A firm favorite of many Japanese RPGs such as the Atelier series, Lost Odyssey, Dragon Quest, the Tales games and countless others, alchemy is another of those ideas that were quite cool to begin with, but have become very old and very overdone.
It's also become a very lazy way for JRPGs to extend gameplay by making the cooking of rare, pain-in-the-ass to find items the only way to get important or incredibly useful equipment. Time was, you'd get the ultimate weapon by undertaking a challenging and cool sidequest. Nowadays, it's a case of digging around in the corner of the map for a random item drop and then mixing it up with another five random items drops you got from the four corners of the world map.
This one is loosely connected to lockpicking and hacking, in that it's all part of the "simply opening a door isn't good enough" series of grievances. Action games absolutely love this, as if perhaps gamers feel more mighty when they have to mash a button over and over again to do something as nondescript as opening a door.
Whether I'm Kratos or Conan, I don't want to feel like I've exerted a superhuman effort just to walk from one room to another. That doesn't make you feel like a hulking behemoth of Godlike strength. It makes you think Kratos sucks at opening doors.
How could you have a rant on tedious, repetitive bullshit without tossing in that most delightful of overused nasties, the escort mission? Having to drag some lackwit mental patient around a map full of aggressive enemies who are all gunning for the frail, defenseless, slow moving target you've been charged with protecting is nobody's idea of fun.
The classic escort mission has no place in the modern gaming scene, where there are more sophisticated methods of switching up the gameplay without having to resort to this cheap, lazy, needlessly exasperating load of old swan's cum.
Granted, there have been games that do the escort thing well - Resident Evil 4 ... and maybe one or two others. But then you have things like Spartan: Total Warrior, which currently holds the trophy for the worst escort mission ever developed by sadistic, small-minded little bastards.
Also, and I hate to do this because it's apparently the most sacred game in the world, but screw ICO, and screw Yorda, the bedraggled, moth-brained, slack-jawed tartlet that she is! Terry Schiavo would have been a more effective ally than that ridiculous bitch. I'm sorry, but that entire game was a frustrating escort mission that most people only pretend to love because they're afraid of looking stupid for not "getting" how beautiful it is. It's not beautiful. It's miserable. Being unable to travel anywhere on your own because a bunch of shadows will drag off this mute mongoloid at a moment's notice. Where's the option to just say "f*ck it" and let the shadows pull her away? Chances are the shadows will throw her back anyway once they realize what an awful slag she truly is.
So yeah ... down with that sort of thing!
Sep 22, 2010
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