Non-boxes, how are you? I'm here to tell you all a whole bunch of crap about the PSP games.
Never played the games? No worries, I'll summarize the story so you get a basic understanding of what's going on!
Stuck on a certain part? (i.e: anything with U-D)? Don't sweat it, Natus is here to help!
And so! First off, the story behind Battle of Aces!
Battle of Aces' story is set up so that everyone has their own separate story routes. However, I'll be pulling out common elements from all story lines as well as the important bits. If there's any ...oddities, this is why.
The PSP games take place in an alternate timeline from the original series where Reinforce is NOT killed after A's.
On the plus side, more Reinforce Eins!
On the down side, the Book of Darkness' corrupted defense program is still totally active and will definitely try to kill everyone again eventually. Since no-one can figure out how to turn the thing off,our heroes take the logical route and say they'll cross that bridge when they get to it.
So how much peace do our favorite lolis have until they have to deal with another crisis?
...Yeah, that's how long it takes for the Book of Darkness to amass an army of evil clones, plus Materials.
Our story starts off with Nanoha and Fate walking down the street, excited about the New Year's party they're going to have (remember, A's ended around Christmas)
Unfortunately, they don't get a holiday as Chrono sends them one of those neat holograph message screens, explaining that some serious stuff is about to go down. Of course, the two of them go off to investigate. The knights are sent out due to this being an emergency situation and Chrono goes off as well. They all pretty much split up and have their own fun little adventures.
They run into the Dark Pieces (or Dark Fragments as they're sometimes called). These are essentially clones of the other characters created by the darkness of the Book of Darkness. The Dark Pieces tend to be corrupted versions of the person they're mimicking or an earlier version of them.
For example, the Dark Piece version of the Wolkenritter tend to be from the times before they met Hayate and are the bitter soldiers forced to carry out their previous masters' orders of destruction.
Reinforce further explains that the Dark Pieces are made from unfulfilled wishes, bad memories and other depressing stuff. At any rate, the Dark Pieces are running around rampant and need to be put down, if only to end their suffering (and stop property damage, of course)
Basically, everyone has their own troubles when they start fighting but meeting up with the Dark Pieces and the Materials help them grow as people. Or something.
In Nanoha's route, she's having a mini existential crisis as she wonders what to strive for and what her limitations are. Pretty heavy stuff for someone who's like, 10.
Nanoha seems a little uneasy about fighting the Dark Pieces, since none of them are actually bad people. In fact, all she fights are pre-Hayate knights (and Reinforce) in the midst of their despair.
By the end though, she believes that she needs to use her magic to shoot the sadness out of people. Her words, not mine. But essentially she resolves to use her magic for good, more or less.
In Fate's route, she's considering Lindy's offer of adoption before being dragged into this mess. She also goes off an fights Dark pieces.
Fighting the Dark Pieces (and especially the Materials) make her realise that part of the reason she's hesitating about accepting Lindy's offer is the fear that kindness is temporary and she'll be thrown away again, much like Precia did to her. Dark Piece Signum is nice enough to give her some advice before fading away though, so it all turns out alright.
Eventually, after the Dark Pieces are defeated there is some kind of massive concentration of darkness and Dark Pieces, which form the Materials. Instead of being mere clones with a touch of amnesia, the Materials have their own identities. (I like to think of them at this stage as replacement knights designed to protect the Book of Darkness, myself) Unfortunately, whatever personalities they have is never developed as the Book of Darkness is driving them mad.
Seikou has little memories about anything, since she was just created about 5 seconds ago. She's not exactly sure how or why but she can feel the Book of Darkness' corrupted defense program telling her to destroy everything until there is the quiet tranquility of death and darkness.
She;s definitely the most perceptive out of all the Materials, able to shake Fate up before their fight. Interestingly enough, she drops a small line that ends up being the entire point of the second game. A part of her instinctively knows that she needs to revive the Unbreakable Darkness, which will be covered later when I do Gears of Destiny.
When she's defeated by Nanoha though, she seems pleased about having a good fight and passes away peacefully.
Raijin is filled with the Book of Darkness' unbridled rage and can feel it demanding that she destroy the ones that tried to stop it. Raijin is aware that whatever is happening to her is definitely not normal and that it's sending her insane. It comes to the point where she feels the need to kill the heroes just to make the Book shut up.
On an amusing side-note, in her madness she demands that Hayate and Reinforce either step aside or be obliterated. Hayate doesn't care when Raijin talks smack about her but the second she insults Reinforce she immediately snaps at Raijin to shut up and beats seven kinds of crap out of her.
Arf also comments that the insane Raijin, fighting in the midst of despair for a peace that would never be granted is what Fate could of become if she stayed under Precia's control.
Yami is... well, she's Yami. She seems to be the least affected by the Book of Darkness' control because she legitimately wants what the Book wants and doesn't need the mind control. She's fine with blowing everything up and then ruling over the pieces, she's pretty cruel. She even treats Hayate like she's the clone and voices no concern over the the lives lost fighting over dominion of the Book of Darkness. She can't even be bothered with calling anyone by their names, calling Hayate "little raven" and Reinforce "Useless unison device"
Yami also shows everyone why she's the goddamn king of darkness by engaging in a bitter duel with Hayate that almost kills her. Honestly, the only reason why Hayate isn't dead is because Signum fires a Sturmfalken at Yami and pretty much saves the day.
All the Dark Pieces and Materials gone, peace is brought back to
Uminari and everyone goes happy.
Even though Reinforce is still doomed to die.
Reinforce simply doesn't have enough energy to keep existing and running around fighting Dark Pieces isn't helping at all. In the end, she asks Hayate to make a new version of her after she passes away and to name it Reinforce as well.
To avoid confusion, she offers calling herself Reinforce Eins and the other Reinforce Zwei.
And that, non-boxes, is more or less Battle of Aces! Stick around, we got a whole 'nother game to cover!
Feel free to correct any mistakes I might of made or inaccuracies I need to correct. I'm also aware that I basically used the routes for Nanoha, Fate and Hayate only but since they're the main characters we'll just let it slide right? ...Right?
But no yeah, enjoy~!
I've read Force (for the story I'm working on) and I'll tell you what Hayate is in Force, and I quote, she is a "Stupid Racoon Girl". That may sound harsh, but it's true though, it's exactly what she is!
I can't wait for the conclusion! I just have to say thanks for putting your time into telling everyone about the game and story, it helps me out a lot too.
There's still more!? Ooooh, I can't wait, since this is good research material for my story. I wasn't going to say anything too pushy, and forgive me if I sound a little like a jerk, but please do the next one as soon as you can really fast please.
I guess you're using the fan names for the material in wich case you may find an unpleasant surprise when you get to the G.O.D. storyline where their canon names are finally revealed xDU
Yay! Signum saved the day xD!
I had both. It's just a pain to actually play them since it's in Japanese. But it's still worth it just listening to them talk and just push random buttons to fight. Lol.
Sorry for the pointless comment.
Well, if you watch so many Animes before you might have an idea on what they're saying. At least...
So you've finished the game yet? I just started and I'm having a hard time playing it.
If I ever learn Japanese in the future, I will get these games and play them. But until then, please continue the summary please!
After reading the synopsis of Gears of Destiny I got a need to do something about helping bring about a translated version. Since the aces's routes through the game have been translated over on AnimeSuki, back in the day I decided to try out Battle of the Aces and see if I can modify it.
It's not particulary deep and I feel like range focused characters have a definite advantage, to the point where while playing on the Nanoha's part the only characters that gave me trouble are Zafira (because his auto guard blocks a lot of my shots and he has the skills to force me to fight close to him) and Reinforce can be annoying since she has quick cast beams that can track you even through dodges. This might be a artifact of the AI not being the smartest tool in the toolbox, which is probably exemplified by Signum who is ruined by it. Signum has a lot of short to medum ranged attacks, BUT the AI seems not to be able to understand that her attacks have an actual range, so she will happily continue spamming attacks that have no way in hell of reaching me.
By now I have completed 4 paths and I have lost not once. Then again I was playing as the Aces and Rein where I could exploit ranged shenanigans. Considering that I'm terrible in melee (I have the reflexes of a dead horse) it's likely going to be more difficult going with some of the other chars.
By contrast I tried to play the second game and had my shit ruined in the first fight.
Then again I don't mind the game being easy, I like curb stomping my foes.
As for the possibility of modification, that is a bust for now since while I have figured out how to decode the files that contain the subtitled dialogue, I was not able to find the scripts that do the reverse and the tools the Chinese used to do it for their localization are gone.
BTW if anyone is interested this is how you decode the files as far as I could figure it out:
As for how did I do it, the dialogue seems to be contained in the story pac files. They are labeled according to which stage and whoose story they do. So Nanoha's prologue is in PSP_GAME\USRDIR\story_na_prologue.pac, but just opening the file in notepad won't do since that file is actually an archive containing multiple files. The archive can be extracted using quickbms's Add Pac script. Now that you have extracted the files from the pac archive one of them should be story_na_prologue.asm, but that one has been compressed using LZS compression (not much deduction needed when the first word in the file is LZS) and to uncompress it use LZS script for quickbms. This should give you the uncompressed story_na_prologue.asm file that contains the text that the characters speak in the Prologue of Nanoha's run and addresses of the sound files. You should be able to spot towards the end the Rising Heart's lines since they will be the ones that can be understood meaning even though we don't know how did they encode the japanese characters, ASCII should work for English
As the modification route is a bust I decided to see how difficult it would be to simply provide subtitled versions of the cutscenes, and the answer is it's not that problematic and the following is a sort of proof of concept:
Subtitled version of Prologue and Stage one on Nanoha's path in Battle of the Aces
I decided to cut 99% of combat since with Nanoha it tends to favor repetition, bind, beam, bind beam, beam beam bind dodge etc.
Translated stages 2-4 of Nanoha's run:
I only really read the translation as I was adding the subs and couple of things surprised me. For example since I did not know what Shamal was saying to me before I finished recording, I learned too late about her situation and her possible post battle dialogue. As is I trounced her ridiculously since her AI is terrible, but after I learned that she knows that you DESTROYED her only friends (Dark Piece Shamal has memories of Shamal from before Hayate), and now understandably wants revenge and is willing to give it her best shot to defeat Nanoha. But since I trounced her handily in the end on top of the anguish of loosing what she considered her only family, she was not able to do ANYTING against and has FAILED her companions. Had I known that I might have gone easier on her and let her do some damage to me at least so she is somewhat content.
The standout is Hayate, who completely no sells the entire angst thing that Dark Peaces have and is just as happy as the real one and only wants a practice match with Nanoha. And since I bungled that match through overconfidence and she nearly ripped my/Nanoha's face in melee she is happy for it. Nanoha even doesn't have the stomach to tell her that she is not real.
In general it seems that this game is another supplemental material that does more and better Hayate than the main continuity.
Up next Dark Piece Reinforce, and THEN me and Sek.. no Stern get to rip each other to shreads in a proper beam spam battle.
Well to be fair the game can't be all sad.
The idea that the Dark Fragments are sentient is fuck up enough when you start to think about it. The show, and so the game, usually stays away from long term implications of what that could mean since... yeah, it will make you feel horrible.
Well their sentience is kind of questionable. They are more snapshots of darkest moments of the mages that fought the Darkness of the Book of the Night sky, which is running their though processes essentially in a loop focusing them on their negative emotions. They show active inability to understand new infomration that is not available to them. You don't really kill them, they fade away as soon as you solve their issues, which in most cases involves stopping them.
But yeah it would be a bit too bleak if only thing you did was fight your friends and watch them fade away in despair.
Final Nanoha's stage + Epilogue
First off the translation seems to be the worst in this one especially during the Nanoha/Stern pre battle speech. You can get the gist of what supposedly was being said in Japanese, the usual Nanoha's spiel about understanding being important to the point that it's okay to fight if it leads to it and that she has the power to change things by blowing stuff up, but it's still head scratching at times. I was debating changing those lines along the lines of what I thought they were supposed to say but abstained since I don't know Japanese and would be changing the meaning based on a secondary a bit unreliable source.
The battle with Reinforce reminded me of how annoying it is to fight her. She is not really that strong, they explain it in the background by her slowly loosing her powers as she is transferring her power to Hayate, and this one I fight is a bit of a cheap knock off the Darkness of the Book of Darkness made. What is annoying with her are her really quick cast beams that tend to be able to keep tracking you even through dodges. As can be seen in the video she has hit me multiple times right at the end of my dodge animation. That really should not happen. Also I lost to her one match by being overconfident and trying to end the match fancy like with an SLB. When I god shot down initially I thought it was some bullshit because I was certain my beam blocked her beam. But upon reviewing the footage I see that what got me was the beam from her orb which I did not notice.
Reinforce dialogue was nice, and the part with Stern while not being as good as I thought it might be was still the birthplace of a a nice good frienemity. Also this quote by Nanoha is nice:
"I had to shoot out their sadness with my magic." - When you have a hammer ...
Also from the previous one:
"Yuuno-kun's words are always easy to understand, and makes me feel better...... so I'm glad!" - because most of his explanations and suggestions to you involve words like attack, hit, defeat, destroy, annihilate and such. And it's a reference to a part in A's I think where Yunno is explaining to Nanoha how to wake the Book of Darknes's master and Nanoha is visibly aprehensive that it's going to be complicated and then he explains that she needs to hit the Book REALLY hard and she cheers up since that's simple for her.
I'm likely to try doing Hayate again since she should have most interest in this incident. I did Nanoha first because I like her and it is MGL Nanoha, but Hayate should be really interesting.
One question for 0,5 persons who might have watched this thing. How are subtitles? Readable, unreadable? Should I keep trying to show Japanese subtitles too as I have been doing or simply pave over them which would actually be simpler for me?
Personally I think the current subtitles are doable and a nice idea until you get to long extended text boxes, in which case the text covers the Japanese completely, making it kind of distracting and counterproductive, since you can barely see the original characters under the English subs. Honestly though, I'm just happy that someone's actually bothering to translate this game for others to understand, do whatever you feel comfortable with.
The Material-S and Nanoha dialogue translation wasn't bad at all considering Stern likes to speak with a rather "intricate" vocabulary, while Nanoha seems to take this first opportunity wherein she can actually rant without getting cut off or stuck mid-combat, to be as impassioned as possible.
I did find the moment kind of interesting though since Material-S does show sentience, and Nanoha's inner monologue almost seems like she's trying to convince herself into fighting. Coupled with the slight regret shown in the apology after winning, ultimately it's Nanoha's dark copy that comforts her about having to cause someone else's demise.
Yeah. I have stopped trying to leave in Jap subtitles in cases when there is more than one line present. If there is only one line I'll put the translation below it, but in other cases I'll actually go out of my way to structure the text in a way to cover it effectively.
Also I wouldn't call this translating, since I'm not really translating anything just adding preexisting translation to video. If and once I finish Fate's path I will not be able to continue since no one has translated the rest.
And if some kind soul with sufficient knowledge of Japanese does come along, I would prefer they do that for Gears of Destiny, rather than Battle of Aces because while BoS story is okay it's considerably better in GoD which actually has a plot.
Stern is not so much of a problem as Nanoha's last couple of dialogues:
(It'd be better if we can speak and communicate through
words. It's best if we can get our meanings across.)
-However, when we can't communicate our hearts......
we can't understand each other.
-Even so, being able to speak to
and understand one another
is a power we have!!!
which don't really flow nicely. I would have free translated them as:
(It would be nice if we could come to understand each other through
words, but if that is not possible, we must do that through other means.)
The second line is a bit of a non-sequetour since they have already come to a conclusion that Nanoha will not permit her to be bad, but Stern will not back down. So they understand each other. Still it's fine even though I might have replaced hearts with feelings.
The last one goes against the grain of what then happens. My guess is that the actual meaning is probably closer to:
If we can't talk there are other methods of achieving understanding available to us. - namely beating the shout out of each other.
But since I don't know Jap, I can not really say how closer to the truth these are.
I did start correcting more when I did Hayate's path though.
Intro narration + Silent Bible OP with titles
This one was a pain to do because unlike the other ones there was no transcript that I could use to figure out which title goes where, so I was stuck blindly transliterating parts of what I heard into Google translate to figure out which title goes where. In the end I think I did a pretty good job all things considered, although I don't like the translations relating the middle part.
I also added titles to the opening song, Silent Bible, both the Romanji and the translation.
It has not even been uploaded for mere hours and automated copyright protection bots have already found it. They aren't banning it yet so that is good.
Part 1 of Hayate's path in Battle of Aces
I have to say I'm quite liking the Hayate's path. For one she has much more of a reason to fight than other non Wolkenritter characters. For another she is not combat incapable, couldn't beat Caro, mage we got in StrikerS and I like her whole relationship with Reinforce. Vita is even jealous a bit ;)
Mechanically she is wierd. Lore wise even back in A's time I think she was allway a long ranged type that relies no bombardment.
Like any other character she gets three ranged abilities which can be charged into their charged form (usually changing their mechanics quite a bit) and usual batch of melee abilities (hit, barrier and grab) except her grab attack is to suck the enemy mage into the Tome and spit them out away from her.
Where her wierdness becomes apparent are her long ranged abilities. For one their uncharged form of all of them bar one have a fixed maximum range. Her abilities are to fire a spread/fan of projectiles with a short range (I call this magical shotgun), rapidly fire a stream/cone of technically unguided orb looking projectiles that also have a maximum range that is I think longer than the range of shotgun and finally she can do a beam attack a la Nanoha but I think it's weaker than even uncharged Divine Buster. So her light attacks seem to place her quite close to the enemy and have her peppering the enemy with fire and essentially stun locking them. She is helped in this regard because her ability is to consume less manna for long ranged attacks I think, which effectively means she can infinitely fire the shotgun blasts and not run out.
Where she strays even further from lore Hayate that is a long ranged stay still and bombard mage, is how she charges her attacks into their charged forms. The other characters when they are charging their attacks ussually need to stay in place with a long animation inciting the enemy to attack them. Not Hayate. For both the shotgun and the machinegun attacks she can MOVE while charging their charged forms and only needs to stop for a short while to fire them off. Not even Fate can do that, and she is supposed to be a fast one.
BTW her charged forms of attacks are more inline of her long ranged pedigree. The shotgun projectiles no longer fire in a fan but are fired in a cone and robotech onto the target. This has the added benefit/flaw because the shots don't travel along the straight line between you and your opponent they will avoid any enemy attacks coming your way. The machine gun's charged from fires a single big missile instead of a bunch of smaller ones. The beam is least changed it now also expands into a ball when it hits the target which can
stuns the enemy longer.
So she is a fist firing middle range fighter which is wierd to see.
Part 2 of Hayate's path
This video contains the stages 3-4 of Hayate's story. This is the part of the story where she shows that back in A's when she saw her Wolkenritter family gone and flipped out, it was not a one off event. You can call her names and do things to her, but harm her family members... and the facade drops and she will be coming for you. Even Reinforce is surprised at how she reacts to Levi threatening Reinforce. She fights the likes of Levi and Signum to protect Reinforce despite having barely a week of experience at being a mage. Yup, I definitely like this Hayate more than the main continuity one.
Well the game does allow many of things to happen that the anime can't. One thing I always apriciate in the game, from what I hear, was that Hayate develop more of a personality and grow in to her role as the head of the Yagami family.
Well the game does allow many of things to happen that the anime can't. One thing I always apriciate in the game, from what I hear, was that Hayate develop more of a personality and grow in to her role as the head of the Yagami family.
Well I wouldn't call it character development. She is still Hayate from A's because that Hayate always considered herself the head of the family and the Wolkenritter her kids she has to take care of by clothing, feeding and disciplining.
But she does fully accept her responsibility as the Mistress of the Night Sky. As soon as they realize that these doppelgangers are caused by the rebirth of the Darkness of the Book of Darkness, as Chrono Nanoha and others are about to leave her to fight it she stops them and asks them to let her and Reinforce handle it since fixing the problems caused by the Book of Darkness is her duty as the mistress of the Night Sky.
Also as I said she really cares for her family and you better not threaten them in her presence ESPECIALLY Reinforce. And shipping is strong in the Reinforce/Hayate case. Especially in the final section that I'm about to post. The amount of attention Hayate and Reinforce pay each other almost has Vita green with envy ;)
Hayate's route - FINAL part:
As I said in another post the shipping between Hayate and Reinforce is strong here. Vita is envious that Reinforce beats her to grabbing Hayate after she collapses due to tiredness and wounds. My headcannon is that Hayate did it intentionally so Reinforce would carry her. Never underestimate the racoon. Also in the final part they are discussing making another family member ;), Reinforce II.
So far as I know Hayate is the only character to have a stage AFTER the final one. This one is her having a practice match with Nanoha. It's a pain because Nanoha is a pain to fight in general but it's a pain even more because you are fighting a girl in white that fires allmost white pink beams and shots with the white clouds in the background. This makes seeing her attacks kind of difficult. I actually had to play that stage twice. The first time I won by the skin of my teeth but had to reload because I pressed the button to skip to the next dialogue too soon. The second time I beat her more easily by essentially stunlocking her with my shotgun and administering a death of 1000 papercuts. Degenerate strategies FTW!
And oh boy is Nanoha a sore looser :)
Good work~ Fighting Nanoha was always a slight pain for me in BOA because compared to Gears it seemed like character reaction speed was slightly slower, so whacking foes with Schwertkruez wasn't as easy, granted that might've just been my copy though. The implications that Hayate cheap-shotted Nanoha as she was trying to SLB leave a rather nice mental image.
BOA almost feels like Hayate and Reinforce's closure story, while Gears gives a bit more closure to Precia and Linith. Maybe it's because these characters don't get much if any time to shine after this, but despite the audio dramas stating that the timeline would remain virtually identical whether the games happened or not, I have to wonder if that really were the case. At least Hayate might have a chance of beating Caro...
Nanoha is a pain for a variety of reasons I think. The top one is that beams are kind of OP with how QUICK they are to charge and even the fully charged version is quick, and one it is fired off it will likely hit the target since it's travel time is instant unless you have dodged during the short charge animation. This also makes it easy for the AI to use it, because it just has to keep spamming it or shooter (to break up my own charge animations) and win.
Basically it's easy enough for AI to work with it well. Also the AI tends to favor using the uncharged variants and uncharged Divine Buster is still a beast.
By contrast nearly all other attacks need to be charged while stationary (Hayate is an exception weirdly enough) and then need to spend a significant enough time travelling to the target giving the enemy the time to dodge.
And oh yeah if in that continuity any of the fights that were shown in game happened, Hayate is definitely not to be trifled with and Caro and Freid would find out why in Nanoha-verse friendliness is usually a warning sign.
I'm glad that the implication came through, because that Reinforce's bit of dialogue was one of the bits I reworked because it was broken as hell before it. This is the original translation:
"In a somewhat serious match, she displays her specialty. In a real serious match, is as of yet a place where my Master can reach."
Ughhhh.... WHAT? I then changed it to fit the narrative being spun by Signum and Vita. Could this interpretation be wrong? Certanly but unless somebody who actually knows Japanese can provide a better translation I'm sticking with this.
Also, I'm not sure it it was noticeable the Nanoha's AI in that fight seems to be programmed in a way to force the usage of overdrive (it's when she glows) with is how you initiate such endgame attacks as Starlight Breaker, Ragnarock or Jet Zamber. You tap the trigger for overdrive and then in mellee you tap it again and it it connects the cut scene plays and the enemy takes about 35-40% damage. Also during overdrive you don't run out of manna and your attack damage gets boosted.
As for closure, yeah, Reinforce and Hayate are closest to the core of the conflict since Reinforce's continued existence is a catalyst for the incident.
As for GoD, while Fate does get some closure, the actuall center character of that for character development are actually, apart from the Florians who are the main protagonists and plot drivers, the Materials. Their story is about finding common ground with the Nanoha and the crew, becoming actuall characters and not mere catpaws to the Darkness of the Book of Darkness which they are in Battle of Aces.