Chrono Trigger: To Far Away Times (Pt. 1)

Childhood memories.

There are few things that I remember as vividly as playing Chrono Trigger on the SNES. I’ve played many of the classic JRPG experiences of that time, but there were few that were as prominent or as meaningful as Chrono Trigger was. Were I to be experiencing this for the first time with the (rather poor) PC re-release I’d likely still hold it in high regard. It truly is one of my favourite video games of all time, and one of the rare examples that (through New Game+) I’ve finished a video game so many times that I’ve actually lost count. I’ve also owned three or four copies of it for different consoles.

The PC re-release is by far the most disappointing, though.

Starting with a New Game save file has been interesting. It’s definitely going to revitalise certain boss encounters as I’m so accustomed to having a New Game+ save file, but that’s how I’d like this experience to be. Honest and realistic. I’m also greatly enjoying accidentally acquiring key items.

I did remember that there was a specific key item at the Millennial Fair, but I’d forgotten where it was and acquired it by accident. Coincidentally, on my first visit to 2300 A.D., I cleared the Abandoned Sewers and gained access to both the Keeper’s Dome and Death Peak. Having done so I’ve actually fulfilled the requirements of a quest later in the story. Not that any of these things are useful at the moment. As there’s no way to climb Death Peak, and (more importantly) no reason to as we lack the second key item required to complete that quest. So while I’d love to irreparably break the main story it’s an (almost) impossible endeavour. We’ve got to reforge an ancient sword, prevent a reptilian uprising, and uncover the secrets of Lavos’ creation before Death Peak becomes relevant. But when it does we’ll be ready for it.

When you don’t want people to steal food from your refrigerator.

As this is a New Game save file I’ll be defeating Lavos with every character present. It’s been fun learning about the characters again. I’d forgotten that both Frog and Robo could restore health. I was instead relying on Marle (and the Aura Whirl Dual Tech with Chrono) for the majority our healing, but I can now rely on Frog as I’ve done so many times before in New Game+. I’ll be shuffling my party members around, though. As I’ve barely used Lucca, Robo, and Ayla in previous attempts. I’m also going to avoid specifically levelling up my party members, as I’d like to be challenged throughout.

Naturally levelling up is perfectly acceptable.

But I’d prefer to avoid becoming so ridiculously powerful that most things become trivial. I’ve always loved how engaging the boss encounters are, and I’d like to rely on their particular weaknesses to be able to defeat them. It’ll also make accessories far more relevant than they would be in New Game+.

Following our first visit to 600 A.D., we were hurled to the bleak post-apocalyptic landscape of 2300 A.D. where the planet is a decaying husk. Civilisation has mostly been destroyed and the few remaining survivors are starving. Hope isn’t entirely lost, though. Rumours suggest that the dome may still contain food, and that all we need to do is survive the journey to retrieve it. Unfortunately, while we may have survived the journey, the refrigeration had failed many years before, and so the food was inedible. But during our adventures in 2300 A.D. we met the loveable Robo. So it wasn’t an entirely wasted effort. As we began our journey back to 1000 A.D. we were thrown to the End of Time, where one of our party members would have to stay. Alone. With little more than a bucket to keep them company.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

An Uncertain Future

One can never be too sure.

While some may loathe uncertainty I’m rather fond of the possibilities presented by it, but then I’ve never particularly thought too much about the future. Where I’ll be or who I’ll be. What I’ll be doing or where I’ll be doing it. I’ve had some incredibly fortuitous experiences because of this, and I’ve likely squandered some potential because it. I’ll never really know as I’m unable to experience the numerous possibilities afforded by making different decisions. But that’s fine. I’m reasonably comfortable with things as they are at the moment, and I can honestly say that I have few regrets.

Which is all that I can really ask for.

If I’m disappointed about anything it’s the notable lack of creative content last year. I’m still highly enthusiastic about all things creative, but I’ve been (unsuccessfully) considering how best to continue with things as they currently are. I haven’t really been making as much time for it as I should, either.

What I have been making time for is innumerable JRPGs. Starting with the wonderfully charming World of Final Fantasy, then the exceptionally enjoyable Octopath Traveler, followed by the bizarrely satisfying Mary Skelter: Nightmares, and continuing with the breathtaking masterpiece that is Yakuza 0. I also decided to play the exquisitely crafted Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered, and the incredibly engaging sequel Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. It was then time to revisit Grim Dawn through the outstanding Forgotten Gods expansion pack, and write about the misadventures of my Cabalist. I’d also previously written about the re-release of Diablo and the Hellfire expansion pack, and decided that I’d document my adventures in the blasphemous bowels below Tristram.

Earlier in the year I’d played the absolutely thrilling Battle Chasers: Nightwar, too. Following that it was finally time to begin my campaign in the thoroughly engrossing XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, and I once again became far too attached to soldiers that could perish at any moment. I also revisited the Mexiverse through the delightfully humorous campaign of Guacamelee! 2, and then spent some time with the Bergson family in the beautifully narrated Children of Morta. I then shared my first impurressions of the utterly pawesome Cat Quest and the many cat puns found therein.

There were countless compelling gaming experiences to be had.

I’d also decided that I’d spend the festive season playing the (woefully abhorrent) PC re-release of Chrono Trigger. I wasn’t expecting too much from it, but I still managed to be disappointed. Thankfully, the rushed amateurish PC re-release did little to diminish how enjoyable Chrono Trigger is to play.

Chrono Trigger will feature prominently throughout January as well. I’ve been writing about my time with it, and the result is an interesting series of posts quite unlike anything I’ve done before on Moggie’s Proclamations. I’ll also be writing a Steam guide for it. As I’ve noticed that there are few available which detail anything besides the requirements to unlock each ending, and of those fewer still suggest ways to unlock each ending. It’s quite a sizeable guide, though. So it’s going to take some time. But I’m going to make every effort to finish writing it, as I’ve always been fond of the JRPGs of the SNES and Chrono Trigger is a great example of the best of them. It’s also my favourite video game of all time. Without a doubt. Even Diablo II (and the hundreds of hours spent with it) can’t compare to joy that Chrono Trigger brings me.

Happy New Year, all!

Moggie

A Grave Injustice

Like many classic JRPGs have suffered before.

I’m quite fond of the number of remakes, remasters, and re-releases that there have been in recent years. Through these we’ve been able to experience many classic video games than we would’ve had access to otherwise, and I’m hopeful that we might see a re-release or a remaster of Chrono Cross one day. Preferably on PC. But I’ve got a PS Vita, too. So a (European) PSOne Classic release would be wonderful. But not all remakes, remasters, or re-releases are created equal. One particular publisher seems to choose the worst possible adaptation of their mostly fondly remembered JRPGs.

I’m not really sure why, either.

As when Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, and Final Fantasy VI were re-released for the Gameboy Advance they were faithful to their original SNES release. Even when Chrono Trigger was re-released for the Nintendo DS it was a more faithful adaptation than the abysmally abhorrent PC release.

Firstly, I don’t know why anyone would assume that the awful filter that was applied with most of their PC re-releases was necessary. Or desirable. It completely ruins the visual style of these classic JRPGs for little to no reason. I understood their approach with Final Fantasy III when it was re-released for the Nintendo DS, as that was a consistent and capable reinterpretation. But these visual filters detract from the experience. They add nothing to it. Secondly, I don’t know why they need to so drastically change the UI that it’s unrecognisable. I know that these re-releases are based off of their versions for mobile devices, but they’re no longer on mobile devices and so the UI should change accordingly. Thirdly, I don’t know why they couldn’t just reimplement the original UI (or at least an adaptation of it) instead of this clearly rushed mess.

First the nuns and now this. This is why I can’t trust people.

I’ll admit that Chrono Trigger isn’t the worst PC re-release that this publisher has done. At least you can turn off the awful visual filter. That said, the UI is an absolute mess and the customisation options are non-existent. When opening certain screens in the menu there are both icons and words, while some of the character statistics have arbitrarily been replaced with icons. It is clearly a rushed attempt which incorporates two different UI designs. The notification boxes (when in combat) and the text boxes seem to have a stretched (and sometimes overlapping) texture which isn’t great.

That could be my display resolution, though.

I’m currently on full screen (which should be a native 3840 x 2160 resolution) but I can’t change the full screen resolution, so I can’t even force 1920 x 1080 and see whether that fixes the issue. Only in windowed mode. But then in windowed mode it might not be an issue for an unrelated reason.

I knew that the Chrono Trigger PC re-release was going to be awful, but I had hoped that (through several post-release patches) they might have incorporated a reasonably decent UI. This re-release also doesn’t seem to recognise all of the buttons on a controller. Considering that the SNES and XBox One controllers have similarly labelled buttons it shouldn’t need to change, but every button input puzzle seems to have been modified. For some reason. With the aforementioned taken into account, it’s still a reasonably playable if not disappointing version of Chrono Trigger. But I suppose it was foolish to expect better from this publisher. Maybe one day we’ll all be able to experience these classic JRPGs as they were, and not as these mangled re-releases which are so often devoid of any pride or passion.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

First Impurressions of… Cat Quest

Only the finest cat puns for my readers.

Cat Quest is an utterly adorable, surprisingly engaging, and rather satisfying ARPG peppered with countless cat puns. Everything from the Samewrai equipment set to (the excellently named) Purrserk is exquisitely feline-themed, which provides nothing but joy while exploring the vast kingdom of Felingard. Just imagine being a Samewrai. It’d be pawsome. I’d wear the set just for the aesthetics if it was in any way appropriate for my build. It’d normally be ideal for me as it’s purrfectly suited to close quarters combat, but I decided to invest in both physical and magical damage with this build.

Hence why I originally wore the Squire set.

There’s no requirement to wear the entire set, though. So I’d also use pieces of the Chainmail set for their armour rating. Which resulted in some rather interesting statistical bonuses, and allowed me to focus on either physical or magical damage when certain situations (or monsters) presented themselves.

Acquiring new (and upgrading existing) equipment is handled quite differently in Cat Quest. You can buy new equipment, but you can’t dictate which piece (or even which set) you want to buy as the chests have a randomised drop chance. As such the blacksmith chests function as the chests in the dungeons do. That said, I don’t believe that there’s any requirement to own the Golden Key to buy their golden chests. But I feel as though it’s easier to complete the (deceptively difficult) quest to unlock the Golden Key and acquire the contents for free. As there are quite a few regular and golden chests available in the numerous dungeons littered around the world map, and through those you’re likely to upgrade quite a few pieces of equipment without additional investment.

That’s the largest scratching post I’ve ever seen.

Visiting the different Arcane Temples allows you to unlock (and to upgrade) various skills. You’ve no requirement to revisit the Arcane Temple where you originally learned the skill to upgrade it, but you do need to visit each one to unlock the skill for the first time. Skills can be much easier (but more expensive) to upgrade due to the simplicity of spending gold on them. The randomised nature of chests (and the blacksmith) might mean that you’re trying to upgrade a piece of equipment but it doesn’t drop, whereas skills only require the jingling of a healthy coin pouch to be more efficient.

This can be pawticularly useful in Mew Game.

As some of the challenges presented therein restrict the use of equipment or prevent you from levelling up. Therefore, investing in and utilising certain skills can help to alleviate the difficulty of challenges as you only require more gold. Gold which can easily be earned through various side quests.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Cat Quest but I was pleasantly surprised by how fun it is. That’s what makes it great. It’s a light-hearted, engaging, enjoyable, and surprisingly capable ARPG that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Being able to revisit existing content in exciting ways through either Mew Game or New Game+ is great, too. Assigning different challenges to each attempt lowers the likelihood that you’re going to sluggishly stagger through the main campaign again. Not that the main campaign is particularly lengthy. It is, however, filled with cat puns. So many cat puns. Unlike this post which has a scarce few. For these reasons and more I’d highly recommend Cat Quest to those who love ARPGs and/or cats!

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Grim Dawn: Once Taken, Twice Shy (Pt. 8)

Piercing the heart of the fallen city.

You’d think that it’d be difficult to lay siege to an entire city, but it’s actually quite easy if you strategically strike from the sewers like a demented psychotic rat with murderous intent. A demented psychotic rat that binds the recently deceased to unholy servitude, that befriends cannibals, and can seemingly do the impossible. As the militia has been hiding in the tunnels beneath the city waiting for my Cabalist to arrive. Apparently they suffered heavy losses when attempting to cull the twisted nightmarish beasts of the Steelcap District, but I’d wager that they didn’t try melting everything with acid.

It works more often than not for my Cabalist.

If only the opposition understood this simple concept. Instead they had to rely on (much deadlier) Aether and Vitality damage which rapidly depleted her health, but she has the advantage of nearly limitless healing. So no matter how many times they’d beat her down she’d just get back up again.

That said, if the opposition were able to heal themselves that would be terrifying. So I’m glad that they can’t. Nor will ever be able to. Which is why the people of Cairn will triumph over any opposition, as they’ve got an unfair advantage and the outcome is predetermined with the rest being just a formality. Which is a truth that extends beyond video games. I’m just glad that I don’t need to wage an endless war to secure that promotion. I just need to realise that due to working hard and taking pride in my work that I’ll never be considered for it. At least in a post-apocalyptic society such trivial concerns have been abandoned, and instead we’re concerned with real issues like whether we’ll be eaten in the night by wolves. Or swallowed up by a Chthonic Rift when climbing mountains. These are the things that keep me awake at night.

A twisted landscape of flesh and corruption.

I was reunited with an old friend in the grotesque landscape of the Fleshworks, though. So that was nice. It was actually the highlight of my evening as I unlocked an achievement by defeating them once more. Another that my Warder seemingly missed, which is making me wonder how he managed to miss all of these areas and bosses. I suppose that they could have been added by recent updates. But I’ve found no evidence to suggest that. My only other assumption is that, due to my Cabalist experiencing the revised main campaign, she has more resources or recipes than he had at the time.

However, that doesn’t explain missing the bosses.

Not that it hasn’t been fun uncovering new locations, bosses, and quests with this character. That’s always refreshing. There are more quests to uncover, too. Some require allegiance to (or better standing with) certain factions, and will likely become available in either Elite or Ultimate difficulty.

Unless I want to grind reputation with various factions and have them available in Normal difficulty. Which I don’t necessarily want to do. The faction mechanics are one of my favourite things about Grim Dawn, but I don’t see a reason to try and rush them. I’ll be experiencing the main campaign at least twice more if I want to complete every difficulty level. So I may as well passively earn the reputation. It’s not like the faction rewards would be useful even if I did grind the reputation, as I’d need to be of a much higher level to use them. I’ve greatly enjoyed playing (and writing about) this character build, though. I’ve been inspired by the experience and can apply much of what I’ve learned to other character builds, which couldn’t possibly manifest as a several hundred hour investment into Grim Dawn. That’d be ludicrous.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Grim Dawn: Once Taken, Twice Shy (Pt. 7)

Where the plants are poisonous and the people are cannibals.

Not all cannibals are monstrous inhuman creatures, either. Some are friendly. They have a village which is peaceful, prosperous, and welcoming to succulent outsiders. I was also hoping that (as they are a faction) they would have faction rewards, too. But they don’t seem to have a faction rewards vendor. In which case, my Cabalist has made yet another questionable moral choice by assisting these cannibals in their pursuit of human flesh. I believe that my Warder made the correct choice. As I vaguely remember something about a cellar full of blood, human viscera, and cooking recipes.

I probably shouldn’t have tried their stew, either.

But there’s no use in crying over broiled human flesh. Those helpless captives would’ve been eaten sooner or later if I’d not intervened. Now it’s just sooner rather than later, and at least the friendly cannibals are likely to cook them before eating them. Those other cannibals may have eaten them alive.

John Bourbon has made some questionable decisions in his life, too. Like saving my Cabalist from the noose. Her second chance is going from bad to worse, and I’m starting to wonder whether (in a previous life) she was partly responsible for the collapse of society. Maybe that’s why they possessed her in the first place. She was already more malicious than they were. Then again, she has done several of these things by accident. So maybe she’s a good person with a poor sense of judgement. Or a very capable idiot. Only time and a mound of innocent corpses will tell. I’m sure that if she retakes the fallen city with minimal casualties she’ll still be regarded as the hero that we didn’t need (or want) but that risked their life for the lives of others. Which means that no-one will remember her questionable moral choices.

Watch as we attempt to poison each other unsuccessfully.

Travelling through Gloomwald towards Ugdenbog reminded me of how threatening (and beautiful) these locations are. Besides the cannibals. Those are mostly manageable if you offer to exchange human flesh for your own continued existence. Not that I would advise that you attempt to eat my Cabalist, as she probably tastes of acid and decay given her time spent around poisonous corpse beasts. You’d most likely need to add a little seasoning before she’s considered edible. Then again, if you’re eating human flesh you’re probably not too fussy about how they taste. On my travels I also took the time to explore the Ancient Grove, which I’d missed (or not completed) with my Warder the first time around. I earned a few unexpected achievements in that dungeon, too.

I also uncovered the Den of the Ancient.

Another location that my Warder seemingly didn’t access. I’m guessing that I didn’t have very much Dynamite at the time I found the bridge, as I don’t know why else he wouldn’t have fought the boss. Unless he tried and failed. That’s entirely possible, but I doubt that I would’ve given up so easily.

With the completion of Act 5 this series is nearing its conclusion. Naturally this would be the exact moment in time that the developers decided to implement a massive free update, which makes numerous changes and even introduces a new dungeon in the Korvan Basin. I’ve no plans to write any additional posts for any attempts at either Elite or Ultimate difficulty, nor any plans to cover this particular update. As these posts would kind of be recycled content. We’d be covering the same locations and events as we’ve covered previously, while the changes are so extensive I’d need a new character build to see them all. I may write an additional post or two explaining other builds I’ve enjoyed, though. But I can’t guarantee anything. It’s mostly dependant on when I revisit Grim Dawn again and for what reason.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Grim Dawn: Once Taken, Twice Shy (Pt. 6)

A lengthy engagement.

When approaching the Edge of Madness in the Tomb of the Watchers I encountered an interesting boss. Secreting corrosive poison and wrought from otherworldly fury, but as ineffective against my Cabalist as she was against it. Neither could successfully poison the other, and we stood there (effectively) slapping each other until one of us fell over. It was hilariously frustrating watching each attack be as pitiful as the last, though. I barely had to keep Blood of Dreeg active (for the regenerative properties) and drank few potions, as this engagement proved to be lengthy but not necessarily dangerous.

I’m just glad that poison bosses don’t seem to appear too frequently.

It also confirms that creatures can’t be immune to certain damage types. Or that this boss had no such immunity. It likely had the maximum amount of Poison & Acid Resistance, and my skills were probably only dealing a fifth of their usual damage. But they still dealt damage. So that’s something.

Creatures being immune to damage types has been one of my concerns with this build. That said, it depends on if creatures mirror character resistances or whether every damage type is considered individually. As if they’re considered individually I can still deal acid damage if they’re immune to poison damage and vice versa. Surprisingly I didn’t run into too many problems with the majority of Act 4. I was expecting that to be quite the challenge but it all went rather smoothly. When working towards the Ashes of Malmouth content it became painfully apparent that I need to more carefully consider my equipment, though. As I have few high quality items and the difficulty will only increase as we retake the fallen city. But that’s what faction rewards are for, right?

The vast expanse of the Astekarn Valley.

Unfortunately, many of those faction rewards are either only usable at Lvl 65-90 or require me to grind reputation with various factions. They only apply to a few equipment slots, too. But there are definitely some that I will be prioritising as soon as she is able to use them, and I’ll be considering my options with both Components and Augments. I’ve already employed the use of a couple of Components which grant me access to new skills, with Dreeg’s Infinite Gaze (from Mark of Dreeg) and Noxious Poison Bomb (from Venom Tipped Ammo) further bolstering the damage output of this build.

Not that dealing more damage is the answer to every problem.

A fact that will become more apparent as enemies become increasingly more dangerous. Not that I’m too concerned about the defensive capabilities of this build, as I’ve been utilising the Devotion mechanics to mostly negate the resistance penalty in Elite at the very least. Ultimate will need more work.

I’m keen to take more advantage of the Shattered Realm, too. I’ve not really explored much of it but it’s overflowing with loot. Especially if you can manage to defeat the boss within the time limit. I assume that you also have to survive the expedition, but you may receive any rewards that you were entitled to should you fall within that twisted reality. Not too sure about that. I’ve mostly survived unscathed. Just because I know that I’m only sacrificing additional loot if I work carefully through the content should it prove to be beyond the capabilities of the build. If nothing else I make a considerable amount of Iron with each attempt. So even if it’s not a fruitful endeavour I’m still getting something out of it. But I wouldn’t turn down numerous pieces of high quality equipment, either.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie