A Great Package

I’ve been thinking about Fire Emblem. I’ve been inspired by Fire Emblem. The RPG elements while the plot is delivered, set forth and shaped in the battles is really cool.

If one takes a traditional jRPG and adds the plot shaping mechanics of FE, let’s focus on the specific and say Talk. If Talk is just put down as another action players can take it becomes too trivial. It is t meaningful player control, but an extra hoop thatwould end  players jump through. No, it requires having to confront a challenge in order to have the Talk option. The best way is probably to play around with locations.

this blog post, when I began writing it, was about if one takes one great mechanical feature from the FE games then one ends up taking most mechanical features from that series. That it was such a ‘Great Package’ although it occurred to me when writing that last paragraph that the Pokemon games actually have something similar. You cannot just throw your Pokeball immediately. Or at least not if you want to be confident of success. Instead you had to damage the Pokemon and weaken the wild pokemon before throwing your Pokeball to catch it; well until you’ve got unlimited Master Balls then you’re set.

in Fire Emblem a key mechanic is location. The recruitment mechanic ties into that. In Pokemon a key mechanic is to work out the correct moves to weaken your opponent. The recruitment mechanic ties into that. In line with Pokemon, many Final Fantasy games have a recruitment mechanic with regards to summons. These are interesting, but I don’t believe they can be good examples of what to do to make combat and plot decisions interlinked.

focusing on Final Fantasy V for these examples most summons are optional boss fights. To an extent that’s meaningful player choice, but it isn’t within the combats. Once in the fight you simply defeat your opponent. Just like every other boss fight. Once you’re in the boss fight, you either get the summon or you die. No choice. Some appear as random encounters. Now you have a choice, you can run. Still this a binary dull choice.

There is one summon who is different, Golem. Golem must be protected as you defeat some other enemies. The actual encounter in the game is, in my opinion, too easy to really work. However, the idea puts a core mechanic of the Final Fantasy games, striking the right balance between healing and supporting your team and attacking the enemies, and putting the twist on it by having you need to support and heal a victim rather than a teammate.

I still think that Fire Emblem pulls it off the best, plus success is more meaningful that getting another Pokemon or summon, but I am more confident than I was when I begun writing this blog post that one can take the best parts of a previous series and tweak it a bit in order to produce another great package.

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