Oh god, I’m not dead. Undead though, so close. Don’t worry, you’ll see what I’m talking about soon. I promise. Power outages and a little bit of life issues and blah blah, get to the game talk Kana. Alright me, sheesh, so bossy. Anyways… today, I’d like to talk about a certain mechanic that is present in a massive number of games, if not all of them. I’m talking about the horrid nightmare of grind, the act of repeating an action and and over to gain some kind of reward. Most of the time, when you hear the phrase “grind” it means slaughtering dozens to hundreds of a certain type or group of NPCs for a reward at the end, but virtually any repetitive action can be defined as grind. It’s all in how you perceive it that makes it good or bad. So today, we’re going to compare two of my favorite games and see if there is any way to make grinding more fun. One of the two I’ve already covered, my personal monster killing fetish fest, Monster Hunter. The second is a smaller game, based on the Touhou series called Labyrinth of Touhou. It’s a more-or-less standard dungeon crawler with an obscenely huge cast. Right, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started.

The main thing I want to get across is that I absolutely love both of these games. Over the course of a week or so I dumped well over thirty hours into Labyrinth, I enjoyed all of the characters, the music was absolutely beautiful, the mechanics were solid, and my favorite, favorite, favorite character from anything ever was in there as part of the recruit-able cast, and she played the ‘high-yield glass canon’ archetype, which is my personal favorite. The whole thing sounded like a dream, and it was right up until about the 30th hour of play. Everything came crashing down as little things that had previously annoyed me piled up and I ran into a massive brick wall. The only available solution? Grind levels. A lot of them. I tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t do it. Two levels later, I had to turn the game off. I came back later and played for another level, then another, then just… stopped. I couldn’t find the effort to keep going. The three main things that got me were character development, repetition, and a distinct lack of rewards. Now then, let’s compare how my monster-murder game compares and, in my opinion, does grind better.
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