Friday, May 2, 2014

And you thought I wasn't cultured

Let's talk about poetry for a second.

Why does this work?

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore -
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door -
"Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
           Only this and nothing more."
                                                         -Poe, The Raven

Is it because it rhymes? No, at least not just because of that. There is a rhythm to it, a meter, a flow that makes it comfortable to read, especially when read aloud. No syllables stick out, no lines feel truncated. I am not saying that all poetry needs rhymes and rhythm but when it is in that genre please read the damn thing out loud a few times to see if it works.

Now, why are we talking about this?

'And so Aurora wandered
The Twilight forest, far from home
Starlight only to guide her
Except for a firefly, alone.

Anxious for the comforts
Of family who could not trace her,
Searching for the sun and moon
A father to embrace her.'

I am no more a poet than I am a writer, but come on. Read it aloud. Do it. Now...

'And so Aurora wandered
The Twilight forest, far from home
Starlight all there was to guide her
But for a firefly, alone.

Anxious for the comforts lost,
A family who could not trace her,
Searching for the sun and moon
Strong Father's arms there to embrace her.'

That just feels better (trace her - embrace her is still pretty weak...). The game? Oh, right, Child of Light is a game first, poem second. Simplistic take on JRPG combat running on the same engine as Rayman Legends. For the most part, no problems, but I am not a fan of the player's party being limited to two active characters in combat. So far I have accumulated several of the standard RPG tropes: the main hero who is a jack of all trades, a melee healer (cleric), a magic user and a character that inflicts status effects. Having only two at a time always leaves a role unfilled, kind of like the missing syllables it the poetry. I can do physical and magic damage but have no way to heal or I can do only physical damage but have no status effects, etc.

There is a reason many RPGs have the party set at three: it covers all the bases and is still manageable. Child of Light seems to know its own limitation and allows party members to be swapped out in combat at no cost but that is no replacement for having a third active character.

Child of Light is a very good small role playing game, so far. It comes up one beat short in several areas but looks good enough to make up for it.

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