The Unit Left Crying

31 May

Good times

Ever since I read that Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift will be compatible with the original FFTA, I’ve been planning to start a new file, which I finally did last night. In doing so, I was instantly reminded of how the people who made the game probably hate their fans.

In order to get the best abilities in FFTA, you have to steal the best equipment. In order to do that, you need some rare pieces of equipment that teach thieves the best steal techniques. The problem is that to steal the equipment you need, you need the equipment that you need to steal to learn the techniques you need to steal the equipment you need. It makes no sense and is incredibly stupid.

Instead, what you’re supposed to do is undergo this ridiculous process of leveling up your clan’s negotiation stat through dispatch missions that only show up once an in-game month where you have to refuse a new unit’s entry to the clan. Once your negotiation stat reaches 30, you gain the Cinqueda, a knife that teaches the Steal Ability ability. With that, you need to steal the Steal Weapon ability so you get some of the best abilities in the game.

This is obviously horrible game design.

First of all, the player can’t know about this unless he uses a guide. Even if he does, it’s a pain in the ass. My biggest complaint, however, is that the game demands so much perfection, so much constant attention to detail that by the time you have everything you need, all of the fun in the customization is gone because going with what you want is probably a step down power-wise.

It reminds me of the Pokemon games.

I like Quagsire. He’s goofy, has a fun dual-type, and gave me some fond memories during my time with Silver. When I finally found out about Pokemon Net Battle, an online service that pre-dated the DS, I quickly recreated my Silver team, with Quagsire as my prized mascot. Then I got my ass handed to me.

Anyone who plays Pokemon competitively knows that there are invisible stats called EVs. There is no official mention of EVs in any of the Pokemon games, but they determine majority of the battles that take place in the competitive scene. Basically, they’re fractions of a stat that you have to manage yourself outside of the game. In the end, you can swing a poke’s stats in the direction you best see fit. Just like with FFTA, it’s a pain in the ass to manage and requires unofficial guides to even become aware of it.

I understand why game designers do these things, but I don’t understand why they feel the need to hide it. Does Nintendo think its target audience can’t grasp EVs? Even if that is the case, it could probably be summed up in two pages in the player’s guide or by a random NPC that you aren’t required to talk to.

Despite these things, I’ve reached level 30 in my clan’s negotiation skill and am ready to actually start playing. Well, I’ll have to follow the guide a little longer to make sure I don’t pass up any rare equipment, but aside from that, I can do what I want. Well, not really because I’ll need to train and use a thief so I can steal those items, even though I won’t use the thief for anything else.

Bleh, I wish I could just play the game the way I want to play it. 😦

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