Welcome to the second impressions post. Today would have been a new review, but Lusipurr posted the long-awaited review of Undertale recently, so go read that as well. As last week was all games I had played on PlayStation 4, this week it is a PlayStation Vita edition. As before, if you would like to see a full review of games in these editorials, let me know in the comments.
The Lost Child
One of the many games published by NIS America on the Vita, The Lost Child runs quite nicely on the handheld device. This game is a first-person dungeon crawler RPG set in modern Japan. The player takes on the role of a reporter for a questionable magazine that deals in mysterious and occult phenomena. Whilst investigating one of the sketchy leads, the reporter is given a suit case he cannot open which is revealed to be the property of an angel. The angel arrives to claim her property, but after she is attacked, the two team up to investigate mysteries that happen outside of the perception of normal people.
Whilst The Lost Child is a dungeon crawler, it also has monster capturing as a mechanic. Enemies can be captured with a special attack in combat. Monsters do not gain experience like human character though, they need to be fed karma, a type of currency that is obtained from combat and dialogue decisions. Karma come in three different varieties and monsters have affinity for a certain type, requiring less to level up. There are mechanics to evolve and combine monsters, but I am still early enough into the game that these options are not available to me yet.
The Lost Child is currently my game of choice for gaming on the go. The fact that it is also my favourite sub-genre of RPG also helps. The story is a bit… out there, but the gameplay is enough to keep me hooked for the time being. If I had to level a criticism at it now, it would be that mechanics are not explained well enough. I know which ability will capture monsters, but I do not know the success rate or how to increase my chances. Maybe this will come with more experience with the game, but only time will tell.
Trails of Cold Steel
Another title published by NIS America (in the EU at least). Trails of Cold Steel will be familiar to anyone who has played previous entries in the Trails series as they are set in the same world. The games plot is centered around Rean Schwarzer and his fellow classmates at Thors Military Academy. He is part of class VII which is a newly formed class composed of both nobility and commoners. This mix of social classes sparks tension between some members of the group both in class and in the field.
Trails of Cold Steel is a turn-based RPG. The game is split between Persona style relationship scenes at the academy, and field exploration during missions. Each month in the game the students are tasked with completing various fieldwork tasks. The class is split between two areas limiting which characters are available to the party for that month. Completing the monthly tasks and side quests awards academic points which increases the players student rank and earns them rewards. Combat is fairly traditional, though two students can be linked to perform additional attacks on a critical strike or upon hitting a weakness. Players can move characters around the combat area, so positioning is also important.
Trails of Cold Steel is a fairly long game, but it is also first of four in the Cold Steel sub-series. Some side quests are not visible to the player and can be missed, meaning the top student rank can no longer be attained. Upon learning this my enthusiasm for the game dropped somewhat. The series is being released on PlayStation 4 later this year, so that may be my queue to pick the title up again and play it to completion.
Trillion: God of Destruction
Trillion is the most unique game in this post as it is half tactical RPG, half dating sim. The player is the Demon King Zeabolos, having previously lost against a battle with Trillion, a massive entity destroying the demon world, he makes a deal with a grimoire-wielding girl by the name of Faust. In exchange for his soul, Faust grants him his life, and he trains six female Demon Lords who hope to defeat Trillion in his place. The player begins the game by selecting one of three candidates to train up. Training is done through menus and takes up time, and the eventual showdown with Trillion looms over every action the player takes.
Players can earn the right to enter the Valley of Swords, a training location that uses the tactical combat system. Players have a limited number of steps to defeat as many opponents and loot as much treasure as they can before returning to the entrance and escaping. Battles are fought similarly to some rogue-likes in which the player moves into the enemy to deal damage, or selects an ability from a list to use skills or magic. At the end of the dungeon the player is awarded character growth based on the number and difficulty of the enemies they fought. Eventually the battle win Trillion comes around and players attempt to deal as much damage as possible before they are defeated. Defeat does not always mean the death of the character, but should a character die, the player chooses another heroine to start the next round of training, albeit with a bonus from the growth of the former.
Trillion is one of the few games I have nought physically for the Vita, but the cycle of training and combat gets a little repetitive. Some events can come up multiple times, but the dialogue does not change. There is not much of a story outside of the initial setup, though each heroine has unique interactions with Zeabolos whilst the player is training them. This is another game I plan to come back to at some point, perhaps when my playtime is limited and I have to play in short sessions, as everything in this game is done very quickly.