Saturday 16 February, 2008
Gamelog #4 Session #2 for CMPS 20
Start Time: 4:00 pm
End Time: 5:00 pm
Assignment due 2/20/08
The narrative progression was kind of bumpy. It had lots of sudden twists and turns, with hit-or-miss quality cutscenes. A lot of the time, the animated cutscenes seemed to go on forever, which was neither desired nor necessary. Cutscenes were arbitrarily tied to play at the same time as some music, for the duration of the music, with no way to skip them. As such, the cutscenes overall were pretty annoying. Unfortunately, they were a major part of gameplay, communicating much of the storyline.
Chrono Trigger was sort of fun to play, but I kept having technical failures. I would have liked it better if there had been autosave prompts sprinkled throughout steps in the story to prevent massive loss of progress. As it was, it was difficult to remember to save, which severely impeded gameplay. I had to repeat all of the tedious battles from before, so I enjoyed myself even less as compared to the first time around. As for the main gameplay, I much preferred the puzzle mechanic to the battle mechanic.
I thought the game was hyped up a little out of proportion. Based on friends' opinions, I had expected the game to be interesting enough to blow me away; it didn't. The music was excellent, yes, but I have two CDs of the music from this game: one basic, one arranged instrumental. If the game had lower quality music or art, I wouldn't have bothered playing. As it was, the game had about the same entertainment value per minute as a minute of daytime TV. Listening to the CDs of the music from this game is much more entertaining than playing the game. That's terrible.
Socially, I was isolated in terms of players and spectators both. Chrono Trigger is a single-player game, and I felt alone while I was playing. This game was also largely boring, which made the lonely feeling worse. There were no spectators, either, so I was waiting to be finished playing while I was playing. Chrono Trigger has a following, but I won't be part of it. I prefer RPGs with better character development and more interesting gameplay.
I usually need characters in an RPG to be believable with realistic personalities to be satisfied. Chrono Trigger just doesn't deliver it. Lucca comes to your rescue at one point in the game, but instead of Crono rescuing or falling in love with her, Crono arbitrarily falls in love with Marle, who seems to throw herself at you. If Crono had spent more time with Marle beforehand, that would have made more sense. This is another trend in RPGs; if a silent protagonist has a childhood friend of the opposite sex, the silent protagonist will probably fall for someone else, doubly so if the childhood friend rescues the silent protagonist. I hate that.
The main innovation of this game was the battle system. All allies and enemies in-game have an element affiliation, which gives them the power of that element and makes them weak to the opposite element. Then, there are weapons that can only be equipped by allies who can wield them. For example, Crono can only use katana-type weapons, Lucca can only use gun-type weapons, Marle can only use crossbow-type weapons, etc. Finally, special attacks require magic and two or more allies can team up to execute a super-special attack. Unfortunately, I didn't get to any interesting battles where any of that mattered.
I didn't like this game much as compared to how much my friends liked this game. I found the battles to be tedious and the characters to be superficial. I would have also liked an autosave feature. I only really liked the creative content from this game. I think, as it was, I would have enjoyed Chrono Trigger: The Movie much more than the game.
I think Chrono Trigger could have been vastly improved in terms of pacing if it has been designed and implemented as an action RPG instead of an outright RPG. The way to do it is any place you activate the battle actionAnother thing that would have helped was if Chrono Trigger had a way to skip cutscenes and skip/automate battles.
The levels don't vary very much from the get-go. They are pretty much made up of linked rooms with enemies littered throughout. There are tons of enemies in each level, and often I found myself forgetting what I was doing or what I was supposed to do. Although I liked the basic gameplay, in the scheme of the game, it was analogous to treading water, the same way fun gameplay is analogous to swimming. In other words, I would have had fewer but tougher battles that made you level up faster without the tedium.
This game exhibits progressive complexity with some emergent characteristics. I would expect to find mostly walkthroughs for this game for players to play out different scenario sequences in this gameworld. There would also likely be some strategy guides to direct players to use different techs appropriately. There may also be strategy guides for basic playing mechanics. In other words, Chrono Trigger is mostly a game of doing the right things in the right order, but there are a few different strategies to get to an ending.
That's it for this entry! Keep playing!