Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Incognito's RPG Impressions: Game Over

Much like Avenger's "Diary of an Aspiring Game Designer" posts, this will be sort of a recurring topic for me. The title still may be a work in progress, though.

I've played what could be described as a "healthy" number of RPGs. In all my gaming history, if seen a lot of stuff. That's pretty much what these posts will be about. When I see things I like, when I see things I don't like, or when I see things that blow me away, I'll post them here. And I'll do my absolute best to avoid spoilers. Look for whited out text where appropriate. So, let's get started with the game du jour: Ar(rrrrrr) Tonelico.

So, what happened in Ar Tonelico that was worth a post here? Well, they pulled some craziness that I have never seen before: the psych-out ending. Yes, that's right. A full-blown, 3-consecutive-boss-battles- followed-by-a-few-lines-of-text- then-roll-credits fake ending. Needless to say, I was pretty freaked out. I knew that there was supposed to be another phase, and I knew that I still hadn't controlled all the playable characters, but this is a game where there is some branching of the storyline. Was it possible that I screwed up hours ago and ended the game prematurely, a la Persona? Oh crap!

This and so much more was going through my head as I stared at the staff credits scrolling down my TV screen. Finally, those cruel credits came to an end, but just because the characters were back on screen, didn't mean that the game wasn't over. There is always the chance of some kind of epilogue. Mercifully, after a minute or two of dialogue, I was returned to the map screen. Phew!

I have to give Gust credit. I've played over 70 RPGs, and it's not often that I see something that is legitimately new. The fake ending was one of the more harrowing things I've seen in a game since Eternal Darkness. I hope I never have to see it again.

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