Posted August 23, 2015 by Derek Vicente in Gaming

The Video Game Completionist: How Far Can You Go?

Chrono Cross

Chrono Cross’ recruitment system was the game’s core strength.

I remember this conversation between two grade school classmates of mine: Paano mo na nakuha iyong sword? This was an era when the PlayStation One enjoyed a hugely successful run as the number one home entertainment console. Back then, video games had no serious part in my life; however, my lethargic response and appreciation to games was forever changed after hearing my classmates seriously talk about one piece of equipment.

That particular equipment they had skipped recess over was the rare Royal Sword, a powerful blade sneakily tucked in a desert that Ryu and party had journeyed into before. Acquiring the game’s best weapon requires the player to enter in a conversation with an old man, narrating that he had lost an important item during his travels in the desert. I have played Breath of Fire III, and the memory of getting lost and escaping random encounters just to get the sword is still fresh like an open knee wound.

As you know by now, equipping the sword made the game less challenging. High-leveled monsters fell down quickly and the excitement of finally facing Myria turned into a tasteless, oscillating battle of whoever has the better equipment wins.

I soon picked up a copy of Breath of IV and followed the same formula I did with BoF III: get all the strongest weapons, learn every single enemy skill available, get all the Dragon Evocations, and replay until I witness both good and bad endings. The experience I had with Breath of Fire greatly influenced how I would play larger role-playing games. From that point on, I had embraced a philosophy that all dungeons have secret doors or treasure chests. My distrust of NPC conversations and camera angles pushed me to believe that video games are clever duplicates of the real world. A universe conceived to deceive people lacking insight and scrutiny on the same space you and I are stepping on.

Being a video game completionist is a lonely journey to perfection, because it forces us to put the video game world we are in with a magnifying glass and break open nuances that had not been there the first time, if not for careful exploration and prudent filtration of game events.

Shortly after BoF, Chrono Cross came and expanded my interest in becoming a video game completionist. The large number of people that you can recruit to aid Serge in his quest to piece time together again forced me to travel between Home and Alternate worlds. Getting all the characters living in two disrupted timelines interested me the most, essentially because I want to create different combinations and affinities. Greco, a retired masked wrestler, excels in physical attacks. I ignored the fact that his punches can respectably deal massive damage to regular enemies or bosses and instead used him to build his element grid and routinely spam support elements to keep the party healthy and attacking at the same time. Starky, a wandering lifeform from a galaxy far, far away, assumed the party’s role of the spellcaster. 

The insane level of unlockables in Chrono Cross like elements and weapons are intelligently proportionate, which allowed me to focus in organizing my party and less on element distribution and stocking on new weapons and armor. People would say that they appreciated Chrono Cross because how it creatively sustained Trigger’s misty and almost unfinished storytelling, but personally, I enjoyed CC because of the characters and the method how each can be unlocked. CC’s award-winning story was only a consolation prize.

From that point on, I realized how video games have terrifyingly improved their grip on me. Hurriedly, I stopped listening to mission objectives and repeatedly smashed monsters to keep my characters’ level-up meter climbing. Wild Arms 2 was the first game that I had to be very patient with. Random encounters are disappointing, with enemies giving poor XP, plus the mediocre drop rate of items was a bit frustrating. WA 2 inherited mechanics like random encounters that RPG fans disliked growing up, which strangely enough, immersed me further into the genre and shaped my being a completionist.

Building levels is key in WA 2. Optional bosses in the game are painfully difficult to overcome, particularly Ragu O Ragula and Angolmois. Regardless of how well-equipped the party is, both creatures have been programmed to annihilate any party member with a hit point value below 6000. I had downed both bosses once and the feeling of receiving Ragula’s war spoil, Sheriff Star, has been forever seared into my memory.

These individual accomplishments mean nothing. The collectibles I earned by exploring every passable terrain and hidden shortcuts are all gone. And I regretted the day I failed to record the intense face-off I had with Ragu O’ Ragula or all the other bosses I had clashed with in the past. There were no trophies or achievements back then. Your classmate, whom you invited to open your save file, was the only legitimate proof whenever you have undressed a game’s top secrets down to its final strip of clothing.

Legend of Legaia

Unlocking combos on Legaia require a few strokes of luck.

My friends showed me all the combos on Legend of Legaia without a GameFaqs walkthrough. Impressive! My college dodged all 200 lightning bolts at the Thunder Plains. You have my respect! I completed the Persona Compendium on Persona 3: FES. My younger sister thought I was a genius.

Yes, being a video game completionist is a lonely journey to perfection, because it forces us to put the video game world we are in with a magnifying glass and break open nuances that had not been there the first time, if not for careful exploration and prudent filtration of game events.

Completionists such as I am refuse to cross the finish line without overcoming a few speed bumps and caltrops littered along the field. Our obstacle course, in a deeper sense, is the game’s unlockables themselves, which enable us to mostly answer questions outside the story’s original script or find endearing moments that we can share with a contemporary gaming audience.

Whatever it is that you’re playing right now, always aim for the top score and complete every written or unwritten objective that the developers have sneaked into the game’s content.

Derek Vicente

Derek has been with Flipgeeks for almost three years. His first video game was Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Saturn and after blowing their television set after playing too much Rambo, he has set on a journey to play some of the best (and worst) role-playing games ever spawned. He recently completed Wild Arms 2 without any cheat codes.