Monday, October 18, 2010

Xenoblerg

Today on Kotaku, I noticed an article about the disappointing sales of Final Fantasy XIII and it made me reflect on my own separation from the JRPG train. Xenogears was the straw that broke the camel's back. I picked it up because I was looking at different turn-based combat systems, assuming that if the gameplay glue was strong enough, my story expectations would be easy to meet. But in Xenogears, after clocking the time between playable sections at 45 minutes long, I started looking at story value differently. I realized that in the 80-or-so hours it might take me to finish the game I could read nearly 8 novels. Stories that were good. Could gameplay ever make up for that 45 minutes lost?

Since Xenogears, its been harder and harder to stomach the mopey, unsympathetic protagonists, lame comedy, inexplicable choices, and unearned beats that would slip by me if a musical cue hadn't announced it. Nothing about the previews of FFXIII made me think it would be different. The article cited linearity and turn-based gameplay as problems but these don't hinder Modern Warfare or Pokemon. Perhaps these systems are implemented poorly but I'm curious whether another aimless, overblown story is also part of the problem. Curious enough to try it? I dunno.

3 comments:

  1. In my opinion that's the correct attitude to have. Games aren't just competing against other games, but against every other entertainment option. If such a time commitment is required, it needs to be justified.

    Your mention of Modern Warfare has me confused... I guess you meant them respectively; linearity applied to Modern Warfare and turn-based applied to Pokemon. I get it. : )

    Anyway as far as I can tell from what I've read and what friends have said, FFXIII gets panned because for 30-35 hours there is little to the gameplay besides pressing one button and watching cutscenes. Strangely I think I might eventually try it out (probably will borrow from a friend rather than buy, which is a rare thing for me), but I'm not overly enthusiastic about it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the comment. You got the Modern Warfare thing right. I just write meh.

    Yeah, it sounds from your friends like FFXIII is like FFVIII+. Or FFVII+ if I'm being rude. But it's all confirmation bias to me, so to be fair, I should try it sometime. But Vanquish and Kirby's Epic Yarn are on the way, so that seems unlikely.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just realized I haven't been keeping up with checking today's all-video-games lightning deals on Amazon. I checked just now and was somewhat amused to see that I missed FFXIII for $18.99... and only 75% were claimed before it expired.

    ReplyDelete