Tactician Karina
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  • Hi, Karina! Hope you’ve been doing well.
    I wanted to ask your opinion about something. You’ve played Dragon’s Dogma, right? I’ve been interested in this game for a while (your post of that insert song in the video game music thread helping a lot with that, haha), and right now I have the opportunity to get the PC version at a super-low price. Would you recommend it to someone who likes both turn-based and action JRPGs with strong stories? And what kind of experience should I expect from it? I’d love to know what you think!
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    So, if you're getting the game expecting a good story, you'll be a bit disappointed. The main draw of the game is combat mechanics and the atmosphere, the story is mostly lackluster until you get to the ending. The beginning and middle of the game does have hints of lore, and anything of the main story that is mentioned is mostly cliche, but like I mentioned the story gets better once you reach the end. If the PC version is Dark Arisen, then the story for Bitterblack Isle is pretty good and makes up for the lack of it in most of the main game. Side characters don't get too much in characterization, and if you don't really like any of them, then you probably won't like whoever is your beloved (as an aside, the romance mechanic is kinda wonky, so be careful when you get towards the end depending on which side quests you do; it's been known to override your choice with another character instead, so look up guides on how to get which character you're going for). The only characters you might get attached to are your Arisen (your avatar) and Pawn, especially the latter I'd say (don't want to get too spoilery for you).

    As for the combat, it's real-time, and the atmosphere and playstyle leans more toward Western RPG's, but still sticks with it's JRPG roots obviously. Speaking of atmosphere, the environment does encourage you to explore, there are quite a lot of goodies to find in houses, ruins, caves, etc., especially if you're going for materials to upgrade gear/armor sets. Customization is also pretty deep in this game, probably my top favorite compared to others I've played that has it, "Fashion Dogma" is a big thing within the community. (also, since you mentioned Into Free, the song is only in the original, not Dark Arisen, just as an aside).

    I should also mention, if you do end up getting it, the beginning is kind of a slog to get through. Mainly because it's the tutorial, and it's a bit slow paced about it, but once you get to Gran Soren the game really opens up and there's more to explore and do plus unlocking new skills and vocations.

    If you mostly want in-depth combat that is a bit of a mix of DMC and Monster Hunter, a world that has quite a bit of exploration, and a game with deep customization then yeah I'd say you should get it. If you want a deep or strong story and characterization, then you probably won't really like it much, especially if you don't want to wait until you get to the ending where the story is at it's most strongest or you don't really want to go through the optional BB Isle (which is pretty damn hard if you don't have great armor, weapons, Pawns, and are underleveled).
    Hi! I know we haven’t talked directly like this in a while (the video game music thread remains awesome, though, haha!), but in any case I hope you’re doing well.
    A few questions that I thought you’d have a good chance of answering:

    1) Have you heard of the Angelique series? From what I’ve heard, it’s apparently the OG otome series in Japan, being rather popular there, but also being seemingly almost unknown in the West save for a tiny but very dedicated fanbase. I ask because I’ve heard some lovely samples of its music from the earlier titles in the series by finding the original music files, but there seems to be almost nothing for the series’ music on YouTube at all! Which is strange because even some of the most niche titles out there (including Japan-only ones) have their OSTs on there, so what gives for Angelique? Would you happen to have any insight on why this game is so impossible to get information on in the West?

    2) When I followed you quite a while ago at this point, I was expecting some sort of feed that showed me your posts in real-time or something, but all of this time I never got that, which I found strange. But now I’m starting to follow some other people and I’m indeed getting their feeds now. Do you think that it was a glitch back then, or do you have things set on your end for it to not do that? (The latter would explain it, but I just want to make sure).

    Thanks!
    - Bakuphoon
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    Hey! Yeah it has been a while, unfortunately life sometimes takes priority so I'm either not online or only on for a few minutes or so, so posting in general have been somewhat fluctuating for me. But I am indeed doing well, I hope you are as well!

    As for your questions:

    1.) I have indeed heard of it, though my only outright firsthand exposure to the games is the latest release on the Switch, Luminarise, which released last year; had to import though since, as you said, the series is practically unknown in western countries. I quite enjoy Luminarise's soundtrack, very lovely and soothing in some tracks, and I assumed that the rest of the series' OST is similar; it's a shame that there's nothing from this game, and others, on YouTube or other sites like it. As for why it's almost impossible to find anything about it west-side:

    I'd assume first and foremost that otome games are a niche within a niche here, VN's in general aren't all that popular aside from a few breakout series, even in Japan otome games don't always receive a whole lot of popularity aside from a few like the series in question (which also pretty much spawned the villainess isekai trope that we're seeing a bit more of) or series like Amnesia and Collar x Malice (and that's not even getting into other joshimuke games, which otome is a subgenre of). Plus, western otome fans are more likely to catch on with more recent titles than older ones like this series, newer titles are usually at the forefront of physical and online magazines like Sweet Princess, B's-Log, Dengeki Girl's Style, etc.

    Second, it's publisher KOEI is more known as KT after the merger, and more people in the west are going to recognize them more for DoA, Dynasty/Samurai/Orochi Warriors (and some crossover IP's within the series), Ninja Gaiden, and Atelier; I don't think a lot of people know of KOEI's independent works, especially ones like Uncharted Waters.

    Another possibility is that Angelique is a pretty big franchise, aside from the games which also have their own spinoffs there is also: OVA's/special's, manga, Drama CD's, vocal tracks, side story CD's, and two TV anime; I think with a franchise this big it's a bit too daunting for fans and western publisher's to bother compiling a whole lot of info on it, even big Japanese franchise's that do catch on here don't always get everything translated and brought over, and once again otome's being niche here certainly doesn't help (and with the first game being released in '94, and with what it's content is, I don't think it would've had a chance in the west at all tbh). And I do think in most western otome fans cases, they're used to fandisc's of their preferred game or at the least a few prequels or sequels, or separate stories, that at least have the same cast of that game; also, this series is more so a simulation game than an outright VN, so that turns off some fans as well.

    At the end of the day, I don't think we'll ever truly know why it's nonexistent in the western otome fandom, but I'll bet good money it's because of it's genre's niche status + too big to even bother trying.

    2.) Huh, I didn't know that's a thing here? Unless I forgot but I didn't know that's a feature here. I personally haven't seen any feed from people I follow, including you, so I don't know if I accidentally set something in my settings to make it like that or not; not sure what option that'd be but it's possible I might have clicked something without me paying attention.
    Oof, that is probably like the third or fourth worst birthday to have, but I hope you have a good one all the same.
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    Thanks! To be honest, it was kind of a bummer when I was younger, but I've since been enjoying it (and some restaurants give me free Halloween themed sweets if I say so beforehand, so that's nice lol). I hope you have a good Halloween night.
    Your avatar reminds me of the Leonardo DiCaprio wine glass meme
    Was browsing r/Berserk when I found out Kentaro Miura passed away on May 6, and news of it just came out. My heart goes out to his family, and may he rest in peace. Berserk will still be known as one of the best dark fantasy series thanks to him.
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