By Heath | September 15, 2011 at 7:22 am
Ragnarok: Princess of Light and Dark is a classic example of a game that might very well be good, but is dealt a disservice by having a really shitty demo. I picked up the game in the middle of a boss fight and the booth guy decided he’d play the game for me by just sort of yelling out which attack to choose. That’s always real cool. Like when I eat dinner I want someone going “Green beans. Taters. ‘Meat?’ Nah, now’s when you want a drink, bitch.” I appreciate help, I really do, when I ask for it or when I first start. This dude was like, ridin’ me though. I felt like if I disobeyed I was gonna get punched in the kidney. “Skill attack! Fireball! Now, team attack!” So after that boss was finished off, I asked if I could play again but be a little more experimental, as if I didn’t, you know, work there.
On my second go, I realized a great many things. One: I had previously played the whole demo, it was just extremely short. I thought I came in half way at first, but nope. Two: that guy was on a mission to mask the fact that experimentation uncovers how random the damage amounts are. A normal attack was doing more than very expensive special attacks with regularity, which calls their purpose into question in some cases. Normal attack: 144 damage. Cinematic pan, colored background, screaming and crashing sound effects that cost me 12 MP: 57 damage dealt. It seemed like that team attack was the only way to deal big damage. I’ve had some bad experiences with such systems, but Ragnarok gets the benefit of the doubt because it was a demo.
The battle system was tactical, with my players moving about on a grid and the large enemy doing the same. As usual, some attacks and different ranges and areas of effect than others. Some flashy spell effects lie in store for the biggest special moves and combo attacks. You know I love me some tactical RPGs so I’m not gonna let a brutally short demo throw me off.
After the battle, the demo was over (again). I looked at my booth Sergeant with new respect for his wisdom. He just sort of pointed and nodded. He knew. He knew.