Sometimes there is a game beyond the end game, more content
to be had even after the final boss has been defeated. I’m not talking about
multiplayer or online functionality, I’m talking about the post-game. An option
that has been in JRPGs (Japanese Role Playing Games) and other stat focused
games for a long time. They are areas which test the true might of your
adventuring party or player skill, they have enemies that will use your own
clever tactics against you and with strength to rival or surpass your own puny
human brain. These are the reasons I love, hate, and wish more modern games
would embrace the post-game.
The great thing about the post-game is that it gives you not
only that extra challenge, but if done right it allows you to get more immersed
in a world that you enjoy. Final Fantasy is a great series to turn to when
citing examples for the post-game. They are a source of both good and bad ways
to use extra content and expand the universe people have already invested so
much time into.
A recent release that you guys might be playing and I for
sure have is, Final Fantasy X HD Remaster. Final Fantasy X isn’t a new game but
it has all of the good and bad of a great post game. In the good we have the
monster arena, and Dark Aeons/Penance. The monster arena is such a great idea
in my mind that I’m surprised it hasn’t been used in other games. It rewards
you for searching out all the monsters regularly fought in the game so that you
can fight stronger version of them or even all new original creations. These
bosses you create each have their own unique strategies required to beat them
all. Similar to the monster arena are the bonus bosses like the Dark Aeons but
other than being really strong “uber” bosses like in the monster arena they are
also integrated in the story after Yuna has been excommunicated from Yu Yevon, it shows other summoners distain for her as a “traitor” and the length they are
willing to go, to stop someone that is “evil” in their eyes.
But there are bad ways FFX executes the post-game. One of
these is the sphere grid. BET YOU DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING! The sphere grid is a
unique and original way of leveling up your characters, but when you come to
the post game and maxing out your stats is a priority no, a necessary action, it
makes for a tedious time grinding rather than something fun. Grinding out
spheres to fill nodes on the grid is not enjoyable, since you need both a
sphere to create a node in an empty space and also one to activate it. This is
especially true for the luck stat on your characters, which quickly becomes the
most important stat in the game. Those spheres are hidden behind bosses that
are fun to fight the first time, but one of the most frustrating ones to grind.
There is a fine line, between making something challenging and
fun or making something tedious and frustrating. Games that are able to ride
that line are the most successful when it comes to post-game content. We have
games like Disgaea which is known as the most hardcore of hardcore JRPGs. Where
some players say the game doesn’t even begin until the main story is over. Or
an action game like Ninja Gaiden with their mission modes that test your skills
as a murder machine by putting you against almost unfair groups of enemies.
As I looked though my collection to see which titles I
really enjoyed playing after the main story was over, I noticed that most of
the titles are either Japanese or titles that borrow mechanics from Japanese
games. And being that North America has become the leader in videogame invitation it is disappointing not to see what they can do with the post ending
single player experiences. In my mind western publishers have seen the success
of Call of Duty multiplayer have become blind to any other alternatives. There
are a lot of instances where people have ridiculed developers for shoehorning
in a multiplayer mode where it isn’t needed.
Games like JRPGs and Japanese action games make me wish the
post-game was more prevalent in the western world of videogames. I feel
developers have forgotten that not every game needs to have a multiplayer
experience and it could make their game better by dropping that and putting
those resources towards expanding your single player experience with more
content that players can enjoy after beating the main story. If they really
need that extra content why not use it for post-game content. It gives players
more gameplay, and that will dissuade them from trading the game in right after
they are done, and also builds on the single player experience that the team
has been trying to perfect for years. But then again, I don’t make games.
While I understand not all game types are suited for this
sort of content, as I look back on my experience with videogames some of my
favourite moments come from post-game content. Whether it is defeating an “uber”
boss or getting my Disgaea characters to level 9999 for the 5th
time, these are more satisfying to me than shooting someone with the in game name of XxX_WeedSmoker420_XxX for the millionth time. The post-game allows me to continue with an experience I love and proper
challenges to keep me playing long after the final boss has been defeated.
How about you guys? Do you like post-game content like I do
or do you think multiplayer experiences are the way to go, even in a mainly
single player game? Comment below!