The swirling mass of video game titles has been slowing down around me and I have been left with pretty much only Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright and Final Fantasy X. Even my Rogue Legacy runs have slowed down. “Why?” I hear a chorus of LusiPets cry out? Well to answer that, I will have to start my first subheading.
More time, less time
As many of you know, I left my job at BellMedia in an attempt to more clearly focus on what matters to me and to make a more concentrated effort to work in a field I care about and have experience in. I also hoped to use the time to start work on projects that I had to leave by the wayside when I worked full time. This decision has left me with more time, it is true, but now that I have water to sprinkle on the seeds of all my projects, they have grown to sizes that do not fit in the same space. My time and energy problem persists, but with different items, and it remains relatively unchanged that the projects that I would like to work on for my own personal sake are taking a backseat to the efforts which are most likely to secure my financial future. Therefore the many games that I would like to play or replay have been taking a backseat as I rush to finish Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright so that I can review it. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, I think the game is quite good. But I suppose that is running into next subheading territory.
More like Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright Best Friends For Life
Seriously, why did “vs” ever enter the title? It is clear that the idea was always to join Layton and Wright’s penchant for logical thinking so that their two different styles could inform each other. There is no pretense of a rivalry, not even for a moment. That annoying marketing decision aside, the game is pretty great. The premise was a perfect choice to meld the two gameplay styles, visual styles, and sensibilities. I am new to the Phoenix Wright series, but Labyrinthia is – so far – more far-fetched than most Professor Layton premises, despite their exaggerated leanings, but the probably-outside-canon combination of the two worlds allows for a more generous suspension of disbelief.
The part that bothers me the most is a lack of thematic commitment, at least that is what it appears to be at this point. Labyrinthia is supposedly a world that operates without logic and is still in the habit of burning witches alive. The fact that it turns out to be a conspiracy does not change the fact that the townspeople (and the player for a time) believe the deaths to be real. The characters appear to react as if a bit too aware that things are going to turn out all right in the end. Also, the judge of the Witches Court is fair and logical when it is convenient, but he is naive and easily manipulated when it is convenient. Also, the great “Storyteller” character who scripts the story that the town of Labyrinthia plays out uses storytelling terminology, but is not actually particularly articulate or compelling in his speech. This holds true also for any poetry or “legends” that the crew find in their adventures. They are pigeonholed and only mimic the style of what they are attempting to fully encompass. It is strange because the game’s overarching story is extremely well-paced and interesting, and the characters are mostly strong, but the work done to flesh out the well-woven tale feels like it comes short of the mark.
I believe that one reason for this is because of a poor alignment between story themes and gameplay difficulty. Again, I only know the Professor Layton side of things, but the experience is watered down just a little. Some of the decisions make sense to me, and I understand that essentially making two games in one – no matter how complimentary the styles – will bring about compromises, but the choice to make it easier does not appear to make a lot of sense to me, especially when the story complexity reflects a decision to aim at a more intelligent group. Most of my mistakes in the Phoenix Wright portions are also because the answer was too easy and I was too far ahead in my logic, assuming that the answer had to be more complex than what was being presented.
Also, just recently – at around the 25 hour mark – I had my first instance of fully melded gameplay. Until now, it was a matter of swapping back and forth with all characters involved in most of both sides. This worked out fine, but seeing that there was an attempt to bring the gameplay together confuses me that it was introduced so late. There is hardly a story reason for it that I can see, at least not a strong reason, and the attempt was successful, so I am disappointed that it entered the game so late. It feels like a lack of confidence. Unless the game is much longer than I expect it to be. Anyway, enough of that.
Final Fantasy X
Still. A little, anyway. It has been a few days since I have played it now because of my heavy focus on Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright, but it is liberating to not have to pretend about the story sections and just enjoy the battle system. It is very much like Final Fantasy XIII to me in this way. I still do not really care for the weapon system, but I am enjoying the sphere grid well enough and trying to use the battle system the way it was intended. Still, it just feels like a layover until Final Fantasy XII HD is released. Which it never will be.
So much to do! I am hopefully going to be releasing a little mobile game called Sad Ryan in the next month, but we are making the switch to Unity, so that is going to set us back a little bit. It will be worth it, however. There will be more platform options and work will be much faster once it is all switched over. Until next time, LusiInvestigators, keep your head low and your gaming thumbs exercised. The calm before the storm will not last for too much longer.