Stunted GrowthPosted on September 3rd, 2009 No comments
WARNING: There are spoilers concerning the DLC for Lost Odyssey and of Final Fantasy IV in here. Read at your own risk.
I *love* gamerscore. I want more. I play and play on my Xbox to increase that score, and eventually, as I see more and more people with a lower score than my own, I feel just awesome.
I also love RPGs. I get into the stories and emotions of the characters. I enjoy immersing myself into a world that is not my own, and living the lives of these people. That is why I play these games. I am not the kind of RPG gamer who plays a game to get every single item in the game, or to say they’ve done everything they can possibly do (“Completionists”). Sometimes, running around for hours and hours and hours to level up to defeat an optional boss or monster that has NO direct bearing on how the story will end for a single item that will probably over throw the balance of the game anyways (Read: Economizers) just doesn’t seem WORTH it.
[SIDE NOTE: Of course, I’m not one of those guys who also levels up for hours on end right before a boss so I can roll over him without thinking. Those people bug the hell out of me. I will throw my lower-end party at a boss and die a dozen times before pulling off victory through strategy before I give up and decided I can’t do this without leveling. That’s a post for another time/rant]
But, what happens when a game mixes the nooks and crannies of the fantasy world with a real world offering that I *do* want, by offering me the currency of gaming, to compare how “gamer” you are in a liquid form regardless of what games you play? Gamerscore.
I started realizing that I’ve NEVER maxed out a game on gamerscore. Ever. Not even the downloadable Xbox LIVE Arcade games (of which I have many). I tend to play through like I do, not hitting everything, until I’m done, and then I put it away.
Then our economy sank faster than a full-armored cleric who tied himself to a rock. (True story that, also for another time.)
Now, I’m not buying as many games as I used to. Recently, I was invited to a coworker’s house to play Rock Band, and I was hardcore addicted, not for the music (though I consider myself a decent singer on Medium) but for the fact that I do not own Rock Band (Guitar Hero instead), and so I racked up a ton of really simple achievements in a small amount of time. My score improved for the first time in a very long time.
I went home and looked through my games to see which ones had extra achievements. I was gonna go for it, and max out a full game once and for all.
I ended on Lost Odyssey. Lost Odyssey is an RPG from the esteemed Hironobu Sakaguchi (creator of Final Fantasy) with music by Nobuo Uematsu (composer of Final Fantasy). It has a lot of optional things that actually enrich the story, and are not obvious add-ons that don’t have anything to do with the lore of the game. They are optional, but completing them, while challenging, still give a lot to the story.
That being said, I had already completed a good majority, and decided to go through the achievement list, and max it out.
Some of them are linked to one another. To get the “Spell Collector” achievement (“All spells have been obtained.”), you have to beat a number of the optional bosses who horde unique spells (defeating the Blue Dragon gives you the “Defeated Blue Dragon” achievement as well as the Leveler Black Magic spell).
I worked through a number of those, and I came to the last few ones. Lost Odyssey has a DLC that gives you 25 floors of straight pain-in-the-ass battles, down to an ultimate optional boss. There is almost no bearing on the story, and reeks of the “optional” useless crap in games that expands on the story none whatsoever. If it wasn’t for the gamerscore, I would’ve left it alone.
It was so difficult, that last boss (especially because there are no save points through the entire dungeon) that I gave up when I last attempted. That was back in May. I came back to it this month. He has skills that do more damage than my party has hit points, causing me to rely on certain skills that keep me alive when I am about to die (“Persistence” occasionally leaves me a single hit point instead of dying), but they only work so many times, or are % chance of occuring. One unlucky moment, and my party was wiped out.
After weeks of leveling and fighting and losing, I finally realized that his mega-spell of instant death (literally, instant death, no hit point damage, so my skills are useless) could be deflected using Reflect. I was floored! First, I was frustrated because I have a skill called “Complete Defense” that makes me invulnerable for a couple turns, but it only works once in battle per character, and timing it right was difficult, and then I spent rounds trying to rez without dying in the first place. Finding out Reflect fixed it pissed me off. Then, most large scale spells like that, by unwritten RPG rule, can’t be reflected. Remember our surprise in Final Fantasy IV when we first learned that Bahamut’s Mega Flare could be reflected? (I died a billion times on that bastard before figuring that one out.)
[SIDE NOTE: In the DS version of FF4, they changed it so his Mega Flare is cast on HIMSELF when he has Reflect, thus nullifying the “Reflect myself” strategy of beating him.]
I still died a few times, but I eventually won! Woo hoo! I was so stoked, that left me to do one achievement left.
Treasure Trove – Collect all Treasure Box items in the field.
Okay, shouldn’t be too hard right?
There are hundreds of items to find, all individually concealed in pots, posters, vines, carts, boxes, buried in the ground, at the bottom of the ocean, and who knows what else. (Curious?: Link.)
And there is no way of knowing what you’ve gotten already or not. You pretty much have to start from the beginning and painstakingly check every item’s location to see if you’ve gotten it already.
I’ll do that another time. I’m not a completionist anyways. Though, Blue Dragon looks like it needs to be maxed out….