We all have that one piece of entertainment that we could watch or play forever. Interactive media, in my opinion holds more to this than anything else, more specifically video games. A game with great replay value can just keep pulling someone back to it again and again. Is it the story? The game play? The sheer nostalgia one feels upon loading up a PlayStation 1 disk and hearing the Sony logo familiar chime? Well I’m not sure about other people but there is one game I could continuously play for hours on end. Final Fantasty 10 or FFX as it is also known.
But why this game in particular? What keeps pulling me back to a game with, in my opinion, cliche character archetypes? Well for starters it is because of these cliches that allow me for focus more on the actual interaction between my physical self and the impacts they have in game and vice versa.
The battle system of FFX is one of the most fluid systems I have ever seen in a game. There is no delay between a button press and the cursors movement. This makes switching out party members easy and simple. Even if I accidentally choose the wrong party member I can easily go back to the menu by just hitting R1 and swapping them out in seconds. Moving on from simple party management, allow me to talk about the overdrive system. Normally you would simply attack an enemy until it dies however this can become dull over hours on end, but with the overdrive system you are rewarded for your time spent with a flash attack. However this attack does not lock you out of interaction, rather it is integral that you keep your hands on the controller as there are quick time events or QTE’s. These QTE’s are utilized in such a way that combined with the vibration of the control really brings home just how devastating your attacks can be. The better one does on these quick time events the more damage you can do to the enemy once the animation finishes. This makes battles always eventful with how easy it is to fill up your overdrive meter.
However with all good there must be some bad. I do not enjoy every game I play and in fact some down right infuriate me! Allow me to give an example with a game that has caused at least one broken controller. Dark Souls!
Now allow me to preface this, Dark Souls has a history of being a hard game. That being said I did not realize this was due to it’s locking controls and cheap difficulty. Allow me to elaborate. When I hit a button I expect to have an immediate player response, not having to sit there for a minute and watch my player character get killed because the controls locked up.
This is a regular occurrence while I made my way through the world of Dark Souls. The output of damage you produce versus the damage an enemy produces is scaled against you the player. To the point where bosses can take away all your health in one attack.
The frame rate of the game would drop in random areas of the game, to the point where climbing down a ladder in the game’s forest area took a solid minute and a half to get down when in fact it was a small latter that I had used earlier in the games to much less frustration.
Certain useful commands like kicking are never told to the player and further more, besides the minuscule tutorial at the beginning of the game, Dark Souls does not tell you anything about where to go or how certain aspects work. Such as with Power Stance or Poise.