So I Married a Giant Stone Turtle…

May 29th, 2017

And it won't stop shrieking.

While exploring some ruins, Avro finds a girl, Fia, encased in crystal. She wakes up, kisses him, and offers to give him his own workshop if he'll help her get somewhere. Also, she's the ruins, which are actually a giant stone turtle. She needs energy to get her giant rock ass moving, and Avro has very little himself, so it's off to adventure, create new things, and have sex with anything with two legs and a pulse.

If the introductory bit for Amayui seems thin, it's because it is. Kamidori gets a lot of flak for not having some grand story driving things, but little occurs that isn't for at least some reason. We're in this volcano because of magic dog attacks. We're at this lake because we're looking for shells. We're in this forest to clean up pollution. So on and so forth. Amayui takes a completely different approach, and it's to not bother with any of that at all. Most of the time, it just dumps 3-4 maps out at the start of the chapter, and the 'plot' proceeds each time you leave a map, whether it was one of the new ones or not. I was farming some material I needed from quick trips to an old dungeon, and proceeded through the entire chapter's worth of events in about 15 minutes before stumbling into the boss fight. 

  

It's also simply exceedingly slow and drawn out. You don't get your third character until around level 10, and it's a nameless tree spirit. In Kamidori, at that point, you were already juggling more characters than you could use, as well as costumes. Have fun with just not-Wil and not-Serawi for probably close to eight hours. After that, you get not-Crayl (assuming you have all the materials and want to replay an old map), and then, finally, at the very end of chapter 2, not-Suina and not-Yuela. That also means that maps feel like they take forever. I was running into the turn limit all the time through the start. Since almost all maps are free maps (can retreat at will), that didn't stop completion much, but did mean that you have to play a lot multiple times, and backtrack on the maps themselves just to fully clear them.

There's about four new mechanics since Kamidori, not counting "no costumes" as a new mechanic since that's a massive step down. First, the goddess points. Fia, your pet turtle, has a parallel leveling system through goddess points. You get them from making new things, having sex with strangers, taking points on maps, wiping your ass, anything and everything. Hell, most generic events will simply spit out a bunch your way. They're also tied to a new map thing, where approximately every other room has some goddess… thing. A plant, rock, idol, grave, it varies. They give a tiny amount of GP for claiming them, regen if you're standing on them, and act as a character in terms of 'controlling' a room. Some 'furniture' in your base will enhance what they can do.

  

The next three new things will go quickly. First is capturing enemies. Fia gets a skill early on that lets her capture certain mini-bosses. Then you can use them. You can also build a training ground to improve them, with their own parallel leveling system through the power of… grinding things other than experience mostly. And that's all that is. The third is reinforcing/dismantling equipment. If you played Tales of Berseria, it's basically identical. Dismantle equipment to get equipment pieces. Put equipment pieces into other equipment to improve it slightly. Exciting. The last new mechanic is a 'base defense' mode. You build things as normal, and in some battles, before they start, you can place hazards, such as a boulder trap, or… a door. And then the battle proceeds as normal, with those being neutral autonomous hazards to the enemy. Super duper exciting.

There are a few highlights. The main one is that they put some genuine effort into the end of chapters now, which always have some flavor of boss fight. Often frustrating too, since the lose conditions can be crappy and there's no real indication that you're entering a particularly hard fight, so it's often a crap shoot to figure out how to win. All too often, the answer is save scum, or use the billion healing items you get dumped on you which you can do as a free action whenever yu want, but they certainly made more of an effort than Kamidori had. There's also a number of usability things added. A rewind button that goes back one turn. 'Furniture' actually tells you what it does (which was something added in Kamidori's translation, not present in the original), and the live2D animated sprites are… well, at least more superficially appealing to the eyes. The 'furniture' in your base is also far more expansive and has a greater range of effects, such as increasing what can be harvested on maps and how much. The interface is pretty awful though, and the choice between house with brown roof, house with green roof, house with red roof, etc etc is less than exciting, especially as it repeat through trees, flowers, slightly larger houses, etc etc etc.

   

Returning to how slowly things drag at the start and how insubstantial the writing is, that carries over to the story as well. The first chapter of the game is just "That village is scared of us because we moved the giant mountain turtle. Also, we ruined their well. Okay, let's build a new one." And then the 'boss' fight is the local kingdom sending a small corps (with Yuela v.3) to attack the turtle. That's basically it for the entire chapter. That would maybe be one part of a subcharacter event in Kamidori. They fill up the rest of the time with scintillating conversations about such thinks like how nobody can believe Fia's really a god, or how Avro's dream is to have his own workshop, or talking about Avro's multi-colored hair. Over and over. 

That means that Avro and Fia have to carry EVERYTHING for hours and hours. Avro, as already mentioned, is a great big wisp of nothing. Fia's not much better off. She can be kind of cute at times, but mostly exists to repeat the same few jokes and act as a reason to deliver exposition. It's not until around chapter 2 that you're up to about five named characters existing at all, and it won't be another chapter until you've actually encountered them instead of being weird flashaways to assure you that yes, something is indeed going on somewhere in the world. Kamidori was full of people and life. Amayui is very much not. 

  

If it sounds like I'm not gung-ho for it, I'm not. It already failed the test of "Do I want to play this or something else" on the third day. A few steps above Eushully's recent efforts, but definitely a pale imitation of Kamidori in many ways, especially on the character front, while messing up or removing some of the best mechanics/parts, while most of the new stuff is a mixed bag at best, or badly overdue usability stuff. There's plenty of room in the world for Kamidori and Worse Kamidori, and maybe things come together somewhere past hour 10, but I wouldn't put any money on that. Having had a glance at a script dump, it's significantly lighter on the text, around 70% the script length, or 2x a Bunny Black 3, or 1.3x a Baldr Force. At this point, it's not high on my list of games I feel like playing, let alone something that'll jolt me out of my translation hiatus.

Posted in Amayui | 11 Comments »

11 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • Anonymous says:

    Damn. This a weird game.

    [Reply]

  • Rz says:

    Aww, I was looking forward for your come back ._.
    Oh well. Otsukaresama! XD

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh, you’re not translating anything? What happened to that mystery thing you put up after Baldr sky?

    [Reply]

    Aroduc says:

    I put up a placeholder forum while I was thinking about it, but it remained empty for long enough, so back to the void it went.

    [Reply]

    Rz says:

    There goes my expectation for BB3.

    [Reply]

  • Thea says:

    The worst offense in the writing in my opinion is that the writers are aware of many of the problems. They know Fia is unreasonably annoying. They know that the Ojou is unreasonably… unreasonable. They have the protagonist point it out. And then they ignore it.

    My personal guess why is because their target audience demand such shallow combinations of tropes. Anime and the like have simmered in their own juice over the last years, distilling them into an ever purer form, and now it’s the only thing the audience accepts. Certain tropes are cute, and adding anything on to it reduces the average cuteness of the characters, making them less accepted. So they don’t do it.

    It’s sad, really. The story has decent moments, sometimes. The pure cat being more aware than expected. The black merchant organically showing he’s an actual sociopath. The angel being reasonable (what the hell!?!). It’s only drowned out by the cutesy tropes, unbelievable attempts at tension and the angel undermining everything she stood for for a lame, deadbeat lesson. And bad comedy. But at least it hits the tropes!

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey Aroduc,

    Just wondering if you were planning on helping to translate this game or not?

    [Reply]

    Aroduc says:

    Did you read what I wrote?

    [Reply]

  • Opulent Rag says:

    Fuck, I was hoping this game would be the shit, now it just sounds like it’s shit. Kamidori was THE best HRPG I’ve ever played in my life, still playing it even now. It sucks that sequel is bad, and worse, has less quality than it’s prequel.

    Oh well.

    [Reply]

    Rz says:

    This is not Kamidori sequel though.

    I’d say the quality and the complexity is more better than Kamidori which is I enjoyed it very much.

    [Reply]

    Opulent Rag says:

    Huh, shit….my bad.

    Hope still remains, I guess.

    [Reply]

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