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Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007





Among the nations on the Zemurian continent, the mighty Erebonian Empire has been quick to outwardly stake its claim militarily; yet politically, ugly bouts of internal conflict between the upper class and commoners attempting to rise to power have been steadily intensifying day by day. The Noble and Reformist Factions have been none too kind to one another over the years, and tensions between the two only stand to worsen if compromises aren’t made in the very near future.

Rean Schwarzer, like any other citizen of the Imperial Nation, is no stranger to these rising conflicts: the class system has been deeply embedded into the hearts of every Erebonian since the days of old. As a seventeen-year-old student preparing for his new life at Thors Military Academy, however, he notices that his crimson uniform differs from the standard ones issued to his peers—typically green for commoners, and white for nobles.

Enter, Class VII of Thors Military Academy. For the first time in the prestigious academy’s history, rank means nothing and skill means everything. With nine hand-picked students of various backgrounds and abilities, Rean included, Class VII readies itself to dive deep into the political quagmire that threatens not only them, but the Empire as a whole.





The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (Sen no Kiseki in Japan) is the first game of the latest quadrilogy of The Legend of Heroes, a long-running JRPG behemoth by Nihon Falcom, which is itself a spinoff of the even longer-running Dragon Slayer series. TLoH finally struck gold with 2004's excellent Trails in the Sky and has been steadily gathering momentum in the west over the last few years with a number of excellent PC releases, with the Cold Steel ports headed by Peter Thoman (well-known PC modder Durante) and his development company PH3.

The Trails games to date consist of three separate but interconnected storylines, each primarily taking place in a different country located on the same continent:
  • Liberl Arc: Trails in the Sky (FC, SC, The 3rd, all published by XSEED)
  • Crossbell Arc: Zero no Kiseki/Trails from Zero, Ao no Kiseki/Trails to Azure (no official English release yet, high-effort Zero fan-patch available, Geofront still working on Ao)
  • Erebonian Arc: Trails of Cold Steel I-IV (CS I & II published by XSEED, CS III & IV published by NIS America)
Each arc stands alone fairly well, but as it is an ongoing story, a number of major events from Sky and Crossbell are referenced in Cold Steel, so if you're especially wary of spoilers it may be best to check those out first. If you'd prefer reading RPGs to playing them, you can find complete screenshot LPs of the Sky trilogy (FC, SC, 3rd) on the LP Archive. There's also an ongoing exploration of Zero here.

The main draw of the series, especially the Trails incarnations, is a strong attention to detail in worldbuilding and narrative development that most RPGs don't even try to match. Most NPCs are named and have their own small stories and interactions with one another, constantly offering new dialogue as the game progresses (which has the knock-on effect of making localization extremely long and arduous). The larger beats of grand conspiracies and nations clashing with one another are still there, but presented in an unhurried manner that allows tensions to build over time without also feeling like you're just spinning in place the whole time. Throw in a charming cast of characters and occasional weird anime shenanigans and you have something pretty drat compelling.

For the LP, I'll be playing the PC version blind with a co-commentator, Fletcher (END ME SCOOB). He hasn't played any of these games, and I'm still chipping my way through I played and finished the Sky trilogy through the early parts of this LP, so the experience is still pretty fresh for both of us. Videos started around 40-60 minutes each and have slowly drifted longer as the game goes on. It's a very long game, so please lean back and relax as we take you through this anime school year.




Full Playlist


01. Extracurricular Activity
02. The Rise and Fall of Class VII
03. Arts & Crafts 101
04. Combat Links Are a Boy's Best Friends


05. This Ain't Persona T for Teen
06. Welcome to Sidequest Club
07. I Don't Understand How Pockets Work
08. Links, Awakening
- F1. Ch.1 Bonding Event Wrap-Up
09. Summer Reading List
10. The Get Along Gang
11. Milling Around Celdic
12. Not Actually Very Scary Dinosaur
13. Blade Lock
14. Turnabout Grand Market
15. Mushroom Kingdom
16. Ape Escape


17. Feels Like Just Yesterday
18. Brain Sage
19. Booked Solid
20. Prank'd
- F2. Ch.2 Bonding Event Wrap-Up
21. Immovable, Pissy Objects
22. Ignobility
23. Beauty Test
24. A Link Between Churls
25. Tanks for Visiting
26. Begrudging De-grudging
27. Farewell, My Youth
28. Ladder Safety
29. Big Trrrouble


30. Cram Session
31. Maid of Cold Steel
32. Exactly Like Riding a Horse
33. Wind Beneath My Wind
34. Sticker Star
- F3. Ch.3 Bonding Event Wrap-Up
35. Dignity & Refinement
36. The Departing Storm
37. Everybody Loves Gaius
38. Horseland
39. Herd Impunity
40. Wake Up Sheeple
41. But It Can't Be...
42. Soldiers' Life of Despair
43. She's On the Border Now
44. Spy 'Children'


45. Legally Mandated Swimsuit Episode
46. The Boys of Summer
47. The Manway Methods
48. Speed Limit
- F4. Ch.4 Bonding Event Wrap-Up
49. Revelry in the Dark
50. Hibelle's Probably Not Dead
51. Five District Fiesta
52. A Link Between Girls
53. The Jaeger Princess
54. The Unfathomable Mr. Tiddles
55. Reminiscence and Chips
56. Our Dinner with Alfin
57. Another Brief Case
58. A Barebones Kidnapping


59. Sleeper & Agent
60. Ferris Florald's Face Off
61. Scary Stories to Tell After Class
62. Cold Front
63. The Mist in Trista
64. Whatever.
- F5. Ch.5 Bonding Event Wrap-Up
65. Laura's Happy Adventures
66. There Are Fourteen Lights
67. Extravagantly-Dressed Mystery
68. Emma Millstein's Mystery Magical Tour
69. Wrath of the an Immortal King
70. Seeing Red
71. Embodiment of Scarlet Devil


72. Laaaaaame.
73. The Ghost Next to Me
74. Nothing Happened Today
75. Butlerly Love
- F6. Ch. 6 Bonding Event Wrap-Up
76. Check Out My Cool Airship
77. Signal Decay
78. Talk to the Hand
79. Rendezveldt
80. Fowl Deeds
81. This Is Awful!
82. Sweet Dreams, Pussycats


83. The Beast Within
84. Thors Never Changes
85. Panic! at the Gymnasium
- F7-1. Ch.7 Errand Wrap-Up
86. Balloon Plight
87. I'm using a Bolt.
- F7-2. Ch.7 Minigame Wrap-Up
88. The Time Has Come
89. A Clockwork Orbal
- F7-3. Ch.7 Garten Wrap-Up
90. Dragon Slayers
- F7-4. Ch.7 Teahouse Wrap-Up
91. The Final Trial
92. The Show Must Go On
93. As the Crow Flies (CS1 End)
- T7. Ch.7 NPC Dialogue Wrap-Up
- F7-5. Ch.7 Bonfire Wrap-Up (LP End)

Level 1 Thief fucked around with this message at 00:48 on Dec 22, 2020

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Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007




(post reserved)

Level 1 Thief fucked around with this message at 11:23 on Feb 8, 2019

Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007




(post reserved)

Level 1 Thief fucked around with this message at 11:24 on Feb 8, 2019

Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007




01. Extracurricular Activity

The game begins with a quick flash-forward as a promise that yes, this is really going to be about more than teenagers hitting monsters with swords and staves. Then we're off to school to do exactly that!

Level 1 Thief fucked around with this message at 05:44 on May 8, 2019

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








After the previous LP died I'd been thirsty to see this again. I assume they'd gotten about halfway through Cold Steel 1, though it still took them 80+ videos to get there because these games are just stuffed with content. (And for similar reasons it's tricky for me to find enough time to get through one of these games rather than just vicariously experiencing it through LP.)

Some Numbers
Sep 28, 2006

"LET'S GET DOWN TO WORK!!"

As the pilot of the previous Cold Steel LP, I'm interested to see your take on this, especially since you're playing blind. I'll make sure to keep my mouth shut and avoid spoiling anything.

NGDBSS posted:

After the previous LP died I'd been thirsty to see this again. I assume they'd gotten about halfway through Cold Steel 1, though it still took them 80+ videos to get there because these games are just stuffed with content. (And for similar reasons it's tricky for me to find enough time to get through one of these games rather than just vicariously experiencing it through LP.)

Yeah, I'm sorry about that. It was my first LP and I just got burnt out on production.

We actually got most of the way through the game.

Erpy
Jan 30, 2015
(insert title here)

So you're playing this blind while at the same time playing Trails in the Sky FC blind off-screen? Thaaaat's a creative order of playing them in. Most folks stick to one arc at a time. And while the first two Cold Steel games try not to give away too much regarding what happened in previous arcs, they don't hold back on what the deal with the "bisexual wandering musician" is, as you noticed in the intro.

- A year in this world is the same as a year in our world. After all, they use the same months as we do.

- It's not 8 waves, but 8 leaves and yes, both the Sky games and Cold Steel games tell you what it is.

- The battle system in Cold Steel IS pretty similar to the Sky arc, but there's still some subtle differences, including in what works and doesn't work. In the Sky games, orbal arts are central to your playing style and battles play out in typical back and forth slugfests between you and the enemy. In the Cold Steel games, the number of arts you get is a lot more limited, arts are underpowered if the character using them isn't a solid caster and crafts are central to your battle strategy, as are blitz tactics. You generally don't wanna play Cold Steel like a Sky game or a Sky game like a Cold Steel game.

- Little tip that might also be appropriate for the Sky games: if your character's turn is up and you intend to use their S-craft, select it from their crafts menu instead of using the S-break key to jump in. S-crafts have a generally long cooldown and S-crafts used as S-breaks even more so, so if you S-break to jump the queue while you're actually first in line already, you just end up attaching a longer delay to your character's next turn for no benefit at all.

Some Numbers posted:

As the pilot of the previous Cold Steel LP, I'm interested to see your take on this, especially since you're playing blind. I'll make sure to keep my mouth shut and avoid spoiling anything.

Yeah, I'm sorry about that. It was my first LP and I just got burnt out on production.

We actually got most of the way through the game.

Ah, right. You spoiled us on the fact that you guys made it to the end and then your co-commentators shouted bullshit, got up and left the theatre.

Erpy fucked around with this message at 19:21 on Nov 14, 2018

Some Numbers
Sep 28, 2006

"LET'S GET DOWN TO WORK!!"

Erpy posted:

Ah, right. You spoiled us on the fact that you guys made it to the end and then your co-commentators shouted bullshit, got up and left the theatre.

That's...a pretty accurate summation of what happened actually!

Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007



Erpy posted:

So you're playing this blind while at the same time playing Trails in the Sky FC blind off-screen? Thaaaat's a creative order of playing them in. Most folks stick to one arc at a time.

I've been looking for something good for LP, I've been having a great time playing FC, and it seemed borderline criminal to just start a VLP of SC by itself. CS1 suddenly came on sale while I was mulling that over, and voila.

I'll keep those tips in mind, thank you!

Some Numbers posted:

Yeah, I'm sorry about that. It was my first LP and I just got burnt out on production.

I've certainly been there, try not to beat yourself up too bad over it. Sometimes you just need to take care of yourself above anything else.

Rabbi Raccoon
Mar 31, 2009

I stabbed you dude!

The teacher is on my Dream Team of Awesome Characters from Zemuria.

Hwurmp
May 20, 2005

I LIKE TO MAKE VAGUE THREATS TO PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE I AM TOUGH GUY. P.S. ASK ME ABOUT THE TIME A GIRL BEAT ME UP IN GRADE SCHOOL. HER NAME WAS SUZIE SHE DREW A BIG WEINER ON MY FOREHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pssh this isn't anime

https://twitter.com/XSEEDGames/status/933472008389533696

Hwurmp fucked around with this message at 11:32 on Nov 15, 2018

Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007



Really Pants posted:

pssh this isn't anime


02. The Rise and Fall of Class VII

I spend a decent chunk of time near the end of the video trying to explain orbments, and I want everyone to rest assured that just about everything I said is wrong because they changed it in CS to something vaguely reasonable.

AFancyQuestionMark
Feb 19, 2017


I prefer the orbment system in Sky, tbh. Much more customizable and interesting than quartz with set arts and effects.

AweStriker
Oct 6, 2014



Sky's quartz system is complex but somewhat similar to my understanding of FF7's Material system in reverse - while in FF7 you mostly equip materia for their abilities and just accept the stat changes, in Sky the quartz's stat changes are front and center and the arts you get arise from those.

It's technical in a way I'm fond of, but that not everyone is.

Erpy
Jan 30, 2015
(insert title here)

AweStriker posted:

Sky's quartz system is complex but somewhat similar to my understanding of FF7's Material system in reverse - while in FF7 you mostly equip materia for their abilities and just accept the stat changes, in Sky the quartz's stat changes are front and center and the arts you get arise from those.

Not necessarily for everyone. Especially when setting up characters with longer lines it's not uncommon for players to aim for a specific combination of elemental points in order to get a specific art and whatever stat modifications the required quartz gives are secondary to that.

AweStriker
Oct 6, 2014



Erpy posted:

Not necessarily for everyone. Especially when setting up characters with longer lines it's not uncommon for players to aim for a specific combination of elemental points in order to get a specific art and whatever stat modifications the required quartz gives are secondary to that.

True, and even truer for Olivier since I think he has less restricted slots than Kloe does.

Rabbi Raccoon
Mar 31, 2009

I stabbed you dude!

I think both systems have their merits. Sky ends up giving you a wider variety of Arts so casters can still contribute in randoms, but Steel gives you Orbal Staffs and all around more useful Crafts (Resounding Beat is an awesome buff and you have it from the beginning) with Arts being much more powerful so you can bring them out to nuke bosses

Lynkericious
Nov 7, 2012

Super High-School Level Eating Machine

Rabbi Raccoon posted:

I think both systems have their merits. Sky ends up giving you a wider variety of Arts so casters can still contribute in randoms, but Steel gives you Orbal Staffs and all around more useful Crafts (Resounding Beat is an awesome buff and you have it from the beginning) with Arts being much more powerful so you can bring them out to nuke bosses

I'd agree with the Arts thing for CS2, but CS1 has them being so expensive that it's just incredibly impractical for almost everyone not named Emma to bring them out. That said, Fie's fast enough that she can do a good job running support Arts for the team.

Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007



I just think the system in Sky is way too complicated for what you get out of it. (Holding judgement on CS until we play more of it.) Most of the stat bonuses are nice to have, but with a couple exceptions they're not good enough to base your build around. Every element has different combinations for the spells you get and I have to constantly check what does what every time I want to respec.

The different orb layouts and restrictions feel totally arbitrary, too. Take Zin. He has two earth-only slots, which would make you think that's his specialty, but the way it's laid out makes it completely impossible for him to get the highest level earth spell without leaving one of those slots empty. Of course his arts stat is garbage so maybe it's a moot point, but it's still annoying.

While I'm complaining about small parts of Sky FC, I got to the final dungeon and WOW, it's AWFUL. The events leading up to it were interesting and exciting, and then they punctuate it with ... an endless, one-note underground maze. It's a total slog in a way the game never was before.

Erpy
Jan 30, 2015
(insert title here)

Level 1 Thief posted:

I just think the system in Sky is way too complicated for what you get out of it. (Holding judgement on CS until we play more of it.) Most of the stat bonuses are nice to have, but with a couple exceptions they're not good enough to base your build around.

I dunno about that. Defense stops making a great deal of difference the farther you get and Agility is never that reliable, but Attack and Mind consistently get you noticable boosts in damage, Action quartz is pretty much a default on any character because it raises the amount of actions you get in combat and cast-quartz is a must on anyone who frequently relies on arts to do anything. Also note that the stats keep rising throughout the three games, so those percentages are gonna make more of a difference as the games go on. The main problem with the percentage-based quartz is that while it's useful to enhance a character's strengths, it's less effective at covering a character's weaknesses, which is something the Cold Steel games do better because they give you flat bonusses. Fie, for example, is very fragile and has low HP, so a HP-quartz that boosted her paltry HP by a certain percentage would still leave her with paltry HP. A flat boost of 1000HP that the HP quartz gives her makes a much bigger difference. The flat bonusses are less effective at enhancing your characters' strengths, but that's why Cold Steel allows you to stack several levels of quartz, which Sky prohibited.

Level 1 Thief posted:

Every element has different combinations for the spells you get and I have to constantly check what does what every time I want to respec

Believe it or not, but there are quite a few basic "rules" governing the spells that make it easier to remember what you need for what throughout the three games. Spells all have a primary element and usually some secondary elements depending on what they do. The trick is to know the nature of the kind of spells you want to have access to.

- Water is the element of life and recovery. The primary element of all healing spells and status recovery spells (either recovery from ailments or recovery from death) is water. Spells in the trilogy that drain HP or EP have it as its secondary element since it still deals with recovery. The defense-boosting Crest spells also have a bit of water as secondary element.

- Earth is the element of stability, durability and support, though it has more a offensive nature than water such as the ability for some of its arts to petrify. Defensive buffs have earth as their primary element, as do the spells that give you damage immunity. Water spells that deal with resurrection have earth as their secondary element. On occasion, earth is a tertiary element to some high level offensive spells, though frankly high-level offensive spells in the Sky games usually aren't worth bothering with.

- Fire is the element of strength, offense and attack. Mostly that involves slinging burning stuff at your enemies, but offensive buffs have fire as their primary element.

- Wind as an element is about movement and range. Spells that increase your movement range have wind as their primary element. The element of wind is the only element that has AOE spells without requiring a secondary element and especially later on, AOE spells almost always have one or two wind points as a tertiary element. Wind lacks the raw offensive power of some other elements though.

- Time is the first of the higher, other-worldly elements. In addition to its obvious nature, its ability to speed people up without requiring secondary elements, time is also the element of darkness and death. (time eventually kills anyone, after all, no matter how strong they are, hence its association with death in the series) This is seen in its ability to also inflict instant death on enemies without secondary elements needed. So its spells, which frequently open gates to unpleasant places, are about inflicting death or faint on your opponents while speeding up your allies. Its otherworldly nature also means no enemy on this plane resists it. (or is weak to it)

- Space is the second of the higher, other-worldly elements and range is the name of its game, full-stop. The element of space changes arts' AOE. Pretty much any art that affects multiple targets that is not pure wind requires space as a secondary element. It affects wind, which also is about AOE, by changing the AOE form from circle to line. In-universe, Space is frequently associated with light and heaven, but it's not the sole opposing element to time.

- Mirage as the third higher, other-worldly element is all about the mind as well as status. Spells that inflict status ailments (such as Chaos Brand, Silver Thorn, Hell Gate and White Gehenna) frequently have some elements of mirage. Likewise, spells removing bad status from your characters such as Curia, La Curia, Thelas or Athelas also have mirage in them. Spells inflicting buffs on your characters such as Forte, Crest and Saint have mirage as element too.

Soooo… need recovery magic? You'll need lots of water points. Need AOE on your offensive or recovery arts? Get space points and maybe some wind. Speed-up or death/faint magic? Time's your man. Defensive stuff? Get earth. Anything with status that's not death usually requires a bit of mirage. (mirage and space have fewer spells of their own, but are secondary/tertiary elements for a lot of other stuff)

Level 1 Thief posted:

The different orb layouts and restrictions feel totally arbitrary, too. Take Zin. He has two earth-only slots, which would make you think that's his specialty, but the way it's laid out makes it completely impossible for him to get the highest level earth spell without leaving one of those slots empty. Of course his arts stat is garbage so maybe it's a moot point, but it's still annoying.

Only if you insist on focussing completely on the element rather than what the elements mean in-universe. Take a couple of characters:

- Zin/Earth: earth is for defense and durability. Zin's nickname is literally The Immovable and his fighting style is all about facetanking and shrugging off ungodly amounts of damage in place of your squishier characters. He also has a laid-back down-to-earth personality. So Earth (which also compells him to have a Defense quartz equipped at all times) fits him well.

- Agate/Fire: fire is for attack and offense. Agate's fighting style is all about hurting stuff and when his CP-pool runs dry he uses his Wild Rage craft to hurt himself and use that CP to continue hurting stuff some more. He also has a fiery and inflammable temper, so Fire (which forces him to have an Attack quartz equipped at all times) fits him too.

- Kloe/Water: water is all for recovery and healing. Kloe's a gentle soul who even has an S-craft that heals instead of hurts, which fits her pacifistic nature. Her restrictive water orbment guarantees she always has oodles of restorative arts, but the fact that Mind quartz in the Sky series is also water means she can hurt stuff badly when she invests her large EP pool into offensive arts too.

- Tita/Space: Tita's your crowd controller whose normal attacks and crafts all affect an area, so space with its AOE-enhancing nature fits her too.

- Joshua/Time: Joshua's a speed demon whose specialty is delaying enemies, so having an element that ups his speed stat is quite fit too, but Time is also the element of darkness and death and his time arts, which release life-stealing blades or the energy from the netherworld onto your enemies, fits in well with the nature of some of his crafts, one of which inflicts instant death on enemies with a slash to the vitals. Whenever a character in the Trails games has an affinity for time, it's pretty much never a coincidence, even if they're friendly and definitely on your side.

So yeah, it's a liiiitle more complicated than "Zin is earth, therefore he should specialize in earth spells". The layout-thing is simple; beatsticks have short lines while mage-types have long ones.

Level 1 Thief posted:

While I'm complaining about small parts of Sky FC, I got to the final dungeon and WOW, it's AWFUL. The events leading up to it were interesting and exciting, and then they punctuate it with ... an endless, one-note underground maze. It's a total slog in a way the game never was before.

It's a general consensus among the Trails fanbase that that place is one of the biggest slogs in the series, except for the music which is awesome and if you knock it your opinions will be considered unsalvagable and lose credibility forever. :P It's one of the biggest slogs in the series and the series never gets QUITE that bad again...though there's an area in SC that's slightly like it but at least has exciting boss fights.

Erpy fucked around with this message at 14:31 on Nov 24, 2018

Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007




03. Arts & Crafts 101

Look, all you have to do is drop a bunch of grumpy teens into a dungeon and have them hit monsters for a while, then they'll come out best friends. It's proven science! Or at least, it will be when they're done here.

Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007




04. Combat Links Are a Boy's Best Friends

Here we go! Mondays are still going to be the official update day, but if I have another one to post without tripping that up, it'll go up Thursdays before I head out to work. Also, as of this video, I believe I've solved all the big lingering tech issues, so this should be roughly how it looks and sounds for the duration of the game.

Anyway, this marks the end of the prologue! Class VII is officially formed, and a mysterious blonde man (who could he possibly be??) gazes on as they begin to learn the literal magic of teamwork.

AweStriker
Oct 6, 2014



I ended up falling asleep in the middle of Episode 3, but catching up now I'd like to say that comparing Fie to Phi is incredibly unfair to both of them.

Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007



I agree it was a too-hasty judgement call but all I really had to go on at that point was hair color, general temperament and tendency to perform sick jumps.

Level 1 Thief fucked around with this message at 23:49 on Nov 29, 2018

Hwurmp
May 20, 2005

I LIKE TO MAKE VAGUE THREATS TO PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE I AM TOUGH GUY. P.S. ASK ME ABOUT THE TIME A GIRL BEAT ME UP IN GRADE SCHOOL. HER NAME WAS SUZIE SHE DREW A BIG WEINER ON MY FOREHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Level 1 Thief posted:

a mysterious blonde man (who could he possibly be??)

He seems sketchy. Better steer clear.

Sindai
Jan 24, 2007
i want to achieve immortality through not dying

I do enjoy how everyone else has giant fancy low tech weapons except the guy with...a shotgun. Just a pump action shotty with a glowy bit to let you know it's magic.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Sindai posted:

I do enjoy how everyone else has giant fancy low tech weapons except the guy with...a shotgun. Just a pump action shotty with a glowy bit to let you know it's magic.

Doesn't Fie have gunblades, sorta?

Erpy
Jan 30, 2015
(insert title here)

- Sara's last name is easy to remember for any Falcom fan who also loves the Ys games, because her last name is also the name of a dungeon that's known for having one of the most wicked background tracks in the franchise.

- No, Trails in the Sky was not initially PSP. It was a PC game that got ported to PSP later before XSeed released the former it in the west and backported the PSP port's features back into it.

Sindai posted:

I do enjoy how everyone else has giant fancy low tech weapons except the guy with...a shotgun. Just a pump action shotty with a glowy bit to let you know it's magic.

Actually, only Jusis, Laura, Gaius and Rean have low tech weaponry and all of them are either nobles or hail from a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. Alisa has a bow with an orbal mechanism built in, Machias has an orbal shotgun, Fie has gunblades, which are as exotic as they come and Emma and Elliott wield orbal staves that are so advanced they're still in beta stage and they're required to write up testing reports to the developer.

Erpy fucked around with this message at 20:15 on Nov 30, 2018

Hwurmp
May 20, 2005

I LIKE TO MAKE VAGUE THREATS TO PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE I AM TOUGH GUY. P.S. ASK ME ABOUT THE TIME A GIRL BEAT ME UP IN GRADE SCHOOL. HER NAME WAS SUZIE SHE DREW A BIG WEINER ON MY FOREHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dawgstar posted:

Doesn't Fie have gunblades, sorta?

gun's

Istvun
Apr 20, 2007


A better world is just $69.69 away.



Soiled Meat

Some Numbers posted:

That's...a pretty accurate summation of what happened actually!

I stand by my decision

Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007



Erpy posted:

- No, Trails in the Sky was not initially PSP. It was a PC game that got ported to PSP later before XSeed released the former it in the west and backported the PSP port's features back into it.

Yeah, that's something I keep having to catch myself on. The OP originally said "2004's Trails in the Sky for PSP" which put things in perspective. Still hard not to think of it as a PSP game since that was pretty much the definitive version up until the Steam release (I know they made a Vita port but I never see anybody talking about it).





------------



05. This Ain't Persona T for Teen

So begins our everyday school life. We attend classes, meet new friends and Patrick, and go check out the clubs on offer.

Level 1 Thief fucked around with this message at 01:34 on Dec 4, 2018

Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007




06. Welcome to Sidequest Club

Rean enters an agreement with the Student Council that I'm sure will be mutually beneficial and we won't be taken advantage of in any way.

END ME SCOOB
Mar 27, 2007

Like, I shoulda known the dog would smell it, man. I was way too high to bury him deep enough! I guess we gotta do this, huh? Alright, Scoob, get ready for my full power! DON'T HOLD BACK, PAL!

ZOINKS!

she's 2000% Misato

Stabbey_the_Clown
Sep 21, 2002

Wanna see a demonstration of my school? It's called "Eight Leaves, One Very Big Stick"!


Taco Defender

I should really read this forum more often. I've been so busy and distracted. I'll try and catch up.

By the way, Level 1 Thief, I noticed you only talk to NPC's once. Sometimes they have additional things to say if you talk to them a second time (although sometimes it's just a summary of their first line).

The biggest downside to the blind playthrough is that you can't see all the bonding events, and you probably don't want to restart with a Max Bonding Points save.

Lynkericious posted:

I'd agree with the Arts thing for CS2, but CS1 has them being so expensive that it's just incredibly impractical for almost everyone not named Emma to bring them out. That said, Fie's fast enough that she can do a good job running support Arts for the team.

Not really. It is true that leveling up no longer refills your EP, but you can get free respawning items on the field which include EP charges (and if they aren't, they can help offset the cost of buying EP Charges), you can craft higher level EP Charges from lower level ones, certain recipes can let you make EP-refilling items, and there are certain quartz which you can get pretty early into the game which automatically regenerate EP by walking around. The biggest drawback to using Arts I've found is that most of the casters are slow to act, so trash enemies are dead by the time the art goes off.


Level 1 Thief posted:

The different orb layouts and restrictions feel totally arbitrary, too. Take Zin. He has two earth-only slots, which would make you think that's his specialty, but the way it's laid out makes it completely impossible for him to get the highest level earth spell without leaving one of those slots empty. Of course his arts stat is garbage so maybe it's a moot point, but it's still annoying.

Zin's layout is a trick to make you think you should put Defense Quartz onto him. Don't. In SC and Third, Defense Quartz reduces his STR. Give him Attack instead and put a different Earth-type quartz for his locked slots. He'll become much more effective while still having high DEF.

Stabbey_the_Clown fucked around with this message at 18:55 on Dec 8, 2018

Erpy
Jan 30, 2015
(insert title here)

Level 1 Thief posted:

Here we go! Mondays are still going to be the official update day, but if I have another one to post without tripping that up, it'll go up Thursdays before I head out to work. Also, as of this video, I believe I've solved all the big lingering tech issues, so this should be roughly how it looks and sounds for the duration of the game.

Anyway, this marks the end of the prologue! Class VII is officially formed, and a mysterious blonde man (who could he possibly be??) gazes on as they begin to learn the literal magic of teamwork.

- Actually, Zero arts bonusses count on both the casting and the execution turn of an orbal art. It's just that the casting turns get more mileage out of them since the bonusses also eliminate charging time, but EP cost is reduced to 0 either way.

- Nope, stat quartz does not become less common in use now that you no longer automatically get arts with them. Because Cold Steel likes to encourage min-maxing, it's common for physical attackers to just have strength or speed quartz of different levels stacked onto them and not have access to any orbal arts at all.

- The game didn't specifically tell you this, but unlike in the Sky games where buffs override each other, buffs stack in Cold Steel. If you cast a +25% defense buff on party members before their existing +25% buff has run out, it not only resets the buff's duration, but it also raises the buff to +50%. (which is the maximum any stat can be buffed) That's also kinda why the boss fight took fairly long. When the boss raised its arts defense and lowered its physical defense, the game was kinda expecting you to use Rean's strength buff craft to raise strength and pound the thing. It goes down a lot faster with your entire party under the influence of 50% strength up. Also, whenever an enemy is charging an art, consider impeding it instead of letting one of your characters eat it. At least half of class VII has impeding crafts and there's always at least one of them in your party.

- I love how Sara's tone is that of a sales pitch that kind of peters out as she realizes nobody's sharing her enthusiasm.

Stabbey_the_Clown posted:

Zin's layout is a trick to make you think you should put Defense Quartz onto him. Don't. In SC and Third, Defense Quartz reduces his STR. Give him Attack instead and put a different Earth-type quartz for his locked slots. He'll become much more effective while still having high DEF.

In practice that simply means leaving one of your earth slots empty for the entirety of the second game and most of the 3rd, since Sky doesn't allow you to stack status ailment quartz and the only earth quartz aside from the defense family that's not an ailment quartz is Septium Vein, whose elemental points are too nice to waste on a sucky caster like Zin.

Erpy fucked around with this message at 20:18 on Dec 8, 2018

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Sara's really cool. It's partially down to her dub actress, Carrie Keranen, for me.

Stabbey_the_Clown
Sep 21, 2002

Wanna see a demonstration of my school? It's called "Eight Leaves, One Very Big Stick"!


Taco Defender

Erpy posted:

In practice that simply means leaving one of your earth slots empty for the entirety of the second game and most of the 3rd, since Sky doesn't allow you to stack status ailment quartz and the only earth quartz aside from the defense family that's not an ailment quartz is Septium Vein, whose elemental points are too nice to waste on a sucky caster like Zin.

Septium Vein is 5 Earth/3 Water. You must mean if you want to specialize your caster in Earth magic. There aren't a great deal of spells which are good for that combo. La Crest, Athelas, Zodiac are the big ones I can see.

But yes, if it comes down to it, leaving Zin's Earth slot empty and giving him Attack will likely help end fights faster than filling his slots with Defense. At least, that was my experience. It'll probably be even more of a difference on higher difficulties where defense will be even less useful for players.

Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007



Stabbey_the_Clown posted:

By the way, Level 1 Thief, I noticed you only talk to NPC's once. Sometimes they have additional things to say if you talk to them a second time (although sometimes it's just a summary of their first line).

I'm still trying to figure out the right balance for that, since I already feel like I"m spending a lot of time on video just doing the NPC rounds (though nobody's complained yet). Will definitely keep that in mind for the future!

Dawgstar posted:

Sara's really cool. It's partially down to her dub actress, Carrie Keranen, for me.

She's also really likable as Mahiru in Danganronpa 2, the closest thing to a normal person on the island.

Erpy posted:

- Actually, Zero arts bonusses count on both the casting and the execution turn of an orbal art. It's just that the casting turns get more mileage out of them since the bonusses also eliminate charging time, but EP cost is reduced to 0 either way.

Huh, I swear I thought I checked that on video and everything, but sure enough. Well, that makes them more useful for sure.

Erpy posted:

In practice that simply means leaving one of your earth slots empty for the entirety of the second game and most of the 3rd, since Sky doesn't allow you to stack status ailment quartz and the only earth quartz aside from the defense family that's not an ailment quartz is Septium Vein, whose elemental points are too nice to waste on a sucky caster like Zin.

Scherazard's got that one on lock until further notice. (that fight normally drops 4 of each)

Level 1 Thief fucked around with this message at 14:57 on Dec 9, 2018

Level 1 Thief
Dec 17, 2007



Not sure if I'm gonna be around in the afternoon, so here's an early one:


07. Sidequest Club: I Don't Understand How Pockets Work

We finally get down to questin' and to makin' friends with both the most and least judgy of our classmates. Who would've guessed that Rean was one of those tea drinkers, ugh.

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Stabbey_the_Clown
Sep 21, 2002

Wanna see a demonstration of my school? It's called "Eight Leaves, One Very Big Stick"!


Taco Defender

I was hoping someone else would reply because I've only been reading this thread for two days and I already feel like I've been posting in it too much. I do like all the interesting speculation that a blind LP produces.

In the prologue dungeon, when you meet up with Jusis again, Machias gets angry and goes for him. Like most people, I sided against Machias for being a jerk. But what happens if you side with Machias? The answer is naturally, alternate dialogue.

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