October 15, 2012

Shinsenden - Follow the Gourd!

The Crimson Gourd turns out to be quite a cool item.  It absorbs yokai with a 100% success rate and holds up to nine.  During a battle, one yokai can be summoned per turn and up to three can be in operation at any given time.  If a fighting yokai is still alive by the end of battle, it disappears without a trace.  Raichi also ends up getting a spell that duplicates these effects (although it's quite expensive to cast).  In theory, this is an intriguing concept and could make for some interesting tactics in combat.  A summoned yokai is controllable and any special abilities it may have can be utilized.

These beauties come with both
a healing and attack spell.

Alas, Shinsenden shoots itself in the foot by having the overall difficulty so insanely high that it ruins even the sweetness of the gourd.  Where to begin?  The encounter rate has already been discussed and has been increasing in annoyance as the dungeons have gotten longer.  New equipment has mostly kept with the trend of barely having any discernible effect on stats.  Gaining a level only guarantees increases in the three 'points': hit, magic, and technique.  Strength, agility, and wisdom don't always increase and when they do, it's by a dinky amount.  For example, after completing a certain quest, I was "rewarded" with four free levels.  Out of those four levels, a single raise in agility was given.  Oh, and that particular quest was such a pisser too.  In fact, all this game does is find new ways to piss in my face.  You know, I was going to continue detailing the story but fuck it; remembering all this previous bullshit is getting me all ranty.

I'd like to go home, please.

Okay, so grinding out levels isn't really an option since they have so little impact on stats.  However, new spells and techniques are gained, which are useful... in theory.  New techniques come with an increased cost in points which makes it so I can only use my latest technique once before running out.  Older techniques become obsolete because they don't dish out enough damage anymore.  My total magic is so low that I can only use a few spells before becoming depleted.  What's that, you say?  Raichi has piles of MP and a huge list of spells to choose from?  Yeah, that's just great except that quest where I got the four free levels?... Yeah, I had to do that without Raichi.  I can barely handle the random encounters with the two of us and then I lose Raichi again!?!  Arrggh.  Regular attacks are still so shitty that I'm forced to use MP or TP in order to win a fight.  And there are no items that restore either of those two, just healing potions for HP.  Anytime I leave any town, the clock starts ticking on how far I'll be able to go.  Normal enemies consistently do more damage than I'm able to give back.  Running isn't an option because it rarely works.  The only option is using the gourd to absorb the enemies one at a time until full and then releasing them during an easier fight to make more room.  I'm still taking damage during all this, mind you; the enemies rarely target my yokai.  A few bad fights and it's time to warp back to the town.  Oh, but that's only if I'm still in the overworld.  If I'm in the dungeon, then it's "Fuck you, Shen, you can walk back out first".  Well, fuck you, Shin, if I'm in a situation where I need to get back to town, there's no way I'm making it all the way back to the entrance.  So death it is.  And death here doesn't mean starting back at the last town with half gold or something.  Of course not!  I start back at the last save spot with all progress lost.  Do you see?  Do you see how Shinsenden takes every gameplay aspect and just makes it the worst possible?  How about an example outside of the gameplay mechanics?  I had been grinding for about an hour (this was before I realized how pointless it is) and had completed a small village's side quest.  This resulted in new townsfolk present to chat with.  I hadn't saved yet because towns are safe, right?  WRONG!  Talking with one of the new residents resulted in a glitch where she just keeps repeating her phrase over and over with no way to abort.  BOOM!  Hour wasted!

Breaking the fourth wall and then breaking
the game? Wow, Shin... just wow.

Even after getting Raichi back, it doesn't get much better.  It doesn't matter how well prepared I am.  I can buy all the best equipment and fill our inventory with healing potions but it doesn't matter.  All that matters is how many fights go down between leaving the town and fighting the boss.  That's really what this game boils down to.  Luck.  I have to be lucky enough to not have the encounter rate bitch slap me all over the place.  I have to be lucky enough to get the majority of fights against just one or two opponents.  And I have to be fucking lucky enough not to smash the fucking hjell out gmy fucfkcing goddambncontytorller8[zeb7 mc'#;sdlCe5s4asdSDy73 *[8&^+++NO CARRIER