Sunday, August 23, 2015

Skyborn - 9/20 hours

I may be in the minority here, but I like grinding. I like watching my numbers go up. And I like the idea that with enough patience, I can obviate a lack of skill. I even like to grind in games that are relatively easy, because then I can feel like I have incredible super-powers, that I somehow managed to earn.

Skyborn is a game where grinding is neither possible nor necessary. There are a finite number of enemies, and they don't respawn. This is a little vexing because it means you can make bad purchases in the shops and wind up with not enough money for the equipment you really want. This hasn't been an issue yet, because, aside from the arena, this game is super easy, but you know, maybe it will be someday, and that stresses me out a little.

I will say, though, that after nine hours with this game, I am confident that my enjoyment of it is about 75% nostalgia. It plays exactly like the sort of games I enjoyed as a young man, and while it doesn't quite have the complexity of something like Final Fantasy VI or the charm of Chrono Trigger, it is a solid second-tier offering. There's something comfortable and calming about its menu-driven gameplay and bare-bones plot (seriously, I can describe the last four hours as "I went to a place and got a thing" and be only slightly short on the actual details - the place I went was Nordenwald Forest and the thing I got was Ether Fuel, also I dicked around in the Arena and recruited a new party member who is all backstory and no personality).

I have a feeling I'm pretty close to the end, however. I've just built my secret weapon, and we're about to infiltrate the Skyborn headquarters to free the half-breed captives, which means that, if this game is at all what I think it is, there should be one more late-game plot twist, and then a final dungeon after that. I'd be pleasantly surprised if the end game did something different, but structurally, Skyborn has been extremely conservative so far (the one wrinkle came when Claret made a deal with the villain to let her brother out of jail - it was obvious that she would change her mind and not betray the rebels, but he would count on that and just follow her to the rebel base - which is exactly what happened, but then afterwards there was a gratifying absence of the expected "we trusted you, how could you do this" scene).

Fingers crossed that the last few hours of Skyborn blow me away, but even if they don't, I expect I'll have a mildly pleasant time.

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