Tuesday, April 20, 2010
From East to West
After reaching a point in FFXIII where I can either choose to move forward in the narrative or start the grinding process to gain levels (which is Chapter Eleven for those playing along), I have decided to put the game aside for awhile. I don’t play a lot of JRPG’s, so I lack the skill set to expertly combine weapons and accessories. Because of this, I kind of like the grinding process. It allows me to gain levels so I don’t necessarily have to worry about being so clever with combinations of characters and equipment. But doing this can be unbelievably boring. For any novices to the genre out there who are curious, the process involves hunting around for enemies that offer high amounts of CP (XP) and then running around in circles fighting them over and over again until you feel comfortable enough to progress. So in order to not get totally burnt out on the game, I am only going to grind a couple of hours at a time until my Crystarium is up to Level 5 for each character's Main Role and before continuing with the main quest. I am up to Level 4 with each, so it shouldn’t be too long.
In the meantime, I have started a quest in Dragon Age: Origins. That’s right, I moved from a Japanese RPG to a Western RPG. For those keeping track, this RPG streak is pretty unusual for me. After falling deep into the pool of Action Adventure games with some FPS’s thrown in the mix, turning back around and starting games that involve so much, well, thought, hasn’t been the most comfortable transition. My least favorite part of progressing through a standard RPG is the intricate equipment/item menus. Gathering items, combining items, deciding which armor set works best. Picking up weapons, analyzing stats, creating the best kind of spell map. This is a language I only took introduction classes to in high school but never took in college, leaving me with only the basics such as ‘My name is Jessica. Please show me to the library.’ Or in this case, ‘I am a Human Mage. Please upgrade my shield automatically.’ Despite all of that, however, I have become completely sucked into Dragon Age. Matt has been assisting me with the equipment and quest menu since he played DA last fall, which is helping me a lot. Unlike FFXIII where the combat system is interesting but the story lacks luster, the narrative in DA is very compelling in a Tolkienish way-the loading screen informed me last night that I have been playing for nine hours already and I was surprised. I have travelled as far as Redcliffe and am currently trying to gather knowledge about a sick Arl while seducing a dude named Alistair. Oh, and I won an epic battle involving zombies. Good times!
Since I have committed to switching back and forth between two different 70-80 hour games I can’t see myself starting anything else for quite awhile. I am starting to fall behind on the new games, which is okay because summer will give me a chance to catch up. My PAX Prime badge has officially been purchased. It seems crazy to just get back from one and start planning for another. Luckily, this one doesn’t involve flight and hotel arrangements, so the planning stage only really requires requesting Friday off work and acquiring a badge. I registered on the Penny Arcade Forums to try to get more involved in the actual Seattle PAX Community, but so far the gatherings in Seattle seem largely LAN related. I can’t imagine what a meetup of console players would look like (Maybe a bunch of frat boys roughing up a couch and swearing while playing Madden or COD?), so I suppose it makes sense.