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Citizen Sleeper goes out with a whimper, a slow pan of the whole Eye crawling into view while its spacious soundtrack plays out its last song. Maybe The Eye meant more to you than it did to me in this moment. The stacatto release of Citizen Sleeper's DLC has an obvious impulse to imbue The Eye with real time, like comics and television, but, without reimagining the core systems, the gap mostly highlights the games biggest faults. The character writing and navigation remains the strongest element, but it all drowns without any return onramp. The ease at which you can absolutely steam roll every DLC episode with zero preparation just feels like such a massive oversight. I understand that it's free DLC, but making updates is an opportunity to revise and edit. The endgame pre-DLC already had this issue and tacking more frictionless tasks on to my level 1000 Sleeper makes the most interesting ludo-narrative synthesis eat shit. Even playing along with the continued individualist cynicism that sours most of the endings or the character arc twists, Purge is a really pathetic end to an otherwise compelling imagination space of a game.
It continues to be very very humbling going back through this franchise. Not just this franchise but, it seems, all RPGs that descend from the philosophies and design ethics of Dragon Quest constantly remain in the orbit of this game. DQ3 takes the runaway phenomenon of the first two games and manages to make its closed-circuit adventure formula map to a much larger map. Chosing your party members within the job system provides ups and downs unique to your cast in the way any great job system should. The path through the world is delicately threaded with level checks carefully designed for the amount of grunt work you'll need to do to piece together your next steps. The echoes of your father's path and the repercussion of your own actions boom throughout the world as your team deals with your adventure strongly resembling the one that came before it. Dragon Quest 3 is a game about lineage and discovery in ways which I think wordier entries later in the series struggle to land. If you try to halfheartedly blaze through this with a guide or without optimizing your party, I could see a modern palette rubbing against the level checks, but I think this game is really an unavoidable and vital puzzle piece in the legacy of Video Games.
CNs for Tales of Innocence R: child abuse, mind control, maiming, sui*, human experimentation, starvation, kidnapping.
Tales of Innocence R is a game with a smallness claimed by its title that often gets betrayed by remake-itis bringing uncreative adaptations and bloating in all the wrong places. The promise of a Tales that's primarily about how its cast relates to or copes with social expectations put upon them without a super burdensome fantasy pretense is exciting to me. Like many, I come to these games primarily for how much of the run time is spent emulating petty conversations while in transit to different set pieces. World and political table dressing which normally takes up so much of this franchise's interest falls to the side for simple emotional revelations made by the cast. There isn't anything impressive in terms of content or theme, but the amount of space between events is often really affecting in the way that grindy games can transform a single sentence or image multiple times. This carefulness is unfortunately not the norm and the game is frequently ruining its characters with bad remixes of the usual stock gags done without much thought and completely random grinding demands that negatively affect your sense of time passing.
I'd really love a middle ground between what the DS script size probably is and what we have here because I really do like the idea of a JRPG that only claims very brief character sketches rather completely fleshed out character arcs. I would just like a version of that where I liked the main cast anywhere near as much as the two random remake tie-in characters that I didn't even realize weren't in the original until credits!!! Thanks to life bottle for the fan translation and for the help actually applying the patch!