Meh-sonance of Fate
(Even the protagonists look sort of bored with this game.)
I’m about 20 hours into Resonance of Fate, but I’m having a hard time sticking with it. By all rights, I should adore this game, since it avoids many of things that I profess to hate in RPGs:
(1) I hate lengthy, plodding, cutscenes with over-the-top dramatics, and RoF doesn’t have any of that. The storytelling is, in fact, refreshingly sparse. There are cutscenes, but they’re usually only a few minutes long—no more than evocative vignettes, sketching in the backstories of the characters. There are a few hints of what the actual storyline will be, but no overt foreshadowing. The writing and voice acting aren’t great, but they aren’t offensively bad either.
(2) I hate simple battle systems that reward mindless grinding over good strategy and tactics, and RoF isn’t like that. RoF’s battle system is actually… fun. There’s a good mix of character building strategy, in-battle placement tactics, and real-time dexterity. It’s tightly constructed, too, which I like—there are a minimal number of stats and upgrades, each of which has pretty clear implications on how battles will play out.
(3) I hate interminable, intricate side quests in RPG, especially when they’re focused on exchanging “key items” with NPCs (instead of, say, exploring the world or defeating enemies in battle). So I love that the side quests in RoF move along quickly. There is some random walking around towns and talking to people, but there aren’t very many “fetch quest” type missions (where you have to trade something to a guy to get a thing to trade to another guy ad nauseum).
So if Resonance of Fate does so many things right, why do I feel like quitting? I’m not sure. The only complaint that I can put into words is that the “dungeons” (really just battles chained together with no chance to save in between) are too long and too… “samey.” Sometimes you’ll fight the same bunch of monsters on the same terrain three or four times in a row, which just isn’t fun. It’s possible that the game, in general, moves too slow for my tastes.
At least, I hope that’s enough to to explain why I don’t really want to quit playing. Otherwise I may have to re-evaluate what I like in a JRPG. Maybe I really do like ham-fisted, cutscene-riddled JRPGs about adolescent spike-hairs who grind their way from town to town after town talking to random NPCs in order to find a brooch belonging to someone’s grandfather’s pig so he can trade it to a bearded guy for an airship…?! Yikes.