Sunday, April 17, 2011

Paralysis by Choice

My preferences in games tend to focus on 3 genres - puzzle games, 2D platformers and eastern RPGs. And even then, there's some pretty big holes in my JRPG history:

- I've never played a tactical RPG beyond the tutorial for Final Fantasy Tactics on PS1 (exception being the PVP portion of Pokemon back in the day, which only counts for a certain definition of tactical)
- I've beaten less than half of the Final Fantasy games (1, 4, 6, 7 and 10).
- I've never played an Atlus RPG, though I picked up Strange Journey for a song and want to get my hands on Persona 3/4. Also Radiant Historia, though it scares the crap out of me.

I've started playing Final Fantasy III (DS) today, in what would be my 4th attempt to beat the 4th DS game I ever bought (of approximately 60). The farthest I've ever gotten in the game is the point when I get the 2nd set of job crystals, at which point my brain shuts down at trying to process the party options I've got and I go running back to Pokemon to finish filling a Pokedex.

Notice the Final Fantasies I've beaten - they're the ones that have the simplest character technique-building system (locked-in jobs at the start, Espers, Materia and only the basic Sphere Grid respectively). If it gets any more complicated than that - like a full job system or heaven forfend, 12's License Grid - I have no idea what to do because I want the optimum setup with the least amount of time.

The same thing happened with Pokemon, in retrospect. Once the system moved beyond 130 options and one set of simple stats, I was done.

So if I get freaked out by this in a genre that I've pretty much been playing since I went through gaming puberty in 1995, it's no wonder I haven't broken out into open-world games (even though I've had access to GTA: San Andreas since about 2005), western RPGs or shootan of any kind. Though one would think that I'd be more into shooters now that they're basically down to the Final Fantasy IV level of railroading compared to the fact that I beat Final Doom when I was 12.

I don't want to be a fanboy, it's just come down to circumstances.

To start changing this, I'm going to see FFIII through to the end even if it takes me 50 hours to figure out that I should go Dark Knight, Devout, Summoner and Knight in the endgame. From there, it'll be on to Strange Journey to see if I'll be able to handle Persona without pulling an Evoker on myself.

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