Party: Two Casters? Two Frontliners? Or One Caster, One Frontliner, One Mix?

#1The Sword EmperorPosted 7/22/2013 2:42:58 PM
I do not know whether I should make James a front liner (Strength/Vit/Dex) or a caster (Intelligence/Mind/Piety) or if he should mix it up and play the middle. I'm inclined to make him front liner or caster because making him good at both might split his AP up too much to be effective in either role.

My concern with being a front liner is that the first boss could only be attacked by somebody standing directly in front of him, which would make a second front liner useless against bosses if they are all like that.

My concern with a caster is that I might deplete my characters' magic points too quickly.

Thoughts?

P.S.
How much time should I expect to invest in this game?
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#2Bag_SanPosted 7/22/2013 3:48:46 PM
Personally I figured from James' high MP/low intelligence ratio that he was meant to be a supporter, casting the Fortify stuff on the other two, but I think that's actually a bit of a waste. He actually does fine as a middle-ground guy as long as you don't expect him to be excellent; if you build him to be a mage you leave yourself open to all kinds of abuse late game imho, so I like to have him with plenty of HP so he can take the pain if Edward gets ko'd. One thing I'd definitely work on is that awful Agility stat - fast is best. I've always built James as a paladin type - a healer who can use a couple of weapons well and cast the odd spell in emergencies, keeping Koudelka as the magical attacker. Seeing as you can develop them any way you want though, it's down to your tastes in battle.

The formation thing with bosses usually consists of said boss attempting to demolish your front line by knocking back your fighters so you're pinned against a wall and he can take you out at his leisure. You can try having Edward at the forefront, James in the second row directly behind to prevent Edward from being forced back, and Koudelka at the rear blasting away with her insane magic. That's worked with a couple of tricky bosses. It does mean that projectile weapons might not target the boss, though.

The game is really not long - maybe 12-16 hours on a first playthrough. There are a few extras, but not many, so you're not talking Final Fantasy-type 100-hours plus gameplay, though fans of the game aren't too fussed about the length because the cut-scenes and stuff are still entertaining years down the line.

Sorry this has turned into an essay :)
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#3The Sword Emperor(Topic Creator)Posted 7/22/2013 5:02:15 PM
Thank you, actually. I appreciate detailed responses (and the swift reply!). :-)

So, some follow-up questions: you mean it's okay for me to basically raise all of his stats evenly (except luck)?

With the other two characters, I basically am raising their four relevant stats (Agility + the three I mentioned) evenly. I figure that would be best.

On a narrative note, I love the game's atmosphere, and the dialogue is clever. I can't help but wonder whether it would've been a better visual novel than a game, because I wonder if the combat will drag.

Do you use fortify spells? It seemed like a waste of turns to me; except maybe having everybody cast Fortify Agility at the start of battle.

If you have any other general advice for proceeding through the game, I'd love to hear it. As you might imagine, I just defeated the plant boss, so I literally just acquired James.
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#4Bag_SanPosted 7/23/2013 3:25:09 AM
I believe the designers wanted to give you your two RPG staples, the thug and the sorceress, and a third character to customise as you see fit, which works well, though because you do get so many stats to apply at Level Up you can re-arrange them to be anything you want. Most players (including myself) take advantage of Edward's natural tank-like tendencies and Koudelka's high magic damage because it makes early game much easier. However you may have noticed that equipping certain weapons can give significant boosts or drops to their stats so you can kind of improvise as you go along. If you want Sumo Queen Koudelka or Uber Wizard Edward you can do that within a few levels, but on a first playthrough I'd say stick with what you're doing if it works for you.

Luck is a statistic that's pretty nebulous - it has something to do with the drop rate of items and the chance of getting double and triple combos when their weapon proficiencies rise, but it's not something to worry about. You can go through the entire game and not put a single point on their Luck stats and you'll still beat it.

The battle system is kind of incidental - almost as though it was added on at the last minute, and the slowness of it has alienated some players. It's a shame because they tried to give it a strategic twist but really the only time you need to worry about tactics is during bosses, as you've already worked out. You can run through large areas without encountering a single random battle, and boss fights take ages whilst the character animations are being loaded etc. So yes, it's flawed. It really is more of an interactive movie than a game at times. Players like myself love it despite those aspects, though.

The Fortify spells are handy when they rise to their Level 3 versions, but could you be bothered to spend all that time raising them that high? Personally I do use a few (like Agility, Strength and Vitality which are good for bosses) but you don't really need them. If you want to beat certain optional sections late game I'd say have a couple handy but it's not really necessary. Tip: Casting a Fortify spell on an enemy drops its statistics, which is useful occasionally. It even works on some bosses.

There you go, another dissertation. Hope some of it helps. I always check out the K board, it's been a favourite game of mine for a long time. It's always good to see someone playing it.
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#5The Sword Emperor(Topic Creator)Posted 7/23/2013 6:47:50 AM
It's people like you - the vets who visit the boards of their favorite games - that make playing games like this so fun for me.

I admit, I'm still skeptical that James will be able to hold his own with that statline, but if equipment really does give a huge boost to stats, then eh, why not? XD

Also, if I get bored of the combat, but still find the game enchanting, I'll just watch this let's play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ednGoMf7uZY

Or ask you for a blow-by-blow.
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#6Bag_SanPosted 7/23/2013 8:56:10 AM
Thank you. It's always nice that people will give a decade-old PSX title a chance.

I was actually thinking about some of the questions you asked about the fighting and length of the game. For four discs, 12 hours of gameplay doesn't seem an awful lot. Then I compared it to another game bought about the same time which still has a huge fan-following, FF9. Don't get me wrong here - I'm not an FF hater, I play them a lot, but FF9 also had four discs, was intended to be completed in 12 hours, and consisted mainly of cut-scenes interspersed with fights. I still play Koudelka because I still haven't discovered everything it has to offer.

Anyway don't worry too much about James holding his own. He can be molded into whatever you want to suit your style of play, and it really doesn't take that long for him to play catch-up, because it's not hard to level up - even if you only fight bosses you get good experience for them.

Not sure how far you've progressed since the plant boss but you may well have found some stuff scattered around (weapons mainly). You might have found some weapons are breakable, and can disintegrate in a battle, meaning you will lose whatever stat bonuses they were endowing, and you'll have to equip something else or fight bare-handed. Certain enemies also drop armour and accessories which will make your team ridiculously over-powered if you get lucky drops.

Thank you for the link. I'll have fun watching someone else's take on the game and might learn something useful from it or even be inspired to load it up again.

I'd be happy to help with anything if I can, as I'm sure would the other forum vets when they read your posts. We all have our different preferences in terms of character builds but you're sure to find something if you're at all stuck.
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#7The Sword Emperor(Topic Creator)Posted 7/25/2013 1:14:11 PM
Thanks! I'm planning on resuming once I beat "Ys: the Oath in Felghana", which I am almost done with.

Tentatively, my plan is to give our "good Christian" (I wonder what his real story is) primary physical, secondary magical. In other words, 2/3 of the points going to physical stuff, 1/3 going toward magical. That way he'll be competent front line, but I can have him pull back into magic when needs be as a last resort.
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#8Bag_SanPosted 7/25/2013 5:23:47 PM
Is that the old Wanderers of Ys thing? I heard they remade it for the PSP...

Anyway your build sounds eminently workable. I found James was behind by a few levels already when I first picked him up, which made him seem pretty weak, and being as slow as he is he never seemed to get a turn in. With the battle system being one that rewards your team for the actions they take in battle, he really needed a little nurturing at first, but I found him useful Hope you do too. He has an interesting background as well, as you'll find out if you play on (or even watch the LP's). The character interaction between him and Edward is...interesting.

It'll be interesting to see how you get on and what you make of it :)
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#9The Sword Emperor(Topic Creator)Posted 7/27/2013 10:31:32 AM
Ys: the Oath in Felghana is a remake of the third entry in the Ys series. And I just beat it yesterday, so, huzzah!

I played a little more Koudelka today and... I'm just going to go with watching a YouTube video of the game. As we've discussed, the battle system feels tacked onto an otherwise decent video novel. I feel like the designers didn't want to make a "video game" or else they just didn't invest time into the battle system of the game. It would have worked better as an action-adventure game, if anything. Something like "Resident Evil"'s earlier entries.
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#10Bag_SanPosted 7/27/2013 2:46:16 PM
I think the team who designed it wanted to make it real-time and much as I like turn-based stuff, I think it would have worked better. Though the PS2 spin-offs (Shadow Hearts) worked in their own way. Personally I think they spent a lot of time on the battle system, using motion capture for the monster animations etc. Maybe they threw it together because they were running out of time or something. It just gets monotonous at times, which isn't good.

You may decide you dislike it after watching LP's of it, which would be a shame, but I could understand why people would feel it was lacking something. Pretty is good but you need substance too.
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