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Progression without merit; character progression in FFXII

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One of the key appeals of an RPG is the sense of ownership and reward that comes with the customisation of your character, growing his stats, abilities and equipment that you have earned through long hours of questing/grinding. This has long been an area in which the Western RPG holds supremacy over it’s Japanese counterparts, with most JRPG’s following the original a fairly linear system which encourages less player association with the characters (as they are designed by the game and not the player) but rather encourages stronger narrative association, as the role and abilities of a character will never be up in the air.


However, in it’s recent iterations the Final Fantasy series has attempted to move away from this model by providing ‘complete’ character customisation in X with the ‘sphere’ system and actually complete freedom in the ‘licence board’ system of XII. Today, I’ll be explaining what went so wrong with the board system of 12 and how it’s execution ruined both the pacing and the sense of attachment that you feel with the game’s characters.


In order to explain the system of 12, however I shall first touch on what made 20’s system work so well. In 10, there was a very large number (over a thousand) interconnected nodes on a map, roughly divided into connected circles of nodes, which were all roughly themed around one character archetype (warrior, rogue, archer, blue mage etc) and though battling foes, characters earned levels which allowed them to move along between nodes, obtaining the abilities presented. The entirety of a character’s advancement came about due to these spheres, both statistics (strength, speed, HP etc) and the abilities/spells which defined each ‘class’. The layout of the grid encouraged the player to follow certain paths for certain characters, which would lead to fairly diverse characters, comprising a good mix of everything required. However, all the areas were connected, so if a player wanted he could steer the black mage into the warriors section to pick up some extra HP nodes for a usually frail character, sacrificing magical damage in the process. In turn, your fighter characters could even learn the ultimate black magic spell, ‘Ultima’ however it would be fairly useless unless they also invested some levels in magical damage. Also, due to the way that the ability nodes are spread among a large number of stat nodes, the system not only prevents white mages from picking up black magic spells at not cost, but also ensures that characters which obtain certain abilities have the stats to back them up, thus preventing the player from investing in a bunch of largely useless skills which could potentially leave them unable to progress. All in all this was a really good system, which provided freedom to customise characters while simultaneously spacing out rewards such that players felt an achievement in obtaining them and avoided borking their characters. Finally the system ensured diversity within the party due to the good abilities being placed at compass points around the grid.

In the ‘international’ (also PAL 🙂 ) release of FFX, another iteration of the grid was introduced, where there was increased interconnectedness between the paths and all characters starting on the same tile, enforcing customisation of each of the characters roles. However due to the pathed nature of the grid, this still led to characters diverging in both stats and abilities eventually ( they did end up fairly similar early on), unless the player very deliberately created a stacked party.


And now we come to FFXII with the licence board. I shall endeavour to explain it before I rip on it, but I guess we’ll see how that turns out. As the PLACE DIAGRAM ABOVE above diagram shows, it’s loosely two chessboards which are unconnected in any shape or fashion. Every character starts on the same square on both chessboards, and they exist on both equally and simultaneously. From the opening square, the four which surround it are available for purchase using points gained from defeating enemies. The bottom board is for equipment and is the better designed of the two, where you unlock the ability to use various items. The uppermost board allows the unlocking of spells or techniques, as well as a few stat increases, with each of those categories being sequestered off into a corner (the spells are all in the top left, for example). An important difference with the top board as compared to the previous system is that unlocking a spell/ability in the top grid is not enough to be able to use it, you have to purchase them like equipment (although once bought, the whole party can use the relevant gambit assuming it’s unlocked).

Well, now that I type it out it sounds a lot like he system from FFX. So what’s so awful about XII’s system?

Supposed to be the thief, is now the healer/tank

Supposed to be the thief, is now the healer/tank

Firstly, the pacing is entirely off. I chose for one of my characters to become a black mage, so I used whatever license points she accumulated to go into the next level of black magic (1-7) or into black mage style equipment. Putting points into both of these categories, I reached Black Magic 7 by about level 6/7, in a game with a level cap of 80. Seems a little ridiculous, eh? Of course I couldn’t use most of these spells as I was hampered by what the storekeepers would offer me at this point, however my character was technically a supreme master of the black arts. Which made her use of the level one spells seem a little odd. This is a bad thing,as the point of this sort of customisation system is to give the player the feeling that they are in control, while all this roadblock does is make the player start second guessing when the game is going to let his character grow in the way he wants her to, instead of when he can progress his character in such a way.

The issue of my character’s accelerated mastery leads into another, however. If my ‘black mage’ has maxed out black magic by level 8-9, where are the other points going to be allocated? Well, the board offers you an astute suggestion: white magic. You see, as you unlock the black magic path along the board you also unlock the white magic areas, so my master of black magic’s first option upon obtaining the highest level of black magic was to buy the same level in white magic, without first mastering the basics. This is a real problem that is endemic of the entire system, as the rate at which you gain points means that there’s no real variety in character roles. For example, every one of my characters is a white mage to at least rank three, making potions not only largely redundant but also making characters largely interchangeable within battle. I know longer need o protect any characters particularly, as they’re all quite homogenised. RPG’s that aren’t fire emblem or a Roguelike have long struggled to make death meaningful in a land of infinite respawns, but largely these days it is done by having the player lose some important factor in his ability to succeed, something FFXII obviously misses out on with it’s interchangeable characters.

Despite their varied appearances, they all end up having the same roles in combat

Despite their varied appearances, they all end up having the same roles in combat


The problem is exacerbated by the levelling system, which is independent of the licence boards and basically comprises a character’s statistics. While in FFX the stats of a character were linked to the abilities they gained on the Sphere Grid, the independence of the two in XII means that in order for a players customisation of a characters abilities not to be useless, all the characters have to possess roughly equal strengths in each area. While this means that should you choose to put a character’s points into sword fighting techniques that character will be fairly adept at them, it also means that there is no bonus for specialising a character essentially devaluating both the players interest in developing these characters and the player’s interest in the characters themselves.

So apart from essentially being a botched system that creates homogenised characters which make the already simple battle system even less engaging, what else did the license system mean for XII?

Even in the lowest resolution, the FMV of this Chocobo Knight has to be seen to be believed

Even in the lowest resolution, the FMV of this Chocobo Knight has to be seen to be believed


Well, the one positive is that it forced the writers to create more compelling characters. In X, what differentiated the characters early on in the narrative was largely their role. Without distinct roles the characters would have been a lot less distinct and interesting early on, as the writers guarded whatever emotional dilemmas they had until later on in the narrative. In XII however, they don’t have that crutch to fall back upon and instead had to create characters which were distinct and engaging in their personalities early on, rather than having distinct roles the player cared about. Not the whole way through the story I can’t really claim to know whether this works out, however some characters have obviously had better written any characters in FFX, specifically ashe/vayne/baltheir. Now whether this is an initiative that is realistically influenced by the lack of predefined roles or whether it’s just due to a more mature writing team who knows, but it does lead to characters who fight in cut scenes having to have more a reason, rather than just being the person suited to the fight, which is a good thing.

So to surmise my myriad rants, the downfalls of the system can be seen in the following main areas:

Positives:

  • Forces writers to establish characters through personality more than roles

Negatives:

  • Independent levelling and ability system forces all characters to become effective jack of all trades, homogenising characters.
  • The board is so small and interconnected that it takes almost no investment for characters to skip large areas of progression
  • The rate at which the points to progress on the licence board is too high, leading to characters acquiring a large number of unusable skills (sometimes for up to 20 odd hours)
  • The above problem also leads to characters taking up skills totally unrelated to the initial specialisation, making characters interchangeable.
  • The interchangeability of the characters leads to reduced player care about the characters, something integral to character based RPG’s.

Although FFXII did some amazing things, the licence board system was not one of them. Not to end on a negative note though, the seamless battle transition really increases the immersion within the game and the story is night and day more interesting, incorporating a space opera of mecha-fantasy instead of the angst-fest that was FFX, however good the twist was and however well the former was executed.

The battle system is far more immersive than in previous titles as battles occur within the world for the first time. Although it is frustratingly simplistic.

The battle system is far more immersive than in previous titles as battles occur within the world for the first time. Although it is frustratingly simplistic.

My next post (As with every other post, I’m going to promise to return to a more regular release schedule) shall be a side by side of the plot of Final Fantasy XII as compared to the original Star Wars trilogy, which will be spoiler-full for both and surprising. So look forward to that, as well as some analysis of DOTA clone ‘League of Legends’ (really good fun, by the way. Get a beta invite and watch your life trickle away) and the ways in which the game makes itself accessible now that the NDA has become ‘looser’, in the developers own words. Another post that might be on the radar is some analysis of the design of the ‘duck hunt’ sections of Hideo Kojima’s cult classic ‘Policenauts’ which I’ve been enjoying since the fan translation patch came out a little while ago.

Anyways, thanks for reading and look forward to more content soon.

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Written by Aonshix

September 1, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Worst thing that ever happened (This Week): Trine

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Sometimes you just get the feeling that the designers of a game never turned it on before the code went gold. Trine doesn’t give you this feeling. In Trine, the majority of the puzzles seem loving crafted and iterated upon, the only way to create a puzzle game with A.) Multiple viable solutions to each puzzle and B.) A great lack of player frustration in solving these puzzles. Every puzzle was focus tested until people could look and immediately read the solution, through the use of recurring visual hints such as the stone fists found throughout the game ( as you’re shown in a puzzle early on, these are for hitting things) or iron blocks (which signpost uses of the warrior’s ‘throw’ ability). Both of these immediately guide the players thoughts towards a puzzle solution, despite both of the aforementioned objects functioning exactly the same way in the game world. It’s an extremely deliberate technique, and having watched 3 people play through this game now I can honestly say it’s effective. I have never seen anyone get stuck in Trine, just due to the fantastic signposting in the game.  Well designed and well executed, Frozenbyte.

Which makes Trine’s accolade of ‘Worst design choice of the week’ even more tragic. It’s a superbly designed a polished game, with a huge emphasis on accessibility and pure, unadulterated fun. With a horrific last level. Where the rest of the game is a slow and light hearted romp through whimsical puzzles and respawning undead the last level is a frenzied race up a series of platforms under active opposition from what is essentially an evil version of your wizard, with instant death waiting those who can’t run fast enough. You can sort of see the logic behind the change. It’s the final level, yeah? Essentially the boss fight? Which should generally be used to test both the player’s mastery of the game’s established mechanics and probably force the players to adapt these mechanics?

Yep, sounds good. In this case the designers chose to test the player’s mastery via the use of a timing system ie. You die if you do not complete things fast enough. Which is a fair play, intellectually.  Since players have been doing this stuff for 5 hours now, why not try it under pressure? Seems fair, however the reality of it just doesn’t work out. The change is extremely abrupt, both in it’s actual appearance within the the level and it’s place within the overall pacing of Trine. Never before has the game forced you to move at a pace that is not your own. The fey visuals and calm music of the entire game led themselves to a slow exploration and experimentation mindset within the player and it’s the awkward transition from this approach to the ‘RUN OR DIE’ that breaks the feeling of the game.  It takes the slow pacing and raises it so abruptly that the player has insufficient time to properly come to grips with the change and spends the entirity of the level disoriented and frustrated with this turn of events, rather than being a zen-like state of concentration that that is required to accomplish such a task.  I’ll admit that the frantic feeling might be an empethatic one to the plight of the characters however this is also broken when players fail literally 10-20 times to complete the section (again, several people have played this through in front of me).

The lava is also too fast. This is an execution problem. It’s being fixed by a patch. Hope they get it right.

Also, compounding the sudden change of pace that the player has to live with the game also introduces another element to this final sequence, being that of the opposing ‘wizard’. It’s a good mechanic, don’t get me wrong. Forcing players to reproduce their accidents from throughout the game to defeat the final boss? Genius, with the added bonus of being pretty funny. However, there is a time and place to introduce such a mechanic and that place is not literally 10 seconds after the player’s entire perception of the game’s pacing a difficulty has been thrown into disarray. It’s too much to soon and the player cannot effectively process the information presented.  (Although it is to be noted that although the ‘Evil Wizard’ mechanic is introduced at the worst possible time, it’s done extremely well. The quick but manageable ramp up from being first opposed with simple boxes to being opposed with breaking platforms and spike balls is done well and is another example of seminal game design from the guys at Frozenbyte.)

Compounding this frustration in the player is the necessity to redo the entirety of the content, due of a complete lack of checkpoints throughout the ala the ‘Boss Fight’ mentality.

A final frustration I have with this section of the game is that it’s fundamentally unsatisfying. Trine is by and large a Physics Platforming Puzzle game and thus the pleasure really comes from solving puzzles. Why then, should the final sequence not be a puzzle? Why did it have to completely eschew everything that made the game so entertaining to play and instead focus on it’s far more average platforming elements? In most game’s it probably wouldn’t be such a black sheep, however the rest of the game is so superb that the finale really annoyed me. It smacked of a ‘Designer’s Vision’ where the game’s lead dev had an idea that worked in his head and wouldn’t take no for an answer.  Crysis also suffered under too strong of a designer, as can be seen in the pretty much any section after the game’s twist.

What went wrong

  • Abrupt pacing change
  • Introduced too many mechanics at once
  • Went against the feel of the game

What could’ve been done

  • Introduce the concepts individually and in more mild forms, never allow difficulty to become exponential
  • Scrap the entire section to create something that was congruous with the rest of the experience

Sorry about the late update guys. Last couple of weeks have been annoying for various reasons I felt lacking in inspiration. I decided earlier on that I wouldn’t churn out content if I didn’t feel like I had anything to say, so I didn’t. I get the feeling this blog will operate in stops and starts, with occasional floods of content and then some dry spells, so definitely subscribe to the RSS instead of checking this page.  The next post will either be a ‘New games journalism’ piece centered around an experience I had in Oblivion a little while back, or another narrative post, again possibly about Oblivion seeing as I’ve been hitting that pretty hard recently.  Crysis isn’t cancelled, just post phoned. The game shares many narrative devices with Far Cry 2, so I’m going to hold off until I have time to play it again to remind myself of what it does differently.  Aon out.

Written by Aonshix

July 12, 2009 at 1:54 am

The worst thing that ever happened (This Week): Morrowind

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After a week’s hiatus the much lauded feature returns! The reason for the delay of this (last) week’s column was a pretty integral one, being that there was no design decision so awful that I felt I could slowly analyse it over a thousand or so words. There were alot of little problems I encountered, such as in Second Sight, where not 4 minutes after the player gained the ability to deal with laser fields was one used as a dead end where the players abilities were strangely useless. Indeed, I have encountered many items fo gaming joy; the aformentioned Second Sight, the ‘it came out of nowhere’ demo for Trine (even wiki knows nothing about it) and the seminal Elder Scrolls series, which I’m revisiting for an upcoming Narrative Narcissism [/foreshadowing].

Check out the demo, screenshots cannot match the majesty of Trine in motion.

Check out the demo, screenshots cannot match the majesty of Trine in motion.

An issue that has perpetually dogged Bethesda’s open world RPG’s has been that of leveling. Specifically, how you balance a world against the abilities of the player in such a way to provide both challenge and freedom to the player. The company has essentially rebooted this mechanic three times in an attempt to get it right but unfortunately, Morrowind is cursed with the worst iteration.  Now as a forewarning, I have by no means completed Morrowind and am infact only about 20 hours into it (you can all stop laughing) so all of the following will be from my specific point of view. I have no knowledge if the problems described are endemic of the entire  game or merely the time I spent with it, however I would assume that if they were to clear up, then some signs of that would show by the 20 hour mark.

With the qualifications out of the way, let’s just jump right into it. My complaint is that Morrowind, by the nature of it’s difficulty system doesn’t offer anything remotely like a difficulty curve.  You are dropped into the giant world of Morrowind and aside from the first village the player encounters, the game offers no indication of which areas/questlines are next in the logical progression for the player to increase there power level (spoiler: It does not exceed 9000). Indeed what directions the player is given are misleading, with the difficulty of the main questline quickly spiraling out of control. To back this up I’m going to share some of  my own experiences.

The Silt Striders are giant insects with bits carved out for people to sit in, and internal organs exposed as a sterring mechanism.

The Silt Striders are giant insects with bits carved out for people to sit in, and internal organs exposed as a steering mechanism.

(SPOILERS BELOW)

I started my quest as a sword wielding warrior with decent enough equipment for my level. After completing the tutorial and the various quests in the starting area, I was instructed to go talk to a man in a city called Balmora and encouraged to travel by Silt-Strider, essentially teleporting there and skipping all content between the two cities. Once there, I received a quest to talk to another guy who lived up in Gnisis, which is essentially across the entire map. This time I decided to see the game a bit so instead of teleporting again my warrior took to the open road. In completely the wrong direction. Eschewing the in game map and attempting to increase my immersion by relying merely upon the occasional road sign, it was not until I saw the  Silt-Strider station which looked oddly familiar that I realised I’d walked back to the starting village. So I walked back again to Balmora. Now 2 levels higher for my mistake, so I was fairly confident.

This confidence was quickly dashed when I came across a Damsel in Distress, who lamented the loss of her prized necklace to a Terrible Bandit. Seeing as this was directly on the path I was supposed to be taking to complete the main quest, I thought I’d lend a hand and smite the ne’re-do-well! I stocked up on potions and had my armour refined in the fires of the town’s forge. I set out to the villans hideaway, committing of small genocide of ‘Cliff Racers’ on the way.  I opened the door to his hideout and immediately see a guard peering through the low light towards me. I quickly removed my iron clad boots to silence my footsteps, allowing me to sneak behind the unsuspecting goon.  After gathering my strength, I plunged my sword in to his back greeted by the welcome ‘Sneak attack  for 3x Damage’ in the top left corner. My elation quickly turned to dismay however, when I realised that this mighty strike only dented the guards health. My dismay then turned to anguish as the guard proceeded to kill me in two quick chops of his axe.

For some reason, the image of my character wont load. So you get the IGN.Com drivel instead :P

For some reason, the image of my character won't load. So you get the IGN.Com drivel instead 😛

Crestfallen, I reload my quick save and try again, instead attempting to kite him around with spells and arrows. Alas, for it was to no avail. His health was too great and his damage too high. This pattern was repeated with every other quest I found, including the one’s which progressed the game’s narrative. They all threw me up against character’s whose stats were too padded for me to have a chance in high hell to succeed. The game presented my with an dichotomy, anything outside a dungeon or quest was pitifully easy and anything within was impossibly hard. Now, maybe I was merely supposed to follow a different path as the narrative does diverge into four paths depending on which factions you align with, however there are no circumstances under which the player should be punished in such a way for a choice about which the player had no information. I had grinded for hours due to my directional difficulties so to encounter this sort of difficulty merely from following the central narrative was ridiculous. If there’s going to be a way to go about things such that the difficulty ramps up gradually then it should be signposted, however this arbitrary increase in difficulty merely led to large amounts of frustration.

Compounding this was the nature of the difficulty hike. It’s not as if I stumbled into a legion of crack troops, it was some oversized ants and some not too bright henchmen. The game increased the difficulty without any adherence to it’s own internal logic, by providing me with an instance of a foe which was identical in every respect save for having 4 times as many hit points. If the cave had contained instead four henchmen who had quickly run me out I would have easily accepted the defeat, however the instead defied it’s own conventions and thus shattered my immersion in the process. This difficulty technique is also frustrating for the player as it requires an increase in PC power as opposed to player skill and while the player may gain some join from the former, it is the achievement of the latter that creates a lasting feeling of accomplishment within the player.  Indeed this is something I have found consistently throughout Morrowind’s combat system, that it is the numbers which increase instead of the players options and ability.

Originally Greater Bonewalker was supposed to have his own concpet art, however as budgetting constraints made themselves felt, he was given the same art as his lesser brother.

The Problem

Arbitrary and uneven difficulty spikes, orchestrated in such a fashion as to break player immersion

The Solution

  • Have the main narrative guide the player through an appropriate advancement curve. This ensures players always have a way to return to achievable content while still allowing them the freedom to go out and get killed in high level zones if they wish.
  • Make the increases in difficulty more believable. Instead of having Identical Orc A and B where B has four times the health, consider making Orc B actually Dragon A, or at least Heavily Armoured Orc B.
  • Change the advancement to place a greater emphasis on player skill, by changing the ‘level up’ to provide more abilities instead of merely increasing the damage an existing one does.  Particularly a problem in melee combat.
  • Change the difficulty progression from Enemy A – Enemy A +1 to Enemy A- Enemy B, where B may merely enemy A with a new ability. Vary up the nature of the enemy attacks and force the player to adapt to new situations, rather than presenting them with the same fight a hundred times over. The game does do this to an extent. But no enough, due the the lack of variety in melee combat.

Written by Aonshix

July 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm

This is the worst thing that ever happened (This Week): Prototype

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Ok and Welcome to this, the first installment of yet another recurring feature! In this case we have ‘This is the worst thing that ever happened (This Week)’ (working title :P) my weekly installment (Tuesday I hope, Wednesday when I’m not so lucky) in which I complain and analyse the worst thing I’ve experience in a video game in the past week. Pretty self explanatory. It can be from a single or multiplayer game, as both generally occur due to a fail in design choices.  (Unless of course it’s just some wanker ganking me, in which case I guess the design choice that failed was the human sense of humour :P)

The less generic of the games two box arts. (How do you pluralize that?)

The less generic of the game's two box arts. (How do you pluralize that?)

For the first installment of this feature I’m going to showcase a boss from the power fantasy that is Activision’s Prototype. Just as a note this will contain minor spoilers and also methods to complete the boss, however the first should be of no consequence in Prototype as the story is bollocks and the latter should be of no issue because the strategy for defeating the boss requires no finesse or thinking and rather alot of persistence and patience. So if either of those do offend you and my cynicism hasn’t made you feel inadequate about that worry yet, cease reading now!

proto-init

Ok, from this fuzzy, Youtube ripped image courtesy of upochner123, which shows the boss’s general outline. There’s the top section of the worm, which is the actual boss. Beneath the tumorous top, there are three vertical sections, the outside two being the yellow tentacles and the middle being a weird spine of sort. In the upper right hadn’t corner you can see the main bosses health, and the three mini areas health bars all arranged beneath.  Pretty standard and I have nothing against multi-stage/focus encounters. In fact, I find being able to take down various elements of a boss in a non linear fashion is fantastic, as it forces me to prioritise the importance of the bosses various modules, as well creating boss with multiple stages of strategy to learn.

So let me go over the basic attacks this boss has. If you get close to the boss, the tentacles on either side will attack you. In no particular pattern. The game proffers no indication of whether the tentacle will do a horizontal sweep or a vertical strike, a problem which is indicative of the entire boss. Will it be throwing out a hail of superspeed stones or be pounding you with homing green energy balls of pain? The boss  offers very little signalling, which is a mistake as all of the bosses attacks are pretty much a guaranteed hit upon you if you don’t pre-emptivly dodge. Which you can’t do for a lack of signalling. See where I’m coming from?

Run from the insta nuke of DEATH!

Run from the insta nuke of DEATH!

However, the most heinous lack of signalling with this boss is it’s massive AOE, which has the slight effect of killing you instantly. This attack radiates out from the boss in all directions, making dodging quite difficult. However it is completely unsignalled, which violates one of design’s most basic laws: don’t punish the player for something they weren’t taught. The boss has an excessively large amount of health and respawning defences meaning that the fight can take up to a half hour to take down.  This can lead to an extremely large penalty for being hit by the bosses insta-kill attack, up to 15 minutes worth of gameplay.  This might be acceptable if the attack was well sign posted and introduced to the player before hand in a safer environment, such as cutscene.  However as it is the game makes one of the worst decisions imaginable, to gratuitously punish the player as a learning method.

See those green lights? They're gonna hit you. Get over it.

See those green lights? They're gonna hit you. Get over it.

Furthermore, the boss has pacing problems. If you read any document on flow in any form of design, it will clearly tell you that the pace should be varied as to maintain player interest while preventing them from burning out from constant action. However, this fight just throws that out the window. It never lets up. It’s always high intensity sprinting around the boss, being the only way to avoid the bosses myriad of unpredictable moves.

The pacing problems would take the backseat however, was the boss fight no excruciatingly long.  The game took me 10 hours to get through (doing most of the side missions) and half an hour was spent on this boss, a full 20th of my playtime. For not only, do you see, does the boss have an immense stockpile of health. No, not just that. It has respawning health and defences, which occurs roughly three times through the fight. While boss fights may operate on the rule of threes, it was like a dagger though my heart every time these respawned, adding another few minutes to the encounter every time.  This length, combined with the high pace necessitated by the nature of the bosses attacks creates an incredibly draining fight which made me breathe a sigh of relief that I could save and quit the game after the fight finished, rather than encouraging me to push on with the story.

Nope, this isn't where she dies. Because she doesn't!

Nope, this isn't where she dies. Because she doesn't!

My final complain with this fight is one you’ve probably picked up on by this point: it’s skilless. This fight is a horrible mockery of a boss fight, which should be the final step in player skill consolidation. It forces the player to fight a grueling endurance battle, slowly whittling down the bosses health before healing in total safety repeating ad nauseum. The horrible length and pacing of this fight is only exacerbated by the frustrating lack of player ability to adapt to the fight by outskilling the boss, instead of merely outlasting her.

Cons:

  • Skilless fight
  • Goes for far too long
  • Punishes the player gratuitously
  • Pacing issues

Surprisingly tedious fight in a game which is otherwise to be recommended for it’s simple pleasures.

Prototype, your late to the young girl in latex party. Old Snake got there first :P

Prototype, your late to the young girl in latex party. Old Snake got there first 😛

Written by Aonshix

June 19, 2009 at 9:57 pm