Copyright Adam Schlosser

Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser

Posted by Pip

F225- Climb Down Every Mountain

Perceived omnipotence is still a pretty good super power. She knows when you're sleeping. She knows when you're awake... But hey, thanks village-man for not throwing the team off a cliff! That's mountain-folk hospitality.

March has burst forth into Spring and our monthly wrap is still shaking its fist at the lack of Cadbury Mini Eggs at the local Safeway! So aside from weeping, what has Sins been up to this month?

Quick Critique: Okage

I initially beat Okage back on the PS2 and remembered liking it, and now it's back and remastered for the PS4! I'm not entirely sure what the "remastering" actually consists of, but it has trophies? That seems kind of like a waste of time, so I they're probably doing some actual work under the hood too. Okage is work playing entirely for the strength of the characters and story. The character designs are great for people and even just the grunt enemies, Linda is absolutely adorable, and Stan is well worth blasphemous idolatry. If you're a fans of the Sins, you will probably like Stan, the all-powerful demonic overlord that's not quite all-powerful these days and nobody respects his overlording. He's petty and childish and spends more time telling people to shut up and/or worship him than he does doing anything of real terror or merit. I love Stan.
When I said Okage was worth playing entirely for its story and characters, a big part of that is because as a game, Okage sucks. It has long loading times, an awful camera (and the controls are inverted with no way to correct them), and the UI and menus are messy and oh so slow. It's difficult in the crappiest ways that suck the fun out of playing it. If the main character gets knocked out in battle, that's instantly a game over and you lose all progress since the last save point compounded by having several areas where exploring the local map pits you against monsters that are way stronger than your team and will kill you quickly. But the main character is a complete wimp with low health, barely any defense, and enemies tend to target him over your allies. You have to grind a lot but enemies pay out so little experience and leveling up doesn't make you all that much stronger, so the game feels like a constant slog. If you exit a dungeon, you lose your map and all of the enemies/door gates reset, so you basically lose all your progress. Leaving a dungeon to buy the next overly expensive piece of equipment just set you back half an hour's progress with all but nothing to show for your time.
As much as I like the characters and story, Okage cemented that I absolutely cannot stand traditional turn-based RPGs anymore. For how slow and tedious the gameplay is, how frequent the fights are, how much time is needed to grind to level up and afford over-priced equipment, how weak characters cause fights to last too long, how crappy balancing on the bosses causes you to die in two hits, and how you lose all your progress because a single character got knocked out, I'm kind of glad the genre is on its last legs. Just like with point-and-click adventure games, turn-based RPGs only have themselves and their terrible design to blame for their demise. I'm not entirely sure how I got through Okage the first time I beat it. I know I had more time to play games back them, but I must have also had a lot more patience and maybe a Pro Action Replay on top of that.