Lately (as in for the vast majority of Memorial Day weekend) I've been playing through Infinite Undiscovery as part of J-Quest, my long-term goal of doing much better at completing RPGs, in particular those from Japan (hence the J). My friend DarkTharen has also been playing the game recently, and recently sent me a PM on x360a about it, which I'm reposting here so I can respond to it (hope he doesn't mind ^-^)
Dark writes: Thrawn,
I saw last night you were playing Infinite Undiscovery. With that I decided to check out your blog today and I know what you mean by diving into a game and going until your fingers bleed.
Anyways, how do you like IU? How far have you gotten? Getting that cheevo for freeing those prisoners is very difficult. You basicly have to run without fighting anyone. Even then it is very close. (Note: I missed this achievement because I was not aware there is a time limit. Will have to retry on Hard) This RPG is actually pretty easy to get the full 1k. It just takes time because you have to play through it 3 times. Hit me up when you get a chance!
Well, after spending most of my weekend playing it, I can tell I'm ahead of you, as I have several story-related achievements you don't yet. I completed Disc 1 a few days ago (did it in 10:30 or so, and I wasn't trying to speed run at all), and I'm now a healthy distance into disc 2 (21 hours total playtime approximately at this point). Are you using the strategy guide to aid you with the game? (I do this for all J-RPGs) If so, I'm at page 154 in the walkthrough. If not, I'll just say I'm off to a place called Dias, since I don't want to spoil anything.
Once we've both finished the game, I'd like to talk about it with you some time, either over party chats or messages. It's not often I have a friend who is playing the same (relatively) niche game that I am at the same time.
Once I hit Port Zala, I hit the Item Creation system hard, earning a bunch of the crafting achievements, and used a money-making tip from the achievement guide to make and sell a bunch of Bronze Plate Greaves to sell for cash. Using that fortune (while reading a book, I crafted my way to over 400,000 Fol profits), I took advantage of the vouchers I downloaded from the Marketplace to buy a lot of crafting materials I really shouldn't have been able to get at that point in the game. I was able to pimp out Capell and Edward with some seriously impressive weapons and armor. As a matter of fact, Capell has the 2nd best sword possible without going through the post-story dungeon. It's made life much easier LOL.
The game has some great attributes, OK attributes, and annoyances. I don't want to write a review here, but here's a highlight of my thoughts:
Awesome! The game's combat system and exploration. I love fighting enemies in real time out in an open field. It reminds me in some ways of combat in MMOs. In both games, enemies are confronted in real time, and you're taking allies with you, as you would a group in an MMO. Both Infinite Undiscovery and MMOs have item creation systems. IU, however, has a tighter storyline, an ending, achievements, and no annoying loot stealers =P
Meh... The storyline. Leonid feels like one hell of a flat bad-guy. He just doesn't interest me at all. I only recently found out why he wants the moon chained to the planet... why wait so far into the game to give us some motivation for the villain? The game feels choked with secondary characters. While I guess it's good to have numerous gameplay options available, they're not as developed as I'd like, though the essential characters have been growing on me as time passes. Still, this is no Final Fantasy X or Lost Odyssey in the characters department.
Boo! The sidequests are incredibly boring, consisting mostly of running errands for people, and rarely is the game's awesome combat system involved in any of them. Why do I want to run back and forth talking to a bunch of unimportant NPCs for items I'll almost never end up using? Oh, the "Compulsive" achievement... that's why. Side quests really could have been something if more of them involved combat, or sending player back to old areas to defeat new monsters, perhaps even some optional bosses... but there isn't any of that here. If you're going for everything, these interludes between combat and story advancement can feel like a chore. Dungeons could have been a bit bigger too. Hopefully some larger ones are coming. I find myself going out into the wilds sometimes just to have a taste of the combat again after too much side-questing.
Despite the few complaints, I'm really enjoying IU. It's been a great time. I would like to get the Compulsive achievement over with so I can just focus on the parts of the game I like and not bother with the dumb sidequests anymore. I will absolutely be going for 999 in this game... ask me later about Infinity mode...