September 30, 2007

All Good Things...

Well, it's the last night of break and tomorrow Term 2 begins. I am roughly the same combination of excited and anxious that I was a few months ago, though I think the reasons have somewhat changed. Either way, I'm looking forward to learning more about game design. The sheer amount of information and skills I learned last term is almost unbelievable. I intend to for my break to end the same way it began: with an unreasonable amount of video games. I just haven't decided what to play yet.

I picked up Eternal Sonata last night and have been playing the crap out of it - almost eleven hours since yesterday night. I think the game is extremely well put together: the graphics are dazzling, the battle system is fun and keeps developing as I play, the music is quite good, and the story seems solid though it doesn't appear to blaze any new trails. Probably the one thing I find strangest is the economy and, more specifically, the way selling photos completely unbalances it.

Even a crappy photo of a boss monster can net thousands upon thousands of gold and you are capable of holding up to 12 separate photos. Shop keepers will even buy copies of the same picture for the same price. What this means is that after EACH boss battle the player can receive an influx of about 50K to 100K in gold in a world where ALL the weapons, armor, and items for the entire party might run 5 to 10K. Currently I'm sitting on about 175K gold and that just seems odd.

It may have been a conscious design decision to promote the environment/mythos (photos in Chopin's day would probably have run a pretty high price), but that still doesn't make it a good one. Baten Kaitos similarly used photos to fund the party, but the combination of the randomness of drawing a camera attack and lower prices for photos in general are what made that system feasible. In the end it's not a huge deal, but it does mitigate the feeling of equipment progression when you can buy whatever you want (or 100 of whatever you want) as soon as you find it. Regardless, I've been enjoying my run through the game, and it's nice to see the 360 finally getting some solid JRPGs, but I'm still waiting to play The Last Remnant or Lost Odyssey.

Alright, enough writing, time to go enjoy my last few hours of game-filled freedom!

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