Archive for October 2013

The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki (Trails in the Flash) 英雄伝説 閃の軌跡

Original Title: 英雄伝説 閃の軌跡
Finally finished the game last night, shame that no one around me plays the game except my Japanese lecturer. So here I am (I really just need a place to rave about this)

Before I start, for international readers residing outside Japan, if you're looking for a place to purchase this game, you can either do it through Nihon Falcom's official mail order service (instructions for international orders), or go to either (or check your local Amazon, I know the US store does stock a few Japan Import ones), PlayAsiaCDjapan or Yesasia. I preordered through Falcom's mail service and they gave me a random 1000 yen discount :) (maybe because I shopped there too much lol)

Trails in the FLASH


Apparently the loading problem was quite controversial in Japan, which was directly reflected in its user ratings on Amazon JP and various other game sites. Personally I didn't find that much of a problem at all, probably only once in the final chapter. But that's probably because of my horrendously short attention span so I always have to do something else even when I was playing this game. The loading time actually gave me a chance to glimpse either my twitter feed or random news sites. (like I honestly could not believe that everyone was ranting about this on the web)

There are several major changes to the system. Full on 3D, Orbment system and Link (like an upgrade of the kizuna system in Zero/Ao), that's all I can think of now.

The 3D ain't as bad as I thought it would be to be honest, thought you need to know that I don't really care that much about game visual, I don't think any kiseki fans do. The removal of the 2D anime portrait/profile is a bit of a shame but the 3D ones look quite fine to me. It is true that it does stink if you compare it with most of the games that we see in game stores nowadays but oh well, what can you expect from a teeny company's full 3D debut? Plus I have to praise the plateau scenes in Chapter 3, absolute thumbs up! 
I spent at least 3 hours just running around here. Stunning plateau + jdk's awesome soundtrack+ horse riding (that doesn't harm real horses)  + our nomad character Gaius, how perfect is that!
Orbment system is greatly simplified. It's much clearer to make up Arts (アーツ, magic spell in the Kiseki games) now because they are stuck to individual quartz. However it makes the gameplay harder as you now have to pick between Arts quartz and quartz that increase your character power (str etc). Whilst it doesn't really matter for melee characters since they don't normally need to cast spells anyway it does weaken mages quite a lot. I gameover-ed a few times during my first playthrough but I'm not complaining (oddly enough I quite like gameovers in boss fights, feels more realistic? lol). I do miss spending hours before strong Arts finally appeared in the current Arts list thought, hope it'll come back one day in future installments.

Link system does make the battle more interesting but together with the orbment change i feel like the mages are too depressed in this Kiseki (Zero-arts is a nice new AT award but how often does it happen right there on our mage characters?). So much so that my mages are pretty much plain healers. But I guess this melee-mage broken balance somehow suits Erebonian, with its whole heavy industry and military thingy. (it does actually feel like Russia, or Soviet rather, with a tint of the US, though I'm guessing Calvard would be more US like, the president, multicultural and Republic thing. Or you can say Germany/France). 


You just can not fault jdk. I don't know what else to say really, the final boss track is AH-MAI-ZINN and I'm loving the ending theme (it did surprise me at first but now after listening to it a few more times I can see the reason they put it there). Falcomclassics on Youtube has uploaded many of the sound tracks but there could be spoilers in the titles or background images, or in the comments so think twice before you search. 

The opening is quite nice, musically I prefer it to the ones of Ao/Zero's. Kotekana's vocal suits this type better. 


Spoiler Warning (of the entire Kiseki series) and some screencaps. Continue for more raves.

Finally DOGS in Kiseki! Thought the entire team were cat people :b (Zeit is a wolf!)

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The Turning

I was very lucky to be amongst the audience at the pre-release screening of The Turning last Wednesday night at Dendy Opera Quay, it was indeed a very special experience, compared to all other film screenings I've been to.

Received a beautifully printed film guide at the entrance, which was just extremely helpful, for someone like me who hadn't got a chance to read the book, to better understand the plot (though I wouldn't say it's essential to know what's exactly going on, I only read the booklet when I finished the film and that worked just fine).

The film, as the book, is split into 17 sections, 17 clips produced by different people. The arrangement isn't exactly unheard of, but it surely is quite unique and, per my own interpretation of the film, is just crucial. Because it's not a film about just one ore two specific Australians, it's a film that tells the stories of Australians, people with different lives and minds. So whilst it does make the film a bit un-organised, it gives the whole production to a realistic dimensional feel.

My favourite 3 pieces, which I have to tell you is really difficult to pick but if I really need to, Immunity, Sand (I guess you can somehow see my type through these two) and Ash Wednesday (although I have to say that the spearing sharks scene did make me uncomfortable). I decided to go for the screening because of Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Miranda Otto and Mia Wasikowska but surprisingly none of them were in these 3 clips, I still love their performances (and as for Mia, her directing) nonetheless but these three were just really right on my spot.

One last note to keep in mind, if you don't normally watch short films, because of the time restriction it's really hard for short clips to tell a complete story and have a major climax that shakes your heart. I like short films (as much as I like feature ones) because they are usually very interesting (and I don't know why but short films often give me that warm nostalgic feel). A length of only several minutes means that the budget is much lower and it's easier to realise ideas that fail to interest big investors. Doesn't matter if it's indie or commercial works, short film is an important component of the entire industry.

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