Monday, 1 October 2007

Levelling Up

For the last week I have been getting engrossed in Final Fantasy III on my DS. I told myself a long time ago that it would be a very long time before I went back to a Final Fantasy game, but in the end I just couldn't resist it (and technically my sister is responsible, she bought me the game as a thank you for giving her a gig ticket), and now I'm glad that I didn't resist. It's a little slice of perfection that fits in the palm of your hand, and even when I'm at work I'm thinking about what will happen next in the story, or how much damage my Freelancer will do if I just get his job level a bit higher.

I don't think that it will ever replace Final Fantasy X in my affections as my favourite RPG. FFX, as I approached the end of it, entered a special place in my mind, and joined a category that includes I Am Legend, Flowers For Algernon and Earth Abides, that is "media that when I experienced them I wished they had only been made for me, yet at the same time felt a great need to tell others about." So far FFX is the only game I've played that goes in there (though others, like Shadow Of The Colossus and Resident Evil 4, have come cloes) but now that I think about it I can't think of a single film that I would put in there.

(perhaps there's something about the nature of film that doesn't allow me to include it in such a way; for the first time the title of this blog becomes relevant...)

The only thing about nearly every video game RPG that I've played that grates after a while (and that I grew to forgive FFX for) is the process of "levelling up" - the tedious process of fighting battle after battle to improve your characters' stats, and thus make your future battles with bosses easier. FFX wasn't so bad for it, and it was quite far into the game before I got really stuck and had to backtrack; FFIII has more or less forced me to do it on three occasions so far, and it is the one black mark against the game in my playing of it so far.

For a long time I thought that levelling up was a cruel and unusual way that game developers imposed on gameplayers who really just want to advance through the story - for the most part battles that you fight in order to level up are fairly tedious affairs, fighting the same enemies over and over again without varying tactics, earning more and more experience until your characters stand a reasonable chance in battle.

Then in this last week I finished a small piece of research, taking all 249 knots up to ten crossings and putting them in a specific format. After constructing plait presentations again and again, and writing all of the information up, suddenly "levelling up" doesn't seem so bad...


mattiecore said...

I adore Shadow of the Colossus. It's probably one of the best games I've ever played. Though, if I were asked, I would say that the single best game of all time would be The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

La Chanson de Phoenix said...

I absolutely LOVE FFX. Tidus and Yuna, the story.. The ending ... My husband had to hold me while I bawled my eyes out. Then we got FFX-2. I still cried for that game too, although it was kinda weird.