That guy with the earthquake move. The ice thing. The stupid jerkface that won't hold still. Whatever their form, bosses have been a part of gaming since the early days of Atari. Personally I've always been a sucker for boss battles-they can very heavily influence my opinion of a given game. However, based on many games I've spent time with recently, Tim's question from the most recent podcast (mentioned around the 39:00 mark) is a valid one-do they even make good boss battles anymore?
It's been suggested by critic emeritus Gene Park, staff critic Matthew Kaplan and others outside of the GC community, that adding more interactive choices/decisions to the popular PlayStation 3 title, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, would change the very thrill-ride nature and universal appeal of its gameplay. The argument is that the inclusion of such choice would result in something that was "not the point of the game".
Gene insists that: "...I've followed the game's development through media and it's been said time and time again (even in the game's in-game documentary) that the purpose of the game was never going to be about player choice, but providing the same experience for all players."
I disagree with this logic of thought for multiple reasons.
Getting pretty close to the 30-hour mark and I'm still enjoying the game quite a bit. It's probably the most pleasant Final Fantasy experience I've had since Final Fantasy X, but as the game goes on, more and more of its warts are starting to show.
The other day, I joked with a friend that I was doing a "60-hour speed run" ofFinal Fantasy XII by following the story and ignoring all of the side quests. I'm not a fan of grinding at all, and RPGs which keep themselves playable when the person doing the playing is simply following the critical path are my favorite sorts. In total, I haven't done more than an hour or so of "grinding" enemies (and that done from my own free will) and I'm having no issues so far, so I'm kind of wondering where the complaints are coming from. Maybe it becomes more of an issue further into the game, but at the point I'm at, it just hasn't been a concern.
After the madness of the fourth quarter, I have a lull in the review schedule right now. It's nice to not be reviewing something for a change, so I'm plowing ahead with Final Fantasy XII. I'm about fifteen-ish hours into the adventure and still loving it. Loving it a heck of a lot more than I expected, actually.
Pour yourself a pitcher of egg nog, fire up a yule log, and join the GameCritics.com family as we reminice about the year that was. We'll reveal our game of the year, and discuss the best and worst 2009 had to offer. Featuring Chi, Brad, Mike, Dave, Dan, Richard, Tim, and a special appearance by one of our favorite listeners, Hargrada. Thanks to everyone for listening; we really do appreciate it. Have a happy and safe New Year's, and we'll see you back here in January.
Forgive this bit of Scroogery on Christmas (hey, it's not my holiday). I'm mostly reacting to Gamespot picking Demon's Souls over Uncharted 2: Among Thieves as Game of the Year for 2009. It's a positive reaction to the action-RPG title that I've seen elsewhere, so I'm not entirely surprised. But I also feel it's the latest in a series of hyperbolic reactions calling the game "new" and "inventive," when what I really think people are reacting to—both positively and negatively—is the game's difficulty.
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