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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Trails in the Sky the 3rd Evolution(英雄伝説 空の軌跡 the 3rd Evolution)

It's become a regular ritual of mine to pick up a Trails game every time a new one comes out in a desperate attempt to try to keep up. Now that I've finally beaten the 3rd one, that brings the current tally to 3/11 or a grade of F minus minus minus, which compared to the US government is actually pretty good IMO. I would put up the usual Trump meme pic but I'm so fucking tired of that shit, here's a picture of a bat plushie instead.

Please stop eating the fuckers, for fuck's sake!! (You know who you are)

There is no better time than now to escape from shitty reality into the sweet bliss of logical and responsible adults in a fantasy RPG video game. Yes, let's dig into the 3rd iteration of brave heroes fighting against people of differing ideologies, political intrigue, and high-level foreign policy negotiations between shrewd leaders... Naw, let's just go into some la-la land after the prologue chapter with magic memory doors n shit... yeeaaaaah....

Falcom, your own characters are saying your setting is a fucking JOKE!

I'm glad they didn't call this Sora no Kiseki TC, calling it "the 3rd" like a 5th wheel is appropriate because it plays like a fan-service afterthought, not the finale of a trilogy. It's a good excuse to get all the characters from the first 2 games together and reminisce on extra events that fill out the setting. As much as I love to see little side stories of tiny RPG characters in pajamas, the manner in which the game presents them just bothered me. Like, why does a character that recently LIVED through the event need to see a memory of it much less through some weird door? From the standpoint of the character, it must be like watching a shitty home movie from last week on VCR (kids, you'll need to Google that).
Awww, so cute! Oh I know, let's have her fight ruthless mercenaries and ancient legendary monsters!

Yeah sure, technically the game does have a story and it's not bad actually. But at times, it just feels so contrived and just an excuse to beam all the familiar crew back into another game (and I mean "beam" literally). I did at least like the new character and her VA, RieB with a weird B (or whatever that is). While I'm not into nuns, she was cool because she likes to eat. It's too bad she's not a morbidly obese trans person of color to properly represent us American gamers. Missed opportunity there IMO. Maybe it'll be fixed in the PS5 version if MS buys Falcom or something. #FuckMe2020

Why is she white, thin, and binary? I want REAL people, like those assholes that don't wear masks

The part of the game that I finally really started warming up to was the combat. I know I complained about the fact that it's recycled for SC but kinda like how some people start to like shitty songs after hearing it repeatedly on the radio, it eventually grew on me. As usual, I loved how you start at level 90 unlike most RPG sequels that offer no explanation as to why you're back at level 1 and weak as fuck again.

They couldn't resist the obligatory stroll in molten lava cliché however

Another common annoyance that this game handles gracefully is grinding under-leveled characters. I really wish more RPGs scale EXP like this. You haven't used a character for a few chapters? No problem, just have them hang out in the back for a few battles and they'll level up in no time. I even maxed out 9999 EXP in one battle for the unsightly males to prepare for the final battle.

As usual, I tend to leave... ugh MEN out of my party

Save for some minor changes such as enemy elements, the mechanics are pretty much identical. However, the strategies I employed were different because of the insanely effective quartz. While I mostly ignored arts in the first game, having 50%-75% reduction in casting time made them so much more useful. In particular, because some bosses are immune to all debuffs and status ailments, it's vitally important that you keep your buffs up. Speed, in particular, is of the upmost importance in hard mode. As usual, I have not played in nightmare mode, saving that for another day.

Yeah! What's wrong with having a 13 year old girlfriend? Hmm... let me think... #Jailbait

Other notable areas besides the combat, side stories, new character, and Agate's weird relationship with a 13-year-old girl, are the annoying mini games and music. The mini games such as poker, blackjack, and trivia are well, like I said, just annoying. I didn't mind the fishing contest so much though.

From this angle, you can tell Estelle has it where it counts

Some of the dungeon songs were head rockers so I'm liking the soundtrack more and more with each iteration of the series, which is always a good sign of things to come.

Good stuff. I was rocking while dungeon crawling.

Score: 3.5 C'mon Falcom, where is the obligatory hot springs church outing event? out of 5 (79 hours to beat)

Is the premise contrived and the game a bit fan servicey for bringing back all these characters? Sure, but overall, I still had fun for the total of almost 80 hours and the main plot wasn't bad, just a bit too much hocus pocus for my tastes. For the reason that I had fun for that amount of time and there's nothing wrong with the game, I would rate it as slightly above average.

Cover art for "I'm so wet, I want to have your baby but I'm a nun!" (as featured in the doujin series) 

I guess there's finally an English localized version of the game on Steam but based on the original PSP version. I dunno, maybe because I wasn't a Jhipster back then, but I like the Evolution remakes just fine so there's a tiny Jhipster smugness bonus added on for this version.

"It was a clever inducement of the temporary representative Cashius bright that broke down the agglutinating situation of a war." WTF??? I bet Falcom never expected anyone to read this shit.

The final boss battles were kind of brutal even in just Hard mode. I recommend looking up the best party member distribution before you start the last dungeons. Thankfully, they at least offer you an option to save before the last boss battle because I would have thrown my Vita at the wall if I had to start over after hours and hours of fighting. Thanks to the OP Absolute guard and continually buffing despite that annoying move the final boss has to remove all your buffs, I was able to make it to the end on my first try. Whew!

Legend of Heroes VII? That's one of like 5 ways to define this series (fucking Falcom man)

And that's that, finally done with this series in a series in a series. I'm definitely NOT catching up on all these Legend of Heroes RPGs but I'm having fun with them so I suppose it's not a bad thing to have a whole stack to go through still. I'm certainly looking forward to moving on from Liberl after well over 200 hours in the same locations. It's time to go to Crossbell... finally!!!

Additional Evolution screenshots for the Jhipster smugness library

Beating the game unlocks music from all 3 games. Cool, unless you're a classic OST pig in the mud

Ugh, fuck this trivia game. I'm down for more what's his face crossdressing though.

Holy shit, is this some huge spoiler?! Naw, it's just another fucking "memory".

Oh magic clothes that coincidentally reuses an existing asset? How... convenient!

The cursive on this Salt Paling doc is hard to read saving Falcom from further embarrassment.

It's a hidden gem shooter! Get your copy now before it becomes RAREZ!!!

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

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