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Baldr Bringer (dropped)

Clephas

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Understand, I loved the Baldr series, before Heart... even Heart still retained a lot of what was great about the series, though it placed too much emphasis on the less interesting elements.  The Baldr series is literally Giga's only good IP, and as such, it is the only reason I even bother with this company.

Unfortunately, it looks like Giga has set out to destroy its costly but greatest IP, ending it on a sour note.

Baldr Bringer, from what I have played of it, has very little story in comparison to the amount of battling you do.  I have so far spent twelve hours in battle and a bare thirty minutes of storytelling.  Moreover, most of that thirty minutes were meaningless conversations with the flat, two-dimensional heroines who are partial copies of people from the various game settings of previous games of the series (Elmi is from Zero's world, Carol is from Force's world, and Toiro is from the Heart setting). 

Worse is that the only part that has felt like story so far is the very first part, where Hyuji is waking up and meets Eris. 

Like all the games in this series, the battles take a lot out of you, because they are fast paced bullet hells... without the lock-on function of previous games.  Without the lock on function, the controls become excessively complex, and the slow movement of your mech makes it even worse (literally, you are moving at a slow walk the entire time).  Moreover, in order to progress heroine events, the solution is to kill enemies with the weapon they are associated with... a task that can be painfully time-consuming, depending on the weapon.

I'm going to be blunt, Giga went all-out in order to disappoint the fanbase here.  It had to have been deliberate, because Giga knows very well what people seek from the series.  The interface is junk, you only have the auto-save function, and choices only serve to create slightly different conversation flows.

In other words, as a VN, this is undeniably a kusoge.  It requires too much battle time to reach sparse story segments that generally last less than a minute each, and then you get tossed right back onto the battlefield.  In previous games, the ratio was a lot more even, with story segments often going on for hours, depending on what kind they were. 

Edit: To be a bit clearer, the original Baldr battle system, in its final form as seen in Baldr Heart, is something like a beat-em-up with fighting game combos, guns and cool OP special attacks.  While it is easy to play, it is far deeper than it seems on the surface, requiring high levels of player skills to beat the most powerful bosses on normal and masterful skills to beat any of the bosses on the harder difficulties.  The sheer variety of potential combos based on what moves and weapons you have stickied to the buttons made it fun to play, in and of itself.  The system seen in Baldr Bringer is greatly simplified, with you basically equipping one main firearm, one back weapon, and one close-ranged weapon.  Instead of overheating when you use too many moves in a row, you run out of ammo if you use the same weapon too much... but firearms can be recharged just by using the close-range weapons.  There is no lock-on, but the system as a whole is basically a third-person, top-down shooter.

Unfortunately, in order to make that manageable, both your speed and the speed of your enemies is greatly reduced from what you would have seen in Heart or Sky, and as a result, you end up fighting long running battles that extend across multiple maps, taking far more time than is reasonable for a VN hybrid.  I'd say that the average series of battles in Bringer takes about seven times as long as a series of battles in Heart or Sky.  As a result, you end up spending massive amounts of time fighting, to be rewarded with relatively little, considering the lack of a strong ongoing story. 

Edit2: One of the biggest problems with this game, besides the overwhelming amount of gameplay, was the way they handled heroine interactions (let's set aside issues with how two-dimensional the heroines are in the first place).  Heroine interactions can be chosen at any point of the game if you have the necessary level with their associated weapon type.  Linking the affections of the heroines to weapon experience is, in and of itself, annoying, seeing as firearms in general take longer to level up than close-range weapons.  However, even more annoying is the way heroine interactions have no place within the story itself.  This 'un-moored romance' leads to even more disconnect with the story aspects mentally and emotionally, and as a whole, makes it feel irrelevant.  I managed to get up to the eighth event with Carol (not a hard task, considering how fast the knife levels up) before I dropped the game, and the disconnect only gets worse the more you progress with an individual heroine.  Overall, the whole thing feels like a regression, even compared to charage.  It feels like the tacked-on romances of some jrpgs that experimented with the like back in the middle of the previous decade, where it was somewhat less than satisfying for similar reasons.



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1 hour ago, Narcosis said:

Maybe it's time for them to decide, whether they want to continue making interactive fiction, or move on to action games.

I've discussed this with others, both in Japan and here, and most of us are pretty sure they are preparing to make mobile games utilizing the Baldrhead team's programmers.

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They could as well just make a full fledged action shooter with tactical elements, instead moving onto currently dubious and oversaturated mobile market. As much I didn't really liked Baldr series, I'd gladly welcome a mecha fighting game set in their universe.

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On 11/9/2017 at 3:10 PM, Narcosis said:

They could as well just make a full fledged action shooter with tactical elements, instead moving onto currently dubious and oversaturated mobile market. As much I didn't really liked Baldr series, I'd gladly welcome a mecha fighting game set in their universe.

lol... I hate to say this, but if there is one thing you can depend on with Japanese companies in the present day, it is for them to get on a trend late and screw up massively.  The exceptions are few and far in between.  I never said that it was a good idea, but the fact is that the battle system would probably make a good transition to mobile platforms.  They already did a test of concept with the Hot Dogger Edition of Heart, which was essentially a battle game.  If they'd done it four years ago, they probably could have scored a profit, but the competition is just too high nowadays.

Moreover, Giga keeps forcing its programmers to try out every new gimmick that makes its way onto the VN and VN hybrid scene... and mostly they screw up.  Like most programmers who went into VNs, they can do one thing really well and can't do anything else right without a lot of patches.

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