Thursday 6 March, 2008
Design 2 (15 hours in):
After 15 hours, the gameplay has not progressed much. Now that I have more than 5 people, I have to decide who to keep in my team and level up, and who to leave on the sidelines. This means balancing by switching characters in and out regularly and making sure no character gets too much attention. I feel like this interactivity is the kind of interactivity I don't wan to deal with though. They never explain why the whole team wouldn't be fighting, and having to switch characters out gives unnecessary responsibilty to characters without producing any incentive. Usually when you make a player commit an arduous task, you reward them with a new weapon. Instead of using positive reinforcement, they give a kind of passive aggressive punishment for not utilizing all of my characters. Fortunately a low level character levels up faster when fighting high level enemies, so playing catch-up is not too big of a deal.
Despite the minor failures, I'm enjoying a classic RPG throw-back and a much needed game for the 360. I've been waiting for a good role playing game on my xbox, and I enjoy the simplicity that the game provides. The game does not demand too much interactivity, and I can play this like a popcorn game: sit back and watch the pretty aesthetics that 360 provides. Many have criticized the game for lacking innovation, but it's been too long since a decent turn-based RPG was released. Where the game fails in melodramatic minutia, and unnecessary tasks, it succeeds in letting the player skip cut scenes and making characters serve individual purposes so no single character is totally forgettable. The controls are easy and the graphics are great.