Operation Backlog Completion 2017
Jun 212017
 

After my excitement for Tales of Zestiria changed to utter disappointment, I was a bit wary of the next Tales game.

However, Tales of Berseria is not only leagues better than Zestiria, it’s an excellent game that even tries to patch up Zestiria’s worldbuilding, since they’re set in the same universe.

In fact, Berseria often feels like it was written as an answer to Zestiria’s criticism.

All those loose ends in the lore? Several find a home in Berseria. The ever-changing explanations of malevolence? Berseria picks a simpler one and sticks with it. Zestiria’s “angel of death” seraphim? Berseria uses the concept for more than a throwaway scene. The gun? It gets a better explanation here than Zestiria’s non-answer.

And if Zestiria’s bizarre, inconsistent morality bothered you, you should be pleased with Berseria. It might seem ironic, since Velvet is motivated by revenge and selfishness, but her morality is handled much better than Sorey and Rose’s.

Overall, even though Tales of Berseria is the “darker” game, it ends up feeling more positive and optimistic than Zestiria.

Click for Zestiria and Berseria spoilers

But enough comparing it to Zestiria, let’s look at it on its own.

Berseria’s cast is entertaining and enjoyable, and its villains also take an excellent role. I generally liked the characters and wanted to see how everything would work out. Skits have a new style this time, with fuller sprites instead of just portraits, which gives them more life and lets them work for more important conversations. There are plenty of humorous moments alongside its darker themes, and the plot was entertaining with a few twists I didn’t see coming.

It also has several different types of mini-games, as well as some excellent side quests.

Click for Zestiria spoilers, yes, Zestiria

That’s not to say Berseria is perfect. It has a few annoyances, such as a few set phrases and ideas the characters like to bring up over and over and over. One would have been fine, but with so many, it starts to feel silly.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the combat system, either, where the number of attacks you can perform depends on your “souls,” which you can gain or lose based on what you do in battle. It was fine, but I’d like to see the next Tales game return to a simpler system.

Tales of Berseria is a strong answer to Zestiria’s problems, as well as a great JRPG in its own right. Zestiria left me unhappy with the series, but Berseria has redeemed it.

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Jun 192017
 

When Level-5 first revealed that the new Layton game would star Professor Layton’s daughter Katrielle, I was among many fans who wondered what this meant for Flora.

After the events of the first game, Professor Layton presumably adopted Flora Reinhold. If they wanted the new game to star his daughter, why invent a new character instead of using his adopted daughter?

Katrielle Layton also bears a resemblance to Flora, most noticeable in the newly-revealed bonus costume. Players who download the digital 3DS version of Layton’s Mystery Journey when it comes out in Japan will receive a costume for Katrielle that puts her in Flora’s outfit.

If you showed me Katrielle in her costume without context, I’d easily believe she was an older Flora.

But they have different eye colors, so it’s pretty clear Katrielle is not Flora. She also would have no reason to hide her identity, especially if she was still going to call herself Professor Layton’s daughter.

(Unless, of course, someone was after her because she was a Reinhold, but it’s still a stretch.)

So then, is there a connection between Katrielle and Flora?

Theories

Some fans think Katrielle is actually Layton and Flora’s daughter. This is highly unlikely. Yes, Layton and Flora aren’t blood relatives, but I just can’t see Level-5 putting Layton in a relationship with his adopted daughter.

Other people have suggested she might be Flora’s daughter with someone else, maybe even Luke. (Being a blood relative of Luke would explain the talking dog.) Why Katrielle uses the name Layton and considers Professor Layton her father would require an explanation, but it’s a definite possibility.

Finally, the similar appearances might just be a coincidence, and Katrielle’s only connection to Flora is that they’re both Professor Layton’s daughters.

What do you think? Is there a connection between Katrielle Layton and Flora? If so, what do you think it is?

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Jun 132017
 

We’ve seen all the E3 press conferences now, but there are many games shown outside of those events. Here are the most exciting games of E3 for me outside of the press conferences.

(I’ll update this post as E3 continues.)

Table of Contents

EA
Microsoft
Bethesda
Devolver Digital
PC Gaming
Ubisoft
Sony
Nintendo
Miscellaneous Games

Miscellaneous

Day 1

Nintendo Treehouse started out with Super Mario Odyssey gameplay, and it looks so cool. The more I see it, the more I want it.

If that wasn’t enough, they followed it with a casual announcement of Metroid: Samus Returns, a reimagining of Metroid II: The Return of Samus. That’s right, two Metroid games were announced this E3.

This was enough to confirm my feelings that Nintendo had the best showing at E3 this year. Plus, I still can’t get over how that Mario + Rabbids game looks like it might be fun!

You know what else really looks fun? Xenoblade Chronicles 2! It’s not the Xenoblade Chronicles X sequel I wanted (and I hope their comments about how it’s Xenoblade Chronicles 2 because they wanted to make a story-driven game doesn’t mean a story-driven XCX 2 is out of the picture), but it looks like it’ll be a great JRPG!

The battle system is a bit of a twist on the previous Xenoblade combat, but I like it!

Nintendo also confirmed the leaked Superstar Saga remake and officially unveiled Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions for October 6.

But let’s move on to non-Nintendo games, because some nice new trailers for other games came out, as well. In fact, I’d probably have enjoyed Sony’s press conference more if they included a few of these…

Such as Knack 2, due out on September 5!

I know, I know. No one liked Knack, right? *pats my new copy that I got for Christmas after specifically requesting it* I’m going to play Knack, and I want to play its sequel. It looks fun!

Meanwhile, on the JRPG front, Ni No Kuni II looks really cool. (I need to play the first one. My poor backlog.)

I’m also intrigued by the upcoming Yakuza games (which apparently have more in common with JRPGs than I thought), the Utawarerumono games, and Vampyr.

(Why wasn’t Vampyr at Sony’s press conference?)

Finally, Zwei II from Falcom is being localized as Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection for the PC. (From what I’ve heard, it’s not necessary to play the first Zwei to get into this one, which is good.) It got its first English trailer at E3.

Day 2

On the second day of E3, a new trailer was shown for the Call of Cthulhu video game. It should come as no surprise that I’m interested in a Cthulhu game.

Meanwhile, the trailer for 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim showed off the game’s setting and style, but I’m still not entirely sure what it is.

The E3 press conferences are over, but there are still many exciting games to be announced at E3. What E3 games are you most interested in that weren’t shown at a press conference?

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