Good bye, old thread! And your -checks- 40,000 posts. Blimey.
Maybe it’s because I can’t play most of the games in my library and I’m getting bored of playing those that I can and Pokémon and Zelda on my 3DS, maybe it’s because the icon taunts me every time I scroll through, I don’t know, but I clicked on FTL earlier. It is now three hours later.
The game is infectious in its desire to be played. The last time I played it I threw in the towel, reconciling the fact that the skill:luck ratio was not one I particularly enjoy (see also: Binding of Isaac from Afterbirth onwards), yet here I am playing it again…and I remain fundamentally unchanged in that belief.
The first sector I go to on run-through N gives me a free pike beam, a weapon over-powered by way of mouse fidelity. The next sector I get so many misses my ship lurches towards the next system to die to whatever. One hand giveth, another taketh away. For as amusing as those five minutes might’ve seemed, I don’t enjoy that. Luck plays a role in so many games I play, from basic crits and evasion to moments of rewarding fortune, but I don’t enjoy it when it’s the difference between success and failure on a regular basis.
For a comparison, let’s use Phantom Assassin from DOTA 2. Heavily reliant luck, with abilities that grant both the highest amounts of evasion and critical damage in the game. Neat! PA is balanced though by having low health making her weak to magic and needing to dedicate an item slot for magic resistance. Whilst having mobility tools, she’s also only melee and there are numerous ways to remove her innate advantages on a regular basis. It is entirely possible to be OHKO’d by PA, but this doesn’t happen often and it’s not usually game changing. There’s also nine other heroes in the game, so the impact of these abilities is mitigated that way. Anyhow, DOTA 2 is a crap example, but the point is, here is something heavily reliant on fortune, but fits into a context that allows you to mitigate and take advantage of this.
I never really feel like that context exists in FTL. If you want me to lose, I’d rather be told at the title screen. Part of the joy of being weak is over-coming adversity in that state until you no longer are, but when the game doesn’t provide that changing state no matter what you try, that narrative goes out the window and it’s just a case of how long can you be bothered to go once you know things can’t change.
The crazy thing is I’m thinking of playing more. I played this evening on normal, not something I did much of before stopping. Easy feels too easy, I seem to recall somewhat reliably getting to, if not defeating, the flagship, whilst normal seems a bit too much. I want a middle-ground, or perhaps customisation to allow me to control what elements I think should be more dependant on skill and luck. The idea of hard seems barmy to me, but credit to those who wish to stick it out.