145 Reviews liked by Rensie

My number one most overrated game of all time....is FF2.
FF2 theme plays for two seconds
Ok, seriously people? You are seriously going to call THIS GAME, one of the greatest games of all time?! Alright alright alright...you're telling me you'd rather play FINAL FANTASY 2....then Metal Gear Solid 3? You would rather play....FINAL FANTASY 2....then Skyrim?! You would rather play....FINAL FANTASY 2....then Team Fortress 2 (do you see where I'm going with this)?!
I see this game on DOZENS of "Best Games Ever" lists and it just doesn't deserve it! And before you go all ape on me I am fully aware of the history behind FF2 and how much it impacted the FF’s storytelling, but that's more of it being influential rather then a good game! When was the last time you actively sought out playing FINAL FANTASY 2?
When was the last time you thought "Hmm...I don't think I wanna play Battlefield 3, I think I wanna play some Final Fantasy 2." I bet it was you were waiting in line for something and had nothing else to do. I'm DestroyerOfMid and I'll conceit that Final Fantasy 2 is a fun and challenging game.....but it does not deserve to stand amongst the greatest games of all time!

Quality Zelda benchmark. The true birth of "The Legend" and all the legacy and infamous Zelda-isms. OOT is just 3D ALttP and that's all it managed to do. OOT fanatics eat my ass out, I mean, eat your heart out.

No greater sign of Sega's crushing schedule and budgetary environment in the pre-Sonic 1 world than this. A gargantuan and visionary concept that can't even execute on 1/10th of its pitch, just totally devoid of anything emotionally meaningful or exciting.

The third and final entry in the Sky/Liberl arc of the Trails/Kiseki series, Trails in the Sky the 3rd acts as a sort of epilogue for the trilogy while opening the doors for the future for other games to explore.
3rd once again changes little mechanically from the first two games, same battle system with the same orbment system for magic, etc. New turn bonuses such as Vanish (makes a character disappear when hit) and Death (one hit KO) have been added and these are great to encourage you to pay more attention to how you manipulate the turn order (you haven't felt true pain until you see an enemy hit all 4 of your party members with a Vanish bonus only to see your party disappear and Game Over pop up on your screen)
Other than those tweaks it's pretty much a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" which is fine by me when I enjoy the battle system so much in these games and messing with my orbments to see what spells I get.
What has been changed this time round is the core structure of the game and our protagonist. Following on 6 months after the events of Trails in the Sky SC, this game follows everyone's favourite priest from SC, Father Kevin Graham as he's called to investigate a mysterious relic that he may need to claim for the church with newcomer Sister Ries Argent accompanying him as his new squire. Shenanigans happen with a mysterious cube object pulling Kevin and Ries, as well as many other familiar faces into the mysterious world of Phantasma, a world full of creatures that look like they're straight from Gehanna (hell) and seemingly under the control of a masked new villain who goes by the name Lord of Phantasma along with their masked underling who looks suspiciously familiar. This story setup leads to the biggest structural change to the series so far, making it more of a dungeon crawler.
The world of Phantasma exists on numerous planes that alternate between brand new unique dungeon like areas and returning areas from the previous games that have become more dungeon like in structure. For example, Grancel, a major city in the previous games, has many areas locked off, no NPCs and enemies roaming the streets with chests to loot, turning a once bustling city into a dungeon-like area. This change in structure does mean you lose a lot of the charm I loved about the first two games, exploring the world and falling in love with its NPCs, which is a shame. It's also somewhat understandable as exploring the same world for the third game in a row would've been a bit tiresome so changing things up is welcome despite the drawbacks it brings. The goal of these dungeon areas is to explore and make your way through to the end where you end up fighting a boss and ultimately gaining a Sealing Stone which can be brought back to the hub area where the seal can be undone and a new character will join your party, with up to 16 playable characters being available to choose from.
The change in structure also means sidequests undergo a revamp. No longer are you travelling Liberl and helping out with Guild quests, side quests are now handled by three different kinds of doors you can find during exploration of a dungeon. Moon doors that contain lengthy side stories, Star doors that contain shorter side stories, and Sun doors that are more minigame based. These doors have certain requirements to unlock them (usually having the right combination of characters in your party) and they end up holding some important backstories to characters as well very interesting developments towards potential future plotlines. Moon doors like giving you a deep dive into characters' pasts and will have playable sections in them to help break up what are usually around an hour long story experience. I did find them a bit too long at times, disrupting the quick paced story of the main game a little too much for me, but I did also love seeing the past of characters like Kloe, Estelle and Joshua. What was even more surprising was seeing a new character from Kloe's backstory show up in Olivier's side story in a much more wtf role showing just how much thought has gone into these stories and the interconnectivity of them all.
Star doors are more to the pace that fit this game for me, usually between 15-30 mins and are purely dialogue focused. These tend to offer a view on some events with characters that happened within the 6 months this game skipped over and are pretty fun stories that give closure to some characters' arcs. Some of the later star doors however offer very important insight to events that happened off screen during the games that set up plot threads for future games to tackle. Like one goes through a report the Empire wrote up when their Guilds were being attacked by Jaeger's and Cassius had to step in and help out and seeing how some people high up in the Empire viewed Cassius was a very eye opening moment.
Finally we have the Sun doors which hold little minigames that are nice breathers to the main dungeon crawling gameplay. These are mostly silly fun little stories like Estelle getting caught up in a fishing challenge. The first one in particular offers a really cool minigame that I will leave as a surprise but it caught me off guard.
So aside from some minor pacing issues I had from the Moon doors, these doors offered a lot of compelling narrative elements and character moments that I really appreciated and that were difficult to find somewhere to put them in the main story.
Moving onto the change in protagonist, as someone who became very attached to Estelle from the first two games, I knew leaving her behind for someone else was always going to be difficult for me to adjust to. At the same time I can appreciate that the core element of Estelle's story was wrapped up in SC so moving her to the background a bit and letting someone new take the protagonist role was a very wise decision. Kevin was an interesting choice as he had shown some particularly interesting elements to his character that needed exploring in the end of SC. Three games in and I think I can say now that Trails is an expert in the slow burn when it comes to their characters and story. Things take their time to unravel again and you get little bits of Kevin's backstory with Rufina and Ries at the start of every chapter and little by little you grow attached to Kevin the more you learn. Having Ries with him throughout the story is very helpful as she knows him well enough that she can see through his facade and call him out on his bs as he struggles to be open with the people helping here. It's really compelling stuff and it all culminates in some really hard hitting revelations surrounding why Kevin is the way he is and what exactly happened to Rufina and my gosh it shook me to my core. Kevin and Ries had a hard time matching up to the heights Estelle and Joshua had for me but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I cared about them by the end. There was a lot of moments in the last few chapters that got me to tear up and I think it shows just how well they do the slow burn in these games.
As I mentioned earlier, the game features a playable cast of 16 characters which is quite a lot for an RPG and yet somehow they still manage to find a way to get you to use every single one of them. Even outside of doors requiring specific characters to unlock, throughout the story you'll have one or two characters you are forced to use that changes up every so often and as you find more characters you'll find yourself swapping one or two in or out. Particularly the order you find them in is very clever, with some of the less available party members in previous games being early ones here allowing you to spend more time with characters you otherwise wouldn't have. The finale also finds a way to get you to use every single character which is incredible for a cast this size.
One other thing to point out is the continuation of character strength through level in this trilogy. By the end of Sky FC my party was around level 30 so I wasn't too surprised to see my party start off at level 30 in SC. By the end of SC however, my party was above level 90 so I was genuinely surprised to see Kevin start this game at level 90, particularly when I'm used to games capping my characters at level 99 or 100. What was even more surprising was seeing characters go past level 100 and still level up! By the end of the game my party was over level 130 which outside of the missingno glitch in Pokémon Red/Blue, I had never seen in a game before. That coupled with some returning enemies the characters had struggled to beat in earlier games now being much easier to take down really sells just how much these characters have grown throughout the three games. It really was a pleasant surprise not seeing my characters reset (outside of orbments) having seen the likes of Metroid come up with so many excuses to reset Samus' skillset. It's just really cool seeing that level of care being put into something so small for a lot of people.
Aside from my minor issues with the game being more dungeon focused and some small pacing issues I had, Sky the 3rd is another excellent entry in the series and does a fantastic job at offering its own compelling narrative as well as wrapping up character arcs and moving the pieces in place for future story arcs. The fact it manages to juggle all of these story elements with little issue is a huge testament to what they've been cooking in this series and it has me excited to see how they continue this overarching narrative. I've thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the Sky trilogy as a whole and have loved getting into the Trails series. It will be tough to say goodbye to Liberl and its incredible cast of characters but 3rd certainly did enough teasing for Crossbell to have me very excited and curious to see where these story threads go.

despite me having replayed this game countless times i could not for the life of me tell you what the story actually is about because I feel like i was/am just fixated on the vibe and all the really great characters.
I'll keep my comparisons of the persona franchise short because I don't necessarily think it's helpful to talk about any of the persona games by comparing them. But I will definitely say it was incredibly refreshing to play it the first time just because the cast is actually treated with humility with realistic character arcs as teenagers (which cannot really be said for any future persona games). Also just incredible humour just random weird shit scattered everywhere that kinda breaks you away from the heavy themes floating in the game.
I've always been fascinated on how much this game keeps up the theme of fate, magic, and mythology. Every little thing in this game always comes back to reference some kind of myth from zodiacs to demonology, which is really fun to pick apart. Also LOVEEE the music so many great tracks in the 3 part soundtrack.
Something that this game always reminds me when i replay it is that the mystery and obscurity of themes in the persona games genuinely vanish in favour of marketable dating sim aspects for the future persona series, and it's beyond depressing to see it continue to devolve. One of the main things I point out is that I could never understand why they dropped the mystery of the velvet room and inexplicably stop any characters outside the protagonist from entering.

Playing this right after Zelda 1 made me realize that videogames didn't truly begin until the 16-bit era. Absolute ageless game.

To say that I am actually insane about this franchise is an understatement. When I heard about this game being added to NSO I actually finished the whole thing in 3 days after it dropped because I was having so much fun. At the time of this review I still haven't started Hector mode, only finished Eliwood mode.
I do have to admit my opinion on this game has gone down quite a bit since my original playthrough, but there's still a lot I have to like about it. The characters are still great, (most of) the maps are fun, and it's as speedy to play as ever. The game also just looks fantastic on a switch screen, especially with the "classic" filter you can toggle. The pure fun of replay value from a Fire Emblem game was showcased for me here, as this time I decided to train Rebecca, a low tier unit, into one of my strongest characters who was capable of killing MULTIPLE endgame bosses, it was actually so fun. She literally even outpaced Louise, it was SO hilarious.
FE7 is still a fun time, even if weaker than many of the other games in the series I've played. If you have NSO I find really no reason to not at least try this. Even if you DON'T have NSO, GBA emulation is so accessible on so many devices that it's really no problem in getting to try it yourself. It's beginner friendly, its fun, and it's a bit overhated these days despite of what it does so great.

I think this game really demonstrates that for some people a good twist is all that matters, and that other aspects of a narrative can be neglected or underdeveloped so long as they are on the road to that payoff.

Play with friends? Fun, maybe you end up hating them.
Playing alone? You may end up hating yourself.
However the universe, art, and characters that are being created for this game are amazing and some of the best in the industry. And Arcane, the League of legends Netflix series, is an exemple of that.

The Classic. The Grandfather of all of your favorite JRPGs. Worth 2 playthroughs - one out of respect, and one to try all the other classes you missed out on the first time

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