Brief updates on Operation Abyss, Fire Emblem Echoes and Hatsukare Renai Debut Sengen

Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy: Just about to hit what I hope/believe is the last stretch. 39 hours, party level of approximately 20 so not much progress from last time. I thought for sure I had almost 100,000GP to my name, but when I reloaded it turned out I had around 1,000…ehh? What did I do with the money? I must have bought… something. I can’t remember.

So anyway, buying a Squeaky Hammer was out. I scraped some cash together and bought the JA Squeaky Hammer, but I don’t have the Genome IV necessary to forge the weapon yet. I guess Operation Abyss will have to remain unbroken for just a little while longer. Though to be honest it’s so easy anyway that breaking it would be overkill.

Hatsukare Renai Debut Sengen: Don’t feel like making a separate post for this, but I did get Natori Shunichiro’s happy ending just the other day. He’s a nice guy and his parents are loaded, so it’s a good match all around. It was just annoying to read all these funny game references and see them flying clean over Yui’s head again and again. Shun is portrayed as a weirdo that only a saint could love, and that saint just happens to be Yui.

But riddle me this: if gaming is such a niche and shunned hobby in Japan, who is buying all those millions of copies of Dragon Quest and Pokemon? Who has been lining up for yards to buy a Nintendo Switch? And just who does Furyu expect to buy Hatsukare? Maybe they should think through their characterization a little harder next time.

I did a partway save of Aoto’s route while I was at it, but he’s a stuckup little twerp. So disrespectful when talking to his sempai, like she’s inferior to him or something. I know his gimmick is that he’s trying to be tougher than he really is, but he comes across as so rude and arrogant that I’ve completely lost interest.

On the other hand I gave the eviljerk teacher a bit of a chance and he’s… intriguing me. He seems to know Yui from somewhere. As long as he doesn’t turn out to be one of those Forgotten Childhood Friends JRPGs and anime like so much. I’ll save him for another time.

Oh, and I got Kakeru’s friend ending too. Friend ending are easy, you just talk to the guys every time a star icon pops up and presto. The only problem is it makes the happy ending seem a little shallow. Because you spend all afternoon at the festival with your best friend, then when evening comes you act all like “I just got here” and go around seeing the sights again like it’s your first time. Yui-chan, you two-timer!Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia:  It’s easy to forget, but my original plan was to blast through Operation Abyss quickly and then turn my attention to FE: Echoes. To that end I only dabbled in FE briefly when it first came out and put it away. Recently I started feeling like I’ve been playing Operation Abyss for way too long, so I pulled the 3DS out again. But I can’t seem to get back into FE.

After the simplicty of OA it’s kind of a pain to move all the characters one by one and hit the enemies one by one. Where’s Suicide Attack III when you need it? And my villagers are so weak, but the SRPG player in me can’t bring myself to class them up before they hit the cap. Arghhh. I’m going to dabble a little harder henceforth and try to make some headway this week. Not sure I like the roaming dungeons very much, but maybe they’ll grow on me.

I’m at the point where I’m supposed to rescue some Lady Clair or something from some bad guys at an outpost. Will post again when I finish that first world map with the two generals on it.

Still plugging away at Operation Abyss

38 hours gone, probably another 15-20 left to go. There’s a level cap of 15 in the first part of Operation Abyss which gets lifted when you reach the second part (apparently two games were smooshed into one to create what we now have). Because of that a lot of the EXP I earned in the middle of the game went to waste so I’m only level 19 now. Boo…

Nothing new to report on the gameplay front. It’s very… standard. My samurai has one skill she uses, my warrior has his one skill, my knight spams Aegis for tough battles and Providence for easy ones, priest is on standby or heal, academic uses Brain Spire non-stop, wizard concentrates and nukes and nukes and nukes again. Very… standard, as I said. I’m trying to avoid using the word “repetitive” and I seem to have succeeded.

I’d love it if I could shake things up with some new weapons and armor at least. The loot is what I’m playing this game for anyway. But good drops are the rarest of the rare and even if you find something good, it doesn’t mean you can wear it. It might have a level lock, or an alignment lock, or a class lock, and on and on and on.

Luckily the game has given me three “Gamble Code” items which can be used to turn low level items into higher level ones. Or so they claim. I haven’t tried it yet but I will, right after I finish this quick non-update.

My most useful character is samurai Satsuki with her Quick Slash attack, plus she has a Level Pass item that lets her equip powerful stuff. If I can gamble my way to broken items for her to dual-wield… Eh… But… that would ruin the fun. Which is why I haven’t done it yet. But I will, so I can finish this quicker and move on to something else.

Besides, I’m itching to know what happens next in the story. Not super super itching, but pretty curious nonetheless. My party has been framed for something or the other (can’t remember what) and now we’re on the run (but we still go to school every day) but now we’re on the verge of exposing the true villain. After making our way through a dungeon first, of course. Of course.

It’s gotten to the point where I actually see the dungeons as an obstacle in the way of my progressing the story. Which feels kind of wrong, like the story should be the one I want to get out of the way quickly, not the dungeons. As long as I’m enjoying something, right?

See you when I’m done with this game, whenever that will be.

Let’s talk about Operation Abyss! No whining, I promise!

Yay, I’m in a good mood today! A little sleepy from staying up till 1am playing Operation Abyss, but in a good mood nonetheless. I adjusted my expectations down a bit and the game improved in other ways and now we’re good friends!

I will say, though, that this has strengthened my resolve to play serial games in release order as much as possible. Going from newer to older is just too painful. But! There shall be no whining today, only nice words and compliments!

So! What’s fun about Operation Abyss? Well, the story is actually kind of fun (no spoilers today either). There’s more of it than I’d expected at first, and the bad guys are thoroughly repulsive so taking them down is sooo satisfying. I try to avoid games with zombies and mutants and other gross-looking monsters but after fighting the thousandth variant it’s like yeah yeah, whatever. They aren’t really that gross once you get used to them. And the dungeons aren’t really that gloomy or depressing. It’s no Harvest Moon, but it’s still quite colorful.

My party has grown on me too, despite being a bunch of generics. No, maybe it’s because they’re generics that I’m liking them so much. This way I can dream up personalities for them based on their looks and voices. Warrior-boy Crow here seems like the reckless type who charges in without a backup plan. In a shonen manga he’d be the hero, of course. Knight Lode would be the cautious leader who is reliable but a bit of a worrywart (in a shonen manga he’d be the guy who gets beat up so the hero can take revenge :-p). And so on and so forth.

I haven’t gotten quite so far as dreaming up interactions for them (the real crazy always comes later) but I do like to pretend they’re enjoying the battles and exploration as much as I am. In fact I think I quite like having a generic party full of indistinguishable blobs. When you have a clearly defined main character with a strong personality it’s a bit lonely when the rest of the party is generic. But when they’re all generic then the sky is your limit. I could get used to this.

When I started this game, I was hoping for large meaty dungeons with lots of bosses to fight and treasure to discover. At first I was disappointed. All the game had were these small, anemic… not even dungeons, more like dorm rooms, with a few weak enemies and barely anything to find. Now after roughly 26 hours I’ve unlocked muuuch bigger dungeons and get to fight loooooots of enemies who drop loooooots of loot. Most of it is useless, of course, but you get the occasional nice find once in a while. And anyway it’s the thought that counts.

There’s a downside to the larger dungeon sizes, though. TBH most of them are just large spaces filled with a whole lot of nothing. And freedom to explore at will turned out to be a bad thing in the Restricted Kagura District when I ended up mapping almost the whole place and getting stuck because nobody told me I was actually supposed to go back to headquarters for a couple of cutscenes first. Grr… uhh, I mean, yay… *polite smile*

I’ve also gotten used to all the fancy terminology they like to throw around. I think the newer games took the right approach, using standard terms like Races, Levels, and Classes instead of fancy lingo like Blood and Code and Rise and whatever. You don’t want to be poring through the in-game glossary after every sentence when you’re playing a dungeon crawler, seriously. But I muddled my way through more or less and realized most of the stuff they talk about is just flavor text anyway. A job class by any other name…

I also complained early on about the battles being too easy. To an extent that’s still true, but now it’s largely by choice because there’s an encounter gauge you can use to adjust the difficulty on the fly. It’s that red circle saying “Danger” on the upper left in this screenshot:

The more you fight, the stronger the variants get. The more you run away, the weaker they get. No more cries of “too easy!” or “just mash X to win!” from me! Heck, despite all my earlier whining, I almost never let the gauge get higher than 4. And I run from enemies I don’t like. And I cast Escape when things look bad. Yes, I’m secretly a coward who just likes to run her mouth and Operation Abyss has called my bluff ^.^;; More games should have adjustable difficulty, IMO. It’s one feature I think Experience Inc. should have carried forward to later games.

TL;DR – Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy is a bit, no, very boring with titchy little dungeons and weak enemies at first, but if you stick it out for about 7 hours, you get bigger dungeons, better battles, an interesting story and lots and lots of loot. It really does get better and I’m glad I didn’t drop it. Now I just have to find a way through a certain pesky door in Babyl Sphere and all will be right with the world…

I know that feel

That feel where you’re not enjoying what you’re playing but are too lazy and stubborn to give it up and start something new… Luckily enough, powering through the boring bits of Operation Abyss seems to have worked and I’m slowly starting to enjoy myself. I think the turning point was hitting level 6 and getting powerful new spells for my Wizard so I could blast through battles at a much faster rate. The rest of my team is much stronger too, which means I can explore for long periods of time without always feeling the urge to back out and save.

So yeah, Operation Abyss isn’t that boring, I guess. And it only took me one month to realize it, woo hoo! You can look forward to a “this game is sugoi!” kind of post next time… maybe. This was just a “Sorry to disappoint you but I’m still alive” update. See you guys in a bit!

Just not feeling Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy

I said I would be busy until early June and I was, but I’ve been relatively free for about a week now. In that time I’ve been trying to get into Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy. Trying, and not exactly failing but not exactly succeeding either. I’m about 6 hours in, finished several missions, beat two Wanted Variants. Level up my troops to level 5 thereabouts. Picked up some new skills, etc etc. The usual early game stuff.

The story goes that you’re members of some secret group tasked with taking down some monsters. That’s it. Love it. Love it when dungeon crawlers don’t bother me with too much talking. They also let me roam around the dungeons as long as I like without constantly calling me up on the phone or dragging me back to headquarters (*cough* 7th Dragon 2020 and sequels *cough). There’s some blah blah intrigue going on with some TPF group or the other, but no one seems bothered about it right now.

But that’s it what I love. As for the rest, waaah… The NPCs are lifeless, the enemies are lifeless, the graphics aren’t nice, the gameplay is a clunkier copy of Entaku no Seito and Stranger of Sword City, the soundtracks are almost identical, and so on and so forth… And it’s… so… easy! I’m sure it will get harder later, but right now I’m just mashing Attack, Attack, Attack all day long and getting through just fine. For the boss fights I break out a few spells and a couple of healing items. One time I did Hit Up, Hit Up, Hit Up for three turns. All right! Time to get serious… but the boss was already dead. Awww…

I’m also a little tired of exploring the same two dungeons over and over again. Morimoto High-Rise, Gakuto Sewer. Morimoto again. Gakuto again. And I had to fight the same old same old goblins and trolls everywhere I went. I want new enemies!

And more whining and more bitching and more moaning.

And that’s why I’ve been avoiding posting about Operation Abyss, because I don’t have anything nice to write yet. It doesn’t have the charm or spaciousness of Entaku no Seito and it lacks the polish and smoothness of Stranger of Sword City. It’s just a very mediocre dungeon crawler. I mean I was warned not to compare it to the later games but… Well, I’m only 6 hours in and it’s a pretty short game. I’ll give it my best shot and maybe it will grow on me. Yeah…