What I'm Playing - No. 116
Welcome back to another weekly wrap-up of the games I’ve been playing over the past week!
Warning: the Persona 5 Strikers section contains minor visual spoilers for one of the game’s dungeons.
Aside from that, this post is spoiler-free!
Click a title to skip to that section. Games contained within this post:
Persona 5 Strikers (PS4)
Continued my Merciless New Game+ playthrough and witnessed some more Phantom Thief shenanigans, and the cutscenes I watched were just as great as the first time around!
I finally got the platinum trophy for this game by unlocking all the other trophies. Like I mentioned last time, the last thing I had to do was max out all the Bond skills, which also meant getting the Bond level to 99. Initially, I was replaying through the story to gain these points, but then I read online that it was faster to fight Dire Shadows. These are optional challenge bosses, but with my New Game+ Personas and everyone in the party at level 99, they were pretty easy even on Merciless difficulty. I had defeated them in my first playthrough on Normal difficulty as well, but they were a lot harder back then! I feel a little bad for the Nebiros Dire Shadow. My team pummeled him so many times. I chose him for grinding since he was the closest one I found to a fast travel point, and we must have fought him at least a dozen times to grind up to Bond level 99. Eventually, I reached max Bond level! With that, my journey with Persona 5 Strikers is at an end. Now that I have all the trophies, I feel content with my 69 hours with the game. I don’t plan on finishing my New Game+ playthrough, at least not right now.
Radiata Stories (PS2)
This is an action RPG for the PlayStation 2 developed by tri-Ace. tri-Ace are known primarily for the Star Ocean series, but have occasionally released unrelated games like Radiata Stories. Radiata Stories follows the adventures of Jack Russell, son of a famous member of the Radiata Knights. Jack leaves home to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the Radiata Knights. To join, you have to pass a selection trial where you duel another candidate. When Jack sees that his opponent in the trial is a young girl, he assumes his fight will be a walk in the park. Things don’t go as he expects though, as his opponent, Ridley Silverlake, has been training for the knights from a very young age. Despite losing the duel, Jack is still admitted to the Radiata Knights at the insistence of Prime Minister Larks, who believes that Jack has a lot of potential due to his father’s legacy. With that, the player’s wild ride through Jack’s adventure begins.
When I started Radiata Stories, I didn’t realize how genuinely amusing it would be, especially the opening. Jack is an energetic and overconfident protagonist, who rarely avoids speaking his mind. This leads to some pretty funny exchanges from time to time. A lot of the character reactions are really over-the-top and hammy too. There are some jokes that don’t land and just come off as awkward, but all-in-all it’s pretty funny.
Battles are pretty simple, the mechanics aren’t as deep as in something like Tales. Before battle, you set up your combo based on the skills you’ve learned for your currently equipped weapon type. In battle, you mash the normal attack button and Jack automatically goes through the skills you assigned. You can also spend Volty Points to use Jack’s special attack. You gain Volty Points by attacking enemies with regular attacks. Naturally, you can guard and use items as well. You only directly control Jack in battle, but you can also give orders to your allies in battle, and also have them join you in various formations called Lines, each of which bestows some additional benefit. It’s a fun system, not as fast-paced as a lot of other action RPGs, but I don’t mind that personally.
The part of Radiata Stories I was most looking forward too, and probably the part I’ve also enjoyed the most, is recruiting friends. After a certain point in the game, you’re given free reign to take on missions and explore the city and surrounding areas at your leisure. You also have to build your own party by befriending people. Some of them are easy, you just talk to them and they join you, assuming you’ve met the requirements like being a certain level, seeing a certain special event, or having a certain number of friends already. Others are more difficult to recruit, and require you to solve a problem for them first, like finding their missing contact lens.
Everyone has their own schedules too, and go around town tending to their business each day. It’s sort of like a less intricate Majora’s Mask, since every has the same schedule each day. However, they might all have the same schedule each day, but there are a lot more NPCs than in Majora’s Mask. 14 hours in and I was still stumbling across new townspeople that I hadn’t met before! It’s cool learning about different characters’ schedules bit by bit, and getting a better feel for the city. Most characters don’t have much to say, and go through the same dialogue each day depending on the time of day, but that’s understandable given how many characters there are in the game. The city is also huge, and I definitely had to refer to the map a lot when learning my way around!
Early on, I spent a lot of time running around town talking to everyone, trying to figure out how to recruit each person on my own. That took a long time though, so eventually I cut way back on my obsessive need to recruit everyone. I’ve been referring to a guide for specific characters since then whenever I am curious if I’m on the right track to recruit someone, or if it’s possible for me to recruit them at all. From the guide, I’ve already learned that I’ve missed out on a specific event that’s required to recruit some of the most powerful characters in the late-game…so at least I won’t have to waste time trying to figure out how to recruit them on my own. Anyway, I feel that I’ve built up a respectable list of friends. Some don’t seem like they’d be useful at all in battle, and I haven’t tried them out. But others, like Tony, joined me at a pretty high level relative to what level Jack was at the time, and have been a staple of my party since.
I’m up to 43 of 177 friends recruited, and I’m starting to feel a little bit fatigued from trying to keep everyone’s recruitment requirements straight. It would definitely help if there was some way to see what “quests” you’d started, but there’s not a quest log or anything so you just have to try and remember. Or write it down somewhere, I suppose. I’ve been doing the former, but I tend to forget what I need to do for one person after I’ve gotten requests from several others afterward. I’m looking forward to seeing where the main story goes, it seems like it’s going to start really going places soon!