Monday, June 8, 2009

Its rare when I, or anyone for that matter, plays a game that actually seems like its going out of its way to be obtuse. Now, there are actually many games that are obtuse, many of them are JRPG's (or the story for MGS, but that's something else entirely...). But in general, they don't TRY to be obtuse. So I consider it a bit of a treat (not really) to find a game that is so honest-to-god difficult to figure out that I have to go to gamefaqs about it before going to the game's own instructional manual.

The game in question is, infact, a JRPG. Its a new game, published in the US by NIS for the PS3, called Cross Edge. Its is a crossover RPG in the same way that the Capcom Vs. series of fighting games are crossovers, in that they pull together characters from several different games and publishers to produce something that can encompass all of them. With probably the notable exception of the Capcom Vs. series, most of them are crap. But something can be said for a company that actually manages to pull together a number of different licenses, let alone make a successful product.

Now, I have not actually played enough of the game to actually provide a review. This is about my first impressions of the game, primarily about my issues with how the game plays.

Now, as my first paragraph probably portrayed it, the premise is as simple as alot of JRPGs, but in practice its far from it. First things first, even with an optional HDD install, the game has slowdown. Now, if the game actually pushed the hardware, AND the gameplay didn't actually require the game to keep a truly fluid framerate, then I could (potentially) overlook it. But, aside for the game running in 720p resolution, this game could run on the PS1 without any trouble. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. There is no excuse for slowdown and framerate stuttering in a game that doesn't even push the hardware. And what is the installation for if not to help the game load faster?

And then the next big point, too many menus coupled with a heavily lacking set of tutorials and onscreen prompts. Now, I realize NIS's studio, as well as the handful of studios that are also published by NIS, are known for their titles be complex, but on the surface they are typically very approachable, and playable, without needing to delve to far into the game's complexities. Those complexities are usually meant/reserved for replays and munchkins (powergamers) who want more out of their games than just the normal playthrough.

This game is not, once you get into the first battle, user-friendly (a term that I had previously only applied to pre-NGE SWG). The battlefield is grided, but you're not given any indication of how this is applicable. How to perform attacks are given in a tutorial, but there are so much needless information onscreen that you have to search for it the information that is useful. Then, the system lets you end your turn whenever you want, but isn't smart enough to automatically end your turn when you're incapable of taking any more actions.

The status menus are not as difficult to figure out, but they suffer from having too much information being spread out over too many menus. Many of the menus you have to go through in search of the information you want could easily have been consolidated. I'm trying to change the position of a character on the battle-grid (both in and out of battle), so why do I have to confirm the choice that I'm moving the character after I already spent one or two more button presses than necessary to even move the character?

Now, the battle-system did become more intuitive as I learned how to use it, but it still hasn't reached the area easy usability. The submenus however, are still crap, and need to be consolidated. That's it for first impressions.

No comments:

Post a Comment