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Wolf Kanno
10-30-2015, 08:09 PM
When it comes to the first few hours of a game and most importantly, the opening. Do you prefer jumping straight into the action and having the context explained later, or do you like more of a slow build in escalation to understand the background info before everything goes to hell?

Skyblade
10-30-2015, 09:20 PM
It depends on how long things stay action oriented.

In Final Fantasy VII, you start in the action, but that's fine, because it's a short segment, followed by the buildup and backstory needed to engage you with the world.

On the other hand, Shin Megami Tensei games tend to immediately throw you into dungeons that can take multiple hours to complete, without giving you sufficient reason to care about the characters or the world to keep you playing through that long of an action sequence.

Getting you into the action immediately can be fine, but I personally need enough context and connection with the characters to keep going if it lasts too long or is too hard. If the story can't make it clear that the combat is worth the effort, I'll give up.

Wolf Kanno
10-30-2015, 09:31 PM
I can't even think of an SMT game that starts you in the action. The franchise is kind of known for being slow builds with Nocturne probably being fastest turnaround and even then, it's not like you jump into fighting demons after you press start. You probably get into your first actual battle fifteen minutes into the game after being introduced to the whole human cast. Persona is even slower in the beginning sections.

On the other hand, a game like Suikoden V does start you in the middle of a mission but the actual plot and story doesn't really kick off until 10 to 15 hours later after fully immersing yourself in the whole political dynamics of Falena.

Pumpkin
10-30-2015, 09:34 PM
I generally prefer a slow build up in most media. Especially since I enjoy longer games, I like things to move more slowly and get me immersed more and loving the characters. Doesn't mean there can be no action, but you know what I mean. Xenoblade actually got off on the wrong foot with me because of how actiony it starts out (as well as a few other things, but the being thrown right in the action thing was especially a turn off for me) and I wouldn't have tried it if I hadn't watched sharky play a good bit past that point.

There are some instances where it can be done well but overall I prefer a slow build

Vermachtnis
10-30-2015, 09:50 PM
It really depends on the game. Take Persona 4 and Kingdom Heart 2 as two examples. Persona 4 takes about four hours to get going with a couple of fights, but never really dragged on. And then there's Kingdom Hearts 2, which took about an hour and a half or so to get going and more fighting, but it just felt like it took forever.

I love how Chrono Trigger starts with a carnival and you can approach it however fast you want. And on MegaTen, Digital Devil Saga starts in a dungeon and has the characters learning at the same pace as the player.

Pete for President
10-31-2015, 02:57 AM
It really depends on the game. Take Persona 4 and Kingdom Heart 2 as two examples. Persona 4 takes about four hours to get going with a couple of fights, but never really dragged on. And then there's Kingdom Hearts 2, which took about an hour and a half or so to get going and more fighting, but it just felt like it took forever.

I love how Chrono Trigger starts with a carnival and you can approach it however fast you want. And on MegaTen, Digital Devil Saga starts in a dungeon and has the characters learning at the same pace as the player.

Nail on the head for KH2, the intro section wasn't very interesting at all. KH1 almost had it right, I was really blown away by the spychedelic choosing of your path and crazy dream world happenings, but the fetch quests on the island kinda messed it up imo.

Ayen
10-31-2015, 03:21 AM
Depends how's it done. FFVII jumping into the action is fine by me. As is ME1 and FFX taking their time.

Skyblade
10-31-2015, 06:50 AM
I can't even think of an SMT game that starts you in the action. The franchise is kind of known for being slow builds with Nocturne probably being fastest turnaround and even then, it's not like you jump into fighting demons after you press start. You probably get into your first actual battle fifteen minutes into the game after being introduced to the whole human cast. Persona is even slower in the beginning sections.

You're introduced to them, in a "hello, this is such-and-such" type manner. You don't get to really KNOW them. Then you're in a dungeon for an hour and a half and you die five times and you just give up and forget about it because you have no connection to the characters or world, and don't care enough to finish.

Maybe that's just me, but both Nocturne and SMT IV got that reaction out of me. I didn't actually KNOW the characters, and I didn't have any reason to care about getting them to the end of the dungeon. I didn't learn enough about the world to care about saving it. It wasn't worth the trouble. Too much action early on, without setting up what it needed to make me want to finish, and the stupid difficulty just made it all worse.

The slow start of the Persona games actually helped. You're introduced to all the characters in a way that lets you see their personality, actually start to care about them as characters, and engage with the world before being forced to fight for your life. What's more, since the games are based in our world, you already have a reason to care about it. Unlike SMT IV, which is set in some strange pseudo medieval world, from what I could tell, that I didn't care about at all. Or Nocturne, in which our world is destroyed in the first fifteen seconds, so you're thrust into a blasted hellscape that gives you nothing to care about or fight for.


On the other hand, a game like Suikoden V does start you in the middle of a mission but the actual plot and story doesn't really kick off until 10 to 15 hours later after fully immersing yourself in the whole political dynamics of Falena.

It doesn't need plot and story if it gives you a reason to care about its characters and fight for them. Though at this point, it just sounds like I should avoid playing Suikoden.

Fynn
10-31-2015, 08:27 AM
SMT IV rewards you for sticking with it, which is really the definition of slow-paced :p Seriously, that medieval kingdom? Pretty soon you find out it's on top of modern Tokyo, which is where the game proper actually begins, which is a good eight hours in.

Wolf Kanno
10-31-2015, 09:53 AM
I can't even think of an SMT game that starts you in the action. The franchise is kind of known for being slow builds with Nocturne probably being fastest turnaround and even then, it's not like you jump into fighting demons after you press start. You probably get into your first actual battle fifteen minutes into the game after being introduced to the whole human cast. Persona is even slower in the beginning sections.

You're introduced to them, in a "hello, this is such-and-such" type manner. You don't get to really KNOW them. Then you're in a dungeon for an hour and a half and you die five times and you just give up and forget about it because you have no connection to the characters or world, and don't care enough to finish.

Maybe that's just me, but both Nocturne and SMT IV got that reaction out of me. I didn't actually KNOW the characters, and I didn't have any reason to care about getting them to the end of the dungeon. I didn't learn enough about the world to care about saving it. It wasn't worth the trouble. Too much action early on, without setting up what it needed to make me want to finish, and the stupid difficulty just made it all worse.

The slow start of the Persona games actually helped. You're introduced to all the characters in a way that lets you see their personality, actually start to care about them as characters, and engage with the world before being forced to fight for your life. What's more, since the games are based in our world, you already have a reason to care about it. Unlike SMT IV, which is set in some strange pseudo medieval world, from what I could tell, that I didn't care about at all. Or Nocturne, in which our world is destroyed in the first fifteen seconds, so you're thrust into a blasted hellscape that gives you nothing to care about or fight for.

Okay, couple points here.
A) SMT is not exactly a character driven franchise. In fact in the case of Nocturne, there are probably only two sympathetic figures in the whole plot. Your homeroom teacher (whose the key to getting the "happy" ending if you play your cards right) and the Manikins. The rest of those opening characters are not figures to feel bad for. You do because bad things happen to them as the story progresses which feeds their psychosis but they all represent a possible choice you can make. SMT has always been less about gripping character stories (though the series does have some even if they are rarely the focus and more subtle than the usual JRPG fare) and more about the concepts and ideologies that it explores. Nocturne asks what ideology would you rebuild the world with, and how far would one be willing to make their ideal world a reality. SMTIV explores the dangers of ignorance and the consequences of ones choices. The games do a bit more to make you an active participant in the proceedings rather than a semi-active observer of other characters making these choices. They have great stories, they are just not given to the player in the conventional manner most players are use to. You need to approach them less like FF and DQ and more like Elder Scrolls and Dark Souls.

B) You're focusing too much on the old world, the new world is about exploring and learning what is going on. You're not really in the wastelands of destroyed earth, you're in a parallel world made of remnants of old Tokyo but ultimately you're in an egg. You don't really begin to understand what is going on until you reach the second actual "dungeon". I kind of feel like you gave up in frustration before really scratching the surface of the games.

C. You actually get quite a bit of build up with the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado in SMTIV. Talking to the residents reveals a lot about the world and the other characters actually travel with you like a party so you do get their input as the story progresses. Frankly Jonathon, Walter, and Isabeau are easily the most sympathetic companions you'll get in the franchise and it can be pretty heart wrenching to watch their fates unfold as the truth about Naraku and the true form of the world begins to slowly tear the group apart on ideological issues. Also, SMTIV will almost never give you a straight answer. At no point does the game ever really stop you to sit you down and explain cohesively what is actually going on, instead you have to piece together everything by talking to NPCs and exploring all the ending paths. Honestly SMTIV's plot is pretty rocking and SMTIII does a similar thing as well.



On the other hand, a game like Suikoden V does start you in the middle of a mission but the actual plot and story doesn't really kick off until 10 to 15 hours later after fully immersing yourself in the whole political dynamics of Falena.

It doesn't need plot and story if it gives you a reason to care about its characters and fight for them. Though at this point, it just sounds like I should avoid playing Suikoden.

Actually it just takes the game a while to explain why you should care. The first 10 hours is basically introducing all of the characters, the kingdoms politics, and setting up the situation that will kick start the actual main part of the game where you're recruiting people and fighting your war. It's probably the worse offender in the franchise but frankly the game needs it because the politics get complicated, so it needs the drawn out opening to help the player immerse themselves in the world and care about the characters. It's actually a fantastic series if you ask me.

Mr. Carnelian
10-31-2015, 04:15 PM
The golden rule is 'Show don't tell'.

I prefer exposition to be kept to a minimum. Don't TELL me about the war between the rival kingdoms of X and Y, SHOW me.

Fynn
10-31-2015, 05:55 PM
I'd argue that, just like with everything, the "show don't tell" rule is good in moderation :p

VeloZer0
10-31-2015, 06:08 PM
Depends on what you mean as a slow build. From a strictly story point of view I don't think I have that much of a preference either way, what I dislike is the 'everything is fine until something drastic happens'. IMO it is one of the worst ways to start a game and few have done a good job with it. It's a hold over from traditional non-interactive media. In a video game the actual game play is an integral element to the story, so start out with some of it right away.

So a slow build from a gameplay point of view is terrible, but from a plot point of view it then depends on the story. As we are talking about 'show don't tell' the slow build can often facilitate that better, rather than relying on a quick exposition dump to get your up to speed you get to experience the world a bit before stuff starts happening.

Skyblade
11-01-2015, 04:43 AM
SMT IV rewards you for sticking with it, which is really the definition of slow-paced :p Seriously, that medieval kingdom? Pretty soon you find out it's on top of modern Tokyo, which is where the game proper actually begins, which is a good eight hours in.

Does that eight hours include the resetting after deaths and the exploration of miles of repetitive dungeon? Or is it actually about thirty hours in that it starts to explain what's going on?

We are talking about pacing of the action here. And both Nocturne and SMT IV threw me into the action so fast (and the action was of such annoying difficulty), that I never cared enough to bother with the rest of the game.

This is the problem with jumping right into the action. If there's too much action (and especially if the action is too hard), then it becomes a block to the rest of the story. And if that action comes BEFORE the story, then the player has absolutely no reason to continue.

"Oh, hey, there's all the awesome story, you just have to wade through twenty hours of boring, repetitive, and difficult combat to get to it!"

Sorry, I'm not going to take the game's word for it. If it introduces me to the world first, if it lets me see what's going on, gives me a reason to engage it, then it gives me a reason to fight for it. I'll press on and engage the combat because I WANT to. Because I care about the world, the NPCs, the story, etcetera. I WANT to see how things turn out, and I press through because of this.

This is where SMT fails. It just tells you what to do, without giving the player any actual motivation to do it. Because it doesn't take the time to set that motivation up. It just goes: Here's the dungeon. Go to it, and I'll get back to you in thirty hours.




I can't even think of an SMT game that starts you in the action. The franchise is kind of known for being slow builds with Nocturne probably being fastest turnaround and even then, it's not like you jump into fighting demons after you press start. You probably get into your first actual battle fifteen minutes into the game after being introduced to the whole human cast. Persona is even slower in the beginning sections.

You're introduced to them, in a "hello, this is such-and-such" type manner. You don't get to really KNOW them. Then you're in a dungeon for an hour and a half and you die five times and you just give up and forget about it because you have no connection to the characters or world, and don't care enough to finish.

Maybe that's just me, but both Nocturne and SMT IV got that reaction out of me. I didn't actually KNOW the characters, and I didn't have any reason to care about getting them to the end of the dungeon. I didn't learn enough about the world to care about saving it. It wasn't worth the trouble. Too much action early on, without setting up what it needed to make me want to finish, and the stupid difficulty just made it all worse.

The slow start of the Persona games actually helped. You're introduced to all the characters in a way that lets you see their personality, actually start to care about them as characters, and engage with the world before being forced to fight for your life. What's more, since the games are based in our world, you already have a reason to care about it. Unlike SMT IV, which is set in some strange pseudo medieval world, from what I could tell, that I didn't care about at all. Or Nocturne, in which our world is destroyed in the first fifteen seconds, so you're thrust into a blasted hellscape that gives you nothing to care about or fight for.

Okay, couple points here.
A) SMT is not exactly a character driven franchise. In fact in the case of Nocturne, there are probably only two sympathetic figures in the whole plot. Your homeroom teacher (whose the key to getting the "happy" ending if you play your cards right) and the Manikins. The rest of those opening characters are not figures to feel bad for. You do because bad things happen to them as the story progresses which feeds their psychosis but they all represent a possible choice you can make. SMT has always been less about gripping character stories (though the series does have some even if they are rarely the focus and more subtle than the usual JRPG fare) and more about the concepts and ideologies that it explores. Nocturne asks what ideology would you rebuild the world with, and how far would one be willing to make their ideal world a reality. SMTIV explores the dangers of ignorance and the consequences of ones choices. The games do a bit more to make you an active participant in the proceedings rather than a semi-active observer of other characters making these choices. They have great stories, they are just not given to the player in the conventional manner most players are use to. You need to approach them less like FF and DQ and more like Elder Scrolls and Dark Souls.

There's a reason why, despite owning Dark Souls, I never actually turned the game on. I need more reason to play a game than "oh, there's a lot of depth if you slog through thousands of hours of difficult gameplay". There's also a reason why I gave up on Skyrim after the first fifteen minutes. It thrust me into a world I didn't care about, gave me little to no background, and expected me to engage with it despite incredibly tedious mechanics (seriously, it's like fifteen minutes of walking with nothing interesting going on just to get to your second quest location), and nothing happening except incredibly boring combat.

It's not an approach to game design that at all appeals to me.


B) You're focusing too much on the old world, the new world is about exploring and learning what is going on. You're not really in the wastelands of destroyed earth, you're in a parallel world made of remnants of old Tokyo but ultimately you're in an egg. You don't really begin to understand what is going on until you reach the second actual "dungeon". I kind of feel like you gave up in frustration before really scratching the surface of the games.

Yes, I did give up in frustration before scratching the surface. Because the game didn't make me care.

There were some frustrating boss fights and sections in Persona (especially the boss of Heaven in Persona 4 when I was rushing through massively under leveled). But I wanted to work through those fights because I cared enough to see them through. The fights were tough, but I wanted to see what came next, where things went, so I worked at them until I overcame them.

Shin Megami Tensei isn't willing to take the time to properly set up the motivation for the player. So I quit. There are plenty of other games I can play without needing to waste my time with combat I don't enjoy for characters and situations I care nothing about.


C. You actually get quite a bit of build up with the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado in SMTIV. Talking to the residents reveals a lot about the world and the other characters actually travel with you like a party so you do get their input as the story progresses. Frankly Jonathon, Walter, and Isabeau are easily the most sympathetic companions you'll get in the franchise and it can be pretty heart wrenching to watch their fates unfold as the truth about Naraku and the true form of the world begins to slowly tear the group apart on ideological issues. Also, SMTIV will almost never give you a straight answer. At no point does the game ever really stop you to sit you down and explain cohesively what is actually going on, instead you have to piece together everything by talking to NPCs and exploring all the ending paths. Honestly SMTIV's plot is pretty rocking and SMTIII does a similar thing as well.

I don't know. I talk to everyone in every town every opportunity I get (I literally talk to every NPC every single day in Persona, for example). I spoke to about fifteen characters, tops, before I wound up in the first dungeon in SMT IV, and just as few in Nocturne.




On the other hand, a game like Suikoden V does start you in the middle of a mission but the actual plot and story doesn't really kick off until 10 to 15 hours later after fully immersing yourself in the whole political dynamics of Falena.

It doesn't need plot and story if it gives you a reason to care about its characters and fight for them. Though at this point, it just sounds like I should avoid playing Suikoden.

Actually it just takes the game a while to explain why you should care. The first 10 hours is basically introducing all of the characters, the kingdoms politics, and setting up the situation that will kick start the actual main part of the game where you're recruiting people and fighting your war. It's probably the worse offender in the franchise but frankly the game needs it because the politics get complicated, so it needs the drawn out opening to help the player immerse themselves in the world and care about the characters. It's actually a fantastic series if you ask me.

If it expects me to do a bunch of boring combat before I actually get to a situation I care about, then I'm going to skip it. The tediousness and the difficulty isn't worth the eventual payoff years down the line. If the game can't give me a reason to care about the fighting, the fighting had either be damned enjoyable, easy as hell (so that you can get through it quickly), or a very, VERY small part of the game.

SMT fails on all of these counts. Combat is boring. Combat is difficult. And Combat is 90% of the early game. If Suikoden is anything like that, I'm fine not playing it.

Pumpkin
11-01-2015, 04:46 AM
Suikoden is an excellent game and does an excellent job of story telling. In V (and most of them) you get your main dudes and dudettes very early on and get a chance to know them and have them grow on you while it sets up the plot even more. So it isn't like they're emotionless and drab and you're just fighting and stuff and the OH STORY. It kind of eases you in to things and gives you some good chunks of story and gameplay before really hitting you. In fact my favourite moment in game would have much less impact if it wasn't set up the way it was first.

Vyk
11-01-2015, 11:24 PM
Somehow I get turned off by too much uninvolved world building. I generally prefer just a taste and then let the characters flesh out after the shit has hit the fan. I liked how persona 4 did it but that is rare to me. Most games that spend that long building up are doing too much telling and not enough showing

In media res, or however that Latin term is phrased or spelled, usually gets me better. Some intensity to whet my interest then I may be invested enough to bore me with a few details

Or do the opposite, like Xenogears. A small taste, then the intensity, then the world

Really I think they can all be botched. But when I think of things like Knights of get Old Republic, Final Fantasy VI &VII, Dead Space, Alien isolation, XCOM, Shadowrun, and many many others I obviously lean way towards just being thrown in, either immediately or shortly after

Del Murder
11-02-2015, 11:55 PM
I prefer to jump right in. I need something to engage me right away and to let me know this game is worth my time. Particularly for RPGs that can be a large time commitment. FFVII did this beautifully.

I don't like when an RPG starts you off in a hometown or hub location and forces 2-3 hours of introduction and background story down your throat before you have a meaningful battle or can customize your characters.

Karifean
11-03-2015, 12:20 AM
I typically prefer slow buildups - I have no problem with a plot taking its time to 'get going' if I already have the faith that it will be worth my time - but FF VII did the immediate jump into the action so well that I can't honestly say I distinctly prefer one over the other.

I suppose a kind of mixture works best for me; something like FFX where you're shown the destruction caused by Sin several times firsthand but which otherwise takes its time to establish everything.

Wolf Kanno
11-04-2015, 12:50 AM
Does that eight hours include the resetting after deaths and the exploration of miles of repetitive dungeon? Or is it actually about thirty hours in that it starts to explain what's going on?

We are talking about pacing of the action here. And both Nocturne and SMT IV threw me into the action so fast (and the action was of such annoying difficulty), that I never cared enough to bother with the rest of the game.

This is the problem with jumping right into the action. If there's too much action (and especially if the action is too hard), then it becomes a block to the rest of the story. And if that action comes BEFORE the story, then the player has absolutely no reason to continue.

"Oh, hey, there's all the awesome story, you just have to wade through twenty hours of boring, repetitive, and difficult combat to get to it!"

Sorry, I'm not going to take the game's word for it. If it introduces me to the world first, if it lets me see what's going on, gives me a reason to engage it, then it gives me a reason to fight for it. I'll press on and engage the combat because I WANT to. Because I care about the world, the NPCs, the story, etcetera. I WANT to see how things turn out, and I press through because of this.

This is where SMT fails. It just tells you what to do, without giving the player any actual motivation to do it. Because it doesn't take the time to set that motivation up. It just goes: Here's the dungeon. Go to it, and I'll get back to you in thirty hours.

Honestly, a 15-20 minute turn around from start to combat is about the norm for most JRPGs. SMT is pretty fair about that, hell SMTIV actually fills you in on the world and characters much more than usual and even the combat/dungeon crawling in the game is largely piece meal style compared to other entries in the franchise; meaning it's actually a slower case of getting you into the thick of things. The game doesn't even go full dungeon crawler until the Black Samurai shows up and even then, the game's dungeons are surprisingly short and to the point compared to earlier installments and even Persona.




You're introduced to them, in a "hello, this is such-and-such" type manner. You don't get to really KNOW them. Then you're in a dungeon for an hour and a half and you die five times and you just give up and forget about it because you have no connection to the characters or world, and don't care enough to finish.

Maybe that's just me, but both Nocturne and SMT IV got that reaction out of me. I didn't actually KNOW the characters, and I didn't have any reason to care about getting them to the end of the dungeon. I didn't learn enough about the world to care about saving it. It wasn't worth the trouble. Too much action early on, without setting up what it needed to make me want to finish, and the stupid difficulty just made it all worse.

What about having the characters actually grow with you? I mean I'll give you Nocturne but in the case of SMTIV, Flynn is pretty much meeting a group of people who will be his comrades and training with them. He's thrust into a situation they don't know and they all try to learn to make the best of it. You actually learn more about Walter, Jonathan, and Isabeau as you travel together and experience the world setting. Frankly, while everyone comes from a different background that shapes them, the events are just as new to them as you the player. It's actually a realistic setting because it happens in our everyday lives when we start new jobs or go to new classes. What is suppose to be propelling you is not some emotional hook, but rather one out of curiosity. SMTIV's world is filled with little strings of plot begging to be pulled and they do pull you in. Mikado gets quite a bit of set-up in the early parts of the game and it's how the place feels "off" and trying to uncover why, that makes the story engaging. You do get the emotional payoff because the party learns this terrible truths together, and soon a wedge begins growing between everyone as their ideologies begin to create conflict. There are quite a few heartbreaking moments in the game, and it's the wonderful cast that's responsible, you just need to give them the time to develop. Persona does the same thing as the situations towards the end of their games could never be as impactful with just the introduction of the characters if you didn't have the hours of gameplay filling in the emotional gaps.


The slow start of the Persona games actually helped. You're introduced to all the characters in a way that lets you see their personality, actually start to care about them as characters, and engage with the world before being forced to fight for your life. What's more, since the games are based in our world, you already have a reason to care about it. Unlike SMT IV, which is set in some strange pseudo medieval world, from what I could tell, that I didn't care about at all. Or Nocturne, in which our world is destroyed in the first fifteen seconds, so you're thrust into a blasted hellscape that gives you nothing to care about or fight for.

It's also considered to be the newer Persona game's biggest Achilles Heel. The abysmal slow pace of the early sections and long start to actual gameplay ratio tend to turn off most casual fans. Hell P3 doesn't really begin to pay off the investment until you reach October, which is more than halfway into the game if we're being honest. P4 has an even longer intro of "hitting start to actual gameplay" ratio and it is damn noticeable if you want to get into the thick of things, especially since the character intros and backstory exposition could stand to use some editing. It's episodic nature keeps the momentum but I feel the overall plot suffers from it, since it lacks any depth until the near end. I honestly don't mind the long slow grind myself but I do play these games for gameplay and don't mind telling the plot to take a back seat sometimes so I can actually play the game part of it. I feel there are times when their is too much exposition in the beginning of a game. [spoiler=*cough* Dragon Quest VII [/spoiler]

The driving force of the SMT plots are not based on caring about some emotional investment in a fictional setting or character, but the nature of exploration and appealing to ones sense of curiosity. Yes, the world ends 15 minutes into Nocturne, but why? How did my character survive? What happened to your friends? What's become of the world? Who was that strange kid and what did he do to me? What is going on? The story is about exploring themes and answering questions, not a character drama like most JRPGs. If you don't care for that, it's cool because we all have our own needs and wants but it doesn't mean the game is flawed as much as its appeals lie elsewhere. Elder Scrolls is pretty much the same deal with being more about exploration and trying to make sense of it all as opposed to be placed in a setting your meant to have some emotional investment in from the get go before anything happens.


Okay, couple points here.
There's a reason why, despite owning Dark Souls, I never actually turned the game on. I need more reason to play a game than "oh, there's a lot of depth if you slog through thousands of hours of difficult gameplay". There's also a reason why I gave up on Skyrim after the first fifteen minutes. It thrust me into a world I didn't care about, gave me little to no background, and expected me to engage with it despite incredibly tedious mechanics (seriously, it's like fifteen minutes of walking with nothing interesting going on just to get to your second quest location), and nothing happening except incredibly boring combat.

It's not an approach to game design that at all appeals to me.


Fair enough, and you're entitled to your opinion on this. I'm a bit surprised you hate SMT's gameplay as I felt Press Turn would be right up your alley considering you seem to favor more strategic battle systems.


I don't know. I talk to everyone in every town every opportunity I get (I literally talk to every NPC every single day in Persona, for example). I spoke to about fifteen characters, tops, before I wound up in the first dungeon in SMT IV, and just as few in Nocturne.

You still get quite a bit of set-up for the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado with those NPCs and they actually change their dialogue more frequently than Persona 3/4's NPCs. Most of the backstory for K, Hugo, Navarre, Isabeau, and Hope is told through the NPCs in the early sections of the game. I mean SMTIV is honestly pretty good about easing you into the gameplay. Naraku is one of the longest dungeons in the game but you don't even tackle it in one setting until quite a ways in after really getting build up from both characters and the world. Even after beating it, you'll see it's actually no longer than some of the dungeons in P4.


[QUOTE=Skyblade]

If it expects me to do a bunch of boring combat before I actually get to a situation I care about, then I'm going to skip it. The tediousness and the difficulty isn't worth the eventual payoff years down the line. If the game can't give me a reason to care about the fighting, the fighting had either be damned enjoyable, easy as hell (so that you can get through it quickly), or a very, VERY small part of the game.

SMT fails on all of these counts. Combat is boring. Combat is difficult. And Combat is 90% of the early game. If Suikoden is anything like that, I'm fine not playing it.

Suikoden is more of a traditional JRPG. Combat is "boring" in the sense that it's very vanilla with only Suikoden III's combat system mixing things up in a way that has divided fans. Actually Suikoden V sounds to be up your alley because the first ten hours of the game is exposition getting you to understand the world and characters so you can care. It gets hounded by older fans for taking so long to get into the meat of the game, being mostly a very linear experience for the first several hours. The early games are a bit quicker to get to that point, but even then, the games are more narrative focus than most JRPGs. It's also more on the Fire Emblem side of Idealism vs. Cynicism scale as opposed to Matsuno's FFTactics. You only get bad endings if you really screw up some rather black and white moral choices.

Rocket Edge
11-05-2015, 04:29 PM
With RPG's I like to have some sort of a backstory first. Obviously doesn't count with FPS games etc.

Randy
11-09-2015, 07:16 PM
Depends on the genre and how it's done.

FF9 is always going to be my favourite start to a game. Not quite instant action. But it tells the story in a fairly active manner.

Twilight Princess is one of the worst starts to a game ever.

Wolf Kanno
11-10-2015, 07:13 AM
Well going off that, which RPGs do you feel have the best first five hours and which ones do you feel have the worst and why?

Fynn
11-10-2015, 07:33 AM
I actually loved the KHII prologue so much. It has some really awesome buildup and a cool finale, and it really works even as this self-contained thing.

I can't think of a bad one right now. Let me get back to you later.

Skyblade
11-10-2015, 08:28 AM
I actually loved the KHII prologue so much. It has some really awesome buildup and a cool finale, and it really works even as this self-contained thing.

I can't think of a bad one right now. Let me get back to you later.

It's good, it's well structured, and has some fun content.

It still drags on way too long.

Zanmato
01-05-2016, 08:55 PM
I mostly prefer to know what's going in the first hours of game, because I hate being "out of place", although I also find the first hour of FFX very thrilling, so it depends on my mood and the game itself. :P