After several hours int the game, I think I have a basic understanding of the game.
Gameplay - Very basic and combo driven. I like my JRPG's to have combo systems, it adds a little bit of flavor to the game. The tiled fields are not by any means extremely large, so positioning is rather important when trying to corner enemies or create an eleborate combo that will excessively damage the enemy. I would like to say that the gameplay very much reminds me of Disgaea. For those familiar with Disgaea, you may recall positioning characters in certain directions to obtain minimal damage and best damage output, same features here. The actual playing field is not as elaborate by any means though (no elevation). You do gain "field" options though which can influence the party and the enemies on the field.
Difficulty wise, this game does encourage leveling and item grinding. Without properly leveling characters, you will meet a swift defeat. The amount of damage the monsters give and take is comparable to your own MC. It's quite a bit. Grinding monsters also generates technical points and money, which can be used to buy weapons, new smithing techniques, alchemy items, and the like.
An actual downside to the combat system is the camera system. It is extremely rigid, offering only about 4 angles of the field. While you eventually learn that you can click whichever tile you desire despite the UI and direction of the camera, I find it bothersome that the camera system is not more flexible. The combat system does not also offer many options aside from using skills, standby (thus generating action points for skills), no defense option, items, and reminding yourself which combo-able skills are available. Depending on how 'intricate' you enjoy combat games, this could be somewhat off-putting.
Lastly, the DLC which I tested on my characters absolutely break the game. I can absolutely disregard how much damage I am taking or giving, because it simply does not matter. It's a bit of a snooze fest when it comes to beating up monsters, even bosses. Even so, it is important to level the characters so that they may obtain new traits and skills. An overly equipped lvl5 offensive mage will still fall prey to a group of lvl6-7 monsters if not careful. Of course, I've managed to negate that. I can simply focus on grinding levels, items, and the story at this point.
Story and Characters: Not incredibly difficult to follow. Nothing really wow'd me in regards to plot. Your a relatively distinguished soldier, who dies, is revived by a mage, and proceeds to take a journey to save the world. As you proceed through the world, you do come across a variety of members who join the party. Most of them female. The female characters have an affection system which is affected at various "events" and your decision during them. Furthermore, the Oracle can "predict" your offspring and their stats based on your current relationship and stats. The male characters don't impress me anymore than the females, but the chemistry between the cast as a whole flows rather well. As of my progress in the game, there is no character development.
I would say the most interesting aspect of the MC's stats are reflective of the choices you make at the very beginning of the game. You choose particular class which is followed by several "sub" stat categories. These influence a particular stat that will be easier or harder to increase as you level up the MC.
All in all, the game is decent and worth killing time over if you're willing to sit down and take a journey. The flaws are there, but nothing to fret over. I'd give it a 7/10.
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