RPGs, and how to make me hate your game

If you were to ask me a week or two ago what my favorite Squaresoft/Square Enix role-playing game was, I’d have replied with Final Fantasy IV. It was the first RPG from Square I ever had the chance to play, and one of the first SNES games I touched. And it touched me. The story, the amazing soundtrack, the graphics–everything about it screamed perfection. At the time I was young and didn’t realize just how much had been left out by the game’s translation when initially released stateside.

I’d played Final Fantasy V and VI, but neither held up to FFIV. Well, last weekend I replayed through FFVI, and I must say there was a lot I had forgotten about the game, and it definitely has a much more rich and fleshed out plot than FFIV had. I guess not playing it for more than 15 years could do that.

Now I’d say it’s much closer to being a tie between the two. Then Secret of Mana comes in as number 3 of my favorite Square RPGs. In my opinion, Final Fantasy died with the release of FFVII, so I haven’t played anything past it. But what about Chrono Trigger?

Well, for years I had never played it. I would try, and 30 mins in, I felt bored. Last weekend, after completing FFVI, I finally gave CT a shot. The music was great, the writing was great (really, props to the writers for managing all those crazy storylines and timelines), but the game itself bored me. Other than Robo and Marle, I didn’t care about the characters. The biggest thing that made the game a turn-off to me can be summed up in two words…

Fetch quests.

It felt like the whole game was nothing more than doing stupid fetch quests that required backtracking everywhere at least once in the game. Backtracking is the quickest way to make me displeased with your game. Give me new things to do. Don’t make my leveled up characters have to go back through some stupid forest or mountain pass to get somewhere. I swear, giving me a flying machine at the beginning of the game would’ve made me enjoy the game more. At least it happens close to the end.. right?

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