Author has written 4 stories for Fire Emblem, Secret/Legend of Mana, and Misc. Books.
I'm a girl and the only things you'll get out of this profile are my opinions (rants) on various things and possibly quotes I likes. I also like to used some terms from tvtropes. I'm not a troper though. I'm also VERY socially awkward everywhere. It's difficult for me to write reviews and responds, so I must apologized here for any trouble I may cause. If you ever feel like sharing your opinions with me, you're welcome to PM me, as strange as it sound I enjoy listening to people's rants. Oh and spoilers are just about everywhere here.
This series get an Outstanding in imagination and a Troll in logic. The Harry Potter series is a joy to read really, but it quite lacking in term of sense and the romance is horrid. Seriously, I often have a hard time analyzing the characters and events due to the quality of her writing. (ex: little to no consistency or realism in characters' behaviors)
For me the only good books are the first four, things just go downhill for the last three. (Although I suppose DH (book 7) do have a few merits)
Favorite characters - Harry, Luna and Neville
Harry, ah yes, I'm ridiculously bias and crazy about him. I love him plain and simple. His character contain so many possibilities it's staggering. Just look at all of those potential! While his canon self is flawed (both human flaw and author flaw) and could be irritating, he gave birth to such a diverse variety of characters born from so many different scenarios. Fanon Harry is so multi-faceted that I doubt I'll be tried of reading about him. Not to implied that I don't like canon Harry. I love him too. At the end of the days, with all his flaws and shortcomings canon Harry is a true hero whether he believed that or not.
Neville falls into my classical favorite type of guy - a good and nice guy. He has many characteristic of the traditional hero that I love. Still Harry is a whole world of possibilities all on his own, so he win hands down.
Luna is the first character that really remind me of wisdom of little children. Pure and beautiful in a way that's not Mary Sue-ish.
Ginny is just a mary sue (Why, the authoress confess that Ginny represent all she's ever want to be and everything), and an underdeveloped character with barely any screen time at that. Ginny also just happen to be the classic examples of the following tropes that I find hard to appreciate - designated love interest, strangled by the red string, informed ability (part of show, don't tell) and shilling the Wesley. I'm sure there's more bad tropes associated with her, but these are the ones that bug me the most.
While Hermione contain many attributes I valued and like in the traditional heroine, she lack the spark of life that I look for in characters so I'm really indifferent toward her. I can't really pinpoint and explain why but to me, being a know-it-all is not a part of Hermione. It's the other way around. Sure, Hermione is arguably the most developed character in HP series and I do feel that she has so much potential to come into her own in the beginning.
But as time as goes on, Hermione feel less like a character and more like Jo's personal Deus Ex Machina whose sole purposes are to bail Harry out of trouble so he doesn't have to cultivate his potential and be Ron's love interest. I swear there's moments where it feel like Jo made Hermione react and thoughts in the ways she would instead of what Hermione would react and thought which results in what feel like OoC moments. It's not that I resent author's avatar (that would apply to the majority of HP's female cast), I just find it hard to like or really appreciate a character that feel like a placeholder.
Ron is based too heavily on J.K. Rowling's ex-husband to be his own character so nothing to be said for him really. I swear it's like she hold a grudge against Ron or something, having read some works from Sara Winters really show me that it's not out of Ron's character to be more than how he's portrayed in the books.
Snape is the true definition of a 'gray' character. He has his faults, he has his reasons and he has his honorable moments. I'm indifferent toward him. So any portrayal of Snape in fics are fine by me as long as it's not the OoC misunderstood Saint persona. Snape for all his love and honor, is and always will be a snarky, petty git.
Dumbledore is the perfect target for Dark spells after all the old coot sure deserve it. I know the whole grey and only human excuse, but that's not good enough to forgive for the crimes he committed against Harry. How could he does what he's done to any child much less Harry. Even if you're not a Harry fan, as a human being how could any one stand it.
I could vaguely see why some people might like him for his manipulative nature and what not, but what he does to Harry is unforgivable. This is not Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean manipulative where he's only trying to save his own skin, this is playing God. My words truly could not do justice to the description of the horrors that Dumbledore has done to Harry and just about everybody else in his bloody life.
Seriously, I don't want to know or understand why so many people like him if it's going to make me blase to what's he has done. Abuse is not funny or something you could shrug off (yes, Jo I'm looking at you and that's the eternal reason why while I appreciate and value your work I'll never respect you). Anybody that make light of other people's pain make this world a bitter place to live. I don't want to be one of them.
Draco x Harry - This is a pretty delicate pairing, definitely hard to be done just right. Once upon a time, I used to hate this pairing so I could truly understand why so many people despise it. Yes with shipping goggles on, there are hints of this pairing in canon, but let's face the fact that's in Jo's realm it's not going to or could ever happen. Canon = Impossible.
If we are going to stick very closely to canon, neither of them is going to be attracted to the other. Even if we used our super fanfiction power to push the boys together the results would be a) one or both of them would be so OoC you couldn't call them Harry and Draco anymore or b) a dysfunctional toxic relationship. Then one day I realize that good, sensible reasons (foe yay is a kink and not an actual reason) for liking this pairing do exist. There are people who are fascinated by the passionate, unhealthy and destructive aspect of their relationship.
For me it's a wonder to find that using what we were given from canon, it's possible to create plausible versions of Harry and Draco that not only work together, but actually complement each other. Not only in looks (yeah reading about hot people is hot, but I need more substance to keep my attention), but in personality. It's incredible how some author could make their shared history into a precise reason why these two boys belong together.
The similarities and differences, a study of contrast and how opposites attract... I'm not going to lie. Trashy fics that feature this pairing are common, but like with all pairings, there's writings of all quality and complexities that feature these two (Take your pick). And for me I have found fics that are to die for in this corner of the fandom. I'm looking forward to continuing to find more.
It's pretty hard to find a fic that make this seemingly impossible pairing to work, some authors though are really good at it, for example - Lomonaaeren. I could be pretty picky when it come to this pairing, so while I enjoy this pairing immensely I can't say I love it in all its incarnations. Draco with a heart is a must. It's the chemistry between them that fascinate me, the thought of those two fucking with no feelings hold no appeal to me. (The attraction, man, the attraction!) I don't care if it's all mixed up with hatred, the genuine attraction must be there.
My favorite theme for this pairing is the whole 'Draco saves Harry' scenario. It's sound so much like an impossible scenario really, but when the right author breathe life into it... it's pure beauty. Simply amazing really how many different types and style of relationship could be born from pairing these two boys together.
The type of relationship that I like the best is when the boys are pretty much equals after all that's the appeal of pairing rivals. Lomonaaeren is THE person you goes to for the equal relationship dynamics. Seriously her H/D fics are to die for. For the whole top/bottom issue, I prefer bottom Harry if only because then Draco won't be a whiny, wimpy little bitch. After all IC Harry even as a bottom would at worst has no backbone while IC Draco as a bottom at his worst is . . . let's just say I might as well read het and not get too deep into the details. I also prefer pining!Draco to pining!Harry if only because pining!Draco is more likely to spawn happy endings than its counter part.
This paragraph don't have anything to do with the pairing it self, but about Lomonaaeren. The reason why I'm mentioning her in this section is that she's a Drarry writer. Her talent is so amazing. The wide array of genre and plots she could write is mind boggling. Top quality writing combine with originality? Awesome. It would be even better if I'm not so limited in my tastes. Can't say I like all of her fics, but I do respect her. After all I could recognize and realize that the element that put me off is not the quality but the uncomfortable aspects of the characters and life itself. I like to buried my head in the sand and be blind and deaf to all suffering. Pathetic, I know. At least I'm true to myself about it and that's all that matter. But I digress. This part of my long winded rant could merely be boiled down to 'read Lomonaaeren's stuff'. After all even with the story that I don't like I still felt satisfied after reading it. Not something uncomfortable stories by other authors could do to me.
Harry x Luna - They've a deep connection with each other in OoTP (Book 5). The boy that was forced to grow too fast and the girl that never grow up. Perfect.
Harry x Hermione - I like this pairing on occasion. After all it made sense.
James x Lily - He love her so much, he's willing to learn, change and grow for her. He could and does make her happy. That's enough.
Snape x Lily - He love her a lot. His actions speak for itself, but his utter lack of morals kind of get in between them. It's just not meant to be.
Harry x Ginny - I can't believe that I used to like this pairing way back when CoS (book 2) is new. Seriously, J.K. Rowling has gone out of her way time and time again to show us that Harry doesn't like fangirls, and guess what? Harry's married to the president of his fanclub! They don't understand shit about each other. The so called compatibility reasons Harry x Ginny fans like to give are shallow, Harry need someone he could connect to on a deeper level. (mutual liking of quidditch is not enough to build a marriage on) Seriously, they will be miserable together.
Harry despite his noble nature is not prince charming plus superman plus any delusions she might cook up. Harry's just an ordinary boy. Uh, words can't express how much J.K. Rowling's universe made me HATE this pairing. I lost counts of how many times this pairing stop me from reading a popular story.
Draco x anyone but Harry - I don't know why, but Draco x Harry seem to own a part of me, what ever that is. I can't seem to stand seeing Draco pair with someone else. Like Draco x Harry is the ultimate slash pairing or something. I could barely stomach seeing Harry and Draco being pair with any guys but each other. So no Snape x Harry or Draco x Ron or any pairings like that. Just thinking about Draco or Harry with any other guys feel like a betrayal to Draco x Harry. (I'm weird like that) I suppose this made Draco x Harry my OTP.
Snape x Harry is just eww. I don't do cross gen. (unless it's well written, exceptions could always be made for quality) And I know some people say that this pairing is just as possible as Draco x Harry, but just look at HBP (Book 6 or Harry and Draco slasher's bible) and you will realize that these two pairings are worlds apart.
Draco x Ron - I guess the underlying concept between these two is similar to Draco x Harry, but as previously stated, this is another betrayal to Draco x Harry. Plus, they don't look as aesthetically pleasing together like my favorite pairing, and the complementary personalities and . . . I'll shut up now.
Draco x Hermione - I know, I know. Hermione is a girl so it's shouldn't feel like a betrayal to Draco x Harry, but somehow I still feel that way. And to think I start off for a VERY brief time as a fan of this pairing. (I've seen the light!) I could only stand this pairing as a side pairing nowadays. I don't think I could ever read a fanfic with this pairing as the main pairing no matter how amazing the story may be. The chemistry between Harry x Draco outshine Draco x Hermione any day. I don't think I can look back.
In my opinion, Harry is really the prophesized child and not only the child that Voldemort chose to pick off first. I'm sure Voldemort has planned to kill off both children, but he probably chose to go after Harry first for he perceive Harry as more of threat. I know Neville also fit the bill and all, and without a doubt probably could have get the job done with possibly less mistakes and casualties too.
To me this is a 'two different roads, same destination' type of thing, both Harry and Neville have their own strengths and neither is really better than the other in term of being the Chosen One. Honestly with Harry being born a day after Neville, you have to admit that the scale do tip in favor of Harry when it come to being the prophesized child.
That and the fact that I couldn't see how Neville could be Voldemort's 'equal' in any terms that doesn't involved having the mark. Harry is such a perfect pararell to Voldemort with such glaring differences that you couldn't help placing them in the same level and separating them still (the whole yin and yang concept). Neville will probably get the job done if he need to, but apart from a mark left by Voldemort, I wouldn't really be able to see them as equals in any way.
There's something dark about Harry as a character. Yes he's a good person and his conscience and sense of responsibility are definitely overdeveloped. Those heroic traits are there, no doubt about it. Still, I always feel that the whole Harry was a candidate for Slytherin because of the soul shard is a horrible cop out. He's a pure Gryffindor! Trust the author to sprout the moral about how it's choice that define us and not ability using Harry as an example and tell us at the end that those ability and possibility are all Voldemort's fault after all. I don't buy that excuse.
As far as I'm concern, it doesn't really feel OoC to portray Harry as a force of incorruptible goodness, but his disregard for rules is an indication that it's not far-fetched for Harry to be an anti hero or belong to any other archetype in the gray or even black spectrum. He's brave and honorable and someone who's willing to bend the rules to suit his purpose. He's willing to go out of line to do what he believe in.
I just can't believe that Neville is someone who could be IC and embody an archetype that's not white. He feel too much like the traditional hero. It's almost like they lived in different worlds. I could see Harry and Voldemort/Tom living in the same world filled with darkness while Neville belong to somewhere else altogether. In that sense, Neville couldn't possibly be the Dark Lord's equal.
Fire Emblem 4: Genealogy of the Holy War
Lots of replay value. The story is good, the game play is good and the music is good. One of the best Fire Emblem games ever. So little conversations though. Could be quite a pain if you don't plan ahead. Probably will never get to be translated officially with all the incest.
In defense of Lachesis - I like Lachesis. Her super good class and the fact that it's easy to level her up has something to do with it, that's true. What really drew me in though is character development. It's noteworthy that Lachesis is the only first gen girl whose motherhood affect her character. In a game with thin characterization, Lachesis grew from 'big brother worshiping, kind of rebellious princess' to a mother willing to brave dangers for her child.
Ira was probably dead. Aideen stay the same. Brigid was possessed. Tiltyu was broken from abuse. Fury was abandoned. Sylvia was losing it, so she had to left her children at an orphanage. But Lachesis could hold it together... and go off on her own to reach her son. While most of the second gen kids wish that their parents would come for them, Delmud is the only one whose wish wasn't totally in vain.
I know a lot of people cry 'slut' and call her all manners of bad names, but if you're not the type to jump into the bandwagon and possess the ability to think for yourself, chances are good that you would know better than to defame her as a slut. (The incest feeling thing is another matter, but personally I don't mind that tidbit)
Pairings - I'm pretty partial to predestined pairings and useful game play wise pairings
Midayle (Midir) x Aideen (Edin, Adean) - my favorite pairing for Aideen gameplay wise. It's easy to make, the hero bow is too good to pass up and Lester without pursuit skill isn't worth crap
Jamka (Jamuka) x Aideen - my favorite pairing for Aideen story wise. Come on it's a good dose of rescue romance. You must recruit Jamka with Aideen and Lester get to inherit Verdane.
Azel x Aideen - the whole puppy love come true concept, not something I dislike, but not something I really support either. Game play wise this totally fuck up Lester's strength, sure it make Lana super awesome but it's not like she's in desperate need of a boost. Really, the rescue staff is not worth it.
Holyn x Brigid - my favorite pairing for Brigid gameplay wise. Holyn give Faval high skill and Patty lunar and B rank in sword (hero sword all the way!) which mean she could actually damage the enemy now.
Midayle x Brigid - my favorite pairing for Brigid story wise. While gameplay wise this pairing isn't much, the supporting conversation is great. At least Patty would get pursuit.
Jamka x Brigid - I don't like this pairing before, but I do now. Faval and Patty ARE the best children for the task of rebuilding Verdane.
Lex x Ira (Arya) - my favorite pairing for Ira game play wise and story wise. Elite and Neir blood make the kids more awesome than they already are, and the supporting conversations are wonderful. Their personality complement each other.
Holyn x Ira - my second favorite pairing for Ira. What can I say? I'm a sucker for the childhood connection theme. The kids will have major Odo blood and Holyn can pass down swords. Having lunar to fall back on doesn't hurt either.
Eltshan x Lachesis - Forbidden love! Seriously, it's the only thing that could made Eltshan look less like an idiot. WTF, loyalty to a king like Shagaal? This pairing is the only plausible explanation for his 'what an idiot' behavior.
Beowulf x Lachesis - It's practically canon. Can't say I really like it though. After all, I find Beowulf annoying enough that's the only reason I recruit him is for those stats up for Lachesis. (Yes, I admit it. I always kill him off after I'm done with him. Cruel but necessary) Now I must admit that I'm less than fond of Beowulf. In fact I don't like him at all. Can't say my personal experience give me a good impression of Beowulf. So what if money is easy to come by, I have many units that I should be feeding exp to! His face annoy me and his charge get Delmud and Nanna killed one too many time. (RNG like to screw with me so I'm not taking chances) Lachesis could do much better than you.
Fin x Lachesis - This is also practically canon if you take FE5 into account. Nanna's luck growth in FE5 is insane, she MUST got that from Fin. And personally due to my playing style, prayer has saved my ass more time than I could count. I just love my charismatic dodging machines.
Azel x Lachesis - Not a predestined pairing, but it's great in game play. The kids got pursuit and Nanna is a decent healer, earth sword range attack could actually damage the enemy now.
Levin x Fury - This is also practically canon. The instant lover talk is a heavy hint. Fee is good with Levin's skills (especially critical) and Sety is a god.
Claude x Fury - good pairing game play wise. No hint what so ever in the game, but when Levin is taken Claude is the only good alternative left. Non magic user dad will decrease Sety's awesomeness. Azel offer pursuit skill which Fury already have while Claude offer high res and access to Valkyrie staff, so Claude wins.
Azel x Tiltyu - another childhood friends pairing and their kids are actually competent. Pursuit really do wonders in making characters reliable.
Levin x Tiltyu - Holsety on a horse and critical skill for the win! Plus, there is actually a minuscule hint of this pairing in the existence of Levin and Tinny talk. It's unfortunate that this union made Tinny a pain to level up and how it's such a difficult pairing to make.
Claude x Sylvia - I know that they're possibly siblings, but their conversation is so touching and funny. Also practically canon, really just look at Corple.
Levin x Sylvia - indifferent toward this pairing really. Their talks are pretty good, but in term of gameplay having Holsety!Corple is a pain. I'll never make this pairing in game.
Alec x Sylvia - Story wise this is a good pairing, since Corple would be able to return with Hannibal to Thracia. I usually pair them up when I want to kill Sylvia off though. Not to say that their conversations aren't lovely or that Alec is the ultimate failure as a dad. I just prefer the sub kids. Sharlow has elite so it's easy to level him up, while Laylea could give us a barrier sword (with so many mages in the game having more res is always nice) and charisma. Seriously, this skill made boss abuse a breeze. Now those weak dudes could finally land a hit and actually stand a chance at dodging!
Sigurd x Diadora - Never a fan of love at first sight. Actually I find this pairing to be bland and ridiculous. I always feels sorry for Sigurd though. Oh well, at least the manga managed to improve this a bit.
Sety x Tinny - My Sety usually max magic anyway, but the 3 magic sure doesn't hurt. It's nice to be prepared, plus these two are cute together.
Leaf x Tinny - Leaf could really use that 3 magic, you know.
Leaf x Nanna - It's practically canon. Nobody can deny that after watching a Let's Play of FE5. The childhood friends turn lovers trope is a classic.
Ares (Aless) x Nanna - I have a practical gameplay reason for this. Nanna is the only girl who could give Ares some bonus stats and I like making holy weapon users even more broken.
Ares (Aless) x Leen - It's the only story supported pairing for Leen plus it's not difficult to make. I like this spunky, smart mouthed dancer.
Delmud x Leen/Laylea - Leen is cute, but I always thought Laylea is the graceful type. If unpaired, Leen and Laylea would talk about her loneliness during the ending sequence, and that conversation firmly established her as a lonely girl in my head. She has a brother but they're not close. She's really alone. That's why I think Delmud will be perfect for her.
It's my headcanon that Delmud has been very lonely as a child. Apart from Celice, among the children that grew up together Delmud is the only one without a sibling. He has a sister and all but she's not there. Even after when they finally meet, Nanna already has her 'family'. She has a dad in Fin and childhood friend (who could be her lover) in Leaf. Her mother left her for her brother and never return. That couldn't smoothed her relationship with Delmud.
While Arthur and Tinny (both without a family) get closer, the same thing couldn't happen with Delmud and Nanna. Delmud who could be wishing to be reunite with his sibling would be disappointed and feel so alone. Just like our lovely dancer. That's why they would be good together. I believe they both understand one another. Leen is cheerful yet vulnerable while Laylea is graceful, proud and mature. Delmud is a bit of a kid and loving.
Faval x Lana - Same case as Ares and Nanna. Plus their convo is pretty sweet.
Celice x Lana - They're childhood friends and sometime I felt that Sigurd and Aideen has potential. That Celice and Lana is the result of that potential.
Celice x Julia - I can't help but feel that this pair has story support.
Shanan x Lakche - Shanan is awesome, but still his strength tend to lose to Lakche and her brother (All of my Shanan never cap strength EVER). A boost there can't go wrong. Can't say I care much for it storywise though.
Johan/Johalva x Lackche - I like to think that Lex!Lakche would end up with the axe brothers, mainly because their kids would be able to use the Swanchika.
Shanan x Patty - I'm not usually a fan of fangirl love, but after reading their first convo (the one that net us the Balmunk), I have to admit that this pairing is funny.
Celice x Patty - Speed is the most important stat, and Celice could use some help with that. Plus, maybe it's just me but their final battle talk really give me a deep sense of affection and intimacy.
Arthur x Fee - It has story support.
Fire Emblem 7: The Blazing Sword
The first Fire Emblem I've ever played and it will always be the first Fire Emblem game in my heart. Excellent characters' personality with their own background story. Wonderful supports. Great music. Cliche but immersible storyline. A wonderful introduction to one of the greatest strategy RPG series!
Through the role of the tactician, I feel really close to all the characters in the army in this game and as a result find myself unable to hate or vehemently dislike anybody in the army. Lucius really made this evident when even with all of his sueish traits I couldn't dislike him. Under any other circumstances, I would have scoff at his oh-so-beautiful holy messiah, but as it is I couldn't bring myself to do it.
Eliwood x Ninian - It's canon for one. Their support is ridiculously sweet for two.
Kent x Fiora - It's a boring pairing, I know. It made a lot of sense though and their supports are funny.
Kent x Farina - I find it hilarious that Farina who 'hate' serious type would fall for Kent. The lampshade hanging is great too.
Erk x Serra - I'm not usually a fan of slap-slap-kiss, but I do like this couple.
Jaffar x Nino - The story events and the supports itself. Oh god, do they convince me.
Fire Emblem 6: The Sword of Seals
Idoun - It's strange. Idoun's presence could only be felt at the end of the game, but somehow she end up as my favorite character for FE6. Her tragic back story is sue-ish material, but it doesn't bother me at all. It's just that the first time I go through that part of the game I was utterly shocked and horrified when I heard her story. Her phenomenal theme definitely help. The music is so poignant and melancholic... it made me feel her character. Just like that, instant connection. In retrospect, Ninian's theme is extremely similar to Idoun, but Ninian's doesn't strike a chord within me at all.
While I scoffed at Guinevere for her Mary-Sue status, Idoun who was obviously designed to garner sympathy didn't annoy me one bit. She made my imagination run wild and all of a sudden I already got a headcanon story about her. Some people only see a female character with no soul. I see something much more than that. She's empty inside and the reason why this happened is so... I felt that the one moment of hesitation that cost Idoun her soul say something about her character. The fact that she was a divine dragon before, made me wonder if she was like Fa once. How dearly did that one instance of humanity cost her?
So I finally realize why I love Idoun so much (thanks to a discussion on Fate/Stay Night last route) It's certainly a surprise to know that I judge all fictional characters with only one criteria: decision.
Background, personality and circumstances are all very important because it provide context. Still, for me it all boil down to decision. Such minute difference, but it's enough for me to love Idoun while other tragic figures tend to invoke from me either indifference or even disgust.
Strangely enough, for me Idoun is a character and not a plot device. Things happen to her; yes, but her decision and action show her own character as much as (if not more than) the author's intention. That and her situation is more grounded in reality than the realms of fantasy.
Figuratively speaking, soul crushing traumas do exist, especially in time of wars. There are children who were sacrificed because the need of many demand it or simply because nobody could be bothered to save them. People have been dehumanized and treated as tools. These things happen. It's real enough to relate to.
In this sense, Idoun is not super special in the 'suffering and misfortune' department. She's not even unbelievably resilient or strong or pure or heroic. She's a normal victim of war, that's all.
Nobody could blame her for hesitating. Some people would sympathize with her plights. Some people would find nothing commendable about her, after all her reaction was normal.
However, I realized that Idoun has made a decision that define her character for me. She could have given in. It would make no difference in the grand schemes of things. This would just turn into a case of a little girl being forced to do things against her will. It wouldn't be strange if she do as she was told when they were threatening and begging.
Even in that situation, the little girl still doesn't want to harm. Even then she is thinking of something other than herself. Even when she was turned into an abomination, she still doesn't blindly follow orders.
This single instance of humanity is not an indication of how special Idoun was, but it is a promise of something worthwhile. That she is worthwhile. I can't say that I have ever seen anything like this in the tragic figures I hate. I can't say that the tragic figures I am indifferent to has anything for me to judge.
Not to mention that Idoun is actually good for the story. In her, the differences between humans and dragons are answered. Because of her, the ending of FE6 is filled with promise of renewal and hope.
Fire Emblem 8: The Sacred Stones
My second Fire Emblem. Not a horrible game, but not as good when compared to Blazing Sword.
Franz x Amelia - It's a shame that Amelia can't be reunited with her mom and be with Franz at the same time. Anyway, I have to say that this pairing is a good example of how an 'intended' pairing could be good. One of those 'closest to canon' that don't have signs of strangled by the red string syndrome, this pair actually have something to it. Their support conversations are remarkably tender and allow us to learn more about both characters (Franz want a rival/friendship like his brother and Amelia's back story) Support rank A is so heartwarming and Franz's confession touch me.
Kyle x Syrene - I love their support. The tone, the rapport and the way their story is so easy to imagine... This relationship is pretty much friendship that could (and does) become something more. Their shared history is not something earth shattering, but left a deep impact on each other all the same. Personally, I find this pairing to be very romantic and right.
Forde x Vanessa - I don't care for Sain x Fiora one bit, but I do like Forde with Vanessa. Sure, Vanessa is head over heels for Innes, but Forde brought up a good point. Could Vanessa really be herself around Innes? That and she could come to love Forde, so why not?
Arthur x Lute - They know each other well. Unlike, Kyle x Lute which could be sum up as 'I find you interesting', Arthur x Lute has more to do with the fact that Arthur get Lute and accept her as she is. Understanding and acceptance are the foundation of this pairing, that's why I like it. Why I believe that they are made to last.
Seth x Eirika - I'm not crazy for the knight and his lady romance, but there's something about these two that drew me in. Can't figure out what right now though...
Innes x L'Arachel - Not only do their support made me laugh, I could actually feel the sparks flying.
Rennac x L'Arachel - Why can't they have a paired ending!?
Rennac x Tethys - If only so Tethys won't end up alone when I paired Gerik with Marisa
Ephraim x OC - I once heard that with a cast as big as fire emblem, OC as love interests is a bad idea. Why do you need some new comer (who has a high chance of being a Sue) when you have plenty of characters to work with? A good question really, one with valid reasoning. Unfortunately for Ephraim, his choices of brides suck hard. Tana comes across as a fangirl with minimal brain capacity in their support. L'Arachel? The lesser of the two evils, but they don't have a connection at all. The attraction is barely there and even then it's shallow.
In this case, it's obvious that what the game has provided just don't cut it. If I'm going to ship Ephraim (and he's just too fine a specimen for me not to ship him) it will have to be with a girl invented just for him. Under normal circumstances, I don't believe that a romantic partner is vital to one's happiness and well-being. However in this scenario, having a partner to help shoulder the burden feel like a requirement for peace of mind at the very least. I know that Ephraim succeed in his task and everything, but couldn't he be happy as well?
I knows that if Eirika doesn't fall for Saleh, she will be by Ephraim's side. Their paired ending told me all I need to knows. The twins are devoted to their causes and each others so much that they can't even spare a portion of themselves for a possible love interest. Sure that means that they have each other at least, but Eirika could have more... Maybe this is why I like Seth x Eirka. This way Eirika could be happy and still remain by Ephraim's side, but that does mean less support for Ephraim. I do value gritty realism in my games, but this is Fire Emblem. Fairy tales stuff is this series' appeal.
Too bad, I can't even find crappy self insert that will give Ephraim love. My dream of reading a good fanfic that made me believe that Ephraim get his happily ever after is less than slim.
Fire Emblem 13: Awakening (spoilers abound)
Of course, I haven't played the game yet, but holy damn. This is the first game that made me understand what people mean when they say they can't wait to play a game and why do translation take forever anyway. I never obsessively watch the trailers of games I couldn't play like this before. God, do I keep checking Serenes Forest Awakening forum like a mad woman.
So I guess ranting about what little I do know about the game here would be a good therapy or something. This sort of obsession made me understand why people call us fans crazy.
First off, My Unit. I must confess that I don't care much for this feature when I saw FE12 way back when. Now, it would be a blatant lie to say that I do not enjoy self insert in games. It's just that if I want a dose of that I would go to CRPGs, since those games actually provide opportunity to flesh out my creation. JRPGs' style of heroic mime and silent protagonist don't really work for me most of the time. In fact, I don't think JRPGs in general handle 'insert hero' thing well. I would say that I'm neutral at best toward them, the only exception being Persona 3 and 4 (since it's a plot point there and all).
So I'm surprised to find myself liking the My Unit (MU) feature in FE13. I fully understand why someone might hate this feature. Fire Emblem's appeal is its colorful characters, and an audience surrogate's personality could not be too distinct. Then there's the fact that not everyone want to project themselves onto a character to enjoy a story. The thing is the first perspective technique work like a charm on me. God, I was horrified when I watch Chrom die (and I don't even know his character then). I highly doubt that third person perspective would leave this kind of impact on me.
I know that this feature is blatant fan service (I mean come on, MU could support and marry everyone), but the facts that Nintendo still have enough guts to give MU a personality and not treat him/her as a perfect boy/girl (like Cordelia) are pretty praise worthy in my book. Sure the personality department is not perfect (it's impossible to please everyone), but MU is at least not an empty character. The fact that MU's skills set is far from perfect also net massive points from me.
So far, I think both male and female MU are not bad characters. I like male MU's personality a little better, because FeMU's tastelessness in her support with Tiki. (Bias: I believe the script writers are trying to be funny. Yes, it's really not, but with the whole Nono thing they probably want to poke fun at Tiki and Marth interaction or believe that that winch inducing question is something a gamer might want to ask. Then again there's the male MU and Tiki support and how so many of Tiki's other supports mention her feeling toward Marth... So fishy)
Update - Google translate is of bad quality alright, but at least it's something. After reading more of FeMU's support I have to say that her score is now equal to male MU. I love how she was portrayed as pretty much a tomboy and how the guys usually treat her as one of them.
Olivia - MU's charisma might allow him/her to befriend anyone, but it's Olivia who could charm anyone till they fall in love with her. Now this is what I am looking for, an example of how a trope could be well written. Although it's obvious that Olivia is the creator's favorite, she still come across as cute instead of annoying. Past experiences tell me that Fire Emblem series is good at handling archetypes with taste, and Olivia doesn't disappoint at all. Sumia and Cordelia, on the other hand ...
Sumia & Cordelia - so far feel like really bland Mary Sues, cardboard cut-outs with a string of tacked on traits. What happened to your talent IS? You wrote Mary Sues well before! These twos just don't made the cut. Cordelia in particular show me why Mary Sues in general are considered cardinal sin. Canon Sue or not, characters with 'perfection or exceptional' as their primary defining characteristic don't invoke admiration. The standard reaction is apathy at best and annoyance at worst. Even 'fake' flaws like clumsiness is better than nothing. (A-cup Angst and not getting her man are not flaws, but the latter may have stop Cordelia from being a full blown Mary Sue)
Chrom x FeMU - It’s probably because the developers foresee that even if the players don’t want to pair Chrom with FeMU, they might build their supports up to rank A anyway. That’s why support C to A builds up a good rapport for friendship (I don’t really equate seeing each other naked as romance development), while rank S feel tacked on (“We’re the best of friends” to “I love you from the start”). Regardless, I am a total sucker for this type of pairings, good friends to lovers all the way. I truly believed that Chrom and FeMU are destined to be good friends at the very least. Romance is optional, but it is something I prefer.
So yeah, the couple's support itself is not what sold me on this pairing. The dramatic element and the family's supports did. Mother!MU's and Lucina's support is great all the way through, and Lucina's and Brother!Mark's support is full to the brim with cute. (Come on, this pairing made Chrom and Lucina's supports funnier, and Mark is total spazz) Really, despite the just alright support, I believe this pairing has a good foundation to work on. (The drama, man the drama!) Why, Lucina and FeMU (who's not her mother) support even said that FeMU is closest to Chrom. I hope I get to read good fanfics that develop this pairing beautifully one day.
Update - If I didn't ship these two before, I would definitely ship them now that I have seen 'Watermelon' (an artist on Pixiv) artworks. What I dub 'The Candle Comic' alone is enough to convert me. Cuteness overload.
Update 2 - Okay so their support still suck in the localized version. Nevertheless, I still love this pairing. The whole lord prince and his Pegasus knight is nothing compared to a throwback to FE4 (The mixing of big good and big bad blood, Sigurd x Diadora, and Kurth x Cigyun). This pairing also made the whole story more cohesive and just plain better period. I won't bother preaching to the choir and those who are against this pairing will not budge anyhow.
Chrom x Sumia - I can't judge Sumia yet, but man she annoy me right now. I could only hope that the official translation would improve my opinion of this couple. Their supports aren't bad, and maybe I would ship these two (after all, it's closest we got to canon) if only it wasn't for rank S. Maybe it's just me, but Sumia's 'I am surprised' thing piss me off. Yeah, you weren't totally flirting with Chrom for the last three ranks! Those 15 failed attempts at cooking has nothing to do with the fact that you like him.
Geez, when I read the translation that 'I am surprised' part feel so fake. Really, I was like 'ah yes, they actually build up the romantic vibes for the closest to canon couple' (Nothing compared to Olivia, but not bad), 'here it is the classic through his stomach method', 'at least Sumia got the guts to act on her feelings' then along come rank S and my thoughts become ''God, Sumia sound so fake here. Oh well, at least I like her more than Cordelia (which doesn't mean much)
It is god damn ironic though that her close friend is Cordelia the girl who got an unrequited crush on Chrom. 'Friend to all living thing' Sumia got the guts to approach (and subsequently get) the guy while 'perfect girl' Cordelia can't bring herself to reveal her feelings. Man, do they both sound like Mary Sues. Anyway, I'm sure the anti-unrequited love squads and Cordelia supporters would rip Sumia apart. (Especially since Cordelia's feeling seem to be a secret just about everybody know and stealing the guy your 'best friend' love is just rotten)
Update - Pies, god damn pies, if I thought their supports are bland before it's horrible now. The shoved down your throat canon couple is all about pies... Even Chrom x Sumia die hard supporters are sure to prefer the Japanese version. There's no way I could bring myself to like this couple when it's all about goofy pies. And to think I actually want to support (closest to) canon...
Chrom x Sully - Apart from FeMU and Olivia, she's my preferred choice for Chrom's bride. Not only will she give good class change options to Lucina, their support is also great. Childhood friend trope and the fact that Soiree's so straight forward totally sold me this pairing.
Chrom x Mariabel - The supports aren't bad, but until rank S... it's just doesn't feel like romance material to me. Then there's the fact that Brady just doesn't feel like prince material. Not to mention that she's possibly the worst option as Chrom's wife gameplay wise. Disregarding MU who's the best parent in every case, Soiree and Olivia are great mothers for Lucina since they give her access to myrmidon. Sumia could at least pass on lightning speed and Cynthia would get Aether.
Mariabel? The dark knight option is pretty good, since slow start is awesome. Still, with aether I don't think life absorb could mean much. Plus, I'm sure that Brady couldn't really benefit from royal weapon. Better pair her with someone else. Although I must admit that story wise this pairing has its appeal, what with Maribel's mission and her noble birth. She will make a good queen (and a good Chrom's canon wife). Too bad, I repeat, Brady is just not prince material.
Chrom x Olivia - Now this support is super sweet with natural progression and the fact that this is the only support where it feel like Chrom is really taken with his bride (In FeMU's case it's filled with close friendship) and the last evidence I need to convince me that Olivia really do have the swag like other fans claim. Really, if it's not for the fact that these two are forced to marry before they could even support, this could be one of the best Chrom pairing story wise (apart from FeMU of course, dramatic irony for the win).
Henry x Sumia - This is my preferred pairing for Sumia for the simple reason that her character feel better to me in this support.
Frederick x Sumia - To be honest, I find all of Sumia's romantic supports to be lackluster. Still, both Henry and Frederick are good for her. Cynthia got her best hair color as Frederick's daughter and it would make plenty of sense for Cynthia to be hero obsessed when her father is duty crazy.
Henry x Olivia - It's true that Olivia's incredible supports give her the launcher of a thousand ships position, but I believe lots of fans would find it hard to pair Olivia with anyone who's not Henry. After all Henry show obvious concern for Olivia and she could cure him of his stepford smiler status. Update - Localized version of Henry and Olivia are not the same as the Japanese version, so I guess I should have seen this coming. *cry* The Japanese version is way better.
Lon'qu x Olivia - Their support is nice, and the family dynamic is just plain amazing.
Gaius x FeMU - It's cute and I love how FeMU is so thoughtful here. Rank A really show trust between them.
Stahl x Cordelia - This is the only support where I feel that Cordelia is not a cardboard cutout. A perfectionist that fall short of her own standards is a character I could come to like and relate to. Unfortunately, that's not really the angle IS like to use with Cordelia. Too bad. Anyway, this support has a perfect rank S. If Cordelia isn't in love with Stahl before his confession, she could definitely come to love him after hearing that. Update - NoA version is not as sweet but its still good
Frederick x Sully - Training, training, training. One would think that their support would be about nothing else, but lo and behold. This support actually focus on other stuff. Not only do their support give us some back story, rank S is seriously heartwarming. Update - I never realized that USA prefer goofy over heartwarming. Oh well.
Libra x Sully - God, their rank A is basically a love confession. Failure to follow it up with rank S definitely feel wrong. Update - The official translation have really tuned the sweetness down by A LOT.
Gaius x Tharja - I find their support to be very cute and it flow so naturally. Update - Localization actually made this pairing better! I can't imagine Tharja with anyone else now. Noire's father support fit with this support too well.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR)
Revan - I like Revan. Despite my dislike for Mary Sue-ish characters, I have to make an exception for Revan. I never really felt that Revan truly fall into that category anyway. The extensive arrays of skills Revan posses do set my Mary Sue sensor ablaze, but his/her character... I know that it's mostly up to the players with being a PC avatar and all, but his/her implied character is as flawed and human as it get.
Plus, there's the fact that Revan does screw up and make mistakes and is hardly a purity sue who's a paragon of virtue. How in canon he/she done so much and end up undoing everything he/she ever done. How it's a proven fact that he/she's not a messiah and could and had led the people who follow him/her to ruins. Arrogant and amoral, Revan's character is far from ideal or admirable. This doesn't mean Revan is a Jerk Sue though, people do acknowledge that Revan has been 'evil' and jerkish and they don't support that.
Soul Nomad and the World Eaters
I wrote a long rant praising this game's Voice Acting, music and story and complaining about the reeking laziness of the visuals. Too bad the save is not successful so it's all gone. Oh well, the short version would have to do.
Pro: GIG! Voice Acting, music, story.
Con: Visual, the randomized aspect of the gameplay and the fact that the female PC is considered male game play wise. Overall a decent game with decent cast of characters, the gameplay doesn't really work for me though. What got me hooked enough to rant about it here is the story and Gig. Yep, I could be considered a fan.
Gig - The soul of Soul Nomad, no doubt about it. He's a funny, foul mouthed badass. Really, Yuri Lowenthal does an excellent job as Gig's voice. I love his lines so much I could listen to them over and over again.
Revya - It's probably due to my weakness to protagonist in general, but I like Revya. Just for the record, I prefer Revya to be female. As a male, Revya's personality is just your typical silent video game hero. Meanwhile as a female, Revya made a not so typical heroine. A strong willed kuudere with stoic pragmatic streak and hints of snark? Maybe I'm inexperienced, but I've never seen a video game female protagonist like this before. (At least one with given personality anyway.)
Danette - Too dumb and verbally abusive. I know she doesn't mean it much and Revya doesn't mind the treatment, but it's still wrong. Dumbnette here really rub me the wrong way. To be perfectly honest, the only female characters I like in this game are Revya and Shauna. Juno, I'm indifferent to, while the other females are either tolerable and/or annoying. Can't say I actively hate any of them, but I view the male characters in this game more favorably.
Trish (Tricia) - The closest thing to a Mary Sue that this game has. I don't hate her and she doesn't really bothered me that much. To me she's a 'meh' character.
Gig x Revya (female only) in any paths - Not that I have anything against slash, but I always see both Revya male and female as straight. It's not like this pairing get much support in the game (male Revya is heavily favored after all), but I always feel that the term 'soul mate' in the traditional sense might not be too far off when it come to these two. Their personality complement each other really well. I can't put everything into words just yet, but to me their relationship is too complicated to sum up with the word 'love' alone. They matter to each other a great deal, but their relationship could be taken as romantic or platonic. I just prefer romantic.
I believe that most people would agree that these two have companion love at the very least. Passion, the part that make up most romantic relationships, is not really apparent here so I could see why some people don't ship these two. It's a stupid reason, but I ship these two so bad is precisely because of this. Most romance stories' attempts try too hard with the passion aspect, it's sickening. Love at first sight, going nuts over each other because of so called chemistry that I can't feel with no reasons what so ever... I'm sure good passionate romance exist, but my experience has sour that notion.
It probably have to do with my own preference but romantic love that stemmed from friendship and intimacy is very appealing to me. If these two fall in love, I know which category they would fall into. If you think about it, these two made sense. I could see that each possess some quality that the other would find attractive (which is not the case with Gig and Danette).
Vigilance x Revya - I want to read a fic about them so bad. Really, someone else must have wonder how Revya would deal with Vigilance the complete opposite of Gig.
Gig x Danette - I never like this pairing and never will. I could see why someone might ship them though. The growth their relationship is more obvious than between Gig and Revya. They do bicker a lot. If you're into bickering = sexual tension, it might just work, but the game doesn't really support this pairing either. In fact, Soul Nomad doesn't really favor romance at all. There's still a canon couple and hints for another one, but it's nothing much. I digress. Anyway, I can't see any attraction between them at all and their personality definitely clash (in some way they are too similar for it to work), so no support from me.
Levin x Revya - Their ending convince me. That's pretty much it.
Levin -> Tricia -> Vitali: I like this love triangle. I don't really care for Levin x Tricia myself and Tricia x Vitali could only work if Vitali reciprocate her feelings. So this triangle is the way to go!
Nippon Ichi Rants
This is the only Nippon Ichi game that I will play. I tried my hands at Disgaea the flagship series once, but the presentation doesn't suit me at all. I hate grinding which is something Nippon Ichi games are known for. The story is not something I could comment on. The jokes, the characters, the atmosphere and gameplay just turn me off. The first time I tried I couldn't even play for a full hour.
Then there's the cameos. Personally I like my games' universe to remain separate, so all these guest stars appearance piss me off. I hate it enough in Soul Nomad (oh so powerful Lujei is annoying, Asagi is dumb and Endorph is pretty much 'for insider's enjoyment only'), I can't go through it again. Little cameo is fine, but Nippon Ichi style is definitely not my type. Forget to mention this, but broken characters (the stupidly powerful kind) is yet another thing I can't enjoy. Gig doesn't count. He's awesome because of his personality and his power is a plot point that's not over the top. From what I heard, other Nippon Ichi games specialize in everything I dislike.
Necessary Grinding? Check. Characters whose only selling points seem to be how powerful they are? Check. (Don't know this for sure but if the fan base reaction is anything to go by...) Silly Jokes? Check. The last point I could tolerate, but the first and second one are major turn offs. If my sources are to be believed Soul Nomad got to be the only Nippon Ichi game that won't forced you to level grind to finish the story line, that mean I'm not even going to give the other games any of my time.
I don't know about the other games, but disgaea so far seem to aim for cute, silly and funny. That's alright until the item world and how I was forced to level grind for the second boss. Grinding = NO! Phantom Brave? It seem like the game doesn't end well at all. The main cast are separated and some of them is suffering. I don't want to get attached to characters only feel bad when they become fate's bitches. GrimGrimoire? If Lujei is in it, then I won't bother. Makai Kingdom's story don't look so bad, but the game play is a complete turn off. I won't play, but watching a Let's Play should be feasible. You know, maybe Let's Play is the answer for all Nippon Ichi games here since I don't have to play them and could get to know the story (which don't look too shabby at all if I could avoid the retard forth wall breaking).
Summon Night : Swordcraft Story
A lovely game with a good cast of characters, the story isn't something special (objectively or subjectively speaking), but overall a very nice experience that I still came back to. A solid title that provide an experience of satisfaction. The game play require lots of grinding for levels or material, but if that bother you, just go ahead and cheat. It's a GBA game, so you should be using emulator anyway. Personally, I don't even have to grind level, the only cheat I need is the max material one.
Anyway, story rant time! So in case, it isn't obvious I love this game too. Not as much as Persona 3 or Fate Extra or Fire Emblem, but as far as JRPG go it's a lovely game with no really crippling flaws.
My first CRPG and hopefully it will not be my last. JRPG is something I'm familiar with, and that made getting into CRPG pretty hard at first. Really the gameplay mechanics are so different it's unsettling. My little history with BG is a little strange. One of my typical girl trait is my love for romance (although my taste could deviant a bit from the norm); once upon a time when I'm in a 'Harvest Moon fever phase' I was browsing through fogu (Ushi No Tane) forum and I've found some comments about the dating sim aspect of harvest moon and other games with romance subplot and/or dating sim elements.
One of those comments had happened to mentioned Baldur's Gate and believe it or not that's the first time I have ever heard of BG. Eventually I checked BG out on IGN and begin looking at some guides to get the feel of the game.
Now here come the confession. After realizing how freaking ancient BG is, I dismissed the game as not worth my time and proceed to spoil myself silly. A big mistake, perhaps. Still if I didn't know the plot I wouldn't have bothered with hunting this game down. In reality, it's not as perfect as many people like to claim. Perhaps that's what made BG so enchanting.
After all even with its numerous flaws, I'm still charmed by a game so old. I love Baldur's Gate and I can say that with complete confidence because even when I'm aware of its shortcomings this game is magical to me. A lot of people wouldn't understand but for me BG is unique. This is a soulful creation. Perhaps I'm delusional but sometime when I played certain games I could feel how much thoughts and emotions were put into making it. This feeling is what endear so many RPG to me, BG just happen to be one of them.
Strangely enough I think nostalgia might be part of the appeal. This is the game that taught me the meaning of role-playing after all. Before this game, my meaning of RPG is basically a game with a story. The fact that the typical JRPG's protagonist is either a heroic mime or already have an established personality definitely doesn't help. With no personality I find it hard to connect with the character and I find it impossible to think of said character as me. With BG, it's not the customization that do the trick. It's the semi wide open sandbox structure that accomplish that.
Despite (or because of) how spoiling myself included taking in a lot of guides and walkthroughs, the moment my Charname stepped outside Candlekeep is overwhelming. There's too many things to do, the monsters are too deadly and I have no fucking clue on what to do next. For the first time ever, I could imagine what my character could have feel. From then on, I'm able to put myself in the protagonist character's shoes for a while. Lifeless JRPG protagonist still remain dull in my eyes, but I found myself enjoying more games as now my meager role-playing skill has allow me to connect with the character more.
Enough about my experience, let's get on with BG itself. Personally, what made BG so great is its presentation. Now about each aspects:
Graphics: is really dated and if you care a lot about that aspect you'll be immediately turned off. I was like that at first but eventually warm up to the painting style art since it made the atmosphere more like a storybook.
Sound: The first thing that get me was the ost. Seriously, the first few times I heard the ost my heart was beating so fast, I couldn't bring myself to play the game. (Yeah I admit it, I got owned by the music) After a while, I pulled myself together and start playing the game for real. The second thing that hit me is the Voice Acting. Before that point I thought the translated JRPG I played have good VA. After hearing BG's VA, I realized that most of those 'good' VA are merely passable. Gosh, I will never forget Sarevok's and Jon Irenicus's voice. Not to say that the rest aren't good. (They all are excellent) But those two are in a completely different league.
Gameplay: Coming from JRPG, the battles in BG is so difficult its unplayable. Of course after lowering the difficulty I could enjoy the story like everyone else, but I digress. To sum it up the gameplay is hard. If you're not a fan of D&D (or other similar campaigns) you won't get a fucking clue on what's going on. When they say you should read the manual? They meant it. Yes, you have to invest your time and actually read the damn thing! Knowing what THA0 is or how Armor class work is crucial. Studying how magic work must be done if you want to win fights and survive. It's a lot of homework, but this is precisely what made tactic interesting and defeating enemies fulfilling.
Story & Characters: The story here is great, not because its original or super special, but because its what made playing BG fun. The plot has set up a grand adventure for you to enjoy. The same old thing presented in such a way that you can't help but feel that it's unique. The people that could accompany you on this adventure aren't really your typical archetype. Most of their personalities are less than stellar, but I for one could appreciate Bioware's attempts at adding depth to their characters. Not all of them are great or even likable, but all of them has some realistic qualities. Quite different from the approach JRPG usually take.
Villains: Another thing BG taught me is that the heroes are just half the story. Having a lame villain might not detract much from the story, but having a great villain will go a long, long way with making your story memorable. Both Sarevok and Jon Irenicus are awesome, badass villains. They have real presences in the story and man do both of them made it personal. Every time the game forced you to watch through those cut scenes, you'll be reminded of why these guys deserved to be pumped full of arrows and blasted with lightning. Killing them is very satisfying, not a feeling many RPG's big bad could give you.
Now's on to the subject of mods...
The following quote from 'spellhold studios' define what a mod is "A mod is an addition or modification to the original game, and can be anything from a new joinable character (NPC), to a new set of quests, or even improved AI for battles."
Gushing about Aeryn's mods: I'm no veteran in this field, but it's safe to say that Aeryn's mods are ones of the best mods available. After all, a romance mod need only two things, good writing and being bug free. Her two current romance mods do have bugs, but since none of them are game-breaking, it's fine. Good writing? In spades.
Sarevok Romance mod *spoilers*
Sarevok x Charname - Aeryn is responsible for my devotion to this pairing. It's my OTP. Sure, the existence of well written fanfics made this pairing credible in my eyes, but it's her mod that made this pairing one of my all time favorites. Make no mistake, I love Sarevok as a villain, but the content of Aeryn's mod made me realize the romantic potential this pairing has.
Even before I played Sarevok Romance mod, I always felt that boring ToB is not only the conclusion to Charname's tale, but Sarevok's as well. Needless to say, the mod really drive this point home. The way Aeryn handle it made their relationship feel so inevitable, just like destiny. If you really think about it, their fates have been entwined from the beginning. When it come to strength of will, these two are a perfect match. (Look at the length both of them have gone through to achieve their goals) It's not impossible for them to understand each other. Is it really so strange for them to fall in love?
The ways Aeryn handle this is that the relationship are branched into two paths. First, there's the power path where the relationship is pretty much an alliance with power play. Second, the focus of this rant, there's the non power path where the relationship took a romantic turn to the surprise of both characters.
God, this pairing is my OTP, because Aeryn have written my definition of 'ideal' romance. It's all about getting to know one another and respecting each other's differences. This is not a case about how you must learn to sacrifice or compromise your values for the sake of love. This is something different, something even better. A situation where both the similarities and differences are celebrated and formed the basis of their bond. There's real communication and valuing one another's thoughts. While ToB is short, the romance progression is gradual and natural. This is a romance that feel real.
No therapy equal romance here either. No you have to fix someone in order to have a relationship with them formula. Sarevok is not a well adjusted dude by any means, but you don't have to fix him. In fact, you can't fix him. He has a strong enough will to stand on his own, so no coddling required like Anomen's case. The way Aeryn wrote this made the relationship between Charname and Sarevok to be that of true equals. Let's admit it, this is something Sarevok alone could offered. The game has made sure that Charname is such a badass no other men in the world could possibly be on equal footing with her.
Then there's Anomen and Tamoko. Anomen is, for a lack of better words, an annoying whiner. Sure, the Flirt Pack made him a better love interest, and Charname might be happy with him... but really who could say that they are a good match? It's totally pity that get a relationship upgrade. In Tamoko's case, it probably due to "Lost Cause" by nazzymcc, but I think that the what doom Tamoko's relationship with Sarevok is that despite her brilliance and loveliness, Tamoko's will couldn't match up against him. She's a good person who truly love Sarevok, but she just couldn't put her foot down.
Anyway, to top it all off, Aeryn end her mod on a very satisfying note. That's because it's not the end. As the Bhaalspawn saga come to a close, Charname's new life is just beginning. It's not a guarantee of happily ever after, but what has developed between Charname and Sarevok is enough for both of them to give their relationship a try. Once again, no guarantee is given. It's simply bright and beautiful hope. Since I'm a hopeless romantic I truly believe that the two of them made it. After all, they both care enough about each other and are willing to work for it.
Legend of Mana and the World of Mana Series
The series in general revolved around several themes that were reused in every one of their games.
Persona 3 (another spoiler fest all the way through)
The memory of my first foray in the Persona series, Persona 3 Portable, is special. I played and like many games' story, but Persona 3 is one of a kind. I haven't played Persona 4 yet, but from what I have known about its story I'm sure I would still like Persona 3's story more. (It's just that I'm not a fan of crime mystery, but I bet I'll have a blast anyway) Persona 3 definitely kick serious ass.
On game play's front, the combat feel intuitive and smooth, and being a fan of relationship values games the social link system is a godsend. The story aspect though is where this game really shines for me. I won't say that Persona 3 changed my world, life or anything like that (although if someone's claimed that their life/world changed because of this game I wouldn't be surprised) What Persona 3 does though is teaching me more about my own preferences, showing sides of me I never known exist.
Before Persona 3, I never realized that doom and gloom game that feature the meaning of life and fire forged friends would be my type. In fact, I thought light heart sunshine and rainbows and happily ever after is the point of gaming. Then I met Persona 3 and my self perception waver, distort and transform. The deep meaningful answer to life thing I used to mock? (Eh, some people who prefer philosophical stories are stuck up brats with superiority complex) Turned out, I belonged in that camp, so I can't cast everyone who prefer that genre as insufferable anymore. Thinking so badly of yourself ain't good for self esteem, you know. I still like the softer, lighter stories... darker and edgier ones just happened to be something I also enjoy.
I have to say that the Persona 3's story has spoiled my appreciation of countless games. I never has a problem with saving-the-world theme before this game. In a way, I still don't, but many games' story seem lacking in comparison now that I've experienced Persona 3. In the beginning, Persona 3's story come across as a typical anime stuff in video game format. Ordinary High School student by day, super heroes by night. Except, it isn't.
Persona 3 is not a game where you could sit back, relax and enjoy the show. (Hence why I understand that Persona 4 is better suited as anime) This is a game where you must role play to enjoy, a game where only through putting yourself in the protagonist's shoes and using your heart could you feel the game's message. The meaning of life, memento mori, the significance of the journey and the answer at the end of the road... these are all the things that the game actually handle well. There's nothing subtle about how the messages are conveyed. It's a surprise for me, to be shown that it's possible to made art out of blatantly throwing around these heavy themes.
This is the first game I played that's not about saving the world. It's about saving our world. I mean saving the world is obviously the correct thing to do, right? After all it's the world. Some games made a better job of making this reason more personal than others. Persona 3 take this a step further. It's our world we are fighting for. The good, the bad, the ugly. The hopes, dreams and opportunity that would be lost if there's no future. This hardly perfect world of ours, that's not even very nice to live in... At the end, Persona 3 crew is fighting against the impossible for their hopes and lives (everyone else is just a fringe benefit). This is personal. This is about trying to do the impossible for the sake of their belief and resolve. This is about the vision of the future that's so powerful it's worth dying for.
I do find the protagonist's death sad, but it's hardly a senseless sacrifice. There's meaning and worth in achieving your dream. A dream so important, that you want to see it made real it doesn't matter if you could not be a part of it. Love is worth it. Life despite its short comings is worth it. I'm sorry for the sappiness, but this is how Persona 3 made me feel. This is a game that's very close to my heart.
I won't go into the characters right now, although I will get back to this later.
spoilers* Story and Ending
Persona 4 (yet another spoiler fest)
So I finally got around to playing Persona 4 the PS2 version (won't get vita so I'm going to forget Golden), and I have to say that it's disappointing. The gameplay is better than Persona 3, but that's to be expected. I'm not a hard core crime mystery fan so it should be easy to impress me, except the story is not impressive at all. Of course, I still had fun. It's just underwhelming.
Persona 4 is a great game, but it just doesn't have the same emotional impact of Persona 3. The story is anime material and that's not necessary bad. I just find it hard to take the game seriously when it doesn't take itself seriously. Jokes and goofing off are well and good when they aren't the only things the cast do. Oh wait. That's what they do for basically most of the game. Oh and did I happen to mention that having the girls beat up the guys for no good reasons is their running gag?
Things only get serious toward the end and even then things don't feel that serious. The only significant thing to happen? Oh guys, I'm sorry but it looks like your baby sis is in bad condition for no reasons that the plot could explain. Oops, she then proceed to die for the heck of it. Oh wait, you actually realize that something is amiss don't ya? Congratulations, she isn't dead after all. WTF, Atlus you have no guts.
Then there are stuffs like the hot spring episode and festivals. I love events stuffs and all, but the implementation made everything feel disjointed. They just feel too much like the filler that they are. It's pretty funny since I forever bemoan the fact that the culture festival got cancelled in Persona 3 and there are just too little events in Persona 3 dammit.
Most of the cast do feel just like regular high schoolers, I'll give you that.
Before this game, Type Moon is something I know of, but don't really care about. Tsukihime is very cool, but my interest is shot to death the instance Nasu's euphemism made sure I could never eat toblerone chocolate ever again. Then there's the language barrier to made things even more difficult to get into. Of course, Fate/Extra changed my mind.
It's funny really. A lot of people had cited F/E's resemblance to Persona as the reason why they find it repulsive, and of course I just had to be attracted to it for the exact same reason. Really at the end of its all, I don't think F/E is a cheap Persona knock off when it stand well enough on its own. The different angles and approaches have made all the differences that matter.
In Persona, there is no doubt that's the protagonist is the ace, the key, the chosen one or what have you. The irrefutable fact is that the main character of any Persona is one special badass. Whether as the awesome leader among the group of 'gifted' people or the warrior therapist that utilize the power of friendship to save the world, Persona Protagonist is a born winner in all categories.
Compare and Contrast with Fate/Extra protagonist whose status as an underdog couldn't be denied. Extraordinary growth aside, right from the beginning til the very end, there is never a time when their power alone is enough. (Meanwhile, Persona MCs could solo the entire game) I repeat, Fate/Extra MC couldn't win any fights with their power alone even when their life depend on it. Training is extremely important, but without help from external factors they are toasted.
First Round - Opponent was overconfident and had NO idea what he was getting into
Second Round - Opponent's wavering resolve and honor before reason attitude is what save your ass.
Third Round - Opponent was pretty open with info, not to mention that without Rin's and Rani's help you won't even get the required triggers.
Forth Round - Opponent was plain crazy
Fifth Round - Without traps and that mana transfer, you will be dead, no questions asked
Sixth Round - That Firewall Bypass is extremely important to your survival
Ultimate Round - Think you could blot out the sun on your own?
In hindsight, F/E MC are just ridiculous. It's not normal for people to survive against such overwhelming odds. The most hapless master should not be able to become the indisputable victor in any Holy Grail Wars. Then I realize how absurd it is that such unnatural happenstances could feel like a natural outcome to me, how the words plot armor, ass pull and deus ex machina are not applicable in this scenario. That an unremarkable nameless master could truly earned the title of the most extraordinary master of all.
The gameplay is nothing special, the atmosphere isn't noteworthy, and the plot is hardly earth shattering. Yet when I play the game, the unfolding story is beautiful beyond my ability to describe.
Long ass Gil x Hakunon OTP feels*
Note - Male Haku is Male Hakuno, Male MC. Hakunon is Female Hakuno, Female MC. Just 'Hakuno' is both protagonists
Male Haku is ideal for Casko, but for all other servants it's Hakunon all the way. Well maybe not CCC Archer. Anyway, Gil and Hakunon is the best. With male Haku it just feel like Enkidu v2 or 2nd place partner. But Hakunon challenge Gil's perspective so much it would be useless to put Hakunon and Enkidu in the same category. Male Haku is stoic while Hakunon is much more lively... Long story short, I could see Hakunon carving out a place for herself while male Haku is not someone who could shake up Gil's world to that extent. (Of course, Gil would still like him a lot. Expect Kirei's style corruption only with much more moral end result and lasting impression like Enkidu)
Meanwhile, Hakunon is beyond description. Gil is really out of his element with her. I don't think Gil lie about his belief about male-female relationships, so he would have no clue on what Hakunon is to him. So yes I think her gender is important when considering their stupid relationship. Don't get me? Now see how much Hakuno's gender effect Gil... The answer is minimal, so really what does this mean?
Sex is not the core of their bond, Gil can't dismiss this fact. What make this relationship so wonderful is that romance could not deepen or cheapen it whether or not sexual attraction play a part. The addition of romance here would merely add another dimension to the while thing, but there is no need for change in dynamic. It's already perfect as is. Really, I never thought I would love watching a tsundere competition.
The cow's dead, but it's still good stuff.
Okami is a fun game to play. On Playstation that is. I enjoyed playing this so much when I was at my cousin's house, I bought it for my Wii. What a major disappointment. The gameplay is so ridiculously hard, it's unplayable. My hands certainly is never still enough to satisfy the game's standards.
Princess Maker 2 (PM2)
I need to play my games in English, so PM2 is the only version I could play.
Prince Maker 2 (Braveness, MSN2)
Yes, I spell that right. Prince Maker Braveness is the second installment in the Prince Maker series, a game series created by a Chinese group called Alfagame. As the name suggested, this game is a raising simulation, not unlike the Princess Maker series. It actually feature a storyline, so it's pretty much resemble Princess Maker 4. (Hells, the kid's a half demon too!) I won't say it's a rip off though. Sure, the game play part pretty much emulate the Princess Maker series, but rip offs don't turn out to be better than the original. I can't speak for every installments in PM series, but for me MSN2 beat PM2, hands down.
It's bad for the collector in me, but the story here is super effective with guilt trip. Unlike PM2 where as long as the father-daughter relationship is good I could get those low end jobs ending without feeling like a total failure, I can't bear the thought of letting little brother ending up with less than prestigious occupation. May be he only mouth off in the tramp ending, but still I feel like a massive fail. Only acceptable goals for me are emperor and human king endings. (Demon king ending is not bad with how much of a jerk the previous kings are, but the talk made brother sound like he has gotten power hungry and rough)
Prince Maker: Origin is the MSN2's prequel and it's here that the player character change from an empty insert into a character in her own right. Sure, you could select the character's gender, but the story obviously was written with female in mind.
spoiler start *
I mean, come on, Dean keep going on and on about how he wants to protect the player character (PC). It's all fine and dandy with a big sister, but with a big brother? Just doesn't work. Male ego won't stand for that.
Then there's Rex. He recognize the PC on sight, and when he says that the PC remind him of someone that is obviously the PC's mother. A boy could have a remarkable resemblance to his mom, but being mistaken for her at first? Although, of course pretty boys do exist, so this reason might not hold water.
The next reason is pretty solid evidence though. The CG of the PC leaving depicted the PC with very long silver hair. Sure, boys could have long hair too, but that long in that style? If the creator want the gender to be more ambiguous they shouldn't choose a hairstyle that scream feminine.
Update - I stand corrected on point number 2 and 3, but number 1 is still valid!
First off, MSN2 PC or as I will called her from now on, Maia. Sure her official name is Kafir, but I already think of her as Maia, so at least here Maia she will stay. (I'll use Kafir when I talk to other fans) Ever since I played Origin, I think of and like her as a character. Sure I used to think of her as an empty placeholder before, but Origin turn her into a protagonist I like. Not because I used her as my avatar either.
It's probably has a lot to do with alfagame's skill with the 'show not tell' technique, but you could tell that she's one great, smart person through her dialogue and actions, not because the narrator or other characters line up to tell you so. She seem perfect in every way. Brains, brawn and beauty, it's the whole package here folks. Um, okay so the beauty part wasn't really established in Braveness or Origin. In fact, most likely due to poor game design, Twilight would sort of imply that you're playing an ugly woman. (I believe MSN3 would remedy this.)
Maia is without a doubt, pretty awesome. If you list out her qualities, it seem she has it all... Yet, it's never quite enough. Unlike Mary Sues, things just doesn't goes her way. Sure, she won the tournament at 10 years old and what not, but really she's just trying to uphold her mom's legacy and house pride and all that. The result? Her mom ditch her and she's left practically an orphan. Adopting Dean to be her brother to ease the loneliness? End up having to leave him to save him. Then the fanfics I have read pretty much told me that things got a lot worse for her in MSN3. Failing at things that actually matter... Nope, disqualified from being a Mary Sue.
Seriously, it might seem like she's so perfect and awesome and everyone love her, but that has never been the point. Poor girl has been trying so hard, but no matter what her whole life is bittersweet at best. She could forgive everyone's inadequacies but her own. Her compassion and gentleness are real, but that mean little to her in the face of her selfishness and failures. She's not perfect (not really) and that torture her. Her mind might comprehend all the philosophical stuffs, but I doubt her heart speak the same language. Like how she said that her dad is just a trivial detail, but considering how often she spoke of her mom I doubt her heart agree.
I must also admit that being able to play with a character that's actually competent is a nice change of pace. (Really, she guess the big reveal all by herself while I the idiot player never caught on. Too bad there's no CG of Lucifer's reaction.) I know that not everyone will like and relate to her, but to me her situation hit pretty close to home. No, I'm not ace material, but knowing that your best will never be enough... I won't say that it's the worst thing in the world, but it should be safe to say that it's not a good thing either.
Imperfect in her perfection... I think this describe Maia, for a lack of better words, perfectly. She's wise. She's strong. She has it in her to keep going on. Yet, I can't help but find her so fragile, so vulnerable, so tortured. There's no doubt in my mind that she has a good heart, but well this quote from a fanfic said it all "Cursed are the pure, for they will be besot with temptation hundredfold worse than those of the sinner." (Said fanfic is 'Haunted' a harvest moon fanfic by Kuruk).
In the end, I feel that Maia is the perfect character to represent the series' tragic premise. This is a world where you could try and try and it still wouldn't be enough. Your utmost best will still end up short, but to not try at all is impossible...
I was going to put this in the other characters' section, since this section is already very long, but I don't want bits about Maia to pop up everywhere. Things should be contained in their own section as much as possible. So now I am going to go off on tangents for a bit and veered into subject of Maia's relationships.
Let's start with Dean and Lyle who are pretty much her adopted brothers. Her success at being a sister is pretty questionable. I ship her with both of them and all, but if at least one (or even both) of your adopted brothers grow up to be in love with you... a model sister you do not make. Granted their relationships are pretty intense, their love are deep and enduring with or without romantic connotations. It made sense though, since all of them are orphans (so what if Maia's parents are alive, they might as well be dead with what little time they spent with her).
This is probably why I believe her other relationships will not be nearly as smooth. Motherhood is always hard and undoubtedly so when you never ever have a maternal figure in your life. The fact that her childhood is so far removed from normalcy doesn't help. She will love her children (she is loving by nature), but how could she understand their needs? How could she provide for these children who should want for nothing? The orphan bonding work well, because of lack and loss. The expectations she will have to fulfilled as a mother... That's a totally foreign battle field where she hold no advantage and never will.
Update - If the paragraphs of ramble above doesn't tell you that I have a strong image of Maia in my mind (not to mention my attachment to the name I gave her), nothing will. I love Origin and now that I played it, MSN2 player become her own established character. This is the character I bonded with. Partly because Origin is played through her eyes, but mostly because I understand her. A strange turn of events really since she's the first broken ace I identified with. Before now this type of characters could only garner my distant sympathy without any connection.
Then today, I stumbled across some posts on alfagame forum that feature 'Kafir' hate. I didn't read a lot, but at least three people are vocal on their dislike toward her. This actually surprised me, although it really shouldn't (there's fans and haters for everything). Then one of them listed out the reasons why and I realize that once upon a time I would have felt the same.
In conclusion, luna120225 had said everything I would have felt if I played MSN3 before Origin. Being the player character alone isn't enough to make every players feel for her. The player avatar thing ensure that she lack presence so not that much could be said about plot significance. A faceless personality, luna120225 pretty much hit the nail right on the head.
The empty implications in Braveness is not enough to prop up the image of gentle beauty that MSN3 lauded for her... People believe in what they see and Kafir's character only appear in Origin. Without Origin's context, it does seem like Dean's love is crazy. Regardless I am strangely grateful to The 12 Jiu for the great counter arguments. I agree 100 percent that Nona's a less sympathetic character with how irresponsible she is.
Update 2 - There's no way I would accept Kafir as MSN2's PC name now that I knows its meaning. Oh and I'm transferring my attachment to the name 'Matilda' to 'Maia', since Maia is a four letters name with better (but still similar) set of meaning and exactly the same numerology. Actually, the reason why I like the name Matilda so much in the first place has everything to do with its meaning and numerology. Both Matilda and Maia compatibility with the names: Dean and Lyre (Lyle's result is not bad but as always I prefer Lyre) have amazing scores. Compatibility with Ares is good too, but it's nothing spectacular.
Second up, it's little brother's turn. His official name is Lyle, but to me it's Lyre. The thing is I actually tried to use the official name, but I misread it and now he's stuck as Lyre in my head. (I'll use Lyle with other fans here as well) An extremely sweet boy, he will stir your maternal instinct. The canon relationship between Maia and Lyre is implied to be very close and affectionate, but don't worry I have shipping goggles glued to my face and yet I find the ship tease between them to be next to none. In fact even on their relationship route, I still find the ship tease lacking.
Now on the subject of shipping! This game handle the romance pretty well actually. All romances are pretty fast paced and most feel like it come out of the blue, but your willing suspension of disbelief will not be stretched too far. After all, in every relationship you actually see progress, so yes relationship actually are develop in this game. Oh just a note, the Lyre pairings below are ordered according to their in game priority.
Lyre x Maia (MSN2 PC) - I understand why some people would be squick by the idea of this pairing alone. The Hikaru Genji vibes is hard to denied. Still, canon establish that Lyre and Maia love and value each other a lot. It's far too easy to ship them.
Lyre x Nijie - Sure she got her own story arc and is the second priority, but man she has nothing to do with the main plot. I bet the only reason she rank second is because of her race.
Lyre x Katherina - The only pairing where Lyre has enough self awareness to be the one who confess his feelings.
Lyre x Yvette - I always favor irony and this is no exception.
Lyre x Dean - It's well developed and all, but with all the trouble the creator gone through to establish Dean's devotion to his savior, I find it hard to ship these two boys together. Plus, I don't want to believe that Lyre could be THAT oblivious.
Lyre x Ares - Many people have boarded this pairing ship. It's little wonder though, since this is Ares!
Lyre x Twilight - For someone who was the last priority, the divination priest sure approve of her. The player? Cries of incest and condemnation. The three girls? A generic would you give them your blessing. The boys? Taboo love and disapproval. Twilight? Seem like a perfect match.
Lyre x Random Girls - For random girls, their ending sequence actually show that they do have their own personality.
Dean x Maia - I think it's obvious that the creator ship these two. I mean 85 percent of what came out of Dean's mouth is ship tease for this pairing. Yes even most of the dialogue for Lyre's Dean romance route. Really, this pairing should come across as squicky, but the portrayal is so well done I can't help but feel that it's all so emotional. I mean, Maia is not only 8 years older, she adopted Dean to be her brother from when he was 6. They getting together (same case as Maia and Lyre) is like an inverted Hikaru Genji plan. Still, the game somehow manage to made this not creepy, but rather touching. This is actually a hard pairing to sexualized, since you could feel how little the physical stuffs matter here. I could actually feel the love between them. (In Origin anyway)
Ares x Maia - The only time 'ship tease' for this pairing came up is during Origin and yes that's game is mostly all about Maia and Dean. If you're thinking that I'm a horrible person, you'll be right. I ship Maia with Ares too! She's just like Lyre when it come to relationships; it's just too darn easy to ship her. Sure you have to do a lot of specific guide dang it stuff to get Ares ending, but they do build a good beginning foundation for...relationship progression. Really the ending actually convinced me that this could happen. It's not too far fetched to believe that Maia and Ares could stay in contact during Braveness what with Ares and Lyre being friends and all.
So the translated MSN history timeline is up, making me one happy gamer girl. It answer a lot of my questions and provide me info I don't think I will ever get. It also create more questions for me (but that's signs of an interesting story!). It also serve as an evidence, once again, that writers just can't do math. If you ignore the numbers, most of the story is pretty sensible. (And even the few that don't could be explain away if it was delve into)
Turn out, Nona (Maia's mom) won the tournament at 9, so Maia being able to do it at 10 is really no big deal. Being appointed as the head of Lante family at absurdly young age is actually the norm. The previous Demon King (Orhanpa Satan) is a major douche. Oh the orphan of the Demon General (who put me on this throne in the first place) was entrusted to me? Let's give him to the Lante family for adoption (never mind the fact that their head is still a kid herself). Oh we need a candidate for a sacrifice? Let's use said orphan! Oh the Lancelot guy (who also help make me king) find out about my nefarious plan? Let's kill his entire family!
Seriously, why do this assassin family console themselves with things like 'trying to help the Lante is a good thing, we should be proud even if it get us in this shit'? They should be cursing the Orhanpa guy instead! None of this would happen if nobody goes out of their way to hand the Demon throne to him. It's no surprise that his second son is also a douche. (Although accounts said that his first son is a black sheep in this regard)
Can't say that I love this game or that I am a fan, but I like it well enough and I do want more fanfics on Avalon Code.
Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride
The story is well paced so one won't feel bored. A big plus for the fact that's the story is actually important and not a flimsy excuse to fight and level up. What I want to rave about though is the brides. As a general rule, I'm inclined to favor 'official or canon' couples. The reason? These pairings tend to have support. Sadly, that's not how things turned out these day. Official couples tend to have little to no chemistry or reason to get together at all. But I digress.
Here come the brides!
Bianca - It's not that I hate her, but the game's way of hinting (with the subtlety of a sledgehammer) that Bianca is the one for your hero could be summed up in one word, guilt trip. Instead of establishing good reasons why your hero and her are perfect together, this game has the galls to guilt trip players into doing what they want: marry Bianca. Seriously, if they put as much thought into relationship building as they do the guilt trip, a lot more people would be willingly swayed.
I love the childhood friend turned lover trope and all, but these two do not qualify for that! What I like about the childhood friend thing is that the characters would have known each other really well, already like and care for one another. Failing that, the childhood connection thing (forgotten friend trope) is also good, provided the characters actually spent some time getting to know each other, reestablishing connection and all that. Our hero and Bianca know each other when they're young and that's it. Technically, they are childhood friend, but childhood friend trope need more than that to me.
One problem with this pairing is how meaningful the hero's childhood experience with Bianaca is depend on the player. Like most JRPGs, DQV's protagonist is a 'fill in the blank' equation. He got some established traits like being 1) a handsome, attractive, well muscled man 2) a mysterious (to other people) guy who's quiet and sensitive 3) a great brave warrior (like all the other RPGs). If you imagine that their ghost hunting trip forged a mutual unbreakable bond between them then the relationship might work out. Huh, I doubt it. Their first encounter is probably when the hero was four so of course he won't remember that! The ghost hunting is the only thing these two did together that the hero remember and how much could that worth? Being a slave is bound to have a big impact on someone. (Look at Harry!)
The other problem is the aforementioned guilt trip. The game made it abundantly clear that she has feelings for your hero. Her sick father is a family friend. Her mother died. She's lonely and what's more. Her father straight up asked you to look after his (turned out to be adopted) daughter. From all accounts the SNES version made you into a giant heartless bastard if you don't marry her. Her dad died, she became an abused barmaid and you are thoroughly punished by the complete waste of space that is your chosen bride whose level cap at measly 10 and have a rouge AI.
Apparently, the only cure Bianca's sick father need is the marriage between the hero and his daughter. Oh and in the SNES version if Bianca's not chosen, her father would die from the despair. Ah yes, a prime example of guilt based gaming.
Updated - I still haven't play through the game in full with all the brides yet, but I could say with absolute certainty that Bianca will never be my favorite bride. Sure the stupid accent and creator's favoritism doesn't help, but ultimately that aren't why she could never even compete with the other brides in my eyes.
You could only blame bad decision in design so much. When it come down to it, I don't see Bianca as the 'marry for love' choice. More like a delusional choice. I know that Nera and Deborah are considered the 'gold digger or gaming benefit' choices, but both relationships are build on honesty and facts. Could the same truly be said for Bianca?
What feelings she has for the hero is based on an image years out of date. Seriously, Bianca doesn't really love the hero at that point and the hero doesn't love her then either. She just love the idea of adventure that the hero could give her. Then there is the argument that being the chosen bride equal going through hell, so Bianca who want adventure would be able to handle the stone curse thing the best. Huh, I think not.
Excitement and torture are two vastly different things. Bianca did not sign up for that and did not expect it even in the most remote corner of her mind. At least Nera and Deborah set off with the hero with expectation of unknown hardship. All in all on cursory level the guilt trip is a big turn off, while on deeper level the pairing feel delusional to me. Not to mention that Bianca as the chosen bride could provide nothing on the story telling angle either.
That said I find her satisfactory enough for second place. In my belief, the hero could choose to marry Bianca if he decide to give up on the shield. If he doesn't care about getting the shield (perhaps believing that Biscoletti would give him a call when the legendary hero turn up) and all he really want out of a marriage is a travel partner alone. Bianca is the best choice then.
Nera - I haven't married her yet so I have yet to truly judge her for myself. Still the pre-marriage events made it clear that despite being a purity sue, the game really doesn't want you to marry her. Crispin's sole purpose is to help tip the scale further in Bianca's favor. He got the hots for Nera who's happened to be his friend since childhood, Nera definitely care a lot for him and those two end up happily married if you didn't napped Nera for your hero. Here's the basic SNES version formula - marry Bianca and everyone win, marry Nera and fuck everyone over. As if this sort of option could be considered a choice!
Good thing, they actually even things out with the DS version. Nera is very lovely here. So far, she's my favorite bride choice despite the game's blatant attempt at 'persuading' me otherwise. Granted, the set up with Nera utilize such an ancient plot device - love at first sight. Truth be told, I'm not a fan of love at first sight and it's not even done well here (Not that I've seen any examples of a well done love at first sight romance), but it actually feel natural to marry her. Rod is way too generous to the hero who married Bianca. To me, Rod's support only made sense if the hero married one of his daughters. Debora is just too weird for my tastes.
Updated - In the end, Biscoletti bambina is my personal favorite by far. Nera is very sweet, in fact too sweet for some people, but I believe the hero could use some loving after his time as a slave. On cursory level, this pairing is unappealing to me with the love at first sight trope. Then I dig deeper and wow Bianca and Debora could never top this.
It could be said that to both Bianca and Debora that the hero is their best chance at happiness. Meanwhile, Nera would end up happily married either way. The reason for why Nera will always end up happy could be her Purity Sue status...or it could be that she is the most well adjusted girl who know how to make herself happy instead of relying on the hero for that.
I am not saying that trying to make a choice that would make people happy is bad, but if feeling sorry for Crispin is a legitimate reason to not choose Nera...well I feel sorry for the carpenter guy who work his butt off for Bianca and I don't want to feel burning shame whenever Debora open her mouth.
Then it turned out that of all the brides, Nera is the only one that acknowledge that she doesn't know the hero very well and vice versa AND flat out state that she want them to know each other better to make their marriage work. That's a realistic and healthy relationship right there.
Sure that she might sound very submissive and make pleasing her husband a priority, but why couldn't a girl chose to be a proper whatever and be her own person. It's a decision she made, why shouldn't that be valid or why should it make her less of a person? But enough about gender roles, in story telling perspective choosing Nera mean giving both Nera and Crispin the opportunity to show off their strength.
Choosing to follow her husband on his adventure and living through all those trials and tribulations show that Nera is not merely a fragile flower. Meanwhile, Crispin manage to move on, find love and become happily married even without Nera, his ideal dream girl.
There is worth in earning your happiness that could never be obtained through any other means. Not when it was handed to you because of pity or when destiny (*cough*script*cough) dictate. That's why I like Nera the best. It take work, but it's more than worth it regardless of the creators' favoritism.
Debora - Haven't married her either. Will have to see.
Updated - I haven't got pass the first visit to Gotha yet. Actually it would be more accurate to say that I couldn't bring myself to continue.
Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. Abuse (verbal or otherwise) is forever and always a pet peeve of mine. That is why I could never like Debora, period.
I don't find her funny, and what little character development she finally get is too little too late. The hero has no obligation to save a bitch from her self inflicted misery.
I know that she does get over herself enough to be a loving mother to her children, but I wouldn't want the people of Gotha to suffer her nasty presence as their queen. Easily distant third place bride for me.
Still I could see the hero marrying her, because he is a selfless man. I mean if the hero is too...damage by his experience and become a grim determinator, marrying Debora made the most sense.
Nera will get her Crispin, Bianca will not have to follow him to any hellhole his journey will take him, and if he died Debora would be the least distraught. Plus no need for worry about being a good husband here. He just have to do what Debora tell him and boom duty done.
I’m not a fan of pokemon, but I enjoyed Crystal, FRLG and HGSS all the same. The story is definitely not the main attraction, the gameplay doesn't appeal to me, but if there’s one thing I like about this series it’s the rivals.
I haven’t tried Black and White yet, so I can’t judge them, but other than Blue and Silver I find all the other rivals exceptionally dull. Blue and Silver are the only reason I played the games all the way to the end.
Anyway, I have to rant about this. I know it’s all about Lyra now, but I like Kris better. If Lyra’s design is better than Kris then I would find it hard to complain, but that’s not the case. Seriously, Lyra looks like a vapid, girly ditz! (I really hate her design, the hat just have to go) Why couldn't they keep Kris’s design? I’m not the only one who likes the headstrong, tomboy look. (Not crazy about the hair, but the outfit's pretty cool) Not to say that I hate Lyra. After all I don’t mind reading fanfic about her. (That could just be my addiction to ‘Silver x his female rival’ talking though)
I suppose I could solve the 'lack of Kris' problem by jumping onto the 'Lyra is transformed Kris' bandwagon. There, easy as pie.
The manga version is the best, enough said. (After all Yankumi is not a total dunderhead like in the live show)
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Sure I have to at least find something interesting/engaging before gushing about it, but when it come to free stuffs more often than not you won't find me being overly critical about it. If it's an alright way to pass the time, then it has done its job adequately. After all, I do know better than to complain about quality when I am not paying for quality.
SEED 3: Heroes in Time
I have played (but not beaten) both seed 1 and 2, and while the game play is solid enough I won't say that I enjoy them. I'm not a fan of grinding which is essential if you want to beat the game. That and the heart of RPG (*cough* story *cough*) just isn't there. The story is just one big excuse plot, period.
So of course, I wasn't expecting much when I give 'Heroes in Time' a try. I was surprised to say the least. I could hardly believe that this game is made by the same developers as SEED 1 and 2. Everything is just that much better.
Before this game I always thought that every story's quality is determined by two factors, plot and delivery. Now I realize that there is another very important element that is separated from the aforementioned factors - characters. Really, the story started off as super cliche, typical fantasy setup. Come on," twins separated at birth" and "raised by wolves"? Then it all get better from here.
Dialogue is not extremely cut and dry, not to say that it's amazing, just that it's natural enough to avoid being grating. Visuals are bright and colorful with nice animation. Music is appropriate and not jarring. Story and gameplay integration is smooth. Nothing fiendishly difficult (the story is quite nice but really it's not good enough for me to stick to it if the gameplay is nintendo hard). Really if you bought the Colosseum IAP, you don't need to level grind since this feature give you lots of exp. If you don't mind grinding when the ramp in difficulty show up, you don't need to buy anything at all.
Really the game is well made enough that you should support the developers anyway. The inventory space could use expanding (IAP - $0.99) but if it's plenty manageable if you don't want to pay. (I am a pack-rat and I manage without it just fine) The Colosseum is there to give people who hate grinding (like me) a more enjoyable option, but it's not needed if you want to go without (IAP - $0.99). There is no backtracking required for the story so you don't need to buy the warp gate either, the only time you need it is when you want to play through the previous Colosseum or something. All in all, IAP is for people who want things to be easier but it's not needed at all.
Spoilers territory - under construction*
There is stupidity involved in the plot, but the vast majority of them are forgivable. Mikhail is very gullible but he is a sheltered wolf boy. Bettina and Edward trusted too easily, but to be fair Mikhail turn out to be their strongest ally, Checka their current smartest member is out, and the second set of spy is really after Mikhail and bagging the Tress is just a bonus. Barlena on the other hand... She has proven to be competent a few time, but she decided to trust Pela's lackey? What the hell?
Anyway, I have to say that the vast majority of the characters are pretty one note (the chicks' tits are way too big as well, but let's forget that degrading treatment), but the main characters more than made up for it since I care about them so much they carry the whole game on their back. Love you, Mikhail and Carl!
Oh yeah, this is also the only game I know that use the "giant space flea from nowhere" trope well. While a giant space flea from outer space IS the final boss, there are allusions and build-up early on that indicate its existence.
Not free. No hardcore grinding necessary. Can't go anywhere without looking at the world map on the developers' website. Witty dialogue. Make from RPG Maker. Not your typical fantasy story. Really, the writing is the best part of the game. The plot is solid and the execution is smooth. I bought this for 99 cents, so nope no complaints.
2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
3) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Brittany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.
7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.
9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans... Re-post this if you believe in legalizing gay marriage!
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