Sunday, December 11, 2016

Elminage Gothic: 3D Remix - Review

This was originally a $50 game, but at one point, it seems Starfish sold the selling rights? to Mebius. The DL version ($50) was taken down for a different version that includes Mebius in the opening credits, selling at $25.
I think this is correct.

Then, there was a Sale a few weeks back, which sold this game (DL version) at an incredible $15. That's right. I bought a $50 game for only $15. Talk about a deal.
Currently on the final post-game dungeon.

It seems there is an English version of the game out on the PC, but this version is based off the... not-so-well-received original PSP version. That means aging every time you die and revive, time passes just by entering a dungeon, and a lot of copies of the same enemy on the same row in battles. So you might have a different experience than me if you try that out.

Oh, and there are spoilers, though the story is probably the last thing you'll care about in the game. And most of the spoilers are at the bottom, after a notice.

To put it simply, it's a Wizardry-type (Wiz-like) game. I guess you can imagine Etrian Odyssey and you got the basic image.
That said, there are way more status and whatevers to worry about. This isn't a post that goes over every little thing in the game, so I won't go into details, but some stuff you'll have to think about are...
  • You have two hands, which can each hold weapons or shields in each one or one weapon that requires both hands to use. You can equip armor for Head, Torso, Hand, Leg as well as two Accessory slots.
  • There is resistance to every status ailment as well as the five elements, as well as resistance to the three types of spells
  • You can age
  • Your max status is your original status + 10. However, leveling up increases your HP and damage output (most classes, anyways). You increase your defense by LOWERING your Armor Class (AC), which actually is your evasion. If an enemy would normally attack you, his attack can hit, for example, 10 times. The lower your AC is, the less time the attack hits and thus you receive less damage. It is a miss if every hit misses. This is why this is your "defense" even though AC only affects your evasion
  • You have plenty of races and classes to choose from, as well as gender (Male, Female, Unknown) and alignment. Good and Evil party members can not be placed in the same team. Certain equipment only work for certain genders or alignments
So anyways, it is a lot to take in at first, but it actually isn't that bad

The story is nothing... at all, really. There is a story, but it is very limited. That said, it is generally despair all around. There are very few sub-stories and plot lines that end up well. Hey, you found the missing person? Expect them either dead or possessed by demons and you gotta kill them.
Also, the text is kinda strange... It's just weird and hard to figure out at times, and same for the monster explanations and item explanations.

The system, however, is surprisingly fun. At first, it looks kinda unfair, with stuff like how little items you can carry (each character holds their own items and holds their own money) and the appearance of ninja-type enemies in the game that hide themselves (you can't target them) and attack you with a chance of decapitation (instead death) pretty early on. But the balance is quite fun and once you learn more magic, especially resurrection-type magic and teleportation (you can teleport anywhere in the dungeon except for certain areas and the final end-game dungeon), you have quite a lot of freedom too. It's a good challenge, but Fire Emblem had to make a "Phoenix" mode because apparently some people need it. Those people would give up on this game so quickly, let's say.
Here are some notable "nasty" parts of the game:
  • Reviving costs a lot (at least until you learn reviving magic)
  • Poison does damage each step you take and does not heal naturally (which makes it extremely nasty early on and laughable once you get teleportation)
  • Ninja-type enemies (Hiding, Instant Death)
  • Drain (this ailment makes your EXP into current level - 1. What makes this nasty is that you level up by using the Inn, but if you stockpiled your EXP instead of leveling up to the max when possible, Drain will actually make you lose more than one Level. For instance, if you are level 50 and have enough EXP to level up 20 times to 70 and you get hit by Drain, you drop to Level 49 and all stockpiled EXP is gone, meaning you really lost 21 levels. In other words, Drain's true effect is to restart your game)
  • Petrify and Paralysis completely prevents a character from doing anything... And it doesn't naturally heal either.
  • Various enemies (Scylla can move 5 times a turn, each normal attack hits twice and can break your equipment and cause sleep, and can set up a spell-reflecting barrier; Skillwing will just kill whatever he attacks; Nue's normal attack will probably cause a status ailment that incapacitates the character in some way)
  • If you teleport/get teleported in battle, you are teleported somewhere on the map. If you get teleported into a wall, you lose every character in your party... FOREVER PERMANENTLY.
But it is addicting in that manner. You can also save while inside the dungeons, so you always have ways of lowering the difficulty.

The best part of this game is you really feel yourself getting stronger as you crawl through the dungeon. Because every time you defeat a Room Guarder (you are forced into a fight at certain spots on a map), you get a Treasure Chest. It will usually have a trap on it, which you are forced to either get hit by or unlock with a class that has Thief-abilities. Once you get past the trap, you get equipment. The Shop NEVER stocks new equipment outside of the default, meaning you have to crawl through the dungeon, fight enemies, and open treasure chests to get new equipment. Once you sell the equipment to the Shop, you can buy that equipment. So the Shop is like a costly storage box. Fight enemies, collect equipment, get stronger. The basics of RPGs and so fun.
And Room Guarders respawn every time you re-enter the area or even just restart the game, so you'll never have a lack of treasure chests. That said, if you do not have someone with Thief-abilities, you'll have a hard time with treasure chests because of the traps. I originally just took the traps to the face in the beginning of the game, but once the traps started getting stronger with worse effects, I had to switch out for a Hunter, who has Thief-abilities.

Also, there are other little stuff you can do with certain classes.
For instance, you might think the Thief is useless if other classes have Thief-abilities too, but that only affects treasure chests. The thief can un-equip the enemy's equipment and then steal them. Yeah, you can strip the last boss of all of his equipment, making him only able to attack with his bare hands, and then steal them. And even use them. Fun.
You can also Contract monsters with the Summoner and then summon them in battle in all their glory (Scylla will attack 5 times, yes). You can even turn them into real characters and use them, where they retain some of their original characteristics.

So I hope I was able to communicate how fun the gameplay is.

There is no 2nd playthrough, but there are dungeons unlocked after beating the main story, with the final one being very hard. And defeating that dungeon unlocks the final hidden boss(es), which requires a lot of preparation.
Thankfully, there is an item duplication glitch in the game, which really helps in saving time from grinding. Especially for the Alchemist class. You see, the forging in this game is done with the Alchemist class. You use material to add characteristics to armor and weapons. However, the Alchemist learns a passive skill that treats material at higher than their original value. For instance, if you have a material of 50 value. When this passive skill is maxed out, the 50 value is treated as over 150! The only problem is that this skill maxes out at.... Level OVER 10000.
Of course, the only skill that requires this much leveling is the Alchemist's and it is real real end-game stuff.

The overall atmosphere is dark and serious, with matching BGM to fight it. I've never been the type to care too much about graphics or BGM, so I have a hard time talking about that.

So all in all, make characters, make parties, explore dungeons, get new equipment, power up, continue. Definitely enjoyed the game.

Oh, I almost forgot an awesome part of the game. You can take images with your 3DS and use them as your character portraits. For instance...


And like with all RPGs(?), you have your female monsters for eyecandy. If you really like one, you can contract and summon it in battle or turn it into a real party member too. There is a post-game item that will allow you to use monster portraits for your characters too.
BTW, my favorite is Shooting Moon

And some other pictures just because pure text can get dull...
Spoilers from here

Story's last boss... I had to use the ultimate weapon spell to beat him. It lowers the user's level (same effect as Drain) in exchange for a powerful effect. I chose the option to immensely decrease my AC (greatly increase evasion).
If I didn't, I'd lose at least one character each turn...
I needed at least 20+ more levels in order to beat him "fairly"

The party members that defeated the Story boss gets a E near their name, BTW.
Yuzuki - Samurai
Ril - Valkyrie
Dona - Warrior
Risette - Lord (from Priest, as Lord has a powerful passive skill that increases resistance to ailments but can learn the Priest spells naturally. Priests' have a stronger passive boost for Priest spells, but there are just more benefits being a Lord)
Hilda - Magician
Guzuko - Hunter (from Alchemist, so she can use Alchemy spells. Normally, class changing keeps the spells you learned, but if the class you change to normally cannot learn the spell type, the MP of the spells are 1/3 of the max, but Alchemist -> Hunter allows you to use Alchemy spells at its original MP)

One post-game dungeon is made of wireframes
Aside from Dhampir (incredible HP, can use Spell Barrier, survives fatal blow once, Drain), the enemies are a lot kinder than the previous post-game dungeon

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