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I'd heard it was notable less from CS into Azure than from Azure into CS, but again, I'll probably decide what order to play them depending on how the ending of Zero goes. I expect I'll just end up playing them through because these games aren't the types to let up partway through.
Zero does not end on a cliffhanger. Just some unanswered questions.
Chapters seem longer in Zero.
Or perhaps its just because of the lack of Turbo Mode to speed up battles.
I'm enjoying the first chapter so far, although I thought the Prologue in Sky was a much stronger setup.
Was neat seeing Estelle and Joshua so soon.
Randy seems to have the least to hide, and were it not for the existence of Tio, I'd bet on him having the biggest secret of the party.
The translation hasn't been too bad, I've gotten used to reading it. Although every so often it takes me out of it a bit. Mainly with things I know are wrong. Like wrong types of sepith. Or the awkwardness of Sister Cecil.
At least with stuff like that I can tell how it should be via the voice acting.
Harold seemed so nice, but I'm pretty sure he's Renne's father. So uh, that'll be a thing.
I'm also placing a random guess on Epstein being the Anguis in charge of the Thirteen Factories.
I have zero reason to think that, aside from tropes. But it's my crazy guess and I'm sticking to it.
Edited by 32ndfreeze on Feb 6th 2019 at 1:46:15 AM
Forgot to mention, but try to avoid spoilers if you can. Of the first seven games, Zero and Ao are by far the most spoileriffic.
Done with Chapter Three!
I really like how all of the mafia immediately try to bury the slave trade accusations by conceding to the SSS. At least in part. Mainly because they really don't want the two A ranked Bracers and one essentially S ranked Bracer coming for them. But also I think because of the loss of support they'd have. After all, if your number two guy is shaken, that's a bad thing.
I took Elie (Not sure if that should be Ellie or not. A lot of names seem to be wrong in the patch, i.e Cecil > Cecile and Wasi/Wazy/Lazy) to the Auction. Mainly because it seemed appropriate story wise.
I'm using a spoiler free walk-though to max my DP, although I may have already screwed up on the first quest, and that suggested checking the other routes for the dialogue changes. But it is a lengthy sequence, so I might not bother.
I'm really hoping Rixia gets some more focus in a later chapter. I'm really interested to learn her motives. I've learned a little bit of them so far, because of her talking to Ilya in the sidequest. But I can tell there is more to the story. I suppose that could happen in Azure too.
Also I can't be the only one who gets really excited when I see the afterimage animation? Its silly, but it always gets me hyped up.
Its been fun seeing so many Sky alumni. Just this chapter had Lloyd, Estelle and Joshua, Kilika, Lechter and Renne. Also a small cameo of the Bobcat.
This chapter almost felt too referential. But I suppose after all it is the festival. I'd expect there to be less of that next chapter, with the new additions leaving town.
Combat is still feeling slower. But I just found out I've been able to upgrade my weapons for a while now, so that might help.
I'm also really liking the vibe of Crossbell City.
I thought Sky had good city density but Crossbell, for good reason, blows it away.
Its a lot easier to check in with NP Cs I find, so my natural baseline for NPC interaction is higher this time.
Oh yeah, and I totally called Renne's family. Although honestly I can't recall if they had the same models in 3rd. I just guessed based on the fact they had character portraits, and Harold's hair. :P
Edited by 32ndfreeze on Feb 10th 2019 at 1:13:39 AM
And Zero is finished!
Took me 55.5 hours to complete the whole game. Slightly longer than my time for Trails SC (53), but only because Turbo mode reduced that down from close to 70.
The fact I could have reduced my playtime by around 12 hours is sorta annoying, but I think it was worth playing it now, while I've got the free time to really sink into the game, rather than wait six months and have to play it over a month or so.
It was great seeing Renne's plotline with Joshua and Estelle conclude. It's kind of odd to think about, but it did take three games for that story to finish. Speaking of Renne, that reveal about Chairman Hartman and Paradise makes a lot of sense. Hopefully the clearing out of Crossbell's upper political levels will help for the situation in the next game. Also Hartman's totally gonna get shanked in prison.
Other things I liked about the game in no particular order.
The whole "higher elements in play" thing in the Tower of Seergaze/Temple is a really cool concept in my opinion. It really gets me excited when I see it appear. And gives a sense that whoever the villains are, they know what they're doing.
After playing Zero, I really like the way this stuff was introduced in 3rd. Demons too. I bet the Church will be sending someone to check things out in Ao.
Frankly, I think while you'll understand the plot without it, I think Zero loses a lot of emotional context for the Estelle/Joshua/Renne subplot. The other stuff is totally fine, but I think its still a poor game to start with.
Also without prior knowledge, I think the poorer translation would make the basic world concepts a bit hard to understand. Since I did notice a few inconsistencies in the translation with stuff like the Church.
The final dungeon was also great tone wise for a group of police detectives. Taking into account the rest of the game, it works really well. Much better than some Zemurian ruins would be.
It was also cool in the final dungeon seeing the flashback area from the start. I totally forgot about it until it reappeared. I'm also very happy Estelle and Joshua only showed up for one dungeon. Anymore and I felt they would have overstayed their welcome. I was thinking about only using SSS members for the last boss, but well, my Orbment setups kind of sucked. So it was very helpful having the Slow 50% and Arts +25% skills available.
Estelle having barrage downgraded from S Craft to regular Craft was also neat. I think it shows how much she's improved from training.
I also enjoyed the party member selection more so that in SC and 3rd. Until the final dungeon you never had more than 1 additional member. And because of the support mechanic, you didn't have to sacrifice dialogue for quests. I much prefer than rather than needing to micromanage characters for quest and NPC dialogue.
I'm fair sure that Ao will most likely have more content for Dudley, Noel, Wazy and Rixia. It feels like Zero only really covered the surface of each of them.
Negative wise. I still think the combat is a bit slower, particularly with melee attacks. I think Turbo Mode would mitigate it somewhat, but it does feel like they purposefully balanced it a bit. The game did feel a bit easier too. I never really struggled with any boss aside from Earnest #1. Even the final fight was pretty simple, if lengthy. The only times I died were a result of bad luck after a ambush.
Finally, I'm pretty sure having a dead wife and daughter is a requirement for S ranked Bracers. Joshua had better watch out for himself over the next 10 years as Estelle improves.
Edited by 32ndfreeze on Feb 13th 2019 at 4:23:47 AM
Noel, Wazy, and Rixia all get more focus than in Zero, Noel and Wazy in particular. Dudley on the other hand is basically a glorifed supporting character. Unfortunately.
Edited by kkhohoho on Feb 12th 2019 at 11:45:17 AM
Oh boy, because of the scarcity of information on Ao no Kiseki on the internet, I'm pretty sure I just spoiled two of the major twists for myself while trying to download it.
One was in the comments on the download, and the other came up in the text summery of the very first result when I tried googling on how plausible it is to skip the Ao epilogue...
Anyway, I think I'll play Ao before CS 1.
Release order is probably the best bet. Plus this way I won't need to change between combat & graphics styles.
The brief spoiler I glanced while looking up the epilogue was the fact Crossbell goes to war against Erebonia. I figure that's the big Cold Steel II twist I've heard a lot about.
No, there are a ton of other twists, and also Ao will go ahead and casually drop information on a bunch of other Cold Steel twists. So don't worry, while that was a spoiler, there was a lot more to it you seemingly managed to avoid.
Is it just mostly the epilogue that does that?
And is it viable to just beat the final boss and button mash away/or save and come back later to avoid epilogue spoilers> From the brief bit I saw I gather Lloyd narrates exposition of two years worth of stuff involving the war.
Also is there anything important I should know before starting Ao? I was planning on using this guide to make sure I don't miss any quests like in Zero. Which seemed to work well.
I just made sure to only check when I got a strong indication I was meant to be doing something in a lull, and check after I had already done something in the latter chapters, and return to an earlier save if I screwed up.
Edited by 32ndfreeze on Feb 13th 2019 at 9:09:10 PM
No, there's all sorts of stuff throughout Ao. One of which explicitly states something that happens at the end of Cold Steel 1.
Ao is concurrent with both of the first two Cold Steel games, so a lot of the stuff in Erebonia is happening at the same time, and characters from Erebonia will talk about it. Ao actually reveals more about Cold Steel 1/2 games than the inverse, so your decision to play Ao now will lead to stuff like that. You won't realize until you go into Cold Steel 1/2 and run into scenes where you'd have been surprised if you didn't already know.
No point skipping the epilogue at that point, TBQH. The exposition is Cold Steel 3/4 stuff and doesn't go into any detail.
Edited by burnpsy on Feb 13th 2019 at 7:47:47 AM
I suppose it is the authentic experience though.
Since the developers should have had this stuff in mind while making the games in the order they did.
EDIT: Managed to get Ao working today.
Had some significant screen tearing issues, but thankfully that was solved by enabling full screen mode of all things. Although perhaps the combination of Borderless Gaming prevented the usual crash?
Anyway, Prologue was cool.
Was neat to see Kevin, even if his sprite is awful in the Crossbell art style. Ries looks great though.
I'm placing my bet right now for the wacky design of the Geofront having something to do with the Demons. That and the bells, although I think that part was obvious.
The opening movie also showed a lot of new characters. Also looks like the society is getting involved.
One question I had about the last game.
I got that choice about which character I met with on floor 16 at the end of the last game. Because I just used the perfect file attached rather than mucking around with converting mine.
I'm fairly sure Randy isn't a romance option (although I'd be pleasantly surprised if he is).
But man, do I hope Tio wasn't one.
Edited by 32ndfreeze on Feb 15th 2019 at 12:20:23 AM
I haven't seen Tio's scene in Zero, but her one in Ao is 100% romantic, so Zero's probably was too.
Edited by burnpsy on Feb 14th 2019 at 12:58:23 PM
Made my way to the halfway point of Chapter Two.
Chapter One was the usual, lots of getting to know everyone again.
I'm placing a bet that Jingo is Randy's half sister. With the hair colouring? She's got to be.
The Abyss Worm fight was a massive pain as usual. I needed some hefty grinding to beat it.
That scene at the Doll Studio makes me sure Noel's danger sense needs training, since she totally missed the danger of Campanella. Of course Wazy was the one to spot it, but he has been alluded to be more sensitive than usual.
The end of chapter scenes were interesting as usual. Looks like another Anguis is involved this time. I'm unsure if they'l be co-opting the Cults plans or something similar, since they did raid some of the lodges.
I'm also a massive fan of the QOL fixes. Like the ability to skip Arts & the faster travel animation.
Chapter Two is ramping things up rapidly.
It's pretty neat how the game encourages you to take the roads, otherwise you get destroyed in the sidequest versus the GCF.
I'm loving the Randy focus. He didn't get a lot of focus in Zero, but they are sure making up for it so far.
The coming together of all these important people we know is also really great.
I love how I can feel the narrative weight as a result.
The art style also makes Kloe and Olivier look younger.
It also amuses me greatly that out of all the people viewing the tower unveiling, the only one to be simply amazing and not think about political ramifications is the Blood and Iron Chancellor.
I also want it noted I've been highly suspicious of the tower ever since the prologue when I remembered the Geofront's wacky composition.
By extension I'm also suspecting Dieter, mainly because he did gain a lot in the aftermath of the Darkest Day.
A bit out of the blue here, but any idea when they'll announce the next saga?
Just that it's sometime this year last I checked.
It comes out this year, you mean?
I think he means that's when they'll announce it. Coming out this year would be way too soon.
Edited by kkhohoho on Feb 16th 2019 at 10:46:46 AM
Well I'm not sure.
They just said they're doing something relating to the next arc this year.
They're definitely going to announce it but they might also release it too.
Edited by LordVatek on Feb 16th 2019 at 11:46:56 AM
If it's a Calvard arc, think we'll see Zin, Kilika, and Walter show up again?
That seems very likely, if you ask me. Maybe Kilika's your boss?
I also think we might see Anelace again.
I was thinking similarly. Kurt too, maybe?
I'm not up to date with much of anything the developers have said, but wouldn't there be a good chance of having another arc set in one of the minor countries?
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