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Love/Hate? or Entertainment?

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Hey it's actually a blog post from me. Crazy talk huh? I've been busy with other things and I haven't had a topic I really wanted to ramble about. Well, I found a topic and it is all thanks to a JRPG I just finished. I'm going to be doing some general ranting about the game, but I'll also get into my gaming philosophy which actually extends out to other things. I've also got some other things I'm going to do as well at the end. So scroll down to see the surprise!

Anyway, the game I was playing this week was Time and Eternity, or Toki to Towa. When it first got announced and showed off I was very excited for it. A game that looks like an anime and plays like you're watching an anime? How could I not be interested? It's a JRPG so it is a bit of a given, but hey bonuses are bonuses for a reason. They add, and they stack. Stackable bonuses are the best! ^^

Time and Eternity does a lot of brave things, which I actually enjoyed. But it also does a lot of stupid things which I hate. So there lies the matter. Love/Hate is something that is pretty common in general for anyone. There are those things that you Love and those that you Hate, and don't forget the things that you Love to Hate and Hate to Love. I usually just say polarizing, like FFXIII. But we'll get into that later.

I've played a lot of games and a lot of RPGs, mostly RPGs. I've never found one that has annoyed me or frustrated me or cheapened things as much as this game. It's pretty rare, but I actually thought about just stopping and not completing it if it was going to be so annoying. And this is where things get complicated. On the whole, the game is fine and it works. However, their designers are some sadistic jerks or just really bad designers, not sure which. But there is a percentage of enemies that you are just going to struggle against and not in a good way. Not in a way that teaches you something and you take away. All you take away from it is that it was stupid and that it completely flies in the face of the rest of the game.

I'm being vague, so I'll explain. The game's combat works different from any game I've played for sure. I don't know if it is unique or not, but it was for me. Points for them in trying something different. Anyway, the way combat works is you control a single character, there are no other party members really, there is a dragon, but it is AI control and minor in its influence on combat, most times. The way it works is that you have attacks mapped to faces buttons and then you have a guard button and a dodge button/stick. Combat is all in real time, so you have to guard and dodge in real time and have the timing right. No problem, I've played action RPGs before. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Part of me thinks that their excuse is that they did not program blending of animations, which is mostly true. Though you can interrupt animations of enemies, so it is not completely. And part of me thinks that they just were not thinking about it. The way it works to dodge is you have to be completely done with your animation of your last action, usually an attack before you can dodge. This often means a full second a times where you're unable to dodge despite your actual damage was done a while ago and it is simply ending your animation. You're doing nothing but finishing an animation, but you can't dodge.

That is where things start to get annoying and hard. The combat is about patterns, you learn the enemy's pattern and exploit their downtime. When they attack you dodge, simply right? Not when you can't dodge when you want. But that can be forgiven, because you adapt and allow for greater than normal windows on your attacks to dodge. The game's combat trains you to fight when the enemy is not and dodge when it is.

Yet, there are monsters with infinite attack cycles. They will keep attacking with no downtime at all. Which completely goes against the entire design of everything else. How does that even make sense?! And that is where I'm annoyed with the game. It is a literal dodge fest with no attacks. So you're forced to take hits, or use your limit supply of time spells that can freeze, loop or accelerate time. But why would you use that one monsters, not even bosses, when you only get them back by leveling, going home or using limited available items. Most times you only have 3 uses total, not each. And when it is likely you'll fight ten battles before leveling and the battles are going to be repeats of the same monsters over again and some times the same infinite attacking monster several times in a single battle. It makes things frustrating.

The frustrating of the throwing controllers across the room kind. Yeah.

And yet, it is not all the time this happens. So there will be brief times that I just want to yell at the game for being dumb and other times I'm cruising and enjoying things a little annoyed I screwed up that dodge, but it was my fault.

Oh and they have a late game bosses that opens with a one shot unless you time freeze and get your defense boost up in time. >.> Not a fan of their design ideas.

So that gets me to more of the core matter. I hated moments in the game enough that I actually wanted to stop playing, though I finished it. However, most time I was enjoying it enough to keep going. It is rare for me to find a game that actually is polarizing to me. I can't completely hate it, but I can't say I always enjoyed it either.

This gets me more to my philosophy on how I consume entertainment. The way I work is that I generally don't have strong opinions positive or negative on whatever it is. If leaves me with an impression where I have to say it was amazing or I love it, then it is a big deal. The way I work is that I can find something good in even the bad. As though as it is not functionally broke, I'll probably enjoy it. Focusing on games for the sake of narrowing down the field. There are admittedly a lot of games this generation in the JRPG that are not necessary stellar or near masterpieces, but I still liked them. It is because if I can find something enjoyable about them I'm happy with the game. Was I entertained is the question I ask myself. If I can say yes, then I'm happy, because guess what. A game is entertainment, it doesn't need to be perfect to actually be enjoyable. It doesn't have to be innovative to let me have fun.

I'll admit it means I'll have lower standards than others, but games are meant to be enjoyed and entertain, same with any other entertainment medium. If they can't be enjoyed on that simple level, then yes they will be bad, but otherwise sometimes it is there simply to be fun or enjoyed rather than to push the art.

This is why I can enjoy games like the Neptunia series, it is a blast to play because the story is funny. It is why I loved playing FFXIII, the combat was a blast and the story was interesting to follow. Sure I know it failed to deliver some elements, but I had fun playing it. I can overlook the places it stumbles, because it was just a trip, not a death fall.

It is way I own too much anime and read too much manga. It makes me laugh, cry or think. So I enjoy it. I tend not to try to pick something apart to figure out where it was making holes in the plot or world. I'm there to be entertained.

This does mean I'm a bad person to go to on if something was good or bad, because I'll just say I have fun. I'll tend to give a more middling opinion. Because my criteria for myself is so different from what people are wanting, it makes it difficult to answer in a way that is going to actually help them. I enjoy nearly everything on some level. If I happen to actually say something is bad, then that actually means something because something disengaged me on a fundamental level. Sure, if I have to I can start looking through and finding where things start good or bad against other things. But I'm not really fan of that.

I'm more of the mind of finding out what you enjoy. Does it fit into what you enjoy? Then try it! Scores, stares, rankings mean nothing. So come prefaced with what you enjoy when asking if something is good, because I'm bad at rating things. I do place nearly everything in a neutral position on "ratings" and only the few that leave an impression on me fall outside of that range. Time and Eternity is one such example.

If you're wondering if any of this came from people asking and me getting annoyed, no it's not. This is simply spurred for me playing Time and Eternity. You're more than welcome to ask my opinion on things, but it's probably good to know my philosophy. I'll say something is good a lot of times, it means pretty much nothing. Good is just a standard answer of, sure if you enjoy that sort of thing try it out you'll probably enjoy it as well.

Surprise! Yeah, this is where the surprise contained. I've debated this for a while whether I actually wanted to do it. Since I've actually started to reconsider actually continuing I figured I'd drop this here and let you know it exists and see what happens. I've been getting annoyed with the interruptions it causes while I'm playing, which is why I've been thinking about stopping. But if there is more interest, I guess I'll continue. Anyway, what am I yammering about?

Why it is this or that, in the case of being after rather than before. Anyway, yes in secret without your knowledge I've started recording my playthroughs of the JRPGs I buy. It is youtube channel exclusively devoted to JRPGs only. So if you're wanting to watch me play games, you can now. Just note that I don't talk. I know that many Let's Play have people talk, but I find that talking ruins the experience. I play JRPGs for the story and what is happening, if I can't hear things then part of it is taken away. Also, I wouldn't have a lot to really say while I play, Time and Eternity would be different and that's would be getting annoyed with it. But pretty much, you'd just here me fangirl'ing over something that happened, which you really don't want to hear either.

So sorry, you can't find out what I sound like. ^^ And no I don't plan to add commentary.

The way things work is that I record everything I play for the playthrough. I tend to 100% runs, I don't record them. This is merely for you to enjoy the story and game. And maybe get you to buy it because you see something you might enjoy. Because these are JRPGs and they are a niche genre that needs your love and money! ^^

The other thing is that I run requests as well. Currently, the game I'm playing as a request is Shin Megami Tensei: Digitial Devil Saga. Once I finish I'll be looking for another request. The only condition is that it has to be from my library of games, which is very large. Once request time actually comes around I'll be making a video that provides the list to pick from. I play the requested game on Fridays and upload over the weekend, provided there is not something else stopping me from playing, usually work or a new JRPG release.

Currently, I'm uploading Atelier Ayesha. I finished it a long time ago, but there like 50 hours of video. So it is going to take a while to get it all up. ^^ I have two more games in the wings after that and with the JRPG season in Fall, I won't be in short supply.

And I did make the video I attached. I was still getting my editing feet back one. I'm happier with the results than the SMT: DDS teaser, but I still have more work I want to do. So I plan to make the next ones better. The one part I enjoy about the process is making the teasers. I love editing, so it is a lot of fun to actually make them.

~~Andromeda the Kitty~~

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  1. LocoColt04's Avatar
    OH MY GOSH I love love love love love Digital Devil Saga!!!

    How are you enjoying it thus far??
  2. Andromeda's Avatar
    Aside from the high encounter at times, it is enjoyable. It naturally has quite a different feel from the Persona games, which are my only other MegaTen experience. I'll probably be playing again this Friday, get through another dungeon.
  3. LocoColt04's Avatar
    If you're enjoying other entries in the MegaTen realm, you'd like enjoy Devil Summoner/2 as well!

    But really, nothing beats the main, numerical entries.

    Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne on PS2
    Shin Megami Tensei IV on 3DS

    These games. THESE GAMES. Ugh, so delicious.
  4. Andromeda's Avatar
    I have Devil Summoner 2 and I have Nocturne as well. Atlus was supposed to be re-releasing Devil Summoner 1 and 2, but I haven't heard anything about it. So I'm a little disappointed by that. But I'm looking forward to Persona 5. ^^ I want that badly.