Replay value?

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#1 by flvbycjctnheheh
2021-11-25 at 09:54
< report >Considering that this game is going to get an English release soon, I think it's a good time to ask some questions.

I haven't played any Venus Blood games, but judging by ratings it should be a nice starting point. I know that most games in the series have Chaos and Law routes, but how different they are? Do your decisions lead to two completely different stories, or the differences are more in gameplay and h-scenes? Also is there any freedom in choosing which places to conquer first like in Sengoku Rance or Eiyuu Senki?

In the first place I consider playing this game mainly because Sengoku Rance is one of my favorite SRPGs out there and it seems to have similar gameplay... Is this actually the case?
#2 by cubky
2021-11-25 at 10:13
< report >
I haven't played any Venus Blood games, but judging by ratings it should be a nice starting point.

If you want to play and English release then I would actually advise starting with Frontier. The gameplay is simpler and thus easier to get into. The gameplay in Hypno becomes more complex as you move from having 1vs1 battles to 3vs3 among other differences.

I know that most games in the series have Chaos and Law routes, but how different they are? Do your decisions lead to two completely different stories, or the differences are more in gameplay and h-scenes?

Different game endings, different heroine endings, different h-scenes as well as gameplay differences.

In the first place I consider playing this game mainly because Sengoku Rance is one of my favorite SRPGs out there and it seems to have similar gameplay... Is this actually the case?

Have not played Sengoku Rance so cannot really comment on this. Hollow gameplay is basically party creation and city conquering, but all of it is pretty linear. The party creation aspect has a nice depth to it though - there is a TON of units to choose from, and this amount will only increase with the release of international version.
The city conquering part in Hypno is basically a sequence of short maps that are in line with the story. In Frontier you have a big map that you slowly conquer by taking out each opposing country - this might be a bit more similar to Sengoku Rance?Last modified on 2021-11-25 at 10:30
#3 by styr
2021-11-25 at 21:48
< report >Hypno/Hollow has three routes - Chaos, Law, and Insanity/Madness (not sure how third one is localized yet) although the latter branches off near the end of the Chaos route, specifically during a conversation with Arumiranda and you can choose to "sacrifice" the Demon Lord heroines which will give them special sprites but are not actually lost, just "changed" from said sacrifice. There's a few options to sacrifice though, one includes Arumiranda herself.

The Chaos and Law routes are quite different towards the end of the game, as both feature a different 'final threat' that must be defeated. IIRC the split for Chaos/Law happens fairly early on, not long after you have subjugated all the Demon Lords (roughly ch5 or 6).Last modified on 2021-11-25 at 21:54
#4 by flvbycjctnheheh
2021-11-26 at 13:01
< report >Thanks, guys. I've checked the Japanese wiki and a couple of reviews, it seems that the game has varied routes with Chaos, Law, Insanity, and True Law (kind of like true route) plus heroine endings (though no actual routes).

On another note, I've gotten the game and started playing on Hard aaaaand...it seems that this difficulty isn't really designed for the first walkthrough?! The prologue is still more than durable, but there's an obvious difficulty spike in chapter one. Is the hard really designed to be impossible on the first walkthrough (unless you skip a bunch of turns, but I tried to achieve at least a decent rating) or it's only the beginning of the game? And is there any turn limit in this game? I like challenging TRPGs but I'm not sure if it's even playable as things are. In chapter one pretty much each enemy division has both much higher stats and levels than my units and I need to wage war on multiple fronts at once, lol. I probably still can win if I skip a bunch of turns and cheese enemies slowly, but I can't be sure that later things won't become even more ridiculous.

I actually like the gameplay itself and it doesn't seem hard to me (there's a rather detailed tutorial in the title menu).Last modified on 2021-11-26 at 13:05
#5 by cubky
2021-11-26 at 13:04
< report >
On another note, I've gotten the game and started playing on Hard aaaaand...it seems that this difficulty isn't really designed for the first walkthrough?!

It can certainly be done on hard, but the game is already hard enough on easier difficulties, especially for newcomers to VB.
#6 by flvbycjctnheheh
2021-11-26 at 13:09
< report >@5 It's not like I don't understand the gameplay itself, it's just that stat difference is kind of ridiculous this is why I have doubts that it's doable at all in the late game or if things will get easier. I'm also not sure if there's a turn limit and if the speed of conquest affects anything other than ratings. Then again, I'd rather try to complete all missions with a perfect rating on normal than with the lowest rating on hard.

Some games have reverse difficulty progression, i.e. game becomes easier as you advance through the story. If it's not one of them then I'll just start the game on normal from the start.

p.s. Okay, I checked the prologue on normal. It seems like "super-easy" in comparison to hard. It's as if there's one difficulty missing between them, lol. On normal, enemies are at level 1-3 and at hard they start at level 10+. Where's the difficulty at which they would start, idk, at level 5?Last modified on 2021-11-26 at 13:27
#7 by cubky
2021-11-26 at 13:25
< report >#6 Its more about knowing what combination of units and skills is good and building toward it rather than understanding how the gameplay works. Even parties of a significantly lower level can defeat the opponent parties as long as the units work well with each other.

Unless the Hollow hard mode does something different, then no, the game will only get harder. Same as on other difficulties.Last modified on 2021-11-26 at 13:26
#8 by flvbycjctnheheh
2021-11-26 at 13:28
< report >@7 There aren't that many options at the beginning (rather, I've already gotten all available units), and unless you intentionally skip a bunch of turns resources are limited as well. It doesn't help that when defending battle results are automatic and your tactics don't mean anything.Last modified on 2021-11-26 at 13:59
#9 by flvbycjctnheheh
2021-11-26 at 15:48
< report >Loool... Now I understand why the game was so friggin hard on hard. I've only requited demi-humans and didn't even realize that there were other types of units. This game's interface is really counter-intuitive... Now I understand how someone who knows what they are doing can create an OP team with so many different units available.
#10 by cubky
2021-11-26 at 16:18
< report >Yeah, I was wondering how you managed to get all units since not all can be recruited right at the start. But even with being limited to demi-humans you can get a very nice aqua boosted party that can just solo the first map easily.Last modified on 2021-11-26 at 16:18
#11 by styr
2021-11-26 at 16:57
< report >The easiest way to break the combat in this is to get the best AoE attack skill possible on as many of your units as possible (line, row, 4-way, all-attack) and then stacking extra attack skills from tactika + getting equipment with extra attacks. AFAIK this is the last title where this is viable, after this title dualtail has nerfed a lot of the OP skills, for example they introduce weaker versions that only give a %chance of an extra attack and the guaranteed extra attack skill is only available on certain super high tier equipment.

Some units will already have AoE attacks or extra attacks innately, in which case you only need to get the other half of the combo. E.g. nearly all dragon-type units will have basic line/row AoE skills to start with, so all they need is extra attacks to become OP. There are also quite a few units that have additional attacks and just need AoE skills added in.Last modified on 2021-11-26 at 17:03
#12 by then00bavenger
2021-11-26 at 20:34
< report >If you're aiming for S++ ranks on every stage on Hard the beginning portion where you have to get your team off the ground is actually one of the more difficult parts. Chapter 1 and 2 in particular will be roadblocks. You'll actually do better after chapter 2 when running low on resources isn't a constant occurrence.

I'm sure the difficulty will probably pick up again at the end but I would say chapter 1 and 2 in general always tend to be among the most difficult.
#13 by flvbycjctnheheh
2021-11-27 at 03:12
< report >@11 Perhaps this is the case for the mid-to-late game, early on it's more important to have a decent tank and "bait" the enemy into focusing them. Dragons and beasts seem to have those AoE attacks and re-action rather often.

@12 I see, that's what I've assumed.

On another note... I've read in a review that you need to complete the game 3 times to get Anora's end, but from what I can see in the Japanese wiki it doesn't seem to be the case. It seems that I only need to start with the Chaos route and then it's possible to get Anora's end on the second playthrough? Or there's something else I'm missing?
#14 by styr
2021-11-27 at 03:47
< report >#12 is completely right, the first chapter is indeed the hardest when you are extremely low on spare Tactica and every one is a precious resource. Other resources are also scarce, so gearing up all your units with equipment can also be difficult, but also necessary until you can build a few custom squads. Early game, a few extra points of attack and defense from the super cheap equipment can be the difference between survival and defeat.

For example, you should only recruit units when the 'face icon' is a grinning red face, as this will maximize the stats the unit is given. These faces cycle between colors depending on the day, with purple and blue being awful, green and yellow being average, and red being the best. There's a threshold where if you recruit units below a certain color (yellow?) you can't even use tactica to enhance the unit during recruitment.

On low difficulties you don't even really need to have synergy in your divisions, just stack the best units you have in a few teams and steamroll everything. On higher difficulties though you will be forced to min-max like a bitch. On normal or lower difficulty, you can just maximize your offense and speed stats to plow through everything; going before the enemy is almost always a viable strategy except with a few counterattack-heavy encounters.

The difficulty mode that gives enemies access to equipment is probably the biggest spike in challenge. But for your first playthrough there's little reason to chase after high ranking clear speed (e.g. S-rank), as it is better to farm tactica, items and resources early game. Ideally you'll want at least one unit with treasure hunt/bounty hunter in each squad.

#13 - tanks can be useful, but once you've built a couple of custom teams with specialized stats via tactica, going with offense+speed is the most optimal on normal difficulty imo. AoE attacks + extra attacks + high speed will wreck most of the game. Units like dragons are very good at this, once you've unlocked them.Last modified on 2021-11-27 at 03:57
#15 by flvbycjctnheheh
2021-11-29 at 16:46
< report >I'm 35 hours in on normal and it's really too easy to my tastes. I still failed to get an S++ rank in one mid-game mission with a time-traveling event which I guess was added to the game later. I regret not sticking with hard, as it seems that Very Hard is already designed with NG+ in mind and I'm not sure how balanced it would be.

I'd say that the game gives you too many options. And from my understanding, cheap units aren't worth buying in most cases unless you have a lot of free Tactica to spare and plan to use those units for their wisdom and affair skills. Deployment cost isn't really high enough to be worth worrying about and increased healing cost is compensated by the fact that stronger units lose less health.Last modified on 2021-11-29 at 16:50
#16 by styr
2021-11-29 at 17:12
< report >#15 yes, cheap units are just crappy and only really worth it if you are doing the single type challenge or something. Even in the very beginning of the game, there's zero reason to create the basic "human" units in Merc/Clergy category.

There are a few good early-game human units, like the chariot-driver girl and the ones on horseback/dragons, but the rest are sucky. Especially since in Hollow they added quite a few units from Ragnarok/Lagoon it makes the original units look pretty meh. Unit bloat is a HUGE problem in Ragnarok/Lagoon so I am glad they used some of those assets in Hollow but it didn't really fix the problem with OG units being subpar.
#17 by flvbycjctnheheh
2021-11-30 at 01:50
< report >@16 I see. Well, I guess one of the reasons why characters seem so unbalanced is that they added a bunch of new units for international release... Heck, I'm just on chapter 6, and most of the old commander units are already second-rate at best.
#18 by styr
2021-11-30 at 14:30
< report >#17 - yes, the "Key of Destiny" units are so blatantly OP its crazy. Most of them are just ported over from Ragnarok and Lagoon, but some units are from both newer and older VB titles, e.g. Rukina from Abyss; Teo, Titi, Vanilla and Miria from Gaia; (most of) the goddess heroines from Ragnarok; Tia and Levia from Lagoon, several from Brave, etc etc.

Also they ported over some of the new OP skills (and units) that Ragnarok and Lagoon introduced, like fool's lie, all of them via Key of Destiny. For example, there is a tank that can - by themselves - nullify line/row/all-attacks, when usually a tank only has one of these nullify skills at best.

On the bright side, at least it will be a lot easier to beat the hardest difficulty on Hollow compared to Hypno! I still remember the nightmare that was Vergius on the highest difficulty...Last modified on 2021-11-30 at 14:35
#19 by flvbycjctnheheh
2021-11-30 at 15:11
< report >@18 It seems that you really understand this game. Do you perhaps know what are requirements for Anora's "true lawful" end? Also, I'm still not sure about the higher difficulties. After I complete my current law playthrough I plan to start a chaos one on hard without importing progress, and then on my third playthrough, I'll try the Thanatos difficulty with inherited units.

I checked the Japanese wiki but its info about different difficulties is very different from what's in the game...
link

Both Very Hard and Thanatos severely increase both stats and levels of the enemies. Enemies on the first map have 40 and 95 lvl respectively and all their stats are ten times higher. Obviously, it's impossible to play without an inheritance but it wasn't the case in the original where stat differences were much lower according to the wiki.Last modified on 2021-11-30 at 15:22
#20 by styr
2021-12-01 at 12:58
< report >#19 - True Law requires Anora and Sylvia to have affection higher than 8, and Law points higher than 50 (Sylvia must remained uncorrupted of course)

I found 3 pdf files on f95zone for Hollow, I zipped them up and you can DL them here:

link

There's a lot of new changes for Hollow so using walkthroughs for Hypno isn't advised.

As for going straight from hard to thanatos I don't recommend it, you should do very hard before thanatos as enemy units will start to use items on very hard and that alone makes the game a lot harder to beat, but with the new units Hollow introduced it should be quite a bit easier than how it was originally on Hypno.

As for stat inflation on thanatos difficulty, Hypno's Thanatos had five difficulty settings for Thanato: 1-star up to 5-star, each star gave the enemies +20 levels. I havne't unlocked Thanatos on Hollow yet but from what I see it doesn't have the "#-star" difficulty options like Hypno had, but I could be wrong.

Lastly, there's been some hints that after dualtail does the Frontier fandisks they are going to translate VB Brave. Honestly not a fan of Brave whatsoever, but thankfully the new Savior is coming out late this month so there's finally new content. Actually I just looked and it got delayed for another month... sigh...Last modified on 2021-12-01 at 13:21

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