Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Megaman Starforce 2: Side Jobs

Like many games, Megaman Starforce 2 contains a number of optional jobs that you can undertake throughout the game in order to earn better stuff. You take on these jobs by talking to characters while in Megaman form, and there is one for almost every character in the game. It is a pretty common kind of thing, but there are many elements of this system that just annoy me in this game.

For starters, simply taking on these jobs requires an unnecessary amount of time. In order to take on the job, you need to talk to someone in Megaman form, but to actually find out what the job is and what you need to do, you need to talk to that person as Geo. Since you can't just transform between the two freely, this can involve a lot of walking, and probably a few random battles. This system also means that you really have no idea about the specifics of a job before you actually take it on, which means that it is easy to get stuck doing a difficult job when there were several much easier jobs available in that same area. The most annoying thing about this is that the entire process simply feels redundant. It would have been just as easy to skip one of the steps (looking at the person's Star Carrier as Megaman or talking to the person as Geo), and let the player either actually start the job as Megaman or take on the job as Geo.

What makes that problem even worse is that you can only take on one job at a time, and you can't cancel them. As I just mentioned above, this leads directly to problems like getting stuck on one job and thus being unable to take any others on. It also means that completing several jobs can eat up a lot of time. For example, take two jobs that both start in Echo Ridge and require the player to visit Loch Mess (one of the longer distances to travel in the game, particularly when the route first opens). If you could take multiple jobs at once, it would be easy to take them both on, make the trip to Loch Mess once, and get them both done with. Instead, you have to take on one job, switch to Geo to start it, switch back to Megaman to make the journey, complete whatever was necessary in Loch Mess, switch back to Geo to finish the job, switch to Megaman to take on the second, switch to Geo to start it, switch to Megaman to make the second journey, spend another long trip to Loch Mess, complete the task, head back, and switch to Geo in order to finish. Regardless of what the actual task is, this simply requires too much of the player's time that could have been spent on something more fun.

Yet another problem of the side jobs in Starforce 2 is that they often don't give rewards to match the effort the player puts into them. Several times I have spent quite a bit of time on a job that only rewards me a Battle Card that I already have, or a minor cheap item that I don't need. Such jobs almost never give something unique or valuable. What is more, the few jobs that actually tend to give useful things are often the easiest ones that require the least time and effort, while the hardest to complete jobs will often give the smallest rewards.

Overall, this is one aspect of the game that I really don't have any praise for. Compared to much more interesting versions of the same concept, such as Elizabeth's Requests from Persona 3, or the Hunter's Guild jobs in the Arc the Lad games (something I need to write about another day), the jobs in Megaman Starforce 2 are simply bad.

No comments: