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So, thanks to RFN/NWR, I've received a copy of this game (the release date is July 12th), and I've been playing it non-stop. It's SO good.
If you've played an Etrian Odyssey game, you'll be in familiar territory, because the battles have a very similar flow. Enemies are a potent threat in this game, and you've got to use the right abilities to get through encounters unscathed.
But the real fun comes from the 400-or-so dragons that roam around the dungeons. Just like the FOEs in Etrian Odyssey, they're visible on the map, and they can barge in if you're already in a battle in proximity to them.
But unlike Etrian Odyssey, you can engage them pretty much as soon as you see them. The game is just very well balanced that way. It will be a tough, but completely fair, fight. If you play your cards right.
Simple attacks won't do much damage, but enemies and bosses are very vulnerable to status effects and debuffs. Lowering their magic and physical defense, poisoning them, turning them against one another or setting up traps is the key to win. Weakening a boss and then pulling off your biggest attacks for MASSIVE DAMAGE is hugely satisfying. Barely scraping a victory feels really, really good in this game.
In EO games, I feel the bosses encounters often come down to a battle of attrition, with you chipping away at their health while healing your party until you deplete their health bar. In 7th Dragon, it feels more like you're trying to line up your moves so that you can ultimately kill the dragons in one fell swoop. It's way more exciting, to be honest.
Other than that, the game is more like a traditional RPG than Etrian Odyssey: you're not in first person, you don't draw a map. You explore dungeons from a top-down view with the map that fills up automatically, leaving you free to concentrate on the good part: the battles.
Do check it out when it comes out in a month! I'm about 25 hours in, and I'm kind of addicted, pushing back bedtime so I can kill just one more dragon.
Yeah, it sounds sweet. The similarities to Etrian Odyssey are no coincidence, since I believe that the creator of the Etrian Odyssey left after the first game to start the 7th Dragon series. (He also worked on The Legend of Kage 2!) So this series has been on my radar for forever. I'm glad that an entry is finally getting localized. Somebody at Sega of America must've really pushed for it.
I finished the game last week-end. I'll hold off discussing the game in depth since it's not being released for, like, a month still? But I can say I really loved it to the end. Took me about 50 hours to see the credits.
The main attraction of the game remains the combat system when you fight against big enemies. Setting up things so all your attacks deal massive damage all at once against a dragon never stops being satisfying. The story isn't terrible, just anime-ish and predictable, and both the dungeons and game design in general is linear almost to a fault: there aren't a lot of secrets to find, just out of the way.
So know what you're getting into. It's a great game, because it does one specific thing really well.
Yeah, pretty fun so far! And wow, it's been a while since I've played an RPG of any kind that did the old-school "silent protagonist" thing. It was a little jarring at first, but I slipped right back into the "old ways" pretty easily.
The battle system seems pretty simple so far. And I mean that in the best way possible. The debuffs/hacks haven't worked for me so far, but I'm dealing so much damage at the moment that I haven't had to use too much strategy anyway. I suspect things will change later on...
I really like the Agent/Duelist combo. It's weird how fresh the battle system feels despite not being all that different from a traditional JRPG. I just place "hacks" on the enemy that auto triggers with fire damage which my Duelist auto attacks with at the end of each turn. Stack that with fire damage that I can deal and it can do quite a bit of damage on enemies weak to fire. Fun to set up these attacks and have everything stack up!
You are using the Hack skill first, right? Then execute the program skill. Also the TROY skills will make an enemy more vulnerable to hacking which is good for bosses and can stack up extra damage based on what type of damage you deal out.
Well I think between this and Tokyo Mirage Sessions, this is the most I've ever felt so split on whether I enjoy a game or not. Both have fun gameplay but both also slog the player down a ton when they want to. Boring sidequests, uninteresting characters, a story that feels like it goes nowhere. Also it's just weird how these type of JRPGs sometimes feel so uninspired. Sidequests don't ever feel like they come naturally. Like in this game, you just go at the sidequest desk and choose them from a list. You never feel connected and instead are just checking them off a list so you can do the next one after. But then yeah, the battles and character progression can be really fun and challenge you with the dragon battles which is what keeps me hooked right now. I think I'm almost done with it but I'd probably easily drop it if I had a much better JRPG to play right now.
Well I'm alone in this one thread but I beat the game last night Fun game... but yeah, while the battle system is enjoyable, it was just designed so strangely overall. Random battles are a cakewalk, never really forcing you to learn new strategies or experiment except when you get at a some bosses that just wipe the floor with you if you're not prepared. Plus I spent my time just clearing many bosses by simply putting them to sleep or paralyzing them. It's fun to have a game where debuffs greatly matter but the over reliance on some, and ultimately coming down to a lot of chance, really messed it up at times. I'm not sure if it's a game I'd recommend in general.
At least the post game stuff seems a bit more interesting. Every random battle can kick your ass and the optional bosses seem pretty damn hard from what I've seen. Both bosses quickly killed me so I'll probably need to change up my characters or level up some more. Though leveling up doesn't seem to do all that much aside from minor stat gains. I'm not sure if I'll bother on beating them, depending on how much grinding it all comes down to. It has very fun battle mechanics but just feels like some of them should be balanced out a bit better at times.