Privately_Attack Thanks for both writing this up and sharing this here so I could find it.
I think you’ve managed to touch on the pattern I see myself having fallen into in regards to these types of games as well. As I start to re-prioritize my time and re-evaluate how I need to better approach these turn based 80+ hour RPG commitments, I think you’ve provided a good second opinion, so I’d like to walk through some thoughts from my end on your article here.
I can relate on the elite-ism as well. While part of why I picked up P3/P4 and even TWEWY was an excuse to “practice my Japanese skillz” in the end it was just as much (if not more so) based on not wanting to deal with the localization or voice acting (ah yes, gotta be pure and watch the original language version w/ subtitles.) On the plus side, I like to think the gap on this has closed quite a bit and while some of this is simply companies releasing games globally I like to think that adding content without taking it away is a better way to please everyone. (Or maybe it’s just having to deal with all the hate on social media if they drop stuff is just not worth it?)
I’m also guilty of the whole “stopping before it ends” situation. (Though I waited until after I finished P3 Fes to start that) I immensely enjoyed Valkyria Chronicles on the PS3 but about ¾ of the way through, when I finally got to the point where I knew where it was going, I just kinda stopped… I don’t want to say I lost interest in the gameplay itself (Maybe I’m just fooling myself here?) because I really did enjoy what the team had done to create a different feeling tactical based game. It was also my primary factor for picking up a PS3 and it wasn’t like there was a whole lot else I wanted to be playing at the time. I still keep telling myself that I’ll get back to it some day knowing that with everything else going on in my life and new games coming out, topped with the old games that I still occasionally bust out to play, that I never will. Without getting too deep into an other example, I can state that I have over 200+ hours into Fire Emblem Awakening (not including the 40 hours from my first cartridge that I lost) and will likely never finish that one either. It’s not a bad game (IMO anyways!) it’s just that there was so much good to do that I just finally came to the realization that it was time I no longer had in grinding support conversations, when I could have just steamrolled the rest of the game if I chose to stop S supporting everyone to everyone else.
I think part of this struggle for me was also when all these remasters or bonus content type “updates” started happening. I jumped on P4 (again, going w/ the Japanese text only to end up falling off it due to spending more time finally trying to pick out an HD TV to replace my CRT) only to also find out that like P3 before it, a Golden version was to be released. I thought I learned my lesson and skipped P5 completely but in the end, I have picked up Royal. (0 hours into that one!) I also fell into this trap with Dragon Quest. I’d always wanted to give the series a chance but just never could settle on which one to pick. So when 11 came out, it was a matter of which system? 3D? 2D? All the choices short circuited my brain only to lead to another definitive edition coming out on Switch. But oh wait! we’re going to re-release it with all that on the XBox now too and fix the loading and draw distance issues! By this point, I don’t even want to bother.
I fell into the trap of nostalgia with Octopath as well. I have to admit that the graphics and music really sold me on it, however this was one of the few times that the game itself kind of disenfranchised me. After playing for a while and understanding that there really wasn’t any real mingling of the party and just 8 separate stories, I ended up kinda bouncing off it before getting much further than Chapter 1 for each character. (Still… That Naoki Ikushima art tho!)
But let’s get into Bravely Default.
I can admit that I did play the entirety of the first one, while I get everyone’s distaste with how the game ends up after a certain point, I still enjoyed the characters, battle system updates and what that all brought to the table along with the design work that went into it. I think part of that was just because it hit me when I had the time and was also quite deep into my love of the 3DS and didn’t need an excuse to pick it up. I think I ran into the same problem with P4 that I did with Bravely Second in that I didn’t so much dislike the game but more just ended up transitioning off the 3DS by the time I got around to it. I played maybe 20 hours and that was it. I haven’t really come up with a better reason for putting it down.
As for Bravely Default 2 it seems to be just what I’d want from more of the series and I technically don’t even need to go back and finish Second but I have to agree with you on the graphics this time not doing it any favors. I don’t know if it was that 4 Heroes of Light and the original had that same low poly charm that just “fit” the designs or what but the transition to the current character models on the Switch just doesn’t seem to be striking the same chord with me. In the end, I did play the demo and picked up the game but I know that for some reason or another, I’ll likely end up picking up the OST off the Squenix Store and spending more time listening to that instead.
So in the end I wish you luck (If you want it?) in your attempt to play through it. If you do though, I hope it’s on your own terms and you end up enjoying it and feeling that in the end it was worth your time.