RPGs are bad “games”

The JRPG genre is filled to the brim with games that are so ridiculously easy they are bad “games” – in the sense that a game is something you should have to play optimally to achieve success. The Suikoden series, my favorite of the past two generations, has gone from being “somewhat tricky in one or two battles” to “a breeze at its hardest, with pretty much no thought involved.”

Part of this is a plague of the genre – the phenomenon of grinding. For those who don’t want to think about what they’re doing, grinding is an easy way out. There’s no need to play perfectly when you can spend a few hours killing baddies and come back able to beat the tar out of the bigger baddies. It takes time, but then JRPGs are filled with fluff already (mostly grinding, actually), so spending a bit of time leveling up doesn’t sound too bad. →  What is a post? A miserable little pile of secrets.

I fought the law and the law won – Tactics A2

I picked up Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift the other day and was initially very pleased to be playing it. I missed out on Tactics Advance on the GBA, but I am a longtime fan of the original. With about a hojillion classes, and the weapon-based learning system of FF9 (my personal favorite) I was immediately hooked.

But those details can wait for the full review. What I want to talk about is the law system. For those of you who haven’t yet played a portable Tactics, the law system is a mechanic that assigns a “law” to every battle. The laws aren’t your usual “no killing your neighbor” or “no raping your neighbor’s dog.” Instead they’re more Ivalice-relevant “no use of fire spells” or “no magic restoration items.” →  The fuck does Cuno care about reading?

My Life as a Hermitic King

Around day 100 or so it starts to become painfully clear that playing My Life as a King consists of little more than assigning spreadsheet characters to spreadsheet dungeons. As this understanding of the game mechanics slowly dawned on me, I began to go to bed earlier each day (virtual king me, not real me).

Calling Chime in every morning to put me back to sleep after I had finished running to the sign post and assigning every adventurer to the open behest I was met with the question, “Are you tired already, sire?” At first I felt like an emperor who had come down with mononucleosis.

This gave way to my recitation of the few lines of Macbeth’s soliloquy I still recall. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow… The days had blended into each other and none of them seemed to matter at all. →  Garou: Mark of the Posts

Short RPGs for fun and profit

Almost a month ago, Persona 3: FES was released. It not only contains the definitive version of my favorite RPG, but it has an extra “epilogue” chapter as well.

This is a cause for much rejoicing. I started playing it immediately, and so far I’d say I would pay the $30 just for the improved first game. But herein lies the problem, and the crux of this article: It has been a month and I am still playing it. Not only that, I’m still in the first section; the remake.

I love RPGs. I love playing lots of RPGs. But I also like having time for other, trivial things, like working, sleeping, eating, and the occasional shower. Most games in the genre are long; sometimes the length necessary for fleshing out the story, but more often it is just padding. →  Read, you fools!