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

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Comments

  • ChristopherChristopher New Member Full Members
    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.

    Yeah, you would have to follow a guide step by step to do everything in Persona games in one play through (if it is even possible). There are some social links that have a small window of opportunity for engagement. The Devil arcana in P3, for example. I could never figure out how to start up that link. It got frustrating towards the end because I felt my arcana leveling was so uneven. I had some maxed out and others....nothing. Minor complaint and it doesn't prevent you from completing the story, but for a game as long as this one you would think it would be easier, or at least more obvious, how to go about completing everything.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Hmm...I thought I replied to this, but I don't see it. I hope I'm not double posting.

    Twin, I never implied that every game must be designed to appeal to the lowest common denominate (i.e. appealing to the most people). If I believed in such a notion, I would have suggested they turn Persona into an action RPG shooter with online components ala Call of Duty. :P However, RPGs should be designed to appeal to the niche RPGamer group...that's what we are. And, I simply pointed out that the time limiting mechanics are rarely enjoyed, if I go based off things like word of mouth, our reviews, etc, even by this group (which proudly prefers turn based RPGs to FPS and sports unlike 90% of the gamers out there) We'll praise the graphics, battle system, etc...but the RPGamer reviewers seem to tolerate those limitations at best, and bemoan them (usually when they're poorly implemented) at worst.

    I have anxiety against these mechanics, as do some people, because we do not know at the beginning if they are done well or not. The mechanics are presented...but until you get to the end of the game some 50-100 hours later, you have no idea, outside of a FAQ, whether or not you can screw yourself through poor decisions and/or whether or not you have done so. Making this harder is the fact that not all games with those mechanics make it super clear early on which decisions are poor ones, and how so. As a result, you also do not know until the end game whether a game's time based decision mechanics allow multiple avenues to lead to success, well balanced for various approaches, or not. You are right that Persona 3 and 4 are done well in this area. If any of my friends expressed my normal fears, with these two games, I would assure them that there's plenty of time to do just about everything, and that they won't be disappointed.

    However, again, there's no way for my friends to know that outside of a FAQ or talking with someone who played it. And that's what causes anxiety... because these types of mechanics have been botched up in other games. And unlike combat system, or other subsystems, it can be much harder to detect flaws with time based mechanics such as these (or decisions you made that the game considers bad) until the end of a long trek. And for people, like me, getting a bad ending, or being unable to beat a boss... with no way to go back and do things to change the outcome (because of the time based mechanics), is absolutely, positively infuriating. It seems like a lot of risk to take for not a lot of rewards, given that the actual time forced/decision mechanics going through the long RPG are rarely super fun in and of themselves.

    A similar mechanic is seen in X-2. As you clear each chapter, you are locked out of many activities from that chapter. This can easily prevent you from 100%'ing the game and getting the 'good' ending. No one I can think of really praised that limitation, including my friends who put the time (and bought a strategy guide) to pull if off.

    Being able to make choices and live with consequences in the story itself is an awesome part of RPGs. Forcing regular decisions with a time mechanic which can impact everything from the ending to combat effectiveness, with no apparent way to easily change those decisions (outside of a game reset), is acceptable at best (if done well) and frustrating on an ultimate level at worse. I'm not implying Person 3 and 4 would be better without them, because they are so well done. I'm simply painting with some broad strokes here when I ponder whether or not it's a good mechanic (from a game design standpoint) across the board. It is a mechanic that enables awesomeness, or ultimately shackles the gamer with limitations?
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited July 2014
    @TwinBahamut
    But if you don't care about "completionism" in the first place, then a time limit should neither be a good nor a bad thing for you. After all it only put pressure and challenge on you if you really want to let's say positively complete the game.
  • omegabyteomegabyte He's just this guy, you know? RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    @TwinBahamut
    But if you don't care about "completionism" in the first place, then a time limit should neither be a good nor a bad thing for you. After all it only put pressure and challenge on you if you really want to let's say positively complete the game.

    Except that in the cases of some games, the time limit actually is a factor for just completing the main part of the game. In Atelier Annie, for example, days go by so quickly that if you don't manage your time properly, you won't be able to complete the necessary requirements to advance to story. Another REALLY good example is Dead Rising. That game was basically designed as a giant open world sandbox where you kill zombies in stupid ways in a shopping mall, but then they added in a real-world time limit that basically says "you can't keep playing, you have to go to work now." It's ridiculous. In P3/P4 it doesn't matter if you finish one or all of the social links, the game keeps pressing forward at the same pace all the time. You know EXACTLY how long everything is going to take, and you also know that if you miss something or make a bad choice in your dialogue during one of the social links, it won't matter in the end. It doesn't even affect the true endings - you can get P4's true ending regardless of how many S. Links you finish, and both games even give you a handful of max links for free. And of course you can always do a new game+, which keeps your level and your compendium, making the game super easy to beat and letting you take a whole other year to complete social links at your leisure if you really, REALLY need to see them all.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Yeah, but in games where the time limit is that critical, I'd claim it's always a bad thing (see ChickenGod's post for explanation). So the conclusion is it can never be a good thing. Either it's a bad thing or you just don't care about it.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited July 2014
    Yeah, but in games where the time limit is that critical, I'd claim it's always a bad thing (see ChickenGod's post for explanation). So the conclusion is it can never be a good thing. Either it's a bad thing or you just don't care about it.
    Or the time limit is well done like in Xenoblade Chronicles, where the time limit was only until a certain major event in the story unfolded, and only then was the side quest locked (except for the mutually exclusive ones)
    "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."
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    omegabyte wrote: »
    Except that in the cases of some games, the time limit actually is a factor for just completing the main part of the game. In Atelier Annie, for example, days go by so quickly that if you don't manage your time properly, you won't be able to complete the necessary requirements to advance to story. Another REALLY good example is Dead Rising. That game was basically designed as a giant open world sandbox where you kill zombies in stupid ways in a shopping mall, but then they added in a real-world time limit that basically says "you can't keep playing, you have to go to work now." It's ridiculous. In P3/P4 it doesn't matter if you finish one or all of the social links, the game keeps pressing forward at the same pace all the time. You know EXACTLY how long everything is going to take, and you also know that if you miss something or make a bad choice in your dialogue during one of the social links, it won't matter in the end. It doesn't even affect the true endings - you can get P4's true ending regardless of how many S. Links you finish, and both games even give you a handful of max links for free. And of course you can always do a new game+, which keeps your level and your compendium, making the game super easy to beat and letting you take a whole other year to complete social links at your leisure if you really, REALLY need to see them all.
    And this is what makes P3/P4 easy to recommend despite the time mechanic limitations. They're done well, and it's relatively difficult to screw yerself over. I just wish they were all done this well (or, again, not at all). In the case of Persona, because it is so well done and it really does fit so well within the context of the story and other mechanics, I couldn't see the game without it. It just feels like the exception. So many other games would be so much better off without it.
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    JCServant wrote: »
    Being able to make choices and live with consequences in the story itself is an awesome part of RPGs. Forcing regular decisions with a time mechanic which can impact everything from the ending to combat effectiveness, with no apparent way to easily change those decisions (outside of a game reset), is acceptable at best (if done well) and frustrating on an ultimate level at worse. I'm not implying Person 3 and 4 would be better without them, because they are so well done. I'm simply painting with some broad strokes here when I ponder whether or not it's a good mechanic (from a game design standpoint) across the board. It is a mechanic that enables awesomeness, or ultimately shackles the gamer with limitations?
    I think one point of mine you might be understanding is that I don't consider "RPGamers" to be a niche. The overall realm of RPGs is actually very, very broad, and have many niches found within. Also, I simply don't agree with how you are trying to paint with such a wide brush and making a wide claim without actually trying to prove that assertion as true. You're just asking me to agree with your characterization of something that I already disagreed with, which isn't exactly a spot from which I can easily continue the discussion...

    That said, I'll disagree with you on one of the key points of this paragraph. Like you, I really do like making choices and living with the consequences of those choices in RPGs. Unlike you, I vastly prefer those choices to be embedded in the gameplay, via things like time mechanics, rather than forced purely via the narrative. It is a somewhat awkward comparison, but this brings to mind the different approaches you see between Mass Effect and Fire Emblem in regards to character death. Mass Effect makes you make the Big Choice in which you decide who lives or dies based off of a single binary dialogue option. Fire Emblem gives you the choice to leave a character dead or not every time a mission goes wrong, and you are free to either accept it or replay the mission and try to do better to create a better end result. I hate the Mass Effect approach, and love the Fire Emblem approach. For me, the consequences and choices I make should occur throughout the game and be linked to gameplay, not forced in through cutscenes and scripted choices. Time mechanics are a very effective method of achieving that.

    @TwinBahamut
    But if you don't care about "completionism" in the first place, then a time limit should neither be a good nor a bad thing for you. After all it only put pressure and challenge on you if you really want to let's say positively complete the game.
    This makes no sense. Seriously, why bother saying "you should think this" when I've already clearly said that I think the opposite? That's illogical no matter what way you look at it.

    Honestly, though, I enjoy the pressure and challenge. I don't like getting story for free; I like finding it for myself. I like replay value, and being able to play through a game a second time to get a very different experience.

    Let's use omega's Dead Rising example. I love Dead Rising. It's an amazingly well-crafted game. This is a game that, well, is pretty much built around time mechanics. It's "save as many survivors as you can in three days." All of the gameplay and story is built around that concept. People only appear in certain places and times, and sometimes you get a hint for that and sometimes you don't. Often multiple people appear who are in desperate need of rescue at the same time on opposite sides of the map, and you need to either figure out a way to save both or you have to give up on trying. It's possibly to rescue everyone and see the entire story in one playthrough, but that is a challenge equivalent to something like playing through a Metal Gear Solid game without being seen or killing anyone. Exploring how the game world changes over those three days and figuring out what you need to do to unlock shortcuts and save people is a really fun experience. The basic gameplay of Dead Rising, in which you use all manner of random items to kill zombies, is quite fun, but very quickly gets boring and repetitive without the greater challenge enforced by the time limit. The game's unlimited survival mode is actually quite a snoozefest. I love Dead Rising, but I would have very little interest in it if it lacked that time element.
  • AncientRuneAncientRune Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    so when is the next round going to begin
  • PawsPaws Purr RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Monday or Tuesday I'd imagine. When it does, we'll close this up, so get your final thoughts in ;)
  • PawsPaws Purr RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    And closed!
This discussion has been closed.