Monday, February 03, 2020

Unfinished Sympathy

My favourite computer game genre is probably role-playing games, I think in part because it's possible to be good at them without having the agility and coordination most other computer games require. For the most part, anyway. There are some exceptions.

Except... I seem to have trouble finishing the things. Although I have completed some, these ones sit in a fuzzy, indistinct limbo:

Baldur's Gate - I'm about two thirds of the way into this one. It's not as good as the sequel -- yes, I am playing them in the wrong order -- but it is good fun and of all the games here is the most likely to get finished. Update: Finished as of the 8th of June 2020, although it launched straight into Siege of Dragonspear so now I have to finish that. (I finished that on the 16th of June 2020.)

Battle Chasers: Nightwar - I just got this super cheap in a sale in August 2021.

Chrono Trigger - This is technically in the "now playing" category, but I have decided to take my usual approach with Japanese rpgs and spend hours upon hours building my characters to maximum level so that they can steamroller through the rest of the game. Update: I finished this on the 19th of July. It's got about fifteen different endings and I don't think I'm going to try to get them all. I will do the New Game+ at some point, because it feels wrong to not have my party at level 99 but I'll wait a bit before diving back in.

Dark Souls - I got bored. This may come as a surprise as it's one of the best games ever, except I don't think it is. Update: For reasons I don't understand, I decided to have another go at this in January 2023 and finished it on the 22nd. I didn't get explore every corner and find every secret, but I got to the final boss and shanked him. For anyone who care, I did the "walk away" ending. I may go back and get the other one too.

Divinity: Original Sin II - I got this as a Chrimble present in 2020.

Fallout: New Vegas - I only started playing this a few months ago and I have hit the level cap through wandering about and completing sidequests. I just need to go and do the main storyline.

Final Fantasy VIII - I haven't played it since 1999 and I no longer own it, so I'm never going to go back and finish it. I hit a wall in the game where my party was too powerful to continue, which is a problem I haven't seen before or since.

Final Fantasy X - I am very fond of this game, but I reached a certain point and could not continue for personal reasons that would probably seem absurd if I explained them.

Golden Sun: The Lost Age - This one's quite good, but I forgot I had it until I started writing this post. Update: Completed only 21 years late, on 11th July 2024.

Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark and Shadows of Undrentide - I finished the base game but by the time I got the expansions I had uninstalled the original and now my current PC won't run them.

Phantasy Star - I have probably played this more often than any other rpg, but I have never got around to finishing it. I had the original on the Master System and I started it at least twice because my original save was corrupted. I started it again on the Wii, at least twice on the PS3, and I'm sure I started playing it via emulator at least once too. It's a great early(ish) console rpg but for some reason I can never finish it. Maybe in 2022, for its 35th anniversary. Update: And lo, in 2022 it did indeed come to pass. In four lengthy sessions in January 2022 I rattled through the game via emulator and completed it on the 22nd. I didn't get everyone to maximum level, but as there's no difference to the game if you do so, I don't mind. I did kill the "impossible" Saccubus though, for only the second time in all my many, many plays, so I'm considering the game finished. Now I can move on to the sequels. Ha ha ha.

Vagrant Story - I never quite got a hang of the combat system in this one and playing it is a bit of a faff as I have a US copy.

The Witcher 3 - I got bored again, although I can tell it's a much better game than Dark Souls. I think the combat system turned me off, as it's based more on the player's dexterity than it is on equipment and statistics, and dexterity is my dump stat. Update: I tried again, and 208 (!) hours later, on the 5th of May 2024, I finished it, plus the two expansions.

Xenoblade Chronicles - I stopped playing this one because I liked it so much I didn't want it to end, which is one of the best reasons to pause, I reckon. Ridiculous too, as it's had two sequels and two remakes since. Oh well.

One significant issue is that I have a stack of unplayed rpgs waiting for me when I clear this backlog. It never ends.


  1. I feel you. I think I'm in the same boat with you regarding Baldur's Gate (the second one, I believe): I just have to defeat the last boss whateverhisnamewas, but I all out of spells, and I can't rest there because it's a contained area, and my only save file is RIGHT THERE... So I haven't finished that one.

    Final Fantasy XII. Started out on the PS2, got stuck, years passed, bought it a second time on the Switch, played for a while and then realised: 'tis a really silly game. The acting's worst than Day's Of Our Lives.

    Xenoblade Chronicles X. Bought on Wii U. I just ran a lot...? And oh my gosh that small text, you'd need Hubble to read that font size.

    Dark Souls. Bought on Switch. I think I'm pass that very first stage in the game? Or maybe not? So. Very. Boring. But yes, I haven't given it time, so maybe it's me. It's complicated.

    But we should really be talking about games we actually DID finish, and one that comes to mind is Might & Magic 4. I actually played that for the first time only some year ago, and actually finished it. I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, 'tis also a very silly game, but still good.

    1. I may do a post about the rpgs I have completed. I'm sure there must be a few.

      One of them is Final Fantasy XII. I think I did pretty much everything in that, including all the secret stuff. The main storyline is dull as anything but I had lots of fun ignoring it and doing the sidequests. It appealed to my usual play style.

    2. Yeah you should totally do a post about those.

      I'm starting to wonder if the thought about playing a lengthy RPG is more appealing than actually doing it, maybe even more so as one gets older (e.g. past 25). I still have fond memories of all those hours reading endless dialogues in Planescape, or getting lost beneath the mountains in Morrowind - but playing them today isn't just the same.

      Maybe we should just do our own CRPG.

    3. I have long wanted to do a massive open world rpg, but in the graphical style of the SNES Final Fantasy games. It will never happen, but it's a dream.

  2. I usually finish RPGs, unless they just end up being too hard for me. I gave up on Dark Souls pretty fast. I got a decent ways into both of the Baten Kaitos games, but ran up against fights I couldn't seem to win.

    1. I never played Baten Kaitos, although I remember Penny Arcade calling it one of the best rpgs ever made. It's probably for the best that I never got around to it.

    2. The thing that was a little frustrating about those games was that it was an RPG, but also a card battle game. You had to build a deck for each character of attacks, defenses, recovery items. Which meant there were times a character would have their turn, and have no attacks in their hand.

      Plus, the first one had some of the most maddeningly stupid fetch-it quests I've ever seen.

    3. Yeah, I've played a few (physical) card games that have a similar problem. You have a character with a gun but they can't use it in a fight because it's still in the deck somewhere. It works as a game mechanic but it takes you out of the story somewhat.

  3. Confession time... I have never played any computer games like this. I actually don't video game pretty much at all, other than a very brief stint with a Play Station 2 years ago before my daughter was born. I never grew up with video games - as a young kid, a couple of my friends had an Atari system but whenever we got together to play, I was terrible because I hadn't had any practice, so "taking turns" meant I played for may 2 or 3 minutes, and then sat and watched my friend play for what seemed like hours. Not much fun.

    I also didn't grow up going to the arcade, so I guess the allure of video games never really grabbed me.

    1. Part of me wishes I had never discovered computer games, because then I'd have more time!