Friday, October 25, 2013

Scraping It All and Starting Over

There comes a time in many RPG's where you hit a wall. There's that one boss you can't beat. Epic 30 minute battles are fought with the boss, only to have your entire party destroyed in one powerful AOE attack.

You have to take stock of where you are in the game and figure out if you need to grind it out further or just scrap what you've done, start over, and follow a guide.

I'm at that point in two games.

I've discussed how Final Fantasy VII is a huge black mark on my gaming history. I'm currently on disk 3, right at the point of no return.

Before I ventured on, I decided to make sure I was properly equipped to handle the final fight.

I've read that Knights of the Round is almost necessary to defeat the final boss. But the requirements for Knights of the Round are pretty steep.

Even if you don't have Knights of the Round, Yuffie and Vincent are almost necessary, both of which I missed.

Since I hate wrangling Chocobo in the game, let alone some rare one, I'm considering starting over and specking my characters different ways and get the two characters I did not.

I could potentially spend another 10 hours grinding and leveling up to where it doesn't matter as much. I've had friends tell me they've beat the game around level 75-80. I'm currently sitting in the mid-50's.

Starting over means losing about 50 hours of game play. I fear if I start over, I'll never finish the game. I'll hit the wall I hit back in the late 90's and never progress.

The other game I'm currently stuck on is Vagrant Story. It's my all time favorite RPG. I've beaten it before, so I'm not agonizing over this decision as much. (Plus the game is only about 10-20 hours long) I'm stuck on a dragon and don't have any of the gear to make this a fair fight. He's killing me in two hits.

I know if I started Vagrant Story over, I would finish it. It's just a matter of how long will it take me. I'm about 3/4 of the way through the game and was really looking forward to finally taking on some of the New Game + dungeons.

I think I need to step away for a week or two, reassess, philosophize over our role in the universe, maybe get a life coach. Only then do I feel I can make this decision.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Game Trade Horror Story

At random times in my childhood, my mom would take up the issue of videogame violence, and I would find myself bribing my "cool" aunt to buy Resident Evil 2 for me.

One of those times was a random weekend afternoon when she walked into the room to find me playing Mortal Kombat 2 on the Sega Genesis. Being the showoff I was, I had just pulled off Kitana's fan decapitation. My brother, frustrated as always, threw controller 2 toward the Genesis.

I guess my mom attributed his violent outburst to losing to Mortal Kombat. But that was just how my little brother was. He had a short fuse. He'd cut his dress pants with scissors if he didn't want to go to church, he would rip the Sega Genesis from it's power supply to keep NBA jam from saving his losing record, and on multiple occasions hit me in the head with a metal trash can for just generally being better than him at everything.

So soon, we found ourselves wandering into a super shady used electronic store with Mortal Kombat 2, Evander Holyfield's Real Deal Boxing, and Killer Instinct. We traded in three awesome fighting games of the generation for something like $35.

This was one of those stores where the owner sat behind the counter smoking cigars, with a sweat stained white t-shirt on, always reading some sort of magazine that had nothing to do with electronics. There were 300 copies of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with the "Not For Resale" banner on the cartridge hanging on the wall.

My father was sent with us to filter what was too violent and what wasn't. He was being a hard-ass about it, but I knew the way to his heart.

I saw Timothy Dalton with a pistol and the classic "007" logo. My old man loves James Bond like most guys do. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "Ehh, that's clean violence. I don't think your mom would care."

He then vetoed games like Toe Jam & Earl for being "too weird" and Zombies Ate My Neighbors because although it looked cartoony, my mom has a weird thing about zombies and demons.

I ended up walking out of the store with James Bond 007: The Duel and Brett Hull Hockey. (which was far inferior to NHL 94, which I already had)

Now the Duel wasn't the worst game I'd ever played. It was a fairly standard action plat-former that was sort of a cross between the level design of Mega Man and the action and A.I. of Contra.

I became pretty good at the game, because when you don't have adult income, you have to force yourself to love mediocre games that you purchased.

Even as I faked a smile while saving ladies in nice dresses in the middle of a jungle, I couldn't help but think that I had lost out in this trade. Even as I killed jaws in his weird Mech and saw the ending sequence, I just wish I could kill villages with giant dinosaurs or steal the soul of Johnny Cage.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Sparse Population of Games

For the longest time, one of the ways to show off your new hardware (other than cars) was by showing screenshots with a ton of people rendered on it.

I was planning on buying a Playstation 3 until late one night on G4, I saw a trailer for Dead Rising, boasting it's hundreds of zombies on the screen at once. I almost threw up from excitement. I went out the next week and bought a Xbox 360.

On the flip side of this, it's really noticeably when a game is supposedly set in a major city, but is sparsely populated.

The Star Wars games seem to stick out, probably because of how many creatures roam the streets in the films.

I was recently playing Star Wars Bounty Hunter on the Gamecube and while was chasing down targets and having blaster fights with some of the dumbest guards in the galaxy, I realized that I'm on Coruscant, supposedly the most populated city in the galaxy, and there are only 10-15 residents hanging out.

And then I started thinking about other Star Wars games.

All the Battlefront games take place on what should be mostly populated maps, but there I am, killing Stormtroopers in Mos Eisley with 31 other soldiers and no one else.

KOTOR attempted to populate it's worlds with those really awkward NPCs that sort of stand around until you approach. But there were still large swaths of land in these cities with no one in them.

Even the Force Unleashed, a newer Star Wars game was often only populated by enemies. Yes, you were often attacking Imperial strongholds, but the Imperials often built their strongholds in major cities.

It's a dumb thing to complain about, but it's one of those things that bothers me.