The Return of Talking Time

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JBear 05-19-2014 02:15 PM

Screaming geysers of blood!? Let's Play Vandal Hearts!
Hey there, everyone! I decided to dip my toe into Let's Play-ing, and I couldn't think of a better place to start than a game that's near and dear to my heart, Vandal Hearts for the PS1. It's easily one of my favourite games of all time (unsurprisingly, given my avatar and user title), but prevailing opinion seems to be that it is a cute but forgettable SRPG that's inferior to its more famous cousins like Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre. Personally, I find those games dry and tedious; fittingly, Vandal Hearts has more heart.

It may have a comparatively simplistic advancement/customization system (which I think is to its credit, frankly), but it's more colourful, it's quicker/punchier, it has almost no grinding to speak of (unless you actively go looking for the couple of exploitive work-arounds, which is kind of silly and completely unnecessary), and almost every mission is unique, with varied challenges or objectives that are informed by the narrative. FFT has that one phoned-in mission where you stand on a couple of floodgate buttons (likely after killing everything else), but almost every battle in Vandal Hearts has some sort of fun new gimmick. Kill the guard dogs before they alert anyone! Get off the disconnecting rail cars! Kill as few possessed villagers as possible! Or, y'know, play FFT and fight the same boring chocobos on flat grasslands 800 times and maybe kill a named guy or two once a chapter.

Now, I mentioned this recently in another thread, and several people were quick to point out that VH actually has a lot more in common with the Shining Force games (which I also love) than it does with FFT and its ilk. And this is true! However, I have a lot of irrational hatred for FFT stemming back from high school when it rose to popularity. I still played it and loved it along with everybody else, of course (and had the maxed-out game clock to show for it), but it drove me crazy that none of my school-yard chums would give VH the time of day but gushed all over FFT, and I felt like they only liked it so much because of its branding. They went so far as to call other SRPGs (including VH itself!) "Final Fantasy Tactics clones", much the same way that FPSs were called "Doom-clones" at the time, and it made me absolutely livid. After all, Final Fantasy Tactics was nothing more than a Vandal Hearts clone! Of course, I now know that neither was exactly the progenitor of the genre, but Vandal Hearts did precede FFT by a year, so I still feel like I had the moral high ground.

In any case, I feel like Vandal Hearts is the far superior game, and one of my primary goals for this LP is to do high school age JBear a solid and marshal that case. I still love playing through this game again, even now, and I hope to make converts out of at least a couple of you!

I should make it clear that, lest the thread title scare everyone away, the blood geysers are indeed present, but they're just sort of this strange little incongruous oddity and not really very representative of the game as a whole. For whatever reason, someone decided that enemies should die in a hilarious over-the-top explosion of blood accompanied by the sound of... tearing metal? I think it's supposed to be a scream? Maybe? It's weird, is what I'm saying, but I love it. It really must be seen to be believed.

Now, some of you may have heard that this game is in fact the first in a series, but this is regrettably not true. Internet rumours have insisted for years that the game spawned a couple of sequels, but those sequels don't actually exist, in the same way that George Lucas stopped making movies after Return of the Jedi. (Honestly, I sort of like VH2, and I finished it, but I would never actually defend it as a good game. It's more of a... interesting but ultimately flawed experiment?)

I've already taken all of the screenshots for my first update, but it'll likely take me a day or two to get it all organized, so in the meantime, here's a link to the intro music (sung by Jadranka Stojakovic) to whet everyone's appetites:

If that doesn't tug at your heart strings, then I don't know how to break this to you, but you may have no soul.

SladeForrester 05-20-2014 10:26 PM

Man, I was always such a fan of this game, it was one of the first PS1 games I ever played. Looking forward to this!

Sarcasmorator 05-20-2014 11:01 PM


For a while there it seemed like every game had a LIBERATION ARMY

JBear 05-20-2014 11:10 PM


Originally Posted by Sarcasmorator (Post 1774676)

For a while there it seemed like every game had a LIBERATION ARMY

My thunder, you're stealing it. :p

(Seriously though, I'm polishing up the first update right now, and I just wrote in a bit about that.)

breakman 05-20-2014 11:39 PM

I've got some notes I took (a few years ago I think?) about differences in the Japan-only Sega Saturn version, which I could chime in with when appropriate. I only went through most of the first chapter, though.

JBear 05-21-2014 06:37 AM

Absolutely! I didn't even know that there was a Saturn version, so I for one would love to hear what's different. If there are more than a few token differences, then I may have to track down a copy and see for myself. I'm always looking for an excuse to play more Vandal Hearts.

Bunk Moreland 05-21-2014 06:38 AM

This should be a fun LP. I don't remember why I stopped playing this years ago, just that I did. I was enjoying it a lot too!

It is like Shining Force, except you have a lot more options. Shining Force is fun but pretty much a standard RPG with SRPG style battles - its maps are built more around simple choke points with the occasional hazard.

I remember VH having tons of map variety, and even without the map variety, they let you do things like push/move objects, climb up/down height and generally reshape parts of the battlefield.

FelixSH 05-21-2014 09:28 AM

I stopped FFT at the first battle where you have an AI-controlled guy that I had to protect. It looked like he wanted to die immediately. I stopped Tactics Ogre because it looked like there was some sort of grinding involved at the beginning.
Vandal Hearts was from the beginning way more fun to me than these two games. I liked the simplicity and, like everyone else, the great maps and missions.
I can´t wait for this the next update.

breakman 05-21-2014 02:16 PM


Originally Posted by JBear (Post 1774755)
Absolutely! I didn't even know that there was a Saturn version, so I for one would love to hear what's different. If there are more than a few token differences, then I may have to track down a copy and see for myself. I'm always looking for an excuse to play more Vandal Hearts.

Well...from what I've seen, it's mostly a fairly large amount of token differences. And some of them appear to be pretty clearly related to the change in hardware (transparency effects, for example), while others are just...kind of baffling (like a redrawn tree sprite).

The biggest thing, probably, is this weird/terrible new intro.

JBear 05-21-2014 03:12 PM


Originally Posted by breakman (Post 1775003)
The biggest thing, probably, is this weird/terrible new intro.

That is... magical. It just kept going. It was like a train wreck that I couldn't look away from. I could watch that derpy dragon walking animation all day. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. And I had no idea that swords were ranged weapons. So many years of gaming wasted stabbing and slashing when I could be throwing.

JBear 05-21-2014 06:29 PM

I almost feel like I should hold off on the LP at this point; that video that breakman linked is an impossible act to follow. But I'm too excited to get started, so I'll dive in anyway.

Gotta love that PS1-era Konami logo bursting out of the ground. This was the best I could get after about 4 tries, because I am great at screenshots.

Awww yeah, time to kill some dudes. But wait! I almost forgot. Before our first battle comes BACKSTORY. Are you excited? I'm excited.

"For over a millennium the fertile lands in the heart of this vast continent were ruled by the Holy Ashah Dynasty, ..."

I don't know how you can over-act a voice-over, but this guy found a way. Mr. Deep-voice here lux-ur-i-ates in e-ver-y syll-a-ble.

"Admidst all the wealth and exotic pleasures, the nobility lost their way and sank into corruption and depravity..."

Corrupt nobility, you say? Finally, an original story for a fantasy game.

"...struggling under an oppressive regime, rose up and, under the leadership of Arris the Sage, took up arms against the Kingdom. That was the first outbreak of violence in what would later by known simply as..."

As you're going to see, these guys aren't all that imaginative when it comes to the whole "names" thing.

"...swift and fierce, but time and time again they were put to flight by the cunning strategies of Arris and the indomitable will of the advancing..."

Case in point. If memory serves, I played this game for the first time right after playing Suikoden for the first time (there's even an ad for it on the back of this game's instruction booklet AND printed inside the jewel case), so I thought it was in poor taste that they "stole" the name of their revolutionary army.

"...Council and worked to establish the continent's first democracy."

Democracy fixes everything, you guys. It'll be smooth sailing from here. Game over.

"...would lead the country, mysteriously vanished..."

This won't be the last we hear about him, but after all of this build-up, this guy is probably less important than you're thinking he will be.

JBear 05-21-2014 06:35 PM

It was a dark and stormy night on purple fog island...

The gate makes a really satisfying rumble as it opens. This game is all about the little touches.

Hrm. One of these guys has unique artwork and a more ornate shield. That's probably not good news for "Soldier" here.

Oh wait, never mind, this guy out-fancies all three of you; you're all screwed.

Something perfectly safe, no doubt.


I'm sure they're all fine.

JBear 05-21-2014 06:49 PM

The game periodically has these little act break fanfares. In my head, the guy from the intro reads out the act headings. "A PRE-MON-ITION... OF WAR".


Oh, they're all just standing outside. The fade-in from black is an odd choice here.

Yup, that's pretty surrounded alright. It's a bad day to be a merchant.

"...valley belongs to the "Fangs of Umbaba"?

Other Thief: "They're just some dumb wandering peddlers. Ignorance is the root of misfortune, as they say."

Thief: "If ya wanna live, hand over everything ya got! Although, we'll probably kill you anyway! ....Right boss?"

"Man Called Ash" is not impressed.

I'm going to say that's a "No".

There's a really great sound effect here as he removes his cloak with a flourish. I tried to catch it mid-animation, but it's only a few frames. So many beautiful little touches.

OH MY GOD, "Man Called Ash" is actually "Ash"!

Roll call!

THE VERY SAME. (This nickname is never brought up again.)

But he wants dollars, not quarters! /rimshot

Apparently Zoot is not as impressed by our reputation as it first seemed. Or he's an idiot. Find out which it is next time!

(I was originally going to include the first battle in this update, but it's turning out to be a gigantic update, so I thought I'd better cut it here and give everyone room to breathe before diving in. Next time: Gameplay!)

breakman 05-22-2014 09:54 PM


Originally Posted by JBear (Post 1775118)

Case in point. If memory serves, I played this game for the first time right after playing Suikoden for the first time (there's even an ad for it on the back of this game's instruction booklet AND printed inside the jewel case), so I thought it was in poor taste that they "stole" the name of their revolutionary army.

Speaking of which...


Originally Posted by JBear (Post 1775124)

THE VERY SAME. (This nickname is never brought up again.)

There were also a bunch of nicknames like this in Suikoden. Most/all of the original Liberation Army members had them (though Flik's, at least, was mentioned more than once I think), as did some of the Imperial Generals.

JBear 05-24-2014 07:48 AM

And we're back! To recap the previous backstory dump: 15 years ago, a rebel army overthrew the corrupt monarchy and established a new democracy, but the rebel leader disappeared soon after. In the present, a context-less group of soldiers found a strange altar on a mysterious island and triggered some sort of blinding flash of light. Finally, our trio of player characters disguised themselves as merchants to draw out some bandits and are about to kick some bandit behind!

The objectives fire in from the right side of the screen as the map pans around to set things up. This first fight is a pretty straight-forward affair, and more of a tutorial battle than anything. Both sides are aiming to defeat the other side's leader. It's possible to lose this fight, but you'd need to work pretty hard at it.

Here's the overhead tactical view. Blue dots are Team Merchant, while red dots are the bandits. Zoot is the red dot up there next to the 'W'. That's actually a really obnoxious place for him to be, but I'll get back to why that is in a bit. First, let's take a look at our heroes:

Ash is way ahead of us, with "Hero" printed right on his stat screen. That's his class, not his last name. Hero is a special class reserved for Ash, and it's a good one, with a mixture of great physical stats and some limited healing and offensive magic. He starts with a single healing spell that I'll show off a little later. At level 5, his starting level is one higher than his friends, because he's just that awesome.

Clint here, meanwhile, is a Soldier, and that looks to be a pretty raw deal, since he doesn't have any fancy magic, and has notably lower stats than Ash. He doesn't even get to use a long sword.

Diego doesn't look to have fared much better at first blush, with even lower stats than Clint, but as an Archer he's rocking a bow, which allows him to attack at range. And, even more importantly, he looks absolutely dashing in that bandana, and has a disarming grin.

Here's the information that you're given when you put the cursor over a character. You'll notice a 0% on both the top-left and bottom-left corners of the screen. This is a defensive modifier granted by terrain. Ash here is standing out in the open on a Plains space, so he gets no bonus defense.

Clint, however, needs every edge that he can get, so he's chosen to hang out on a Prairie square, granting a whopping 5% bonus. That may not seem like a lot, but I'd say it's pretty generous given that it's just grass. You may notice a third terrain type just to Clint's north here. That's Thicket, which I apparently didn't get a screenshot of. It grants the highest bonus on this map, at 15%, so if you're expecting to get beat on, it's a good place to hang out. You can completely ignore terrain and make out just fine in this battle, but it's something to keep in mind going forward.

Here's the control menu that we get when we select a character to act. Characters can Move and then take an Action, but can't Act and then Move. Examine interacts with the square that you're standing on in various ways, while Push... pushes things. For those of you who have played the GCN Fire Emblem games, this isn't what you're thinking. There's actually nothing in this battle that I can use to show it off, so it'll have to wait until a later update.

But enough explanation: it's time to hit some dudes in the face! Clint here takes the initiative and moves over to the nearest bandit to introduce him to the pointy end of his short sword (notice his sprite: short swords are apparently wielded two-handed and nearly as tall as a person).

Here's the summary screen that we get before Clint attacks. No complicated damage estimates or hit %s to be had here: it just tells us who is involved and how much health they have, along with their terrain modifiers.

Clint hits him for a decent 9 damage. Not bad. Judging by the look on his face, he certainly didn't enjoy it, at any rate (I love the animations in this game).

But wait, what's this? It looks like he really didn't like it. What's he doing with that...?

OW. Hey, what gives, I thought it was my turn?! Attacks in Vandal Hearts are not just one-sided affairs: if the enemy that you attack is capable of returning the blow, then he or she will gladly do so. This makes ranged attacks even more valuable then they'd otherwise be, as they can attack without reprisal (unless the target also has a ranged weapon that can reach back, in which cast ranged exchanges take place).

Well, Clint got a bloody nose for his trouble, but he also got a delicious 30 experience points. Characters gain a level every 100 points, so that's almost a third of a level right there. Since there are no random battles in this game, every point of experience counts. Pretty much every action grants experience points, and no one wants to look at pictures of that little dialog box 1000 times, so just assume that everyone is getting experience for their actions from here forward.

I'm one of those OCD people who needs to level all of his playable characters at the same pace in any game, but Vandals Hearts rewards that kind of behaviour more than most, as there's none of this "you can only have 5 of your 12 characters for this battle" nonsense. If your posse has a dozen characters, then they can all take to the field. You need to work hard to keep your characters all evenly leveled (especially in this first battle where Ash can pretty reasonably solo the whole thing), but you'd need to work even harder to get their levels very imbalanced, as there's a built-in catch up mechanism where characters get bonus XP when interacting with targets that are higher level than them (and are similarly penalized for interacting with lower-level targets). This is component #1 of the silly power-leveling exploits that I won't be making use of.

Alright, enough of that: back to killing! Clint softened that guy up for us, so let's see if Diego can finish the job. Here's Diego's attack range. Looks like he can attack up to four space away in a straight line. Perfect! I'll just sidle on by Ash and plant myself on the grass space that Clint just vacated...

Oh dear. That's not good. If you can't make it out from the screenshot, the bandit's space is not highlighted in red. So what gives? See how Clint and the bandit are up on a little ledge there? Well, it turns out that elevation matters, and that's just a little too high for Diego's arrows to reach. You want to give your Archers the high ground whenever possible, as they can get some ridiculous attack ranges from a sufficiently elevated perch (however, you also open up blind spots in the spaces closest to you if you get up too high), and attacks from higher elevations get bonus damage (this includes melee attacks).

Since he hasn't taken an action yet, you can still cancel Diego's move at this point and bring him back to the square he started from, but I forgot that I could do that, because I was still getting back into the swing of things. So I ended his turn on the square with him staring angrily at the bandit that's just out of reach. But, this presents a good opportunity to demonstrate another key concept: facing! If you end your turn by attacking, then you'll face in the direction you attacked, but otherwise you get to choose the direction that you face to end your turn, and it matters. Attacks from the side do extra damage, and attacks from the rear do even more than that. Here's a delightful diagram from the instruction booklet to illustrate the damage bonuses from facing and height:

Alright, now that I derped and skipped Diego's turn, it's time for our Hero to show us what he's made of.

:eek: Okay, yeah, that'll do just fine. Fire Emblem fans can think of Ash as this game's "Jeigan". He can one-shot everything on the map except Zoot. He's not quite as bad as most Jeigans are in those games, since Ash is an amazing character that you want to level up, but you'll still do well to keep him in check a bit and let your other characters get some much-needed XP.

JBear 05-24-2014 07:49 AM

Alright, now it's time for the bandits to act. Only two of them are close enough to attack, so this should be pretty quick.

The enemy archer decides to demonstrate how much better he is at this whole elevation thing than I am by plinking at Diego from the top of nearby hill, putting him just outside the range of Diego's counter-attack. Fortunately, his arrows are evidently made of nerf. He'd better enjoy the free shot; it will be his last.

Next to act is the beefy brigand that Diego foolishly left alive last turn. He's repaid for his stupidity with a stab to the back, and the damage is starting to quickly add up. These bandits must have read the instruction booklet as well, as he positions himself for both maximum damage AND defense by striking Diego from behind while standing on top of a thicket space.

Unfortunately for him, he only had 5 HP left, and some greenery wasn't enough to prevent the point-blank arrow to his face from ending his life. That's right: Archers will happily counter-attack from melee range, and although it might look like the bandit survived the blow in this screenshot, that's just because I was a little quick on the draw with the capture key and caught his HP bar in the process of draining away. The beginning of the blood shower is a dead giveaway. Sorry.

JBear 05-24-2014 07:50 AM

Alright, that was it for the bandits' turn. Now it's time for REVENGE. Diego positions himself on a nearby rise and decides to go after some fresh meat.

That, uhhh... that didn't work so well. It's hard to tell from the screenshot, but that's after Diego's attack. I wasn't able to capture an image of it, but the bandit brought up his shield and took the arrow on it with a satisfying thunk noise. Blocks happen rather often in this game, and they are always terrible when the enemy gets them and always amazing when you do. Vandal Hearts has very little mechanical transparency compared to games like Fire Emblem, so your guess is as good as mine as to what impacts block chance. I'm reasonably certain that they're more likely when attacked from the front, but other than that, my strategy for dealing with them generally involves lots of prayer.

Ash is too far in the back to reach any enemies with his next move, so he decides to sidle on over next to the injured Diego and try out this fancy Hero healing spell. But... for some reason he can't target him?

Oh. Well that's a bummer. That's not a typo: a range of 0 means that it's self-targeting. Looks like that selfish jerk Ash will only be healing himself.

With nothing better to do, Ash moves over next to a tree and plants his back to it, so that the enemy can't strike him from behind. Clint decides that he wants in on some this hot tree action and does the same (except that he faces the wrong way, because the man controlling him is an idiot).

Always ready to capitalize on an error, the bandit archer runs over and shoots Clint in the back. Thanks to that sweet thicket defensive bonus, however, Clint largely shrugs it off.

The other bow-wielding bandit, incensed at this brazen disregard for his partner's prowess, decides to rush over and shoot Clint at point-blank range. I... I don't think that's how you Archer, friend. You have made a poor life choice here.

Or should I call that a death choice?

Clint gets over half of a level for his Public Service Announcement on why Archers shouldn't attack from melee range.

Seeing how his friend just fared against Clint, this bandit decides to try Ash on for size in hopes of an easier mark.

Ash ain't nobody's mark.

JBear 05-24-2014 07:52 AM

Guess what time it is? It's BOSS TIME.

The attack animations in this game are so great you guys. Not pictured: Zoot sounding like a possessed robot as he attacks for some reason. Also: OW.

Ash's counter-attack doesn't look all that impressive, but Zoot only has 14 Max HP, so he's already almost half dead.

And now it's time to make his full dead.

I managed to capture the key frames of Ash's attack animation pretty nicely here. He plants his feet, draws his sword back, and then stabs it forward. Characters always turn to meet the blow, but that's just how it's animated. This is still a back attack, and Zoot will return to his original facing once the exchange ends, since he managed to survive the blow with a whopping 1 HP. Jerk.

But not before smashing Ash again with his bizarre dual-wielded hook/cutlass haunted robot attack. That shit hurts.

LEVEL UP GET. This is accompanied by a quick little fanfare and some jumping. I tried so hard to get him mid jump, but just got three shots of him landing. I'm a PRO at this you guys.

Now that Ash has set him up, it's time for Diego to knock him down and collect that phat boss XP.

But what's this? Is Ash yelling? Or do I see yet another tactical system at play? TO THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL!

Oh. That's not cute artwork, that's just a boring diagram. :( Still, you get the idea; it's pretty simple (and don't worry: there will be more charming instruction manual artwork to come in later updates).

So Diego takes advantage of his elevated terrain, back attack, and supporting unit bonus to deal... 1 damage. There's no overkill in this game, unfortunately. Oh well, dead is dead.

Or is it?

Oh well, who cares? We won! Hooray!

The battle results screen makes a satisfying blooping noise as it counts up the kills one by one and grants you money for each kill. But wait, what's this... I only see one enemy archer there. Guys, by going straight for the boss and ending the battle prematurely, we let one get away!

THIS CANNOT STAND. I'm redoing this battle, and none of you can stop me.

JBear 05-24-2014 07:55 AM

Every game should have an option to reload from the start of a fight. It's incredibly convenient. Some highlights that I wasn't able to capture in my first pass:

Healing faeries!

Level-up jumping action shots!

Hidden items!

Deaths! (Don't worry, they got better.)


Wait, hidden items!?

Yes, that's right, Vandal Hearts has hidden items, and almost every map has them. They're actually pretty painless though, all things considered. You can never know that they're there and still complete the game just fine, but there are a few super special items hidden this way that gate some pretty cool bonus content, so you'd better believe that I'll be going out of my way to collect most of them.

The first thing you'll want to do on any new map is pull up the overhead tactical view. Vandal Hearts is pretty generous, in that its hidden items are almost always on a piece of visually distinct terrain (it may be always, but I'm hedging my bets in case there's a stupid one later that I've forgotten, or one that I don't know about). Does anything jump out at you guys about the above map?

How about now? The bottom-right one is a bit hard to make out at this distance, but those two squares are both visually distinct from any other square on the map, and they're where our two hidden items are hanging out.

Here's a closer look at both. If any of you wanted to call this out as bullshit, I wouldn't put up much of a fight, but I think they're a neat addition, they're visually cued, and they're not required for advancement. Also, there's none of this move-item nonsense from FFT; if a character wants to search a square, they just need to move onto the square and Examine it. This doesn't even consume their action for the turn, although it does commit them to moving to that square.

In any event, the far bigger problem here is actually getting those items without killing Zoot and ending the fight prematurely. Automatic counter-attacks are kind of a pain when you're trying to artificially extend the length of a fight, and one of the spots happens to be quite close to where Zoot starts the fight. The only way that I've found to do it is like so:

I retreat my whole team to the south and then go east around the mountain, picking up the 1st item on the way. Team Bandit follows along but gets bottlenecked in the narrow path, buying me the time that I need to circle around and grab the 2nd item.

Then the quarterback passes to the wide receiver on the left and goes for a touchdown.

Anyway, we get a Long Sword and a Mad Book for our trouble. THIS IS NOW CANON. Now where were we?

JBear 05-24-2014 07:58 AM

Ah, right, this jerk was begging for his life.

Team meeting!

Diego looks pretty stressed here. His facial expressions are more emotive than the rest of the team combined.

Ash: "The same Zoot Gach that we threw in jail just 2 months ago?"

Diego: "Yup. Same bonehead grin. Don't ya recognize him?"

"...loser would be able to break himself out of prison."

"...but it don't bother me cause my friends won't forget about me!"

Diego: "What does that mean?! Answer me!"

Zoot: "Oh nothing... I'm just mumbling."

Do tell.

Ash is really not holding up his end of this conversation. It's too late to become a silent protagonist now Ash!

"...Our job is finished. Let's go back to Shumeria."

And with that, we're dumped onto the world map screen. As you might expect, the map is just a series of nodes.

The item management interface is a tad cumbersome, and it only gets worse with more people, but it gets the job done. Check out that neat claw in the background! Also, I don't know who that "Depot" guy is, but he can carry way more phat loot than everyone else, who get restricted to just 5 item slots, 3 of which are occupied by gear. I take this opportunity to outfit Clint with our new long sword, and then decide to check out the item description for the other piece that we found on the battlefield:


Next time: Capital Shumeria

FelixSH 05-24-2014 09:06 AM


Originally Posted by breakman (Post 1775003)
The biggest thing, probably, is this weird/terrible new intro.

Oh my god, this is hilarious. That has to be the worst walking animation I have ever seen.

@Update: Well done. I have completely forgotten about stuff like the combo-system or the hidden items. I never bothered with the latter, so I´m curious about the hidden content behind some of them. I mean, I know about it, but have never seen it.

Gerad 05-24-2014 11:07 AM

Looks interesting! I'm looking forward to the rest of it. It's intriguing how many elements have parallels in FFT or Fire Emblem. Though I am disappointed that you can't calculate attack damage and accuracy yourself; I like that aspect of FFT.

aturtledoesbite 05-24-2014 11:10 AM


Originally Posted by Gerad (Post 1776765)
Looks interesting! I'm looking forward to the rest of it. It's intriguing how many elements have parallels in FFT or Fire Emblem. Though I am disappointed that you can't calculate attack damage and accuracy yourself; I like that aspect of FFT.

1) I think you mean FE. FFT does it for you.
2) You probably can if you took the time to learn the formulas and crunched numbers. But who's got time for that?

Sarcasmorator 05-24-2014 11:13 AM

I really enjoyed this game when I played it years ago, but good golly is the portrait art ugly.

Mogri 05-24-2014 11:18 AM


Originally Posted by Sarcasmorator (Post 1776772)
I really enjoyed this game when I played it years ago, but good golly is the portrait art ugly.

I actually kinda like the portrait art. It's the indistinct character sprites that bother me -- it's hard to tell what's going on -- and the font. I thought ALL CAPS MONOSPACE FONT was a relic of the 8-bit days.

Gerad 05-24-2014 11:45 AM


Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite (Post 1776769)
1) I think you mean FE. FFT does it for you.
2) You probably can if you took the time to learn the formulas and crunched numbers. But who's got time for that?

No no, I mean FFT. They both do it for you, but I mean how in FFT you can calculate what the accuracy and damage estimates will be before you bring them up. All you need are yours and the enemy's stats.

And I love doing that; hence my MAX DAMAGE Draw Out Wizard in the FFT autobattle tournament.

aturtledoesbite 05-24-2014 11:47 AM

To be fair, you could probably get accuracy and damage estimates from your stats and your enemy's stats in any game, as long as you know how to get them.

Googleshng 05-24-2014 01:20 PM


Originally Posted by JBear (Post 1776686)

I'd like everyone to take just a moment to look at the armor Diego is wearing and take the time to thank character limits for providing such unintentional humor.


Originally Posted by Sarcasmorator (Post 1776772)
I really enjoyed this game when I played it years ago, but good golly is the portrait art ugly.

It could be so much worse.

I'll take the low-set ears and giant noses over dead eyed realism and weapons floating over hands at weird angles any day.

FelixSH 05-24-2014 01:26 PM

It just takes some time to get used to the artstyle. It has its own charm.

Googleshng 05-24-2014 01:54 PM

It also plays a lot better animated than it does in still screens.

DeeMer 05-24-2014 06:44 PM


Originally Posted by JBear (Post 1776693)

Is this typographical prowess a huge all trend throughout?L

JBear 05-24-2014 09:02 PM

Whoops. You can blame that on me, and not the game. I don't have any way to capture stuff from my console, and the emulator that I'm using has a bizarre bug where dialog is superimposed over older dialog in the same box (which is why I finished some snippets of conversation in text). I thought I'd removed or doctored away all instances of it, but apparently I let a couple slip through. Apologies. Good eye though!

JBear 05-24-2014 09:16 PM


Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite (Post 1776769)
2) You probably can if you took the time to learn the formulas and crunched numbers. But who's got time for that?


Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite (Post 1776787)
To be fair, you could probably get accuracy and damage estimates from your stats and your enemy's stats in any game, as long as you know how to get them.

I haven't spent enough time reacquainting myself with it yet to be certain, but I don't think attack damage is entirely deterministic here. I ran though that first battle a few times to play around and get some screenshots, and I'm pretty sure bumping the exact same dudes up against each other in the same conditions didn't always give the same damage numbers. I can certainly understand why that would bother some people, but I like it, in that it makes the game feel less like an optimization math problem with a "correct" solution when compared to FE and FFT.


Originally Posted by Mogri (Post 1776775)
I thought ALL CAPS MONOSPACE FONT was a relic of the 8-bit days.



Originally Posted by Googleshng (Post 1776819)
It could be so much worse.

I'll take the low-set ears and giant noses over dead eyed realism and weapons floating over hands at weird angles any day.

You keep that dirty filth out of my thread, sir.


Originally Posted by Googleshng (Post 1776841)
It also plays a lot better animated than it does in still screens.

You speak truth here, though, so I'll forgive you. This time.

Gerad 05-24-2014 09:58 PM


Originally Posted by JBear (Post 1777094)
I can certainly understand why that would bother some people, but I like it, in that it makes the game feel less like an optimization math problem with a "correct" solution when compared to FE and FFT.

B-b-but...that's the best thing about FFT!

JBear 06-02-2014 12:48 AM

Welcome back everyone to Let's Play Vandal Hearts! In our last update, I killed a bunch of bandits and captured their leader, Zoot Gach (have I mentioned how much I love that name?), who we apparently put in jail only months earlier. What gives? Our heroes decide to head back to their headquarters in the capital city of Shumeria to report to their superiors and see if they can get to the bottom of it.

I don't think that I showed you guys the loading screen yet. It features an adorable fairy flapping her wings.

Ash makes it clear where his priorities lie, but he's not the one driving, so nerts to that. Shopping trip!

I know it's hard to see, but the shopkeeper is rocking a badass facial scar. I sell her Clint's old short sword for some pocket change. There's very little reason in this game to hold onto obsolete gear, so I'll be selling most of it.

The weapon list doesn't have much that's of interest to us. Ash and Clint are already rocking the best sword available for sale here, and as far as the pictured bow goes, I decide to hold off (mostly because I'm too cheap to spend 110G on a measly +1 AT upgrade, but as you'll see later in the update, this turns out to be the right call). You'll notice some new weapons at the bottom, but there's no one in the party who can use them. I'm sure that's just a silly oversight that we should read nothing into. >_>

So consumable items exist. Here's a quick list of what's for sale:

Herb - Restores some HP - RNG:1 FLD:0
Mage Oil - Restores 4 MP - RNG:1 FLD:0
Elixir - Cures status - RNG:1 FLD:0
Fire Gem - Attack Magic Item - RNG:3 FLD:1

We'll discuss RNG and FLD in more detail in a later update (although most of you can probably intuit what they mean from what follows), but suffice it to say, the first 3 can be used on a single adjacent target (or self-targeted), while the Fire Gem hits everything in a small cross-shaped area up to 3 spaces away (which is pretty potent, but priced accordingly).

Each of our heroes actually started with an Herb in-hand, but I haven't had to use one yet, and likely won't for a while, so they'll probably sit in the Depot collecting dust. Needless to say, I don't buy any items right now. If I did decide to though, each character can only hold up to two at a time.

The armour shop largely consists of tiny upgrades that I don't bother with, with the notable exception of this little number that Google called out up-thread for unintentional humour (it's short for Padded Leather, to be clear). Diego started with it, but it's several DF points better than what Clint and Ash are currently wearing, so I go ahead a buy a couple more sets. My whole party is now stylin'.

I can feel Ash frowning at me with disapproval, but after a hard afternoon of shopping, I need to visit the Dojo and cleanse my chakras. The Dojo serves two key functions, and the first of those is tutorials. Info dump ahoy!

Or woman. Silly sexist monks.

"After reaching levels 10 and 20, you may come here to learn new skills. Always strive to find the best in yourself."

"They are: Knight, Armor, Archer, Airman, Mage, Priest, and Monk. You must choose wisely in order to create a well-balanced party."

It'll be a while before we get that far, but I intend to leave my party makeup to the peanut gallery's whim, so it remains to be seen how wisely I'll choose or how well-balanced a party I'll end up with.

This guy's haiku need work. Also, he's totally stealing my thunder here. Quiet down, dude, I'm going to tell them about the weapon triangle later.

"Armor is strong but slow. Mages are weak but wise. Monks use word and claw. Always remember these basic rules before you engage your foe in war."

"If you seek true power, you must undergo the 6 trials just as Toroah. Remember that each door must first be unlocked by a key..."

My sidequest sense is tingling. Rest assured, we'll be looking into this legend more thoroughly in the future.

Ooo, what's all this then? Advance me, bro!

Bah, my brilliant plan, foiled. Looks like we'll have to check back in with the dojo at level 10.

Let's level up at the tavern!

Sigh, fiiiiine. party pooper

JBear 06-02-2014 12:49 AM

This is our boss, Clive. The game doesn't bother to introduce him, and I don't have much to say about him. He has a very pointy beard?

Clint, how can you get angry at that face? Just look at him. I could fall into those eyes...

"Corrupt politicians, oppressive taxes and not enough police. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. But no matter how filthy things get, as long as we remember who we are, we, the people, have the freedom to change things for the better."

You made Diego sad, you monster.

Now that sounds like a fine idea.

I knew I liked you, Diego. Let's get crunk!

Ash takes his wing-man Diego (there's a joke there for those of who are familiar with this game) and beelines for the lady at the bar.

"...council just 3 days ago. They say it was the work of the old royalists, but if you ask me, it could have been any of a dozen different groups. I'm just surprised it didn't happen sooner."

He gets shut down hard though, as she just wants to talk about current events. The boys decide to grab a drink instead.

"But now everything is taxed and you can't walk on the streets at night."

The bartender is equally depressing. Maybe the local drunks know how to have a good time?

"...council is filled with politicians who only care about padding their own nests. Now it's daily terrorist threats. What's going to happen to this country?"

"...turned out, I wonder what he would say?"

Alright, the mood here is harshing the group's buzz. Let's hit the town.

Uh oh. Looks like we may have to literally hit the town.

For those of you wondering how you can have a royal ghetto, recall that the ruling nobility was overthrown 15 years ago.

Man: "The army decided that the royalists were behind the assassination of Smetana, and they came to take Count Claymore away. Things got tense. The young nobles gathered around the soldiers..."

Ash is right, it's time for action!

Riiiight after a quick follow-up shot of courage.

Sigh, fine, MOM.

JBear 06-02-2014 12:50 AM

Ah, looks like these are the soldiers that the man in the bar told us about. What's up guys?

So... looks like these guys are wearing blood-red robot armour and slaughtering surrendering civilians armed with nail bats. I can only assume that if there are moustaches hiding underneath those helmets, they are presently being twirled.

Really? That's his name? What, was Hades Malice already taken?

Clint: "They're famous for being ruthless with terrorists, but this is too much!"

Well if it isn't Biff Tannen!

I'll have you know that our noses are actually cartoonishly large. /harrumph

"The son of a traitor becoming a platoon leader. What a joke!"

Ash: "Stop it, both of you!"

I'm not sure talking is really his thing anyway, Ash. I think stealing your lunch money is more his speed.

"As you can see, we've cleared the area of enemies. Some are still holed up in that church, but we have business elsewhere. As long as you're here, you can take care of those left in the church."

Kane exits stage right and takes his stormtroopers with him. I'm sure that's the last we'll be seeing of them.

Ash: "Let's go and see if they will surrender. It looks like there are no enemies around, but don't relax your guard."

You worry too much, Ash. Looks all clear to me.

Well crud.

Ash offers no explanation as to how he knows this. Just when it looks like we're heading for a morally ambiguous fight with disenfranchised nobles, suddenly monsters.

JBear 06-02-2014 12:52 AM

Welcome to what essentially amounts to tutorial battle #2. I actually prefer the previous battle, as this one is even easier, and has a very flimsy narrative justification. It's mercifully quick though, and the battles only get better from here. As you can see, the win condition is not the defeat of all enemies, but it may as well be, because it would be far harder to satisfy the win condition without killing all of the monsters (the church in question is at the south-east corner of the map, past all of the enemies), and it's pretty trivial to collect all of the loot before dealing the final blow, unlike last week's thief battle. Keen-eyed observers might notice that there's a river between us and our objective, which is this encounter's gimmick/tutorial focus. For bonus points, see if you can guess where the hidden loot is on the map above.

But who cares about hidden loot when there's a shiny treasure chest that's been taunting us through the entire previous cut-scene. Clint can't reach any enemies on his first turn anyway, so let's crack that sucker open!

Or not. Looks like Diego didn't get the memo, as he goes charging out front and takes aim. If you knew what's coming, you wouldn't blame him.

Well, that happened. That's a lot of blood for a ghost. I guess he stole it from someone else?

Anyway, the more pressing question is: how did Diego defeat him with a single blow? Did he get a level up in badass since the previous battle? I opted not to buy him that new bow, so it's not that. No, what you're seeing here folks is an honest-to-goodness weapon triangle. Notice the little wing icon next to the War Ghost's name when Diego attacked it? That means it's a flyer, which means that it lives in fear of bows. Let's see what the instruction booklet has to say about this:

Well, that's a whole lotta directional arrows, isn't it? Fortunately, the weapon triangle takes a slightly less prominent role here than Fire Emblem fans might be anticipating, so no need to commit that chart to memory. Rather than defining explicit bonuses, this is, in most cases, more of an indication of general effectiveness. For instance, Knights are effective against casters because Knights hit things hard and casters have poor physical defense. Really, the only relationships on there that you need to specifically note are Archers versus fliers and casters versus Armor, as those pairings typically result in massive damage that can often kill in a single blow. Using the American spelling of "Armor" there causes me physical pain.

Given that 2/3 of the enemies that we face on this map are fliers, Diego is the star of this particular battle. He could roll up that chart and hit enemies with it and still trivially solo the first half of this fight.

Alright, now that Diego's had his moment in the sun, it's finally time to find out what's in that chest. Clint walks over and Examines it.

Hrm. Well that didn't work. Is it locked, maybe?

Oh, I can... attack it?

BAM. Clint found the key, and it's pointy and wielded 2-handed. Yes, characters in Vandal Hearts smash chests open. You might think that that sounds pretty satisfying, and you would be correct. The sound effect used here makes me grin every time. Unfortunately, the loot was less satisfying: that's an Herb, and it gets promptly sent to the Depot since Clint's inventory is already full.

Ash is the only one left to act, but it doesn't look like there's much that he can do this turn. Or is there? Notice any suspicious squares within his movement range? Like say, for instance, to the south-east?

Ash moves over to Examine the suspicious-looking circle on the ground.

Are... are you sure, game? I'm no weapons expert, but I'm pretty sure that's an arrow, not a bow. In any case, not only did Diego not need the bow from the shop to one-shot most of the enemies on this map, but he can get one for free here anyway. Score one for the frugal adventurer!

JBear 06-02-2014 12:53 AM

The only war ghost in range promptly flies over and spears Clint in the back.

Each of them hits the other for 13, but that's over half of the ghost's health total while it's less than a third of Clint's, so Team Already Dead would be pretty sorely outmatched here even if we took Diego Renault, Paranormal Exterminator out of the equation.

The remaining two ghosts fly as close as they can get, at which point the camera moves over to the imps waiting on the other side of the map and makes me watch each of them pause for a couple of seconds before deciding to do nothing and passing their turn. This is about as annoying as it sounds.

"...and a special tax was levied on them. They can't even vote."

Diego is so bored by the proceedings that he decides to take some time in the middle of the battle to assess local property values.

"...oppressing them just for being who they are. Politicians always make the weak in society pay for others' mistakes."

Clint, meanwhile, is so unconcerned about the flying armoured ghost at his back that he takes some time out for scathing social commentary.

Our heroes seem pretty dissatisfied with the status quo. Let's take out our aggressions on some monsters!

Whelp, so much for the ghosts. Diego was able to kill his target because of the weapon triangle, Clint was able to kill his target because it was already injured, and Ash was able to kill his target because he's AWESOME.

We get two level-ups for our trouble, bringing the entire team up to level 6, which is just how I like it.

And then I get to spend an interminable handful of seconds watching the enemy look at me. That doesn't sound like much, but I get to watch it all over again every time my characters spend their movement making their way across the map. I'd be less annoyed if they were shooting me in the face.

Well, with all of the ghosts dead, everything important that's left to worry about in on the other side of the river. There's a big shiny chest and two imps left to harry us on our way to the finish line, which is that platform in front of the door to the church. But how do we get over there?

"If we 'Examine' the switch, it should release it!"

Huh, what switch?

Ohhh, THAT switch. I guess it was too subtle for me. Could have done with a flashing arrow or two. Not pictured: several uneventful turns spent moving into position and watching the imps do nothing.

JBear 06-02-2014 12:54 AM

The drawbridge crashes with such a heavy thud that it throws up some dust and rises back up into the air a bit before finally settling into place. I think they know we're coming.

Despite having everyone lined up and waiting to cross, I'm still not able to reach either of the imps, so I send Ash in as far as he can go to hopefully draw some fire while Clint and Diego bring up the rear.

The first imp demonstrates some pretty poor decision-making by moving in front of Ash, which is pretty much the last place that any monster wants to be. I see Ash sizing him up with his eyes in that first screenshot; I like to think that he just sees a giant "XP" with legs, like a hungry cartoon character seeing someone turn into a chicken leg. The imp then fires over his head at Clint though, demonstrating that he's not completely insane. So much for drawing fire. Clint is still injured from the first war ghost, and I think they smell blood.

The 2nd imp moves behind Ash and does the same. Clint is down to 15 HP, which might be a concern if the imps had any hope of living through the next turn. If I was Clint, I'd be pretty bitter that the enemy flanked Ash but elected to shoot him in the face twice instead.

You might think that I'm getting sick of posting pictures of Ash killing things. You would be mistaken.

Diego and Clint quickly mop up the remaining imp, freeing me to do a final sweep for treasure.

I still have to periodically watch this message for several seconds as the screen slowly rotates and nothing happens though. :mad:

Ash celebrates his victory by sending yet another herb to the supply weapon. I feel like these treasure chests, shining as bright as they do in stark contrast to their surroundings, make a promise that their contents absolutely fail to deliver on.

Meanwhile, Diego investigates a suspicious cracked tile and is rewarded with a... mushroom? Whatever you say, game. I think I know what a mushroom looks like, though...

The map ends when all living characters (and if you managed to have anyone die on this map, this may not be the game for you) stand on the tiles immediately in front of the church doors. Moving everyone into position for this takes entirely too long.

Bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop. That never gets less satisfying.

JBear 06-02-2014 12:55 AM

"We don't want any more needless bloodshed."

Ash makes generous use of the word "weapon" here.

I'm going to take a wild guess and say that this dapper genleman is the man in charge of our insurgents.

You drink a glass of blood on a dare just one time and no one ever lets you live it down.

"Also, this man seems different than those crimson murderers. I'll give him a chance."

Count Claymore clearly has a good head on his shoulders, and not just because he's able to notice that we're not wearing evil red robot armour.

As you can see in one of those screenshots, the only walking animation that these guys have is panicking running with their hands held in front of them. You... you can probably read something into that. In any case, it provides some unintentional hilarity that is unfortunately a bit incongruous with the sombre nature of this scene.

" responsibility. Please do not blame anyone else."

The way that the dialogue bounces back and forth between top and bottom plays just fine when you're seeing it happen in real-time, but it makes screen-shotting these scenes a bit awkward at times.

Ash: "We have laws here. It's not for me to decide... but I will report that you offered us no resistance."

JBear 06-02-2014 12:56 AM

Kane didn't suddenly decide to get reflective here; the characters is this game blink rather often. I swear that they wait for me to hit the capture key.

Ash is always ready with an insightful observation.

"But we'll assume control from this point on!"

Looks like Ash knows how to emote after all.

Even though I did manage to capture it mid-animation, it's still not really clear from a still screen: Kane draws his thumb across his neck here. Have I mentioned that I really like the animations in the game? No? I really like the animations in this game.

JBear 06-02-2014 12:57 AM

I'm going to enjoy this. Time for Kane to get what's coming to him.


I'm pretty sure that's what I was about to do, Clive.

"The Crimson Guard is already in enough trouble with the council. More trouble and even your dad, Hel Spites, won't be able to help."

Ah, so the politician (with the cartoonishly evil name) who's in charge of his unit is also his boss. That explains so much. Nepotism at its finest!

Kane: "Save your hollow threats for someone else... but I will be a big man and forget your rude words to me today. However, I'm taking this old blueblood with me!"

We cool, bro? Cool.

Oh! You must be evil!

Seriously though, just look at that smile. I'm pretty sure that his fingers are steepled just below that headshot.

Clive: "Dolf has been sent out as a mediator to deal with yesterday's incident."

So you're scared of your smile too?

Dolf and Ash are about to exchange giant walls of text, so I'm going to drop the screen-shots for the next bit. Just imagine periodic creepy smiles.

Dolf: "The Crimson Guards were completely at fault in yesterday's massacre. Normally there would be need for a mediator in a case like this, but there are a few complications. As you know, the Crimson Guards are the pet project of Hel Spites, the Minister of Defense. Hel's tactics may be questionable, but his power and influence in the council are not. I personally think that he is a dangerous man who needs to be watched. Two council members are competing to become head. Hel Spites and Renaldo Castille, who is as you know the head of the Domestic Security Forces, your boss. See the pattern?"

Ash: "You're saying its more than just a personal grudge between us and the Crimson Guard. Do you think it could escalate into a confrontation between the DSF and the army?!"

Dolf: "Well... let's not be overly pessimistic. But we need to act swiftly to avoid future trouble."

Ash: "So what do you want us to do?"

Dolf: "As punishment we'll send you on leave away from your policing duties here in the capital. But that's just to establish your cover! The truth is that I have a top secret assignment for you..."

An off-the-books mission from a shady-looking politician? What could possibly go wrong?

JBear 06-02-2014 01:04 AM

Time for Ash to brief the rest of the team.

Diego: "Of course. The greatest hero of our country! Why?"

Diego looks optimistic. I don't have the heart to tell him any differently.

"...with a squad of hand-picked soldiers and he hasn't been seen since."

Hrm, why does that sound familiar?

Enh, I'm sure it'll come to me.

"...acting on secret orders from Hel who was planning a coup d'etat."

Clint: "That guy is out of control."

Diego: "And he wants us to investigate that, huh..."

"I don't think he would just blindly follow Hel Spites' orders..."

You and me both, Clive.

"It might be a wise idea not to accept this assignment..."

Clive is a smart man.

Ash: "No. I'm going to go. If we stay here we may cause trouble for you. You've been a good friend to me."

Clive: "Ash, that's not why I had you assigned here!"

I dunno Ash, I'm pretty sure I could manage that just fine.

Client and Diego, as always, have Ash's back.

"...assignment. I want you to be careful every step of the way."

And that's the end of our mission briefing. But we have one more important stop to make before departing.

Ale! In my mouth! I mean, we're fine, thanks. Ale?

"Someone like Hel Spites who knows how to crack down on the bad guys!"

Look, I'll vote for whoever you like if someone puts a drink in my hand. We've seen some nasty shit recently, and right now I'd like a tavern with less politics and more carousing. Maybe the lady to your left knows how to have some fun?

"...but somehow I feel that this country is going in the wrong direction."

I guess not. This must be an election year or something. What are the odds that the old-timer at the back doesn't also want to talk politics?

"...this country's problems. The people came together to overthrow the Ashah Dynasty, but afterwards they had no direction and fell into complacency."

Yeah, that's what I thought. *sigh* I guess we may as well get our drinks to go and get started on our journey.

Oh, I almost forgot: I wonder what that mushroom we found during the last battle is used for?

Why do we even have item descriptions?

Next Time: ???

Mogri 06-02-2014 11:17 AM


Originally Posted by JBear (Post 1781553)
"They are: Knight, Armor, Archer, Airman, Mage, Priest, and Monk. You must choose wisely in order to create a well-balanced party."

It'll be a while before we get that far, but I intend to leave my party makeup to the peanut gallery's whim, so it remains to be seen how wisely I'll choose or how well-balanced a party I'll end up with.

Airman ga Taoesenai

Everyone must be Airman

Googleshng 06-02-2014 01:14 PM

Sadly, you can't make everyone an airman. (Plus aren't they called Hawknights everywhere but that one dialog box?) Spoiler tagging the rest of this because I'm sure JBear's looking forward to elaborating once it comes up but... There's 4 base classes (plus Ash), and each has just two promotion options. Just going purely from memory, and putting things in D&Dish terms, you get eventually end up with Ash, 3 Fighters, 4 Rogues, 2 Arcanes, and 2 Divines. Fighters get to prioritize offense or defense, Arcanes and Divines can become the totally worthless instantly regretted garbage class monk or stay amazingly awesome as Mages/Clerics.

Rogues though have a really interesting choice involved, not only because you're potentially changing them from scissors to paper, but because Hawkmen are amazingly cool and vital and zoom all over the map picking up treasure and reaching places no other character can (with stuff in those places you need to get the crazy endgame bonus thing), archers get pretty impressive attack range (but can't fire diagonally), and get some pretty sweet sniper perches on a few maps it's nice to take advantage of.

I want to firmly establish though that when the time comes, you damn well better make Darius a Hawknight and Kira an Archer, because their end game sprites are way too great to not see.

aturtledoesbite 06-02-2014 02:37 PM


Originally Posted by Mogri (Post 1781812)
Airman ga Taoesenai

Everyone must be Airman

These were literally the first words I thought when I saw that class.

...Except in English.

FelixSH 06-02-2014 04:45 PM


Originally Posted by Mogri (Post 1781812)
Airman ga Taoesenai

Everyone must be Airman

Also, I like the story of this game. Not that deep in the end, but it at least tries to be political.

And the bloodfountains are awesome. They were always a silly joy to watch.

JBear 06-13-2014 09:06 PM

Hey there everyone! Welcome back to Let's Play Vandal Hearts! In our last episode, we watched helplessly as Kane, the sociopathic son of Hel Spites, the Minister of Defense, used his own personal death squad to slaughter a church full of rebellious former nobles after we had accepted their peaceful surrender. Then, another politician by the name of Dolf Crowley sent us on an off-the-books mission to a distant island to investigate the disappearance of General Magnus Dunbar, hero of the revolutionary war. We join our heroes as they pass through the ruins of an old palace on the way to their destination...

"This magnificent palace was burned to the ground. Even now, when it grows dark, the spirits of the dead haunt this place."

Diego: "Hey, cut it out! You're giving me the creeps!"

Clint, what have I told you about picking on Diego?

See, that creepy disembodied voice doesn't like you picking on him either. Note that there's a pretty cool audio effect accompanying the voice; it's appropriately ethereal.

I love the way that Diego starts panicking and looking around here. These guys have so many different frames of animation.

Oh, I guess we won't enter here then. Let's go around, guys!

Or... not? Ash ain't afraid of no ghosts!

See, look, Ash is right. There's nothing to be afraid of, Diego.

. . .

Why does this keep happening to us?

JBear 06-13-2014 09:07 PM

Welcome to battle #3. As you can see, we have the simple victory/loss conditions again, but there's a couple of new gimmicks that appears in this battle to add some spice. Unfortunately, I'm not offering any bonus points for picking out the hidden item in this battle, as it's re-using the same tile as one of the hidden items in battle #1. You can see it near the S-E corner of the map if you squint.

I'll be splitting up the party here into two groups of roughly equal strength and sending them in opposite directions. That means Ash will be heading north while Client and Diego will be heading south-east. And the sad part of that is, if I had to decide which of those two groups was stronger, I'd probably choose Ash.

The first new gimmick is that this encounter actually offers a modicum of challenge. These clay golems mean business. At level 6, they're the same level as our party, whereas the monsters in the previous battle were level TWO. And besides the significant step up in power, we're also pretty badly out-numbered here, with 8 golems in total. Fortunately, they're pretty evenly staggered across the map, so we don't have to fight very many at once.

Only one golem starts in range of our party, so Diego steps up to test the waters and plink at it, in hopes of leaving it weak enough for a melee attack to finish it off.

Hrm. Unfortunately, that's probably not going to cut it. These golems are offering some stiff competition. :cool:

Clint is close enough to reach the golem's side for some extra damage, but that would put him in range of his friend here, so I decide to play it safe and hit him in the face instead.

I'm pleased to note that the few points of extra damage from a side attack wouldn't have been enough to make a difference here, so I made the right decision.

The golem retaliates by drawing back his fist, shaking it around menacingly for a moment, and then punching Clint in the face. Animations, great, etc. You know the drill by this point.

Ash can't get close enough to finish the golem off (and I'm not sure I'd want him to take the XP even if he were close enough), so I start sending him the other way and plant him to meet the northern golem's attack head-on.

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