This post will discuss the arc that introduces my BFF Gupta. This means volumes 7-8, but not all of volume 8, the last chapters belong in the next post, which I am insanely looking forward to because Haan :D
I want to apologise for how rambling these posts might have been … and will probably continue to be. It’s difficult to always find the right balance between recapping and commentary. That is, recaps are boring, but I still need to briefly explain which scene or circumstance I’m talking about. And sometimes, the process of writing things out in my own words helps me figure out what I even think about it in the first place.
Just now I was playing The Alliance Alive and fooling around with battle formation. There is the option to have the game suggest formation names for you, which I did because I am uncreative like that. Now, the game kept giving me fish names! At first, this confused me. Then I realised I had put Robbins in the lead, and he is a penguin. Aw, penguins love fish! Of course we’re going to fight in the Mackerel position!! It’s neat little details like this that make the game feel so deep and rich! It’s technically superfluous, but it brings me great joy – and that’s the point, right? This is why I play games: fun!
I had been reluctant to give TAA a try. After all, I had tired of Legend of Legacy quickly, and it hadn’t just been the lack of a storyline that put me off that game. It had been the dull, uninspired design of the starting town. It was just a very meh place. Why go there. But when I saw the first town of The Alliance Alive, and it was an atmospheric place with interesting NPCs, I was won over. And yes, of course it also helped that TAA kept Legend’s battle system, but was clearly also a story-heavy game full of quirky characters and well-written dialogue! Yay!
The reviews I’ve read didn’t always do the game justice, I think It was almost as if people were holding Legend of Legacy’s failures against this other game. Whatever problems some reviewers appeared to have with the characters or the story or the battle system … I don’t see it. To me, so far, this is a great game and I am glad I checked it out.
I really appreciate that the game feels so open most of the time. You can explore the world, which is full of little mysteries that you might miss if you just blindly rush through things. You can spend hours just exploring the world map!
Sometimes, NPCs react differently depending on which character is in the lead. Which means that not only do I try to track down and talk to every NPCs, but I try to talk to them repeatedly. =D
I encourage everyone to give The Alliance Alive a try, especially if you’ve been avoiding it because of Legend of Legacy. :3 This is not a final verdict, since I am still playing the game, and I hope it will keep me occupied for the next month or two. Until Octopath Traveler, ideally.
Volumes 3 to 5
I ended up on WomenWriteAboutComics this week, and, on a whim, searched the page for any articles about 3×3 Eyes. To my surprise, the search presented me with an article from last December: “10 Reasons Dark House Needs To Finish Releasing 3×3 Eyes“. Woohoo! I’m always happy when someone, somewhere, knows about 3×3 Eyes. Especially in the English-speaking world, where 3×3 Eyes was only partially published a long time ago, and probably isn’t on the radar of most comics or manga fans … Which is a shame, but I can hardly blame them. They only really got a few manga volumes and of course the anime (two short OVA mini series). The anime tells an incomplete story, covering just the first five volumes (out of 40! 40!). I am actually going to discuss in this post why the ending of volume 5 is such an unfortunate place to just call it a day.
That article also made me go “OMG, ARE YOU ME?” repeatedly, first at the description of Amara (I swear I must have used these exact words before), then because the writer dedicates the article’s longest paragraph to my beloved cinnamon roll, Hazrat Haan <3 <3. (Also, seriously, don’t read that article if you want to avoid spoilers, because there’s hella spoilers. Especially regarding
the most precious bundle of joy, Haan.)
But back to the topic at hand: Volumes 3 to 5 form an arc that actually sets itself apart quite dramatically from everything that came before, and what will come after. Amara notwithstanding, I consider it the strangest arc of 3×3 Eyes.
3×3 Eyes! I love 3×3 Eyes! It’s one of my favourite manga series! And sometimes, At random intervals, my thoughts wander back to 3×3 Eyes and I grab a random volume, which almost always leads to grabbing another volume … grabbing another one because I wanna check that one scene I just remembered … grabbing another one because that was the wrong one … reading the next because there was a cliffhanger … And before you know it, I am surrounded by piles of manga (because 3×3 Eyes is a long series at 40 volumes!) and that’s usually when I get the idea: “I should just read the entire series in order instead of randomly reading bits and pieces!” So that’s what I’m gonna do now.
For starters, I read the first two volumes, since they form a little arc of their own. I haven’t actually watched the anime, but as far as I know, the first OVA series covers this part of the story.
I finally finished Ever Oasis. I’d had the feeling that I was close to the end for a while now, but had chosen to flop around and do subquests instead of anything resembling to finishing the game. In a way, it felt like that’s what the game kind of wanted me to do, anyway. But after a while – and that is the biggest flaw that I see in this game – the oasis management became boring and just a tad tedious. Oh my god, guys, can’t you do anything by yourself!!?? With no new travelers arriving and every shop either maxed out or close to getting maxed out, the game felt like it had no surprises left. It just becomes a chore of supplying good, tending gardens, sending out expedition teams, then getting annoyed that you sent the person you wanted in your party out with an expedition team! Ever Oasis is cute and original, I love the design and the atmosphere and the entire idea of its setting and the characters, creatures and so on … but in the end, I decided to go to the end boss out of boredom. And we’d run out of parsley and I didn’t remember where to get more.
I really wouldn’t mind some sort of sequel that was, perhaps, set 1000 years later so that the events of this game can be treated like legend, but any city management aspects would have to be overhauled so that they don’t become less fun and less important-feeling as the game progresses.
The desert setting was lovely, but the world itself was pretty small after all. I’m in the mood for something more VAST.
Speaking of JRPG deserts … The one in Secret of Evermore remains one of my favourites. It’s just a bg stretch of sand and because it is so hot, you gradually lose HP. I’d really love to see something like this done again in an game, so that travelling through the desert feels like an actual daunting task that you need to plan properly. I know we live in the time of fast travel where “back-tracking” is reviled and people get bord quickly … but I’d love to play a game where distances matter and travelling long distances actually takes time and makes you get a proper sense of the size of the world.
But that’s neither here nor there. My eyes are on Octopath Traveler now.
Erh, anyway, Ever Oasis: another annoying flaw was the camera during some of the more challenging fights. Whenever I was too far away from the boss, the boss was moving and I was trying to lock onto the enemy, the camera just switched to my character’s viewing direction instead, VERY annoying. And really not what you need during fighting.
I beat the end boss with Isa and Ida, and I have to admit that I spent a lot of time playing it ultra-save on the other side of the screen, biding my time for some well-timed slashing. Ida kept landing the finishing blows. Every. Time. Good girl.
This week, I stayed up to watch the Nintendo Direct because I am a nerd like that and because I was hoping for Octopath Traveler news. I was rewarded for my fannishness! Tantalising gameplay details, information about two more playable characters, and a release date: July 13. Yay!
I am in a bit of a dilemma because a part of me thinks that it would be best to avoid all further Octopath news, in order to experience the game as unspoilt, as fresh as possible. The other part of me, of course, is a giddily excited fangirl who just spent an hour looking at the various maps shown in-game, in trailers and on the official website, trying to guess the eventual size of the gaming world. (The original trailer called it “vast”, and it better be!)
Yeah, I’ll probably lick up every morsel of information until July.
Meanwhile, I am torturing myself already over the protagonist choice. I tended toward Primrose after playing the demo. But Alfyn appeals to me … I think I just like characters who are uncomplicatedly nice people who want to help others. Tortured anti-heroes are fine, of course, but I think I’d rather want to be the idealistic, straight-forward good guy. So … who knows what I’ll end up picking? Why am I already angsting about this??? XD