Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Final Fantasy III: Virtual Analog Stick Woes

I've previously discussed my thought on the virtual d-pad implemented in FFI and FFII on iOS.  It generally works fine, it just doesn't have the tactile feedback I'm used to with a controller.  Final Fantasy III uses a virtual analog stick instead of a virtual d-pad and it's a totally different story.

The virtual analog stick is extremely frustrating to use.  The lack of tactical sensation makes it difficult to judge how far you actually have the analog stick pressed in one direction or another and which direction it's been pushed.  Not only is it hard to judge but the stick location actually moves around the screen depending on where your thumb is touching.  It's impossible to learn the area the virtual analog stick occupies because it is constantly moving every time you pick up your thumb and put it somewhere new.  If it wasn't constantly moving around I could at least learn to use it by spending enough time with it.

Final Fantasy III is a fully 3D game with 3D environments which means the player isn't confined to simple 4 direction movement like in FFI and FFII.  This makes having a reliable and functional input device a key aspect of the game design.  Unfortunately, it's sorely missing.

So far the graphics, story, and gameplay are all good but every time I sit down to play I immediately get frustrated with the controls.  I'll struggle my way through it for now and I'll write more once I'm farther into the game.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Now I'll Play It

Most of you heard last week that Star Wars The Old Republic is going free to play.  This really isn't a surprise since their subscriber numbers have slowly been dwindling.  At this point it's hard for any quest based MMO to have a subscription model since they're immediately competing with World of Warcraft and it's 8 years of expansions and polish.  Even if that game has a huge intellectual property, like Star Wars, behind it.

When SWTOR was released I said that the only way I would play it is if they dropped the subscription.  Now that there will be no subscription I will most definitely be playing.  I don't know how much I'll like it, but I'll give the game a try.  I really enjoy Bioware RPGs and would have loved for SWTOR to have just been a new single player RPG when it released.  I never thought that it needed to actually enter the MMO space.  If they had made KOTOR 3 I would have bought it on release day.

Anyway, you can find all sorts of commentary about what SWTOR going F2P means, so I won't spend time diving into an analysis.  I'll just say that I'm happy they've finally caught up to modern online financial models.