Sunday, April 27, 2008

Thoughts: Crisis Core Endgame

My time with Crisis Core is rapidly coming to an end, so my furious attempts to achieve the upper eschelons of badassedry are becoming more and more frantic.

Thankfully, Crisis Core is still fun. So much so that, one day, I plan on picking up a PSP and a copy for myself. In the spirit of the original Final Fantasy 7, Mario 64, and Dead Rising - a great game has given me a reason to purchase an entire system.

Like the Final Fantasies beforehand, Crisis Core caps the player's Hit Points at 9999. It also caps your damage at 9999.

Enemies, on the other hand, can do more than 9999 in damage to you. So not only do you have to max out your health to fight them, but you're required to cast things like Barrier or MBarrier to survive against them.

If I recall correctly, Final Fantasy 8 was the first in the series to make a damage cap work-around. The Guardian Force Eden gave players an interesting choice - do you wait 2 minutes to do more than max damage to something? Granted, those two minutes would be spent watching something epic. That's really the only word you can use to describe something that would rather bend space and time than adjust its pitch or yaw. Before using a planet as a spell foci to fire an opponant into the center of another galaxy. Which explodes.

In Final Fantasy 10, the ultimate weapons of characters allowed them to break the 9999 damage cap. The challenges to get an ultimate weapon varied from child-like simplicity (Tidus) to controller-destroyingly difficult (Lulu).

In Crisis Core, there's accessories you can equip which break an individual cap. Arguably the most required of these is the Adaman Bangle, which raises your HP limit to 99999. You get this about the same time as you begin to meet enemies which will do 9999+ damage to you very, very quickly. I think they did a great job of balancing the difficulty curve with these kinds of things.

For instance, after you get the Adaman Bangle, you can take on two of the giant wutai ogres much more easily. However, after rocking the next few missions, you end up fighting against three bipedal death machines. One of which Criticals every hit, one of which is immune to physical attacks, and the last is immune to magical attacks. Even with my health above 20,000, it was still difficult since there's no way Zack can dodge every single burst of fire. Once I spent some time fusing materia though, and granting me an extra +60 or so to Vitality, the damage I was taking was much more managable and they went down with little fuss.

It's amazing that this kind of trade-off happens again and again, in this game.

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