Sen no Kiseki, my first impression of this game was pure rage. The load times in this game was ridiculous. The battle that took 30 seconds to load , cut-scenes taking 30+ seconds and so on. I couldn't get through the prologue because of the load times and had to put the game down.
You want to see that game screen? You better wait 30 seconds. Now I'm talking about the vita version of this game, apparently the ps3 versions didn't have 30 seconds load times. (It was a cool 10 seconds)
Thankfully later on falcom patched the game and managed to reduce the load times to 5~10 seconds. Knowing this I finally went back and decided to play the game again.
The gameplay is unique. And sometimes that uniqueness can be a little bit annoying. According to those who have played the previous installments of this series a lot has changed. Arks now have their own unique types with bonuses (Ex.Fireball with +2 STR) Funny thing with Quartz, if you put in any offensive quartz that doesn't have Arks, it doesn't give you any spell to utilize. The Arks system is smaller than the previous installments. There are numerous elements once again.
The game limits your party to 4 in combat, but you can switch out your team member mid combat, so you don't need to pre-arrange your team before going into a boss battle or etc. One downside, you can't trade out the dead member, because you lose control over that character, so you will waste a revive item to switch out.
Crafts (Aka Skill) is a key component of this game. It can interrupt the enemy spells, certain crafts have chance to stun/blind/etc deal status ailments. (Yes, you can interrupt boss's) spells. There is also this thing called "Link craft" which able you to duo-craft with a linked partner. Link actually is a key component in this game and does affect the plot, but I will talk about that in the next article.
Also, the characters in this game are less brain-dead than any other RPG I have played.They will counter back MOSTLY if the enemy misses an attack on you.
About the Battle System.
See the Zero Arts beside the characters icon? This character can perform any Arts he wants for that turn without any cost of EP. It is one of the features of Sen No kiseki. You can see random factors (ex.Hp heal, EP heal, Zero -Arts etc) on the side.
Sounds like it can be abused? Well, they knew how to balance it. The enemies has them too. Hp 10% Heal when the boss only has 100hp? No problem. One turn away from killing the boss and he casts spell with crits? This game got your back. This is the uniqueness of the game that frustrates me a bit. The bosses are already stronger than you, and have numerous spells to kill you. Of course this is not a problem, it should be like that. The thing with this game, it has a difficulty spike, and a big one. The new party members that you get is pretty nice. They sometimes come with added bonuses weapons that will help you, but that will not help you through the bosses. Also, it's sometimes just a matter of luck. But than, I'm talking about a RPG game here.
Besides the annoying factors, like I have said it can be very helpful to you too, because you also get these factors for the better. Also, when you normal attack you will gain CP (or after turns) Which is needed to cast Crafts and S-Crafts.
S-crafts are very cool looking and guarantee at least 1000 dmg. (From my experience anyways.) It's like your final ultimate, but you have to be careful when to use it, because it drains the entirety of your CP bar. You can cast it when you have 100 CP, but that doesn't mean if you cast S-craft with 150 CP, you will be left with 50 cp. You are left with 0, so make use of S-craft.
Boom. [image courtesy of dengeki online]
The game can be pretty challenging. Just because the enemy is always slightly stronger than you. Except bosses. They are 300% stronger than you. Even the first boss can be a little bit of challenge, but if you can read what the spells do, you wouldn't have troubles during the game. Also you lose that character who buffs your whole team with DEF and heal per turn during chapter 3 and suddenly game is hard. (Elliot...)
I will continue this article in the next blog article I write, more about the gameplay and the plot of this game. (Which is a headache itself) .
If you have any questions, grammatical errors, requests about a particular game to be covered, please leave a comment below.
Thank you for your time.
Spoiler for the day
(But not really)
You get friendzoned left and right except for one.