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To replay or not to replay... (Some Mild Language+spoilers) - Destructoid

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About
Just an opinionated fan of rpg's and gaming in general who likes to rant about first world gamer problems because there are so many.

My blogs mostly consist of reviews/rants of games of all generations, particularly rpg's. I try to blend my reviews with both facts and opinion so that people can see from my own experiences and decide for themselves. i will also tend to review older titles because i still believe that there are few people out there who haven't played these awesome titles and deserve to give them a chance.

Oh and as for some negative's you might point out, i sometimes don't put images in my reviews/rants because images are a pain in the neck to obtain and they never seem to work properly. Plus i can't spell for my life and my grammar is terrible.

Heres my review rating system:

Masterpiece (Same as masterful but for overall score, will be based on opinion), of course it won't be perfect in every way but it will be close to perfect, no game is perfect.

Masterful - Perfect in every way (Formerly 9.5+) (definitely pick up the game if you are a fan of the genre)

Exceptional - Goes way beyond expectations (Formerly between 9.1 and 9.4) (definitely pick up the game if you are a fan of the genre)

Excellent - Does what it needs to and provides a first class experience (9.0) (definitely pick up the game if you are a fan of the genre)

Great - Does what it needs to, provides a high class experience (8.5-8.9) (recommended to all fans of the genre)

Good - Does what it needs to and provides a very enjoyable experience (was 8.0 - 8.5) (recommended to all fans of the genre)

Satisfactory - Does what it needs to, provides an experience which is just enough to satisfy the player (Formerly between 7.5 - 7.9) (Reccommended to read the review if unsure)

Decent - Does what it needs to, experience can very depending on the players tastes (Formerly 7.0-7.4) (Recommended to read the review if you plan on picking up the game to see if it's for you)

So-So - Not for everyone, has some issues, may be worth a try if patient enough to cope with it's flaws (Formerly 6.5 - 6.9) (Reccommened to read the review if you're interested in the title)

Flawed - Alot of flaws, difficult to recommend, some may be able to pass them by but will require a lot of patience (Formerly 5.0 - 6.4) (Reccommened to read the review if you're interested in the title)

Awful - (Formerly 4.9 and below) (If you see this, don't pick the game up for this catagory)

Kill It With Fire - (Same as Awful but for overall score, based on opinion which in this case is usually right if you see the game, you know what to do, don't buy this and if you do, get some gasoline and a match)

Lifespan:

Too Long (Legend Of Dragoon lol)

Very Long (Formerly 9.5 - 9.9)

Long (Formerly 9.0 - 9.4)

Quite Long (Formerly 8.0 - 8.9)

Decent Length (Formerly 7.5 - 7.9)

Quite Short (Formerly 6.5 - 7.4)

Very Short (Formerly 6.0 - 6.4)

Too short (Formerly 5.9 or below)

Worth Replaying?

Yes

Maybe

No
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Xbox LIVE:terry 309
PSN ID:terry 309
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That is the question...

A question that plagues my mind every time i beat a game. It's easy to beat a game and say "yeah lets do it all over again" only to remember the horrors of unskippable cutscenes (in some games), horribly tedious puzzles and that one boss battle you barely managed to scrape by last time. The question is... is replaying a game worth it? Yes i am talking mostly about RPG's here.

There are so many rpg's out there that offer new game + that it's sort of expected that you play through the game multiple times. Now there are many things i can't stand about games that encourage replayability. First of all there is new game + itself. Who doesn't want to plow through the game all over again with beefed up characters and kick every single bosses ass? "Hell yes" you're probably thinking but when the novelty dies out, you simply find yourself bombarded with cut scenes which you have to either constantly skip (if it has that option) or sit and watch the cutscene play. Now don't get me wrong, i like cutscenes but then there are games like...


Noooooooooooooooo!

Relating to the image above, this is what i like to call pure RPG hell. You know the ones guys... the scenes where you have to press the X button (or in this case a) over and over and over again! Worst part about it is, these scenes usually aren't skippable, the developers usually assume that scenes like this don't need a skip function because the player can button mash their way through dialogue yet they forget to realize that the character animations are unskippable so pressing X to move on doesn't work until the animation is finished. If they just added a skip function, a feature that has been a staple for RPG's since... i don't know, mid 2000's?

Yet there are still so many games out there that continue to lack this important feature. The Tales games only recently implemented it with Xillia (not sure if Graces had it correct me if i'm wrong) yet they literally pride themselves on new game +, i mean it's not like you're going to buy out the grade shop on your first playthrough is it? I hate the entire concept of grade but moreso it's execution. The concept itself encourages players to replay the game all over again only to get frustrated at the unskippable dialogue which requires you to manually scroll through with the X button, that alone is a sin in itself. Why do you need to encourage players to replay your game anyways? It's not like grade makes replaying a game any easier, in fact it makes it worse because you have to buy the rights to carry over statistics to your next playthrough which defeats the whole purpose of new game +, to make tedious battles easier to get by so that the player can enjoy the experience all over again but without having to worry about all the bullshit that comes with it.

But that is only the beginning. My hatred for grade is basically a rant in itself and i'm going to go over it here and now. Grade works similar to a K/D ratio you would find in shooters, it goes up sometimes and down other times. In other words, it's a currency that can actually decrease during battle due to getting a negative grade. This is usually frustrating especially considering the fact that you can curb stomp an enemy skillfully and still get negative grade because of how the game stupidly calculates it and this varies throughout each game in the series. It's seriously a pain in the neck only to find out that by the end of the game after fighting over 2000 monsters, you don't even have half enough grade to buy out the grade shop, this means that you won't be able to carry over levels, gald or sometimes devil arms. Instead you have to pick silly stuff such as collectors book progress or stupid gimmicks such as increased tension, heck you can even purchase the right to make the game more challenging by decreasing statistics and stuff. All this stuff should be available from the get go but Tales seems to fuck it up.

Anyways, enough of that, lets get to the next thing, the dungeons... more specifically, the dungeons which serve as obvious filler, have a half assed level design, sometimes art design and are filled to the brim with puzzles which bar your path. This is where you have to hope and pray your memory works and that you remember where the heck you're supposed to go. Depending on your strength of memory will depend on the tedium that awaits you, lets find an example shall we... heck no, we need two examples for this.


Pretty much speaks for itself...


and the dreaded Ymir Forest from Tales Of Symphonia which people have actually gone out of their way to find glitches to skip through the entire dungeon due to it's tedium.

These two dungeons may not be the worst dungeons out there but they are good examples of how not to design a dungeon in an rpg. Sure the art design and music of Ymir Forest is great and all (thank god) but the rest is godawful. The level design is confusing, i swear i got lost so many times walking on those tree branches but worst of all are the puzzles, particularly the one where you have to get the fish past those damn fisheaters (or whatever you want to call them) and if you fuck it up, you will have to start right from the beginning. Then there's one of the most criminally irritating dungeon's in RPG history, Ipsen's Castle from... (you know what from people). Ipsens Castle is basically a filler dungeon with no personality. It may as well be called X castle because there isn't an Ipsen to be seen in this place, just tonens of monsters who seemingly choose to gather there for whatever reason and heck they even laid pitfall traps there so that if you are unlucky enough to fall in then you have to walk all the way back through random encounter hell. Thankfully i'm not that stupid to fall for them as they are so painfully obvious. The worst part is that the worst videogame character in the history of gaming...


He hides his face for a reason people

Decides to run all the way back through the dungeon and you have to *sigh* go all the way back in the dungeon and rescue his sorry emo ass! Why game, why would you do this to me? Why would you make me run through a filler dungeon not once... but twice!? Seriously what is the necessity? We already experienced the dungeon already, why now do we have to go all the way back just to save some loser whose only use is to cast the overpowered aura skill and has no purpose or meaning to the plot? Seriously, this is the most tiring form of repetition and i've played Painkiller for gods sake. Shooting waves of demons in the face never gets old but battling random encounters does get repetitive and yes, i know that most RPG's have them but thats no reason to make us go through more of them just for the sake of prolonging the games lifespan. Final Fantasy IX is notorious for this and is quite possibly one of the most torturous RPG's to replay for this reason.

I feel as if i haven't given enough examples here so i shall show you some more:




One of the few games I've ever replayed multiple times and this till bugs me




If you haven't played this game, you might not get this one... hang on, theres more:


Ah of course, how could i forget the bane of my very existence when it comes to dungeons...

So there you have it, those are but a few of the many dungeons i hate in RPG's, each with their own reason, usually because of tedium but now we come to the big stuff. Remember that boss that you just managed to scrape by?

*possible spoilers below*













Ah yes, it's that one boss everybody remembers from The Last Remnant, scratch that, every boss post disk 2 was this hard


Of all the games to have such a boss...


I think we all remember this guy...


and this...thing.








*SPOILERS END*

I think this is pretty self explanatory, tough bosses are great the first time but the second time can be quite irritating, especially if you're not looking for a challenge and simply want to replay the game to get X characters ending.

This leads me to my other issue with replaying rpg's, multiple endings. Ok it's about time we brought up a certain game now:



Of course we couldn't bring up the topic of multiple endings and new game plus without mentioning Chrono Trigger, the game which started it all and despite this, they execute the replay value very well for the most part...


Just please don't make me go through the Masamune chapter again...

so what game doesn't execute multiple endings well? There are two noteworthy contenders:





of course i cannot spoil the endings of these games but each one of these games have multiple endings, two of them being terrible (or all of them in ME 3's case) seriously if you're going to have multiple endings, make each ending as equally enjoyable as the last. There are other ways to make multiple endings work such as Valkyrie Profile Covenant Of The Plume which gives you a choice of 3 paths to follow through the story based on plume usage.

Lets be honest here, as cool as multiple endings are, they don't always work. The worst part is when there's a sequel which follows on after a particular ending making all other endings seem completely worthless. When multiple endings are executed well on the other hand, they can be great.

Finally we shall talk about difficulty levels. Now when i start up a game, i usually want to select a difficulty level that suits me, however.

Some games require you to unlock difficulty levels via multiple playthroughs and sometimes don't even give you new game + bonuses either.

Look closely at the damage... the developers somehow thought this would be fun... the person who was crazy enough to make this video sped it up for your convenience. Yiazmat shits himself at the sight of this boss... How fortunate the damage limit lets you break through to the millions after many months of hardcore grinding.

Seriously though, don't make us play through a game twice to unlock the highest difficulty (let alone 50 times to unlock what you see in the video) because at the end of the day, it's just a difficulty level, it doesn't change the game besides making it tougher. The worst part is when the game has achievements which require multiple playthroughs for not just difficulties but also other stuff. For example, you forgot to do *insert thing here* see you next playthrough! Some games are absolutely ridiculous to platinum and lets face it, for the most part, achievement hunting is not fun, it's a compulsion, i know there are a lot of achievement hunters out there but even they won't deny that there are some achievements which are just plain cruel. I believe most developers forget what it means to add replay value to their games.

My question is, what games have you replayed and what is your experience replaying them (i'm looking for RPG's mostly)? As for me, not many, i replayed VP COTP for it's multiple paths, i replayed FF8 too because i lost my data on that game twice. i replayed Pokemon gold/silver/crystal multiple times. That's all i can remember.
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