CRITICAL HIT! (HALI'S REVIEW THREAD)

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I did say that, yes. But considering I got to the 50% mark of the game without grinding and THIS was the biggest wall for me (well, I say that, but an earlier boss fight was also pretty rough...I probably did something not right in that fight though), I'd say that's still not bad overall. The grinding in this game is more for skills than anything else, and honestly? I didn't grind for skills ever. I kinda just...got them as the game progressed. Just not for everyone because some skills aren't even needed (which I wish I would've thought of for some OTHER characters, but ya know...).

When you get to the boss, you may not have as much problem as me. It'll still be a roooooought fight though, even WITH me nerfing the fight a couple times in anger. ^^;;
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
11399
Well, I didn't reach the boss yet, but that's because I spent today taking notes about the skills I have, what ones are available, and how much they cost. I had enough dough to buy out the human village, but not nearly enough for everything in tengu town, so it looks like I'll be moving forward next time.

Speaking of skills, I understand why you set this up the way you did, but it's extremely clunky. Because the items that teach skills trigger switches, they don't turn grey when you already have the skill they teach. That means you have to check the character to see what level of the skill you have already, and if they're not in the party, then you have to change your group around just to see. You can't rely on the shop menu to tell you what you have, because all characters are shown to be able to use these items, and you can buy multiple when it's never necessary to do so. Then, once you've bought the items, you have to scroll to the bottom of your inventory to use them one at a time, and the whole thing is just too much of a process.

I know it'd be a pain to make (because they always are), but a custom menu system for skills would serve this game very well. It could list all the characters, the skills they have, the skills available to learn, and streamline the whole thing to the point where skill-teaching items are obsolete. Like, the current system operates within 2k3's default confines as best it can, but it's such a tedious bother. Even a basic custom menu would likely be better.
Yeeeeeah, I really REALLY want to, especially with how bad the skill learning system is. The problem though is I'd have to go through 1500 some skill scrolls to do that, so...that's a big reason why I never did it. ^^;;;
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
11399
Tut tut, that's no excuse. If anything, a well-designed system would spare you from having to go through that many scrolls for anything more than reference of cost. The menu could easily work through switches and variables, cutting out the item use aspect entirely. I'd recommend something similar for HRCS since party adjustment is also needlessly clunky.

I can only do so much to sway you, but your adherence to the default systems is a serious detriment to this game and its playability. I shouldn't have to keep a text document of my skill levels just for it to be manageable.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
11399
A new day, a new session. I found my way through another couple boss fights, beating the Mighty Guard guy by using a Mighty Guard item to even the odds. Then I fought it again after Youmu whupped me because of course there was a boss fight after the boss fight.

Then I got lost in Hakuyoupadoopadoo after a long cutscene left me unsure of where to go. With Xeno's help, I made my way to the garden and got thrashed by Yuyuko a bunch of times. Eventually, I found the right combination of sheer damage characters to take her down, and we saved, and now she's a tree that still wants to kill us. I tried using Reisen's instant death resistance to counter its L5 death spell, but apparently instant death resistance doesn't work on this particular instant death attack. So now I get to grind up at least one more level so the spell doesn't kill everybody. Fun.
Wait...it didn't stop Level 5 Death??? That doesn't sound right...honestly, I'm really debating if she even NEEDS that, what with her gimmick of Instant Death every X turns (unless that broke again somehow) and most of her attacks having Instant Death on them anyways. Having Level 5 Death on top of all of that doesn't seem needed at all. Again, I really REALLY need to get around to removing all of these Deathga/Level 5 Death abilities from enemies in the game (but the Instant Death otherwise stays with the other enemies. So yeah, even with Yuyuko's dumbness, she'd get to keep everything else NOT Level 5 Death).

Fun fact: Originally before that boss fight, I had the shop sell the Mortal Soul accessory, which prevented Instant Death. Guess what got removed to make that fight harder at some point? ^^;

EDIT - I WILL applaud you for actually thinking about Reisen's Instant Death ability. In fact, I actually forgot all about it when I fought Yuyuko myself. IF you managed to beat Yuyuko solo with just Youmu, you do get a pretty good helmet from it, but...yeah, I need to retool that fight in general as it's just not very interesting and it's just annoying.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
11399
I wondered if it was actually possible for Youmu to do it alone. I'm guessing she has some stance moves that make it doable, but I didn't experiment much and we barely pulled it off with everyone together anyway.
The way I had to do it was alternate healing with Lapis and attacking. Youmu's unique armor gives Instant Death immunity, and there's no other status, so...there's that. I pretty much just did regular attacks I think??? I forget, it's on my shinxenomic Twitch VoD somewhere. The only real difference in that fight is Yuyuko won't use the ST Laser attack. That combined with as much Dark resist helped too, IIRC. I couldn't use the Stances, or any skills, because of the MP drain in that fight (hence part of why it's an awful fight ^^; ).

It still needs reworked though, it's an awful fight both ways.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
11399
Oh. Yeah, that sounds dreadful. Guess I'll mention that Youmu fell to Level 5 Death all the same, special armor be damned.
Huh...that....isn't supposed to happen. It wasn't the special version in the Saigyou Yuyuko fight, right? The one that occurs every X turn? Otherwise, I'll have to look into the coding because yeah, she should've been immune to it if she had her armor...
FF5 Level 5 Death rules, works on anything whose level is a multiple of 5! Even the super ultimate secret boss (if you increase its level to 255 using Chemist !Mix)!
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
11399
from Xenomic
It wasn't the special version in the Saigyou Yuyuko fight, right?

It was the tree's Level 5 Death. It wiped everybody because the whole party is L15, including Youmu.
Huh. Yeah, I'll doublecheck the coding then, though the tree won't have that ability in future versions at least.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
11399
So it looks like I'm going to be grinding even higher than 16 because this boss is just completely bogus. I can't keep up with healing, damage, status, and randomly inflicted instant death every X turns, especially when it straight-up ignores death resistance. Xenomic, what the actual fuck.

I can barely get through half the tree's HP before everything goes to literal Gensokyou Hell. Is that a hit-all death move? Is Youmu supposed to be immune to that? Because it killed her all the same. At first, I thought maybe I'd given her different armor, but no. Maybe the spell also does damage and that's what killed her, but even then, this is so beyond stupid. I can't even Mighty Guard my way through because random death happens and I can't pick myself up fast enough. Also, if you're going to put in a boss with high murder capacity, don't make the cutscene leading up to it so slow.

Xeno, if this game is possible without grinding, it's not even slightly reasonable.
Hali will never get to ever review another game at this rate ha ha.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
11399
Luckily, I'm too tenacious for my own good.
Gensokyo's Hell (7): Only used when HP is below 50% Max HP. Inflicts ~200 Ghost-attribute damage, Instant Death, and Sleep: 50 to to the party. 10 MP.

Indeed it is.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
11399
So basically everything about that move is horrible. Even if you have death resistance AND sleep resistance, you still take a big chunk of ghost damage to your entire party, while I'm using spells that are way less effective and cost twice as much MP. Really great.

Yeah, I'm grinding.
Honestly, thinking about it, you might have a good enough setup for the party. Reisen with Instant Death immunity (do you have her First Strike weapon, by any chance?), Sleep immune accessory (can the Insomnia Charm be bought from the shop at Hakugyokurou?), and the Ghost resist armor (though it only halves Ghost damage because I never programmed Ghost/Absorb resists like elemental resists). It won't stop the Instant Death every X turns gimmick, but might be good enough? And with Level 5 Death fixed up (and outright removed from Saigyou Ayakashi), that should make it a lot easier. I think I used an optional character you could fight earlier in the game here, which did like 2k damage per hit, so she tore through the boss, and the boss was ODDLY nice enough to me, so that might be why it didn't feel too hard (though getting the optional character was a little rough...just a bit).
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
11399
I'm not sure about an optional character. If they're off the beaten path, I haven't found them. I bought the two doppelganger characters from Tengu Village, so if it's neither of them, I have no clue who they are.

About Level 5 Death, though, I actually think it's better to keep it on that boss. See, it's only a problem if your level is a multiple of 5, which is something you can control. If you take it away, the boss won't waste turns casting it, and instead it'll do all the other horrible stuff it's already too good at.

None of my team can hit it for anywhere near 2k, so it's not gonna be pretty. We're outpaced and overwhelmed as it currently stands, though I can look into those recommendations. Also, I gave it some thought, and decided to ignore the fact you said this can be beaten without grinding/leveling. I feel like that perception has colored my experience of the game so far, and I'm fed up with trying to believe it's true.

You can take my account of how things went whichever way you see fit, but so far, this has been a very convoluted and unforgiving time. I intend to level match any bosses I encounter from here on out, at the very least, and I still encourage that you reconsider your no-boss-EXP decision. It's not just mimicking FF6; it's a design choice. It has challenge run implications, and personally, I think the game is already challenging enough on its own. There are other aspects of it I could talk at length about, but for now, that's how I feel based on everything I've seen so far.