After my previous blog post, I took to defeating the final boss in FFXIII-2. Why? Because I wanted the satisfaction of defeating the game. Now, I find myself trawling through the internet so that I can find all the fragments and get all the paradox endings etc. Again, why? I’m a JRPG completionist. If there are super powerful bosses that I need to beat once I’ve finished the main storyline, then I’ll grind the hell out of my party until I can confidently enter the final showdown (Ruby weapon is void from this; that thing is just evil).
It got me thinking about both online walk-throughs and the official printed guides. I have the official guides for most of my Final Fantasy games. I like to have them as collectors items, but I also think that they’re the kind of game that you really need a guide for. Or at least I need a guide for. I don’t need it for the main plot, that’s normally pretty straightforward, but I need it for the bonus stuff. I’m an impatient completionist. I just want to know what to do, and where to go. I want to know what level I need to be, and what tactics I should really be using.
Is using a walk-through cheating though? Personally, I think it depends what you’re using them for, and it can also depend on genre. Any game in the FPS genre doesn’t really need a guide. They’re normally straightforward, and house very few secrets that you can’t work out for yourself. An action game doesn’t need a guide. All collectibles in games like Assassin’s Creed are pretty much readily available, and you can even get the maps with relative ease. If you’re going to play a game like World of Warcraft, then I can’t blame you if you’re constantly clinging to a strategy guide really. It’s such a vast universe that again, you need it really. I’ve got a guide for the Sims 3. It was more just so I could absorb information from it, than actually needing it to help me get through the game.
I believe that if you’re going to use a guide straight away without even trying to get through the game on your own, then that’s kind of spoiling it really. I don’t by any means judge someone for using a guide, but I think you should give the game a chance first. It’s a fine line between whether using a strategy guide is cheating or not, but at least give the game a chance before you go hunting all its secrets in the pages of a book, or online.
I think with the plethora of information we have access to now thanks to the ever-expanding nature of the internet, then some gamers are perhaps just looking for the easy way out. True, game guides have been available for a very long time in print, but there are people out there who dedicate a lot of time and effort to writing guides for people online, with no monetary gain whatsoever. There is a certain user on Gamefaqs whose JRPG guides I have religiously used when I have not purchased the official print copy.
What do you think? Are strategy guides cheating, or are they just a helping hand in times of need?