Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age Collector Edition Unboxing

I have played it for several days, and the original PS2 version as well. The graphic is high def now, much better than the PS2 version. They have also made new music although you have the option to use the old ones too.

I highly recommend the game for all FF fans. They made some changes: now each character can have 2 license boards, a.k.a classes. That’s perfect because you have 6 chars and 12 classes in total. You can try all of them in one play through. But my favorite feature of Zodiac Time is the speed up option. You can set the speed up amount to 2X or 4X. Then in game, press L1 to switch between normal and speedy modes. This will affect in game timer but animations, music etc. are not affected.

The game play is now all about strategy, because after setting up gambits, you don’t need to control the fight. You only walk up and your party will automatically fight for you.

I will post more on this game later.


Stranger of Sword City Revisited Tips

Stranger of Sword City Revisited released on NA PlayStation store on Feb 28 2017 as a digital only title. It is an updated version of the old Vita game Stranger of Sword City. It added 3 new classes and updated some dungeons with more lineage types, with a slightly different trophy list.

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I have played the SSOC: Revisited for over 25 hours and still addicted, coming as a fan of the Demon Gaze game of the same developer (Experience). Revisited is actually one of the easier hardcore DRPGs. It’s easier because now you can choose the beginner or easy mode, which is equivalent to removing the permanent death penalty. I still run on the Normal difficulty to experience the original setup, which is also the hardest you can choose from in the new version. The difference is, if my characters die and run out of life points (LP), they will be gone forever. But in the easy mode, your party can be revived once if all wiped out, and those who run out of LP will be giving back 1 so they can recover later at the base. In the beginner difficulty, your party can be revived twice.

Now here are some tips to be successful in this game. I will list only the important ones which people tend to ignore until it’s too late.

Spend some time to re-roll until you get a good team to start

First of all, your selected age determines the minimal points you can get in enroll. If you are 19 years old or younger, you get 3LP but has only 3 minimal points. If you choose 60 years old or 99, you have only 1 LP but you starts with 10 minimal points. You want to pick up 60 or older for your main character because LP doesn’t play a role for her/ him.  For your other characters (team members), it depends on your play style as well as how long do you plan to play your party. I recommend 40 – 59 years old to have 2LP, minimal 7 stats points. For 2 LP you can afford to die once. Once you die, don’t revive (so your char won’t die again to be permanently lost) until you come back to base. Always stay hospitalized until you recover all your LP before you depart again, which means you’d better have some backups. I have 9 characters created in the beginning who can go to the battle fields with me, including my main char.

If you choose the fortunate trait for your main character, you get an additional 3 points to the stats points you roll. You can maximally get 33 points this way. But it’s extremely rare in the new game. I settled with 17 stat points. It’s not a big deal if you plan until very high levels, or you rely on your other team members to do the damage.

For your other party members, I strongly recommend the “deprived” trait. You can maximally get 30 points with this trait, but it’s much easier to see high scores compared with all other options. With 2 LP I can get 29 or 30 in half an hour for most of my chars. I have also created some 3LP chars with deprived, one got a 30 too. It’s just rarer. You don’t need to go too high, 27 is already much better than the default 7, and it’s not hard to roll on the deprived trait. Keep in mind that you only gain 1 stat point upon leveling up. By having a high score, you will have a much easier journey at beginning, and save a lot of time trying to grind for higher levels.

Fill your party with freemans

Freeman is a new class in Revisited. They can’t go to the battle field with you, but they will make money while you fight outside. It’s your major income, or at least half of your income. They will also make your shop cost lower, and sells higher, and shorter time to recover Life Points. Their effects stack. I set aside 9 slots to battle crews and 9 to freemans – you have 18 slots in total. So far I only used all 9 battle crews at the same time (including those in hospital) once. I created 2 clerics just in case, one wizard and one puppeteer. But I only take 2 out of the 4 with me at all times. Having 2 with 3LP is probably good enough since being support chars they don’t need very high stats.

Class changing is powerful

Same as the original game, you can change to a different class to have access to its skills (but you have a limit on how many skills to set, initially 3, and max 10). Your cost is some in game money and half of your levels, but at the same time you are given back half of your old HP and MP. It’s totally worth doing the class change. It will make your life easier if you plan it well. Here are the reasons:

  1. Leveling up from 1 to 15 is easy, not much exp.
  2. Some skills are important and useful to other classes.
  3. The HP and MP bonuses are nice. I have 2 chars still staying on their initial or second class, and their HP is pathetic.
  4. When you fight lineage types, you will be asked to apply level cap anyway if you want the rewards. A lower level with more HP is better in this case.
  5. Boss levels is adjusted by your team’s levels. So what’s good about high levels except for higher stats?

The bottom line: I personally experimented chars in original class vs those changed 4 to 5 times. The later type is far more powerful. There’s no reason not to change class. If will make you play faster, less grinding.

Plan your class change journey ahead

You don’t want to change to the same class twice ever. So it’s best to plan ahead. You needed to plan what you want to play with anyway when you roll your chars. You’d want difference races based on the target class. So just write down your target. If you can’t decide yet, just leave some more slots for your battle crews. Then write down what skills you want them to carry. For physical chars you want weapon trick unless it’s a ranger, one of the duel wield skills (Samurai Lv 1, Lv 35 or fighter Lv 35) unless it’s a knight, and clock up or overclock. For magical chars I don’t really need them yet. They are late bloomers so I will comment later.

Here are my experiences:

  1. Ninja is still the best end class for physical chars if you want to level up to at least 32. Otherwise you can choose to stay as a Samurai or Fighter who learns a powerful two-hand weapon duel wield skill (godarm) at level 35 (about 1.5 M exp). Ninja’s last skill is learnt at 28 (about 771 K exp).
  2. Clocker is a must have for almost all end classes. You want either a lv 1 clocker (clock up), or Lv 28 clocker (overclock). Nothing in between is worth putting in your skill set. I previously though the fast cast (lv 10) is more useful than clock up, big mistake. It applies to spells only, so useless to physical chars. Clocker + Wizard may be really interesting. I haven’t finished the build to try it out yet, but I imagine you can overclock to run fast cast, then the master cast, to cast some spell 2 * 2 *3 = 12 times! Well, at least you can cast 6 times by using overclock + master cast. I will update once I experiment this myself.
  3. Clock up is not very useful to Ninjas, because using anything aggressive other than assassination you will reveal yourself. And after clock up once, you can only use Fight or spells. But overclock works with assassination and can be used in any turns.
  4.   Even though starts everyone as a clocker at lv 1 and do class change immediately is an excellent idea, you don’t have the money to do it. So have someone starts at clocker lv 1, others targeting dancer lv 6 (weapon trick, another must have skill), then back to Knight lv 3, and finally to clocker lv 1. You can be very creative here regarding what order to use. The Exp required is not much difference.
  5. At about 10 hours into the game, you want to make sure you have one wizard and one cleric, or at least their Lv 1 skills, otherwise you can’t make progress in the game at all.
  6. It’s really fun to plan for your “career”. That’s the reason I like RPGs. But if you are lazy, I will share my party build later in another post (link later).

Most tips online are about the old game so they set something over lv 13 as the best end level for each class, because you gain one skill slot by going over lv 13. In this game lv 13 means nothing. This is what I found to be interesting target levels:

Classes Useful skills as another class Target level and their EXP
Knight(28) Lv 1 (defense training, heavy armor / shield soul)

Lv 3 (Guard stance, protect back row)

Lv 21 Secret defense (KO & paralyze)

21 (331,000)
Fighter Lv 3 counter attack

Lv 10 Survive with 1 HP

Lv 28 Genocide, 7 atk after concentrate

Lv 35 Godarm, str based

10 (38400)
Samurai Lv 1 dual wield, Lv 4 Slash 1

Lv 13 Slash 2,

Lv 28 Slash 3,

Lv 35 god arm, agi based

4 (2900), 13 (81800), 35 (1,490,900)
Ninja Lv 1 Evade training

Lv 6 Assassination (ignore armor, need hide)

Lv 15 Cicada shell (Ignore one attack)

Lv 28 Critical hit (Sure hit, power based on length)

15, EXP 123900.
Ranger Lv 1 bow soul, Hunter’s Eye

Lv 6 Confine: lower enemy hit and avoid. Can be used while hidden

Lv 28 High concentrate

No need, or 6 for ninja, or 28 for completeness.
Dancer Lv 3 tri-step, need concentrate

Lv 6 weapon trick

Lv 8 Whistle

Lv 10 sword dance

Lv 28 Miracle song

6(9000), 8(20300), 10 (38400), 28 (771,300)
Cleric Lv 1 Holy weapon

Lv 18 Holy shield

Lv 25 Mana heal 2

Lv 26 Holy soul (prevent KO)

Lv 30 Divine armor, high cure

26 (620,000)
Wizard Lv 14 high cast (2 times)

Lv 27 Master cast (3 times)

Lv 30 Tri bolt, Omega impact etc.

14 (101400), 30 (945400)
Clocker Lv 1 clock up

Lv 10 fast cast

Lv 28 Overclock, but no fast cast.

1, 28 (771300)
Puppeteer Lv 12: blindness and break

Lv 24: Max.

No use.

12 (64,900) 24 (489,900)

Allocate your blood crystals

This feature is the same as the original game. You must make a choice among three God vessels to learn your divinity skills. Your choice will affect the ending as well but I don’t think that makes a difference in platinum, since you can’t play NG+ in this game anymore, I don’t think the developer wants to force you into play the game a second time. So you should choose purely on which is more useful. Here I must mention the dancer Lv 10 skill, sword song. Make your cleric and wizard learn it and they can sing to increase your divinity. With this you are free to use any high level skills at each turn. So don’t worry about the cost. The length is not that important either but it should still be 2 or higher so that you can alternate it. Some of the divinity skills can make high level class skills obsolete, e.g. the spirit wall can nullify all ailment, so you don’t need the cleric lv 26 skill anymore. Or the 30% MP recovery one may replace mana heal II. You can plan this with your class change journey to save a lot of Exp.

I’m sure you will have more questions. But with what I wrote here in mind, at least you can have a very easy journey and don’t need to restart your game later because you hate your current choices.

 

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir – first impression

odinsphere

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is an action RPG made by the same developer of Dragon’s Crown, which is Vanillaware. It feels quite similar to Dragon’s Crown, but not as exaggerated in human figure representations. In other words, you don’t see the shaking huge breasts barely covered by clothes which makes you ashamed of playing it in front of others. ‘Tis is a welcome change.

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir tells five books of stories which are intervened. With the fancy drawings and decent voice acting, it feels like a Disney movie, pure and loving, which I quite enjoy. Although I can somehow guess the outcome, I still paid full attention to the story and wanted to see what’s going on next. Part of it is due to the lack of ability to skip scenes or conversations, but I have to agree that the story is still better than many other RPGs. It is simple, but with positive attitude which distinguish itself from many current generation games with violent background.

Gameplay-wise, it uses the same mechanism as in Dragon’s Crown. The visual and sound effect is satisfactory and you can control what skills you use and master, which is an element required by RPGs. You can collect recipes and earn more EXP from the food you cultivated by eating them cooked as opposed to raw. But I feel the skill level is more important than character level. It’s important to focus on only a few skills so that you can use the most powerful ones in battle. I chose those use POW as it recovers faster than PP, which is consumed by magical spells.

In the game, you sometimes need to find hidden items to learn all skills. The good thing is you can go to any of the acts freely, so there is nothing missable. I’m still on the path to platinum it but so far it feels a very pleasant experience.