Monday, July 31, 2017

The Alliance Alive: My Thoughts

As the title says.
I finished the game, so I wanted to put down my thoughts on the game.

Next up is Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology!

I do not believe I really put any important spoilers in the post. At least, nothing that much more than what the official site/Twitter revealed before the game was released.

Oh, and I think I wrote down everything I wanted to say about the game, but there was so much, I may have ran out of energy by the end and left something out.

In summary, it was a really enjoyable RPG. The intention of the creators was to create a good ol' RPG, and I believe they really achieved their goal.
My first playthrough time was 30 hours+.

So first, some parts that I liked about the game.
  • It came with an actual instructions booklet. Not just one piece of paper now-a-days, but an actual booklet. Because the RPGs (and other games) in the good ol' days did so. Oh, but you can buy the DL version of the game too, though it does not come with a booklet. 
  • No voices. It really allows you to insert your imagination into the game. It is hard to come up with the names of the seiyuus out of the top of my head, but the ones did think up are:
    • Ursula - Nonaka Ai
    • Viviana - Satou Satomi
    • Rouges - Ishida Akira 
  • It RPGs! You can ride snow bunnies, fly on a weird propeller pack thing, sail on a ship, fly on a ship, fly on a dragon. Climb towers

         Fight while riding dragons

        You name it! One of the best parts of fantasies, right?

  • The character interactions and the great amount of text branching. For starters, you can choose which character of your party represents you on the map. Each character will have different reactions to any events. There are also characters that will react differently to you depending on your race or gender. What's nice about this is that these types of events really help you understand the character without the need to shove their personality in your face. One of the most prominent examples would be Ignace.
    • Later in the game, you are treated to a very amusing scene. But this actually isn't "that" much of a surprise, because whenever he goes into Ignition Mode (in other words, high tension), he... has some rather... energetic phrases. It is a gap that girls probably find cute. It's still worth a chuckle for guys though.
      • Oh, but no explanation why he has so little Strength and Stamina (stats)
    • In this game, you can recruit NPC into your ship, where you are then allowed to distribute them into five different guilds. There are over 150 characters that can be recruited in total. While this may sound like a choir, it actually isn't thanks to the many variations of the recruitment process. From saving the character in the early parts of the game and just talking to them, you got characters that may ask you the same question over and over again or may require certain levels of character growth (HP?) before they care.
Another part that is really fun about these interactions is that while someone is talking with their speech bubble, other characters could be doing something else that is visible on the scene. For instance, a character starts talking, but another character interrupts. The interrupted character's speech bubble is still there, but the other character's is covering hers.
Or perhaps, while a group is talking, someone else tries to say something (stupid) and is ignored. While one conversation (and speech bubble) is going on, another speech bubble keeps on popping up belonging to the (annoying and) loud, ignored character.
It just helps the scene to be that much more lively.
This actually is surprisingly not done that often, but it is really fun and awesome.
Viviana: Ignace... might be having too much fun?

  •  It doesn't get overly serious. Yeah, the world itself is serious and dark, but the atmosphere never gets too heavy. The characters don't go through an emo period and the party remains pretty bright throughout the game. They still do what they need to do, yes, and they do get sad and happy and whatever. But they don't drag the process for too long. And it helps that the character designs are cute. Those... those eyes! 
  • The way the lines are done... I can't really pinpoint a reason, but the character lines are strangely entertaining. Be it sudden screams to weird, smug ways of telling others to be quiet. Just... interesting...
  • It doesn't flat out tell you everything. There are two types of this in the game, I feel
    • One is the type where the reason to the event is so early in the game, you don't remember. When it does happen, the event doesn't flat out explain itself, but if you remember what was said early in the game, it all makes sense
    • The other is that there is not enough information to be certain about something. There are enough hints for you to hypothesize, but they won't explain it to you.
  • The freedom. 
    • This is most reflected due to the fact almost all playable characters can use any type of weapons. (Only two are specialized to a certain unique category and even then, they can specialize in spells instead). While each character has their unique set of stats and thus are better than others at using certain weapons, the difference is not so different and the difficulty of the game is not so hard that it is not "viable". For instance, my team was:
      • Ursula - Staff (mages = staff?)
      • Rachel - Bow (rogues = bows)
      • Tiggy - Cannon (it's all he can use anyways)
      • Viviana - Axe (cute girls using big weapons)
      • Matilda - Shield (she's not really suited for using shields, but having a shield-user really helps. And I guess knights = shields)
    • You have plenty of events in the game where you have to make a decision. For instance
      • Save this guy and be able to recruit him... or get an item
      • Solve the dungeon puzzle yourself... or pay the guy to solve it for you (this isn't for all dungeons)
      • Sacrifice something to get a key item... or beat up the boss and take it. Or you can sacrifice something to get the item and still kill the boss for the sake of it. 
    • Let's just say you will sometimes really have to live with your decision. Because a lot of these decisions are very permanent. (Duh?) You let him die? He is dead. The most shocking result I encountered was that because I decided to kill this NPC early in the game just to see if I could (and got an item that was still gettable later in the game), an entire area turned into an enemy camp. Like, normally, they would be normal NPC, but since I killed this NPC early in the game, the NPC in the entire area in this later part of the game was out to kill me. Man, I was confused at the point of this entire area when I first got there because it was just a few treasure chests and a bunch of enemies, but then I searched it up on the internet and discovered the shocking truth.

  •  The battle system. 
    • First, there is no level. Characters gain HP and MP at the end of some battles, with a higher chance the stronger the enemies were. You can increase the stats of the characters through items though.
    • Your characters fully heal at the end of a battle, so you don't have to continuously look at your health and heal... But for continuous battles, you cannot heal until all of the battles are done. Everything from one battle (including status changes) continue into the next battle. There is a group of dungeons in the game that will make all separate battles count as chained battles, preventing you from healing naturally while in the dungeon.
      • HOWEVER, when your character's HP goes to 0, they faint. They can STILL be attacked while in this situation, and if they receive damage in this situation, then their max HP receives damage. What happens then is that even after battle (or even within battle), the max HP they can heal to drops. This is cured upon sleeping at an inn.
        • For example, let's say a character has 200 Max HP.
        • He faints and receives damage to his Max HP. Now he only has 190 Max HP. No matter how many times you heal him, it never gets past 190/200.
        • After sleeping at an inn, this penalty is lifted and he is back at 200/200
    • When you use a move, you have a chance of learning new moves. Also, when you use a move, there is a chance that the move's position level increases. Without going into too many details, let's just say that the higher the position level is of a move, the stronger the move becomes. The more you use a move, the stronger it gets.
    • You can speed up battles by x2 and x4. This can make battles end really fast. To be honest, you might actually feel awkward upon playing other games after playing Alliance Alive, once you get used to how speedy this can be.
      • As a result? Even if you enter a battle, there is sometimes no change in BGM. In other words, the field BGM continues to play. Under certain circumstances, the BGM changes, but I'm not exactly sure what causes it.
      • This isn't a bad idea because at its shortest, the battle could literally end in seconds. Imagine the BGM just toggling over and over again in such a short period of time. 
    • There is a total weight to your equipment. If this weight goes over a certain amount (it was investigated to be Strength + Stamina), then you start getting a minus modifier to your speed. Because of this, sometimes, it is not wise to give a character two weapons. Two weapons means more variety and a backup weapon in case the other gets broken, but if your main weapon + armors already is heavy enough, then it might be best to just not add another weapon. Of course, if another equipment is too heavy, you may not fully equip your character.
      • Or you could just give up and equip randomly. You will likely always go last each turn, but you do get more defense and such advantages.
    • Even if you game over, you can retry the battle or retreat in exchange for using up some light crystals. You find these crystals all over the world map and the used-up crystals recover over time. In other words, the farther you get in the game, the more crystals you carry at max and the more chances you get to retry the battle. Even if you use up 30 in one battle, you will get those 30 back over time.
      • Yeah, after playing Alliance Alive, I play another game, get a game over, and proceed to going back to the last save point. Bleh...
    • Outside of the normal enemies, you get special enemies that are stronger than the normal enemies around. There is no requirement to defeat them, but they do provide a good amount of money/points and stronger enemies mean the characters have a higher chance of learning skills or growing HP/MP.
      • These enemies usually have an unusual appearance that makes them obviously "unique"
      • Some don't attack you (which itself is a giveaway), but others will charge at you if you get near like other monsters

 Next, are some things I think could be "minus" points of the game.
  • One if that it feels like the last part of the game was a bit rushed. Like the staff ran out of juice after trying really hard until then. The overall story does not take a hit, but the events that occur are... ended a bit more quickly that preferred?
  • And the other one is that there is no post-game material. You don't get to explore the world after beating the game. Once you beat the game, you move on to your next play-through. There are two types of new games. One of them is the type that brings almost everything over to the new game. The other one is a relatively fresh start, though it gives you bonus talent points to learn skills with.
    • The second type of new game goes hand-in-hand with the freedom aspect of the game. The reason for this is that now, you can try to use any type of weapon you like, and the game gives you bonus talent point to focus on getting skills for that weapon. For instance, maybe you want to try a fists-only runthrough. No armor runthrough?
  • So basically, you can say that there is not that much to do after you beat the game. There is no superboss or super dungeon afterwards. However, it provides you with all the material you need to make the game your own. The player doesn't get fun thrown at their face, but instead, they are allowed to create their own fun experience.
    • From the messages by the staff, I believe this is intentional, by the way
  • You are gonna have a hard time getting money. Without a doubt, you will not be able to fully upgrade your equipment every time something new pops up. And some enemies don't even drop money, if you try to grind for some.
    • That said, once you reach a certain point of the game, there is a glitch where a certain item can sell for more than it costs to buy (requires certain skills though). Which means once you reach this point of the game, you can make money just by buying and selling 99 of that item over and over again. Of course, you can also enjoy the original difficulty of the game by not using the glitch.
      • BTW, a patch was released that fixed some glitches... including this one. Make sure you earn the money first before you load the patch.

And finally, I'm just going to talk a little about Viviana.

Why did she get 1st place in the popularity vote? Well...
  • Animal ears and tail (which move on the world map when you walk)
  • Kind and peaceful
  • Big breasts
  • Powerful (as in, her status in society). Man, those fiends that make fun of you all the time? Switch your map avatar to her and watch them just getting flustered and choosing words to please her.
  • Strong (well, at least more than the guy beside her) 
  • And her outfit! You always wonder how the tails of the characters pop out of the clothing, but for her? Well, she just wears a skirt with a gap in the back. What does this mean? It means that though her tail usually covers her pantsu, it is very easy to see them. Like, depending on the weapon you have her use, her basic pose already gives pantsu shots. The game sure has no intention of hiding it, that's for sure.
  • But more importantly, the biggest surprise to me was her back. You cannot see it in her official artwork, but her back is open! With just a golden chain that I think connects the sides of her clothing together.
  • Oh, and I just like her army-ish outfit.
And yeah, the development team clearly made her to be ultra likeable, No. 1 likeable likeable.

Leg, Pantsu, Open Back? Got all of it

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