Tag Archives: Dragon Quest

Tales of Symphonia Text Review and Story Breakdown: Part 4

Originally a script for a video review, so some parts may stick out and, without visual aids, I recommend having played the game already! Note: this is for the original Tales of Symphonia, so if anything changed in the re-release, I haven’t touched on it here.

Quick links to other entries:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 5

18) Plot Pretzel

Before we set off, Raine delivers the final dungeon disclaimer that there’s no guarantee they’ll return. She and Lloyd get the slow dragon and are last to arrive, while Martel and Kratos are already inside. The others move in and find Remiel, who explains that Martel will lose her heart and memory to become a true angel. Raine also knows a few new details. She promised Martel earlier not to say anything, but now reveals that she’ll die.

Oh, that Martel and her web of lies. To think Lloyd actually believed he found out the whole truth.

Continue reading

Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of March 3, 2014

Last week’s achievements

* Restructured some hidden stats in a more logical manner
* Set up various aspects of the equipment system
* Preliminarily finalized stats for 201 (yes, 201) fashion-based “status effects”
* Implemented ~40 of those status effects

Current focus

The equipment system followed by battles.

Weekly goals

* Finish off implementation of the remaining fashion effects and test all of them
* Write flavor text for at least 60% of the fashion effects
* Begin testing battles: damage formulas, battle text, etc.
* Order new computer


Even though—no, because it’s fully optional for the player, my fashion system ranks high as one of my favorite ideas. At best guess I’d say I thought of it in late 2012 or early 2013, but in any case, it’s certainly my newest large-scale idea.

One uncommon element of Dreamblazers that I’ve had in mind since at least 2010 is that equipment never becomes irrelevant; even starting equipment can be used until the end of the game. Like so many of my ideas, this was inspired by Pokémon (with a huge hat tip to The World Ends With You). The average player simply blasts through the game with their favorites, but a competitive player like me will reset twenty times until that Bulbasaur from Professor Sycamore has the right nature.

I aimed to appeal to both. A casual player never needs to look at a character’s outfit—and yes, I’m calling my equipment screen the “Outfit” screen to stress this point. The serious player, though, might look at Astrid, see that all of her stats are great but none are exceptional, and give away her Trailblazer Tunic, Agility Anklet, and Enchanted Earrings to, respectively, Power-centered, Speed-centered, and Magic Power-centered characters.

Could I do more, though? Could I create a middle ground between ignoring outfits and having the most intense optimization experience since Monster Hunter? Could an equipment screen be… fun? Maybe so! Each piece of clothing has at least one theme, like Cool or Playful, and piling on similar clothing gives the character a theme and boosts her Style stat. If you give her two or more themes, some have natural synergy, such as Sporty + Swimmer or Girly Girl + Princess, while others oppose each other, like Innocent + Military or Everyday + Formal, increasing or decreasing her Style.

In the end I sifted through 433 theme combos and wound up with 201 ways for players to change their Style. My hope is that seeing status effect names like “Disco Knight” or “Ribbons, Lace, Angry Face” or “Sparkles and Swag” pop up as you change clothes will be as fun as opening the menu in Dragon Quest IX and seeing what myriad of new titles Stella would shower on you.

Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of February 24, 2014 (Cosmic Coincidence Edition)

Unusual edition today! Didn’t get much accomplished but took a master course in RPG design—in a sense—so this is in blog format below the jump. Lots to say!

Continue reading

Tales of Symphonia Text Review and Story Breakdown: Part 1

Originally a script for a video review, so some parts may stick out and, without visual aids, I recommend having played the game already! Note: this is for the original Tales of Symphonia, so if anything changed in the re-release, I haven’t touched on it here.

Quick links to other entries:

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

The story in Tales of Symphonia, especially early on, aims toward old-school RPG fans. People who value originality above all may not like it too much, but some of us live for this kind of thing. For the most part, it’s a fun and lighthearted fantasy story–and like with so much classical fantasy (see the Silver Age of comics, Dragonball Z), the story is a little silly (see Batman: The Brave and the Bold, original Dragonball), a little cheesy (Star Wars, Sailor Moon), and even a little self-contradicting, but that’s the beauty of it and it has a big heart in the right place.

If you want to jump on the emotional roller coaster, though, you’ll need to play the game yourself. I’m only here to make fun of what I love. To get 100% completion, you need to finish this game at least three times—and I did that and started noticing certain… things. I’ll take them in the order they come up.

the three mandatory best friends for 100% completion

1) Colette Brunel Who Now?

It seems like the writers had no idea what to do with Colette’s character. I’m not saying I don’t like her! I like her a lot, but we’ll talk about that later. I’m just saying it seems they wanted to make their heroine appeal to everybody, so they gave her every character trait they could think of even when they conflict with each other. You can tell in the first few minutes if you look for it. Let’s go to examples!

Continue reading

What’s In A (Changed For Localization) Name?

Of all the decisions that game developers and publishers make, none baffles me more than changing names for change’s own sake during localization. Altering a creator’s work requires justification: the name “Tina” in Final Fantasy VI was intended to sound foreign and mysterious to Japanese audiences but wouldn’t have that effect in North America, so it was changed to “Terra.” People can debate the legitimacy of the reasoning behind that change and explain why they don’t believe it was necessary, especially with the benefit of hindsight; they might say that names like Mario, Luigi, Link, and Cloud are universal, that the name “Cid” is a constant in the Final Fantasy series, or that Tales games regularly use names like Natalia, Chester, Lloyd, and Rita for both English and Japanese with few fan complaints. What no one can argue is the fact that reasoning for the name Terra existed. Thought went into it and so I don’t dispute her name change.

On the far opposite end is the inconsistency of Pokémon naming. For the most part, the series localizes names so that whether English-speaking players are six or sixty, they know that a Bulbasaur is a dinosaur with a bulb. However, the name Pikachu carried over along with other names and portmanteaus like Jirachi, Rayquaza, Lucario, and Pachirisu. The question is why they didn’t change and the answer is—a mystery.

Just as much of a mystery is why Japanese names that would already make sense to English speakers sometimes get changed. Above are a chinchilla Pokémon and its evolution, known as Chillarmy and Chillaccino in the Japanese games, but as Minccino and Cinccino in the English games. The question isn’t whether the changed names are good or bad, but why the changed names are. If anything, “Chillarmy” is likely more easy to pronounce for nine-year-old native English speakers than “Minccino”.

The Final Fantasy VI opera scene: my proof positive that nostalgia has little hold over me. I only needed one look at the GBA version to throw the above lyrics out of my heart.

“Because we can” is a poor argument to change lines—after all, you “can” also not change them—but I’m not a purist. I have my preferences only independently of faithfulness to the original. I don’t know or care which version of Dragon Quest IV is closer to the original, but I do know that I prefer the NES localization over the DS re-localization. I also know that, with only a couple of exceptions, I prefer the SNES localization of Final Fantasy VI over the GBA re-localization that Square-Enix certainly stated was more faithful.

Above all, I believe one thing about localizations: that they should see their ideas through. I may not like the all-over-the-map accents of Dragon Quest IV, but I admire that the team had a vision and ran with it to the greatest extent. Even though I didn’t like it once, that same willingness to change things worked wonders for me with Dragon Quest IX‘s alliteration-rich translation. If Cherry Tree High Comedy Club went all the way to whitewash every Japan-related reference out of the dialogue, I wouldn’t have liked that decision but I could at least say that it wasn’t a house divided. If only legendary Pokémon kept Japanese names and the names of ordinary Pokémon always changed, there would be a certain clarity to the series’ naming conventions.

Just as every spell or special move should be created with a purpose, every word in a game script should be put in with a purpose—and that holds true whether the word is being written on a blank sheet or translated from another language.