PLEASE NOTE THAT FOR SOME REASON THE SPOILERS TAGS AREN’T WORKING RIGHT NOW, SO BE AWARE THAT I WILL BE MENTIONING PARTS OF THE ENDING OF FINAL FANTASY 7 AND TALES OF SYMPHONIA IN THIS ARTICLE!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!
This is just a little somethin’ somethin’ I whipped up to share with y’all until later this evening when I can catch up from the whirlwind that has been working 7 days a week now.
I’m Not Sure I Want to Go Out With You
A Gamer’s Dilemma
So, Tales of Xillia came out the other day. Maybe a week or two ago? Or three? I don’t remember. I have it. I have the big honking collector’s box, you know the one. The one with the figma and the soundtrack and poster and stuff. If you can’t tell, I kinda like Tales. Only, I have a problem. It’s a problem that I think only gamers will truly understand.
Part of that problem ties with my own set of issues (I know right? Believe it or not, Christians have those!), and part of it is that I work every day. Even if you don’t fit into either one of those categories, although everyone has issues, if you’re a gamer you will understand. I hope.
See, Tales of Xillia, sweetheart, here’s the thing… I like you, I think, and I like the idea of you…I’m just not entirely certain I wanna go out with you.
It’s…mostly not you rather me, but, here’s the thing: starting a new game feels so much like starting another relationship. It takes time and effort and commitment and energy and I feel like if I start you I really ought to finish you. Only, I don’t know you that well and this is gonna take a lot of time.
See guys, I kinda have a…what you would call a “thing” about Tales Of games. The first one I remember playing was Tales of Eternia on the PS1, in America incorrectly dubbed Tales of Destiny 2 (there’s an actual Tales of Destiny 2, Namco just didn’t love us enough to give it to u). I foolishly gave that copy away because I’m entirely too nice, but that’s another story for another time.
I fell in love with the game; a co-op action RPG with a rich story and well written, loveable characters? AND it was co-op? Shooooot yeah!
I played and finished the game, and at least once every three or so months I dust it off and beat it again on my PSP. I love it that freaking much! In case you didn’t know, I’m not normally the kind of guy who watches a movie or plays a game more than once. I can count on one hand the number of movies I’ve watched multiple times of my own free will in the last ten to fifteen years (Tron: Legacy, Silent Hill: Revelations, Re-Cycle, Dragon Tiger Gate) and even few video games in the same timeframe, not counting old school beat em’ ups (Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Tales of Eternia, Mass Effect 2 as of last night).
I just don’t go through stories multiple times; I tend to remember them pretty well so I don’t need to. I’m also not a kid with disposable time, so when a game is done, if I ever finish it, I move on.
I’ve started numerous Tales games, but due to my save getting wiped out all the time I’ve never finished Tales of Phantasia…and because of Tales of Symphonia I never finished another Tales game until Graces, and even then I still haven’t finished the Graces F content. I actually pretty much stopped finishing RPG’s after Tales of Symphonia. Ya wanna know why?
Tales of Symphonia ruined RPG’s for me.
Y’see, the seed was planted by Final Fantasy 7.
“BUT XEAWN THAT’S THE GREATEST GAME EVER MA—“
NO IT’S NOT! IT’S REALLY NOT!!!
Ah, but I digress. I was in love with Final Fantasy 7 when I was a kid, like I mentioned in a previous article. I thought it was just the greatest thing ever! And even after losing my end of game save before fighting Sephiroth, I still beat the game! And that, ladies and gentleman, was where my RPG complex began.
Y’see, I did everything. Everything. We’re talking a full on 100% efficiency rating for completion. Every sidequest, every material, one of every chocobo, killed Emerald, killed Ruby, got all the ultimate weapons and armor, the whole shebang man. I even max leveled every freaking character in the game. Because, in high school you have that kind of time. Back when you think you don’t ever have any free time.
Before college, work and family commitments kick in and make you cold and bitter and full of ha—
I beat Final Fantasy VII. Some fifty to eighty hours of my life later I beat it in every possible way you can beat a game! And what did I get for my efforts?
Freaking thirty seconds of green light and then some friggin’ dogs running around a ruined Midgard which made no freaking sense. Also I guess Aerith maybe isn’t dead or something?
So yeah, I was pissed. But, I got over it.
No. The game that really burned me was Tales of Symphonia. That’s another game that I beat in every way imaginable. And, how was my hard work rewarded?
“THIS TREE’S NAME IIIIIIIIIIIS…”
Yeah. I think I actually cussed at the screen and walked out of the room. As my brother would say, “AHINA!”
I had been thinking about why I never finish RPG’s anymore a few months ago, and I was able to trace it back to that exact moment. Everything up to that ending, as well as the somewhat…troubling relationship between Lloyd, Kratos and the dwarf, and the fact that I hate Collette and loved Shina and got her special event but Lloyd hooks up with Collette anyways because anime logic, ruined RPG’s for me.
More the ending than anything else though.
I can get pretty far in most, but I never beat them unless I have to. Wanna know why I beat Mass Effect? Because Mass Effect two was coming out in two days. Wanna know why I beat Mass Effect 2? Because it was two days after Mass Effect 3 came out. And, why did I beat Mass Effect 3? Because 1 and 2 wowed me so much I knew it was a franchise that could never steer me wrong or burn me the way Symphonia did!
I was wrong.
I beat Graces because it genuinely intrigued me. I loved that for once, for freaking once, the anime male had a freaking spine. I loved that moment when Asbel went off on Cheria, saying exactly what I was thinking! Nothing felt better than finally beating the tar out of Hubert, and I genuinely liked and felt bad for both the actual villain, as well as the fallen hero.
The game was all around bloody phenominal!
But, beating Graces took getting over my Symphonia complex. I became subconsciously afraid that every RPG I finished would result in one big middle finger of a “I know you just played for fifty hours so here’s a five second ending that means nothing!” like that one did.
I’m sorry if you liked the game, but honestly that ending was just terrible.
If a game manages to genuinely charm the dickens out of me, like Mimana Iyar Chronicles, I’ll beat it even if it has a myriad of issues, like Mimana Iyar Chronicles. But, Tales games in particular frighten me now because of Symphonia.
Lately, to de-stress after a long day I’ve taken to playing Mass Effect 2. I skipped the first one because I don’t like any of the romance options in it and I’ve already beaten it in the past. Granted I beat two, but two has a lot of people I want to get to know better. Before I was a FemShep and stayed with Kaiden even though he’s a freaking jerk. It was nice to watch him squirm and desperately try to make up for it in the last few hours of the game though.
Every time we would be in a situation like “Oh God…what if…what if I really am just a clone!” and he’d be all “You’re real enough for me, Shepard. I don’t need you to change a thing!” I could just see Layla Shepard like
“Okay, yes Kaiden, we all get it, you were a butthead and you’re sorry! I’ll consider letting you off the couch!!!”
This time I was dude Shep and romanced Jack. What does any of this have to do with anything? Mass Effect 2 is a known quantity. I really, really, really freaking like it. A lot. So, I can de-stress to it because I know that even when I’m exploring something I haven’t done before, like dating Miranda in my next playthrough (or Garrus if I role FemShep) or throwing an Eclipse thug out of a window, I know I’ll have fun.
Even if I step outside of my norm and play a soldier instead of an adept or vanguard, I know it’ll be an awesome experience that will keep my coming back for more!
Mass Effect 3 pissed me off, so I kinda don’t want to play it again, but I might just to see how things with Jack play out…in their miniscule way because the devs obviously wanted you to hook up with Liara…just to see it.
What? I’m not bitter! Well, maybe a little…
But Xillia? Still in the package. Pikmin 3? Still in the package. Why? Because they both sound like a lot of work, and I’m just not sure I want to commit to a new gaming relationship right now. Me and Dragon’s Crown have a good thing going, and I’m having a ton of fun with Mass Effect. Is it a little silly to be marginally afraid to beat a game because of two bad endings? Maybe. In the scope of over a hundred hours of my life paid forward to receive
“THIS TREE’S NAME IIIIIIS”
“Is the meteor gonna kill us? I dunno, maybe. GLOW STICKS AND RED XIII AND AERITH BY A FIRE!!!”
I think it’s pretty bloody reasonable.
All things considered though, I’ll probably start Xillia tonight. That or wait until Xillia 2 comes out as that appears to be my modus operundi. I kinda want to finish Graces F or Xenoblade first though.
Knowing that Xillia 2 is going to be a thing in America is nice; I refuse to touch Valkyria Chronicles despite owning 1 and 2 because Sega hosed everyone in America and Europe. When the fan translation is done you can bet your biscuits I’ll be all over that, but until then those two games will continue to collect dust on my shelf.
As will Xillia for a time. Why? Because, say it with me folks,
“THIS TREE’S NAME IIIIIIIIS *fadetoblack*”