Editorial: Now, do it in reverse!

FinalFantasy7SSI am not a fan of gimmicks. Recently, I have been playing through Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth and Final Fantasy VII (surprise!) on my PSP. Do you know what my least favorite RPG gimmick is? No? I’m going to tell you.

I hate RPGs that make you run reverse through dungeons once you are finished with them. Oftentimes, this reverse run is accompanied by a timer. If I do not escape within so many minutes things will either A) explode or B) fall down around me. So, after having fought my way through a mass of enemies I am forced to turn tail and do it again, in reverse and timed. No, no thanks, RPGs gods, not interested.

So, I leave you with this question: Readers, what is your least favorite RPG (or other) gaming gimmick? Please refrain from talking about the Wii’s motion controls or the DS’s stylus, thanks.


  1. limit break, easy. they don’t all call it that but it’s the same basic idea: take enough/give enough of a thorough ass whuppin and the characters angst will build to the breaking point and they will be able to unleash their 15 minute long super move.

    I hate this cause 1) it doesn’t even attempt to make sense and 2) it somehow always makes the game too easy since every time you take a particularly large blow to the kintamas you can suddenly pull a climhazard out of your ass.

  2. *don’t call it that in every game*
    damn I wish I could ecit comments.

  3. Bah-ha ha ha.
    Yeah, I don’t know if I can think of something more annoying than what you described, Thea. It’s one of my major complaints with Suikoden DS.
    Wait! No!
    Quick Time Events.
    I HATE quick time events.

  4. I can’t think of any other games that did this off the top of my head, but the section before the funeral in Lost Odyssey. You had to essentially do the same fetch quest in the same area TWICE. You knew you were going to need the stuff for the second one before you started the first one. You could see it on the ground as you were fetching. Why the HECK couldn’t they just combine it into one fetch quest? Or take the fetch quest out entirely? It was SO pointless. There were a lot of little things like that about LO that irked me. I guess if we’re going with RPG annoyances, I’ll say fetch quests in general.

  5. @Darth: Lusipurr was just playing that game and that was his huge complaint as well. Ugh, games do such weird things sometimes.

    @Ethos: I’m not a huge fan of Quick Time Events either, but the running through dungeons backwards and being timed for it… annoys me much more than content I can skip through pretty quickly. :/

  6. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this first: having more charatcers than you can use in battle.

    This. Pisses. Me. Off. I would forgive having to run back out of a dungeon under a time limit while using quick-time events, but not this.

    the worst offender of this is Final fantasy X. I love that game but there is no reason that I can’t use all the characters at once. exactly what the hell happens when three people get knocked out in X? do the Faith wake up? does Tidus resolve his daddy issues and so the story has to rap up since now the main hero has no bullshit inner conflict? do the others lose honor and disembowel themselves. after seeing that Auron, Kimahri, and Tidus combined couldn’t beat Yunelesca does Wakka say “fuck it, ya” and then go into business pimping the other three party members? seriously, I wanna know what happens.

    what really pisses me off is that the CTB system is essentially the Final Fantasy tactics battle system modified for a traditional rpg. the older version used five(5) characters AND you could move you characters. WHY! WHYYYYYYYYY! I blame nomura. I don’t know if this is actually his fault but this type of bullshitery smells of that zipper fetishist.

    sorry about all the text but that really fucking pisses me off. I’ll try to keep the ranting to a minimum from now on.

  7. My least favourite gimmick is what I call trial and error skills. Where you press random buttons, or choose random commands and if you choose the correct ones, you can, or you might learn a new skill, new attack or new combo. I’m thinking of the combo system from FFIV: After Years, the weapon skills from SaGa Frontier, etc. Stuff where, honestly, you just want to say fuck it and grab a FAQ that just spells out the valid combos so you can quit wasting your time trying the wrong ones.

  8. For me its a combination of a boring battle system and monotonous required grinding.

    I get it- the next dungeon is supposed to be harder, but do I really have to level up for 3 and a half hours to satisfy the developers difficulty curve?

    I liken it to having to go through a freeway traffic jam to just get home and do my homework for college.

    Maybe they do it just to add playtime to the game but that’s like adding a pound of lettuce on your burger to make it bigger.

    Give me a break.

  9. @Ethos – Do Auron’s limit breaks from FFX count as QTEs? While they do follow the “buttons appear onscreen and you press them” format, I actually thought they (and, really, all the little FFX limit break minigames) added a bit of variety to the limit break system instead of just hitting the button and watching a special move. I do hate the traditional God of War-style QTEs, though, since I invariable end up missing all the cool stuff my character’s doing because I’m waiting for another button to pop up int he upper-left corner or some such nonsense.

    @Breaka – Far as I can tell, rants aren’t only allowed here, they’re encouraged (just look at a few of my recent posts)! FFX wasn’t exactly the first game to have the “game over if your party dies” mechanic :F. I agree it doesn’t make any sense from a logical prospective, but you and a bunch of random monsters are also lining up and having a nice, civil, turn-based fight, so I think most RPG battle systems don’t have much grounding in reality. If you want something a bit more sensical, maybe check out the SMT series with the “game over if the main character dies” mechanic, which does make a bit more sense, since, from the FFX example, it would be hard to continue the story with Tidus rotting in the ground. I do, however, love the idea that the remainder of the party just instantly turns to prostitution since the “adventurer” angle didn’t work out. I’d love to see a game about that, maybe a management sim of some kind.

    @El_Hefe – I actually enjoy a good grind-heavy game every once in a while. Granted, if I don’t know about it going in, it can be pretty frustrating, but there are time when I just want to kick back, listen to a podcast, and gain a few levels. Really, I guess it all depends on how much of a payoff there is. For games which I’m more invested in the story, I’m willing to put up with a lot more grind. Also, it is a great feeling finally being able to clear that boss that’s been giving you so much difficulty and hit you with so many cheap shots (I’m looking at you, Persona 3).

  10. Oh yeah, and @Ginia, I can’t think of a game off the top of my head I’ve played that had a mechanic like that. I consider myself very lucky, as it sounds horrible.

  11. @Darth – yeah, I relise JRPGs are last place I should be looking for battles systems grounded in reality but there good nonsense, like the job system were a character can change everything about themselves by changing clothes Bugs Bunny style, and then there’s bad nonsense like LOOSING THE GAME CAUSE ONLY THREE PEOPLE GOT KNOCKED OUT! or died. phoenix downs continue to confuse me.

    regarding the prostitution, I was just joking but I do believe I come up with a hit. SimsPimp. yeaaah…I’m liken the sound of that

  12. -Yeah I hate timed dungeon escapes! I also dislike unwarrented QTEs, though I like them for limit breaks.

    -I’m glad that FFXs battle system is just the way it is.

  13. Actually I think the worst thing an RPG can do is force party configurations, especially when they arbitrarily remove a character that you have come to rely on such as a white mage (Yuna circa FFX is a prime example). I also hate forced multiple parties for the same reason, I’ll tolerate them throughout the first 1/3 of a game but after that I like the party roster to settle down so that I can start building a party, FFIX’s party switching went on way too long for my tastes.

  14. @Breaka – Yeah, I stopped trying to make sense of pheonix downs about 1/2 way through FFVII :F. Same thing applies to fighting games, where your guy seems perfectly healthy, then he gets hit in the shins and suddenly he’s unconscious. Sometimes I’m fine with gameplay taking priority to reality.

    @SN – Sections like that are why I always try to balance my experience gained across all my party members equally. I wish, at least for the first playthrough, I could just stick with one relatively static party and not have to worry about characters being taken away with little or no notice. The worst is when they take the equipment they were wearing with them. Thieving jerks.

  15. Yeah I don’t see why it isn’t mandatory to strip party members of equiptment when they’re arbitrarily removed.

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