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Cold Steel and FM




I know, I know you're all wondering why I'm starting this entry with an image of a player profile from Football Manager when I usually spoiler shit like this well it's because this particular player is part of a game I've been playing for the past month, I'm coming to the end of my 7th season, and this player popped out of my youth setup at the end of my first season. Now as you'll have probably noticed this is a Chester player and he has Champions League appearances this is because I've managed to get Chester from the 6th tier of English football all the way into the first and that's what I want to talk about today, honestly this game is one of my favourite FM games and young Ollie Tripp here has been with my rise through the divisions from nearly the start and it's been the best way to get him the match experience he needed to develop into the Scottish Messi (seriously he has a potential ability of 198 out of 200) he's honestly the best player to have ever come out of any youth setup I've had and this leads me onto the challenge I've given myself with this save: I'm keeping the same group of players together until they start to retire I have used the editor on the other players to an extent, really just to keep them up to the levels needed for each league, and it's been really fun seeing these players go toe to toe with some of the best in the world and come out on top.


As for another story of this save one of the first players I signed, a Welsh striker, got bought by Crystal Palace for a release clause that I was unaware of (my own fault really) and while he got into the premier league far quicker than his teammates Crystal Palace turned into a bit of a yoyo team pinging between the championship and the EPL so while he has a handful of championship winners medals his ex-teammates have (as of this season) two Champion's League and a EPL winners medal and since one of them is also Welsh and they both get called up to the Welsh national team you have to think it must be pretty gutting for the striker knowing that if he had've stayed he'd be enjoying just as much success and if this was real life he'd be talking about how leaving Chester when he did and not being patient is his biggest regret, especially now that he's with Arsenal who in this save are aggressively mediocre.


But enough about FM, I've also got my initial impressions of Trails of Cold Steel IV to go over since I've done this with every other game in that series;



This is after 19 hours played (Steam says it's 19.1) and I've just reach act 2, this shouldn't be too long as the basic systems (the battle system, equipment, power boosts etc.) are the same as Cold Steel III so it's mostly about the story and I think I made my issues with how the ending of III was handled plain and IV does a good job of picking up where III left off with the game beginning 2 weeks after III ended and wastes no time explaining how nu-class VII got to safety. In all honestly III and IV are pretty much copies of I and II with their presentation and story beats there are enough changes to stop them feeling like carbon copies and I'm not opposed to keeping a formula that works. I'm going to avoid too many spoilers with this but there was one thing I liked: when you finally rescue Rean he's in a berserk state and gets cured of this berserk state through the power of friendship (seriously this series is the weebiest game series I've ever played) a character called Duvalie who ends up betraying (sort of) the antagonist gets lit up with this power and in an amusing moment just outright says what the player is most likely thinking at this point: "why am I included in this?" it's a nice bit of levity in a pretty serious moment. Also my biggest gripe with the series has been carried over to this game, that being Rean is a massive block of wood to the point where every other character in the game being more interesting than him, including Valimar his mech (who I have given the title of Mechbro, because he's that much of a bro to Rean a title only Chamber from Gargantia the Verduous Planet has attained from me) it's kinda impressive how Falcom managed to make a character that could be easily replaced with Plank from Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy and no one would notice.


I also caved in and ended up buying pokemon sword, I posted this on reddit initially and I'm just copying and pasting it here because I'm that lazy:



I'll preface this by saying that as it is now (DLC included) the game is about on par with Cyberpunk 2077 in terms of the score I'd give it, both games are currently slightly above average (the difference being of course that Cyberpunk can get better since its DLC still has to come out) the core gameplay loop is enjoyable (as it is with every poikemon game, it's a simple formula that's nearly impossible to screw up) and come with all the praise and criticisms every other pokemon game has. Yes it is on the easier side of things (I wouldn't say it's one of the easiest games in the series though, but that might be because I gave myself some handicaps in it) but sometimes I just want to sit down and enjoy some super powered cock fighting without having to think too much.


The story is actually fairly decent and I actually like that the other characters actually do stuff in the story rather than leaving the all powerful 10 year old handle everything, although Leon's unbeatable-ness and malfunctioning internal sat-nav got brought up too many times in my opinion those are the sort of traits that need to be mentioned once or twice and then left alone I don't need to be told every time his name comes up that he's undefeated and he'd get lost in a straight corridor. And speaking of Leon his younger brother Hop isn't actually as annoying as I thought he'd be (he was still kinda annoying though) and I felt he had a pretty good story arc all things considered and I felt he was much better than his predecessor Hau both in terms of his actual story and in his personality, the fact he realises he can't really beat either you or his brother and instead chooses his own path separate from theirs is actually quite nice.


I mentioned before that I ended up giving myself some handicaps mainly not using dynamax/gigantamax (they're stupid mechanics) for the gym/league battles (which is why Piers is the best Galar leader) and I also boxed my starter so I basically started the game with a Rookidee (I picked Sobble for my starter by the way, needed to get an advantage against Leon with my Rookidee somehow) but I also didn't really see any grass or electric type pokemon I liked so I actually lost my initial battle against Nessa. On top of that I didn't start doing max raids until after the 8th gym so my team was usually on par or just below the gym leaders in terms of levels and even with the exp candies I only used enough to get 3 of my 6 pokemon on par with Leon's in terms of levels (they were all 60 or above though) and my own stupid decisions caused the match to be harder than it probably needed to be but other than that the game was fairly straightforward and I didn't have too many issues.


I also really like the Wild Area (as well as the Isle of Armour and the Crown Tundra) and I feel that rather than routes connecting the towns it should have been one massive Wild Area especially as the Wild Area encourages you to back track and return to it in order to get access to items, new pokemon and new dropped items, it's a definite strong point for the game and one I hope to see in future titles.


Speaking of the DLCs I actually really liked the Isle of Armour but I feel it could have been a bit longer story wise (also I like how Master Mustard is sitting playing the Nintendo Switch in the dojo) but the actual Island was fun to explore and I really like how the bike customisation gives the player character BMX safety gear rather than the derpy stuff they have by default and the fact you have following pokemon is something that is much welcomed and I wish they had've added to the base game. As for the Crown Tundra, it's actually weaker than the Isle of Armour in my opinion as it just feels like they decided to cram as many legendary pokemon into one area as possible , seriously you have the Regis, Calyrex and its steeds, the Galarian legendary birds and the swords of justice all in one small area (and that's not even taking into account the dynamax adventures) I do like Peony, he's fairly entertaining, but overall it's definitely weaker than both the Isle of Armor and the base game.


As for the pokemon, well I've made my opinion on them clear, there's only a small handful I actually like which made teambuilding fairly difficult for me since (including regional forms) there's only 5 gen VIII pokemon I like, one of which is only available in the post game and out of those 5 two are legendaries (the list for anyone wondering is Corviknight, Falinks, Galarian Weezing, Urshifu and Zacian.)


I also quite like the music in the game, it's probably not an important point for most people but to me the right music can make or break a game as well as improve key moments (or detract from them if it's a poor fit) however Piers' singing parts have made me think that the pokemon games might need voice acting in the future, especially if anymore core characters are made musicians or singers.


Finally I did something I've never done in previous pokemon games (except when I was like 7) and I actually went out of my way to nickname my core team (despite the fact that 8 times out of 10 any name I come up with sucks) and speaking of which, my team was actually one of the more fun teams I've used in a pokemon game even if I ended up replacing one member and another was pretty much useless it was still one of my favourite pokemon teams to use, leaving out the nicknames the team was as follows:









Galarian Weezing




Originally I had Falinks in the team instead of Urshifu and as much as I liked it it was a bit on the slow side but it was still fairly serviceable as for the useless one it was Abomasnow it was slow and weak to some ridiculously common types so what bulk it had was pretty much useless.

So yeah TL;DR is game is slightly above average at best and is enjoyable enough to play while on the porcelain throne or while playing another game (I personally play Sword during the unskippable cutscenes in FFXIV or while playing Football Manager.)



Finally there are two images in this spoiler of my FFXIV characters, that's my main game atm and until I start booting up others you're going to be getting images from it.





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