Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Resonance of Fate - Part 2

I'm now up to Chapter 10 in "Resonance of Fate", and its far from guaranteed that I'll see Chapter 11.  Basically what happened was that after I wrote the Part 1 to this review, I was hit over the head by a piano full of inspiration.  Suddenly I had completely mastered all the tricks to "Resonance of Fate" and was a super kung-fu gunslinging master.  I breezed through the next four Chapters, even finishing a whole Chapter in a day.  Then I was hit by Chapter 10.  The mission has no boss, no dungeon, and almost no combat.  Its a side mission that crushed me, one against these giant construction worker enemies that cannot be killed except by pure luck.

So I'm going to take a long break on "Resonance of Fate".  There are a million games I have to play coming up, most notably being Square Enix's newest adventure in trying to recapture their past glory, "Final Fantasy XIII-2".  Honestly, I don't want to play a game that hates me this much.  "Resonance of Fate" so far has just been intense challenge, its been hard-core.  So I thought.  However, after losing to the twentieth time against a Piledriver Giant, I had to throw my hands up and surrender to the hate.  This game hates me.  The people who made it hate me.  There is nothing but pure hatred coming out of this machine.  No wonder why there are only two Gamefaqs walkthroughs!  Only two people ever beat it!  The difficulty in some of these encounters is simply monstrously bad.  Worse, after an addictive long play period, I wound up getting the worst migraine of my life.  So "Resonance of Fate" is actually causing physical damage to me, that's a sign I need a break.

Here's the problem:  "Resonance of Fate" is an amazing game.  I mean, there are some serious niggling faults (one of which being the refusal of this game to let me win), and a few major gameplay problems, but otherwise it is really a lot of fun.  The story opens up beautifully and the tactical combat is really awesome.  I won't give up on this title until I've fought through all its madness and come out the other side victorious.  But still, migraines are my limit.

So let me start Part 2 by pointing out the serious major problems with this game.  These reviews aren't just about me, I do like to give some consumer advice at times.  I'll start negative and go positive.  Before you buy "Resonance of Fate", you do need to know this:
  • There are random encounters on the World Map.  This usually is not a problem because the random battles are rarely very difficult.  Every battle begins with huge open doors behind you, so you can cheerfully walk away without firing a shot.  I just hate random encounters, and I doubly hate them when they have no purpose, like they do in this game.  You just get items from enemies and tiny bits of EXP.  I run away just about every time and haven't lost a step.
  • The targeting system is horribly broken and terrible.  As I mentioned before, the only way to pause time and safely pick a target is during the start of a Hero Action.  So you can easily pick your target, the problem is when you do want to take out multiple targets during a Hero Action.  "Resonance of Fate"'s targeting system loves to target the farthest enemy - the ones that take the longest to hit and will suffer the least damage when you do hit them.  I wish you could just pause mid-action and pick another target, or even pre-plan your Hero Action, but you can't.  You might get one enemy, then you'll fumble around for thirty precious seconds trying to hit the guy next to you because the game wants you to hit a small dog fifty miles away hiding behind a wall.  It really doesn't help that the targeting system is really unintuitive, the directions never seem to go the way you want to.  If an enemy is behind you, pressing down won't target that enemy, it will target the small dog.
  • You cant' tell which of your party members the enemies are targeting.  "Final Fantasy XII", the other semi-realtime RPG I played helpfully gave little lines that directly indicated who your enemies were after, allowing you to change your actions accordingly.  In "Resonance of Fate", you have to guess depending on who the enemies are facing.  I learned a trick in this game - you're completely immune to damage during a Hero Attack.  So if the boss wants to use his super attack against you, you can Hero Attack at that second and make him lose a turn.  If you knew who the enemies were after, you could also hide those characters behind terrain and save them from damage.
  • The shops suck.  Every item you need that's of any use must come from the crafting system.  This is an utterly horrible idea that is direct evidence for my postulation that "Resonance of Fate" hates me.  You want that super double-barrel for your machine gun?  Sorry, can't have it because you need a "Silver Chip".  What's a Silver Chip?  What enemy has a Silver Chip?  You'll never know.  This is why I hate crafting systems, in every RPG, I always hate them.
So now that the negatives are out of the way, I'll talk about other things about this game.

Since my last post, I've gone ahead and taken the plunge.  I am now a full-blown fashionista.  Ultimately "Resonance of Fate"'s complex outfit system was too much temptation to resist.  Yes, I knew that buying outfits was a completely pointless exercise that was nothing but a waste of money*.  The inspiration just came to me mid-battle:  I needed to dress Vash up like Ryan Gosling in "Drive".  "Drive" is just the most awesome movie ever made, and if I could play as him in a video game it would be the coolest thing ever.  So far the shops aren't selling cream jackets with symbolic scorpions on the back, but I did find one white jacket with red markings that's almost as good.  I added jeans, driving gloves, and the effect is working pretty well.  If I unfocus my eyes, its the Driver.  Then I started going a bit crazy:  I gave Leanne a shirt with SEGA** logos and a chibi version of the playable trio to create some metafictional irony, I gave Zephyr some bright white cloths to make him full disco, and I turned Leanne's eyes yellow and purple so she looked like an alien.

I'm going to give "Resonance of Fate" huge props for the clothing detail, because not only does it change your character in the main game, it also changes them in the cutscenes.  So Vash is the Driver in every scene, even flashbacks.  That's awesome.

Changing Leanne's eye colors turned out to be an oddly effective character design decision, because it turns out that Leanne is actually an escaped science experiment made by the big villains.  All the major three characters have dark pasts that lead back to the game's ongoing mythology plotline.  Vash was a former soldier for the Cardinals that left after his party was murdered by a monster girl.  Zephyr was a... something, I'm still not sure yet.  But in the opening he went a murderous rampage, he's probably got some kind of major purpose.  The villains are still as cryptic and unsettling as ever, even if they haven't done anything evil just yet.  You know its coming.

So far "Resonance of Fate", story-wise, is the best anime I've watched in a while.

Speaking of the storyline, some of the characters in this game have... problems.  This is the boss of Chapter 7.  Much like Gary Oldman in "Red Riding Hood", that character is trying his best to be the hammiest actor in a game full of scenery chewing.  One major character is a Cardinal Pater, who acts like a mentally retarded Peter Lorre.  Pater is in love with Leanne, which leads to a seriously disturbing scene.  A random goblin walks into a scene between Pater and Leanne, so Pater tries to win her heart by defeating this pathetic low-level enemy.  So he punches the thing so hard he breaks the life stone on his hand, which instantly kills him.  Pater is dead on the ground.  Then the main character go home and never mention this event again.  I'm really disturbed by how cruel this game is Peter Lorre.  The man was in "The Maltese Falcon", Tri-Ace should treat him better.

Everything was well and good until I reached Chapter 10.  The Piledriver Giants are impossible, it cannot be done, I refuse.  I really like this game and its storyline, but I simply cannot allow a game to be this unfair to me for so long.  There comes a point when you get sick of the spoiled brat cheating, pick up your ball, and go home.  Maybe in a month he'll be more willing to play fair.  We'll see.  For me, however, its "Final Fantasy XIII-2" time.

HUGE UPDATE:  I actually was able to beat the Piledriver Giants.  I had to eventually give in and use my best weapons, especially the rare bullets that go right through enemy shields and hit their main body.  Those bullets I usually save for bosses, but this time I had give up and cheese it.  So I beat them all and got some ultra rare Ice Bullets in exchange.  What was happening was that the Piledriver Giants were able to simply recover all the scratch damage I did to them before I got a chance to hit them.  So with a better gun and those magic bullets, I was Der Freisch├╝tz, and the Piledrivers fell to my awesome power.

Also, the big secret to getting better in "Resonance of Fate" is to upgrade your guns as much as you can.  What I never would have guessed is that you can actually upgrade your guns to pure absurdity.  To beat the Piledrivers Giants, I equipped three barrels to my machine gun, and added something like three sights.  Now, two barrels is pretty crazy for any weapon, but three is pretty absurd, especially when one of my barrels is actually pointing down.  The customization options are so extensive to the point of stupid, even if these options could work (which they never would because the barrels are completely disconnected to the firing mechanism), the gun would explode in your hand - and that's assuming you could even hold it.  Somehow or another doing this results in your stats skyrocketing to absurdity equaled only by the gun.  So now I could knock out three quarters of the Piledriver's health in one attack, before he could heal it.  Thus, I won.

I then started up Chapter 11 just to see the opening cutscene.  You won't believe it, but the game gets even better there.  Zephyr has to fight a one-on-one duel with this maniac priest who can teleport.  It was really awesome, and I think a fitting conclusion to what I'll call "Resonance of Fate - Season 1".  Once I finish "Final Fantasy XIII-2" or give up in frustration I'll start Season 2.

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* One positive of the shops being shit is that you never have anything to buy, so your money is always free.  So far most of my money goes into restarting lost battles.

** SEGA is the game's publisher.  So far every PS3 game I've played - all three of them - has had a SEGA logo in the bottom right corner.  "Final Fantasy XIII-2" will end this trend.

8 comments:

  1. you can switch aiming targets with the D-Pad (which you can also do when 'Hero-Actioning'), and get an accessory that drops the encounter rate (well, I don't seem to get any fights when I'm equipping it) in the coliseum.

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    1. I know you can switch the target with the D-pad. I'm saying that it doesn't work. It never targets what I what.

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  2. you say this game is hard?

    I know your not a fan of Wrpgs, but Dark Souls.

    and for something a little different (almost more of an action game than an RPG) there's Monster Hunter, equally as hard.

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  3. I really wouldn't have any hopes of FFXIII-2 being remotely good, as far as I can tell the storyline is worse, and you're stuck with two main idiots and a monster in your team (which, if you so desire you can dress up) and instead of brightly coloured tunnels, they've given you a lot more to explore. I'm prepared for a crushing disappointment not unlike my experience with FFXIII.

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  4. Blue, have you ever played The World Ends With You for DS? It's a surprisingly awesome Square game that came out in 2008. It's pretty rare now, so I had to order my copy from Amazon. Also, the main characters are appearing in Kingdom Hearts 3D, so if you want to know their backstories, it would be a good idea to at least give it a try.

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  5. twewy is possibly the best RPG ever made, its the modern Chrono Trigger or Earthbound

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  6. Off topic: Thanks for recommending "The Guard", it was as good as you said it was.

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  7. I rhink you never found the arena. In the arena you can level, you can also find a tutorial and there is a bestiary where you can look up, which enemy drops what. as far as I remember.

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