Friday 25 January, 2008
Well that's fustrating! If you spend too much time writing your gamelog, when you try to add it the site will prompt u to log in and your written information will be lost... It's a good thing I checked or I would have never known... So here goes, second time around, this will be a lot shorter since I now have a time limit.
Gameplay: So I finally figured out how to get the quest line moving. I had to trigger the event of moving the guards out of my way so that I could speak with and find my friend by talking to a random dude at the fair. Great, I wasted a good amount of my gameplay time exploring every nook and cranny of the accessible gameworld only to find that all I needed to do was talk to that guy. Here is a timeline of the goose chase I went through because the game didn't have a clear enough quest line for me: talk to mom who tells me to find my friend->explore the every house of the game and every respective room-> find my friend's house only to find that she isn't there-> talk to her mom who tells me to go to the fair that I had already visited-> talk to everyone in the fair-> get the guards to move out of my way-> find and talk to my friend. As you can see, I wasted a lot of time doing footwork and talking with people when all I really wanted to do was get out there and start killing monsters! Just kidding, I'm not a violent person...
Once I finally got the game moving, things started brightening up a bit for me, and I enjoyed the experience more than I had been. I entered my first dungeon , found some sweet items, and killed my first boss (which was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be). Surprising to myself, I actually liked the turn based combat system that I was playing, and was extremely satisfied with the massive amounts of damage and cool abilities I was using.
Some parts of the game were designed magnificently while others were lacking.
For one, I really like the way the game world made me feel. It was designed in such a way that I felt that I was part of a limitless world and could explore many different regions of space within it (mainly every forest, house, room, and cranny). Also, the user feels that they have an impact on the environment and are given a sense of time. For example, the guards that were initially blocking my path told me that an event was being set up and that I should come back in a little while to get past. Of course all I had to do was talk to the right person to trigger the event, but it still gave me the sense of passing time. Another example is when I was exploring the gameworld I came across a broken bridge. The guard that was standing by told me that it had been destroyed in a battle and would be repaired after a certain amount of time, signifying that as I advanced through the game, new content would be unlocked and the environment would change.
What I didn't like about the game was its lack of direction. I felt that as soon as I started, I was given a vague set of instructions by my mother and was supposed to figure everything out from there. I went through hoops figuring out what to do from there, and wasted most of my gameplay time messing around doing nothing. I believe that the designers of the game assumed that many of its players were RPG vets and didn't need to explain the game mechanics of problem solving and controls. Lucky for me I randomly stumbled upon a soldier who taught me the mechanics of fighting, but it was merely by chance that I went upstairs in the random room to talk to him.
Another bothersome aspect of the game design was that it rewarded the user for excessively exploring. On the surface that seems like a good idea: encourage the user to extract every ounce of dialogue and see every corner of the game, but quite frankly I have better things to do. I just wanted to move along the story line, but instead, I felt compelled by some instinctual impulse to visit every unexplored room and path available to make sure I didn't miss out on my next sword upgrade. The game should have had most of its rewards come with quest line progression for the casual gamer, instead of for the over acheiving gamer.
Finally, the combat system was designed well. Party members and the main character can work together to perform special, highly effective attacks. You don't see that much anymore in today's games, and I think that it would be seen as innovative and highly successful for a game to reward its players for working together to perform successive actions in sync. Overall a good game, has its kinks, but hey, its old.