Soul Shepherd

I've played through most of the demo. I'm a fan of the SaGa, Shin Megami Tensei, and Etrian Odyssey series, so I'm not opposed to 'difficult' games. I thought about posting a review, but I may as well just post my thoughts here. It'll come off as less vitrolic if I'm writing to the designer instead of an imaginary audience.

When it comes down to it, the difficulty of any kind of RPG isn't the actual battle, it's devising a tactic and preparing your party appropriately. With that in mind, a number of the decisions in the game confuse me. Why are souls randomly dropped? Why does taking the Soul off anyone other than the main character break it? Why do we have to relearn abilities if we want to place them in our active slots again, and why does taking the Soul off of a character reset their learning progress?

None of these make the game harder or improve it, they simply make the process of battle set-up considerably more tedious, or inspire you to go into a battle with a knowingly sub-optimal set-up because it would be irritating to spend the time to do otherwise. In fact, the pointless grinding involved, and the levels it will provide, additionally incentivizes wasting your time! The Soul system is obviously inspired by SMT: Nocturne. So why aren't you following its lessons?

The Magatama in Nocturne are in pre-defined locations, making acquiring them predictable and not tedious, and can be swapped freely, allowing you to change your stats and resistances according to the needs of the present battle. Yes, you might lose out on a skill at level-up, but it's generally considered worth it to go into the Matador battle with Resist: Force regardless.

Yes, there's limited slots and no databank of previously learned skills in Nocturne, but you only have one character to which that applies - your demons are much more flexible, and it's easy to have a large set you switch between appropriately. You can rotate through your selection of demons, phasing out the old and experimenting with new set-ups, without being significantly deprived. If a new set-up fails on a demon you don't want wasted, buy a earlier version of that demon and try again. Soul Shepherd has no equivalent. The limited skills mean that players will tend to gravitate towards templates; your 'physical' and 'magical' characters look very similar, because experimenting means having to grind back the more generally useful skill afterwards.

I sincerely suggest you make soul drops conditional or guaranteed instead of random, remove the Soul breakage, and implement a "switch present skills for previously learned ones" databank mechanic, and then rebalance accordingly. As is, Soul Shepherd is not "difficult," it is "needlessly grindy," and in that respect it feels very little like the games that apparently inspired it.

There's other little issues. (The escape rate is ass in a game where you're already punished in three different ways for not fighting enough, and seriously, a max of 9 items of any one type? Despite the fact that you're unlikely to keep Detox and there are enemies that use full-party Poison spells? Dick move. The "back to town" items also need to be able to go somewhere other than the initial town.) That said, the ones addressed in the previous paragraphs are the big ones, and the ones which should be your priority.

Speak No Evil

I'm also getting the hospital freeze bug, with the added bug of ALL monsters, everywhere, vanishing; there's no encounters ANYWHERE.

I was originally able to fight monsters as usual, but I closed the window and reopened the program after a bad fight in the supermarket. After loading, all monsters were gone across my current save files. (The only non-current save files I had were just before Gabriel's boss, which I had no particular desire to refight.) Replacing all of my non-save files with fresh ones didn't appear to solve the bug, nor did rebooting...

When I go to sleep and head to the hospital (the cut infection talk, etc), it finishes, I am about to regain control, and I get a message "Access violation in module 'RPG_RT.exe' in with address 004A810D and offset 0379D6B7 of type Read occurred."

Things appear to work normally in a New Game, but working all the way back to where I was is extremely unappealing, especially when I don't know exactly what caused the bug.

Any help? I'd like to finish the game; it's enjoyable enough, especially now that I have customization options available.

Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis


I had a couple of unanticipated hurdle against the True Final Boss.
I went with Erin/Aila/Violet against Alter Aila, and failed to notice that the Millennial Memory and Joker Card set-up I had on Aila meant both of them did Force/Frost, which meant neither of my damage dealers could kill two of her sparks. Not my most strategic moment.

Then I ended up with the Tear of All Ocean on Aila and CRISIS on Violet, which worked well enough. But then I forgot about her field effect and died horribly.

A few party thoughts, in terms of balance... All of the main characters and a couple of the extras.
The system seems to really heavily favor blitz strategies. I was almost always using the Vice or Barrage lines of modes, since they gave you the AP and EX to consistently use more damaging moves. They also give you the most Speed, which is the best stat.

I was unimpressed with Leon for most of the game, but he was quite good later on; Analysis is useful, especially when you have the Modes and Facilitators to use his EX every three turns. Killing Point both does massive damage and prevents him from being ineffective against anything that resists his weapon elements, which really helps (see my comments on the True Final Boss). Its disadvantage is also easily ignorable with Erin, especially if Leon is faster than her.

Scott is fairly good, but his main problem is damage. While Focus Shot is good damage at the point when everyone is using 2-EX moves, Burstfire Barrage is completely unimpressive, which means he suffers late game when Focus Shot's cheap cost is no longer helpful. Gambit ensures he can't be completely ineffective against anything, he has good HP, and the Barrage will exactly fulfill the requirement for Focus Shots every turn, so he can use a HP Faciliator or Booster without sacrificing damage.

Violet is really, really good. Burst means that, with the proper set-up, she can use her EX every two turns by the end of the game, and it does a LOT of damage. She also has a lot of synergy with fixed damage syncs; while she'll do more damage without by the end, especially if she gets stat boosting items or MND boost, she can easily switch to them against anything especially resistant. The ability to completely invalidate defensive gimmicks while doing almost as much damage is invaluable, and she's game-best at it. (Kugar, I'm looking at you. Though I'm not sure doing damage to him when his wings went gold even mattered...) Accel Booster is also insane, because SPD Boost is the best status in the game and it's easy to cast it second turn and EX on the third, but SPD Boost Fields are pretty easy to get by the point it's available.

Erin is also really, really good, by virtue of having First and Second Aid. Setting her up to use either every two turns is easy, especially if you're willing to use Chaos; its disadvantage is hardly present when she's healing for 5000. That said, the fact that her healing seems to be affected by target MND is... really unfortunate. Having her heal for ~500 on Aila while both have MND Boost was a very odd moment, and it means she scales kind of badly. Sniper is also useful, especially since she'll still have the AP for First Aid after it.

Celia does not like the AP system. Unless she's spending a lot of time chucking items, she's stuck using her 5 AP move every turn, because it seems to do more damage than 2 AP-8AP or adding a turn to defend for her EX. She would really like Burst or Analyze or a Boost; her EX costs 10 AP, and it's nowhere near as strong as Killing Point, so having to defend to use it just adds insult to injury.

Indy needs more HP, full-stop. The combination of a low level and terrible HP growth means that any and all group attacks will kill her from full HP for the entire duration of the story, which renders her almost completely unusable. Vampire is really good, she can get on a two-turn rotation easily, and I like her gimmick, but so long as using her renders one character a constant item-chucker I have no incentive to do so.

Dread also has the dreaded 10 point EX, but his STR Boost skill helps; it means he can easily get on a three turn rotation where he uses his boost on the second turn and his EX on the third. It's also dirt-cheap in shards. I wish I had gotten it when I was using him for the story, if I could have, because he's too slow for me to want to include normally.

Gray is pretty good. He's decently durable, does good damage, and he gets a three-turn rotation of his EX abilities that leaves him able to pick between Buster Cannon and Dark Force as appropriate, which is a nice gimmick. Interestingly enough, I'm pretty sure he could use both in a five-round rotation if there's a better version of the Scion mode, since I never found a four-square version of that line; Attack-Load Cartridge-Buster Cannon-Burst-Dark Force. Getting up to 5 AP per-round with a Scion-alike would do it.

Hawk is good. He has SPD Crush (which instantly kicks him up a tier or two), he can get a two-turn rotation on Telekinesis and Indignant Variation, and he has absurd HP. Of course, he's slow and that requires he has Scion (and as mentioned, I never found its upgrade), which means it's him or Violet and Violet will always win that fight.

There is no reason to use Jake. He just... doesn't have anything, really. It's sad.

If Lavitz had Burst or if Swallow Dance cost 8 AP instead of 9, she would be Violet+ and therefore absolutely insane. (Or if that Scion+ Mode exists...) But she doesn't and it does so she isn't, because she can't use Swallow Dance every two turns. Tragic, really, since Swallow Dance is Attack and therefore gets more out of Syncs, and a good example of how character balance hinges on very small things sometimes. I probably still wouldn't use her due to leveling, though.

Aila... damn, she levels up FAST, and she's also the person who gets the most out of leveling; after using her from the start of Orbital Prison 4 to the end of the post-game content, she's 10 levels above Erin and has 2/3 the experience, thanks to playing mother duck to the extra characters while I got them to 30. Those two factors make her incredibly usable for someone who comes at level 1. The fact that she's be completely useless if you got her at the beginning of the game with default Modes also amuses me. She's mostly a tank unless you have the Millennial Memory, at which point she becomes really scary; being able to use Nova on a three-turn rotation is very, very powerful. Without it, she's stuck using Nova every four turns or plinking away with Ray or Charge-Pulsar, neither of which is very good damage.

Yes, I do dissect things overmuch. It's a good/bad habit, and I haven't quite decided which.

Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis

Ah, okay, got it. I apparently missed something Joker said, so I needed to head somewhere else first.

You have to go to the elevator in the Entrance area of Stynx Prison.

Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis

Does Orbital Prison 4 really only require the quests Krazy_Kakadu mentioned?

I have the AI Di La, the Demon King Cradle, the Signal Ring, a cleared message at the arena, and A.I.L.A on Aila, so I'm certain I fulfilled those requirements. I'm also getting no names showing in the Pantheon with the Soul and Reverse Mirrors, so I know I cleared all of the Mirror bosses. I'm still getting turned away at Orbital Prison 4, though...

Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis

I've seen mentions of No Man's Land 3, and I've seen it in the Orbital Prison Pantheon, but I haven't found a way to unlock it on the map. Anyone mind telling me how to unlock it? I'm wondering if I missed an alternate exit somewhere...

Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis

I had very good luck with the G-Quiz - I managed to get through all 100 questions the first time I met him, though I did get two questions wrong by question eighty or so. Between that and all of the wandering with the GPS, my shard collection is coming along nicely.

Did you go to Tinder's hideout in phase 9 again? That triggers the actual quest.

Anyway, he's fought as a random encounter. There's a certain screen where you'll hear mechanical footsteps. Walk around until you get an exclamation mark, then enter battle. You should see him.

Ah, okay. Thanks! That really could have done with more explaining in-game, though, especially since I like to have other music on when I'm revisiting old areas. I had no idea there was a sound cue until you mentioned it.

Would anyone mind telling me where Mk3 is when you're told he's near the shores of Pallas? I've looked around, but I haven't heard the footsteps in the places I've looked, and the searching is starting to wear on me.

Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis

Does anyone remember exactly where Tinderbot Mk3 is in the Factory? I'm trying to get the Signal Ring in the post-game; I went through Phase 2 to Tinder's Hideout and then to Phase 9 for the quest, but I can't find it anywhere in the place. I'm wondering if I missed a trigger somewhere...

Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis

A question: Are you supposed to be able to demolish the Street Tournament in Charon immediately after arriving? I got up to that point in the story, decided to go through the tournament until I could no longer progress, and have yet to reach that point. I just won the Joker Card at rank 55. It's strange, because I'm so used to the upper ranks of this kind of tournament being mid-to-late-game content, and the rewards for continuing on through the tournament are really, really good.
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