January 21, 2013

Walkthrough – Marathoning Aid

Posted in video games tagged , , at 12:14 am by riulyn

As you can tell from my previous posts, I am spending most of my video game time with Dragon Quest VIII. This is a good thing in the sense that I did want to beat this game that I let get away some 7 years ago. It’s a bad thing in the sense that I didn’t let myself naturally fall in love with the game, and thus I’m not having the greatest time while playing it.

The thing is, I heard this game was 70-100 hours long and I was starting a week into January. I wanted to finish the game within the month because I wanted to take on the challenge of actually beating the marathon game within the month. At this point I think I am in good shape to do so, as I at 47 hours (of game time, actual time is clearly larger) and I have maybe 1/3 of the walkthrough to go. I may actually beat it by next Sunday, if my plan for 25 hours this week actually comes true.

Anyway, in order to beat this game this month, I resorted to using a detailed walkthrough for this game from start to finish. As I spent time playing Bingo at the casino or finishing off the Monster Arena, I wondered if using the walkthrough was actually saving me time or not. By the way, using a walkthrough line by line is not my typical style; I usually use a walkthrough only if I get stuck and use it for that specific moment, or if I suddenly catch the “do all the sidequests” bug like I did for NieR (except I skipped a few at the end anyway). For Persona 3 Portable, I found recommended levels and party members for the boss battles because I just had no idea how much I should grind. But for that game, there was no obvious “okay if you make it from point A to point B you’ll be fine”. The bosses usually got progressively harder, but the monsters on the floors in between didn’t get harder at the same rate, if that makes sense. It ended up that on normal mode I could usually just beat up on all the enemies on the floor, move on to the next, etc., and I’d be fine. Dragon Quest VIII’s world map monsters don’t give that much experience either compared to the amount needed to gain a level, but unlike Persona 3 it has obvious dungeon sizes and distances between locations. By following a walkthrough for Dragon Quest VII, I was wandering into new areas in a directed fashion and concocting all types of things in my Alchemy Pot. I also spent quite a bit of time gambling. The order of some of these actions would be considered major “detours” but these “detours” took care of the “grinding” both in the experience and the items gained. It also “helps” that I sometimes can’t read directions, so I spent some time running around in small circles…

I know I said that I stopped playing Dragon Quest VIII because Suikoden V came out, and that is still true. But I think I might have quit right after the ship because I kept dying on the ocean. I just have the feeling that it also took me 40 hours to get to the ship, but that sounds a bit ridiculous and also too convenient of a number. Even so, I think in the end, using that walkthrough is saving me time. I probably should have picked one that didn’t have plot scene summaries, but it’s too late now. I just have to stop reading too far ahead!



  1. Joseph said,

    I have a theory on walkthroughs. If it is a game I am playing because its a retro title, and I want to complete it, or experience the game simply because it added something to the genre at the time of it’s release, I almost always use a walkthrough (spoiler free if available). My reasoning is that often, if I don’t have a walkthrough, I will give up out of annoyance. And in retro titles, sometimes they can be really annoying. For example, I am playing Thousand Arms on the psx. I use a walkthrough because the game just isn’t good enough for me to waste time “lost” in the overworld map. And I would rather know the xp hotspots so I can level up quicker, and in general lower my overall play time. There are two categories of games that I never use a walkthrough for: Current gen console rpg’s. If they are bad enough to require a walkthrough, I have other things to play. If they are really good, due to the better graphics and save game functions, I don’t mind spending extra time getting lost (great example: Tales of Graces f). But I do use walkthroughs quite a bit haha! Especially when my completionist itch starts up. The other kind of games I don’t use walkthrough’s on are retro dungeon crawler type rpgs, such as anything Shin Megami. I do, however use a bestiary with those games (knowing enemy weaknesses really is the key to any SMT game so I do cheat in that one regard) but for dungeon crawlers I like not knowing what the puzzles will be etc. So I try to avoid walkthroughs for that kind of rpg. I am pretty sure I did eventually use one in DQVIII because there are some great levelling hotspots that really enhanced my enjoyment of the game. I’ve never tried to complete it in one month though!

    • riulyn said,

      I definitely don’t recommend trying to complete DQVIII in a month, or like 3 weeks for me. It was tough telling myself that I needed to spend 3 hours or so a night on it every night. With the walkthrough my final time was just over 60 hours, so I probably didn’t have to push that hard.

      I think when I play a SMT game I might do it with a bestiary. I didn’t really need a bestiary in Persona 3 since it wasn’t too hard to pop out of the Tartarus to go save, but I did use a boss guide so I wouldn’t have to redo going through all those cutscenes.

      I really haven’t played any old games with terrible difficulty and encounter rates yet, but if I ever get around to playing FF1 or FF2 or the like I will probably walkthrough them.

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