The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #331
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    Default Re: What's One "Old Game" Mechanic That You Don't Miss?

    Another good one is the first Lavos fight in Chrono Trigger. It hits you with an AOE attack that is far more powerful than any party you're likely to have at that stage of the game, and which is actually stronger than the same attack when you meet Lavos as the final boss. However, if your party IS really high level (typically via New Game+) it is possible to survive the attack and go on to fight Lavos properly. If you win, you beat the game and get a special ending where you get to meet the dev team.

  2. - Top - End - #332
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triaxx View Post
    I rather liked the couple times FFIX did it against Beatrix. You'd have a tough fight, and then she'd just smash you down to 1HP and walk away.

    And then later you had her on your team and found out she'd had those abilities from the start and was just playing with you.
    That avoids another frustrating thing - when you add an awesome villain to your party, and find that all of their abilities have been nerfed beyond recognition...
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  3. - Top - End - #333
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erloas View Post
    While you clearly have to estabilish the character of the boss there are a lot of ways to do that. "You beat them in combat then they beat you in a cutscene afterwards" is the incredibly lazy way to do that. It also does the opposite of making them feel like a real genuine threat because it generally happens fairly early in the game and you're relatively weak.
    I won't dispute you, I agree, but the feeling the game designer is trying to harness is that sense of frustration, born of stolen glory. The problem, of course, is that to anyone with the self-awareness of a grapefruit, you'll realize it isn't the villain you're pissed off at, it's the game designer/writer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    Then you just straight-up don't let the player win.
    Sure, but then your interaction is devoid of weight. There's just a cut-scene, which you may or may not skip, but are under no obligation to pay attention to, during which some things happen without your intervention at all.

    IMO, the best-executed version of "Build up the villain" was done in the story of Borderlands 2, where Handsome Jack phones you up on the radio and taunts you, without affording you the direct conflict, so it a) doesn't break the action and just provoke the player to get up and get another beer and/or find the skip button and b) still provokes the necessary animosity and engagement necessary to get the player's emotional investment in beating the villain.

    But at day's end, I'm here for the gameplay. I can live with a non-existent story with good gameplay far more than I can live with a great story and crummy gameplay.

  4. - Top - End - #334
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
    Another good one is the first Lavos fight in Chrono Trigger. It hits you with an AOE attack that is far more powerful than any party you're likely to have at that stage of the game, and which is actually stronger than the same attack when you meet Lavos as the final boss. However, if your party IS really high level (typically via New Game+) it is possible to survive the attack and go on to fight Lavos properly. If you win, you beat the game and get a special ending where you get to meet the dev team.
    Wasn't there also a similar "destined to fail" fight in the underwater factory?

  5. - Top - End - #335
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    IMO, the best-executed version of "Build up the villain" was done in the story of Borderlands 2, where Handsome Jack phones you up on the radio and taunts you, without affording you the direct conflict, so it a) doesn't break the action and just provoke the player to get up and get another beer and/or find the skip button and b) still provokes the necessary animosity and engagement necessary to get the player's emotional investment in beating the villain.
    I completely agree. The snarky off-handed and dismissively sneering tone of voice he uses to interact with you throughout the first section of the game is just absolutely priceless.

    "You see, the plan was to blow the train up, and kill you. Ya see the problem? You're not dead yet. So if you could just off yourself... thaaaaat'd be great."

    "Oh, and my horse literally made of diamonds..."

    Like, half of the time he's not even actively taunting you so much as just being really effing annoying and bragging (and in NO way is it 'humble-bragging', there is no shred or trace of humble about Jack) about everything. By the time you get to him, you want to wring his scrawny little neck just to get him to shut the f**k up.

    It is absolutely BRILLIANT voice acting, and the guy absolutely nailed the part. I haven't wanted to kill a villain like that since Kefka in FF VI back on the SNES when it was still called Final Fantasy 3.
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    Default Re: What's One "Old Game" Mechanic That You Don't Miss?

    Not to mention the first time you meet him 'in person' is right after
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    he shoots your leader in the back of the head.

    The transition from 'annoying' to 'serious' is a great shock moment the first time.
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    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cikomyr View Post
    Wasn't there also a similar "destined to fail" fight in the underwater factory?
    Yeah, but that one sucks. You don't get a reward for winning (other than maybe some experience points) and Dalton just zaps you and you get captured anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    I completely agree. The snarky off-handed and dismissively sneering tone of voice he uses to interact with you throughout the first section of the game is just absolutely priceless.
    They even build him up when he's not directly talking to you--for example, when you find the recording of how he dealt with Helena Pearce from the first game, which basically involved mocking her scars and then shooting her in the head. Excellent example of how you make someone hate-able without ever meeting them directly.

    Mind you, the reverse can also be good. One of the most memorable moments I had in a video game was in "Outcast" 20+ years ago now. There was this one guy, the main sidekick of the (unseen) major villain, who you'd encountered several times and, of course, beaten him every time. So, when you meet him for about the fourth time you're starting to think, "Oh no, not this guy again". Clearly the game designers knew that, which is why you have this exchange of banter:

    Villain sidekick: "Ulukai, we meet again, but this time, things will be different."
    You: "You mean you're gonna run away *before* I kick your butt this time?"

    Those two lines made that scene totally memorable to me!

  9. - Top - End - #339
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    That avoids another frustrating thing - when you add an awesome villain to your party, and find that all of their abilities have been nerfed beyond recognition...
    Heh, there was this game I played awhile back, I think it was lunar 2 the silver star story or something like that. Basically, early in the game you climb this tower full of monsters and find a mystery women at the top. She joins your group and she is ABSURDLY strong. Like, one shotting everything you face. But when you reach the bottom of the tower the big bad shows up and drains her power leaving her no better than anyone else. All the guides mention this part as being a great chance to farm some levels easily and say not to hurry to leave specifically so she can do all the heavy lifting until nothing there is a challenge for your regular party members. Its neat how some games do stuff like that, give you a taste of what you will be capable of by end game early on then take it away as part of the story.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    The way FFVIII did it, which I liked, was to have the boss defeat you in a cutscene after the battle - but if you actually managed to deplete the boss's health to 0 you got a pretty decent reward for that stage of the game.
    Now I'm just trying to think of which boss that was. Xenogears did a similar thing, though at least in that case, win or lose, the enemy got reinforcements after the fight to better justify it. You just got some nice (but mostly useless) armor if you won.
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    I believe it's that robot boss that you face during the final exam. The one where you can either run back to the beach while rescuing everyone, or beat it after the first face-off, since in the first one he is indeed invincible.
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  12. - Top - End - #342
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    Quote Originally Posted by heronbpv View Post
    I believe it's that robot boss that you face during the final exam. The one where you can either run back to the beach while rescuing everyone, or beat it after the first face-off, since in the first one he is indeed invincible.
    Oh right that. At least they're nice enough to make it clear its supposed to be something you run from.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    I completely agree. The snarky off-handed and dismissively sneering tone of voice he uses to interact with you throughout the first section of the game is just absolutely priceless.

    "You see, the plan was to blow the train up, and kill you. Ya see the problem? You're not dead yet. So if you could just off yourself... thaaaaat'd be great."

    "Oh, and my horse literally made of diamonds..."
    Wait.... you and I agree on something? That is hot ice and wondrous strange snow.

    Like, half of the time he's not even actively taunting you so much as just being really effing annoying and bragging (and in NO way is it 'humble-bragging', there is no shred or trace of humble about Jack) about everything. By the time you get to him, you want to wring his scrawny little neck just to get him to shut the f**k up.

    It is absolutely BRILLIANT voice acting, and the guy absolutely nailed the part. I haven't wanted to kill a villain like that since Kefka in FF VI back on the SNES when it was still called Final Fantasy 3.
    No question, it was a perfectly executed arc, and the only unfortunate bit is that once you're gotten the payoff and shoot Jack in his stupid-face, there's no more Jack, hence the problems Gearbox had with Borderlands 3. Even the Pre-sequel (which wasn't half-bad, as gameplay went) suffered because the Jack you interact with isn't that person yet. He's not yet the smug, snarky tool he'll grow up to be yet, and the villains of that piece are regrettably cardboardian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    The way FFVIII did it, which I liked, was to have the boss defeat you in a cutscene after the battle - but if you actually managed to deplete the boss's health to 0 you got a pretty decent reward for that stage of the game.
    Similar to XenoGears (no surprise). A couple no-win battles, but you actually could win and got nice rewards. I liked it.

    Edit: looking back, Hunter Noventa beat me to it. There are at least 3, one gives you an accessory that guarantees rare drops, and the other gives some unique armor.
    Last edited by danzibr; 2019-11-26 at 12:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heronbpv View Post
    I believe it's that robot boss that you face during the final exam. The one where you can either run back to the beach while rescuing everyone, or beat it after the first face-off, since in the first one he is indeed invincible.
    That's a good example, but I was actually referring to a different boss.

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    The assassination attempt on Sorceress Edea. Win or lose, the fight is followed by a cutscene where she uses her Limit Break on you - but if you chew through her HP (which pretty much requires you to abuse Carbuncle), you get a pretty good chunk of AP, which is very useful in a game where GF abilities are key to brealing the difficulty curve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    That's a good example, but I was actually referring to a different boss.

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    The assassination attempt on Sorceress Edea. Win or lose, the fight is followed by a cutscene where she uses her Limit Break on you - but if you chew through her HP (which pretty much requires you to abuse Carbuncle), you get a pretty good chunk of AP, which is very useful in a game where GF abilities are key to brealing the difficulty curve.
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    I literally did not know you could lose that fight and not get a game over, it's not a super hard battle if you get the basics of the Junction system.
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  17. - Top - End - #347
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    I think "heads I win, tails you lose" (and most of these things) basically entirely depends on how well you cushion the blow.

    Doing it well isn't too bad. Doing absolutely nothing is terrible ("nothing" is the situation where you have to win the battle and you are informed that you lost).

    Likewise with the lack of maps: Having good landmarks where you don't need a map is great; Limited sections that focus on the game-play of finding your way are fine. A featureless , map-less labyrinth included out of habit isn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter Noventa View Post
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    I literally did not know you could lose that fight and not get a game over, it's not a super hard battle if you get the basics of the Junction system.
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    I've only ever beaten it once without shutting her down with Reflect, and that was on my "see how many bosses I can take down with one attack (not counting Meltdown or Drawing a GF where present) each" run (I was able to get into Ultimecia's castle before failing, including Ultima Weapon) where I was cheesing Limits. It isn't a hard fight, but it isn't quite a pushover.

  19. - Top - End - #349
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quizatzhaderac View Post
    I think "heads I win, tails you lose" (and most of these things) basically entirely depends on how well you cushion the blow.

    Doing it well isn't too bad. Doing absolutely nothing is terrible ("nothing" is the situation where you have to win the battle and you are informed that you lost).
    Bringing up DMC again, in DMC 3 you fight your brother for the first time (of 3) and its a "You win to lose" fight. But it worked for me. I suppose because I came that close to losing the first time I played, and in the cutscene it was clearly a very close fight with Virgil just barely gaining the upper hand. And then afterwards you unlock your Devil Trigger which I suppose feels like a reward for winning. Then you fight him again and by this point I was a much better player so I thrashed him pretty well even with his new moves but the cutscene told me we basically tied.

    I dunno I suppose I just suspended my disbelief. I guess telling the player that "YOU WERE SLOPPY" after you were awesome would really suck though.
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    Default Re: What's One "Old Game" Mechanic That You Don't Miss?

    One mechanic I particularly hate are hidden rewards for random actions in strategy games.

    In Fire Emblem, this might mean putting the right character at the right spot on the right mission without any clues to do so (Path of Radiance, getting Stefan).

    In an oldschool JRPG, Beyond the Beyond, you have to refuse to attack your brother for roughly 15 rounds (and he hits like a TRUCK) and basically sit there in order for the secret event to occur.


    Nobody likes this, and the only people who benefit from crap like this are those who cheat. The 1% of players who accidentally do the thing you want them to aren't worth the hassle it causes to everyone else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Over_Game View Post
    One mechanic I particularly hate are hidden rewards for random actions in strategy games.

    In Fire Emblem, this might mean putting the right character at the right spot on the right mission without any clues to do so (Path of Radiance, getting Stefan).

    In an oldschool JRPG, Beyond the Beyond, you have to refuse to attack your brother for roughly 15 rounds (and he hits like a TRUCK) and basically sit there in order for the secret event to occur.


    Nobody likes this, and the only people who benefit from crap like this are those who cheat. The 1% of players who accidentally do the thing you want them to aren't worth the hassle it causes to everyone else.
    The random spot ones are bad, but not fighting your brother? Hardly something no one would try. Rondo of Swords (Nintendo DS sRPG) had something like this for its different ending branches, revolving around a sword that would prove the presence of royal blood.

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    Default Re: What's One "Old Game" Mechanic That You Don't Miss?

    Or in Shining Force you have to search in just the right spot in battle.

    Or in XenoGears you have to not beat up that kid in the you-know-what.

    I actually kind or like those. Unless theyíre too obtuse. If you donít know about them, youíre not missing anything. If you do know about them, itís a nice little bonus.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zalabim View Post
    The random spot ones are bad, but not fighting your brother? Hardly something no one would try. Rondo of Swords (Nintendo DS sRPG) had something like this for its different ending branches, revolving around a sword that would prove the presence of royal blood.
    I think nonviolence is a good enough solution, IF the player is aware that it is an option. For example, scenes early on in the game imply that you have a choice during the dramatic fight, or a fight early on in the game is clearly outlined as having a solution of nonviolence.

    It's bad game design to assume your players should attempt a solution that you've never implied was an option, especially in a game where options are limited (good games use a Talk command, bad ones use Guard). Should I have just plugged in my mic and shouted at my brother, or was there something I missed?

    Or do what Metal Gear Solid does: Tell me I didn't make the optimal choice and make my respawn quick.
    In MGS: Snake Eater, there's a part where you "die" and can opt to Retry, just to die again a few minutes later. Through trial-and-error, you'll find out that you can access your inventory from the Mission Failed page, which you normally cannot do. Using a specific item breaks the loop. Retrying doesn't have any real impact, and it takes about 5 minutes to hit the Mission Failed page again.
    Last edited by Man_Over_Game; 2019-12-10 at 04:37 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Over_Game View Post
    One mechanic I particularly hate are hidden rewards for random actions in strategy games.

    In Fire Emblem, this might mean putting the right character at the right spot on the right mission without any clues to do so (Path of Radiance, getting Stefan).
    Or how about when there is technically a hint, but it's so oblique and obscure that there might as well not be one? Whether it's due to a poor translation or just how old games were.

    The example I have in mind is from Dragon Warrior 2 (or at least, the version of it I played on Game Boy Color; I don't know what the original NES was like). There's an item you need that an NPC tells you can be found in the fire shrine. So what's the fire shrine? It turns out to be a building where you pass through that has a couple torches on the wall. It's not a dungeon, there's no sign or anything identifying it as the fire shrine, and no one tells you where this fire shrine is. If you don't make the connection "this building has a couple torches on the walls, it must be the fire shrine" you can search forever and you will never find it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velaryon View Post
    Or how about when there is technically a hint, but it's so oblique and obscure that there might as well not be one? Whether it's due to a poor translation or just how old games were.

    The example I have in mind is from Dragon Warrior 2 (or at least, the version of it I played on Game Boy Color; I don't know what the original NES was like). There's an item you need that an NPC tells you can be found in the fire shrine. So what's the fire shrine? It turns out to be a building where you pass through that has a couple torches on the wall. It's not a dungeon, there's no sign or anything identifying it as the fire shrine, and no one tells you where this fire shrine is. If you don't make the connection "this building has a couple torches on the walls, it must be the fire shrine" you can search forever and you will never find it.
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    Default Re: What's One "Old Game" Mechanic That You Don't Miss?

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    Or in Shining Force you have to search in just the right spot in battle.

    Or in XenoGears you have to not beat up that kid in the you-know-what.

    I actually kind or like those. Unless theyíre too obtuse. If you donít know about them, youíre not missing anything. If you do know about them, itís a nice little bonus.
    Super Robot Wars has a couple of these, most a specific unit to a specific spot to get a bonus item kind of stuff. And a couple of the games had some pretty arcane requirements for getting secret units like 'Only let these two characters fight each other once for this unit, twice for this other unit'. The more recent games have been better about it though. It's more 'Do the obvious thing of shooting down this character with the protagonist of the show to unlock them later'
    "And if you don't, the consequences will be dire!"
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  27. - Top - End - #357
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    Default Re: What's One "Old Game" Mechanic That You Don't Miss?

    In many cases with modern games you can get hints to "secret" things by looking at achievements. Because most hard to do obscure things have achievements with them, so you just have to look at the requirements to see what to do.

  28. - Top - End - #358
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    Default Re: What's One "Old Game" Mechanic That You Don't Miss?

    Yeah im not a big fan of the random secrets. How about this for fun? Star Ocean 2. In this game, iirc, you start off a new game with certain built in characteristics. There is little to no explanation of what they are for. However, if you have the right ones, AND you go out farming cash for an absurd length of time AND buy an expensive item that doesnt seem to add anything to you, you can learn how to pickpocket people. The real problem is, there is one specific person you can only pickpocket before an event happens early on and he or she has a unique item that basically grants you free stuff at random. Here is the thing, most of the stuff you get is junk. Minor cash, weak items, vendor trash. However, there are 5 specific suits of super armor you can pickpocket off specific people at specific times and only then. There is absolutely no warning about this. And thats just one of the skills in the game.

    You can pick up plenty but you kind of have to figure out for yourself what the best choices are as you learn say, mineralogy, which you find out unlocks 3x int boosts. Helpful for a spellcaster. or biology which is the only skill that will bump your max hp. As I recall you dont exactly have an unlimited amount of skill points so good luck figuring out which ones to spend them on without screwing up badly. The game was a lot of fun, and once you read through the guides it lets you do a lot of customization which is neat, but the fact that without using a guide this is all guesswork (with some logic at least) can be very frustrating. "Hey courage! That probably would help me out somehow!" Nope, no stat boosts at all. However, if you max it out along with poker face AND have dexterity, AND buy a bandits glove for a ludicrous at the time price, you can unlock pickpocketing. And thats just the start, there are skills that require specific combinations of other skills to make possible to learn, and even more skills that require the advanced skills to be combined a certain way to unlock even MORE advanced skills! Again with nothing in game to even hint about it. All this would be AMAZING if there was a reasonable in game way to figure it out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Traab is yelling everything that I'm thinking already.
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  29. - Top - End - #359
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    Default Re: What's One "Old Game" Mechanic That You Don't Miss?

    Phantasy Star II had the secret visiphone.

    To get it first you need the thief character that every time you exit a shop they have a chance to leave the party and go back to the protagonist's house where they'll have "found" a new item that matched the shop's list.

    But to get the visiphone you had to enter and exit the main administrative building that at that point of the game you have no reason at all to visit let alone multiple times (chance to steal find an item being random and all).

    And what does the secret visiphone do for all your trouble? Why yes it's the only way to save the game outside of a town. And PS II had pretty long and hard dungeons so whitout the visiphone it was unfairly hard.

    Actually no excuse at all nowadays for a game to not let you save anytime outside of battle at least.
    Last edited by deuterio12; 2019-12-13 at 11:21 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Of Mantas View Post
    "You know, Durkon, I built this planet up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was a snarl. All the other gods said we were daft to build a planet over a snarl, but I built it all the same, just to show then. It got eaten by the snarl...

    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

  30. - Top - End - #360
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    Default Re: What's One "Old Game" Mechanic That You Don't Miss?

    In all fairness to PS II, it was part of the second gen JRPGs (the ones right after Dragon Quest 1 and Phantasy Star I), so the known conventions of now where, well, not known at the time.
    Just saying that you still can beat the game without it, but throw away any notion of overpowering the monsters, because even with powerleveling you will be drowning in them at any dungeon. The idea is to explore, get to know where the objectives lie, then leave and bee line to it with a more prepared team. At least that's how I did it.

    But agreed. Nowadays no excuse to at least let me save on the overworld/map.
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