Monday, September 8, 2014

The tough questions

I believe that I have made a fatal error in leveling the main character, one that it may very well be too late to fix. Kill garner elemental points (or something like that) and experience points. Elemental points are fed into you leveling orb and then focused into one of six elements, depending on what crystal you had assigned. Translation: leveling is boring and the player has very little control over what happens out side of assigned the crystal.

Here is where it broke for me: you are only shown the next few things that a given crystal will unlock. Sometimes it is a new skill or arte, other times it just levels up an existing arte. What kills me that is that there is no way to know if a character has learned everything that they can from a given category. I want to make one out before I move on to the next, meaning that my main character is still learned water based skills. He has been since I started and I do not know if I can stop. Ever.

The gaming taking control away, even superficial control, is not necessarily a bad thing. Diablo III does this but it tells you what is coming and when you are going to get it. Xillia 2 keeps me in the dark, so for all I know my Ludger is a giant pansy because all of his good abilities are in the fire category and I have put all of my points into water.

How close most of the boss battles have been is a good indication that I have been systematically screwing myself. I'm not proud, there is a safety net called Easy difficulty waiting and I will not hesitate to use it. Combat is still fun, it's a Tales game after all, so crushing under powered enemies would still be enjoyable.

The plot, as convoluted as it is, does bring up some interesting ethical questions. Ludger and company are tasked with destroying splinter dimensions, little copies of the prime dimension that siphon off its limited magical powers. Ludger's elder brother was the first to be able to do this but he has gone rogue. The two of them share a specific power required for the splinter dimensions' destruction (only Ludger doesn't have it, the NPC little girl does). The giant evil company that previously employed the elder brother is forcing Ludger to carry on the family business via a gigantic debt, to the tune of  ten million gald, that he was saddled with at the beginning of the game. The end game is reaching Canaan which is supposed to grant a wish to the first human to set foot on it, and it just gets stranger from there.

That was not me having a stroke, that is, in a nutshell, what has happened so far. The ethical quandary is as follows: is it every acceptable to destroy another world to save your own? The splinter dimensions are living places, exact copies of the prime dimension, filled with millions of being who have no idea that they are just copies. To make it even more complicated, one being from the first dimension you destroy escapes with Ludger, a copy of Maxwell, the lord of spirits, and she is not exactly pleased with the explanation.

I do wish that Ludger had lines beyond 'pained grunt' but even with him being mute it is a difficult question. I predict the end will be a lot like the first game, with no one really being evil, just different ideas of how best to solve a problem. Instead of talking it out they try to kill each other because diplomacy is boring.

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