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Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostMon Dec 02, 2013 2:53 am
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Since apparently it's Motrya's turn this week, just wanted to say a few things.

First, big thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to play the game and bigger thanks in advance for posting about it here. If you're worried about the time investment, Chapter 1 is like an hour and a half and Chapter 2 should be between 3 and 5 hours. That's all give or take.

Second, if you are not interested in replaying Chapter 1 because you already did it back when the first demo came out, there is a save that starts at the end of Chapter 2 on the website in the "Downloads" section. It's on Veteran (medium) difficulty, has all possible experience, items, and Lyte Snap cards up to that point. The only changes to the old Chapter 1 demo were the addition of the soundtrack (it's complete through the current demo's end) and whatever changes happened between the HotOHR release and the final Chapter 1 release.

Finally, to anyone looking forward to Chapter 3: Giz and I are working on it, and so far it's going a lot quicker than Chapter 2. I can't make promises, but a 2014 release (for both final chapters) is probable.
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
Liquid Metal King Slime
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 PostMon Dec 02, 2013 6:38 am
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Motrya


Sorry for the late post, though I'm glad to see that people jumped on the Motrya train without me having to set things up. These weekly game talks are sure to be a success if I don't even have to be here for them to take place. God knows we all slip.

Anyways, Motrya is a great OHR title. It's recently released a big update, which is part of the reason for it being in this thread. However, let's open up talks about the game as a whole. I know the developers are hoping for as much feedback about the second chapter as they can get, but don't shy from commenting on the game as a whole, or even just on the first chapter.

As far as my comments go, I think overall the game is pretty solid. The writing seems pretty good, but I feel it can get a bit overwhelming at times. The battles are pretty complex, almost shadowing Mogri's Darkmoor Dungeon game. Though, like the talking, the battles tend to go on for a bit too long. The music seems nice, my only complaint with it would be it's size. Though, 79 mbs is pretty small these days I guess. Graphics are pretty darn good. Though, they seem pretty rough at times. Also, the sudden change in chapter 2's quality is noticeable to say the least. However, they are still above passable grade even after the artist switch.
My biggest complaint about the game, and almost my only complaint, is the map design in some areas (normally the adventuring areas). Not only do a lot of them seem large and mostly empty, but the tile placement seems down right bad at times. The swamp area's edges are frankly terrible. The grid is not only clearly visible but the tile's themselves seem placed almost at random, with corner pieces placed in the middle of nowhere and middle pieces being placed without edge pieces at all. It just looks super thrown together. The exam forest area had some similar problems, but it was mostly passable and you'd have to be nit picking to really notice. Overall, some of the mapping in the game make the graphics seem ripped and ends up making things look like a rom hack of a better SNES game.

All that aside, I actually like this game, and think every OHR person should play it through at least once.
Metal Slime
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 PostTue Dec 03, 2013 9:46 pm
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I'd say something about Wobble's do's and dont's, but that fruit is hanging way too low. Call it morbid curiosity for even mentioning it.

Spoon, I don't understand why Darkmoor Dungeon is used as a comparison, and not say any other ohr game in that context.

The thing I like about Motrya is there's an actual story with rpg action, so we don't have to only talk about map making or graphics. Can tell you before playing the new version that my biggest complaint will be that it's not complete. I've been putting off playing the next chapter as I hate having to come up against 'end of demo' walls. I know here it's not seen too badly, but out yonder, the market's so saturated and dense that you have to hit people as hard as you can, rarely getting a second chance. Demos are something you see in game making communities or a demo of an already finished game.

I know how some joke about how lyte snap defines the game, but it's a curious thing to me. The title is one of those high fantasy made up words. It was hard to tell what the game was about before playing, and I wonder if that's preventing more talk from popping up? Can say the same for a lot of games. It's like, how do you best lure or tease someone into playing, without spoiling too much? Screenshots help a lot, I guess.
Liquid Metal King Slime
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 PostWed Dec 04, 2013 6:37 am
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The darkmoor reference was made because a lot of the fights seem gimmicky. And I picked darkmoor because it's based solely around gimmick fights so I thought it would best make the point.
Metal King Slime
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 PostWed Dec 04, 2013 9:03 am
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I really looked up to this game when it came out and I still think it's really great. Every battle is a challenge unto itself, and if you die you get the chance to re-strategize and try again right off the bat, no reverting to a previous save or anything. Super quick, super slick.

The story is compelling, the characters have some personality, graphics were beautiful until very recently and all of those things do a good job of covering up the bad spots.

Even though I just said it was compelling, I think my main beef is with the story. I've never been a big fan of the whole... "Intro shows us something terrible going down, and then flashback to how we got there" kind of shit. The point is to instantly grab the audience's attention and then create a contrast that makes them wonder how Point A ever lead to Point B and it's effective, but it's too jarring for me. Why should I care about this redheaded jackass and his hoodlum friend playing grabass with each other when there's clearly bigger fish to fry? And then later on,when you do start to get to the big fish, to the high stakes it's like you've blown your load already, you can't take it as serious.

Like, imagine if Star Wars had opened with Luke barreling down the trench of the Death Star. Wedge can't do any good back there, he's out. Biggs hangs on for a little bit and gets blown up. Luke switches his targetting computer off and Princess Leia and that dope at the radar are wondering if he's alright. Zoom into Luke's face, and fade back to the sands of Tatooine, where the Jawas are about to unload two droids and a lifetime of adventure onto this dipshit moisture farmer.

That wouldn't have made it a bad movie and you'd still want to find out what happens, but it'd undermine some of the lower-stakes parts of the movie like Greedo or the Sand People. Why bother with them when we KNOW Luke's gonna be fighting this other thing later?

The intro they did go with, with the Tantive IV duking it out with a Star Destroyer over Tatooine and Darth Vader kicking the door in and laying the smack down establishes the greater threat and over-all conflict of the outside world, but is more directly connected to Luke's character and helps establish him as somewhat of a nobody in the bigger scheme of things until this shit lands on his front door.

Admittedly Star Wars is still frustrating as a narrative and isn't the perfect example, but I'd call "Farm kid runs into two droids who get him involved in a bigger galactic conflict" less of a stretch than "Kids school teacher tells him he's the chosen one, coincidentally the day before he graduates, coincidentally the same day that the enemy chooses to attack, etc.".

Kinda getting off-message here, and about to start spoiling shit so get out while you still can, but basically, the most emotional point of Chapter 1 is the death of Icebird's parents. We should feel really depressed at this point, it's a brutal departure from playing card games with Rodney and flirting with Claire and is setting the tone for the rest of the game.

However, thanks to the flash-forward we're expecting something to go wrong. Hell, we're WAITING for something to go wrong and trying to decide whether or not this was "it", whether or not we've caught up to the flash forward. And once we decide that we haven't, it's like "Okay, false alarm. Shit is going to get WORSE than Dead Parents!", it undermines the emotional content of the scene.

I could be crazy, but looking back I feel like the emotional pacing is kind of off in general. You start with the boring final exam, then you get into a little bit of mystery about Murlor, then we get into the practical exam and robotic Holo-Forlats, then it's back to school-party antics, then there's a battle with a giant monster who's taken out two powerful mages... and then a bunch more battles against the rank and file, and two kind of Ultros-esque battles with the semi-comedy relief villain Exsoin.. her mom and dad just DIED, for christs sake, is she really gonna be caring about an enemy general who looks like a dude?

Would it have made more sense for the generic soldiers to have attacked at Yormus, and for the Stone Beast to have attacked and killed Icebird's parents at the cathedral at the very end of the chapter? Do there really need to be two battles with Exsoin in the first chapter (ARE there even two? Am I crazy?)

We talked about this a bit in IRC, and I hope I'm not stealing anyone's complaint, but a major problem with the pacing is Lyte Snap. It feels like something you're supposed to pay a lot of attention to, which means it feels like you need to talk to every NPC at every possibility to make sure you're not missing something, which means a lot of games of Lyte Snap in a row which can get tedious, especially if you're trying to win a particular card.

The NPCs have cool personalities, and it's fun to get that extra flavor from them but that just makes it an even more dangerous trap, something you don't want to miss out on.

Gonna quit talking while I still like the game and while JSH likes me.
Metal Slime
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 PostWed Dec 04, 2013 1:56 pm
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Spoonweaver wrote:
The darkmoor reference was made because a lot of the fights seem gimmicky. And I picked darkmoor because it's based solely around gimmick fights so I thought it would best make the point.


This is a discussion that can go on for a long time. I dislike the use of "gimmick" here, because it suggests the alternative is "normal" but I would suggest the alternative is "boring". If the enemies don't do anything interesting, they are just number shields. All enemies become identical...

Regarding what Gizmog mentioned, I actually didn't play Lyte Snap at all. I don't even know the rules, and don't care to. I think you may think it's important because everyone here praises it so much? I don't see the game forcing you to play it or even encouraging you at all.

Finally, with regards to the story, I guess I do agree with Gizmog, but don't feel the same way about it. People seem to enjoy the pacing in, say, FFIV (I do not) and Motrya seems to do a better job than that.

I guess I prefer when you're sort of thrown into the action. The story isn't meant to be about the lives of all these people or whatever, the story is about the conflict. You can tell the player/viewer things about the past overtime, but the focus on the conflict is something I prefer.
A Scrambled Egg
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 PostWed Dec 04, 2013 5:23 pm
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I totally forgot Motrya even had a cold opener flash forward. Giz's point about using that kind of framing device is mostly spot on.

I liked chapter 1 a lot but haven't played 2 yet. The villain being a comic relief enemy appearing alongside horrible events is very Final Fantasy 6, but Kekfa worked for me and this lady didn't. I don't think the incongruous tone is a problem, but she's really neither funny nor threatening. She's the weak link in the story in chapter 1.

I really like Lyte Snap and I like this game's linear, super closed design, but I don't think the two play friendly together. Exact same problem with the card game in Xenosaga 1. If the world's not open, I don't feel like I can take my time and fully appreciate the card game, since it becomes a "play now or never" situation. It's still a really well done mini game! It would just work a lot better with the flow of a Pokemon or earlier Final Fantasy.

tl;dr - poop fart poop what is a charboil
Super Walrus Land: Mouth Words Edition
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostWed Dec 04, 2013 6:00 pm
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Re: Filesize, Welcome to 2013.

Re: Gimmick battles / Darkmoor comparisons. I only played half of DD, and it was cool, but I didn't base anything in Motrya off of it and played DD long before I started working on the current Motrya. I also don't really consider the battles in Motrya gimmicks, so I'm kind of with Mystic on this one. If they aren't your cup of tea, well... oh well? Sorry about that.

Re: Lyte Snap pacing issues, The way I see it, I can't really remove Lyte Snap from the game (though I wouldn't be against it; I've said many times to both Newbie and Giz over the years the game may be better without it). However, I have the feeling that if I did take it out it would makes people less interested in the game. It might not seem like it now, but I bet you it would. I see it as sort of a necessary distraction at this point, and I did what I could to make all the NPC dialogue fun so that people playing Lyte Snap and exploring the various hubs of NPCs would get something out of the experience. Due to the nature of the game, there isn't really a better way I can implement Lyte Snap (or at least not one I care to invest man hours in to. I have worked on the game a long time, so rest assured I've thought about this a lot and have probably thought of your suggestion already if you have one). In the end, it's an optional thing so I can't spend time that is better spent working on finishing the game worrying about how much people distracted themselves playing card games. There are some rewards but the game's beatable without them. In fact, based on my feedback from the OUYA community and others it seems like people either ignore Lyte Snap or didn't point out any issues with it. Like I was telling Giz earlier, pacing issues caused by this may seem more pronounced for OHR users since they played Chapter 1 and didn't go straight in to Chapter 2.

Re: in general, I'm not against people discussing this stuff, but just to be honest, I have plenty of comments focusing on Chapter 1 and am more interested in hearing what people liked / didn't like about Chapter 2. It's sort of disheartening as a developer to only hear feedback about not having played it. I understand not everyone's interested or has time, granted, and I don't mean to say comments without knowledge of C2 are without merit, just don't be too surprised if I don't respond to them. I am more interested in moving on with things than dwelling on the past and have plenty of feedback on the beginning of the game as it is. In fact, many people who played the first demo didn't play the first update, which corrected a lot of problems with the game early on, so sometimes comments I get about C1 are out of date as-is. One thing I DO plan to implement is a menu-based teleport to make backtracking less of a pain, so there's that to look forward to, but it won't be around until the Chapter 3 release.

Re: Intro, sorry if it doesn't work for you, but this is just the way the story's structured. Again, I've heard mixed feelings on this one. I don't think it's a perfect intro, but I do think this approach has its merits (It keeps you wondering what exactly happened and the music is good) so it's the one I have stuck with despite problems with it as a storytelling device. I toyed with other ideas and have settled on this being the better one for the game in the end.

Re: Surlaw's comment, Exsoin does make more sense as a character in the coming chapters, but I don't want to spoil anything. Your reaction to her is about what is expected of the audience to think at that point in the story: "Oh boy, it's another one of these characters," though I'm the type who probably would have found her amusing myself.

Re: Charbile, indeed, marketing is the hardest part of the game for me. I can't take good screenshots, I am terrible at drawing icons, and I have no idea how to sell the game on people. It's an interesting subject but probably outside the scope of this thread.
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
A Scrambled Egg
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 PostWed Dec 04, 2013 6:17 pm
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I've mostly put off playing chapter 2 because I know I'll enjoy the game more when it's all done. Waiting for new episodes keeps from bothering to watch pretty much anything new on TV, and it's an even bigger bummer with games. Sorry if this isn't helpful! I'll 100% play/write about the game more when it's complete, even if that's a long way off.
Super Walrus Land: Mouth Words Edition
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostWed Dec 04, 2013 6:25 pm
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The Wobbler wrote:
I've mostly put off playing chapter 2 because I know I'll enjoy the game more when it's all done. Waiting for new episodes keeps from bothering to watch pretty much anything new on TV, and it's an even bigger bummer with games. Sorry if this isn't helpful! I'll 100% play/write about the game more when it's complete, even if that's a long way off.


I totally understand, no worries brah. Believe me, I want to see the game finished more than anyone. There have been so many hardships on the way it's absurd.
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
Liquid Metal King Slime
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 PostWed Dec 04, 2013 6:38 pm
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I still hope to have more comments later in the week, (mostly depending on whether I get some more play time) but I can say a few more things now.

I really enjoyed the town in chapter 2. Partly because it looks amazing, but also because it is nicely layed-out, and the people I could talk to were interesting. I especially liked the Wind-Forlat-Fanboy and the dude who sells herbs.

The Nightclub place also had a lot of character.

One thing I was a little confused by was the identity of Aces and Laara. I came away with the impression that they were the same person, and that Aces was Laara's scamming-people-at-cards persona.

I don't remember this being spelled out explicitly (maybe I skipped past a critical textbox somewhere) and I also realize I might have just imagine it. I did leave my OUYA paused for like 28 hours in the middle of the whole sequence where you meet Laara, so I hope I can be forgiven for confusing myself :)

Also, backing up a bit, when I first got to the swamp, I loved the challenge level. It was very tough (more so because of that Toxic scroll bug we talked about) but I liked the feeling it invoked in me. Normally I am a little bit of a completionist in RPGs, wanting to collect every treasure-chest and beat every optional battle, but the swamp made me not care about treasures or experience, I just wanted OUT! I think that worked perfectly with the discomfort that Murlor and Dayang were obviously feeling about being in that place.

My complaint about the swamp is that it didn't look very good. Some of it looked nice, but there were a lot of places where straight-lines at the edges of maptiles jumped out at me.

Also, regarding this thread in general, I think we should remember that everybody here is a game-author, so we can't expect this thread to function quite like a Book-club. Book clubs are mostly populated by readers, not by authors. So while we are striving for a book-club here, a little bit of an "Author's workshop" feel to the discussion is inevitable.

That also got me wondering if anything such as a "Game Club" actually already exists anywhere? I mean one populated mainly by people purely interested in playing games and then discussing them, not in creating them.
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostWed Dec 04, 2013 6:55 pm
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Re: The Aces bit, yes, you were right. They say it in the scene, though it isn't dwelled on.

I am glad you liked the swamp; an interesting note is that the big hiatus happened while I was working on it so I, too, wanted out of that place by the time I got back. You can actually return there later and have a much easier time getting stuff you missed. (an NPC directs you to if you talk to him at the right time, but it's something I figured people might attempt later anyway) I agree it's not the best-looking map and probably needs more touch ups than other places in the game. That is the first area Giz did the graphics for, and he's not as much of a perfectionist as Newbie so we probably need to fix a few issues when we have time (Getting workable graphics for every remaining scene in is more important to me).
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
Red Slime
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 PostWed Dec 04, 2013 8:52 pm
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I played through this game not too long ago and provided my initial reaction in its own thread. Suffice it to say I loved the game at the time and while it's not really fresh in my memory enough that I feel able to write up one of these pseudo-reviews, I'd like to participate in the discussion anyway.

Spoonweaver wrote:
The darkmoor reference was made because a lot of the fights seem gimmicky. And I picked darkmoor because it's based solely around gimmick fights so I thought it would best make the point.


Mystic wrote:
This is a discussion that can go on for a long time. I dislike the use of "gimmick" here, because it suggests the alternative is "normal" but I would suggest the alternative is "boring". If the enemies don't do anything interesting, they are just number shields. All enemies become identical...


I don't think of gimmicks in games as the opposite of normal or boring I think they're the opposite of "core concepts". As an example, the Fort Condor section in FF7 was a gimmick while Limit Breaks and materia were core concepts. That said, I did not find the battles in Motrya to be gimmicky at all. They were well thought out, required strategy, were challenging and even made ludonarrative sense (sorry had to say it).

The Wobbler wrote:
I totally forgot Motrya even had a cold opener flash forward.


As did I. Is this the cutscene-esque part with the people in silhouette that is also featured in the trailer? I suppose I just didn't comprehend it when it was happening and so it didn't stick with me after the fact.

I enjoyed the story by-and-large but I can definitely see Gizmog's point about how the school stuff would seem like small potatoes after a heavy intro. I'm trying to think of another game or show or film that uses this device successfully to give advice here but I can't think of any...

My biggest beef with the story would be that it veers a little too far into cliche territory from time to time. I couldn't help but roll my eyes as the professor tells Murlor that he's the cat's pajamas and only he can unlock the four seals and defeat the forces of evil and whatever else. It makes me kind of dislike Murlor on the whole because he's yet another humble-beginnings, fish-out-of-water young boy who is the KEY TO EVERYTHING for no other reason than that he was born that way. It's also another way in which this story kind of mirrors Harry Potter which is a parallel I'm sure JSH wants to downplay what with the magical boarding school backdrop.

Spoonweaver wrote:
My biggest complaint about the game, and almost my only complaint, is the map design in some areas (normally the adventuring areas). Not only do a lot of them seem large and mostly empty, but the tile placement seems down right bad at times.


Agreed here, and I mentioned this in my initial reactions post, too. As beautiful and detailed as the maps are, they oftentimes feel like I'm walking on a matte painting. They almost don't seem to have been designed with NPC / PC placement in mind and I found that I often didn't "line up" with elements of them (such as the stages in the beach resort and the alleyways of the desert town).

Much hay has been made of Lyte Snap so far so I guess I feel compelled to comment. Personally, I loved it. I attempted to play against everyone I could, I loved the special abilities, deck-building and card-collecting and I was immensely satisfied once I had collected them all. I didn't find it intrusive into the story though I guess I see how someone could. To me it was like Triple Triad in FF8 (which was a big influence on Lyte Snap's design, yes?); I had Squall continue to attempt card games with dudes even as Balamb Garden was being invaded and blown up.

Again, I loved this game and if nothing was changed except that it was finished I would still recommend it to anyone that likes JRPGs.

Now for some off-topic stuff:

Gizmog wrote:
There's a "test" I read about, for when you're writing female characters: Do they ever have a conversation that doesn't revolve around the male characters?


This is called the Bechdel Test and it's usually broken into parts: 1.) Does a story have two or more female characters in it? 2.) Is there ever a conversation involving only female characters in the story? 3.) Does this conversation concern a topic other than a male character? If the answer to any of these questions is "No" then the story has failed the test.

I've only ever really seen it applied to identify trends across multiple entries within a given medium or genre. Any specific story failing the test doesn't necessarily mean that the story is "bad" per se (for example, Citizen Kane fails the test and Shawshank Redemption scores a "No" for every part) but it is rather telling that vast swaths of fiction fail the test out of hand even today.

And one more thing regarding this thread in general: Can I still bring past games up for discussion after their designated week is over? I'm a little bummed that my vacation made me miss out on the Entrepreneur chat.
Metal King Slime
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 PostWed Dec 04, 2013 9:04 pm
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sotrain515 wrote:
And one more thing regarding this thread in general: Can I still bring past games up for discussion after their designated week is over? I'm a little bummed that my vacation made me miss out on the Entrepreneur chat.


This wouldn't be a problem if we had a new thread each week on the review forum where the guys who made the games would be sure to see, instead of one big thread where no one knows what the game of the week is till they get inside and look around and one week bleeds over into the next. Hint-hint, Spoony!
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostWed Dec 04, 2013 9:59 pm
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Re: sotrain, I know what you mean by feeling like you're walking on a painting or something instead of tiles. The truth is, I don't really have the skill to improve it myself. That was just how Newbie sent the tiles to me. I can make small edits on graphics (I do most of the character animations and stuff) but whenever I try to get creative, bad things happen (like those cows. Geez). That said, it's a weakness of the game I'm willing to accept.

Re: "THE CHOSEN ONE;" man, just stay tuned is all I'm saying. I don't actually have much problem with this trope (I think it's often a perfectly valid device, but I agree it's overused), but I think you'll be satisfied with that aspect of the story once Chapter 3 is done. I think. Hope. Who knows!

For the record, as much as I love Harry Potter, I came up with the idea for this game before I had even heard of it. There are some really bizarre coincidences. I recently found out that elements of the story yet to come were already sort of done in Suikoden too, which I just finished this year. Go figure. I want to say I got the idea of a magical school setting from one of Moogle1's games? Can't say. It's been so long now. I don't consider being compared to HP an insult personally, so it doesn't actually bother me.
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
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