Operation Backlog Completion 2018
Feb 232018

Back in November, we learned Final Fantasy XV would get an Episode Ardyn DLC, along with at least two more “Episode” DLCs.

Since Tabata mentioned fans’ interest in seeing more of Luna, Episode Luna felt like a safe bet as well.

Now, in new interviews translated by Gematsu, he said there will be four more “Episode” DLCs, and they will probably extend into 2019.

He’s also viewing the new DLC as being expansions to Final Fantasy XV’s overall universe, and thinks users no longer want gaps to be filled in the main story.

(The major gaps have been filled, and Episode Ardyn will help, but I’m not so sure they couldn’t make a few more improvements.)

Tabata also mentioned that the PC version of Final Fantasy XV will have an official mod creation tool.

Final Fantasy XV is the game that just won’t end! Support is nice, but it’s odd that even after the Royal Edition comes out, there will still be four DLC episodes not included. Will there eventually be a more complete edition released after the Royal Edition?

And when will it stop?

Now, I’ve criticized Final Fantasy XV’s DLC several times, but I admit I’ll buy that Episode Ardyn DLC. As for the rest, we’ll see.

What do you think about this latest development, and what do you think is the future of Final Fantasy XV?

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Feb 212018

Back when the Switch was revealed, the Japanese website included the “Tales of” logo among its list of upcoming games.

A few months later, Bandai Namco’s financial report presentation listed a Tales game for the Switch among their plans for that fiscal year. For Bandai Namco, that means sometime before March 31, 2018.

I wasn’t the only one who expected an announcement during their December 16 broadcast, but it came and went without anything.

Now that we’re nearing the end of February, the end of March seems awfully close.

We never knew if the Switch Tales game would be a new entry or a port, but if it’s still planned for the time frame they initially said, a port or remaster seems most likely. They wouldn’t announce a new main entry without more time to promote it.

But if it’s a port, what of? Tales of Innocence R? Tales of Vesperia, like many fans are hoping after Bandai Namco’s recent Repede tweet? Tales of Berseria? Tales of Symphonia Chronicles?

Then again, at this point, maybe their plan has changed and we won’t see a Tales game on the Switch for a while yet.

What do you think? Will we hear about the Switch Tales game soon, and if so, what will it be?

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Feb 192018

When I heard about The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, it sounded like a perfect game for me. A story-driven turn-based JRPG? Sign me up.

(The Steam port also references Ace Attorney in one of its achievements, which might be why I originally saw it.)

I played it on Steam, but you can also get it for the PSP.

Trails in the Sky follows two new junior bracers (sort of an international peacekeeping organization), Estelle and her adopted brother Joshua, on a journey across the kingdom to prove themselves worthy of becoming full-fledged bracers and also search for clues about why their father disappeared.

It has a slow-paced story, but I didn’t mind that.

Actually, I liked how the stakes felt lower early on in the game, especially because it felt oddly like a detective story at times. We were the bracers investigating crimes and mysterious events, while the larger plot slowly built.

I’ve heard that Falcom (who also developed Gurumin, which I liked a lot, and the Ys series) originally intended it to be one game, but when it became too large, they split it into Trails in the Sky and Trails in the Sky Second Chapter.

That must have contributed to the slow pace at least somewhat, so I’ll be interested to see if the pacing feels the same in Second Chapter or not.

Click for Trails in the Sky implied spoiler

There is also a twist that surprised me so much, that alone made me love Trails in the Sky a lot more.

But while the story is slow-paced, don’t take that to mean there isn’t a lot of it. Not only is it a story-driven game, but there is more NPC dialogue here than I’ve seen in anything else. After nearly every plot event, the NPCs gain new dialogue, and talking to everyone helps both with worldbuilding and seeing how their lives change.

In general, it makes the world feel like a very “real” place outside of events that directly relate to the main plot. There are also cute little touches, like text whenever you examine a treasure chest you already opened.

The characters were enjoyable, and there’s a nice contrast between Estelle’s hotheaded preference to whack things into submission and Joshua’s calm assessment of most situations.

(My favorite, though, has to be Olivier. That character type and attempts at humor often annoy me, but Olivier was handled in such a way that I loved him and nearly laughed out loud at some of his scenes.)

There’s no world map here, but instead you travel between interconnected regions. You’re restricted to the region you’re currently in, but you can always backtrack to places within that region – and you’ll want to, because Trails in the Sky had ridiculously short windows for certain side quests and collectibles. If you want to do everything, your best bet is to backtrack everywhere at every possible opportunity.

Combat lets move around on a grid in battles like in a tactical RPG, but it generally feels like a traditional turn-based RPG. In addition to regular attacks, you gain special skills by equipping “quartz,” and also have character-specific abilities, including special S-Crafts that let you interrupt the turn order.

The quartz system feels complicated at first, but it’s actually not bad once you get used to it. I also found the default mouse & keyboard controls to be bad, so I played with a controller.

Overall, Trails in the Sky is a solid turn-based JRPG with plenty of side content, tons of dialogue, and a slow-paced but enjoyable story that will leave you anxious to play its sequel.

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