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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Guest Post: Skyborn.

This guest post experience brought to you by: Hattie.

Hello, don’t mind me.

I just kidnapped Doug and forced him to hand over his blog for the weekend.

Don’t worry, we’ll have lots of fun together!

We, meaning you the reader and myself, of course.

Doug is still cowering in the corner.

Anyway, speaking of kidnapping; let’s talk about Skyborn as it starts with a botched kidnapping.
As in, a botched attempt to run away resulted in a kidnapping.


Skyborn’s story follows around Claret Spencer, a promising airship mechanic who works for her brother. She gets her own arc, and it’s compelling, but really, this is a story that revolves around three of the other party members.

Not to say that Claret isn’t important. She is, she’s pivotal in the events of the game, it’s just that the actual story is more about Sullivan ‘So many initials’ Chesterford IV, Alda ‘I have a tragic backstory in the form of a flashback’ Kims and the cutest little girl with a monstrous arm.

So monstrous, so cute.

I actually really like this, the girl with the moderately sheltered upbringing who is kind of oblivious to the true extent of the evils of the world and goes through a harsh awakening to those evils is, basically, incidental to the plot.

She’s there because she’s useful, not because she’s the driving force of the story.

Now, about that kidnapping.

Claret starts the story fixing an airship for Sullivan, right up until her brother tells her that he’s selling the shop to Sullivan and that he’s also talked Sullivan into marrying her.

Oh, did I forget to mention that he’s the blatantly obvious love interest? Because he is, blatantly so.
Claret is not happy. She already had this day go a bit sour when the oppressive Skyborn overlords decided to come into the shop and beat up the receptionist before actually attacking her in the street.

Frankly, this just took the cake.

So, she gives her share of the sales money to the receptionist to give her brother in return for the airship and steals it to make good her escape.

With Sullivan on board.

Nice one Claret.

The Skyborn don’t take kindly to people trying to fly off and they get attacked by drones.
This is your second fight in the game and you’re still hurt from the last one. Sullivan’s fine, but Claret is pretty low on the old HP and you’ve got no healing items. So, what are you to do?
Well, Sullivan, being a dashing swordsman, offers to take the brunt of the attacks by raising his threat level while Claret tries not to draw attention to herself.

The threat level is a pretty cool gameplay mechanic where if a character attacks, they make their threat level go up and enemies more likely to attack them. If they guard or heal while another character attacks, their threat level goes down.

It’s a really nice part of the battle system, and Sullivan has a higher threat level at the beginning of every battle. Well, most of them.

Unfortunately, there’s this problem a bit later on where, because Claret is faster and can duel wield, she still ends up taking the brunt of the attacks despite her lower HP. So you have to have her guard or use non-offensive magic so that Sullivan can draw the attacks off her. Which is something I pretty much never did because she usually ended up hitting for over twice the damage he did.

Then again, on the other hand, she usually ended up hitting for over twice the damage he did, and I can really appreciate that.

I can also appreciate the fact that the dedicated healer is a boy and the black magic user is still a heavy physical hitter in her own right.

So swings and roundabouts, really.

Which is what Claret gets after they fight off the drones and make port in Uptown.

Sullivan agrees to hand over the deeds to the airship and on the way you see the Red Spectre bothering some guards. Sullivan tells you that he’s been a menace in Uptown and then gets really into the excitement, waving it off as being a big fan because the Spectre is so stylish.

I’m not going to even consider this a spoiler, because it’s so blatantly obvious.

And no, I don’t care that I literally just told you that Sullivan and the Red Spectre were in the same place at the same time.

He’s the Red Spectre.

Anyway, after signing the airship over, Sullivan pulls a dick move and calls the guards to arrest Claret for kidnapping him and stealing his airship.

He has his reasons, but still. Not cool.

This event kickstarts the plot proper, because while she’s in prison, she gets the old ‘do what I say, or I’ll kill your brother’ spiel off a guy named Dahcian. So she reluctantly agrees to be put in with some other prisoners (including the receptionist who is a lying toerag. That is, a toerag that lies, he had a good reason to lie) to be rescued and taken to the Red Spectre’s hideout so she can report back where it is.

Thankfully, Claret is only slightly slower than I was, and calls out the Red Spectre for just being Sullivan.
He does a Wonder Woman spin (his primary method for changing clothes as far as I can tell) and becomes substantially more rakish. Which is yet another thing I can appreciate.

There’s so much to appreciate in this game.

Which is the basic message I want you to take away from this.

This is a good RPG, definitely in the vein of a Breath of Fire II or a Chrono Trigger (the battles specifically, in the latter case). The characters are well developed, even the receptionist who I do not like, and the story pretty compelling and complex. It’s definitely worth the £11.99 I spent buying it on Steam.
If I had a criticism, it would be that it isn’t all that long. It took me about eight hours to complete.

Why isn’t it loooonger?!

I want it to be longer, there’s places I want to go and see. There’s a world and story here that I’d love to spend more time exploring.

Anyway, must dash. Doug is starting to loosen his ropes.

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