We’ve all done it. 80 hours into a JRPG and we have 8 Max Potions and 5 Max Ethers. Too rare to spend on a run of the mill enemy or boss encounter. No no no no, these are only fit for end game conflicts. That’s when the real challenge begins. Oh wait, there’s the credits? Oh……OK.
Like greedy squirrels we hoard our saving graces for THOSE fights. Usually at the end of the game or a steep difficulty boss encounter that separates the boys from the men. But how do you know when it’s the end of the game? A lot of the time I find the final boss creeps up quicker than previously perceived. You go through 77 hours of gameplay and then the last 3 hours are the boss build up. But in that build up there will be only several real challenges. Not only that, but there’s always that doubt in the back of the mind. You know the one. ‘What if the alleged final boss, isn’t the final boss? What if there’s something else pulling the strings and there’s another 20 hours left?’. I’ve had that happen in Person 4, to get the true ending it adds another 10 or so hours to the game. That seed of doubt is planted and forever remains.
So how would you feel about a cheeky heads up? Maybe not mandatory. However, what if at the start of the game you get the option to enable a notification of item usage? Perhaps a notification equal to the elite recovery item of the game. In FFX for example, the big restorative item is the Megaelixir. This wonderful item fully restores all the parties HP and MP. It’s a very rare item. On my first playthrough I finished with 4 leftover. Which is a shame because I scraped by on a few fights and 1 of those would have given easy victory. The Witcher 3 has a moment where you get a pop up telling you that you are entering the final stretch of the game. Which is very handy but The Witcher 3 doesn’t have super rare one use items like the Megaelixir, as far as I can recall, so that’s why I’m using JRPG’s as the focus. If you could enable a prompt that would alert you to the upcoming final uses for THE restorative item, would you use it? Say it informed you based on double the amount of THAT one item. You have 3 Megaelixir’s so you get notified before the final 6 boss fights. Then you have ample opportunity to use it if you so wish.
Obviously the pros are that you get a heads up so you can go hog wild on your best items. The downside is more immersion based. Not only does a prompt take you out of the game world, but also it informs you of how much of the game you have left. As I said earlier, sometimes there is a big bad behind the big bad. That is a nice surprise when it happens. However, if you’ve just used all your items on the fake big bad, it could be infuriating for some. Or when you beat a boss and after a cutscene it evolves into a harder opponent. There’re ups and downs to this idea but a choice is always welcome. The thrill of using that item you got dozens of hours ago to take down that final boss is a very satisfying feeling. But when a game suddenly end, those items are a lost opportunity. Yes, you beat the game without them but THAT item yield’s so much power and gravitas that it’s a waste when they’re not used.
Anyway, let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments or regale me with super item woes. Thanks for reading.