7th Dragon 2020 ~ Sympathy for Chisa Inomiko (an LP EOV Anniversary Project)

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7th Dragon 2020: Sympathy for Chisa Inomiko
(an LP EOV Anniversary Project)


Watch the game's opening movie here.

What's 7th Dragon?

The 7th Dragon series is the weird offshoot brainchild of Kazuya Niinou, the director of a game you might have heard of called Etrian Odyssey (and none of its sequels). Both series, as a result, are create-your-own-character dungeon crawlers. Where 7th Dragon stands out is its heavier emphasis on storyline and characters, and starting from its second game (this one), a unique sci-fi aesthetic to contrast with other, more high fantasy dungeon crawlers.

Oh, and also, only the last of the four games in the series ever got an English release, so barely anyone has heard of the series.

Okay, then what's 7th Dragon 2020?

7th Dragon 2020, and its sequel, 7th Dragon 2020-II, are the second and third games in the series, forming a duology with several recurring characters and mostly the same gameplay, barring a few additions in II. Since they essentially tell one continuous story about the same people, this LP will be covering both games.

Why do the protagonists look different from everyone else?

This is a narrative LP—since the protagonists in the original game are silent, blank slates, in the grand tradition of dungeon crawler LPs, I've taken the liberty of creating a cast of characters who will be going through this story with you, the viewer, and acting as the heroes. I dearly hope you'll enjoy their stories as much as you do the game itself.

The art for the characters is wholly custom-made, by the amazing Kat Langomez, AKA KiraKiraKat, whose Twitter you can find at this link here.. Thanks, Kat. Appreciate you.

Chisa seems a little familiar.

You may recognize some continuity from a previous LP that I helped on: Etrian Odyssey V. I would, of course, never ask my audience to read an entire other LP to read mine, but if you have read it, you'll likely recognize some continuity and references here and there. It's that LP's fourth anniversary, you know. Happy birthday, LP EOV.

Who are you?

I'm Kinu, and I'll be your host through this game. I'll also be joined by my cohost, Rea, the author of the aforementioned EOV LP.

Basic gameplay commentary will be formatted like this.

Image My personal comments will be formatted like this.

Image Rea's comments will be formatted like this when I'm not using her commentary like some sort of freaky flesh puppet.

Table of Contents

-Chapter 1-

Update 1: The Murakumo Entrance Exam
Update 2: The Dragon-Elimination Strike Team, Murakumo Unit 13
Update 3: Matte! Black Bullet (Tokyo City Hall, 1)
Update 4: An Express Delivery (Tokyo City Hall, 2)
Update 5: Women of War (Vs. Warcry)

-Chapter 1.5-
Appendix B: The Boy's Got Wings (Regarding the Events of Eight Years Ago)
Update 6: Tiny Village in the Desert
Update 7: Dancer in the Street (Shibuya Flowersea, 1)
Update 8: SKY and the Others (Shibuya Flowersea, 2)
Update 9: Working Today, Too
Update 10: Smash Up! (Shibuya Flowersea, 3)
Update 11: The World Beneath Your Feet (Kokubunji Subway, 1)
Update 12: Watch Your Step! (Kokubunji Subway, 2)

-Chapter 2-
Update 13: Steel Myself for Battle
Update 14: Lost in Green (Toshima Sewers)
Update 15: Even Towards Death, Valiantly (Ikebukuro Railcage, 1)
Update 16: Prayer (Ikebukuro Railcage, 2)
Update 17: Triple Laser Phase (Vs. Jigowatt)
Update 18: All My Pride
Update 19: World is Mine

-Chapter 3-
Update 20: Demon Ruination
Update 21: The Place Where I Used To Be (Yotsuya Evernight, 1)
Update 22: Unruined Reason (Yotsuya Evernight, 2)
Update 23: She Walks Ever Onward (Yotsuya Evernight, 3)
Update 24: Trembling Heart (In Your Belief) (Vs. Lore-A-Lua)


Tactical Addenda

Addendum 1: Chisa Inomiko (Unit 13's Captain, Class: Samurai) Tactical Overview Part 1
Addendum 2: SATSUKI (Unit 13's Treasurer, Class: Trickster) Tactical Overview Part 1
Addendum 3: Richter Esslinger (Unit 13's Secretary, Class: Hacker) Tactical Overview Part 1
Addendum 4: Youka Fudoji (Unit 13's Vanguard, Class: Destroyer) Tactical Overview Part 1

Appendix A: Regarding the Backgrounds of Unit 13
The Story of Chisa Inomiko: "The Young Lady and the Cloaked Man"
The Story of SATSUKI: "The Camera Girl and her Cats"
The Story of Youka Fudoji: "The Haggard Woman and her Family"
The Story of Richter Esslinger: "The Hitchhiker and the Waiting List"
The Story of Koron Nagataka: "The Hermit and the Rabbit Doll"
The Story of Mio Akaneno: "The Otaku and the World that Wasn't"
The Story of Homura Akaneno: "Homura Akaneno and her Old Friend"
Last edited by KinuNishimura on Sat Sep 11, 2021 8:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Part 1: The Murakumo Entrance Exam


This was the day their crusade began. Welcome to Tokyo 2020.

-----------------------------

Fanart Collection


-An artist's rendition of Agent Nagataka, by 'hutiaweta', an off-site reader.
Last edited by KinuNishimura on Sat Sep 11, 2021 8:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.

I've known OF 7th Dragon mostly because of the initial entry being released in Japan, being very fantasy and having art callbacks to the Etrian Odyssey games - and then promptly never sought out any information about it ever again until VFD came out on 3DS recently and was in for a little culture shock from what I knew to what the game had become!

SO, Kinu, thats a lot of words to say "I'm really excited to see what you have to show about this game, and will happily follow the continuing adventures of Chisa Inomiko"

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Consider me interested to the max! Can't wait for those sweet, juicy class and skill breakdowns.

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Oh hey, this is finally up. I helped Kinu and Rea out slightly on the technical back end for this project. (Mostly with data and game mechanics as best I could.)

Fun fact, while most enemies have it so that D-Depth can only have a 45% or 50% chance to land on them, D1 and D2 have their stats fudged so that D-Depth always lands on them. This is so you can witness how a Destroyer works if you have one in the party and actually get to use their full kit in the battles that matter in the prologue. It's a neat little design trick. None of the other classes have such fudging, but they don't need it at this point in the game.


Oh hey it's this game, I have a lot of fond memories of my playthrough where I was rotating classes and basically didn't do any grinding (at least grinding random encounters) and ended up pretty underlevelled most of the time, it was great fun.
I'll have plenty to say about the mechanics when we actually see them, but I have to say that your choice of party for the prologue was interesting, given the whole "hackers start with one skill and it's a defense buff" thing.

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God I love this so much

as far as more specific commentary goes, I present something I said elsewhere:
chisa, voice increasingly high-pitched: This Is Fine. Everything's Fine. This Is All Okay. I See! Things Change In The World. Wow. The Progression Of Time.
Seriously looking forward to more. I've always been curious about 7th Dragon, but never got around to playing it, much less the 2020 and 2020-II entries.

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I think starting Hacker with the Def Buff was a smart design move, because it makes you notice that Def Buff GOOD, and it'll only get stronger(also Hack is useless without follow up skills, and nobody gets more then 1 skill to start save Trickster, who gets 1 Dagger and 1 Gun skill)
Meanwhile Chisa is adorable and I love her

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Hacker starting with a defense buff isn't really a deal breaker unless you opt for a weird Tri-Hacker party, as D1 and D2 aren't particularly hard bosses and the time it buys you can help.

Also at the beginning of the game, everyone deals similar amounts of damage with their normal smacks so it's not like they can't contribute offensively either.

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RIP Mugen and Kyoshiro.

I played both 2020 and 2020-II twice and never used a Hacker for whatever reason, curious to see if I just unfairly mentally dismissed them.

I have many words to say about Hackers, but to put things simply; there are good arguments to be made both for and against them. having a one of your three party members with little to no offensive capabilities is rough, but it also means that you don't feel bad when they're item caddy-ing, they don't have any real/good healing skills, but they don't need them, items are great. also their support is good so you don't lose too much as long as you're only using one Hacker.
also: I'm surprised there haven't been any "as if 2020 needed to get any more messed up" jokes

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Honestly I kind of prefer the dragon 2020 with ours

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Gespenst wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:58 am
also: I'm surprised there haven't been any "as if 2020 needed to get any more messed up" jokes
I expect several from the threads. :v: There's a reason why this LP launched now.
Junpei wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:50 am
Honestly I kind of prefer the dragon 2020 with ours
At least this president seems to be on the level with the dragon crisis. I don't think I'd want to imagine how our world would handle a dragon invasion. :gonk:

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Sorry about the delay—an illness on our artist's part slowed the earlygame down a bit. With that said?

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Part 3: Matte! Black Bullet
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Chisa's gun finds an owner in this one.

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Ah, having played VFD I am now seeing the class DNA. Kind of. Psychic is Mage, Destroyer is God Hand without the healing and support moves, Samurai is... Samurai, and they pooled Hacker and Gun!Trickster into Agent.

VFD has an interesting mentality to class design that basically boils down to "specialization is banned." and pretty much every class has some form of support/healing and damage.
Oh and we've seen proper dragons now, they're great. giving them two actions makes for some pretty dynamic battles, it's way harder to stay in control when you only have one action more than the enemy. of course Hammerheads aren't a great example of this because they're pretty much just a trash mob to introduce you to the idea that the action ration is 3:2 in big fights

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There's a lot of huge gameplay changes from DS (though also quite a few callbacks, such as putting Hammerheads in the occupied area dungeon.)

A lot of ailments got reworked to have their numbers tuned going off of the skill data now instead of being a hardcoded mechanical interaction. Which leads to stuff like Paralysis having a much lower incapacitation rate compared to the likes of DS and EO. Though you can stack every single ailment on a single enemy now, so that's probably meant to balance it out.

That being said, enemy ailments basically have similar incapacitation rates to DS and Etrian Odyssey style ailments, so it's safe to assume enemy ailments are far more deadly. (Paralysis chances are like 33% to 55%ish on not being able to act to give an example.)

Decoy Mirror is also ridiculously strong in this game. It was a strong defensive skill in 7th Dragon DS, but it got mega buffed here. Lack of shield bleeding and actually making it negate attacks instead of making it essentially a Life extension makes it a fantastic defensive for quite a lot of situations. (And then 2020-II buffed it further. :psyduck:)
If you're coming from Etrian Odyssey: Dragons are not on the same level of power as FOEs. You're meant to kill them as soon as you see them. In fact, if you don't do that, you will regret it very much down the road.
I think this is why the game forces you to fight 5 dragons at the beginning of the game. It serves as reconditioning if players are more familiar with EO, and lets players know it's okay to fight dragons right away. Smart design.

Fun fan translation fact, in the Japanese version, all the junk items had the same description "Sell this to a shop." The fan translation gave all the items unique descriptions.
Junpei wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 12:12 am
Ah, having played VFD I am now seeing the class DNA. Kind of. Psychic is Mage, Destroyer is God Hand without the healing and support moves, Samurai is... Samurai, and they pooled Hacker and Gun!Trickster into Agent.
VFD combined some classes to make its class design, and mega buffed some of them in the process. Some of the skill data jumped big time from the 2020s to VFD.

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Again: Can't wait for those class skill breakdowns when they come up.

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Addendum I: Chisa Inomiko (Unit 13's Captain, Class: Samurai) Tactical Overview Part 1


The story's first bonus update. This one goes over Chisa's skills.

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Heck yeah!

One important side note as just a difference between EO and the first 7th Dragon, and 2020 onwards, is that the ability to level up skills isn't based on your character's actual level. Unlike EO, where you get Skill Points on level up, they're separately gained from fights, meaning there's no actual 'limit' on how much you can level up your skills, aside from your patience for grinding. While you should still be smart about where you put your points, you're never locked out of anything, and you can max everything, given enough time.

Samurai are fun, the stances trick isn't too annoying with only two stances, and as EO Nexus worked out having your stance based character just be in a stance right from the get go is a really good way to make them function well in random encounters.
As far as team comp goes a Samurai is pretty plug'n'play, their attacks are strong, they're sturdy enough to not need defensive support and Renki First Aid can let them heal themselves if your other characters have better things to do, which they often will. though they can end up as a bit of a "filler" class, most of the things they do can be done better by a different class: gun Tricksters can crap out raw damage and daggers are better at statuses, Destroyers are tankier and Psychics are the elemental damage hose, but in terms of versatility a Samurai is basically unmatched.

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Full tables for Redfire Breath and Darksteel Breath for those that are curious.

Redfire:

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Darksteel:

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At least they're not fucking 30 turns in this game?? Not sure why DS think they needed to scale up for that long.

Healing is also really simple. Base Heal + (MAT / 10), that's it. Only use MAT has for physical attackers. (Meanwhile Psychic is basically free to ignore ATK all they want.)

Priority is similar to how Pokemon handles priority brackets, except in 7th Dragon's case, the lower the priority number, the better it is.

On the other hand that scaling is still kind of pitiful. I guess if you max Redfire Breath out and combine it with Pain React it almost? looks like a real skill? If you can get enough extra turns to offset the time spent putting it up? Maybe?

Yeah probably not, I remember trying that once and still couldn't get enough out of it to be able to distinguish it from the game's random damage variance.

so I did a little napkin math and came to a result of +155% of an attack from the entire duration of Redfire compared to just attacking, so +55% against attacking instead of taking a turn to set up. it also doesn't break even until turn 8.
I'm actually impressed by just how garbage that skill actually is.

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Sometimes burst damage can be more necessary than raw numbers that are higher over long term.

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RandomKesaranPasaran wrote:
Sun Oct 25, 2020 2:05 am
On the other hand that scaling is still kind of pitiful. I guess if you max Redfire Breath out and combine it with Pain React it almost? looks like a real skill? If you can get enough extra turns to offset the time spent putting it up? Maybe?

Yeah probably not, I remember trying that once and still couldn't get enough out of it to be able to distinguish it from the game's random damage variance.
The random variance can muddle things when it comes to things like this yeah. Incidentally, it's pretty simple. Just a random number from 0.96 to 1.04 multiplied to the final damage.

If your attack ends up dealing 0 damage, deal 1 or 2 damage instead.
Gespenst wrote:
Sun Oct 25, 2020 2:52 am
so I did a little napkin math and came to a result of +155% of an attack from the entire duration of Redfire compared to just attacking, so +55% against attacking instead of taking a turn to set up. it also doesn't break even until turn 8.
I'm actually impressed by just how garbage that skill actually is.
Oh, right an important note about buffs. Unlike Etrian Odyssey's in-game skill descriptions, 7th Dragon's in-game skill descriptions count the casting turn in their duration count as well. (This applies to the entire series.) This means that those buffs are only in effect for 9 turns in practice.

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Part 4: An Express Delivery
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In this part, we are befuddled by mapping.

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Dragons laugh at the laws of physics! Gravity? HAH!

I love Inverted City Hall, it's great introduction to the games dungeon aesthetic, you get a great sense of the screwed up mess that an Imperial Dragon would call their nest. it's a bit of a shame that the "twisted local landmark" aspect doesn't work nearly as well for international audiences, but there's not much that can be done about that.

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This entire update was just :allears: for cute party interactions!

Gespenst wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:46 am
I love Inverted City Hall, it's great introduction to the games dungeon aesthetic, you get a great sense of the screwed up mess that an Imperial Dragon would call their nest. it's a bit of a shame that the "twisted local landmark" aspect doesn't work nearly as well for international audiences, but there's not much that can be done about that.
It's great and really sells the Imperial Dragons as forces of nature and beings from not here rather than just "the next boss". This one inverted a tower and created a mess of floating debris orbiting a singularity just by deciding to live here. Looking forward to seeing if they keep up the trend or just kind of drop it like a hot potato in the future.

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Part 5: Women of War
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There's a boss fight in this one.

You know, I don't think I realized that Salamanders had those silly useless wings until now. Or a cobra hood for that matter.

I don't really have a lot to say about Warcry, it's an extremely nasty fight for a fist boss, and a great lesson in the value of EX boosts, especially on items (want to fully heal your team at the start of a turn? EX a heal aero)
Also I'm gonna have to drop a hot take here; decoy mirror is hyper situational and garbage at most times. sure it's a really strong defensive tool, but I don't really feel like it can really justify the action cost, the Psychic is probably the class who has the most that they want to be doing at all times, so wasting a turn setting up a defense is really hard to justify. especially when you're dealing with AOEs (sure your Psychic is fine, but the other two aren't and you're going to use an aero anyway, so what was the value of that mirror really?)

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It really depends on what your team is capable of. But Decoy Mirror is essentially like a Substitute from Pokemon and those can be incredibly powerful in comp singles. Even if you survive a huge AOE, that's just an extra HP buffer that can help. Depending on how your team's speed turns out, it can let the Psychic spend a free action that wasn't guarding, or lets them do other things more freely in case the enemy acts first. (The aggro system in these games heavily prioritizes the party member with the highest raw LIFE.)

Also there are cases where it's a fantastic and easy answer to dealing with certain boss attacks. Sure by lategame it's pretty much dying in 1 hit due to having no DEF stats, but being able to negate attacks entirely compared to Shieldcraft just being a LIFE extension makes it powerful. (Also there's a pretty hilarious synergy you can pull off with it with a Hacker in the party.)

That being said, the SP cost system in this game makes investing in skills you might regret a much less punishing mechanic in this game compared to the likes of Etrian Odyssey or 7th Dragon DS.

Warcry can be a bit of a nasty boss, but this section of the game really fudges things in your favor as you're getting used to things. All the dragons here, Warcry included, barely resist ailments so a Dagger Trickster can end up being a huge help. A lot of things in this game get far more manageable if you double stack resistance accessories, so being able to avoid stuff like Paralysis can help a ton.

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if you will ever hit the Defend button at any point in the future, ever, there is no downside to picking one level of decoy mirror. if you refuse to ever hit the Defend button and do not instead grab Decoy Mirror, you are doomed and I salute you. it makes the psychic totally invulnerable to all forms of physical or mental harm until it breaks, and given that they are the most frail class and also the class most likely to be the healer (given that hacker and trickster are the only other healers but one heals passively and the other heals by using items) it's a fair trade-off to spend one turn

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I will say it's definitely not a skill you'll be using all the time, and it'll be more situational as you get further and further into the game due to the shield' mechanics. But in the situations that you can end up using it in, it can be absolutely invaluable. Can be a huge difference between a living or dead party member, or saving you from having to make a very hard decision in the battle.

An interesting thing to note is that Warcry actually has 2 different regular attack animations. Him clawing you, and then he starts adding in biting you to the mix when he's below half HP. That's not actually for show, though both attacks deal the same damage. There's something alternate basic attack animations does affect a little later, though I think that'll be talked about fairly soon. Another fun fact. Gather Power does absolutely nothing. It's just there to warn you about Typhoon Howl, which is Warcry's strongest skill. In fact several enemy telegraph skills don't actually boost up the enemy. Their next attack is just naturally that strong. It's just like Etrian Odyssey 1 charge skills!
Typhoon Howl: Non-elemental Ranged attack to all party members. MAT-based. 1.25x damage. 0.75x speed. Cannot miss. 65% chance to inflict Paralysis for 3 turns. Paralyzed targets have a 35% chance to not act.
And it's a pretty hard hitting skill. Enemy ailments tend to be far nastier than player ailments as well, just look at that Paralysis chance.

Angel wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 7:53 pm
if you will ever hit the Defend button at any point in the future, ever, there is no downside to picking one level of decoy mirror. if you refuse to ever hit the Defend button and do not instead grab Decoy Mirror, you are doomed and I salute you. it makes the psychic totally invulnerable to all forms of physical or mental harm until it breaks, and given that they are the most frail class and also the class most likely to be the healer (given that hacker and trickster are the only other healers but one heals passively and the other heals by using items) it's a fair trade-off to spend one turn
The trade off to Decoy mirror against the defend command is that defend is instant, mirror is not. it's more powerful then defending, but it doesn't help much if they die before they get the chance to cast it, to look at Warcry for an example, while he wastes an action to signal his big attack, you don't have a full turn to make sure that you'll get to set up decoy mirror, and if your Psychic isn't fast enough they'll get blasted for full damage where a defend would have protected them (unless you're burning EX but...) And the extra damage mitigation doesn't really matter when you're going to use a heal aero to patch up the other two characters anyway.
of course the single biggest down-side is that an action spent casting decoy mirror is an action that isn't doing big damage, or healing, or curing statuses; Psychics are pretty action starved, a "treading water" action like decoy mirror is pretty hard to justify in nearly every case. it's extremely strong when it is useful, and it's absolutely worth getting, just don't expect it to actually see much use.

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