So, I just beat the game and watched the ending and just wanted to write down my personal impressions I had while playing. I wrote so many bug reports during the last few days that I feel I should write about the overall feel of the game in a separate place. =P I finished the whole thing in four days, which shows how addictive I found it, so that's something!
- I absolutely loved the way the world looked. The towns seemed really "organic" and natural, there are so many RPG Maker - and also professional - games where the town is just like a big square with the houses lined up in rows. Here everything seemed much more "real". The areas also had so many things to explore and look at! I really enjoyed the feeling that the people of Ara Fell really used every bit of their limited space to fill their floating world with what they needed.
- My favourite character was, by far, Seri. I also was absolutely stunned how very well the game handled her "I am a powerful sorceress"-thing. Normally in games, when you recruit a new character who is apparently super-powerful, I find it hard to believe when said character is then the same level as the little hero from the farm village. But despite being near Lita's level, the way how Seri handles magic so differently, how much Mana she has, how it refills after battle, how her status effects are 100% hit on non-bosses with the single target ones... I totally could believe it. Just because of that. In the end, something as simple as her spells costing more and therefore her having more Mana as well - balancing out again, so it being more an optical thing - completely made her look like the powerful sorceress she is. I really, really liked that! (Especially compared to Adrian, who seriously claimed to have explored the Holy Land before when I arrived there for the first time. Suuuure, Adrian, you handled all those enemies at Level 1 since that was your level when you joined my party! =P Silly guy!)
- Of course I also really enjoyed the storyline and especially the fact that the game actually included the story mode to almost get rid of battles. I've never seen anything like it before and found it a great addition when I checked story mode out for a bit today. I really loved how everything came together at the end (I thought I would never find out why Talani wasn't affected by the stone curse until then). I also loved how the story gave me so many opportunities to explore in between (I looted Castle Atana during the stone curse, haha). The side quests also tied in really, really nicely with the main storyline and besides maybe that really weird "plot" in the Cave of Life (who was that guy?), the whole story was consistent, everything NPCs said mattered in the end, there were no plot holes I can remember and I just had a lot of fun! Meeting Dian at the end was really cool!
- The fighting system in itself was awesome. I liked the HP recovery outside of battle and the MP recovery inside of battle. Buying items was never really necessary, I usually got by with what I found after I got my full party. I also found all skills really well balanced between the party; everyone was needed in their own way.
- My maybe main complaint are the bosses and semi-bosses. While they all were truly unique, the way to beat them was, in the end, pretty much the same (Apply bleed, apply expose, when needed apply Mark, when doable apply silence, then just hit. Bleed alone usually took 50% of the HP of every boss for me). Also the difficulty of the bosses was crazy different. Maranda, for all the hype she got plotwise, was probably the easiest boss in the game for me. Arger, on the other hand - so the very first boss - completely wrecked me since I was unable to get through his shield he put on the pets and I blew through every single item I had while being three levels above the recommended. Then again, maybe it was just my level distribution. Still, after him and Nash (who was also rather difficult) I thought I was in for one hell of a ride, but I wasn't. The difficulty of the bosses was so crazy different. The last boss and the second Nash encounter were easy and just mildly annoying because I had to reapply the status effects with every new form. You knew what the hardest bosses for me were? Azatel (who wrecked me with hit-all magic, I needed like four tries) and - I don't even dare say it - the trolls on the bridge. They weren't even a real boss and yes, I'm talking about the time when I was supposed to fight them. I died nine times. Nine. To a bunch of trolls. The storyline bosses after them? Pushovers. Same with the bounties - I fought the Star Witch and the Vampire Stalker literally right after another since they both become available after defeating the trolls. Given the bounty reward I expected the Star Witch to be horrible, but she was so weak it was unbelieveable. The vampire, however, gave me a pretty good fight, I had to have Lita on revive/heal duty for a few rounds, even. Damn spiders. So yeah, why are a bunch of trolls stronger than the final boss? I dunno. =P Should have hired them!
- The fact that grinding was never really necessary since bosses gave so much exp was really nice! The fact that the monsters therefore also moved so slowly also was. I also enjoyed that leveling up didn't scale much, so exp gain was pretty much even and only coins became more plentiful later. It helped when I wanted to stay in one area for whatever reason.
- Now bear with me, I might be an idiot, but the absolutely worst part was when I was supposed to find Lita's dad in the Hunting Range. I needed 40(!) minutes until I found those three spots I needed to visit. I was so. totally. lost. When running and testing story mode today... I stopped after getting to that point again and being lost for ten minutes again with me unable to find the third spot once more. Keep in mind, I've explored the hunting range enough by now. I still find it one of the most difficult areas to travel through, though (together with the Cave of Life - damn those sprites! - and the Holy Land) because of all the narrow paths and ledges and stuff.
- I will forever wonder if the final form of the final boss (with the consecutive attacks) is beatable. I saw Ice II doing 27 damage, so my guess is "No", but maybe with enough grinding to level 99 (or story mode?) and then applying bleed and defending until the HP run out or something.
- I honestly expected there to be a way to learn Level III skills and was sad when Orlian didn't offer the possibility (unless I'm blind, but I searched town and temple like thrice while looking for a library because an NPC had said something about big libraries in Atana and Orlian). Level II carried me well through the game, but still... the enemy casting higher level spells was sad. =P
- I really hope there will be a sequel - I'd buy it at once! - because otherwise the ending is a bit unsatisfactory. I wanted to see Lita reunited with her family and to see where Doren ends up (probably a new girl altogether, lol). Also the game simply shutting down on me after the credits was a bit sudden, haha. Also I keep wondering now if Talani escaped or got killed.
- I REALLY wanted to read more of Adrian's diary and not just the last entry because I'm horrible like that! =D
There's probably more but I can't think of it right now. Anyway, I am really happy I invested the money to buy this game! I had a TON of fun and even though there's no timer to show me how long I played, I suspect I got around 20-25 hours of gameplay in the end, so well worth it! Thanks so much for making it! <3