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Now Eating… Yumina the Ethereal: Combat Trial

October 14th, 2008

 

Chomp chomp chomp…

Download it from here (SFW at the moment).

Yumina Battle Trailer

For those of you who are fans of Seinarukana, Yumina is its spiritual successor being developed by Eternal, one of the companies formed when Xuse sort of minorly self-destructed and half their staff jumped ship to start their own companies. Yumina itself is quite the hybrid game, being part dungeon crawler (which wasn’t actually in the trial), with a turn-based RPG core and the graphical stylings of the bastard son of Paper Mario and Super Robot Wars.

Yumina Trial vs Goblin

AAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway, if you’re familiar with Seinarukana’s battle system, then you’ve got a good jumping off point here. It’s pretty similar, though with more party members, even more numbers to keep track of, a few extra levels of complexity in turn flow, and so very much more difficult. The main changes in a nutshell are that aside from action points, you also have to use the elements on the field. IE, a skill may take 24 Fire, and if there’s only 12 Fire on the field when it comes time to use that skill, you’ll fumble and lose that turn. Also gone is the specified defense phase/character. Every character has their own defensive skill which you can set all willy nilly each round depending on what kind of attack you think the opponent will use, though aside from interrupts, all attacks I’ve seen target the lead character (or the entire party). It also costs 2 action points to change the formation now, but some skills will automatically shuffle people around in various ways.

  

Like Seinarukana, most of the strategy is finding that balance to make sure that you can constantly maximize your damage while interrupting and/or cancelling the enemy’s. You also need to manage the elemental field a lot closer now because it could not only make you fumble one of your own attacks, but allow the enemy to do something horrific that’ll completely slaughter you. The gargoyle enemy in the trial, for example, has an interrupt attack that does a cool 6,000 damage to your entire party, so you need to make sure to anticipate that and either interrupt it yourself or manipulate the field so that it can’t use that attack. Once you’re getting to the interrupt-interrupt that interrupts the enemy’s interrupt to your front line attack, it can get a little overwhelming. Of course, you could just forego attacking that round and nullify the entire sequence. You get four Action points per round, Front line attacks take 2, all others take one, so even if you pass, you can pretty quickly use those back up.

Yumina Trial vs Gargoyle

There’s not a whole ton else to talk about because the scope of the trial is pretty limited. The main four characters talk about training and practice fighting against a goblin, gargoyle, and an enemy party with an identical setup to your own, and that’s as far as I’ve been able to get thus far (see below). All the SD graphics are pretty cute looking, and I have no real complaints with the battle animations, though I think they probably should have taken a cue from Paper Mario and just not given them two frame idling animations. Compared to how stylish and fluid everything else looks, they’re just cheesy. There’s certainly a much higher degree of strategy based around controlling the position of your characters in this one since it actually costs you actions during the battle, which is a good thing, but it’s a bit frustrating since the animations and battle rounds are still relatively length. Thankfully, you can set the whole thing into MASSIVE FASTFORWARD by hold Ctrl.

 

Are there issues with this engine that need some sorting out? Good lord, yes. When I was fighting against/trying to record the last fight against the other party, I didn’t notice that they had made a substitution to their lead person and got poor Ayumu killed. With both red-elemental users dead on both sides, the red started piling up and there was no way to change it into something useful for either side. Eventually, it was down to me needing just Black with a nearly full strength Kirara who’d be able to slaughter the Green or Black ones left on the other side if she could just act. Unfortunately, she couldn’t, and the AI doggedly tried to attack with their Green frontliner without enough mana on the table and I couldn’t do anything at all, so it was just an endless loop with no escape. The second time I tried that battle, I ended up like this, so arguably even worse off, though she didn’t have a single attack that could damage me anyway. Maybe I missed a button somewhere or overlooked something in the tutorial that I very quickly skipped through, but… bleh.

Yumina Character Trailer

As for the characters… eh… there really wasn’t any story to be had here. Ayumu is pretty much your standard male fantasy visual novel protagonist, overflowing with testasterone and wielding a giant sword. Nowhere near Rance’s level, but the world has more Rance than it knows how to deal with anyway. The titular Yumina’s bright and bubbly and the dedicated healer. Kirara’s pretty much useful and good at whatever you need her to do, and Ai is great for her ability to move from the front line to the Backyard (sic) as part of her normal and interrupt attacks. Yumina probably as the best battle quotes of the set, complaining that there’s supposed to be an easy mode when she takes damage, but they’re all pretty likeable thus far.

 

If they manage to sort out that stalemate problem, this could be a pretty fun little game. The Super Robot Wars style certainly helps it look nice, though I do hope they make the animations at least a little more complex, because it’s just sad seeing the little chibi-paper figures jerk back and forth while waiting for you to select something. I believe (though I could be mistaken) that it’s due out, along with a slew of other games, at the end of November.

Posted in Anime | 3 Comments »

3 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • Kresnik says:

    I like their choice of Paper-2D battle sprite, though..
    Kinda refreshing, since I’m getting tired of those pretty 3D doll-like sprite after seeing what Square-Enix did to Star Ocean 4. >_<

  • Joule says:

    The “blame” for Star Ocean 4 should be all on tri-Ace. I personally don’t have a distaste for the look it has. Battles look too slick.

    I agree that this could use more animation but the style is quite nice.

  • Lightl says:

    well was browsing the Eternal website, and found out Yumina got delayed by 2 months till 1/23/09. Does not say why though, oh well 2 more months to play with Seinarukana