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Author Topic: Magna Carta Impressions  (Read 3415 times)
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EddieA
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« on: November 16, 2005, 12:10:03 AM »

I was hoping to have DQ8 impressions today, but alas, that will have to wait until tomorrow.  I do have some Magna Carta impressions, though.  First, the packaging is very impressive.  It comes in a fairly thick and heavy box, with embossed characters, making Reith's chest stick out even more, something I would have thought imposssible slywink  Inside is a shiny-covered full-color 100-page half art-book (with characters, enemies, locations, etc) and half strategy guide.  There's also a very large dual-sided poster featuring two different view of the game's characters.  The DVD insert is also dual-sided, and the manual is 40 pages and in color.  It's definitely the best packaging I've seen this generation, and more than you'd expect for just $5 over retail price.

The game starts off with a dream sequence showing the main character as a child whose village is attacked.  You take control of the character in the present-day and are preparing for a major attack against the enemy Yason.  I got up to the point where you have a tutorial battle, and the battle system definitely seems deep and potentially intriguing.  The thing that sounds most interesting is the choice between the three attack types.  You can choose to have the button-press ring move faster or even guess at the enemies' moves, risking losing your built-up power, but potentially gaining a free attack.

The graphics are good, but not great.  The game reminds me most of a cross between Suikoden 3 and 4 (there are even ????? items you have to have appraised).  The graphical quality is about on par with 4, but with the more detailed environments of 3.  From the little I've seen of the outside world, it looks like there will be some nice background scenery, though.  The translation appears solid, although the text seems more expository than natural.  The load into battle was pretty quick, but the load times between scenes seems to be about 20 seconds.   I'm intruiged so far, especially with the battle system.  I'll post some more impressions after I play some more later.
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2005, 12:35:27 AM »

all i've had time to do so far is copy it to the hd, & mc is indeed hd loader friendly - more in a bit...
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2005, 01:49:12 AM »

I'll second Eddie's comments on the packaging.  Very, very impressive.  I'm going to sit down with it in a few minutes, so I'll have some impressions later tonight.
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2005, 02:40:11 AM »

Yup, the packaging is great.  For $5 more, it's quite a nice deal.

Dunno when I'll be able to play, so yeah, looking forward to all of your impressions!
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2005, 03:25:28 AM »

My friend's eb got 2 goddamn copies of MC, so I didn't get it. I am goign to check another one tomorrow for it as well. DQ is apparently not out in our area but will definately be in tomorrow, so keep up the impressions.
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2005, 04:01:12 AM »

I know there are a lot of people on the fence with this one, so here are some VERY early impressions (about 1 1/2 hours):

Graphics:  Not very impressive.  In fact, they pretty much blow.  For a game that seems to tout it's artwork (The quote 'The best production values since FFX' is on the box), I was very dissapointed.  This honestly looks like a 2-3 year old title.  The character animations are stiff, everything looks low poly, lighting and particle effects are dull, and the backgrounds are blocky.  Not impressive at all, especially when we've seen with recent games (i.e. God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, etc.) what the PS2 can really do.

Sound:  Oh dear lord, the voiceovers.  Just when I think a game can't possible do any worse in the VO department, along comes this one.  The delivery of most of the lines is seriously wince inducing, and the VO's on the cutscenes can't be skipped.  For some reason, the voice actors decided to put long pauses between words when there shouldn't be.

"I can't believe....(long awkward pause)........what she did.  She could have.....(long awkward pause)......made a better choice.  We'll have to.....(long awkward pause)......go on."

You get the idea.  It's absolutely embarassing.

I'm actually really enjoying the in-game music, other than the dreadful opening song.  Several nice melodies, and I'm excited to hear more.

Gameplay:  The story is pretty RPG-basic, but seems interesting enough.  There have been quite a few flashbacks to the main character's background, but nothing about any of the side characters.  Hopefully the story gets a bit more involving.

The battle system really shines...I think.  I'm having a hell of a time figuring it out, but what I have picked up on is pretty good.  I'm honestly going to have to read the manual pretty thoroughly before I really understand it.  There does seem to be a glut of icons, buttons, and gauges on the battle screen, which are somewhat tough to keep track of.  The combat itself seems like a cross between Grandia II and Shadow Hearts.  Your time meter and the enemies meter fill at the same time, and when  it reaches a certain point, you can act.  The action itself revolves around timed button presses - a la Shadow Hearts.  If you are successful, the attack/spell/action goes off.  If you miss, no action happens, but you only lose a little bit of your meter.  The tutorial (which was basically worthless, btw) said that 3 perfect button presses would gain me new skills, but that seems to be pretty random so far.  I'm going to have to read up on how that works.  There is also a field effect (sort of like Chrono Cross) that determines what actions you can cast.  Thankfully, you can change styles (actions) mid-battle to allow for different attacks to take advantage of this effect.  It seems like a cool system so far, and I'm sure will allow for great flexibility as the game progresses.  

Overall first impression:  I was really expecting more in the production department.  The lackluster graphics and horrid voice acting unfortunately serve to draw you out of the game, rather than into it.  Hopefully the story and battle system can overcome the other shortcomings.  I'll post some more detailed impressions when I get a little further.
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2005, 04:09:45 AM »

Is there an option to have japanese or korean voices with subtitles?
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EddieA
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2005, 04:57:10 AM »

There's only English, but I think the voiceovers are pretty good, myself.
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2005, 05:01:00 AM »

The only way to turn off the VO is to turn off the sound effects as well.
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2005, 05:14:44 AM »

i really want this game to be good, but my wallet doesn't.  Keep the impressions coming.
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2005, 05:19:28 AM »

Quote from: "Gratch"
The battle system really shines...I think.  I'm having a hell of a time figuring it out, but what I have picked up on is pretty good.  I'm honestly going to have to read the manual pretty thoroughly before I really understand it.  There does seem to be a glut of icons, buttons, and gauges on the battle screen, which are somewhat tough to keep track of.  The combat itself seems like a cross between Grandia II and Shadow Hearts.  Your time meter and the enemies meter fill at the same time, and when  it reaches a certain point, you can act.  The action itself revolves around timed button presses - a la Shadow Hearts.  If you are successful, the attack/spell/action goes off.  If you miss, no action happens, but you only lose a little bit of your meter.  The tutorial (which was basically worthless, btw) said that 3 perfect button presses would gain me new skills, but that seems to be pretty random so far.  I'm going to have to read up on how that works.  There is also a field effect (sort of like Chrono Cross) that determines what actions you can cast.  Thankfully, you can change styles (actions) mid-battle to allow for different attacks to take advantage of this effect.  It seems like a cool system so far, and I'm sure will allow for great flexibility as the game progresses.  

Overall first impression:  I was really expecting more in the production department.  The lackluster graphics and horrid voice acting unfortunately serve to draw you out of the game, rather than into it.  Hopefully the story and battle system can overcome the other shortcomings.  I'll post some more detailed impressions when I get a little further.


about 3 hours in, &, yeah, i'm liking the battle system, also - think of it as turn-based by party rather than individual characters (with the ability to switch characters on the fly as the meter fills). as far as skills, it's taken me 2 or 3 perfects per next level, &, clunky as i am, i've managed to get all 4 of the beginner skill levels for 3 of the characters already. lots of stuff to factor into combat: area chi (& the changeable lanterns), who's got which chi skills, the fortuneteller/luck thing, but the initial mission is pretty forgiving & nicely learner-paced...

not as disappointed as you with the graphics or voice-overs - certainly not spectacular, but, for me, very acceptable (in an androgynous sorta way smile ). considering how hyped i was, i'm kinda surprised by how satisfied i am...
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2005, 09:29:34 AM »

I should be getting this tomorrow along with DQ8.  More impressions so I can decide if it's a keeper!
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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2005, 01:28:35 AM »

I've put about two hours into the game, and so far I think I'm going to really enjoy it. The battle system is very complex, but it is definitely fun. I'm concerned, however, that boss battles could be very frustrating based upon all the different elements that can influence a battle. From what I understand things begin to move at a substantially faster pace as the game progresses, and it becomes easy to miss an attack or botch a chain. For example, I would have preferred that for each progressive button you hit correctly the attack power increases. Instead, if you miss any of the three button timings you lose your ability to attack altogether.

One nice thing about the standard world map is that you can heal at any time just by camping. It alleviates the need to constantly worry about healing items.The only negative is that wandering monsters may attack you, and you'll have to fight the battle at a disadvantage since you were surprised.  

I actually find the graphics to be somehat close to FFX, although certainly not quite as detailed. The character models and environments definitely have a Final Fantasy X feel, all the way down to the very strange character costumes.  I'm also happy to see that most of the enemies are not quite as ridiculous as those seen in many of the Japanese RPGs. One thing I DON'T like is how effeminate some of the lead male characters look. In fact for  about an hour I had mistaken one of my male party members for a girl.
I'm also disappointed that the environments are so noninteractive. Unless I'm mistaken, unlike most RPGs the items you can find in the rooms of Magna Carta are always in those large chests. It makes searching the beds, cabinets and dressers a moot point.

So while I fault the game for its rather lifeless environments, i applaud its attempt to build a relationship system. For those of you who have not played the game, you have the ability to offer gifts and have discussions with your party members at numerous points throughout the game. Based upon your type of gift or conversation responses, your allies begin to fight as a more cohesive or less cohesive band.

For the moment I rate the game a solid 8 based upon the unique combat system and slightly more adult presentation than most RPGs. The only way I see the grade falling is if combat becomes overly complex and aggrivating as new moves, timings and chains are itroduced.
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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2005, 01:35:06 AM »

Quote
I was hoping to have DQ8 impressions today, but alas, that will have to wait until tomorrow


I enjoyed the demo, but was rather disappointed at the rather generic environments. It really reminded me a somewhat stripped down Dark Cloud 2, at least in the city environments. Combat was wonderfully fun, and some of the enemies are absolutely hilarious. Your party is also a very eclectic and motley crew, which makes the game even more entertaining.


***Mild Spoiler***



The very first boss I encountered whipped my characters in three hits. It seemed unbalanced in combination with all of the battles that had taken place up to that point. I'm assuming its one of those things where they expect you to wander around for a few hours gathering levels before venturing further.
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« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2005, 03:25:26 AM »

I put in a few more hours, and I have a few question/gripes about the battle system:

1.  If there are multiple enemies in your target range, Is there any way to pick which one you want to attack?  For example, I'm busy hammering away on the strongest enemy and nearly have him beat.  But once his buddies join the fight, your character automatically targets the closest one, which isn't necessarily the one you already had depleted 3/4 of their HP.  This poses a problem because you then have to move around to target the one enemy you want, and the leadership bar (time meter) doesn't fill while you're moving.  So the other enemies might get in another hit or two by the time you position yourself to attack the one you were originally fighting.  Highly, highly annoying.

2.  Is there a way to tell how many perfect hits it take to level up a skill?  In order to percieve a new skill (level up a skill), you need to get three perfect button presses when using it.  But there doesn't seem to be any way to tell how many times you have to do this before it levels up.  This makes skill levelling feel completely random, which is very aggravating.

3.  Is there any way to tell how much Chi a specific skill will use?  You have to have a specific type of Chi available (out of 8 ) to use a skill.  There is a meter for each type of chi in the top corner, but there doesn't seem to be any way to tell how much or how little of that Chi will be used for each action until after you make the attack or cast the spell.  That doesn't do much good.  The only way I've seen is to memorize how much the action uses, which is OK when I only have 3 actions available, but would be a serious headache with more skills.

4.  Do enemies ever randomly spawn?  I was hoping to level my characters up a little bit before a boss battle, but once I cleared a map, there is no way to make the enemies reappear.  How are you supposed to level up if you're only allowed to fight one set of enemies one time?

While the story and graphics have gotten better over the last couple hours, the battle system has become very frustrating.  I'm hoping I'm just overlooking something obvious with these questions.  Otherwise, MC may be on the trading block before long.  frown
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« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2005, 08:32:48 AM »

1. I think R2/L2 is supposed to switch targets.
2. The manual says it's random, so there isn't a set number.
3. ???
4. From what I've read, enemies will respawn a few times in most areas, but only after you've progressed further in the game from that area.  This was a concern of mine, too, but none of the reviews I've read mention the game being particularly difficult, so I'm assuming that if you fight every enemy in a region, you should be fine.
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« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2005, 09:54:16 AM »

I decided to bite the bullet and open my copy.  I'm not that far into it, but I'm enjoying it much more than I thought I would.  After a couple hours I get the feeling that the battle system could be the best thing and the worst thing about the game.  So far it's fun and engaging, but I'm wondering if it could become tedious down the road.  The pseudo-real time combat is taking some getting used to.  

The no cost ability to heal after a battle is great since it allows for a bit more room for error when fighting.  

Load times are a small annoyance, but liveable.

The voice overs haven't bothered me much so far.  It's not fantastic, but it's not piss poor either, except for that Haren character.  That has got to be one of the worst VO jobs ever.
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« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2005, 02:38:33 PM »

Quote from: "EddieA"
1. I think R2/L2 is supposed to switch targets.
2. The manual says it's random, so there isn't a set number.
3. ???
4. From what I've read, enemies will respawn a few times in most areas, but only after you've progressed further in the game from that area.  This was a concern of mine, too, but none of the reviews I've read mention the game being particularly difficult, so I'm assuming that if you fight every enemy in a region, you should be fine.


Thanks Eddie.  I was hoping I'd just overlooked something with the targeting system, so I'll give that a shot tonight.  I haven't encountered any respawning enemies, but maybe i need to get further in before that happens.  I'll give it another couple hours and see what happens.
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« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2005, 03:22:20 AM »

I've got this sitting unwrapped in a drawer until I finish Radiata Stories, I am going to do the same with DQ8. If I don't hide these new games I'll never finish the ones I have.

It good to hear that this one's a winner, I can't wait to play it.
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« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2005, 03:37:18 AM »

Quote from: "Tebunker"
It good to hear that this one's a winner, I can't wait to play it.


i think it's a winner (thought radiata stories was as well), but at this point (everyone level 10+) i'd say it's definitely not for everyone. for one thing, the pacing is, to put it nicely, 'deliberate'. i'm fine with this, but i can imagine a number of people having a ball right now running around leveling up like maniacs in dq8 (you know who you are) might find themselves dozing off a couple hours into mc. there's yet to be some kind of 'defining moment' that grabs you & sweeps you up through the rest of the game (i've read it happens about 10 hours in(!)), but i'm fine with that, too - mastering the button mashing, maxing out the skills, & figuring out chi-based battle strategies has been entertaining enough for now...

it's a good, solid, pretty, & interesting enough game - &, if that defining moment does indeed eventually happen, then that'll just make it all that much better...
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« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2005, 04:02:51 AM »

Well it took me playing Radiata Stories for almost 6 hours before it really started grabbing my interest, right about the time you start figuring out how to really recruit folks. I don't mind games that take time to warm up, it allows me to get comfy for the ride. That's why I loved games like Baten Kaitos and even Tales of Symphonia.
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« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2005, 11:57:07 PM »

Well, finally was able to have a little bit of time to play Magna Carta.  Here are my early impressions of the game.

One thing to note though - I knew about this game's flaws and weaknesses.  I'm in no way looking at Magna Carta and wanting a PERFECT RPG experience.

Anyways, I like the look of the game.  The graphics, to me, aren't too shabby at all.  If I were to play what the graphics are like in an RPG timeline, I would place it between the evolution of the original Shadow Hearts' graphics and Shadow Hearts Covenant.  They're not spectacular, but they get the job done well.

I dig the artwork and look of the characters.  Obviously, the detail for Calintz is a lot better compared to like, a background tree texture.  So the feminate dudes and the extremely busty women aren't bad for me.

Voice acting isn't quite as bad as I expected.  Calintz has a good voice and the phrases he says flows nicely.  Haren, though, sounds pretty "meh."  It's like he's trying to impersonate Wakka . . . without an accent . . . and poorly.

The battle system is fairly interesting so far.  The drawing chi from the environment is, so far, not quite as complicated as I thought it was going to be.  So far I've really been able to use whatever characters I wanted to.  Though, a couple of times, the chi in the environment has been quite low for certain ones, but it has never emptied completely.  I like the lantern aspect and how you're able to replenish/change the chi in the area.  Though, I'll need to have the elemental chart with me when I plan on changing it, since I have NO IDEA what the negative chi is from Celestrial.

Great Gaming Trend review too.  Sounds like whoever reviewed it gave it a good chance and scored it accurately.  Kudos!  Nicely written!

Load times are indeed a bugaboo.  They get pretty long at times.  But I can stand that.

So far I'm enjoying it!  It's what I was pretty much expecting!  I think it's a deliberately slow RPG.  I have enough reasons with the game to stick with it!
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« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2005, 02:21:33 AM »

Quote from: "depward"
Great Gaming Trend review too.  Sounds like whoever reviewed it gave it a good chance and scored it accurately.  Kudos!  Nicely written!


Depward, thanks for the kudos.  I would have liked to spend more time with it, but there are other games waiting.  However, I think I got the major points across.  I'm glad that you thought it was well written too, because the combat in the gameplay is very tough to describe.  I do my best when I review games.  I know I have done some bad reviews that I would like to take back, but it is a learning process sometimes.

It was also tough without a manual, but I spent a lot of time with it to make sure that I got the scores right.
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« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2005, 09:38:00 AM »

Quote from: "depward"
Well, finally was able to have a little bit of time to play Magna Carta.  Here are my early impressions of the game.

One thing to note though - I knew about this game's flaws and weaknesses.  I'm in no way looking at Magna Carta and wanting a PERFECT RPG experience.

Anyways, I like the look of the game.  The graphics, to me, aren't too shabby at all.  If I were to play what the graphics are like in an RPG timeline, I would place it between the evolution of the original Shadow Hearts' graphics and Shadow Hearts Covenant.  They're not spectacular, but they get the job done well.

I dig the artwork and look of the characters.  Obviously, the detail for Calintz is a lot better compared to like, a background tree texture.  So the feminate dudes and the extremely busty women aren't bad for me.

Voice acting isn't quite as bad as I expected.  Calintz has a good voice and the phrases he says flows nicely.  Haren, though, sounds pretty "meh."  It's like he's trying to impersonate Wakka . . . without an accent . . . and poorly.

The battle system is fairly interesting so far.  The drawing chi from the environment is, so far, not quite as complicated as I thought it was going to be.  So far I've really been able to use whatever characters I wanted to.  Though, a couple of times, the chi in the environment has been quite low for certain ones, but it has never emptied completely.  I like the lantern aspect and how you're able to replenish/change the chi in the area.  Though, I'll need to have the elemental chart with me when I plan on changing it, since I have NO IDEA what the negative chi is from Celestrial.

Great Gaming Trend review too.  Sounds like whoever reviewed it gave it a good chance and scored it accurately.  Kudos!  Nicely written!

Load times are indeed a bugaboo.  They get pretty long at times.  But I can stand that.

So far I'm enjoying it!  It's what I was pretty much expecting!  I think it's a deliberately slow RPG.  I have enough reasons with the game to stick with it!


Nice impressions Xian, I think I am going to wait on this game for a while though smile
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« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2005, 12:00:18 PM »

I finally got to play some more, and I'm really enjoying it.  The game doesn't  make a great first impression, but it gets going quickly.  The battle system, even in the simple early battles, is already fun, and I can see it getting much more interesting once the battles get more involved.
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« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2005, 02:09:57 AM »

Quote from: "EddieA"
The battle system, even in the simple early battles, is already fun, and I can see it getting much more interesting once the battles get more involved.


it does indeed. with everyone at level 14-15 at this point, it's the battle system more than the story that keeps me interested. forming parties around the chi available in an area (whether altering the lantern or not) ends up making this game as strategic an rpg as i've played in a while - you can end up getting your butt kicked pretty bad during average field encounters if your party's not set up right...

mc's very much an acquired taste, & i've seriously acquired it. it's weirdly... relaxing...
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« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2005, 10:01:06 PM »

in response to gratch's reference to 'the chaotic on-screen mess that is magna carta's combat' over on the dqviii thread, & in order to encourage anyone looking for a unique rpg -type experience somewhere down the road to give mc a shot, i do hereby present:


'these are the realities of war': an idiot's guide to magna carta (the idiot not being gratch, but myself, who has finally, almost at the halfway point in the game, come to get pretty comfortable with what the hell is going on)...

if magna carta has a single problem (aside from the loading times & lack of cinematics), it's the fact that, right from the get-go, it throws waay too much stuff at you at once. couple this with one of the shortest/worst in-game tutorials ever & the fact that the combat system itself is so different, & it can become very confusing very quickly. however, the truth is that, once you get a handle on things, & if you're not in a big hurry to just bash your way through it, the game, & the combat system in particular, becomes extremely addictive & enjoyable...

prior to combat, there're 2 main components to take into consideration.

the first is what i'd call the 'peripheral' elements: the 'fortune' bit (for increasing experience/rewards), the 'friendship' bit (for making the charge bar fill faster), the 'talisman' bit (combine talismans, which have effects in combat, to create others) & equipment/upgrades/items (pretty standard rpg fare). besides a little bit of chit-chat/gift-giving, & buying the odd weapon or piece of armor, i haven't really spent a whole lot of time on the peripheral stuff, so it's there if you're interested, but obviouly not really all that necessary?...

the second pre-battle consideration is chi. each character's fighting/spellcasing 'styles' (& enemy attacks, as well) draw on & drain different forms of chi (these styles, more of which you get as the game progresses, are each restricted to certain characters, meaning it's to your benefit to level everyone pretty evenly as you go along). each area of the gameworld has differing amounts of the 8 chi types, & contain one or 2 chi lanterns, filled with one of the area's predominating chi types. by altering a lantern with a talisman, you can somewhat change the balance of the area chi. so - what you do, as you progess from area to area, is form your party (from the members available) to best utilize the chi either already available or that you make available...

okay, on to the combat itself...

enemies are visible on the field, or, when the fixed camera's not quite right (which happens often) on the mini-map (which also indicates their field of vision). whoever gets in the first blow starts the combat at an advantage, which is very good to have early on if not always - enemies tend to immediately gravitate toward, and beat on, your weakest character otherwise). anyway, you engage...

both parties have a charge bar, with markers indicating when an action can be taken. each bar fills gradually, unless either characters or enemies are moving, which freezes (but doesn't lower) it. an enemy is in range when it glows...

so, let's say you have the advantage ('first attack!'), you move a character within range of an enemy, your charge bar's passed a marker, & bingo!, the 'trinity circle' appears, indicating you can take an action. the trinity circle consists of 3 button presses (either o or x) that must be done with the right timing (missed press = lost turn), a la shadow hearts (with the big difference being it's the same rythmn for all attacks for everyone). so you attack / cast a spell. the enemy takes damage, your charge bar drops a marker's worth, fills, passes a marker, you attack again, etc...

except it's not quite all that simple...

the trinity circle will show clearly if the style you've equipped is compatible with available chi; otherwise, it will be faded, indicating there's no chi available for that style. if that's the case, you can either: 1) call up a menu & switch to a style that's compatible, 2) just stand there, risking attack, & wait for the chi to replenish, which it does somewhat slowly, 3) use up a turn to use a talisman to replenish the chi you need, 4) run & hide behind someone else or 5) switch to another character, move him/her within range, & do it all over again (switching characters - & in-range targets - on the fly is done very easily with the r1-l1, r2-l2 buttons respectively)...

them's the basics. but, of course, there's more, besides the obvious extras like occasional attack 'effects' (poison, paralysis, etc), & the fact that certain chi attacks cause more/less damage than others depending on the enemy's chi orientation...

styles: initially, each style has a single skill, but every style contains a few skills, each usually (tho not always?) more powerful than the previous ones. new skills are 'perceived' in battle, by getting 3 'great' (as opposed to 'good') button presses when executing the current highest-level skill several times (not necessarily in succession). that said, when entering combat, characters always begin each style attack with the lowest skill, then proceed up the skill ladder with subsequent attacks. the good news being, if, mid-battle, you switch styles at top skill (no more chi) & then switch back (chi replenished), your attack will still be top skill, the bad news being one poorly timed button press at any point in the style, & you start over at the bottom...

& then there's the 'trinity drive' - for every 'great' (3 'great' button presses) attack, the trinity drive increases by 5%. once past 30%, you can activate it & jack up the damage of your next attack (like the attack skill ladder, if you blow it, the drive goes back to 0%). i never remember to use this, for some reason...

the form of combat i've described is 'standard' mode. there are also 2 others, combo & counter. combo attacks involve multiple (9-20!) button presses on a faster spinning trinity circle; counter involves guessing an enemy's button presses. all i can say is that, approaching the half-way point in the game, i finally pulled off a combo for the first time yesterday (it was very cool to see, but didn't cause a helluva lot more damage than usual) & have never even tried the counter thing, so, like the peripheral stuff i mentioned way back when, i'm thinking (& hoping) it's not actually necessary...


& there you have it. like i've said, i think if mc's battle system initially feels overly-hectic, it's mostly because of the tutorial sucking & the very early-on kitchen-sink-type introduction of the numerous elements involved. which is a shame, because, in a way, magna carta's battle system, imo, is maybe the most interesting synthesis of a traditional rpg with a traditional real-time strategy game that i've ever played. the combat challenge & pacing is just about perfect, the controls, once mastered, become reflexive (well, except for the combo, anyway), & the strategizing, both before battle & on the fly, gradually becomes seriously addictive...

i wish the loading times were better, & that there were more cinematics. but, combine the very unique & enjoyable battle system with a game that's satisfactory to good in every other aspect (the graphics & music are very nice to my non-hd/surroundsound eyes'n'ears, & the story's at least the equal of other rpgs i've finished), & i'd say magna carta's well worth checking out the next time you're looking for something different...


(did i mention it's long? - it's quite long...)
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"... i'm not against some 'monkey catching'... but i'd rather be collecting pants..."
- snake, 'snake vs monkey' (mgs3:se)
Dante Rising
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« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2005, 10:28:26 PM »

Thanks for the battle details, semiconscious. I bought this game and Dragon Quest VIII together, and while I've been devoting my time to DQ8 I did enjoy the few hours I spent sampling Magna Carta.

Now that you've spent considerable time with the game, how do you feel about the difficulty level? I'm concerned because the fights seem relatively complex, and there does not really seem to be an easy way to power level your characters. Or is that not even really necessary?
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semiconscious
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« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2005, 02:17:17 AM »

Quote from: "Dante Rising"
Now that you've spent considerable time with the game, how do you feel about the difficulty level? I'm concerned because the fights seem relatively complex, and there does not really seem to be an easy way to power level your characters. Or is that not even really necessary?


field encounters are pretty straightforward if you've set things up right, chi-wise, though even they can get out of hand if you haven't (i've had close calls, mostly my own fault, but haven't lost one yet). boss battles, of which there haven't been so many so far, can get nasty quickly (they always get first attack, some have area attacks & then, of course, there're the ever-popular 'back-to-back bosses'), but if you keep your cool & include a healer in your party (you pretty much can tell when one's coming, & there's always a save point right before) they're pretty doable (also haven't lost one yet) - positioning your party (pretty basic - tank(s) up front, spellcaster(s) in back), & knowing when to switch between them is fundamental, &, as i said, becomes second-nature over time...

there's no way to power level that i've seen so far. sometimes, on your way from here to there, you can wander off the track a bit (before you're stopped & turned around) & have some battles you otherwise wouldn't've had, but that's about it. again, the game's basically designed around the fact that you can't power level - think fire emblem (which, weirdly enough, mc sometimes reminds me of). what you can, & what i think are supposed to do, is balance out & keep all your characters leveling evenly. so you basically, while wandering the highways'n'byways, end up using one of 3 types of parties: either one that includes a character or 2 that needs leveling, or one that includes a character or 2 with a new style that needs to master the skills - or one that includes a bit of both. all while keeping an eye on the area chi, of course...
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- snake, 'snake vs monkey' (mgs3:se)
Gratch
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« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2005, 02:57:45 PM »

Very nice write up, semiconcious.  While MC didn't do much for me, I can certainly see how people looking for a non-traditional RPG would really enjoy it.  I don't think MC is a bad game by any means.  There were just too many little quirky things (both in and out of battle) that kept me from really enjoying it.

Of course, since it got stolen out of my car earlier this week, I won't have to worry about playing it anymore.   :evil:
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semiconscious
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« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2005, 07:43:47 PM »

Quote from: "Gratch"
Very nice write up, semiconcious.  While MC didn't do much for me, I can certainly see how people looking for a non-traditional RPG would really enjoy it.  I don't think MC is a bad game by any means.  There were just too many little quirky things (both in and out of battle) that kept me from really enjoying it.

Of course, since it got stolen out of my car earlier this week, I won't have to worry about playing it anymore.   :evil:


thanks (& sorry about the break-in)...

yeah, it's quirky (& slow & a few other things), & i understand where you're coming from. i guess i just basically wanted to clear the air a bit re: the 'complexity' of the battle system - which, in my opinion, is really no more so than, say, the megaten games' system (& without all them cheap deaths)...
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- snake, 'snake vs monkey' (mgs3:se)
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« Reply #31 on: November 25, 2005, 07:46:34 PM »

Nice write up semi!  Lots of helpful info in there!

I really haven't had much time to play - only about a total of four hours now or so - but I'm enjoying it.  I'm still learning about the battle system (your write-up helped me out there) and setting up a proper group based around the chi available in the area.  I dunno, maybe the "trinity circle" is a cheap tactic for me to actually enjoy the battle system, but gosh darnit, I'm always intrigued when there's a button rhythm in a game.

But yeah - I'm enjoying it as much as I was thinking I was going to be.  I'm not going to herald it, so far, as "the best RPG of this console GENERATION" or anything.  But it's a solid "different" RPG alternative.
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semiconscious
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« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2005, 06:13:53 PM »

what does it say about an rpg if, after playing it for 4 weeks, you get to the final final boss battle, lose twice, say 'screw it', shut it off (&, in this case, uninstall it from the hard drive)?...

i enjoyed this game - there was lots about it that was fun. the story's fine (if somewhat awkwardly told), graphics & music very good, &, most of all, the combat system's great (tho pretty unforgiving). but the whole thing just went on a lit-tle too long for it's own good - long enough for me to realize i just never did end up caring a whole lot about the characters, & that i'd had more than enough of the combat for a while...

sometimes less is more (radiata stories). magna carta epic length is maybe it's biggest weakness - a smaller, tighter version would've been just about perfect (for me, anyway)...
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"... i'm not against some 'monkey catching'... but i'd rather be collecting pants..."
- snake, 'snake vs monkey' (mgs3:se)
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