Editorial Miscellany: Alt RPG Mediocrity

Ready to be crushed.
Beautiful naiveté.

Hosting is exhausting, LusiFriends! After a busy week from which I wanted some rest, I decided it would be a good idea to have friends over for the entire weekend. It was very fun, but not very restful. There was a lot of local multiplayer opportunities however, so let me ignore that entirely and talk about some shitty gimmicky RPGs I bought on the Nintendo eShop.

Weapon Shop de Meh

I played this for two hours straight before I went to bed the night that I downloaded it and I have only played it a few minutes since. The game actually has a decent premise and some interesting execution, but does not build on it and it ultimately just feels like a flash time management game. It is always strange to think about a game that starts with such a strong premise and then leaves it untended. It is a good idea to have NPCs mixed in with “quest characters” as a way to offer extra cash and use some of the weapons that might not be strong enough for the main characters and it is a good idea to make the shop feel like a shop in that all work must stop to take care of a customer. It forces the player to build an internal list of priorities and learn how to take the right sort of risks, just like working in most retail shops. But this gameplay grows stale more quickly than it should. It feels partially due to the tapping and rubbing minigames that Weapon Shop de Omasse chooses to centre its forging and polishing gameplay around. The forging minigame takes a little more skill and the more advanced weapons are a bit harder to forge, and I also understand that the minigames actually should feel a little repetitive, but it still does not feel like there is much to gain from repeating this gameplay over and over. If the game was really looking to create the feel of an apprentice becoming a master weaponsmith then perhaps it should have created a more nuanced mechanic at the heart of its gameplay. Squandered opportunity in my opinion because there are a lot of funny knowing nods to RPG logic in what would otherwise be an interesting perspective on the genre.

It was like a cutscene of a tutorial.
Ugh, more like “practice nothing”.

Even More Meh Eleven

Man, maybe Inazuma Eleven is good, but its opening is so slow and uneven that I am never going to find out. I understand a slow front-end tutorial in some ways, I really do. I prefer without, but if done well, it can be painless and even engaging, especially on an initial playthrough. Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia does it well and even Skyward Sword gives room to explore gameplay in its hand-holding opening. But Inazuma Eleven gave me no idea what the game was about in the opening hour. Sure, it is about soccer and our hero finding his destiny in the spiritual secrets that his grandfather left behind in a notebook, but story premise means nothing to me if I do not have a sense of how gameplay is going to tie in. The opening section consists of unhelpful fragments that are meant to ease the player into gameplay but really just stretches out the act of walking around the map. I could not even explore the areas that I was not meant to walk to. And just when I thought that the game would be giving me a tutorial on how to play its soccer “battle system”, it only showed me a single mechanic, did not let me practice it, and then disappeared from the gameplay possibilities. Even Dragon Quest IX which has a frustratingly slow opening for a Dragon Quest game has a battle very early on to give a genuine taste of the gameplay. I do not have time to watch one thousand cutscenes if I do not even have a basic sense of how the game plays within the first hour. Goodbye soccer RPG.

Link to the Yeah!

Now this is more like it! When I was at Castle Lusipurr, among the gaming activities that took place was good use of the Wii U’s virtual console. I had actually never used it yet, so when I got home the experience convinced me peruse the store. And because my girlfriend has been using the TV to replay Skyward Sword, I decided to finally give Link to the Past the playthrough it deserves. I have played the opening five hours many, many times – as mentioned in an earlier article – but have only made a more honest effort once and even then I only made it about halfway through.

Now is the time. With an apparent return to a 2D design philosophy in the new Legend of Zelda I feel like I need to properly be familiar with the series and after beating and loving Link Between Worlds I feel like I will better appreciate Link to the Past in all its glory. Even the opening section which I have played to death feels different than it did before. I have to admit that for all my claims that I did not discriminate against it because it was old I must have believed that it was gimped somehow. The falacy that because it was older it must be missing something. That, of course, is hogwash bullocks, so I am very excited to play through it with refreshed eyes.

Final Thoughts

Look at that! I can talk about single player games! Yet another influence of my trip to Michigan is that now I want a Vita and like a child with his face sticky from endless chocolate, I cannot wait for my next treat. I want a Vita now! But I will wait until my birthday. But I want a Vita now! Anyhoo, have any of you fuckers played any of these games? Talk to me!

3 comments

  1. Zelda: LttP is the finest top-down adventure game ever made. Polished, creative, brilliant. –A reminder of what Nintendo were once capable.

  2. I have played a few days in Weapon Shop de Omasse and I can honestly say the gameplay does not improve. I usually end up forging one of every weapon, just because forging earns store points.

    While the idea of improving weapons through repeated use is good, new weapons come in often enough to make older ones obsolete even if they have been used a couple of times.

  3. @Scott – Thanks for the heads up! I deleted it after reading your comment.

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