Toki To Towa!
14801 cr points
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23 / M / New Jersey
Posted 10/11/12 , edited 10/11/12
The whole game will look exactly like an anime.

It is coming to the west!
It's already been announced.
Story: From what I've seen. It looks like the story will be about the main character trying to avenge her husband/fiance and going back in time?
Not sure. :/
37129 cr points
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Posted 10/13/12 , edited 10/14/12
Playing it right now (Play-Asia delivered on Friday, woo!).

So far I'm still early in the game (Toki/Towa are only level 10) but the following are my impression and thoughts so far.

1. Anime Style Hand-drawn Cells

First off, the major "selling point" for this game is the hand-drawn anime cells used through out the game. I remember a lot of negative responses from people when the first trailers came out showing what appeared to be some small frame count animations. Unfortunately, a lot of what I'm seeing so far fits into that category. In cases where the animation doesn't seem to be stuttering, instead it is on a very short fast loop such as during talk scenes.

This comes down to feeling very disjointed and out of place most of the time outside of battle. Over-world walking becomes acceptable after a little (and I'll admit that the turning to the side frames are kind of cute) but conversation scenes are generally appalling. I do like the bit where Drake keeps biting Bicoudo on the head though.

During battle the animation actually feels good and matches pretty well. I don't know why it is such a let down everywhere else, but the battle scenes fit very well and are fun.

2. Battle

The battle system is very cool and different from most RPGs. This is very much an active system using real-time. This is not a classic turn based battle system in the slightest.

As Toki or Towa you are presented with your HP bar and an SP bar, which will fill as you perform (successful) attacks using the O button (at range this is basic rifle shot, up close this is knife attack). You can just spam the O button too. Attack and attack and attack.

The game motivates you to do something besides attacking by forcing you to actively mitigating enemy attacks. You can either Block (L1) or attempt to dodge by pressing left or right on the left analogue stick. Blocking is easier and reduces damage but Dodging is a complete damage avoidance. You also cannot block magic, you have to dodge it.

Enemies will give you varying levels of warning about incoming attacks. In general you can avoid 100% damage in many field battles if you're paying attention.

You can also use the left analogue stick to close (rush and kick) the enemy by pressing up, or do the flip back (also helps dodge melee attacks) to range by pressing down.

While outside of battle you can select up to three special abilities to map to Triangle, X, and Square. Specials will use SP and magic spells will have a 'charge' time in which you are unable to dodge or block and can be interrupted by enemy attacks.

The only downside I see to this system is that due to the action nature, they've limited your enemy engagement to one at a time. There is a counter in the lower right that will show you how many enemies remain in the battle, and as you kill one, you progress to the next.

Overall the battle system is the biggest strong point in this game and is the biggest reason to keep playing because... well...

3. The Story

Maybe I'm getting old or crotchety or .. I don't know, but it's lame. It's so lame. The following is a synopsis of the premise up to where the game becomes playable (No spoilers unless you consider introduction video spoilers):

The hero (主人公) is the blue haired prince, 'destined' to marry Toki. He is lecherous. The game introduces Toki and the main character in Toki's home the day before the wedding. Toki's friends Enda, Wendi (her name is actually like Weedi but I hate it so I call her Wendy), and Regi (just a rich girl) all come by and they have a nice little hang out. The girls think that Drake, Toki's little dragon, is cute and keep talking about wanted to take a bath with him, making the main character jealous.

Toki mentions in passing that six months prior a fortune teller told her that a killer would appear on her wedding day. No one really pays it much attention.

Wedding happens, our blue haired 主人公 gets stabbed and starts bleeding out on the alter steps while Toki changes into the blonde bombshell of kicking ass Towa (he has no idea who she is). Finally while blueguy starts to pass in and out he is hearing a two person conversation about going back in time to stop the attack. When he wakes up Towa is chatting up the fortune telling in the woods about the attack on her wedding six months from now and he has no idea why she isn't responding to him or his questions.

Then he realizes.... HE IS DRAKE.

Cue what has so far been 5 hours of passable voice acting from some girls, the most cliche time travelling detective story possible, and extremely annoying internal dialogue on the part of Drake/主人公 wanting so very much to get some cloths off time with Toki, Towa, and/or any of her friends.

Seriously, I'm all for moe, I've been known to put up with some harem action in my animes, and if you want to talk fanservice let me just say that I LOVED Highschool of the Dead. LOVED. But wow, I'm already sick of Drake's push for bath time and wardrobe malfunctions. The worst part of it is that you, the player, are supposedly in the position of being Drake. Even though you're actually controlling Toki/Towa and Drake is just an autocombat pet in battle, you name the prince, you as the player are represented in the game as this guy, and .. really, he's an annoying douche.

If this game doesn't get localized it will be entirely because of the "main character". I can't imagine a Western audience having any way to identify with him, even as a caricature.

4. The Worst Part

I'm not a great speaker of Japanese. I could probably pass the JLPT4 test if I did a bit more kanji study. But I'm good enough to hear and look up words, and if I didn't catch it in the spoken part, I'm pretty good at looking up kanji (iPhone4 + imiwa? ftw) but this game's dialogue is primarily auto-progressing. During main quest dialogues with spoken components it proceeds without any input and there is no way to stop it. This means that for an idiot like me, you're going to miss some stuff.

Even if this game was in English, I'd find the auto-progressing dialogue a little annoying. When you add to the fact that I've had 2 boss fights so far where significant plot events were presented as dialogue during battle (see notes about how battle is very active and engaging and lacks significant 'let me stop and listen closely for comprehension time), I wouldn't be surprised to find out that I've missed large plot content.

But then thinking back on what plot I have read and comprehended, I can't imagine it being anything too important.

Overall, I'd say this game is a fairly middling JRPG with an innovative take on the battle system that tries to increase its relevance by using hand-drawn anime cell sprites. The animation is not entirely effective though and I'd rate this as not having been worth the effort to import. The only reason I can come up with for playing this game right now is because Bravely Default is a 3DS game and I don't have a 3DS.

68866 cr points
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30 / M / San Antonio
Posted 10/16/12 , edited 10/16/12

So the visuals in the cut scenes are like an eroge or visual novel?

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