Friday 22 April, 2011
As of yesterday afternoon I was both concerned and elated at the possibility that this would be a short game. The back of the box describes how the player is caught in a 7-day trial/game and I had just finished day 6 and was on the verge of ending (presumably) day 7. The final boss was just around the corner. I was concerned because for a Square-Enix RPG this seemed remarkably short, but elated because...well, it's been quite engaging so far and I wouldn't mind ending the game on a high note. I also imagined that, if I was so inclined, I could continue playing in some sort of sandbox mode...(pure conjecture on my part, really). I had to make an effort last night to not visit Gamefaqs just to see if it was the end of the game or not!
So, I finished the 7th day...and it started over. Sort of. This time I have a new partner and, through a cut-scene, it is clear that this new cycle follows chronologically from the last and that I need to win in order to save Shiki my partner from the last 7 day game. The locations are the same, which is nice, and I have the feeling that I'll start to gain a deeper understanding of the different elements that have been introduced so far (the importance of fashion accesories, pins, etc.) Cool stuff.
Curiously, I'm also looking forward the the weekend (in real life). Not because I'll get to play more (I won't) but because of another game feature. In this game you can still accumulate experience while not playing (up to 7 calendar days). It's an interesting mechanic because I guess it helps players pace themselves with the game (it's ok to take a break! you don't need to finish it all in one sitting!) while also setting up an incentive to get back to the game. While the idea of having stuff happen while you're not playing isn't novel, I think that most games use it a NEGATIVE way. If you don't come back your pets die, your crops shrivel up, your house becomes infested with bugs, or your village is riddled with weeds. The only other positive example I can think of is World of Warcraft...where (if I recall, I haven't played it...but I remember reading about this) you are either awarded more experience or need less experience to advance if you've been gone a while (or haven't been playing as much). In the case of WoW, I think the idea was to help players with less time catch up to their friends that may be playing more, thus avoiding them being able to not play together due to too high a differential in power/level.
If anyone knows of other "get a benefit while away" games, please let me know!
WoW's 'rest experience' is the closest I can think of. And you're basically right. You become more rested the longer you don't play. It accumulates faster if you log out in an inn or major city. It used to fill up to two levels of experience bars, but I think it's a bit less now. While you have accumulated rest, you gain 200% xp from killing monsters. Other MMOs may have systems similar to this.
Saturday 23 April, 2011 by dkirschner
The only similar idea I can think of are games like Oblivion, these open-world RPGs, where NPCs go about their daily lives in a day/night cycle. In these you can wait for time to pass (although in-game for all I've played) to benefit. Or I remember Metal Gear Solid 3, you face off against The End, this century-old sniper. If you turn the clock on your PS2 forward in time some amount and come back to the game, The End is dead of old age.