I was only having a nostalgia moment there, so I didn't actually think I'd get people to try playing it, but it's good to see you had some fun.
Spoiler for on Grief Syndrome:
1) Sayaka is the most user-friendly so far, at least for me.
In my opinion, she's the best character (of course ) in the game, not only because of the controls, but also because she's the toughest out of everyone. She takes the least amount of damage, and loses the least amount of Soul Limit points when she revives. Her fast attacks give her a great Damage Per Second rate.
Her sweeping swing (hold Forward/Back and press Strong attack<X by default>) will stun enemies and send them sliding away. Her dive attack (while in the air, hold Down + press Strong attack) deals good damage. She has a jumping lunge to use against enemies above (hold Up + press Strong attack). Hold Strong attack to charge and release to do a strong dash thrust. Holding it longer will make the attack stronger. Unlike the other girls, her Special is used in tandem with Strong attack to be used properly (Special<A by default>+Strong attack).
Ironically, she's the worst character to use on H.N. Elly's stage due to the many pitfalls and flying enemies (watch out for those falling TVs!), even though in the anime she practically owned the place.
2) Madoka was the most powerful, I think.
Madoka is my second favorite character to use out of everyone. In conjunction with good positioning and good timing, she can deal the most damage out of all of them. Her fully charged Strong attack<X by default, hold to charge> is powerful enough to clear out mobs of enemies in straight lines. In addition, you can suspend yourself in air for a time by charging her attacks. Holding Up + pressing Quick attack<Z by default> will allow you to attack enemies above at an angle.
3) Mami and Homura both sucked hard for me in the third stage, but then that might be because they started on Level 1 there.
The tedious thing about this is that if you want to use the other girls, you will also have to train them in the past stages to get them up to level. That said, I didn't do well with Mami or Homura either.
Mami's dash attack (2x Forward/back + Strong attack) is good, because it fires in both directions, but the only way to get her to attack enemies above is to either jump and summon many muskets (Hold Strong attack like with Madoka, then release to fire) and fire while in the air, or use her drum-like cannons as seen from Ep. 3 (while in the air, hold Up + press Strong attack). What's bad about her is that her muskets function more like one-shot shotguns because of their mid-short range. Her Tiro Finale is awesome, but very dangerous to use because it turns her life bar mostly blue, and the blue portion will all turn into damage if you get hit while it's blue.
Homura has a lot of strong weapons, but in return she takes the most amount of damage, as the most fragile character. Her mortar attack (hold Up + press Strong attack<X by default>) can be used to hit enemies above at an angle, or you can use her bazooka (hold Forward/Back + press Strong attack) while in the air. People are able to maximize her potential with practiced use of her time stop Special. Patching the game to version 1.10 will allow you to use Moemura, complete with golf club and pipe bombs for some golf bombing fun. (once patched, press up while Homura is highlighted on the character select screen at the start of the game)
I haven't tried Kyouko yet
Kyouko is the third best character to use for me. Her spear gives her the reach that Sayaka doesn't have (H.N. Elly's stage!), and allows her to attack enemies without the danger of immediately getting hit in return. Her upward somersault strike (hold Up + press Strong attack) is a reasonably strong and useful attack. Her spinning move is quite useful for taking out bunched up enemies (hold Forward/Back + press Strong attack). She also has a dive attack like Sayaka does. Her drawback is that she takes a lot of damage, so try to avoid getting hit too much.
would you be interested in a two-player coop game?
I'd love to take up your offer for online play. However, I have to break the bad news to you. I've already tried playing online with two others overseas (using Hamachi and the GSOnline tool from the Puella Magi wiki), with one friend from Ontario, Canada and the other from Kansas in the US. The game lagged horribly.
It was all due to high latency from extreme distances (I'm from Southeast Asia, after all). The game was running extremely slow, as if we were playing frame by frame. When the two of them played without me, they were able to play properly. I think it's an insurmountable problem, unless I suddenly relocate to somewhere in North America.
I hope people don't blame me for distracting you...
Thanks to you, I went and tired out Grief Syndrome. Thoughts on it below!
Spoiler for Grief Syndrome:
So far, I've tried a lot as Sayaka, and some as Mami, Homura, and Madoka. I haven't tried Kyouko yet, but I probably will soon.
My take so far:
1) Sayaka is the most user-friendly so far, at least for me. Very nice and easy controls with her. I got through the first two witch fights with hardly any difficulty at all with Sayaka. Never did try the third stage with her though (I figured a long-ranger would be better against the flying enemies of the TV-witch stage - Man, I might have been wrong there )
2) Madoka was the most powerful, I think. I only tried her in the first stage, but she was fun there. In a two or more player game, with somebody else playing Sayaka or Kyouko, being Madoka would be a lot of fun I think. As is, though, I found that she gets knocked back a lot by enemies.
3) Mami and Homura both sucked hard for me in the third stage, but then that might be because they started on Level 1 there. Mami is probably the flashiest and most colorful/fun to watch, but I found her tricky to control. Homura looks very cool herself. But the problem I found with all three long-rangers is that I'm not sure if you can change how they aim (aside from left-to-right). With Sayaka, if I just stood there and pressed the normal attack button, she just beserked anything and everything around her. With the long-rangers, that doesn't work. It's especially problematic when you're walking up stairs in Stage 1 or fighting airborne enemies in Stage 3.
So all of this being said, if I ever get this working for multiplayer online play, would you be interested in a two-player coop game? I could be Madoka and you could be Sayaka. I think that would be a lot of fun.
Her laugh at the end of Episode 7 was the one occasion where I mentioned that Berserker Sayaka relished combat. Saber Sayaka in contrast, never really enjoyed fighting, but did it willingly as her duty.
Thanks for all the good work, and for being so interactive and accommodating with your readers at every step of the way.
Wow, that was one excellent reply! There's at least some minor edits I'll make to previous chapters because of it.
As for why I had Sayaka laughing like that - Well, she did laugh maniacally at the end of Episode 7, so I thought it might be cool to kind of/sort of reference that, but under a scenario where it's a bit more fitting.
A lot of your other critiques are ones that I can definitely see your point on though, so there'll be some edits made. I might reply to you in more detail later. Loved all the screen-shots! Thanks a lot for the great reply!