone was structured so well that they could have maybe padded it out a bit and sold it as a game on its own. I understand its only going to get denser as I go on too!

Its also a chapter where playing the earlier games pays off even more; going back to an earlier games setting and not only catching up with characters from that game but also seeing them carry on with their own stories around what youre doing as part of the main plot. Its still very much Reans story, for better or worse, but hes more of a character now and the cast is so large and so much is happening he doesnt drag it down as much as the earlier games.

The battle system is starting to bite too - you are expected to use the new toys you get as bosses in particular act fast and hit hard. Ive got Rean generating massive amounts of craft points and while it makes normal battles easier, for bosses it almost feels like it is balanced around constantly pushing your advantage as its easy for a battle to go completely sideways with a couple of bad moves. AP bonuses can be tricky to go for with multiple resets - and then everything clicks and you completely overwhelm the enemy after changing things around a bit. Great stuff.

#5 uiruki

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 11:25 PM

Nearing the end of Chapter 3 at a little under 70 hours. Just coming up to the part you play in the prologue, I think. Don't be fooled by the chapter numbers; each one is more like three or four mini-chapters, each with their own climax points, all based around one area in the Empire with one or two towns in top of the multiple fields. I've got two and a half weeks left to complete this before I head away on holiday and it's going to be quite a run, I think! Stuff just keeps on happening and it's hard to plan around; I feel like I need to put a few hours aside to really get into it because of all the 10-20 minute cutscenes introducing and reintroducing stuff. It's always been a dense series but this one feels even more so because of all the threads it's bringing together.

 

My concerns about character strength in battle following the level reset are out of the window now; I've been able to have a lot of fun with Rean going full CP generation and just laying out huge Crafts and going into his special mode all the time, even though the level number is still in the low 40s. Evasion's a lot of fun thanks to the Master Quartz that massively increases counter damage, and the new Orders make things like battle prep with buff Arts a lot simpler. I'm still finding attack Arts underpowered though - a bit of a theme for the Sen series unfortunately. Nothing yet like Sora's White Gehenna or basically any spell that Tio casts in Zero/Ao.



#6 uiruki

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 12:39 PM

Right, finished. Still quite mad about it.

Its not often a game will completely flip my opinion of it in such a short time - Ryu ga Gotoku 6 did it in spectacularly gormless fashion but most games will do it over the course of several hours; Persona 5s last couple of dungeons and then the feeble ending, Tales of Zestirias nonsensical advancement systems kicking in, most recent Koei games just running like absolute shit and wearing me down. This game possibly has the record as it all happens in about a second.

General spoilers here:
Spoiler


More precise spoilers here - dont look unless you know whats happening at the end of this game:

Spoiler


Overall I still enjoyed most of it; the stupid way it ends just brings the stuff Im less satisfied by into sharp relief. Im sick of people introducing themselves by bellowing from off screen. Im sick of being saved from an enemy that I just beat without taking any damage. Most of all Im sick of Rean Schwarzer and his shit, nasally affected voice actor, silent half the time when people talk at him. Thinking about it, they probably could have just replaced this entire games events with a half hour cutscene or something if they were unable to finish their story in three years.

#7 uiruki

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 12:40 PM

Also why is this forum editing out all my apostrophes?! I literally copied it across from a note app and they were all there then.





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