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  3. Sylvain Solo Playlog (Maddening Difficulty)

User Info: McLahey

McLahey
2 days ago#31
mixedmethods posted...
Ooh, I’m excited for the updates.

VLR is best enjoyed by binging it. ZTD is ... polarizing, to say the least. And I’m personally team “999 was perfect, VLR is just a bonus.”

I'm probably gonna end up on that same team. I'm not too far (maybe like 1/4 of the way) into VLR, but so far I enjoyed 999 a lot more, which doesn't give me a lot of hope for ZTD...
Clear skies. Today, I weeded the fields. Work went well.

User Info: mixedmethods

mixedmethods
2 days ago#32
McLahey posted...
I'm probably gonna end up on that same team. I'm not too far (maybe like 1/4 of the way) into VLR, but so far I enjoyed 999 a lot more, which doesn't give me a lot of hope for ZTD...

VLR becomes obsessed with its own cleverness and cramming in as many references as possible at the expense of compelling characters and a tight plot. (Though I should say here that I was able to figure out all of the game’s major reveals without spoilers or the internet, so my reaction to the denouement was probably further in the “underwhelmed” camp than most.) What I loved about 999 was how every ending changed your understanding of what came before and how satisfying it was to see how everything fit after the screen/narrator reveal. The beats of the plot were tight and you didn’t spend 15 minutes hearing about concepts unpleasant people were trotting out to make themselves sound smart, but instead were hints that arose organically from the narrative. (Actually, in VLR, I spent hours waiting for someone to explain prisoner’s dilemma — which is something of a foundational concept in my field and it’s taken as a given that everyone is familiar with it.) The cast was stronger, too. And the game was just satisfying: the ending left you feeling both a sense of resolution but also with the knowledge that the journey wasn’t over, since it wasn’t an attempt to tie everything with a bow, and you were free to imagine what you wished.

The puzzles were admittedly extremely easy in 999, although even that was for a reason. VLR swings hard in the other direction, to its detriment — some of them stand out as tedious/unpleasant to complete not because they’re cognitively challenging but because of the solution demanded. The art style and voices are entirely a mileage may vary issue; I admit to being partial to the original 999, but it is what it is.

Uchikoshi said the idea of 999 came from an image he had about how the reveal works on the DS and the game was essentially created to lead to that moment. In that sense, I think 999 is a really singular piece of storytelling and gameplay in which every part of the game — the writing, the music, the sound effects, etc. — are all part of one creative vision and the game is just ... a gem. Everything works and drives you toward the catharsis of the ending. There’s no padding or waste, no sense of the script needing another draft. It’s a story told exceptionally well, which is a rarity. VLR is roughly triple or quadruple the length of 999 (it depends on which version of 999 you’ve played and how fast you read), but a much more ambitious story with far more unique paths and endings — and I would say the game doesn’t serve its narrative nearly as well, nor is there the same level of unity in gameplay and story. Which made it less satisfying for me, personally, as I will pretty much always come down on the side of “a simple story told well is better than an epic told poorly,” but that’s a matter of taste.

There was a fair amount of executive meddling with VLR, though. I’ll always wonder what the game could have been if Uchikoshi had been allowed to tell the story he wanted to in the way he wanted to, as you can really feel the tension between what he wanted and what was demanded by corporate.

ZTD is divisive and messy and impossible to divorce from the behind the scenes issues (the third game being cancelled, the reboot, etc.), but yeah. 999, at least for me, stands alone as the rare perfect game, entirely self-contained; VLR and ZTD are just ... games where I’m along for the ride, but I don’t consider them necessary or even true sequels to 999. (Man, I still replay 999 occasionally. VLR ... not so much.)
(edited 2 days ago)

User Info: McLahey

McLahey
2 days ago#33
mixedmethods posted...
-snip-

o.o

I actually played 999 in adventure mode, but I remember people saying doing so leads you to miss one of the game's major twists. You made it sound like it was quite the thing to miss out on though, so I looked it up and...huh. Not sure how I feel about that. It's probably more exciting if you played in novel mode >>

But yeah, from what I've experienced so far, your assessment seems pretty spot-on. I'm not a fan of the forced, fourth wall-breaking humor, and I feel far less connected to the cast. Wish Siggy was voiced, too.
Clear skies. Today, I weeded the fields. Work went well.

User Info: McLahey

McLahey
2 days ago#34
Chapter 5, The Get f***ed Map: Welcome to Get f***ed: The Map, the map where you get f***ed. If you were hoping to get f***ed, you're in luck, because you're gonna get f***ed.

...Okay, the first part of the map isn't that bad.

Unless your name is Gilbert, of course (get f***ed, you human urethra):

https://i.imgtc.ws/Jn007Rh.jpg

It is kinda bad, though. This is after clearing, like, half of them out:

https://i.imgtc.ws/MSD68S7.jpg

(^ A lot of f***s were said.)

But once you get to the boss, it spikes. Miklan himself is no joke, but his beast form is another deal. The main problem here is the lack of resources. The boss has three health bars, while also being strong and tanky. It's a battle of attrition, but you don't have the healing items to...attrish, unless the enemies have been plinking you. So you die a miserable death and restart the month to prepare properly.

- Step one is to instruct Auth until it raises to C so we can equip a better battalion. This actually ended up being kind of pointless-ish.

- Step two is to remember to steal the books from Dedue's room so that your professor level reaches C, so that you can assign adjutants. I forgot these existed, but fortunately, the only person he'd been building supports with (Felix) raises Mt by 2 at rank B. Good stuff. "But is it really a solo with adjutants?" Shh. Probably. You can't even trade items with them to use them as a backpack, so I don't see why not, it's just another form of statboosting.

- Step three is to ignore Vantage for the moment and reclass to Brigand for Clearing the Way and this chapter, so that we can learn Death Blow mid-chapter for an extra 24 dmg with gauntlets, which is key to defeating the beast.

- Step four is to buy a Silver Shield. It's not so much that we can't afford to take damage (because we can always heal), it's that we can't afford to have our battalion lose endurance, because losing 4 Mt (AKA 16 Mt with gauntlets) is gonna make the boss a bit harder. In hindsight, it may have been overkill, but oh well. It pretty much makes us take 0 damage from every enemy on this map that's not a mage, a knight, or the boss.

Anyway, we slowly work our way up trying to take as little damage as possible, so as not to wear out our battalion (which probably wasn't as necessary as I thought it was, due to having a Silver Shield this time as mentioned), by attacking with bows against melee and gauntlet-ing mages when we can. We're gonna wanna save around...I dunno, 18-24 uses of our gauntlets for the beast, so either bring two pairs, bring another melee weapon (I brought three Elixirs, but only ended up using 2/3 of one of them, so I had room for two more weapons/items, teeheehee...), or just pick everything off with a bow. Or bring a 1-2 range weapon, which I keep forgetting exists. Or remember to train bows from the beginning so you have Close Counter by now. The world is an oyster.

You tell 'em, Sylvia Plath!

https://i.imgtc.ws/mOTbvjF.jpg

Once we get to the end, we have Sylvain fist his big bro:

https://i.imgtc.ws/hugYo8N.jpg

Then we proudly plan to armor break him with Gambits, before realizing our particular Gambit only has one use. Have I mentioned that the beast restores his barrier constantly? Yeah, that's something he does. You can break a square, but probably won't actually get to attack him in his weakened state, unless you can break it in a single turn (either by using a Gambit or manipulating his positioning so that he attacks from his damaged square on EP).

Anyway, more fisting:

https://i.imgtc.ws/66GNUov.jpg

We did it! Yes, it took an ungodly amount of turns.

https://i.imgtc.ws/paC1qxE.jpg
Clear skies. Today, I weeded the fields. Work went well.
(edited 2 days ago)

User Info: MarkofWisdom

MarkofWisdom
2 days ago#35
nicely done. Felix is just tagging along to be a cheerleader for Sylvain
3DS FC-1564-2439-6230

User Info: McLahey

McLahey
2 days ago#36
Small update: I now have to redo two months (and an hour of fishing) because Sylvain is 2 Faith EXP short of learning Heal, and goddamn Jeralt won't stop suiciding in Ch. 9. This run has quickly transformed from a solo run to a baby-sitting run (more on that later) >>

MarkofWisdom posted...
nicely done. Felix is just tagging along to be a cheerleader for Sylvain

"I-it's not like I want you to win or anything, b-baka!"
Clear skies. Today, I weeded the fields. Work went well.

User Info: mixedmethods

mixedmethods
2 days ago#37
MarkofWisdom posted...
nicely done. Felix is just tagging along to be a cheerleader for Sylvain

Considering their B-support, what could be more canon?

User Info: McLahey

McLahey
2 days ago#38
You guys wanna know the pain I'm suffering at the hands of Jeralt?

Through some unholy miracle, I manage to keep him alive and keep Byls and Demi out of the enemies' attack range until the very end of the map. (It requires complex positioning that I've yet to successfully replicate to get Jeralt into a bush and keep the northeast beast seesawing between him and his son.) There's one beast left, and he has one health bar left, so I can finish him on the next player phase. Jeralt has 18 HP. The beast has 18 Atk against Jeralt. So what does Jeralt do? Run up to the beast, attack, and get himself killed on the counter. End me.
Clear skies. Today, I weeded the fields. Work went well.

User Info: MarkofWisdom

MarkofWisdom
1 day ago#39
McLahey posted...
You guys wanna know the pain I'm suffering at the hands of Jeralt?

Through some unholy miracle, I manage to keep him alive and keep Byls and Demi out of the enemies' attack range until the very end of the map. (It requires complex positioning that I've yet to successfully replicate to get Jeralt into a bush and keep the northeast beast seesawing between him and his son.) There's one beast left, and he has one health bar left, so I can finish him on the next player phase. Jeralt has 18 HP. The beast has 18 Atk against Jeralt. So what does Jeralt do? Run up to the beast, attack, and get himself killed on the counter. End me.

sounds like perfect spiteful AI, the kind where it isn't trying to win but just make you lose-"Oh he can win next turn? Time to suicide the ally he's trying to protect and can't control!"

God do I hate escort missions in FE....It's pathetic that the GBA escort missions were so much more manageable and less frustrating-the AI had the same suicidal tendencies at times, but at least other times it was set to be stationary so you could move ahead of them and keep the enemy away. Rescuing was also an option to keep NPCs safe if you needed to
3DS FC-1564-2439-6230
(edited 1 day ago)
#40
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