Episode 61: Fifty Shades of Grey Wolf Sif

To bring new year and season 4 of S.Link FM, we decided to kick back and talk about the games we have been playing lately. Some of the games discussed include Final Fantasy VIII, Rune Factory IV, Dark Souls, The Witcher 3, and Trails Of Cold Steel.

We’re going to do more chill episodes like this from now on too, so we hope you enjoy listening!

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Thanks to Serah for the title card.

Check out our social media/contact pages:

All music from the Podcast provided by composer Alex Roe, check out his work here:

We’re available on the itunes store, just search “S.Link FM” and subscribe! Also you’d be doing us a big favor if you gave us a review on itunes.

Episode 60: Holiday Special 2015

Another year has come and gone, and as such it is time for our annual holiday episode! As with every year, we went through our top 3 favorite games of the year and explained why we loved them. Enjoy and see you in 2016!

Note: The audio on this episode got a bit muddled up, so apologies in advance. Hope you still all listen to it though!

Download Link (Right click + save as)

Thanks to Serah for the title card.

Check out our social media/contact pages:

All music from the Podcast provided by composer Alex Roe, check out his work here:

We’re available on the itunes store, just search “S.Link FM” and subscribe! Also you’d be doing us a big favor if you gave us a review on itunes.

Save Point: 2015 Wrap up

Well here we are, nearly at the end of another year, 2015 went by a bit quick, didn’t it? With that, I figured we should give you a bit of a status update on the state of the show.

Recently a questions post went up for an ‘open world’ episode of the show. We were originally going to record an episode on that topic on the 13th of November, but everyone here’s pretty busy with life, so we’ve got to put that topic on hold for now. Sorry we couldn’t get to it this month, but it’s a busy fall for everyone.However we’ll return to it in the new year, so your questions wont go unanswered!

As for the rest of the year, we plan to do our annual holiday special and game of the year episode in early December! Thank for sticking with us, we have some pretty awesome listeners.

-Levito

Question time: A whole new (open) world

“Open world” is becoming synonymous with RPGs as of late. The Elder scrolls games, Dragon Age, The Witcher, and several other series have gone with the open world route. And now even games like Mass Effect Andromeda and Final Fantasy XV are heading in that direction as well.

Developers of these type of games promise “living, breathing worlds”–but does a larger world always equate to a better experience? An immense world can immerse the player for sure, but it can also be overwhelming with bloat too. On episode 60 we plan to talk all about what works(and what doesn’t work) about open world RPGs.

Episode 59: Do Not Ingest

In this second part of our Mass Effect series, we talk about Shepard as a self insert protagonist vs wholly their own character. We also dip into the romances of the series and how believable they were to us. Finally we finish off the last bit of questions sent to us, hope you all enjoy!

Download Link (Right click + save as)

Thanks to Serah for the title card.

Check out our social media/contact pages:

All music from the Podcast provided by composer Alex Roe, check out his work here:

We’re available on the itunes store, just search “S.Link FM” and subscribe! Also you’d be doing us a big favor if you gave us a review on itunes.

Episode 58: Throw it out the Airlock

This week it’s all about Turian tail, Batarian ale, and Reaper scale.  Yes this week we’re talking all about Bioware’s space opera that is Mass Effect. We went over what about the series resonates strongest for us, along with what moments in particular defined ‘Mass Effect’ during our time with the trilogy. We even had some time to do predictions for Mass Effect: Andromeda, and of course take some user questions.

We’ll also be doing a second Mass Effect podcast in the coming weeks. So if you asked a question and it didn’t get answered, we’ll get to it in the next episode!

Download Link (Right click + save as)

Thanks to Serah for the title card.

Check out our social media/contact pages:

All music from the Podcast provided by composer Alex Roe, check out his work here:

We’re available on the itunes store, just search “S.Link FM” and subscribe! Also you’d be doing us a big favor if you gave us a review on itunes.

Review: Persona 4: Dancing All Night

Anyone that has listened to S.Link FM knows that the show’s origins date back to a very cringe-inducing dancing contest entry way back in 2012. So when ATLUS announced Persona 4: Dancing All Night, it felt like a strangely appropriate direction for the series in my eyes. Persona 4: Dancing All Night is probably the last game to feature these characters, so it has a lot riding on it. It doesn’t quite land every move, but thanks to excellent gameplay, wonderful presentation, and an exhilarating soundtrack, it hits just enough high notes to be worthy of its namesake.

For most Persona fans the meat of the franchise is its story and characters, so naturally Dancing All Night includes a story mode of its own. The game is set several months after the events of Persona 4 and catalogs Rise’s climb back to the top of the idol world. Amidst the bustle of competing with rival idols and training her friends as backup dancers, there seems to be instances of several other idols going missing. Without giving away too much of the plot, it’s essentially a situation very akin to what the Persona 4 cast went through in the original game.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night’s story mode is very much a mixed bag when it comes to the quality of the writing. It’s pretty interesting when it delves into themes such as the pressure Japanese entertainment companies place on young women that decide to become idols, and the effects said pressure has on their psyche. However the trouble is these narrative highs are few and far between, and they’re themes that were better explored during Rise’s arc in the original game. Dancing All Night goes into a little more detail with these ideas, but it is not nearly as powerful because the time spent with the other idols in this game is far too sparse. It’s difficult to get invested in these new characters’ stories when the game doesn’t give them ample screen time to form a connection with the audience. Couple that with the fact that in this game you literally dance to solve most problems and you’ve got a recipe for schlock. Persona has always been a series that embellished in the absurd, but this is taking it a bit far. There’s something unintentionally hilarious about the cast approaching a dire, life threatening situation, and their solution to the problem is always to hit the dance floor. There’s an in-universe explanation as to why they have to do this, but it comes off more as contrived plot reasoning to justify the core mechanics of a rhythm game.

The game also utilizes the same visual novel presentation that was in Arena and Ultimax. I didn’t care for it then and I don’t like it now in this game either. The visual novel presentation has a really bad habit of reiterating the same information over and over again that the characters in game just explained themselves. It gets really tiring and makes the story mode a total chore to play at times.

While the plot leaves a lot to be desired, the gameplay is an absolute delight. Rhythm games have never been my cup of tea to be perfectly honest, even during the days when Guitar Hero was brought out at every party. However with Dancing All Night, I found it hard to pull myself away from it. The presentation and HUD pretty much break things down immediately for the player upon starting the game up. The triangle, circle, and X buttons along with the directional pad on the Vita are your primary means of interaction with the music in the game. You will have to press these buttons at the right times as the various markers fly towards them. Pretty standard affair for a rhythm game, but what sets Dancing All Night apart from a lot of its contemporaries is the background and foreground never clash with each other. Whenever I tried to play Project Diva for example, I’d often fail at songs cause I’d keep glancing at the dancing going on in the background when I was supposed to be paying attention to the notes in the foreground. That doesn’t happen in Dancing All Night, the color scheme of the HUD and overall presentation makes everything blend together much better.

The game is also pretty friendly to those new to the genre or even for players not good at this type of game like myself. There are three different difficulty settings and you can even adjust the speed of the notes in each song. It may not sound like a huge addition, but it’s nice that ATLUS considered beginner and low-skill players when making the game.

It would be safe to say that probably the biggest reason Persona 4: Dancing All Night even came about was due to the incredible soundtracks of the Persona series. In that regard, Dancing All Night lives up to the legacy of the franchise. Most of the music in the game is either ripped directly from prior games in the series, or is a remixed track, although there are several other original songs composed just for Dancing All Night. ATLUS brought in a number of great musicians to remix tracks for the game, one of which being one of my favorite musical artists of all time, Akira Yamaoka (his remix of Time To Make History is just fantastic). Safe to say Persona 4: Dancing All Night is probably in the running for best game soundtracks of 2015.

There’s also a whole wealth of hidden content in Persona 4: Dancing All Night that’s sure to keep you busy for many hours. You earn currency after completing each song successfully and can spend it on various in-game items. The main draw of these optional items is sure to be the costumes you can buy for each of the dancers. I’ve spent more time than I’m comfortable admitting just unlocking every costume for Yukiko.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night feels like the culmination of a lot of things. It’s probably the last time we are going to see these characters together again in a game all their own, and with that comes a degree of responsibility on its shoulders. Thankfully it more than carries that weight as it does justice to these characters, is the send off this franchise deserves, and is a wonderful celebration of the series. So, jack that swagger and don’t miss it, baby.

9/10

Question time: Mass Effect ‘cast is happening

MEResS

At long last, it’s finally happening, we’re going to go ahead and record the long talked about Mass Effect podcast! We’ve touched on the series in the past on Episode 47 and Episode 55, but this is the first time we’ve actually dedicated an a episode solely towards Mass Effect.

The basic idea of, or rather how we’re going to go about this episode(s?) is we’re going to discuss several things, namely: What Mass Effect is to us and what makes it special, its strengths and weaknesses, how we got into the series, and some of our favorite moments.

We’ll of course be taking your questions as per usual, so feel free to post them in the section below and we’ll answer them! We record this on the 25th so you’ve got about two weeks to submit a question from the time of this posting.

Save Point: S.Link FM in 2015 thus far

Good day S.Link FM fans and listeners. We’re four Episodes into our new RPG centric focus, and it’s been such a wonderful breath of fresh air for the team here, and will only continue to invigorate us.

As part of the new format, I thought it would be a good idea to do a ‘status update’ post once and a while to let you all know what we’re planning for upcoming episodes. So, from now on “Save Point” will be that status update.

The next episode will more than likely be the much alluded to Mass Effect podcast. Where we plan to discuss our favorite moments, what the series means to us, and many other things. We also have a couple special guest episodes in the works too, more details on those as plans solidify.

Thank you all so much for the kindness and support, we may be a small show, but we’ve got some truly wonderful fans.

-Levito

Episode 57: Frame Perfect with Romscout

It’s time to kick the tires and light the fires because on this episode we talk all manners of speedrunning with Romscout. If you’re new to the podcast, Romscout is a well known Castlevania and SMT speedrunner, as well as event director at Games Done Quick, not to mention the Charity Event Manager at Twitch.

One this episode we talked Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Nocturne speedrunning, why some people dislike speedrunning, and dabbled a bit in metagaming. It was a pleasure catching up with Romscout again!

Download Link (Right click + save as)

Thanks to Serah for the title card.

Check out our social media pages:

All music from the Podcast provided by composer Alex Roe, check out his work here:

We’re available on the itunes store, just search “S.Link FM” and subscribe! Also you’d be doing us a big favor if you gave us a review on itunes.

Question time with Romscout!

Waaaay back in 2013 when S.Link FM was still in its early days, one of our first big guests was SMT and Castlevania speedrunner Romscout. We talked all about SEGA buying Atlus(which was fresh news at the time) and what our thoughts on SMT IV, Nocturne, and Strange Journey were(Episode 15). Since then, Romscout has helped foster the now famous Games Done Quick charity into a phenomenon on twitch–so it’s high time we reunite!

There is probably going to be a myriad of topics discussed on this upcoming Episode, but primarily be talking about speedrunning a beast of a game like Nocturne, the GDQ charity, what is takes to be a speedrunner, that kind of thing. So please leave plenty of questions below! This episode records on the 21st.

Episode 56: Celebrating 15 years of Final Fantasy IX

It was July 7th of 2000 when Square released the last PlayStation 1 Final Fantasy title, IX. While Square may often forget this gem, we have a lot to say about Zidane and the rest of IX’s ragtag crew as we celebrate the game’s anniversary.

Prepare yourself for an hour of Chocobo Hot and Cold, Beatrix praise, and off-topic Final Fantasy VIII discussion.

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Thanks to Serah for the title card.

Check out our social media pages:

All music from the Podcast provided by composer Alex Roe, check out his work here:

We’re available on the itunes store, just search “S.Link FM” and subscribe! Also you’d be doing us a big favor if you gave us a review on itunes.

Question time: Final Fantasy IXs 15th anniversary

Final Fantasy IX is an important game in Square Enix’ history. It was the last of its era of PS1 FF games, but it was a celebration not of its most recent peers, but of the first six FFs. It’s a classic story in a colorful world with gameplay that manages to be engaging without being overly-intricate.

Well, FFFIX turned fifteen years old this month. The game originally released in Japan on the 7th of July in the year 2000. For the 56th episode of SLink FM, we’re saying happy birthday. We’ll discuss our favorite moments and characters from the game and discuss it’s place in the tapestry of Final Fantasy.

Please, take this week to send us your questions and share your own memories of Zidane, Garnet, and co.

Episode 55: “…”

Some say that words are very unnecessary, as they can only do harm. However in the case of an RPG, that’s clearly not always the case. In this Episode we discuss silent protagonists and compare/contrast them with voiced protagonists. Silent protagonists offer the ability to let the player self insert, while voice protagonists are actually fleshed out characters. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both, as well as which we prefer overall.  Hope you all enjoy it!

Download Link (Right click + save as)

Thanks to Serah for the title card.

Check out our social media pages:

All music from the Podcast provided by composer Alex Roe, check out his work here:

We’re available on the itunes store, just search “S.Link FM” and subscribe! Also you’d be doing us a big favor if you gave us a review on itunes.

Question time: Silent protagonists vs. voiced protagonists

The mechanics of an RPG may wildly vary from title to title, but they share a common ground in that the genre is generally known for telling great stories. How the stories are told however also varies just as much as the mechanics.

For the next episode, we want to talk about silent protagonists and contrast them with voiced protagonists. Which immerses us more, and which is better for telling a story. A small example would be between how Final Fantasy IX tells its story versus Mass Effect. Final Fantasy IX has an excellent script that sort of goes above and beyond to convey it’s tone to the player. We don’t know what Zidane sounds like, but he has such a clearly defined voice anyway. On the other hand, a game with acting has nuance on it’s side. You have conversations with Garrus in Mass Effect and you never really get terribly lengthy answers, but you can understand where he’s coming from really well because of tone. A character like Legion might not work without the voice work because his style of speaking is so stilted. You would see him as just a robot to start and that might never change, but of course the whole thing with Legion is he’s more than that.

So if you want to add to the conversation or ask a question, place do so in the comments below!

Episode 54: A Podcast Reborn

When you’re taking part in a passion project like S.Link FM, there comes a time where you have to either change things up, or lay it to rest. In the case of this podcast, we’re doing the former. Yes you may have seen this coming, but it’s official now: S.Link FM is switching from solely a Persona podcast to a more all encompassing RPG show.

Let’s be clear about this though: We still love Persona, the show wouldn’t have gone on two years if we didn’t. However after 50+ episodes, it’s getting a little difficult to come up with new topics that are entirely Persona-focused. We love a ton of RPG franchises from Final Fantasy to Mass Effect, and to keep things fresh(and fun) we decided to make this change.

So hopefully you’ll stick with us as we change things up. Listen to the latest episode below to hear the team’s thoughts more fully.

Download Link (Right click + save as)

Thanks to Serah for the title card.

All music from the Podcast provided by composer Alex Roe, check out his work here:

We’re available on the itunes store, just search “S.Link FM” and subscribe! Also you’d be doing us a big favor if you gave us a review on itunes.

Episode 53: Final Fantasy – Fabulous Novus Crystals Part 2

The long wait for the second part of our Final Fantasy centric ‘cast is finally over! In this Episode we discuss the current state of Final Fantasy, as well as the future. Lots of talk on Type-0, A Realm Reborn, and the XV demo.

Download Link (Right Click + Save as)

Thanks to Jintor for the show outtro.
Thanks to Serah for the title card.

Piano tracks from the Podcast provided by composer Doug Farrell, check out his work here:

We’re available on the itunes store, just search “S.Link FM” and subscribe! Also you’d be doing us a big favor if you gave us a review on itunes.

Episode 52: Final Fantasy – Fabulous Novus Crystals Part 1

We’re taking a brief break from celebrating Persona and using an episode to discuss a series the whole crew loves — Final Fantasy.  Several of us found our way to Persona and other RPGs through Square’s iconic franchise, and we would like to share those origin stories.

Join us for nearly two hours as we mispronounce every single name in the series. Is it Teedus or Tyedus?

Download Link (Right Click + Save as)

Thanks to Jintor for the show outtro.
Thanks to Serah for the title card.

Piano tracks from the Podcast provided by composer Doug Farrell, check out his work here:

We’re available on the itunes store, just search “S.Link FM” and subscribe! Also you’d be doing us a big favor if you gave us a review on itunes.

Question time for Final Fantasy ‘cast!

FFcast

The long awaited Final Fantasy cast is going to record this Friday, and surprise it’s going to be two parts! In the first part-we’ll be discussing what it is that defines the series for us, and what out personal favorites are.

The second part will be what we think of the current state of Final Fantasy and what the future holds for the franchise. So if you have any questions at all pertaining to the franchise–please leave them below! Remember that part 1 records this Friday(April 3rd) so get them in soon!

Episode 51: 2 Year Anniversary

It’s hard to believe, but as of today the podcast is officially two years old! To commemorate this occasion, we’ve put together this episode to highlight some of our favorite moments in the show’s history.

Whether you’re a long time fan, or only just started listening, I can’t thank you enough for your support. It’s been such a wild and fun ride doing this show, thank you. -Levito

Download Link (Right Click + Save as)

Thanks to Jintor for the show outtro.
Thanks to Serah for the title card.

Piano tracks from the Podcast provided by composer Doug Farrell, check out his work here:

We’re available on the itunes store, just search “S.Link FM” and subscribe! Also you’d be doing us a big favor if you gave us a review on itunes.