By Grabthar’s Hammer

Originally Published: 20 August 2008

I was once asked me how I could play so many games. I do have a lot of games, spread over a lot of consoles. And the truth is, I don’t really play a lot of them – I dip in and out, and then the next game comes along and I start on with that and so on and so forth.

I have recently had a bit of a game drought where, due to saving money for a trip to London (and what a good trip it was!) and general rubbish financial management I didn’t really buy any games for a while. So I plundered the back catalogue for something to play. A lot of my games are of the RPG or big-meaty-adventure types – all of which I have scratched the surface of but never really finished.

My eyes fell upon Rogue Galaxy, for the PS2, which is a superb adventure. I really got into it when it first came out, but then kind of fell out of love with it because there was one section I kept dying on. I’d play it, I’d die. I’d have to restart from a save point a bit further back than I wanted to. Repeat a bit. Get fed up. Another game comes along, play that instead. The reason Rogue Galaxy and myself had a trial separation was that I just couldn’t find the time to spend doing what you always need to do in a good RPG – dossing about levelling up. So I resolved that I would spend a couple of hours doing just that and see if I could get back into the game.

Yeah… according to the in-game clock that was something like 16 game hours ago…

So, I’m back into the game and I am really determined to finish it. I want to know what happens. I’ve invested time and a lot of in game-money on my characters and I want to know that everything is brilliant at the end. I want to know that everyone who should live happily ever after actually does live happily ever after, like the little sick boy in Zelda: Link To The Past who is happily chasing butterflies in the end credits (so please don’t spoil anything!). But more than that I want to do everything in the game…

If you’ve never played it, let me explain – this game is a completionist’s nightmare. It’s an adventure game. You go hither and thither chasing down various bits and bobs to make it to the end. So far, so simple. Then you get to the weapons. The weapons increase in skill and then max out. That’s fun. Max them out and they have different elemental properties. So far so good. Oh, but then you get a purple frog who will, basically, lick a maxed out weapon and tell you what other weapon you can combine it with to make a better one.

This turns into a game of its own when you realise that you can combine a weapon several ways to make different things… but what do you do if you only have one of the type of weapon? In my case you hot-tail it across the galaxy to find a shop selling crappy strength swords just to see what would happen if you mixed it a different way. Throw in the fact that you can mix things in ways not recommended by the strange purple frog and you’re desperately maxing out (usually rubbish and cheap) weapons for your next fusion fix.

Add onto all that, a system that tracks your kills and awards you Hunter points for despatching a certain number of creatures, or even specific boss-type creatures, allowing you to move up (and, tragically, down) an in-game leaderboard and a Pokémon style insect-collect-and-battle section which I haven’t even touched yet and a factory where you can make different items out of the stuff you’ve collected along the way and a skills chart which develops as you place items in the appropriate slots and you’ve got a game that’ll start to occupy the OCD part of your brain for some time to come.

But then along comes the next game, and it’ll fall by the wayside. That’s the thing… I have Hellboy to review for Ready Up (remember kids, I play these games so you don’t have to!) which I don’t think will distract me from my goal too much but I’m up against it if I want to discover everything the game has to offer… I have less than two weeks before Too Human will hit the doormat and my time goes onto that one.

Wish me luck!

* There’s no prize if you guess the theme linking the title and content of this blog, but kudos if you did!