Hey Harvey!

Posted on Jul 13th 2010 at 04:38:42 AM by (slackur)
Posted under General, Writing, Resonance of Fate, stupid combat systems

My sporadic blog entries have been indicative of my life's events as of late.  Where I originally began writing again after a several year sojourn of busy fatherhood craziness in order to pick up the practice and train my atrophied creative skills, the craziness of fatherhood doesn't slow down.

Now I've come to stake my claim, to recommit to one of the few skills I believe I have the ability to develop beyond an acceptable, average level.  It is a goal of mine, starting this day, to write at least a little every day, and this blog is to be one of the outlets by which I hold myself accountable for persistent development. 

I debated this for far too long, surmising that this particular digital homestead has a pointed place and purpose, and many of the things floating about my inner cranium wishing to depart are not always (gasp!) directly video game related. 

But as of yet, I am under no specific obligation as to the nature of the content I post here, implied as it may be to fall under the gaming umbrella.  Should I write an op-ed piece, an article on some gaming trivia, anything within the expected spectrum this site caters to, it will (hopefully) automatically shuffle into place like a prepared tetramino.  But at the moment, this is one of the few regular haunts I visit regularly that I can use to return to writing as an outlet, as a developing skill-set, and perhaps even have a bit of fair criticism for my own betterment.

I have far too many stalled novels, unfinished short stories, and even some crummy poetry that seem adamantly unwilling to write themselves.  Should I ever wish to breathe life into them, I need to stop whining that my life is too busy and stressed, that I don't have the energy and resilience, and that the only blog I am writing should really be video game related because of its location.

On that note...


Resonance of Fate greatly appealed to me in a variety of ways.  It has a bizarre East-meets-West art style.  Mostly impressive pedigree in Tri-Ace.  Steampunk setting (HUGE plus for me.)  Good, moody soundtrack.  Gunplay-based realtime combat as opposed to traditional melee.  All things considered, I was more interested in this than Final Fantasy XIII, a series in which I own every entry.

Then I played it.

I consider myself a guy who can understand fairly complex systems within the realm of gaming.  I've GM/DM'd pen and paper games, wrote my own combat systems, played way too much Final Fantasy Tactics/Ogre Battle, and even coded a few simple computer games.
I don't think I've ever stopped playing a role-playing game solely because of a convoluted combat system.  I usually think of it as a fun type of challenge.  Even Knights in the Knightmare appealed to me, in an esoteric what-the-...-O.K.-sure-we'll-go-with-that kind of way. 

But in Resonance of Fate, when I had to keep replaying simple battles, even the tutorials, to try to understand what was expected of me, and still not really getting the idea, a mental warning flag popped up Windows 95 style.

Its not that combat in Resonance of Fate is grinding hard, like an old Phantasy Star.  Its not multi-layered hit-and-miss hard, like a Shin Megami Tensei.  Its not even endurance hard, like some bosses in a latter era Final Fantasy.  No, this is something different.

In an attempt to bring a fresh feel to every battle, even against lower class enemies, the combat system requires:

juggling the movement and turns of three separate characters in real time,

two different types of damage that have to be stacked in correct order (plus magic),

an annoyingly and needlessly complex overdriving attack system that requires the characters to always walk between each other on  their turn without firing,

turns that are lost if taken incorrectly,

Running around the combat area to retrieve pieces of your own battle gauge,

a day/night cycle,

correct application of range and capability of each weapon of each character (including status effects,)

and no guarantee that even if you are doing all of the above correctly, you will survive even normal random encounters without having to die a few times to know how to correctly defeat them.

If the above scenario sounds fun to you (it actually did once to me) then know that I enjoyed SMT Nocturne, Knights in the Nightmare, and the Etrian Odyssey games, and this one just broke me.  Not the challenge per se, but its just tedious for the sake of being tedious.  I tried to play it for several hours.  It has all of these other great points going for it, I paid more for it than I would have otherwise because of my interest in it, and yet I finally gave it up.  After so many hours of precious game time into it, I still wasn't having any fun, and that's when I had to call it. 

No matter how much potential I saw in Resonance of Fate, the required investment was too much to ask from a game in which I simply did not enjoy playing.  If it were a mere few hours long, I could have perhaps tried to endure, but for every battle to be that frustrating in a game the length of your typical RPG, well...

There are a lot of other games I'd enjoy actually playing.

Oh well.  I hear Final Fantasy XIII has a nice 15 hour tutorial...



P.S.

Flash Gordon (1980) is now on Blu Ray.  I want to buy it.  But I'm not sure I know anyone I can convince to watch it with me.  Our friends enjoy MST3K-ing campy movies, but man, the goofy camp of Flash Gordon makes Star Wars look like Saving Private Ryan.

I think I just convinced myself to go get it. 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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