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April 9th, 2008, 03:44
I agree with Rampant Coyote about the "speed bump" thing. Every battle you fight need to have an impact of some sort on your party (or character if the game isn't party-based), otherwise it's just frustrating and pointless.

Back in the old days, like the first Final Fantasy for example, random encounters were not difficult by themselves, but they tend to wear down your party. This way, dungeons were really intimidating, as you always had to make sure you were still capable of handling the monsters you may fight. You often had to explore only a bit of it, then return to town to rest and resupply, then go back, until you finally get what you were looking for (or everything in the dungeon). Going on was always a risk, as you never knew when you could stumble on something nasty like a boss fight. Sure, boss fights were not overly long like today, but just getting there in a reasonable shape could be a challenge in itself.

Now, and this is especially true of console games, random battles can often be won without using any ressources, said ressources are often so plentiful and cheap you had to really work hard to use them all, and there's usually a save point conveniently placed before anything remotely risky, where you can often be healed freely as well. This all contribute to make standard encounters pointless, and thus frustrating just by being there.

I'm not sure I would like a game where every battle were of epic scale, unless they were infrequent (like Shadow of the Colossus, for example). Although, it would encourage players to find ways to avoid them (bribing, diplomacy, sneaking around, etc.), in this case it would be nice.
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