Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army (1)

Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army is what I would call a “nice little game.” It’s not too easy and not too hard. Not too long, not too short. The cast is nothing special but not unlikeable either and the story is not that interesting, but hardly boring. It’s just… nice.

And I’m now about 1/3rd of the way through this nice game, using it as a helpful little filler before I commit fully to the mammoth that is Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I’m on chapter 5 out of 12, 13 hours into what is said to be a 30-hour game. And my opinion of it? It’s… nice.

What else can I say? It’s just… Yah. It’s been a while since I played a game I had so little to say about…. Umm… The battle system? I did die against the first boss Tsuchigumo, much to my shock and dismay. I don’t even know what hit me, suddenly I was dead. But as with most Shin Megami Tensei games, it’s all a matter of knowing the boss’s weakness and exploiting it. And also putting some extra points in MAG and VIT so you don’t go down so easily. Oh, and saving before you take on a boss. I don’t know what I was thinking just marching in like that. I haven’t had any trouble fighting since I got the hang of things. Now that I’m starting to get demons with -dyne level spells, I’m doing pretty well for myself.

When it comes to the general flow of the game, I both like and dislike the amount of legwork involved. On one hand having to go from place to place questioning people and looking for clues makes it feel like a real detective game, very different from other SMTs I’ve played.

But sometimes it can be really tedious with a lot of running back and forth between two points. Go to point A, go back to the Agency, go to point B, go back to the Agency. Man: “I won’t help you until you find my dog.” Dog: “I won’t help you until you find my bone.” Bone: “I won’t help you until you find my marrow.” And on and and on. It gets a bit much sometimes but it looks like we’re finally getting to the meat of the story now. Something about a Super Soldier Project involving the Japanese military and a cursed bloodline. This could be really good or really, really bad. Knowing SMT it will most likely be something in the middle. Or maybe just… nice.

That’s enough for a preliminary report. Unless something interesting crops up, my next post on this game will be when it’s complete. Hopefully I’ll have more to say about it by then.

Granblue Fantasy: Achievements and Grids at level 140

Welcome to another post on Granblue Fantasy, the game I made a huge fuss about quitting a year ago today. To paraphrase Mark Twain, “Quitting Granblue Fantasy is easy: I’ve done it hundreds of times.”

Today it’s time to look at all the things I have magically achieved despite “dropping” the game last year. It’s a miracle, I tell you. I just woke up in the morning and there were all these grids!

Disclaimer:This post will mainly be of interest to people already helplessly trapped by Grindblue Farmtasy. If you’re not one of those, stop reading right now lest you be drawn away and enticed and end up like the rest of us. You were warned.

Achievements in Grinding

✦Built a Class Champion Weapon. I said I wouldn’t but I did it anyway. The story of my life. I don’t have any real memories of doing it because the grind was very easy. I suspect Cygames sensed my ambivalence and tweaked the drop rates to keep me from quitting. It’s the only explanation.

What I do remember is that Cygames announced a reduction in the weapon stones needed for a CCW barely a week after I finished my own. There are no words.

✦Unlocked and mastered all Tier IV classes. The old lady you have to fight in “Search for an Heir” is pretty manageable if you take green potions and a healing skill along. Now that Shiva is a thing, building up a charge attack and letting her have it might be an option too.

I use Chaos Ruler for solo content and Berserker/Warlock/Elysian for raids. Very occasionally I run Sage, Spartan or Luchador. Gameplay-wise I favor Chaos Ruler because it’s a very stable and self-sufficient class. Also dem debuffs.

Looks-wise Berserker is my hands-down favorite. Not because it’s powerful, though it is, but because it’s one of the few classes where Gran looks genuinely happy in the art. I’m going through all this trouble because he couldn’t keep his hands off a pretty lady, the least he can do is flash a smile once in a while.

So strong it makes me Shiva

✦Finished the main story up to the current update (chapter 105). However I started skipping the text for most events even before I “quit” so I have no idea what’s going on.

✦Finished all the Arcarum quests available and unlocked all the SR summons except Justice and Temperance. I’ve decided to focus on developing Judgement for now because the kitty cat is cute. You’d be surprised at the number of decisions that get made in this game “because he/she/it’s cute.”

✦Unlocked and mastered all Extra classes. I’d ignored them for a while but finally got round to finishing up Assassin and Mechanic last week.

✦Became capable of beating almost all event raids/bosses by myself. If nothing else, this helps ward off Granblue Lonely Heart Syndrome, that strange phenomenon where raids die almost instantly when you join them but linger forever with no one joining when you host them.

I called for help right at the start :'(

✦Sparked Summer Zooey. I documented it here so no need to go over that. I have about 29,000 crystals and 38 tickets saved up for the next spark. It would be more, but I blew 9,000 crystals and a ticket trying to get Grimnir. I didn’t get him, of course. Of course. Here are the characters I’ve picked up since September:

✦Raised five characters to level 100: Yuel, Amira, Lancelot, Gawain and Silva the Great. Four other characters are in their 90s: Charlotte, Magisa, Vaseraga and Lady Grey. My current lineups are far below.

✦Unlocked two Eternals: Seofon and Threo. Seofon is an ougi/triple-attacking beast and a staple of my Wind party. Threo is much less impressive but has her uses. Also she’s kind of cute with her big axe. I was going to build Seox or Tweyen next, even farmed up most of the material. But with the Granblue 4th Anniversary less than two months away it’s better to wait and see how the game changes before making any major commitments.

✦FLB’d almost all my omega weapons. MLB = filling three stars on a weapon. FLB = filling the three stars and the extra blue star at the end. I’ll post my grids further below.

✦Upgraded my Bahamut dagger from Nova to Coda. Pubbed/Twitter Proto Bahamut HLs fail 90% of the time, but Co-op raids succeed 90% of the time so it’s no big deal. Finding a PBaha HL room that accepts players under 120 is harder than finishing the raid itself.

However I do remember one room that allowed even level 101 players in. It was being run by a bunch of 150+ veterans. At the start of the battle the leader was like “Okay newbies, try not to die before it hits 50%.” One minute later… 50%. Eeeeeh?!!! Paralyze. Paralyze Extend. “Get ‘im, boys!” 90 seconds later, dead Baha. “So long, kids! Always brush your teeth!”

It is hands down the coolest thing I had ever seen in this game. I really wanted to grow up to be a kakkoii sempai like that. Unfortunately in the year since then I haven’t even hosted my own Proto Bahamut HL. So… yeah. Don’t wait up.

Other stuff I haven’t bothered to do yet

✧Haven’t bought Christina from the Casino shop. I make 10 million chips in poker, lose 5 million at Bingo then spend the rest frugally until I drop down to 100,000. Rinse and repeat.

✧Haven’t hosted or joined any of the SSR Carbuncle raids. I’m talking about Prometheus, Ca Ong, Anubis and the like. No special reason, just haven’t gotten round to it. Come to think of it, I haven’t hosted Nezha HL or Dark Angel Olivia HL either. Leeching is just too efficient in this game.

✧Haven’t 5-starred any Eternals. I looked at the requirements and went NOPE FOREVER. I want to go so far as to say I would never undertake such a time-crushing and soul-consuming endeavor, but then someone will point out “You’ve been playing Granblue Fantasy for two years!” and I won’t have a leg to stand on. It’s highly unlikely I’ll ever get one, but never say never.

✧Don’t have any Atma weapons. I didn’t have that many sword characters at first. Now I have Summer Zooey, Black Knight, Vira and Dark Jeanne so it’s worth it at least for Dark. Maybe later in the month.

✧Haven’t FLB’d any summons yet, gacha or free. I got a Sunlight Stone from the Christmas freebies, Unite and Fight just gave me a second and Arcarum should give me a third within two weeks. Then I have to decide which summon gets the honor. Most likely Lucifer because he has an excellent call and is one of the best stat sticks in the game. Besides, he’s already level 60. I’ll wait and see what’s announced during the Anniversary then decide.

My Granblue weapon grids at Level 140

A lot has changed in Granblue Fantasy since I last posted my grids. Back then Xeno weapons weren’t a thing and Seraphic weapons, Atma/Ultima weapons and SSR Carbuncle weapons all didn’t exist. There were no character EMPs, Arcarum summons hadn’t been announced, Grand Series weapons hadn’t gotten final uncaps, a lot of summons didn’t have FLBs… I even referred to Setekh as “that useless Setekh summon.” I hope he doesn’t still remember ^^;;

So there’s a good chance the grids I’m going to post will be obsolete very shortly. Magna/Omega II summons and Shiva-tier raids have already been announced, after all. But I’m going to post them anyway because they’re my grids and I put a lot of work and love into them. For posterity!

Let There Be Light

A vast improvement over my non-starter of a grid last year. It would be even better if Luminiera would just drop one tiny little sword for me. Just one. I have a ton of pendants stored up ready to buy the last 3 swords in the store, see?

All she has to do is give me one sword and everything will be peachy. I’ve tried everything. Arcarum. Trains. Begging. Beating up Apollo and Odin pour encourager les autres. Nothing seems to work. If my Ultimate Technique “Complaining on my Blog no Jutsu” doesn’t work, I’ll have to use a damascus bar and call it a day. Xeno Corow will most likely kick out one or more of the guns and I may or may not replace the Katana with a Huanglong weapon so there’s still a long way to go with this grid.

My lovely light ladies. The front row is largely unchanged from last time, except I kicked Amira out and replaced her with Clarisse for strike time shenanigans.

Other Light SSRs: Sarunan, Rosamia, Albert, Dorothy & Claudia, Baotorda, Mikazuki, Sakura. None of them have impressed me enough to make it to the front row, though Albert does have his uses. My backline is always filled with characters I’m trying to get to level 100.

I’ll only post my summons once because I run largely the same set of stat sticks for all my grids. Back when I used to do 6-man HLs I had carbuncles in there for the damage cuts but now I don’t bother.

The Heart of Darkness

Another massive, nay, MASSIVE improvement over last time. The grid is actually full of dark SSR weapons, unbelievable! The second Celeste axe is there because I had planned to replace it with a second Xeno Diablo Katana. In the end I didn’t bother so I’ll put the Atma Sword there instead. The Ancient Cortanas came from the Prestige pendant store. Dark Angel Olivia only laughs when I talk to her about dropping them.

‘Sup girls? Why are there so many girls in this game anyway? I’m supposed to replace Lady Grey with either the Black Knight or Vira but somehow I just like her. Maybe when I finally get the Atma Sword.

Other Dark SSRs: Vaseraga, Beatrix, Christmas Rosetta, Cagliostro, Marquiares. The last three are still at level 1 and will almost certainly stay there forever.

Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies

I use this dagger grid for Chaos Ruler:

And this harp grid for Elysian:

Next time Vohu Manah comes around, I’ll get a second harp for min-maxing purposes. An FLB Baihu Claw is supposed to go in there somewhere but I’m too lazy to check. Otherwise I’m mostly done with Earth.

Almost the same as before but with Threo instead of Arulumaya. The beauty of this lineup is that it allows me to run Alexiel x Yggdrasil or Yggdrasil x TasteTheTapioca depending on what shows up on the summons list. Threo’s Ground Zero is always welcome in Arcarum too.

Other Earth SSRs: Siegfried. Meh.

Fire Consume My Enemies!

I need a second Xeno Ifrit Scythe badly, maybe even a third. I’m not seeing any difference with the addition of that Ancient Ecke Sachs. Okay maybe I do a little more damage at very low HP levels but that’s about it. But I have it so I might as well use it.

I pulled Magisa during Golden Week and got Zeta from the Christmas roulette. Magisa’s veil + Yuel’s Clarity means I almost never have to worry about status attacks. Zeta is there for Break Assassin purposes. I miss the sustain and extra cuteness Zahlhamelina brought to the team but otherwise I’m pretty happy.

Other Fire SSRS: Agielba, Summer Io, Heles. They all suck.

Water, Water Everywhere

That Rose Queen sword and Gabriel Staff are ruining the daggeriness of my grid! The sword at least I will do something by replacing it with a GW dagger. I missed out on the Xeno staff because I was in the midst of No Game November when Xeno Cocytus ran. That’s why I’m using the Pinya Cleaver as an EX for now. I suppose I should replace the Cosmos Dagger DEF with a Cosmos Dagger BAL or SPEC. One of these days.

I pulled Altair just recently and put Lilele away. My nieces were sorry to see her go because they liked to watch “the little dancing girl.” Aww. The good thing about Altair is that he will theoretically free me from having to run Chaos Ruler all the time. As if I want to be free. His 5* crit rate and water ATK buffs sound promising.

Other Water SSRs: Lancelot, Romeo, Charlotta, Summer Narmaya. I’ll be able to make a nice Atma Sword-friendly frontline with the first three when the time comes.

Yo Ho and Blow the Man Down!

Almost unchanged from last time apart from the Seraphic weapon and the Xeno Sagi spear. I FLB’d the first two Tiamat Bolts with damascus bars. My regret at the time was that I didn’t have enough dama bars to finish the job, but now that I’ve gone through the whole process, eh, it wasn’t so hard. Especially now that Shiva is so common and co-op trains are a thing. FLB’ing a wind grid should be a cinch.

The +41 on the Xeno Spear was supposed to be a “floating bonus” kind of thing where I would transfer it from grid to grid based on the event of the day. But seriously, who has time for that?

With Seofon and Feena’s triple attacks and the GW dagger’s boost to multi-attack, this party just piles on charge attack upon charge attack upon charge attack. Metera is mainly there for the charm and the delays, but I’m open to replacing her if necessary. Feena was my first ever SSR so she has tenure.

Other Wind SSRs: Gawain, Summer Siegfried, Wind Lancelot, Arriet, Levi. Gawain is supposed to be good but I don’t see it. Windcelot will come in handy when I get the Atma sword. Oh Korwa, when will you come home?

Baby Varuna and Agni gridlets

The strange glove on the last row is called a Wilhelm. Grani gave it to me, such a sweet old lady. Next time Fenrir Showdown comes round I’ll farm up a Fimbul or two (doubt I’ll have the strength for three) and that will be my Varuna grid. It’s pretty pain-free so far.

I almost have enough gold moons for a weapon. The question is, should that weapon be a Crimson Finger or not? So far signs point to “Yes” but again I’m going to wait for the Anniversary before pulling the plug. Apart from that and a Xeno Scythe or two, I’m as done with Agni as I’ll ever be. TBH it looks pretty meh on paper, but maybe MLB Agni x MLB Shiva can put out some interesting numbers.

Oh, and I also have Zeus and Zephyrus but lack the gacha weapons to build them.

Where to now?

Now that I’ve stopped pretending that I’m capable of quitting Granblue Fantasy, you can expect slightly more regular updates on the subject. But not too regular because there isn’t much left for me to do. A lot depends on what’s announced in the next months and what events are available (Fenrir rerun when?). Grid updates every 6-12 months. Otherwise it will be business as usual on this humble little blog.

Next time: Either a progress report on Raidou Kuzunoha or impressions of the Project Octopath demo.

What’s in the box?

I woke up this morning to find this strange box on my bed…

I wonder what’s inside? I can’t read the strange letters on the cover. S… Sw…. Sweets? It must be cake! I love cake!

… ………. Okay okay, I confess (I wasn’t fooling anyone anyway). Yes, I caved in and bought a Nintendo Switch with my brothers. And we bought Xenoblade Chronicles 2 too. And Breath of the Wild, but I won’t be playing that.

Actually I won’t be playing Xenoblade either, at least not right now. I’ll give it a little test tonight but that’s about it. Things are going pretty well in Raidou Kuzunoha now that I’ve leveled up a bit and added a few points to VIT. Plus I really really feel like an action RPG right now. It’s just one of those things. Apparently Kuzunoha is quite short so I’ll be done soon anyway. And then… heh heh heh heh heh heh heh. Heh heh.

La Corda d’Oro 2 – Tsuchiura & Hihara GET!

Obviously I got the normal endings for both of these guys, since I lost the thread for their true routes pretty quickly. In Tsuchiura’s case I seem to have answered a question wrong somewhere. In Hihara’s case I either raised his affection too quickly or too slowly and missed some critical events. But the nice thing about the La Corda d’Oro series is that you always get some kind of ending for maxing out a guy’s affection. That’s good enough for me.

Tsuchiura Ryotaro

My fellow piano player! The drama on his route is that he and Hino Kahoko (the official name of the protagonist) did so well in the Spring Contest that they’re asked to transfer to the music course. Tsuchiura says no at first then talks it over with his parents and decides to go for it. And then the game cuts Hino off somehow because she can’t make her mind up fast enough? Or she says something wrong? I can’t be sure. That’s the thing about this game. Normal end = easy. True end = you’ve gotta be psychic.

Well anyway, the two of them get along well enough. They practice together, go to concerts together, he buys her a silver necklace and later a music box. In the end he… doesn’t confess. Doesn’t say he loves her either… He just expresses appreciation for her always being there at important moments in his life. Oh, and it turns out they kind of knew each other as kids but not really and anyway they both forgot. Remember kids, such twists are only terrible if FF8 does them.

I didn’t “get” too much out of dating Tsuchiura this time. He and the heroine are getting along like always, just better than ever. You learn a bit more about his family and the incredibly petty reason why he stopped playing music competitively as a child. The main earth-shattering development is his decision to focus on music in the future. It’s a pretty big deal, but it doesn’t have anything to do with Hino or with their relationship. So yeah, nothing really changes between them.

Hihara Kazuki

Hihara-sempai! I completely lost the thread with this guy, I’m so disappointed. When I did Tsuchiura’s route, I played with Hihara a bit on the side and got an event where Hihara signs up to star in a commercial. Later on the commercial airs, but Hihara doesn’t seem happy at all. He’s downright depressed, in fact, and doesn’t want to talk about the experience. What happened, Hihara-sempai?! I’ve gotta know!

I was really looking forward to finding out on his main route. Unfortunately I don’t think I raised his affection fast enough so while I triggered the event, nothing ever happened with it and the commercial was never mentioned again. I did get some scenes where he worries about his future as well as minor skits where he talks about how he met Yunoki and how he got into playing the trumpet, but that’s not what I really wanted. When I’m done giving everyone the once-over I’ll play with a FAQ and get to the bottom of this mystery.

Well at least his confession under the tree was somewhat romantic. Somewhat. I don’t really remember it TBH. Too busy wallowing in disappointment at losing the thread. I’ll get his true ending yet!

Hard Mode

Finishing La Corda d’Oro 2 once on Normal difficulty unlocks Hard Mode. It’s hard! Until you get the hang of it. Then it’s still hard! But very manageable and a tremendous amount of fun. What’s hard about it is they jacked up the price of everything in the BP store and cut your growth rate in half or less. You have to work harder to get BP that only goes half as far. And you have to do all that while also wooing a guy and keeping your ensembles from falling apart. It’s awesome.

That said, I was never in danger of failing any mission. I don’t even know if it’s possible to fail them. Oh, that reminds me: you get a Game Over if you refuse to play the first concert. Ousaki will beg you, Fuyumi will beg you, the game will beg you… and if you still say no, the game ends right there. I love it when games do that. “If you won’t play, don’t play. Who needs you?!” The Game Over screen even says “Fine.” :mrgreen: (yes I know that’s not what Fine means in this case)

Back to bragging about how hard mode was no match for me. As I said, I was never in danger of failing, but I did get an A instead of an S on two of the concerts when chasing Tsuchiura. I only discovered the trick on Hihara’s route: always think one step ahead. Start planning for the next concert before you finish the current one.

That means you raise your Skill ASAP so you can practise harder pieces.
It means you buy only the scores you need and target only the players you need for those ensembles.
Use Iron Armlets on the weekends to raise your skill, use the Auditorium to train your ensembles.

And multi-task like crazy: combine learning pieces with advertising your show and raising affection. Roam the maps constantly in search of the unconverted so you can fill their ears with music. I found the Entrance and the Auditorium best for this. Ignore the roof, the music room and the practice room.

While you’re busy doing all that, you might find you don’t have any time left to spend with your sweetheart. This is as it should be, since your parents sent you to school to study and not to chase boys. With the help of a FAQ you could probably do your concert prep and romantic prep at the same time, but I enjoy fumbling around on my own too much to give it a try. When it’s time to do all the routes properly, I’ll consider switching to Easy mode so I can focus on the story.

Before that, though, I need to get Yunoki and Tsukimori’s endings. I even started Tsukimori’s route, but he’s such a jerk. He turned me down three times when I tried to recruit him (and he didn’t get a game over, it’s not fair). He isn’t even the best violinist in the game but he sure has the biggest ego. Yunoki-sempai is just Yunoki-sempai and slightly nicer than last time. I’ll do those two later.

Up next: I can’t decide between Tokyo Xanadu eX+ and Shin Megami Tensei: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army. I’m not skillful enough to play two ARPGs at the same time either. Out comes the coin. Heads – Tokyo, tails – Raidou. *flip* Tails. Raidou it is. See you next time!

Finished OreShika – Thoughts, tips and spoilers

I finished OreShika last year, oh so long ago. Ancient history, practically. Or whatever it is we call December 31st 2017 these days. I would have written something earlier, but I wanted to get revenge on a boss named Tokasen first.

Unfortunately, due to the way OreShika works, bosses get shuffled around the dungeons regularly without notice. The dungeons themselves get reshuffled too so you’re forced tp re-explore the same dungeons with all your progress reset. So I know Tokasen is in the Heptacolor Springs somewhere, but after a half-hearted attempt to find her again, I realized it was too much work and closed the books on OreShika.

The reason why I wanted to kill her so badly was because she beat me twice. Sent me packing with my tail between my legs. Normally this would be just one of those things, but in OreShika such failures will haunt you till the day you die. They’ll even list “Fled from Tokasen” in your obituary when you finally kick the bucket. It’s just too embarrassing. I know I’m supposed to be madder at Abe no Seimei for cursing my family, but at least the game doesn’t go “Nyah nyah, Abe kicked your @$$!” for the rest of your life.

And anyway, unlike Tokasen, I did get revenge on Abe no Seimei in the end. The first time I faced him with Asura, I wasn’t quite ready. I didn’t have the right strategy, which involves stacking Masking Mist (dodge up) and Backs to the Wall (def up) and wiping him out with Special Arts ASAP. After I ran off in disgrace from my first attempt, I gave birth to some great kids and took him down with ease.

Nueko didn’t help much but I had to take her along anyway.

But just because you can beat Asura doesn’t mean you’re ready for the final boss XXXX. Here “ready” means you have one or two lancers who can spam a move that blocks all attacks every turn. Yes, it’s as broken as it sounds.

The only reason why you can’t beat the final boss the minute you learn that move is because it doesn’t work on Asura, the gatekeeper boss. It doesn’t work on shikigami/festival bosses either. Everyone else is fair game. That’s why I was looking for Tokasen to take her down with my spiffy new moves. Even she wouldn’t be able to cope with that. Maybe I should go back and get her after all. Hmm.

Well anyway, I beat the final boss in like 30 seconds and got the ending. It was pretty meh. Seimei thought his father had been sealed under the Palace, but he wasn’t. He was actually hiding in Seimei’s sidekick Onigashira all along. Or maybe he IS Onigashira, dunno.

Ongashira possessed Seimei and tried to use his body to take over the Heavens, Earth and Underworld because that’s what Nueko wanted. Except Nueko says she didn’t want that. I don’t even know what’s going on any more. You two lovebirds need to talk things over. Long story short, that’s how we got Onigashira a.k.a. XXXX as the final boss. I beat him up… and I don’t know what happened to him after that. Is he dead? Dormant? Why did he want to unify all three realms anyway?

Onigashira is the totally-not-suspicious red mask on the right.

In the ending sequence, Nueko goes down to the Underworld cradling the broken Onigashira. Abe no Seimei is taken up to heaven to become a god. Yes, instead of being punished for his stunts he’s rewarded instead. Just like the Big Bad of the last game, Kitsuto, who is now the highest-ranking god in the game.

In Abe’s case, though, it’s not really a reward. He caused all this trouble because he wanted to spend time with his mommy and daddy. Instead mommy beats daddy up, Abe is kicked up to heaven and then mommy goes for a vacation on the other side of the world, more or less. He basically achieved zero besides torturing my innocent family for decades. At least he enjoyed that part – I know that because he told me so repeatedly. So you’ll forgive me if I don’t really feel sorry for him.

Btw, the game doesn’t address most of the questions I raised in the last post on OreShika. It seems the bad guy XXXX was disowned for using Onigashira to try to stage a coup d’état in the heavens. That much is clear. But why Nueko sealed him up, why Nueko was sealed in heaven, why Kitsuto got involved, etc. are all left for the gamer to imagine answers to.

It’s possible you might patch the whole story together by beating every Onigami in the game, but who has time for that? Especially since I’m just guessing when I say “it’s possible.” You might clear the whole thing and still be none the wiser. Enough about that, let me share a few tips I picked up along the way:

Miscellaneous tips

-Lancers and their “Soldier” arts make all the onigami and the final boss easy mode. Just FYI in case you’re stuck somewhere.

-I didn’t experiment at all with betrothals and adoptions, but I hear you can pick up super-powerful kids and heirlooms through QR codes scattered online. Can the PSTV even scan QR codes? I don’t think so. Anyway it’s worth a try if you have a regular PSVITA and want to break the game.

-You can choose anything you want as a starting class except Wreckers (too finicky, need really good stats). Getting gunners, halberdiers or dancers to hurt more enemies is not a bad idea, but IMO martial artists and archers are best for mincing enemy leaders in a flash.

-Breed with really good gods, but don’t always break the bank to do so. If you have 30,000 devotion, sometimes it might be better to have two 15,000 kids than one 30,000 kid. Depends on a lot of factors like your rate of devotion accumulation, the age of your current party members, how far you are in the game, etc.

-Changing difficulties on the fly can help with grinding. Need more money and glory? Switch to Keen. Need more time to explore a dungeon? Try Fanatical.

-Consider restarting the game until you get the Heptacolor Springs as one of your starting dungeons. It’s annoying to navigate (so you only want to do it once) and it has the tag that leads to the room that lets you unlock every gate in the game.

-Occasionally a land will pop up where the General Store sells Chimes of Victory (double glory for the fight). Buy them and use them every time before a boss.

-When you get to the crab boss you’re supposed to run away from, don’t run so quickly. Kill it as many times as possible to rope in a heap of devotion and glory. You can do the same infinite loop with most of the other shikigami bosses, as long as you face them without Nueko in your party. Don’t forget to use a Chime of Victory first!

-The Winter Tournament is by far the best place to get glory and devotion. Once you have a few hit-all Secret Arts or some powerful magic spells, it’s time to give it a shot. You get 12,000 glory per round on the easiest difficulty, which is just insane.

Quick final thoughts

-The gameplay was fun, the story not so much. It was just aight. I didn’t hate Nueko but she didn’t add anything to the game.

-Loved the soundtrack. The battle theme is playing through my head even now.

-Loved the parade of monsters you get when you kill the final boss. I liked all the monster designs. The koto-playing cats are my favorite. I like to think they’re the ones playing the koto throughout the game. I should figure out how to get screenshots off the PSTV without using social media so I can show my own screenshots next time.

I love you too, Nueko.

-The god breeding roster is very thin because half the gods are playing around on earth. Even if you beat them up and send them back to heaven, they might come down again anyway before you can breed with them.

-Randomly reshuffling dungeons was a bad idea. Especially since the layouts are randomized as well. Every time a dungeon reshuffles, you have to explore it and unlock shortcuts all over again. I understand that they wanted to keep things fresh, but IMO they should have just had more/deeper dungeons and fewer iterations.

-It’s doubly annoying because you have to beat bosses up to get bits and pieces of story out of them. That was fine in the previous game where they stayed put in their respective dungeons, but now they’re scattered all over the place all the time.

Real final thoughts

I loved OreShika, but overall I didn’t enjoy exploring and fighting as much as I’d hoped. You can’t find the bosses you want to fight when you want to fight them and your dungeon exploration progress is constantly reset without warning. Breeding isn’t as much fun either with so few options available.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the game at all – I did, very much so – but I think the first Ore no Shikabane wo Koete Yuke was the more satisfying experience. Sure it wasn’t as pretty and the soundtrack wasn’t as polished. But the story was more coherent, progression was more logical and straightforward and there was a much higher degree of freedom. That made it easier to play for a longer time, versus this OreShika where you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished anything by the time you finish because there are still onigami like Tokasen running around unpunished.

I don’t suppose they’ll ever make a third game in the series, but if they do I hope they’ll splice together the best of both games to create a true masterpiece. No matter what system they release it on, I’ll be sure to play it.

What’s next

Tsuchiura’s route in La Corda d’Oro 2. I’ve got the PS2 hooked up and everything. It seems like a waste to connect the PS2 just for one short route, so I might do Hihara’s as well while I’m at it. After that I want to do some running and slashing, so… Tokyo Xanadu? Let’s aim for that.