RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Saturday, 1 October 2016

The advantages of playing a roleplaying game on hard difficulty. Challenge yourself.

I've often stated that playing any game on hard is the best and only way to play. An RPG is no exception to this rule, these titles are often far more rewarding and satisfying on a harder difficulty.

I am absolutely ashamed at all the gamers I know for choosing normal or easy difficulty. Unless the game is something really Korean and therefore impossible to complete unless you are Asian, then you should always try setting the game on hard mode to see what it is like.

If you play games on lower difficulties, not only are you not challenging yourself to become a better gamer, but you're also never going to be any good at any games, period.

A funny meme about hard mode being too hard and normal difficulty being too easy

What do you mean by play games on hard difficulty?

It's simple. When you have the option to choose a difficulty on your RPG or any video game, opt for the higher level of challenge. There are countless benefits to playing on a challenging difficulty, which I shall try to cover throughout this article.

When you start a new video game you are often prompted to choose a difficulty. If not, you can usually find a difficulty selection in the menu options somewhere. The most common difficulties include:
  • Easy: Easy is the difficulty level that you choose the first time you ever touched a video game. Picking easymode after this point is pathetic, and a bad gaming practice.
  • Normal/Casual: Normal is probably the most common difficulty for gamers. Most RPGs are terribly easy on normal, 
  • Hard: Hard is usually the difficulty I start with, this is definitely the best way to go.
  • Very Hard/Nightmare: Very hard is usually a crazy challenge bordering on masochistic. I will usually put it on this difficulty if hard is a cakewalk.
Bear in mind that sometimes games will use various different names for difficulty, like casual for normal mode or veteran for hard. Nightmare mode is definitely one you might of heard of or suffered through.

Why should I play on hard?

The purpose of playing games depends on the person. You could be playing for story, fun, or just out of boredom. However, if you are playing games, you are completely devaluing the price of your purchase and the quality of the game if you do not select a difficulty level that provides you with a decent challenge. If I'm not connected with the game over screen once in a while, I will get bored. So should you!

Boss battles are meant to be tough. How are you supposed to remember a boss if he didn't kill you and all of your characters 5 times over?

I have played many RPG titles such as Final Fantasy and completed the entire game with barely a single member in my party ever getting KO'd. The most prevalent thing I remember from these playthroughs was that they were easy and boring because of it. The best RPGs are the ones that you struggle against.

Baldur's Gate wouldn't be an epic iconic and classic RPG without the constant wiping and repeatedly getting killed by enemies. It wouldn't be a cult hit, because people loved it because it was brutally challenging and all about perfecting your characters and playstyle.

Playing on hard difficulty makes you exponentially more skilled at games

This is an incredibly accurate statement. When I start a new game with my friends, they all choose normal. Because I pick hard, when we do a multiplayer versus match I win every single time. Why? Because I am naturally used to playing at a higher level. Playing on normal not only sets a lower level precedent for your skill of play, but it also allows you to use redundant mechanics to win battles that you wouldn't be able to get away with on a higher difficulty.

Modern games are increasingly easy

As video games have trended towards mainstream culture, developers have continued to make easier and easier titles. This is for the filthy stinking casuals who rarely purchase and play games. I finished Dragon Age inquisition on hard without dying once, because EA think their games cater better to a wider audience.

I am disgusted with how easy games have become. I don't mind video game developers making a game accessible to noobs, but on a harder difficulty it should always be a challenge. Nowadays, whenever I want a good hearty game to play with lots of losing and increasingly difficult battles, I have to go shopping in the retro market. Even new games notorious for being challenging like Dark Souls just turn to putty in my hands.

Playing RPGs on hard difficulty

Because of my experience on JRPGs and other RPG games, even when I select a harder difficulty I usually make it through the game with minimal deaths. This is less due to skill and more down to pure experience. Check out my beating and breaking RPGs guide to see how I do it.

Don't be intimidated by the higher difficulty levels on games. They are there to encourage you to better your gaming skills. Once you get accustomed to playing games on hard you will benefit from it in several key ways:

  • You will learn much more about the RPG by playing it on hard.
  • Hard mode will increase your problem solving skills.
  • Normal mode is always too easy, it never really issues you a challenge in modern games.
  • You will become better at gaming in general.
  • Often on RPGs, there is additional content to be found by selecting challenging levels.
Ultimately advantages of playing video games on hard or extreme can be many or few. I personally do it because I do not want to get into bad habits by playing the RPG on easy in the first place.

Conclusion: Almost all RPG titles are better games on hard

If you want to be better at games, if you want to better yourself, play on hard. Relish the opportunity to be challenged, take every game over screen as a lesson. If you have that competitive spirit in you, remember to hold your skills to a higher standard!

If you want to literally decrease your gaming skills, go ahead and pick easy mode. Just remember, if you ever play against me or any other nightmare difficulty gamer online, we will always win. Are you okay with that? Or would you rather put up a fight?

Thursday, 18 February 2016

How to break any RPG: Basic edition

Every now and again during a playthrough of an RPG game, I'll die or get a game over. It's not often, in fact I regularly complete entire RPG's without seeing the game over screen. It's a combination of experience, talent, and knowing where the flaws are. If you read this guide, I'll show you some of the basic strategies and tactics to breaking any game with Role Playing elements. If this guide helps anyone or receives particular attention I will be happy to write an advanced edition on how to break any RPG.
A challenging Role Playing Game

While you won't be able to abuse these techniques in every RPG you play, a lot of them transition across most games and platforms. If you're stuck on a game and looking for a way to abuse mechanics and defeat a particularly challenging boss or level, there should be a hint or two in here to help you with your problem. Let's get started, shall we?

Grinding in an RPG
Ah, the weakness of almost every Role Playing Game in existence. If you don't know what grinding is; it's the procedure of continually farming levels for your characters and party. An example would be: you are stuck on a level 10 boss and your characters are all level 5. So you take your low level characters and kill other manageable enemies until your characters are all level 10. Then you can go back and beat the boss because your characters have received various bonuses and strengths from leveling up. You could also continue to farm your characters levels until they are considerably stronger, then the battle will be a cakewalk.

Grinding is one of my favorite ways to get an edge when I get stuck on a game. It usually takes a bit of your time, but the rewards are worth it. Not only do your characters get extra levels and experience, you can also gain gold and other advantages like items.

Indeed, grinding is the most common way to get ahead on any game. If you ever get stuck or die this should always be your first resort. But be warned, if you grind too often or too hard then completing the rest of the game may become trivially easy. Easy is boring, there's absolutely nothing to gain from playing a game that is too easy for you.

A top down RPG that is hard to beat

RPG Consumable stacking
Consumable stacking is great. This is what I always do in Final Fantasy, although more often than not it can be far too overpowered. The premise of stacking consumables or items revolves around purchasing or grinding lots of wealth in your game, and then going to a shop and buying as many consumables as you can.

The best example of this is when I start a new Final Fantasy playthrough. As early as possible I kill as many enemies as it takes to get the maximum amount of potions, which is 99. This makes the rest of the entire RPG laughably pleasant. Why? Because whenever anybody in my party loses any HP or is close to dying, I just throw 10 potions at them.

Plus, in a lot of RPG titles it's possible to use healing or restorative items when you are outside of combat.

Consumable stacking does not only apply to healing items but to other consumable type items too.

How to win at any RPG

Being smart and skilled at games, win with knowledge.
Although it's easier said than done, being smart and intelligent when you play games is an unsurpassed advantage. When I play a new RPG for the first time, my initial prerogative is to find the strongest mechanics. Any professional gamer will immediately look for weaknesses in the video games engine to abuse.

This is a simple technique, and it should be obvious to any gamer. It's as easy as a fire element monster being weak against water. If you want to be smart in a game, you take advantage of its flaws.

Let me explain it properly: In most RPG titles you are given options to choose how to build you character. If you are smart and build your character properly then the game should be a cakewalk. These options could vary depending on the video game you are playing. Here are some incredibly overpowered characters you can build in the most popular single player role-playing-games with ease.

Mass effect one two and three: Adept class
If you create an adept build in Mass Effect it's not really considered overpowered. Why? Because the first 3-4 hours of any Mass Effect playthrough sucks if you play as the adept class. Adepts are essentially characters who use biotic abilities, such as telekinesis to win.

If you start any Mass Effect game on a hard difficulty as an adept you will suffer for the early part of the game. However, if you make it part way through the game you obtain access to many incredibly overpowered and game breaking abilities that make the rest of the game a cake walk.

If you really want to break any Mass Effect game pick the sentinel class. You have been warned, this makes the game boring.

An adept destroying the competition in Mass Effect

Dragon Age
I really shouldn't have to explain why Dragon Age is an imbalanced game. If you pick the arcane warrior class you become essentially immortal. Full plate armor and magic spells, all the advantages of being a mage without any weaknesses.

Conclusion to being smart:
Ultimately any RPG is at your whim if you know what you are doing. Every single RPG ever made presents you with options on how to develop your character. You could be a Warrior, Mage, or Rogue. It doesn't matter.

Every RPG game ever made has a strongest class. It's usually mages.

Anyway, my point is: If you are smart and build your character properly; you can make any RPG your bitch. Just make sure you pick the right talents when you level up. Build your character properly.

How to break any RPG, final comments:
Although this article might have been all over the place and vague in some places, the goal is the same. If you are stuck on an RPG title take advantage of the many options you have available. You can opt to grind like a noob, or you can choose skill and die repeatedly until you outskill your opponent.

Ultimately if you get stuck on any role playing game then you haven't been taking advantage of the opportunities available to you.

Are you stuck on an RPG?
If you are struggling to complete a boss or area on an RPG then you are in the right place. Take some of these tips to heart and either grind or skill your way to victory.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Might and Magic Heroes VI

I've had a copy of Might and Magic 6 for years. I've tried to get into it several times, but failed due to circumstances outside my control or because I just plain couldn't get into it. Recently I decided to rectify that issue, and force myself to sit down for a solid Might and Magic session and finish a couple of campaigns. I gotta admit I really don't like it. It's fun for a couple of hours, but the longer you play the less interesting it gets.

I just can't seem to enjoy the battles, they are too repetitive.

Genre: RPG, Strategy
Release Date: 13th October, 2011
Platforms: PC
Score: 3/10
Similar Titles: Sorry, I can't recommend other games this bad because I just don't remember any.

Might and Magic Heroes VI thrusts you into the role of a sovereign in the world of Ashan, a place plagued by many monsters and your usual fantasy creatures. Orcs, Gryphons and Undead: stuff like that. As ruler of the realm your role is to build a large army, capture resources around the map to fund that army, and kill everything that gets in your way. Depending on which campaign you dive into there's a different story, usually something about defending your lands from an invasion or something boring like that. Sadly, the story is one of the redeeming qualities of the game- despite being scarce and short. For example, the first campaign pits you in control of Duke Slava; a young noble allied with the Orcs. Unluckily, people don't like the Orcs so you have to send them a message by putting a sword in their gut. Eventually you kill a few people who are important and some angels get involved, and everything just gets a little bloody. But to be honest, you'd be better off just reading the story on Wikipedia, it's less time consuming and you don't have to actually suffer through the tedium of the game.

The CGI does look amazing, but there's barely any of it.

Both the campaign map and the battles are turn-based in Might and Magic. You have a set amount of movement points each turn on the map, which can be increased by equipment or talents when you level up. When you end your turn your opponents get to move, and every few turns everything on the map gets slightly harder to kill. If you squander enough turns, it becomes impossible to progress further because the armies you have to defeat become far too powerful. This is a nice idea on paper, it forces you to keep making progress. The goal of each mission is to capture and convert the enemies castles, or defeat a specific army. On the way you can collect nodes such as blacksmiths or stables to generate units or resources every turn. Once a month you can recruit new forces at your stronghold, so it's usually a good idea to try and get your hero and his army nearby to pick them up. There are small armies everywhere, most of the time you want to capture something you will have to fight something for it. The campaign map is the least offensive part of Might and Magic heroes, it's not exactly fun to wander around securing places for gold; but it's not awful either. If only you didn't have to spend 10 minutes battling a bunch of peasant Undead every time you want to take control of something.

The campaign map doesn't look that pretty, and the UI can get annoying to deal with.

As for the battles, they start out quite interesting. Your units are stacked together, so you can have 40 crossbow men occupying one tile, or you could split it into 2 individual sets of 20. Each unit can move once per turn, and some of them have special attributes that aid their combat ability. For example, Gryphons can attack from any distance by flying to the target and returning to their original position. However, they are all basically the same. You move your unit into position, and attack over and over again until everything is dead. The only layer to combat on top of that is your hero. While he does not take part in the actual battle, your hero can cast spells and attack every turn from the sidelines. When you level up a few times you can choose from a rather large pool of spells in the talent tree. It's nice to have a large repertoire of abilities to use in combat, but the downside here is most of them are boring. Who wants to increase defense by x for 3 turns?

Attacking strongholds is fun the first time. Can't really say the same after that.

Overall, the battlefield is exactly what turned me off Might and Magic. It's a slow paced affair, even with when you set the computer to do it automatically for you. The problem is that you usually end up fighting a couple of armies each turn, and after a few hours it just gets sickeningly frustrating. Combat in this game is the embodiment of 'I hit you, then you hit me.', this outdated mechanic is something Square Enix have been trying to evolve for years. This is the biggest problem with the game, because why would I waste my time on it when I could just play something else with a story that I'm invested in, or with better graphics and combat?

I just can't believe this is the sixth edition of a game in 2011. It's like a game from the 90's. A bad one.

Despite the incredibly basic warfare, the game has a fair variety of different units to find and recruit. Some of the endgame angels and dragons are really cool and powerful, it's awesome to have them in your army. However, there are only a couple of upgrades for each unit. It would have been far better to give players choices when they want to make their army more powerful, instead of giving us some none-optional power ups that are insignificant for the most part. It's a real shame, because the base combat starts out promising, but it doesn't give you enough to work with as you get further into the game. The Spearmen you have at the beginning are the same as the Spearmen at the end.

The cutscenes are dull. Can't really describe them any other way.

From the small amount of research I've done, Heroes of Might and Magic 6 has advanced in quality from the titles that came before it. It's made progress. But in my opinion, no way near enough. It looks like a cool game and when you first start playing it feels like it too. The Heroes can develop aggressively down the blood path or intelligently up the tears route. The units have been collaborated from a vast collection of fictional creatures. The graphics aren't half bad, and nor is the atmosphere. Unfortunately, after a few hours your opinion of the game deteriorates, and you start to think 'shouldn't there be more to this?'.

Maybe I'm not being fair to a game that's really old. Oh wait, it's only been 2 years since it came out! It feels like it's a game from 2006 or earlier, it's that outdated. Maybe they didn't have the budget to make it better? Well I'm pretty sure Ubisoft had plenty of cash to publish it. That's the problem with this title. It seems to have everything it needed to be a comprehensive modern video game; and yet it plays like something I'd be playing on windows 98 when I was in primary school. This is the most scathing review I have written for a game thus far, and I feel a little guilty about it. So I booted up Might and Magic to give it one another chance. An hour later, I'm back- and I refuse to change a word of it. Other critics have given this game a fairly high score, one that it doesn't deserve.

Don't buy this title unless you like games that are slow-paced, unnecessarily time-consuming and outdated. I'll give it one saving grace: it's playable. But I don't pay for games that are playable. I pay for games that are going to give me an existential life crisis when I run out of content to play.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Star Ocean Wallpapers

After playing through several Star Ocean games recently, mainly the Last Hope and First Departure; I decided to collect several wallpapers for my desktop. Here they are, for your viewing and downloading pleasure. Star Ocean is really a fantastic franchise, and there's countless wallpapers out there. These are some of the best I could find.

If you're looking for a review on first departure, take a look here.

Desktop Wallpapers: Star Ocean

Star Ocean Wallpapers 1
First departure isn't bad if you can get a copy of it, but the characters are a bit shallow.

Star Ocean Wallpapers 2
The Last Hope didn't exceed my expectations, but it's a good game.

Star Ocean Wallpapers 3
I could never find a copy of Second Evolution, still want to play it.

Star Ocean Wallpapers 4
Til the End of Time is my undisputed favorite Star Ocean game.

Star Ocean Wallpapers 5
If you like pink haired elves, well there you go.

Star Ocean Wallpapers 6
I really didn't like Edge that much. I don't know why.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Infinite Undiscovery

Infinite Undiscovery was a debatable purchase for me. On one hand it was cheap, on the other the box looked pretty awful. However, the blurb sold me on it; promising me a great title from the creators of Star Ocean. After finishing the first disc and making decent progress on the second; I'm impressed. Just not that impressed. Infinite Undiscovery is an above average JRPG with a nice blend of elements, and it's definitely worth a single playthrough.

The graphics are awesome, almost Square Enix quality.

Genre: JRPG, Fantasy
Release Date: 2nd September, 2008
Platforms: Xbox 360
Score: 7/10
Similar Titles: Star Ocean, The Last Story, Xenoblade Chronicles

Monday, 15 July 2013

Grand Theft Auto V: New Gameplay Video

I've been looking forward to the new Grand Theft Auto. The information about it released thus far is incredibly promising. This new video, which outlines gameplay and story reinforces that promise. It looks amazing. Instead of being dropped into a world so large you'll never really spend too much time in any one area, Rockstar have opted for a smaller game area with things crammed in. Grand Theft Auto 5 is going to be an epic game, without a doubt. Just how epic will it be?