I like RPGs. Simple enough statement, I think. I’ve played a lot of RPGs during my gaming years. Recently, I picked up Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii (be sure to check out my review to see my thoughts). While I was playing, I noticed something: only a few characters participate in battles. This is an issue that many gaming worlds seem to have. The question is why? Why, and what are the others doing while you’re getting your behind handed to you in a boss fight?
Where is the teamwork in this? You would think that with so many teammates, you’d have a ton of help. A behemoth comes out to fight you and only 3 out of 7 companions take up arms against the beast? What are they doing? I tend to think they’re just sitting on the sideline, taking in the battle with a soda and a box of popcorn. Saving the world isn’t really high on their list of priorities. They just want to see a good fight. Obviously, they’re traveling with you. You can change their gear and spend tons of money on them. Do they join in the fight though? Nope. They show no such gratitude. You even see them in the cutscenes, sometimes contributing to riling the bad guy up so he gets ticked off, goes Super Saiyan, and wipes the floor with the 3 or 4 fools who decide to fight. It’s like hiding behind the big guy in the gang and egging on the opposing gang.
And then, more often than not, the peanut gallery reaps the rewards that the fighting members worked so hard and risked life and limb to obtain. It’s a real crappy situation. They not only get the tangible gear and accessories, they also get the experience and get to share in the monetary spoils. It’s amazing that they are able to leech off of the hard work of others. No shame I tell you.
Now, I understand there are times where the party has to split up and tackle different objectives to achieve the same ends. Take Final Fantasy VI for example. There is a part in the game where the party is split into 3 different groups and each group has to work on their own to find their way to the secret meeting place of the underground group, The Returners. And later in the game, there is another split to get through to the final boss, Kefka. When the party faces Kefka, they don’t all fight at once, but, everyone does have a chance of participating. Other RPG parties could learn a thing or two from the party of Final Fantasy VI.
Teamwork is key in any situation. RPGs need to remember the old adage that there is no “I” in team. If there is an enemy kicking the crap out of your friends, get in there and help them out. The world is not going to get saved if you decide to just sit on the bench and suck up all the glory you didn’t earn.
Just In Bailey –an homage to the secret code from Metroid, which allowed you to play as Samus Aran without her suit– is an editorial column at Vagary.TV brought to you by Joey Alesia. What started as an alternate perspective on different parts of video games has since become a more wide-ranged look at the gaming industry from a gamer’s perspective with over 25 years of gaming knowledge and a twisted sense of humor. Follow Joey on Twitter (@wrkngclsswrtr) or email him at Joey.Alesia@Vagary.tv.