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After reading Jason Connor's editorial on RPG strategy guides, I could not help but be surprised. Are there really that many people who use strategy guides simply because they can? Admittedly, I have used FAQs and guides before; however, never have I used them simply because the game was getting a little difficult. Only to recieve a bit of advice when I was completely stuck did I consult a guide.
Mr. Connor mentions Final Fantasy 7's chocobo breeding as one instance where strategy guides are essentially forced onto players. Not so! In a relatively hidden location, you can find the Chocobo Sage, who will tell you all the information you need to raise a golden chocobo. You don't even have to write it down; simply talk to the girl at the farm, and she will repeat all the information you've recieved from the sage. In fact, a friend of mine who is playing FF7 for the first time found the sage and got all the information he needed to raise chocobos, completely on his own.
Another example is Final Fantasy 8. While I agree on the card game aspect, finding the draw points on the Islands of Heaven and Hell is not difficult at all. Chances are, you've found hidden draw points on the world map before, right? Logically, an area with incredibly difficult enemies must have some sort of incredible reward for sticking out out, correct? Finally, as far as forging the most powerful weapons goes, you are given lists of required items in the game itself; any true RPG player will spend their time searching for these items, and to me, the islands in question are a logical choice to search. (One thing Mr. Connor failed to mention was Doomtrain, which no player could find on their own.)
Guides have a use, but are overall not needed. Just recently in Final Fantasy 9, I found myself being annihilated by who I thought was the final boss, in about thirty seconds no less. Rather than consult a guide to give me information of how to gain levels, where to find better items, and the like, I went out on my own, gained levels, and by accident found several new (and powerful) items.
While Mr. Connor's reasoning was flawed, and his attacks on the new-school RPGers uncalled for and unappreciated, his overall opinion is one I agree with; you'll be much more satisfied if you don't use strategy guides.
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Original Editorial : The Bane of Strategy Guides
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