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About Serethyn

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    Romance of the Souls
  • Birthday 09/17/93

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    History, language, culture, reading novels, stories in general!

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  1. Since all the big names have already been mentioned by the lovely people here, allow me to give you a few niche recommendations! Utawarerumono - Part visual novel, part strategy RPG, these games boast some of the finest stories you'll ever find on this platform of ours. You won't have to worry about alternate endings, just sit back, enjoy the story, and fight all sorts of baddies! You'll want to start with Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception. Mask of Truth is its direct sequel. Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk - A so-called DRPG, this is an incredibly deep dungeon crawler where you construct your own party out of a variety of classes and stat-growth schemes. You play as a soul trapped inside a witch's grimoire, and the story revolves around the mysterious town of Refrain and the deadly, otherworldly labyrinth hidden underneath its cobbled streets... only you can explore it, only you can pierce its depths. The Caligula Effect: Overdose - Do you like vocaloid music? Does the idea of being stuck inside a seemingly idyllic virtual reality controlled by a megalomaniac virtual idol, with only yourself and a handful of other people capable of seeing the world for what it really is, appeal to you? Then this JRPG will be well-worth your time! It's worth mentioning that the story for this game was written by Tadashi Satomi - whose previous writing work includes the original Persona, and both Persona 2: Innocent Sin as well as Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. Nights of Azure and Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon - Not the best games ever made, but these heartfelt action JRPGs made by Atelier-developer Gust are enjoyable to play and have surprisingly engaging stories. Eternal darkness threatens to engulf the land, and only the sacrifice of a pure-hearted maiden will be able to turn the tide. Only... what do you do when said chosen maiden is your best friend? She who fights monsters may well find herself becoming more monstrous too... Dragon's Crown Pro - Another Vanillaware gem, this game is an audiovisual treat and a blast from the beat-'em-up past. Combine side-scrolling melee combat comparable to games like Streets of Rage or Golden Axe with Diablo-style loot gathering and RPG mechanics, add to that a simple but charming story that feels like you're sitting down with a D&D dungeon master, and you've got Dragon's Crown. It cannot be overstated just how lovely this game looks. Final Fantasy Type-0 - A more action-driven spin-off with a decidedly darker tone, this is Final Fantasy mixed with the military academy setting of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel and the four elemental nations at war setting found in Avatar: The Last Airbender. A flawed but fascinating game. Other than that, I'll happily echo the recommendations for Trails of Cold Steel, Ys, Tokyo Xanadu, Tales of Vesperia/Berseria, and the Atelier series. It might also be worth looking into the PS2 Classics category, there are some treats there - like Wild Arms 3, Okage: Shadow King, and Dark Chronicle.
  2. #107: Spirit Hunter: NG (No moment-of-platinum screenshot because this is one of those games that blocks screencaps after the prologue, booooooo!) Sequel to last year's criminally underappreciated horror adventure Death Mark (which was retroactively titled Spirit Hunter: Death Mark), NG appears to be similarly overlooked, and I find that a crying shame. These are really, really good Japanese horror stories with more classic adventure game gameplay (exploration, item-based puzzles, logic challenges) than your average contemporary visual novel, boatloads of creepy atmosphere, and horror that relies more on tension and suspense than on outright jumpscares. That's not to say there aren't any jumpscares, but they are used rarely - which I quite appreciate. The premise is that you're a sullen delinquent high schooler living alone in a dingy little apartment, occasionally hosting your adorable little cousin Ami. Little Ami calls you 'big brother' and wants nothing more than to spend time with you, so yes, she's essentially Nanako from Persona 4. Your peaceful days are doomed to come to an end, however, as a creepy doll calling itself Kakuya appears one night, spirits Ami away and forces you to "play with it forever and ever", and if you don't go along with the malevolent doll's wishes, well, say goodbye to Ami... And so you begin hunting spirits alongside a colourful cast of companions. It's these companions that make NG shine: whereas I felt predecessor Death Mark had a rather perfunctory cast, with shallow characters that were there mostly to serve the plot rather than to exist as believable people, NG's characterisation is a lot stronger. It's very easy to care about these people, and indeed Ami is mostly adorable rather than cloying or irritating. I actively wanted to rescue her from Kakuya's clutches. The spirits themselves are also better this time around, if you ask me. Their designs are a lot more creepy (I found that roughly half of the DM spirits looked somewhat goofy, truth be told), and their backstories are suitably disturbing and tragic to serve your horror story needs. I do wonder if developer Experience ended up running out of money halfway through development, though, as the last few spirits have much shorter investigation sequences and smaller environments to explore than the excellent first three did. Considering how they've recently turned to a crowdfunding campaign to attempt to get a third installment off the grounds, I think there's merit to this idea. Trophy-wise, NG is fairly simple - achieve all endings, and you're set for the platinum, basically. Since actually playing the game is a tad more involved than merely reading text and selecting an occasional dialogue option, those who look to buy visual novels solely to force-skip through them for an easy 100% might find themselves disappointed here, but as a fan of the genre, I personally don't recommend that approach anyway. If you have but a passing interest in the idea of a gripping J-horror story, please do look into the Spirit Hunter series! These games deserve more love.
  3. Salutations, fellow spirit hunters and occult otaku! Are your guardian angels watching over you tonight? Having just obtained the platinum trophy for this wonderfully spooky treat of a game, I thought it might be nice to share some information on how to deal with the game's five spirits! URASHIMA WOMAN: KUBITARŌ OF KINTOKI: SCREAMING AUTHOR: KILLER PEACH: DEMON TSUKIYOMI: Hope that helps any aspiring spirit hunter! If anyone has any other questions, I'll be happy to help if I can. Stay safe out there~
  4. Will get Atelier Ryza for sure xD, just being patient for now.

    1. Serethyn


      By all means! It's a real treat, so let's hope for your sake that it gets a nice holiday season discount. :>

    2. Nelson_Otaku


      Im also giving Yu-No a try later too, also waiting a bit for that one.

  5. #106: Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness and the Secret Hideout The Atelier series has enticed me for quite some time; its uniquely laidback approach to storytelling and girlish charm appeal to me rather a lot, but despite their cutesy presentation and slice-of-life storylines, I've found the games a tad inaccessible. Until now, that is, because the wonderful Atelier Ryza has finally pulled me in without scaring me with deadlines or difficult-to-parse synthesis systems. Don't misunderstand me, this isn't a watered-down experience in the slightest. There's still a lot of mechanical depth and complexity to be found here, it's just that the entry threshold has been lowered somewhat, making it easier for Atelier newbies like myself to come inside and warm their hands at the cosy hearth before getting down to the nitty-gritty of using alchemy to create all the things. The story pacing is also more dynamic than it was in, say, Atelier Sophie. The tale of how one Reisalin Stout and her childhood buddies are stuck on an arch-conservative rural little island that stifles their burning desire for adventure and excitement is engaging from start to finish, helped by brisk pacing and a generous fast-travel system that makes it easy to get ready into the action without having to waste time shlepping towards the relevant area first. Combat remains fun as well - eschewing a more traditional turn-based system, Atelier Ryza utilises an ATB style instead, where you'll have to manage your AP (spells) and CC (items) metres carefully lest you run out of points by the time you reach a boss encounter. Everyone involved in this game seems to have stepped up their usual efforts. The game clearly runs on a new engine, making for some really pretty visuals and smoother animations, and even notoriously careless publisher/localiser KT appears to have put in more effort this time around, as the English translation is their best effort in years. What a night and day difference with the other Gust game I completed this year! Complementing the series' laidback atmosphere, there are no missable trophies in Atelier Ryza. The platinum is fairly straightforward, requiring some but not an odious amount of grinding. You won't have to dance with the RNG demon, this is a friendly game that respects your time. Easily one of my Games of the Year, and heartily recommended to anyone interested in a relaxing, colourful JRPG with an easy-to-grasp-but-hard-to-master alchemy system!
  6. Oooh, fun topic! On PSN, I went with Kaede Akamatsu from Danganronpa V3 simply because I like her a lot. Her design and personality alike are appealing, so I feel quite comfortable having her as my avatar! Everywhere else, this lovely forum included, I chose Hitori Bocchi from the manga/anime Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu, for two reasons. The first being that she's an incredibly precious little muffin, the second reason would be that I had similarly awful social anxiety when I was in middle and high school, so I strongly relate to her.
  7. #105: Fatal Twelve ~Twelve Weeks, Twelve Persons, Twelve Elections~ How far would you go if you were given a shot at earning a second chance at life? Fatal Twelve asks us this question, introducing us to twelve unfortunate souls who have passed away before they were really 'supposed to'. Instead of moving on to whatever afterlife awaits them, however, they all find themselves in a surreal dream world where a being calling herself the Goddess of Fate Parca tells them that they have been granted the right to participate in an event known as Divine Selection. Win the Divine Selection, and your death will be undone. However, there can only be one winner, and the participants are to eliminate each other through weekly elections... I found the story premise fascinating. It's rather similar in idea to death game stories like Zero Escape or Danganronpa, but different in that you're not killing people, you're 'merely' denying them a chance at resurrection. It raises a lot of interesting philosophical questions, and I'm not sure how I would act were I placed in such a situation. Another thing I found rather lovely was the means by which candidates are to elect others: by finding out their name, their cause of death, and their regret. Information quite literally is a weapon in this game, and characters are often exceedingly wary in what they feel comfortable saying to other participants, lest a careless comment accidentally leads the others to deduce vital information about them. It helps that Fatal Twelve boasts a strong cast of memorable characters, with my particular favourites being Odette, Alan, and Sofiya - although sadly the heroine of the game, Rinka Shishimai, is the weakest link out of them all. She isn't -terrible-, please don't get me wrong, but oh my goodness does she make a lot of silly mistakes and stupid decisions. One point of the story had me yelling at my television because of how easily her present conundrum could've been solved had she taken the time to think for five seconds! It's a sad trend in quite a few Japanese games to have excellent casts weighed down somewhat by bland or stupid protagonists, and I sincerely hope this trend will disappear soon. Luckily, Fatal Twelve did seem to have realised the weakness of its protagonist, for it often segues into bits where you see the story from the viewpoint of other characters. By the time the story is exclusively from Rinka's point of view, she has undergone sufficient character development for it not to sting. Trophy-wise, this is of course a visual novel, so all you have to do in order to get your paws on its ever so sparkly platinum is follow a guide which tells you how to obtain all CGs and endings. I had a decent time with Fatal Twelve, overall. It's not my favourite visual novel, but it's hardly the worst I've read either - it's just good. Decent. And that's okay, I'd say!
  8. No love for Utawarerumono? Huh. Well, I personally believe they would be the best place to start if you're looking to try out the visual novel genre. You see, Utawarerumono has an excellent story, great characters and an imaginative setting, but features no branching paths - it's a long, linear story progression, which I think is helpful for people new to the genre. Just sit back and enjoy the story, don't worry about choices and different endings yet. Also, there are occasional strategy RPG battle segments, but on Normal difficulty these are really just a formality in terms of challenge. Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is where you'll want to start, Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth is its sequel. Good luck with your exploration of this wonderful genre! I hope you'll come to love it.
  9. A treat and a trick, how appropriate for the season! Atelier Ryza looks like a welcome breath of fresh air for the long-running franchise, boasting an upgraded engine with better visuals and animations, as well as a different approach to the classic alchemist gameplay but without sacrificing the trademark Atelier charm and whimsy. Let's not forget the, ah, inspired design for the heroine, either: I think it's a safe bet that Ryza herself is the main reason for the game's great performance in Japan~ And as for NG, I really enjoyed last year's Death Mark, it positively oozed creepy atmosphere, and it felt more dynamic than one's usual visual novel thanks to adventure game-style puzzle-solving and area exploration. Naturally, when its sequel - Spirit Hunter: NG - was announced for localisation a few months ago, I was very pleased, and very keen to revisit this world of Japanese supernatural horror!
  10. YU-NO: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world There doesn't seem to be a European physical release - at least, not yet - but luckily my favoured retailer carried some imported US copies. This is a remake of the classic visual novel which supposedly inspired Steins;Gate a great deal, so it should be a great time~!
  11. Sooooo, Spike responded to my Twitter message by saying they've manually updated the servers. The issues should be fixed within 24 hours, and considering @Ranari_Kai is already able to sync, I hope we'll be seeing YU-NO show up on this lovely website very soon!
  12. That'd be very helpful. I'll try tweeting at Spike too. *nodnod*
  13. Do we know why there aren't any English YU-NO trophy lists available yet? The game came out last week, after all. There's an English Steam achievement list, so surely there should be a trophy counterpart?
  14. #104: Worldend Syndrome (With many, many thanks to the lovely @Larx for generously gifting me this game! ) Hello, hello, Platinum Party People! Another day, another visual novel with "World End" in the name. Worldend Syndrome would have likely flown underneath my radar if it wasn't for seeing screenshots of its striking art style. It's exceedingly easy on the eyes, with a painterly aesthetic used for the (often animated!) backgrounds, whereas the characters themselves look more traditionally anime-styled. I'll put a few examples in the spoiler box below! Worldend Syndrome's story centres around a depressed young man who travels to the picturesque rural village known as Mihate Town, to "throw his life away" by living the rest of his days in empty misery. Our boy is a very restrained protagonist, keeping to himself and having little patience for tomfoolery. But, as he joins his high school's Mystery Club, he makes friends and begins investigating the local "yomibito" legend, in which it is said that the town is terrorised by murderous spirits once every 100 years. This summer marks the 100th anniversary since the last supposed yomibito incident, and when several high school girls start turning up dead under mysterious circumstances, one begins to wonder if perhaps the legends are true... The idea of playing a depressed person who has given up on life doesn't sound terribly appealing to me, but I am glad to report that there is plenty of character development along the way, and the true ending is nothing short of life-affirming. I liked it. I liked it quite a bit! And honestly, I'd love to visit a scenic village like Mihate Town myself someday. It's such a gorgeous place. Progression through the story plays out more like a social link from the Persona series or bonding events in Danganronpa, rather than a fairly straightforward "choose the right dialogue options" system. Instead, you select a location to visit on the town map, and interact with whoever is at that location at that specific time. Whilst it makes for a more unique way of experiencing the story, it does make using a guide more essential than ever if you want to grab the platinum, since sometimes there's no real rhyme or reason as to where you have to go in order to obtain specific tips or CGs. Something worth bearing in mind if you plan to tackle this game without guidance!
  15. #103: A.I.: The Somnium Files From the mad mind of Kotaro Uchikoshi, known for the Infinity and Zero Escape series - as well as the unapologetically zany Punchline - comes this beaut of an adventure. My first impressions of the game made me think of it as similar to Suda51's indelible and gloriously messy The Silver Case, only with actually coherent and much better translated writing. That comparison is more apt than referencing a straight visual novel, since The Somnium Files does feature gameplay in between story chunks. You see, protagonist Kaname Date and his eyeball-housed AI companion Aiba (an AI-Ball, if you will) are part of a special branch at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department: ABIS, who investigate particularly involved crimes through a machine that allows them to explore suspects' dreams and extract hidden information from them. The game begins with Date and Aiba being assigned a homicide case which swiftly devolves into serial murder. Can they find the Cyclops Killer? To say more about the story would be a disservice. I honestly think it's worth your time if you have any interest in good crime narratives; it keeps you engaged throughout and doesn't leave any major questions unanswered. There is also a lot of humour woven throughout, with lots of innuendo and wordplay as Date and Aiba meet a colourful cast of characters who are easy to get attached to. Honestly, the tonal tightrope this game manages to walk is highly impressive, reminding me of theYakuza series in how it can seamlessly flow from funny to serious crime to heart-warming to tragic without ever coming across as jarring or inappropriate. Yes, there are lots of gags about, ah, certain anatomical elements, but the story will definitely get serious whenever it needs to. Also, since this is an Uchikoshi joint, expect lots of galaxybrain science concepts to be bandied about - although it was easier to digest this time than it was in, say, Virtue's Last Reward. I wanted to give a special mention to Spike Chunsoft America's localisation work, which is exceedingly robust and flat-out impressive for such a new localisation office. The game comes with dual audio, and is fully dubbed in English - even the obligatory idol song has been fully translated and sung in English, which I don't believe I've ever seen in a game before. Between this and the excellent translation for 428: Shibuya Scramble, Spike Chunsoft are ones to watch if you're a Japanese gaming enthusiast like I am! Trophy-wise, this is very simple. There's a handy flowchart which clearly indicates which routes to pursue next, puzzles and timed segments can be replayed as much as you need or want, and the game helpfully highlights all the solutions in dreams which you have already cleared before, making replays easier and quicker. Expect to get a good 20-30 hours out of the story. All in all, I'm going to miss this cast - Iris in particular grew dear to me - and I hope Mr. Uchikoshi will get the chance to make a sequel to this someday. The Somnium Files may very well end up being one of my favourite games from 2019.