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

2

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  • ShayminShaymin The Gratitude Pokemon Halifax, New SealandFull Members
    edited July 2014
    So has P4G already clinched here? Because the reader vote is roughly 2-1 for FFT now and I find it amusing when the staff goes completely against the readers.
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  • KeldarusKeldarus RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Persona 4 has 10+ years on FFT. I think a modern FFT would fare much better against the competition. It's got a great foundation, and with some tweaks to the system, FFT could be sweeping the competition.

    -Kel
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Agreed, Kel. To this day it blows my mind that we didn't really get a sequel proper on the consoles. Yeah...I know about those handheld games, but those weren't sequels and used their own battle and class systems. Had they taken what was there, honed it and gave it a fresh story, I can't image how awesome that might be. And that's always been my love and frustration with the FF series (including spinoffs). They do something different nearly every time. On one hand we get some really original takes on JRPG gameplay at times and it can push the art forward. But, on the other hand, in reinventing the wheel every time, they never do a great job improving on some of the great foundations that their better games lay out. FFT was awesome...but just a bit rough and un-refined.

    P4G is just the opposite. It's a refinement .. and not just that...but a refinement on the pinnacle of a series. SMT games have always been solid RPGs that have evolved well over time, but nothing earth shattering. Then, P3 happened. Despite the SMT name (a name synonymous with hard core dungeon crawling, appealing to a niche crowd), Persona 3' gameplay, both in and out of combat, had a broad appeal with excellent execution earning it acclaim from RPGamers and critics alike. It nearly tied FFT with an 87% rating on GR. Yet, there was obvious room for improvement. Instead of moving onto something different, Atlus took what worked in P3... and changed a lot of what didn't, once again earning praise from gamers and critics. When it came time to make a Vita version, rather than take the lazy, easy cash-in method of a direct port, they made lots of tweaks and content/game additions to further enhance the experience. The resulting game was (is) sooo good, that not only did my wife play and praise it (someone who hasn't touched a JRPG in a very long time), but it scored higher on Metacritc than the best FF Game... my beloved Final Fantasy (On Meta, it just barely come in underneth FFIX).

    Granted, aggregate game scores are hardly a great way of comparing games, much less battle systems. However, as one casting a vote for P4G, I wanted to clarify further why, in my mind, it edges out in FFT... and provide a little more support overall to the staff's decision here. Did we go against the popular vote? Sure. However there's some solid reasons why. :)

    So has P4G already clinched here? Because the reader vote is roughly 2-1 for FFT now and I find it amusing when the staff goes completely against the readers.
    Yup. Pretty much. Didn't the same thing happen to my beloved FF6? I think it did. Yet, I readily admit that the reader vote may not be the best measure of which battle systems are best, as they can be heavily influenced by which ones are most popular. Having staff members who have played both games in each contest constituting the majority of the vote provides some balance there.
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  • omegabyteomegabyte Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Ocelot wrote: »
    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.

    Dia is your healing spell! The insta-death spells are Mudo (dark) and Hama (light)!

    And you call yourself an SMT fan....


    Anyways, Persona 4 Golden is, by far, the EASIEST SMT game in existence, on any difficulty. It's virtually impossible to lose, especially near the end game when your allies' S. Links are all leveled up. If the MC gets targeted by a 1HKO spell, your allies will all take the hit for you. Void Dark/Light personas are a dime a dozen, and transferring the best skills is easy to do. Getting stat boosts on your favorite personas is ridiculously easy and actually makes it possible to beat the game using only your starting persona. And Rise's support abilities just get broken by the time the game is over.

    I actually liked a lot of the things you complain about in P3, because they added an extra level of challenge to the game that was hard, but not impossible to overcome. Dealing with 1HKO spells was actually really, REALLY easy in P3 due to the abundantly available Homunculus items (they appeared in chests ALL the time; the equivalent item is actually really rare in P4), and even if you're having trouble transferring Void Light/Dark skills to new personas, there are a ton of personas that have natural immunities to one or both. Virtually every persona of the Death arcana is immune to dark, and nearly every persona of the Justice arcana is immune to light.

    And while you have no DIRECT control over your allies' actions in P3, it makes a certain kind of sense: you're not playing as your party, you're playing as your MC. You can still give orders to your allies, and doing so effectively gives you control over what they're going to do. Change your team's AI settings each round to whatever you need them to be doing, and I almost never ran into a situation where my party wasn't doing EXACTLY what I wanted them to do. In fact, you can do a lot of really cool stuff in P3 that you CAN'T do in P4 because of a major change in how knockdown mechanics work.

    In Persona 4, enemies and characters are knocked down if they're hit by a weakness or critical hit. When their turn comes around, they stand up again and take their turn as normal. If they're hit by a second weakness attack before then, they become dazed and waste a turn standing back up again. The key difference in P3 is that there is no daze state; instead, getting back up again wastes a turn no matter what. This allows for some really neat tricks you can pull against some of the really tough mini-bosses (especially the ones that come in backs of 3). If you bring a party that can target their weaknesses and knock them all down, you can choose to skip an All Out Attack, effectively deadlocking them and letting your team whittle them down and kill them without them being able to move. Of course, this is a double-edged sword; if one of your characters is knocked down, it takes a turn for them to get back up, which also made the boss battles a lot more challenging; most P4G bosses are just HP sponges and there's not a ton of strategy outside of the usual attack/heal standard.

    I honestly prefer Persona 3 on almost every level, and I felt like Persona 3 Portable had just the right mix of Persona 4's changes and Persona 3's original design.

    Can I vote for Persona 3 Portable here instead?
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    I honestly prefer Persona 3 on almost every level, and I felt like Persona 3 Portable had just the right mix of Persona 4's changes and Persona 3's original design.

    Can I vote for Persona 3 Portable here instead?

    Of course you can, Omega! We may not count it...but you are welcome to vote for it :)

    I really like P3 on the PSP because it let me control the whole party and the other reasons you mentioned (I'm a control freak). If I had to vote the better battle system between P4G and P3 PSP, it would be super close for me... though I think I might still give the nod to P4G. I can't really put my finger on one particular reasons... it's just be an overall gut impression.
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  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    omegabyte wrote: »
    Dia is your healing spell! The insta-death spells are Mudo (dark) and Hama (light)!

    And you call yourself an SMT fan....

    I'd say I'm more of a straight-up Persona fan. Haven't been grabbed by anything else in the franchise so far. Though you're right about Hama. Shows how much I use it. :)
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Wow, Final Fantasy Tactics got squashed.

    ro5.gif
    Jormungand wrote: »
    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.

    Yeah, bosses having weaknesses is not a thing that sticks around for the whole game.
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  • Harli RaverHarli Raver Banned Banned Users
    edited July 2014
    I find FFTactics' gameplay to be deeply flawed to the point where it doesn't freaking deserve to make it this far in the battle system competition. I *hate* random encounters in tactical RPGs, you can't undo movement (apologists say that it was due to technical limitations, but even Shining Force lets you undo movement), most classes are useless, the difficulty is schizophrenic, there are points of no return, and so on.
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited July 2014
    After this round, we're going to break until after the weekend of the 4th and then start back with the Battle of the Final Four!
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    I'm probably a bit late for this conversation, but I've never had a problem with many of the common complaints people have about Persona 3.

    I'm okay with the Fatigue system as a whole. For the most part, it only ever really blocked progress in the very beginning of the game, as characters become better and better at staying in Tartarus longer as you progress. It prevents you from doing everything there is to do in Tartarus in a single night, but that's the whole point and quite fair. You've got a whole month to do that, and unlike in Persona 4 there is only a very minor opportunity cost for going into the dungeons. Having to give up an afternoon to go into dungeons in 4, along with 4's more restricted MP, made it tougher to manage dungeon dives than it was in 3. I kinda prefer 3's system...

    I also have no problem with things like 3 only letting you control the main character and having the game end if the main character falls in battle. Far more than in many RPGs, Persona games are all about the main character's perspective and role as leader and strongest team member. Having allies run off of AI rather than being totally under control made them feel a lot more like independent people with their own personalities, which I appreciated. It didn't really make the game too difficult, either, as (particularly in FES), they were pretty smart with their actions and the orders you can give them made them act in predictable ways. They worked really well for me, even in very tough battles like fighting The Reaper.

    As for the need for trial and error or FAQs... I don't see it. You have several slots you can fill with various personas, and can change between them very easily. A very important part of good strategy in the game is maintaining a good balance of elemental defenses and weaknesses on that pool of personas. You should absolutely have all attacks and weaknesses covered pretty much at all times in the later part of the game. If you don't, then you'll have difficulty, but that is difficulty you could have avoided with different choices on your own part. After all, good management of your persona roster is the single most important part of the game, which pretty much every other game mechanic feeds into.

    Sorry for continuing that diversion, but I wanted to defend that game a bit.

    Anyways, I'll echo some others that I wish we could have gotten more good sequels to FFT. I really wanted to like FFTA, but, well... I struggle to. There are some pretty major elements of its game structure and character development that I jut don't like very much. The somewhat randomized missions and rewards, which were needed for unlocking content, bogged the game down with grinding and tedium. Learning abilities from equipment is just a mechanic that doesn't work and I don't like it. The classes were often too limited in scale and not focused very well. It just isn't as fun as the original.

    I really wish Square Enix could go back to basics and rebuild the FFT series a bit... FFT deserves a sequel that is actually better than the original.
  • TexsideTexside Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    I agree with the sentiments above; I don't know if P4 was better than FFT, having not played it quite extensively enough to have an opinion, but FFT shows its age sometimes. A new FFT, rebuilt from the ground up, would be a wonderful thing to see.
  • JuMeSynJuMeSyn Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited July 2014
    Well, we have a winner, one that indeed isn't the consensus staff choice.
    Final Fantasy Tactics 191 65.19%
    Persona 4 Golden 102 34.81%
    Total Votes 293
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • ChristopherChristopher New Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    I'm probably a bit late for this conversation, but I've never had a problem with many of the common complaints people have about Persona 3.

    I'm okay with the Fatigue system as a whole. For the most part, it only ever really blocked progress in the very beginning of the game, as characters become better and better at staying in Tartarus longer as you progress. It prevents you from doing everything there is to do in Tartarus in a single night, but that's the whole point and quite fair. You've got a whole month to do that, and unlike in Persona 4 there is only a very minor opportunity cost for going into the dungeons. Having to give up an afternoon to go into dungeons in 4, along with 4's more restricted MP, made it tougher to manage dungeon dives than it was in 3. I kinda prefer 3's system...

    I also have no problem with things like 3 only letting you control the main character and having the game end if the main character falls in battle. Far more than in many RPGs, Persona games are all about the main character's perspective and role as leader and strongest team member. Having allies run off of AI rather than being totally under control made them feel a lot more like independent people with their own personalities, which I appreciated. It didn't really make the game too difficult, either, as (particularly in FES), they were pretty smart with their actions and the orders you can give them made them act in predictable ways. They worked really well for me, even in very tough battles like fighting The Reaper.

    As for the need for trial and error or FAQs... I don't see it. You have several slots you can fill with various personas, and can change between them very easily. A very important part of good strategy in the game is maintaining a good balance of elemental defenses and weaknesses on that pool of personas. You should absolutely have all attacks and weaknesses covered pretty much at all times in the later part of the game. If you don't, then you'll have difficulty, but that is difficulty you could have avoided with different choices on your own part. After all, good management of your persona roster is the single most important part of the game, which pretty much every other game mechanic feeds into.

    Sorry for continuing that diversion, but I wanted to defend that game a bit.

    Anyways, I'll echo some others that I wish we could have gotten more good sequels to FFT. I really wanted to like FFTA, but, well... I struggle to. There are some pretty major elements of its game structure and character development that I jut don't like very much. The somewhat randomized missions and rewards, which were needed for unlocking content, bogged the game down with grinding and tedium. Learning abilities from equipment is just a mechanic that doesn't work and I don't like it. The classes were often too limited in scale and not focused very well. It just isn't as fun as the original.

    I really wish Square Enix could go back to basics and rebuild the FFT series a bit... FFT deserves a sequel that is actually better than the original.

    I'm late to this as well. But I agree 100% with everything you have said (shocker....I know...considering my avatar). Especially the part about "trial and error". Like you say, it is a matter of knowing what your personas can do and making sure you equip your character and/or make sure your team has most of the possible weaknesses covered as much as possible. This isn't always going to work, but after a few floors.....you get the feel for it. I don't see anything "trial and error" about it. It is strategy. More than once, I have employed a strategy that simply didn't work and I had to just brawl my way out of a battle. P4 is more difficult, but at the same time, it makes it easier to start back where you last left off whereas in P3 you had to make it to a boss level to find a floor you could travel back to. So....the devs obviously were trying achieve some balance.
  • 7thCircle7thCircle Proofer of the Realm RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    I've been reading along with this thread on my phone for the last few days... not realizing I was a voter. I wasn't viewing it on a full PC screen and forgot. Oops. I'm back at a desktop for the first time in almost a week and noticed a vote was missing.

    I'm late so I won't be too long-winded, but I do think these are two excellent combat systems that encourage and reward experimentation and trial and error. An issue with FFT is in the later parts of the game it gets too easy to the point where the distinct abilities don't matter as much. On the other hand, Persona 4 stays much more engaging straight through to the end. On the flip side, boss fights in Persona 4 abandon everything that makes the system great and consistently become lengthy and boring snoozefests where the most intense moments come from realizing you're low on MP restoratives.

    If this were Persona 3 versus FFT, I wouldn't hesitate on voting for Persona 3 because I prefer its more challenging system. P4 loses something when you know party members can save the PC from death every fight, and I liked how the fatigue system in P3 made dungeon dives something you had to plan out rather than P4's Dungeon Day where I would aim to finish an entire level in a night.

    FFT has a special place in my heart more because I played it in college and named all the characters after my friends. The challenge and class system were excellent at first, but the game was long in the tooth and got old well before it ended. Persona 4 had mechanics that kept me engaged until the end of the game, even if I did wish it were slightly more intense.

    Vote: Persona 4
    The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    I love when certain mechanics are a total plus for some players and a total minus for others. I'm not being sarcastic, I think it's really interesting. In this thread, we have somebody who hated the fatigue system in P3 so much that it soured him on the entire series, and somebody who thinks the battle system loses something without fatigue. Interestingly, the fatigue system along with the social time-management system caused us (my spouse and I played both Personas together) to play opposite to 7th. We'd cram all our dungeoning into fatigue-free days in P3, whereas in P4 we felt a bit more free to spread out our exploration and just use our resources (do we really want to pay that fox?) as our limitation.
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • omegabyteomegabyte Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Ocelot wrote: »
    I love when certain mechanics are a total plus for some players and a total minus for others. I'm not being sarcastic, I think it's really interesting. In this thread, we have somebody who hated the fatigue system in P3 so much that it soured him on the entire series, and somebody who thinks the battle system loses something without fatigue. Interestingly, the fatigue system along with the social time-management system caused us (my spouse and I played both Personas together) to play opposite to 7th. We'd cram all our dungeoning into fatigue-free days in P3, whereas in P4 we felt a bit more free to spread out our exploration and just use our resources (do we really want to pay that fox?) as our limitation.

    Well, the big difference between P3 and P4 in regards to dungeon-delving is that P3 gave you more time to do stuff. In P3, you had both the after-school period and the night-time period to do social link stuff. Even if you decided to jump into a dungeon that night, you still had the daytime to do a social link. In P4, you had to choose between dungeon-diving or doing a social link, because you only had to go in the afternoon, and if you DID go into a dungeon, the night-time S. Links like Nanako, Dojima, or the part-time jobs, weren't available because you were too tired afterwards. So in a way, P4 did have a "fatigue" system, and it's actually a lot more rigid and restrictive.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    It is interesting how these time mechanics are perceived.... whether its a bit more real time ala Lightning Returns or kinda turn based like Persona 3/4 or some of the Atelier games. Some do like it.. .it forces you to make some hard decisions. I think a lot of people do not, though. I've rarely heard such mechanics praised.
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  • omegabyteomegabyte Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    JCServant wrote: »
    It is interesting how these time mechanics are perceived.... whether its a bit more real time ala Lightning Returns or kinda turn based like Persona 3/4 or some of the Atelier games. Some do like it.. .it forces you to make some hard decisions. I think a lot of people do not, though. I've rarely heard such mechanics praised.

    It largely depends on how its handled. I think Persona 3/4 does it better than most, as you know beforehand exactly how much time you'll be using up, and the game is so lengthy that players generally don't have to worry about running out of time. Even without being careful about time management, players shouldn't have any problem maxing more than half of their S. Links and nearly finishing most of the others. Contrarily, I was put off the Atelier series by the first game I played in it, Atelier Annie, due to the fact that just moving a few steps in a map or fighting a single battle would advance time by a day or more. It was very frustrating and literally made every single button press count. Lightning Returns was pretty generous with the amount of time it gave you, but the way it was handled felt very constrictive. The addition of time-sensitive events was even worse, since missing the start time meant wasting a whole day waiting for another chance.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    JCServant wrote: »
    It is interesting how these time mechanics are perceived.... whether its a bit more real time ala Lightning Returns or kinda turn based like Persona 3/4 or some of the Atelier games. Some do like it.. .it forces you to make some hard decisions. I think a lot of people do not, though. I've rarely heard such mechanics praised.
    Well, I'll praise them, and I think they are a bit more popular than you might give them credit for. After all, the Harvest Moon and Rune Factory series (and Story of Seasons now, I guess) are completely built around time and fatigue systems, and those are pretty popular. The better entries in those series are good examples of how well it can work, too.

    Such systems can be done very badly (I've seen some really frustrating ones), but if done well they can add a lot. As a whole, RPGs generally have two different avenues for progression and exploration: space and time. Progressing and exploring space is the classic one. Moving forward means going to new places, meeting new people, entering new dungeons, and wandering new landscapes. It is less common, but time is still pretty common, in which you spend most of the game in a single place, but it changes with time as new things occur there. Time-based mechanics are a pretty good and natural way of portraying that exploration and progression through time, and making it feel very important and interesting. After all, if the passing of time isn't actually important to the gameplay, it doesn't actually feel like it is passing.

    The latter is a big problem with Dragon Age 2, actually. It is a game that is supposed to be built around how the characters grow and develop across several years, but each chapter basically feels like a frozen moment of time. Time only leaps forward in large jumps mandated by the plot, and as a result we have very little chance to see things actually change and progress. On the other hand, the unavoidable onward progress of the calendar in the Persona series keeps the progression very grounded and natural, and has a strong psychological impact on the story. There is a big difference between saying "we need to hurry to do this!" in a game where you actually have to hurry, rather than in a game where that the characters only need to hurry in the plot but you can just take forever in reality.

    I suppose it is also worth mentioning that managing time is a pretty intuitive game mechanic. Everyone basically knows how that works already, since have to do it in our daily lives outside of gaming. It's more easily comprehensible than many other mechanics you see in games, which is always a good thing. Of course, it is important to focus on making that fun, rather than stressful, but that is more of an implementation issue. The Persona implementation is one of my favorite ways of handling it, though.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Well, I'll praise them, and I think they are a bit more popular than you might give them credit for. After all, the Harvest Moon and Rune Factory series (and Story of Seasons now, I guess) are completely built around time and fatigue systems, and those are pretty popular. The better entries in those series are good examples of how well it can work, too.

    Such systems can be done very badly (I've seen some really frustrating ones), but if done well they can add a lot. As a whole, RPGs generally have two different avenues for progression and exploration: space and time. Progressing and exploring space is the classic one. Moving forward means going to new places, meeting new people, entering new dungeons, and wandering new landscapes. It is less common, but time is still pretty common, in which you spend most of the game in a single place, but it changes with time as new things occur there. Time-based mechanics are a pretty good and natural way of portraying that exploration and progression through time, and making it feel very important and interesting. After all, if the passing of time isn't actually important to the gameplay, it doesn't actually feel like it is passing.

    The latter is a big problem with Dragon Age 2, actually. It is a game that is supposed to be built around how the characters grow and develop across several years, but each chapter basically feels like a frozen moment of time. Time only leaps forward in large jumps mandated by the plot, and as a result we have very little chance to see things actually change and progress. On the other hand, the unavoidable onward progress of the calendar in the Persona series keeps the progression very grounded and natural, and has a strong psychological impact on the story. There is a big difference between saying "we need to hurry to do this!" in a game where you actually have to hurry, rather than in a game where that the characters only need to hurry in the plot but you can just take forever in reality.

    I suppose it is also worth mentioning that managing time is a pretty intuitive game mechanic. Everyone basically knows how that works already, since have to do it in our daily lives outside of gaming. It's more easily comprehensible than many other mechanics you see in games, which is always a good thing. Of course, it is important to focus on making that fun, rather than stressful, but that is more of an implementation issue. The Persona implementation is one of my favorite ways of handling it, though.

    Hmm...While there's no doubt that those games have a strong following, I'd hesitate to call them popular, par se. I guess it's in the eye of the beholder, but I doubt their sales number approach more mainstream RPGs such as Mass Effect or the such :P And, are those games really popular with their followers because of those mechanics or in spite of them. I mean... My wife loved Harvest Moon. When I hear her talk about it, she describes how much she enjoys farming, giving gifts to build relationships and raising animals... but I never hear her say "I'm super glad they have a time mechanic that forces me to choose between farming and taking time out to woo a partner."

    Now, to your point, if its done well, you're a LOT less likely to hear people complain about it...and maybe even praise it. I mean, people complained about Lightning Returns and Atelier Annie because those mechanics were poorly executed. But, I guess what I'm think of... and considering...is in those cases where it's done well, do people really enjoy those mechanics? In reviews of Person 3 and 4, which were well received across the board, did the reviewers felt they added to the experience which was excellent in so many other aspects? Or did they mearly tolerate them because they really didn't hamper the experience, giving the game a good score since everything else was so awesome. Hmmm
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  • ChristopherChristopher New Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    omegabyte wrote: »
    Well, the big difference between P3 and P4 in regards to dungeon-delving is that P3 gave you more time to do stuff. In P3, you had both the after-school period and the night-time period to do social link stuff. Even if you decided to jump into a dungeon that night, you still had the daytime to do a social link. In P4, you had to choose between dungeon-diving or doing a social link, because you only had to go in the afternoon, and if you DID go into a dungeon, the night-time S. Links like Nanako, Dojima, or the part-time jobs, weren't available because you were too tired afterwards. So in a way, P4 did have a "fatigue" system, and it's actually a lot more rigid and restrictive.

    Yeah, makes it harder cuz you have to take advantage of social links when you can, but you also want to level up and progress through the story in the TV.
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    JCServant wrote: »
    Hmm...While there's no doubt that those games have a strong following, I'd hesitate to call them popular, par se. I guess it's in the eye of the beholder, but I doubt their sales number approach more mainstream RPGs such as Mass Effect or the such :P And, are those games really popular with their followers because of those mechanics or in spite of them. I mean... My wife loved Harvest Moon. When I hear her talk about it, she describes how much she enjoys farming, giving gifts to build relationships and raising animals... but I never hear her say "I'm super glad they have a time mechanic that forces me to choose between farming and taking time out to woo a partner."

    Now, to your point, if its done well, you're a LOT less likely to hear people complain about it...and maybe even praise it. I mean, people complained about Lightning Returns and Atelier Annie because those mechanics were poorly executed. But, I guess what I'm think of... and considering...is in those cases where it's done well, do people really enjoy those mechanics? In reviews of Person 3 and 4, which were well received across the board, did the reviewers felt they added to the experience which was excellent in so many other aspects? Or did they mearly tolerate them because they really didn't hamper the experience, giving the game a good score since everything else was so awesome. Hmmm
    I can certainly say so. I enjoy many of these games because they make me choose whether I should plant crops or woo a partner with the time I have.

    I don't think that is a very strange opinion to have... After all, how is it any different from saying "I like this game because boss battles are complex and will crush me unless I come up with a clever strategy"? Time management is an obstacle for the player, and overcoming obstacles is pretty much what games are all about. If done well, it is a pretty fun obstacle. Sure, you don't see people praise it a lot... but you don't see people praising things like the instant-death spikes in a Mega Man game either, but people wouldn't like those games in the first place if they didn't provide those kinds of obstacles and challenges. They'd be forgettable and boring without them, so people would simply not even talk about the games at all.

    As far as I'm concerned, Persona 3 and 4 would be incredibly boring and forgettable games if they didn't have that time management element. It's not a matter of being tolerated... It's a very large part of why it is fun in the first place.
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Time mechanics are quite hated, though. I'm not just saying that because I hate them, but also if you check user ratings for examples you will see a lot of "1/10 - didn't even bother playing because it has a time limit" ratings - there is quite some hate!

    (It's like with DRM. Probably even more people will downvote games because they hate a DRM enforced and yet there are still several who are like "I don't care if it has a DRM" or even people who wouldn't even get games when they are not on Steam.)


    Difficulty (which includes time limits I'd claim) is always the hardest challenge when trying to rate games (or battle systems) fairly objectively. It depends more on the reason people play games for. Some people play for a challenge. Some people play to relax and kill time. And those who play for challenge also are split into three groups, those who want challenge by effort, those who want challenge by skill and those who want challenge by thinking. And of course there are areas between and it can depend on the player's mood too.
    Probably it would be best to instead of put a number on difficulty at all, you should just put which challenge type the game focuses on (with possibility for "none" an "hybrid").


    Anyway, what I learned here is mainly that apparently most staff members like normal turn based battle systems (not only here, but also because staff members actually voted for Pokemon! Pokemon for gods sake.). For me that's kind of weird - I always considered them as the most generic battle system someone could possibly think of and would by default not even put them into such a contest (we are voting best and not most generic battle system after all). I mean what kind of clever ideas are there? None except "Use fire spells on monsters weak to fire". Oh great. How... "exciting".

    Yes, there are games with such battle systems that I still love a lot like for example Shining in the Darkness and Phantasy Star II, but I'd never say their battle systems are great (though I guess I would claim they are still better than Persona's battle system simply due to a higher encounter variety and less imbalance).
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    I can certainly say so. I enjoy many of these games because they make me choose whether I should plant crops or woo a partner with the time I have.

    I don't think that is a very strange opinion to have... After all, how is it any different from saying "I like this game because boss battles are complex and will crush me unless I come up with a clever strategy"? Time management is an obstacle for the player, and overcoming obstacles is pretty much what games are all about. If done well, it is a pretty fun obstacle. Sure, you don't see people praise it a lot... but you don't see people praising things like the instant-death spikes in a Mega Man game either, but people wouldn't like those games in the first place if they didn't provide those kinds of obstacles and challenges. They'd be forgettable and boring without them, so people would simply not even talk about the games at all.

    As far as I'm concerned, Persona 3 and 4 would be incredibly boring and forgettable games if they didn't have that time management element. It's not a matter of being tolerated... It's a very large part of why it is fun in the first place.

    My support is purely anecdotal... I just don't remember the time mechanics of any game being praised much in reviews and discussions, if at all. At best, its described... but rarely, if ever, actually praised. I'm not saying your opinions is strange. Actually, I, personally, like the mechanic as it does feel like it forces me to make choices that feel strategic. I'm with you in that I think it is good when done right. I just find it interesting that in reviews, RPGBacktracks, etc., its rare that anyone stops and praises those mechanics in any game when done well. They are quick to bash them when done poorly, however.

    Death spikes in Megaman? hahahaha! That one made me laugh. All spikes cause death in Mega Man! No, I jest. Really, though, high difficulty, as seen in most MegaMan games, is like the time mechanics in RPGs. It's super hard to get right. MegaMan 1 still makes me want to hurt small animals. :P I agree it can enhance the experience if ya manage to do so...but mess up a wee bit, and people will bellyache...quickly! It would be best for most developers to focus on enhancing other aspects of their game rather than trying to make their game super hard, or an RPG with time mechanics, IMHO.
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  • ChickenGodChickenGod Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderators
    edited July 2014
    Hmm, I'm actually in the complete opposite camp as Twin is. For me, P3 and P4 would have been much more fulfilling games to play if I as a player did not have to worry about 100 hours of investment ultimately ending in an irreversible failure to achieve what I wanted out of the experience. For me viewing the Social Links ins P3 and P4 is much like collecting all the Stars in a Mario game; you just don't have the full experience without witnessing them. The Social Links are a huge part of the story told to players, and in particular with P3's original release (the only one I can speak to), following a rigid guide was the only way to view them all successfully. Because I as the player wanted to see all the story had to offer, I ultimately felt this was the only method I could play without worrying that my arbitrary choices were going to screw me down the road later.

    Nowadays it seems like people are really craving the whole "choices have consequences" thing, and on some level I can understand why this would be appealing. For me personally though, I have enough of those choices to make in real life on an everyday basis. It doesn't help that I'm also the type of person who seems to spend longer than most contemplating on the correct course of action. Ultimately I don't want this feature in my video games, because I'd rather relax and play something that isn't going to hammer me with a punishment so severe that I have to replay the entire game. Obviously if the player makes many saves and whatnot this can be somewhat circumvented, but that kind of obsessive compulsive saving doesn't lead to a fun experience. P4 handled the Social Links much better in that the player essentially had an extra month's time or so if they followed a proper guide. However, what I hated about P4 was the fact that the player had to spend the entire day going to visit a dungeon, where as in P3, once you reached a certain point, the player could freely visit Tartarus as many times as they wanted to slowly level up at the pace they desired. In P4, if you want to make sure you do not screw up, you have to make sure you finished the entire dungeon on the very day it became available, which killed the pacing of the game for me. Again, I only speak to the original version of P4 on this.

    At the end of the day, I enjoyed P3 and P4 in spite of the time mechanics. Its not in my nature to allow myself to miss things in a 100 hour game that I otherwise love, because its a huge time investment to make, and I have no intention of making double that investment just to see the few things I missed. Similarly, I loved Devil Survivor in spite of wondering who to visit to prevent deaths and such. Its clear that a strong atmosphere can be obtained without relying on the use of time mechanics, as I still felt it was powerful in those games where I essentially cut that aspect of the game out myself, in addition to games like Dark Souls that give the player infinite tries in a world that is otherwise very cruel and unforgiving.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    ChickenGod wrote: »
    Nowadays it seems like people are really craving the whole "choices have consequences" thing, and on some level I can understand why this would be appealing. For me personally though, I have enough of those choices to make in real life on an everyday basis. It doesn't help that I'm also the type of person who seems to spend longer than most contemplating on the correct course of action. Ultimately I don't want this feature in my video games, because I'd rather relax and play something that isn't going to hammer me with a punishment so severe that I have to replay the entire game. Obviously if the player makes many saves and whatnot this can be somewhat circumvented, but that kind of obsessive compulsive saving doesn't lead to a fun experience. P4 handled the Social Links much better in that the player essentially had an extra month's time or so if they followed a proper guide.

    This. On a personal level, this is how I feel, namely because my free time is so limited that its super rare I play a game twice in a row (much less twice in a decade). I get anxiety issues about being locked out of good endings, characters, etc... or more importantly, that my poor choices will gimp me towards the end. Even where such fears are a bit irrational (Persona is pretty well balanced), that fear gnaws at me...robbing me of enjoyment :(
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  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited July 2014
    I also completely agree with ChickenGod.
  • JormungandJormungand Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    ChickenGod put it very well. The star collection analogy is fitting.
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Maybe the difference is that I've never seen all the social links in both Persona 3 and 4, and that fact doesn't really bother me. I pretty much realized when I started playing them that trying to see and do everything in a Persona game is too much for a single playthrough, so I just didn't try to, and it worked out pretty well for me. I'd rather see half the stuff on a blind run than see it all with the help of a strategy guide, after all. I simply never thought of failing to see everything as a "punishment", which is good because I'm really bad at getting that all done. In Persona 4 I only managed to build up the Rise social link (one I really wanted to see) to 10 on the very last day it was possible, and I never finished Naoto's, thus failing my original plan of trying to at least see every party member social link.

    I always planned to just see what I haven't done in a later playthrough. Who knows when I will get around to that, but it might happen someday. If I ever get a vita and Persona 4 Golden, that would be a good chance I guess.

    Still... I understand why it bugs some people. At the same time though, I've never really agreed with the sentiment that a game's quality is at all related to the idea that it appeals to everyone, or even a wide audience. A niche game that many people can't stand to play can still be a great game as long as the people who do like it really enjoy it. I'd rather have a great game that appeals to my taste than a mediocre game that appeals to seven million people. And in that context and that definition, I do think that Persona 3 and 4 would be worse games without the time mechanics.
  • JormungandJormungand Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    A niche game that many people can't stand to play can still be a great game as long as the people who do like it really enjoy it. I'd rather have a great game that appeals to my taste than a mediocre game that appeals to seven million people.
    You've just described RPGamers in general. :)
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