Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Optimal !

So I'm playing Final Fantasy 1 on the Final Fantasy 1 & 2 : Dawn of Souls cartridge for GameBoy Advance, and actually enjoying it. I have generally steered away from these old school RPGs lately, having had my fill of them back in the day, and now prefering the action-adventures more anyway.

I had played the NES version of this game a little bit back in the day but had grown either bored or frustrated with it, and never got far into it. This GBA version seems to be sped up, however, with the characters and the menus moving faster then I remember.

What amazed me about the game was found under the "Equip" section. It was a command called "Optimal" which automatically selects the best armor and weapons for the character from the party's inventory. No more in-game testing or vague guesswork to see if the broadsword is better than the rapier, if the leather cap is better than the iron helmet.

I always hated that part. Usually, the natural progression through an RPG meant that the weapon you found in level 2 of the dungeon is better than the one you found on level 1. But over the years, so many games put so many weapons in so many places that the saturation often led me to simply find a weapon I like and stick with it as much as possible.

Of course, different weapons and armor exist for different character skills, classes, and even different situations such as weapons designed to hurt the undead. So far, though, in this game, I've only picked up better stuff in each town. The "Optimal" button has come in handy in these situations, immediately equipping the best stuff on each character and saving me a few minutes of playing paperdoll with each one.

I don't know if this is the first RPG to have an "Optimal" button, but I damn sure like it. Why didn't they think of this years ago? I can think of about a few hundred RPGs that could have used such a feature. Bard's Tale, Im talking to you.

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