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Round 3, Match 28: Persona 4 Golden - Winner (4) vs. Final Fantasy Tactics (1)

JuMeSynJuMeSyn Code: KirinAdministrators
edited July 2014 in Battle Royale!
Match 28: Which battle system do you prefer?
Persona 4 Golden
Final Fantasy Tactics
We're beginning 6 minutes or so before midnight for the east coasters on Monday. This round will probably end with the inauguration of Wednesday morning.

Who's arguing this time? Glenn, Paul, Becky and Phil. Let the discussion commence!
It's about 15 minutes before midnight on the east, but the winner is clear. We're taking a break before the semifinals begin!
It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
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Comments

  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited June 2014
    *walks away muttering something about gambits*
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Oh my. I love both of them....oh me oh my....
  • FaustekFaustek New Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    JCServant wrote: »
    Oh my. I love both of them....oh me oh my....

    Oh my indeed. But I'll make it easy for myself and say I actually prefer P4G but Tactics have the better....yeah no I can't make a decision. All the feelings are clouding my Judgement... I'll just vote for Pancakes.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited June 2014
    Tough choice. Both battle systems are fun, both keep me coming back for more...hmm, might have to flip a coin for this one.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited June 2014
    I didn't really like either (assuming Persona 4's combat is like Persona 3 that is).

    Persona's battle system gets overcomplicated by character growth (getting the skills you want), whereas the combat itself is very generic turn based combat with a stronger emphasize on using the right elements.
    Final Fantasy Tactics gets also overcomplicated by character growth with all the class choices and stuff, but at least the combat itself is SRPG style which will always be superior to turn based RPG combat.

    So despite me not liking either, the choice is still easy for me: Final Fantasy Tactics
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited June 2014
    Persona 4's battle system is like 3's Rya, except you can now control your other party members in battle by setting them to Manual, and for each level of their social link, they gain some new helpful things they can do in battle without taking up a turn.

    To list them...if a blow could kill you, a party member may push you out of the way and take the blow themselves. If you get knocked down, a party member may come pick you back up onto your feet. If you get a status effect such as fear/panic/fury/charm, a party member may come and slap you to get you back to your senses. Best one of all, if you hit an enemy with a weakness, and not all enemies are down, a party member may ask to do a special move that often knocks down another enemy or the remainder of them (or in the case of Chie's, literally kung-fu kicking them out of the battle like they were a member of Team Rocket "blasting off again".)
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited June 2014
    Not voting this round, but I think I'd have to pull for Persona 4 Golden if I was. I love tactical RPGs, but FFT has never been a favorite outside of the characters and story. When I played it for the first time back in the late 90s, I kept thinking how much more awesome it would have been with a Vandal Hearts or Shining Force style battle system instead of what it has. Persona 4 Golden is the best of the P3/4 iterations, so that one is the least troublesome for me with all the control you have this time.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • PawsPaws Purr RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Wow, both games I have played for hundreds of hours across multiple systems. There's no real losing this match. I'd probably strategically vote P4G ahead because sentiment is stronger for it.
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited June 2014
    This is a hard match to call, even if I throw out any pretense at objectivity and go with my gut. Both systems are highly engaging, and require active participation and strategic thought (you can't just mash 'Attack' to win; but then again, it would be almost unthinkable for a game like that to make it this far in the tournament).

    Both games are representatives of very strong categories (tactical RPGs on one hand, and SMT on the other). FFT's battle system is admittedly difficult to separate from its lovely job system (one of the best, IMO), and P4 has its variation on Nocturne's beloved press-turn system. I can't pick between the two, so taking the easy path and judging based on category is out.

    I guess this comes down to balance. FFT has a couple of battles where it's necessary to cheese it to win (e.g. Wiegraf); but, I never found myself questioning P4's fairness. Like many SMT games, it's uniformly unfair :p.

    I'm casting my ~0.5% of a vote for P4.
    Only the livin' have the privilege of sayin' they'll fight ta the last breath.
    And words like conviction and resolve don't mean much to a dead man...
    --Raven (Tales of Vesperia)
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    I think I'm going to go with Persona 4. FFT is pretty fantastic, but P4 is helped by some modern touches that make it more user-friendly to play. It is challenging yet fairly accessible (especially for SMT), while FFT can be very frustrating for first-time players.

    I only wish the Persona games would get themselves some more interesting dungeons, but this isn't the Dungeon Design Battle Royale, so I don't have to worry about that.

    Vote: Persona 4

    [video=youtube_share;BX-A2F6QKwQ]
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • KeldarusKeldarus RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Persona 4 or Final Fantasy Tactics. Tactics has a great system, but it gets crazy complicated with skills, jobs and some terrible fights, both random and set encounters. Persona 4 has a fairly straight forward (on the surface) turn based battle system. However, combining Persona's and using the right balance of skills and Persona's to defeat many of the tougher and optional foes. I'm going with Persona 4 because I think it relies less on RNG to make the battle system more fun and fair.

    -Kel
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Ocelot wrote: »
    I think I'm going to go with Persona 4. FFT is pretty fantastic, but P4 is helped by some modern touches that make it more user-friendly to play. It is challenging yet fairly accessible (especially for SMT), while FFT can be very frustrating for first-time players. [video=youtube_share;BX-A2F6QKwQ]

    You know...I thought this was going to be hard. I thought I was going to be pulling out my hair for the next day or two trying to judge these two battle systems. It's like trying to pick yer favorite child!! But, then Becky reminded me... I don't have to! There's no need to put myself through ALL that stress!! Nope! Like with most things in life, I just need to look to my spouse!

    She tried FFT one time, and quickly put it back down. She played Persona, and spent hours and hours in it. Becky's right... P4G *is* much more approachable than any SMT...but most importantly, it's approachable all around. Even people with relatively little CPRG experience can enjoy P4G. Yet, it's deep enough to captivate experienced RPGamers for dozens (if not hundreds) of hours. And while an argument can be made that it's the entire experience that draws people into P4G (whereas FFT's battle system does ALL the heavy lifting), the reality is that 1) most of those non-combat systems feed right into combat and 2) P4G still has a TON of fighting and dungeon crawling. If the combat wasn't fun, she would have stopped after a trip or two into baddie land. If it wasn't deep, I (and most RPGamers) would have done the same.

    I love FFT... and I really, really hate to be the one to shoot down what is probably the last SRPG in this Battle Royale. I love SPRGs!! But, I find myself here... holding the smoking gun.

    Vote: Persona 4 Golden

    P.S. And, really, who COULD vote against that Galactic Punt?? LOL.
  • JormungandJormungand Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    Having attempted P3:FES on a Year Of month, I found the battle system to be nigh unplayable. I expressed doubt about trying another Persona game ever again if they are similar. It seems P4 changes many things for the better, but P3 left such an awful taste that it probably skews my perception of the entire series. Its battle system was punishing and largely inscrutable, and at no time during my play did I say or think, "this is fun".

    On the other hand, you have FFT, an exceptional strategy RPG for its job system and battle mechanics. You can knock people off cliffs, and they'll take damage for it. Crossbows shoot straight and bows arc. Polearms and poles reach two units of distance. Large, cumbersome weapons do big damage but the damage range wildly varies because they are difficult to wield. When you're swimming, you can't use a weapon, but when you're only knee-deep in water, have at it. The braver you are, the more likely you are to avoid an attack. If you're left in a bloody heap for too long, you're going to die--but there's still a chance to save you if the doctor is nearby. You can put down the undead, but they may very well get right back up again. The less faith you have in the gods, the less their magic will affect you. All jobs fill a particular role and niche, and you can mix and match talents to expand character versatility.

    You might have read that and are now thinking "What's with the stream of consciousness? It's a big list of random stuff." Well, I listed all of these seemingly random features because they make sense. You would expect these things to happen. Every mechanic in FFT was purposeful and in service to the battle system as a whole.

    Very little made sense in P3. Its battle system could be fairly described as a bizarre collection of meaningless rules. P4 ostensibly fixes things, but I imagine the DNA is still there.
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited June 2014
    Jormungand wrote: »
    Very little made sense in P3. Its battle system could be fairly described as a bizarre collection of meaningless rules.

    Well, no, I don't think you could fairly describe it as such. You hit an enemy with something they're weak against, it throws them off balance, and you can follow up your advantage with another attack. Knock all the enemies down, and the entire enemy party becomes vulnerable to a large-scale attack. This is one of the basic mechanics of combat in Persona 3/4, and I think it's quite intuitive.

    What battle system rules, specifically, did you think were meaningless? The skill/spell names take a little getting used to, but other than that, I thought the system was quite clear...
    Only the livin' have the privilege of sayin' they'll fight ta the last breath.
    And words like conviction and resolve don't mean much to a dead man...
    --Raven (Tales of Vesperia)
  • JormungandJormungand Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    ironmage wrote: »
    What battle system rules, specifically, did you think were meaningless? The skill/spell names take a little getting used to, but other than that, I thought the system was quite clear...
    I had to dig up my post from last year's P3 month. The spell names were the least of my concerns.
    I actually don't have any problem with the social link part of the game. It's Tartarus. Actually, not even that--it's getting tired. Seriously... I can't fight more than 5 battles without someone on the team getting tired? Was this mechanic added purely to make grinding harder? That's the only reason I can think of. Fatigue is a bad, bad game mechanic.

    But I can't just rush each floor (like many forum threads have suggested), because by the time I get to a boss, I can't win. Clearly there is something I don't get about this game.

    I read one interesting post that suggested to simply continue grinding despite Fatigue status. Interesting concept, but the experience earned per battle is so hilariously low that I can't possibly see how it's efficient.
    So.
    1. Fatigue is stupid, and serves only to discourage the player from playing the game.
    2. Defeating bosses without having the correct weaknesses is basically suicide. You can't get the correct weaknesses without fusing the correct personas, who randomly will not spawn with the weakness you need.
    3. You can't get the personas you need without fighting battles. Why can't personas be obtained in abundance outside of battle? Remember, you can't fight battles without getting fatigued...
    4. ...except that one special day each month. I made this its own point because it's like the developers only want you to venture into Tartarus on that one day. Why? What reason is there for this?
    5. Experience is super low.
    6. Can only control one character... (bad game mechanic)
    7. ...and if he dies, game over. (pointless and bad game mechanic)
    8. Particularly highlighting the above is that wonderful one-hit-kill enemy spell. (unfair, pointless, and bad game mechanic)

    I hope that clarifies my stance on P3's battle system. I wrote earlier that much of it seems like a collection of meaningless rules, and most of these indeed seem quite meaningless. I might concede point #5 which I guess is supposed to force players to use the weakness system to advance.
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Those were definitely weaknesses of the P3 battle system. The only one of them that's left in P4 is the one-hit-kill enemy spells, which are much less of an issue in general. Although if I could change one thing about the SMT battle system in general, I'd make the dia and mudo spells do something, anything other than have a one-hit kill chance.
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    I can understand not caring for the fatigue system...but it's not completely arbitrary. I mean, it kinda makes sense to me that if you spend too long fighting in a dungeon at midnight, that eventually you would get tired and fight less effectively. It doesn't make for a super fun mechanic, but as far as making sense, par se... well, it did to me. I have beat bosses before w/o their weakness. I'm kinda silly that way. I know I could just look up a FAQ and make sure I have that base covered, but I hate using FAQs unless absolutely necessary. I usually don't die unless the boss' attack hits *my* weakness. So, I also tried to make sure my MC has a diverse array in his back pocket... and switch things up accordingly.

    I agree that controlling one character is super silly in a typical JRPG. Again, this is one of those mechanics that makes sense to me...but makes poor gameplay experience. DQIV on the NES did the same thing. Eventually, I got used to it. But it is interesting that both games removed this restriction upon their re-release on portable handhelds. :) And, of course, P4G does, as well.

    The one hit MC thing has been in SMT games forever. Not to excuse it, but if you really struggled with this, I'd give you the same advice I gave my wife. In just about every SMT game, there's ways to increase your defense (or even make you immune) to the light/dark spells (which are responsible for the majority, if not all, the one hit kills). I couldn't remember exactly how I addressed it... (it's been a few years), but here's a snippit from another's post about this in P4 (since that's really the game we're talking about)....
    Homunculus is a nice fail-safe item to have in case you get ambushed by enemies that cast Hama or Mudo.
    The Resist Light / Dark skills reduces the chance of instant death, also voids weakness to Light / Dark.
    There are also Endure Light / Dark skills that allow you to survive one of those attacks with 1 HP once per battle.
    Or the less dangerous option the Null Light / Dark skills that grant immunity even if your persona could otherwise be weak against Light / Dark spells.

    It's easy to become frustrated with this stuff. Trust me, I know from experience. But, if you stick with it...it's very satisfying. Just about everything you point out was addressed in P4G (or even P3 PSP) or can be addressed with proper preparation.
  • Jmustang1968Jmustang1968 RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    No tactical RPGs remaining in a best battle system tournament will be a shame! Bad Phil! Lol
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    No tactical RPGs remaining in a best battle system tournament will be a shame! Bad Phil! Lol

    *hides smoking gun behind his back and whistles innocently....*
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited June 2014
    Your initial claim was "Its battle system could be fairly described as a bizarre collection of meaningless rules." As such, I may disregard any arguments you make that do not back up that statement.
    Jormungand wrote: »
    1. Fatigue is stupid, and serves only to discourage the player from playing the game.
    Fatigue isn't an issue in P4, and a lot of people seemed to dislike it in P3. However, I think it adds realism. If a bunch of high-school students are fighting cosmic evil, it stands to reason they'll get tired after a while. This rule isn't meaningless, it makes sense. Its flaw is that it might add *too* much realism, and could interfere with gameplay. I approached the game in moderation, and rarely found fatigue to be a significant problem.
    2. Defeating bosses without having the correct weaknesses is basically suicide.
    ...just like going into a boss battle in FFT with the wrong jobs assigned (or inadequate equipment) would be suicide. I don't think going into battle with insufficient preparation reflects a problem with the battle system. If you have trouble acquiring the necessary Personas, you might be able to argue that there is a balance issue with the game as a whole.
    3. You can't get the personas you need without fighting battles. Why can't personas be obtained in abundance outside of battle?
    They can. Once registered, you can repurchase Personas at the Velvet room, and fuse them to your heart's content. All you need is money (and a few initial Personas to start with).
    4. ...except that one special day each month. I made this its own point because it's like the developers only want you to venture into Tartarus on that one day. Why? What reason is there for this?
    Not a battle system issue. That's there as a concession by the game designers so that you can't screw yourself over before the full moon. I never relied on it, myself. I think you might be complaining that the game isn't as cruel as it could be.
    5. Experience is super low.
    Experience gains are fine if you're fighting suitably levelled opponents, and only drop if you try to grind against weaklings. You don't have to like it, but it doesn't make sense for your characters to get stronger from stomping on ants.
    6. Can only control one character... (bad game mechanic)
    It didn't bother me much (
    @*&$ QUIT USING MARIN-KARIN, MITSURU
    ), but since I played P4 with all characters under manual control (and will probably do the same when I get around to P3F), I'll stipulate to that one.
    7. ...and if he dies, game over. (pointless and bad game mechanic)
    The MC is the hero, the linchpin. If he dies, the entire party is demoralized, falls into disarray, and the outcome is disastrous. Again, you don't have to like this mechanic, but it's not meaningless. It makes survival all the more dear.
    8. Particularly highlighting the above is that wonderful one-hit-kill enemy spell. (unfair, pointless, and bad game mechanic)

    You get access to one-hit-kill spells, so the enemy gets them too. Far from being unfair, it's *completely* fair. jcservant listed some ways you can defend yourself.


    I can see where you're coming from (SMT games aren't for everybody), but I don't think you've demonstrated that P3's battle system rules are meaningless (with the possible exception of #6). Just because you find certain game mechanics frustrating doesn't mean that they don't make sense within the context of the game.

    If you had said "Its battle system could be fairly described as a bizarre collection of frustrating rules", I might have agreed, and possibly added "and that's part of why I love it."
    Only the livin' have the privilege of sayin' they'll fight ta the last breath.
    And words like conviction and resolve don't mean much to a dead man...
    --Raven (Tales of Vesperia)
  • JormungandJormungand Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    It seems our tolerances for particular mechanics occupy largely different territories. I think you're arguing my use of the word "meaningless" more than anything. Meaningless things frustrate me, certainly. I don't see the meaning behind those things you defend. Perhaps if everything went both ways, as is the case with many things about FFT. Maybe if the enemy could get fatigued, or I could take down their leader and have an instant win, it would make more sense. What I listed however is more like, "hey, let's put in these things we know will irritate players and prevent them from progressing". That's a reason without purpose, to me. Therefore, meaningless.

    As for point 2 and 7:

    2. You absolutely do not need specific teams to beat any given battle in FFT. The player may design their team as they choose and still be viable given appropriate strategy--even 5 white mages, or whatever, if you like. There are definitely no "wrong" jobs. Of course going into a battle naked or without upgrading gear isn't advised but... who would do that without wanting a challenge in the first place? That's like staying with base equipment in any RPG for the whole game. Now, yes, there are some unfair setups in some story battles--but they're so few and far in between. Actually, I can only think of the one: Wiegraf Part 1. Out of... how many story battles total?

    If you're arguing that personas are the, well, Persona equivalent, I disagree. Gearing up in other games is pretty straightforward: get some good stuff, and you'll be set. But in Persona, if you're supposed to gear up before fighting a boss in a way that you possess its weaknesses... well, how are you supposed to know those weaknesses without having first fought the boss (and lost?) or using an FAQ? The try-and-fail method is just fine to me, so long as progress isn't lost. But this is an RPG after all. You lose, you get booted back to your last save. Time has been wasted. Of course you can do as jc advises and have a variety on hand, but as I recall, there's a limit to how much you can carry at a time.

    7. Nonsense, utterly and completely. It makes no sense for a main character to be so important that the rest suddenly become lemmings in her absence. I hold characters, generally, in higher esteem than that. What self-respecting hero gives up like that? And how does that work in the early parts of games where the MC has yet to build lasting bonds with any characters? There are lame story reasons, of course, that have been used: Xenoblade comes to mind. I love the game, but forcing the player to use Shulk to fight Mechon (pre-Sword Valley) was a bad move. But I have yet to play an RPG where the MC=death has been justified well.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Jormungand wrote: »
    If you're arguing that personas are the, well, Persona equivalent, I disagree. Gearing up in other games is pretty straightforward: get some good stuff, and you'll be set. But in Persona, if you're supposed to gear up before fighting a boss in a way that you possess its weaknesses... well, how are you supposed to know those weaknesses without having first fought the boss (and lost?) or using an FAQ? The try-and-fail method is just fine to me, so long as progress isn't lost. But this is an RPG after all. You lose, you get booted back to your last save. Time has been wasted. Of course you can do as jc advises and have a variety on hand, but as I recall, there's a limit to how much you can carry at a time.

    Yeah...this system has some gives and takes.

    You're somewhat right that in most games, you can just gear up well (buy the best armor/weapons/items at the shop at whatever town you're in) and handle most, if not all, mobs and bosses with no additional preparation or thought... at least as far as elemental properties are concerned. Monsters may have weaknesses, and you may as well, but it rarely leads to a quick death, much less a party wipe. As a result, you can generally ignore them or just change your weapon/armor real fast to deal with the boss on hand.

    In SMT games, your elemental strengths and weaknesses are a larger piece of the puzzle. Depending on the game, it's not uncommon to be at a huge advantage/disadvantage if you're not set up right. Even random mobs can make quick work of your party if you're not set up the right way. The payoff is that you can generally do the same to them if you have the right skills on tap. I think as you said, your enjoyment of the SMT approach has to do with your tolerance (or desire) for this approach, which tends to be more complicated than a standard JRPG. As you work your way through, you're constantly evaluating your team and setup knowing that elemental attacks may shift as you get further in the dungeon. However, you can rarely have everything covered (as you point out, limited slots). That's where demon fusion comes into play. If I hit a rough boss, or the random encounters start hitting my weaknesses, then changing out the personas via combo'ing usually does the trick. Ultimately, not everyone will appreciate this additional layer of strategy/preparation.

    *However* I think its a bit unfair to judge the game too harshly with the bosses. You're right that, outside of an FAQ, a bit of trial and error is necessary to succeed in some boss battles. However, having recently played both SMT: Strange Journey (which has all those Persona issues ratcheted up a notch) and Final Fantasy V, I can tell ya, my boss death ratio is close in both games, with SMT winning by a bit. I just fought a boss in FFV that wiped my team because the jobs I was using and gear I had equipped left me at a terrible disadvantage against that boss. With that knowledge firmly in hand from my experience, I reloaded, change my gear and jobs... and beat that battle in super fast time. As you put it, time was wasted. I had no warning whatsoever about that boss' elemental/all magic attacks and the specific mechanics it employed until I fought it. Usually I can plow through such battles even at such disadvantages, but not always. Even if I can, it takes a lot longer then if I had the knowledge ahead of time. This is actually common in JRPGs (though I would not say a majority of them).

    7. Nonsense, utterly and completely. It makes no sense for a main character to be so important that the rest suddenly become lemmings in her absence. I hold characters, generally, in higher esteem than that. What self-respecting hero gives up like that? And how does that work in the early parts of games where the MC has yet to build lasting bonds with any characters? There are lame story reasons, of course, that have been used: Xenoblade comes to mind. I love the game, but forcing the player to use Shulk to fight Mechon (pre-Sword Valley) was a bad move. But I have yet to play an RPG where the MC=death has been justified well.
    This is another of those SMT troupes which is hardly limited to the SMT universe. There are a number of games employing this dated mechanic. It's really painful when it exists in slower SRPGs. EVIL. I agree that it needs to die (pun intended), and is a minus in my books (as it is for most)... just not enough of a minus to offset the fun that the rest of the combat system...and more importantly...the rest of the game... offers. In older SMT, this mechanic is sometimes a final nail in the coffin that keeps me from completing those games.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited June 2014
    Jormungand wrote: »
    7. Nonsense, utterly and completely. It makes no sense for a main character to be so important that the rest suddenly become lemmings in her absence. I hold characters, generally, in higher esteem than that. What self-respecting hero gives up like that? And how does that work in the early parts of games where the MC has yet to build lasting bonds with any characters? There are lame story reasons, of course, that have been used: Xenoblade comes to mind. I love the game, but forcing the player to use Shulk to fight Mechon (pre-Sword Valley) was a bad move. But I have yet to play an RPG where the MC=death has been justified well.
    For Nocturne, the MC was the one who ultimately decided the fate of the world (due to some system God himself set up), and in P3 and P4, they give pretty damn good justifications for why the MC can't die. For Persona 3, the MC
    had the manifestation of Death itself inside him for years, and ultimately was the only one who would be given a choice on to the fate of the world, eventually ending with the MC sacrificing himself to seal humanity's cries for death away from Nyx (Goddess of Death) herself. This was the ONLY way to prevent the end of the world, since Death cannot die
    . For Persona 4, I'd rather not spoiler it but they give a similarly really damn good explanation for it.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited June 2014
    Jormungand wrote: »
    It seems our tolerances for particular mechanics occupy largely different territories. I think you're arguing my use of the word "meaningless" more than anything.
    Certainly I am. I think the use of that word is what makes your statement incorrect.
    Meaningless things frustrate me, certainly. I don't see the meaning behind those things you defend. Perhaps if everything went both ways, as is the case with many things about FFT.
    I'm afraid you've lost me. I don't see how making a particular aspect of gameplay symmetrical makes it meaningful. It helps to make the game appear *fair*, but that's a different issue.

    When you say "meaningless" I'm reading that as "a pointless mechanic that serves no useful purpose within the context of the game", and, except for #6 (and possibly those points that don't apply to the battle system directly), I do see the point to those mechanics, even the ones I sometimes find frustrating.
    2. You absolutely do not need specific teams to beat any given battle in FFT.
    No, and I didn't say you did. But, like in Persona, there are unwise or unworkable configurations. Would you take on a battalion of Archers and Summoners with a couple of Squires? Would you enter any battle with a squad of untrained Calculators? No, no more than you would enter a battle in P3 with only one Persona available, or a set of Personas that were all weak to the same element.
    If you're arguing that personas are the, well, Persona equivalent, I disagree. Gearing up in other games is pretty straightforward: get some good stuff, and you'll be set. But in Persona, if you're supposed to gear up before fighting a boss in a way that you possess its weaknesses... well, how are you supposed to know those weaknesses without having first fought the boss (and lost?) or using an FAQ? The try-and-fail method is just fine to me, so long as progress isn't lost. But this is an RPG after all. You lose, you get booted back to your last save. Time has been wasted. Of course you can do as jc advises and have a variety on hand, but as I recall, there's a limit to how much you can carry at a time.
    The approach here really is similar to FFT. In FFT, when going blind into a battle, you bring a mix of abilities. Some melee ability, some ranged ability, some healing ability (with each character hopefully available to fill more than one role. Hooray for Ninjas!). For P3, you prepare a variety of Personas, covering a range of skills and elemental attacks. The chances are pretty good that one of them will be usable, and if not, well....have you never had to replay a battle in FFT because things went south?

    For what it's worth, you can beat a boss in Persona without using an attack it is weak against, it just takes longer. I seem to recall some of the later bosses not having any weaknesses...
    7. Nonsense, utterly and completely.

    I had a response drafted, but it was basically just more fanboy rationalization on my part. DarkRPGMaster's answer is better.
    Only the livin' have the privilege of sayin' they'll fight ta the last breath.
    And words like conviction and resolve don't mean much to a dead man...
    --Raven (Tales of Vesperia)
  • JormungandJormungand Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    Again, I think we're philosophically on different sides of the fence. I don't think we'll make much headway with further argument. But, that's good. There are different kinds of minds that play RPGs. I'm at least happy both games are turn-based!

    I will say that I had to skip DarkRPGMaster's answer as it contained spoilers, and I haven't finished P3 yet. I would like to one day, as I hate leaving things unfinished. And so far, I felt the story held enough of my interest. But you telling me some of the later bosses don't have weaknesses isn't helping. :p During my play I read FAQ after FAQ and couldn't find a sustainable method of progressing through Tartarus. Kind of a downer, as I'm not usually one to rely on FAQs. I can't imagine playing a Persona game without one, though. Must be way over my head.

    I guess my response would be: when I play RPGs, I look for variety in character choices, including the ability to entirely forgo the main character (both in terms of narrative and gameplay). I consider RPGs that allow this to possess greater strength overall than RPGs that don't. I think it's better to allow players access to a variety of personalities and growth methods, than to limit them to a single personality and growth method. If I were a developer, I would vow never to put in place a MC=death mechanic.

    Also, a team of Squires is totally viable in all situations. Their general abilities plus the innate trait allowing them to equip all gear means they can be highly mobile yet also powerful. 5 dual-wielding Move+ Squires would wreck Archers and Summoners with little trouble. :p
  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Jormungand wrote: »
    I had to dig up my post from last year's P3 month. The spell names were the least of my concerns.

    So.
    1. Fatigue is stupid, and serves only to discourage the player from playing the game.
    2. Defeating bosses without having the correct weaknesses is basically suicide. You can't get the correct weaknesses without fusing the correct personas, who randomly will not spawn with the weakness you need.
    3. You can't get the personas you need without fighting battles. Why can't personas be obtained in abundance outside of battle? Remember, you can't fight battles without getting fatigued...
    4. ...except that one special day each month. I made this its own point because it's like the developers only want you to venture into Tartarus on that one day. Why? What reason is there for this?
    5. Experience is super low.
    6. Can only control one character... (bad game mechanic)
    7. ...and if he dies, game over. (pointless and bad game mechanic)
    8. Particularly highlighting the above is that wonderful one-hit-kill enemy spell. (unfair, pointless, and bad game mechanic)

    I hope that clarifies my stance on P3's battle system. I wrote earlier that much of it seems like a collection of meaningless rules, and most of these indeed seem quite meaningless. I might concede point #5 which I guess is supposed to force players to use the weakness system to advance.

    Basically all of those complaints don't apply to Persona 4 or Persona 4 Golden.

    1. There's no fatigue in Persona 4.
    2. In Persona 4 Golden, you can choose which skills will get inherited AND you also get skill cards that can teach any Persona a specific skill so it's plenty easy to get the elements that you need.
    3. Unless you're playing a crafting RPG (like Atelier), combat is the traditional way of becoming more powerful in RPGs.
    4. Again, no fatigue in Persona 4.
    5. Persona 4 has a number of difficulty levels to choose from (and Persona 4 Golden has even more) so just pick an easy one and you'll gain XP faster. On replays, you can even customize the difficulty (so if you wanted, you could play a hard difficulty but up the XP rate).
    6. Not in Persona 4 (can control the entire party directly)
    7. This is still in Persona 4, however, if your S-Link level with a party member is high enough, they'll protect you from death once per battle.
    8. Rare for enemies to have these in Persona 4 & their success rate against you is rather low (and can be made even lower if you have the relevant defense). Also, there are items that protect you from insta-kill spells.
    Check out upcoming RPG, Cosmic Star Heroine, at http://cosmicstarheroine.com/
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Jormungand wrote: »
    Also, a team of Squires is totally viable in all situations. Their general abilities plus the innate trait allowing them to equip all gear means they can be highly mobile yet also powerful. 5 dual-wielding Move+ Squires would wreck Archers and Summoners with little trouble. :p

    Yeah...but as you point out... you'd have to 'spec' for that kind of fight. It's not like your 5+Squires can take on every battle in FFT with little trouble.

    Or can they?

    I was thinking about your earlier comment about 5 white mages taking on anything as I drove home. It's been a while since my play through of FFT, but I do recall it being somewhat easy. I started branching into higher tiered classes because I liked experimenting...not because I felt that the game was pushing me. I imagine that I might be able to get through most of the game with just a balanced party of basic classes... or better yet, using the heroes from the story (I recall them being pretty powerful in their own right).

    Yer right that one cannot do that in SMT games in general. Then again... I can't really do that in FFV, either. Heck..even some of the random encounters give me significant resistance if I just have four sub-optimum classes (Tends to happen when I'm leveling classes like Red Wizard to unlock Duel Cast).

    And I think that brings up a little negative for me with FFT. The class system has a TON of depth to it...but the battles did not really challenge me enough to where I feel that I need to unlock higher level classes or figure out some high end tactics. I DID, of course, learn and abuse classes like calculator and whatnot...but that was just for the thrill of it. I was kinda like a cat playing with my food, hahahahaha!

    So, I think some of this for you, aside from frustrations with the seemingly arbitrary mechanics (from your point of view), might be the relative difficulty level of the game. And that's something I can totally relate to.
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited July 2014
    Jormungand wrote: »
    Again, I think we're philosophically on different sides of the fence. I don't think we'll make much headway with further argument. But, that's good. There are different kinds of minds that play RPGs.

    Diversity in tastes results in diversity in games, so I can't argue with you there. Cross-pollination between genres (even from genres I don't care for) has produced a lot of good games over the years.
    5 dual-wielding Move+ Squires would wreck Archers and Summoners with little trouble. :p

    Perhaps, but it depends on the terrain. If the enemy is on the peak of a mountain, and it takes the Squires more than a couple turns to make their round-about ascent, they'll be skewered, then roasted. Sometimes, you really do need a ranged attack to handle the situation.
    Also, a team of Squires is totally viable in all situations. Their general abilities plus the innate trait allowing them to equip all gear means they can be highly mobile yet also powerful.

    All situations? *Sigh*. Now you're just trolling me. Okay, I counter your dual wielding Squires with a squadron of White Mages. White Mages... with Math Skill as their secondary ability, and a complete library of spells (especially including Holy)....and equipped with Chameleon Robes.
    Only the livin' have the privilege of sayin' they'll fight ta the last breath.
    And words like conviction and resolve don't mean much to a dead man...
    --Raven (Tales of Vesperia)
  • JormungandJormungand Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    You're right, I find the relative difficulty high. But I wonder how much of that stems from my complaints about the battle system in general. I feel like I would have persisted if half the things on my list weren't there to begin with. For example, I think MC=death is artificial difficulty, rather than real difficulty. I really, genuinely believe it doesn't need to be there, because in very few RPGs (where there is a party of characters) does a character's HP hitting 0 mean actual "death". The idea is, once everyone's knocked out, THEN it's a problem, because no one is around to rescue you. And then the enemies proceed to eat your team's broken, inert bodies. But when it's just one guy down? Your buddies are there and have your back. They don't just run off and say, "oh well, so much for saving the world, let's go for a drink".

    On the other hand, my brief time with Dark Souls showed real difficulty. It's a game I'll never be able to access because I know the frustration would be too much. Frustration isn't fun! But then there are the games like Rogue Leader which also were brutally difficulty, with levels I utterly hated every second of, but I persisted with and completed.

    At the same time I'm reminded of games like Warsong (the first Langrisser) which I've read many people find difficult, but I can breeze through. All of us are different players with different tastes, aptitudes for particular playstyle, and levels of tolerance for difficulty.

    According to zeboyd, P4G is basically 99% better than P3FES. Aside from the whole MC-death-game over thing, which can be offset by social links. I won't go so far as to say P4G sounds appealing at this point, but I won't rule it out either.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    You're right, I find the relative difficulty high. But I wonder how much of that stems from my complaints about the battle system in general. I feel like I would have persisted if half the things on my list weren't there to begin with. For example, I think MC=death is artificial difficulty, rather than real difficulty.
    True...but honestly, this particular mechanism is abated quite a bit by proper preparation... in just about any SMT game. For the most part, my MC is tougher than my team... and MC generally only dies if others die first or are about to die. Again, not defending that particular mechanic, but I have played enough SMT games to say that while I agree it's irritating (and as you said, doesn't *need* to be there), it is manageable... especially in P4G.

    It's always a fine line between being difficult and punishing. RPGs have more space to walk that line thanks to leveling up mechanics (including Dark Souls). Spend some extra time grinding, and you make that next boss encounter that much easier.

    But, yeah, overall, SMT games (including P4G IMHO) are tougher than your typical, run of the mill JRPG. Sure, a bit of it is because of the MC Death mechanic...but that's not really the heart of the matter. First, there's the emphasis on elemental strengths and weaknesses, as I outlined above. Next, unlike most CRPGs, you rarely can stick with one party (or in this case, one set of personas). This throws a lot of RPGamers for a loop because some like to just figure out a good 'generalist' configuration and stick with it through the whole game (akin to going Tank, Healer, DPS, DPS in a FFV or FFT party). They're used to something like that pretty much covering all the bases and being able to ride that train all the way through.

    But. in SMT, you have to keep mixing things up... studying the constantly changing monsters as your proceed deeper in the dungeons, and changing out (and fusing) your demons (and skills) to match the challenges you face. You posted earlier, "I guess my response would be: when I play RPGs, I look for variety in character choices, including the ability to entirely forgo the main character (both in terms of narrative and gameplay). I consider RPGs that allow this to possess greater strength overall than RPGs that don't. I think it's better to allow players access to a variety of personalities and growth methods, than to limit them to a single personality and growth method." SMT doesn't really require that you lock into one particular growth pattern that it has in mind in order to win... but it also doesn't allow you to haphazardly move through the entire game with one approach in your mind. By putting such an emphasis on strengths and weaknesses, and rotating our the bad guys own, it forces you to constantly be on your toes, ready to change the way you think about the next fight... even to the point of changing your demon lineup (or personas). Unlike games like FFT, it doesn't really allow you to become comfortable in one setup. You can't plow through the entire game with one configuration. And that's something I like... I like being forced to re-evaluate my approach to combat multiple times... never getting too comfortable... as I progress through the game. Admittedly, this can get a bit frustrating at times, specifically with bosses that have unusual mechanics such as rotating weaknesses or instant death attacks you're not prepared for. Evil!

    Get prepared, level up or fuse some demons/personas designed to counter those attacks, and relish in the sweet victory when you return to that boss, completely prepared to kick his tail. It feels good... yes indeed!
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