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Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

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Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby DomingoRules! » Sun Feb 26 2017 9:40am

As great a mechanic as friendship is, there are two gripes I have with it that I find myself constantly thinking about while playing. I'm by no means complaining about the mechanic, as it's probably one of the game's best features for adding tactical depth to combat. I just wanted to let out my couple small peeves.

#1: The fact that it drops when killed. Now, I have kind of mixed feelings about this. Sure, it makes sense, and it's cool that they added a bigger penalty to death than simply paying money for revival, but it can also make losses feel more frustrating than they ought to be (especially if it's a cheap death). Additionally, it feels kind of hostile to players in the sense that if you are frequently losing characters in battle, that means your inability to play efficaciously all the more needs the bonuses to get by, which you're in turn deprived of. Creating a reward system that excessively helps pros get by, while punishing those who are probably in greater need of the aid.

#2: I feel like it somewhat disqualifies the usefulness of late joiners. Every time I get a new party member, I find myself worrying less about their stats, spells, and other attributes they bring to the table, and more about just asking myself, "Do I really want to go through the hassle of starting fresh with a new character, or just maintain the companion bonds I've already built up?"
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby ZethaPonderer » Sun Feb 26 2017 10:10am

Well here are my 'negative' thoughts on the friendship system.

1. It seems like an afterthought and a last minute addition when comparing to the weapon level system.

2. Soulmating characters in SF3 while doable is so frustrating to achieve but I'll spare you the headache if you really want to Soulmate one of your characters in SF3 {After reaching Trusted level with your partner, make sure 1 partner weakens the enemy while the other kills the weakened enemy. Do this 8 times and there's a random chance you'll obtain Soulmate so make sure you save your game after you killed 7 enemies}

3. Warriors and Healer's friendship bonuses breaks the game along with the Main Hero's friendship bonus. +15 ATTK (Soulmate w/ Hero), +15 DEF (Soulmate w/ Warrior), and +2 Luck along with giving Magic Defense that is equivalent to Resist spell (Soulmate w/ Healer). Dare I say, broken LOL unless you're playing Insane Mode which 'might' not help out too much though it doesn't stop me from abusing their friendship bonuses.

4. Oh and I agree with you there completely DomingoRules! when any of your character dies lose friendship level nonsense. They should've omitted this feature and go with just killing as many enemies to finally earn those friendship levels for good.
Last edited by ZethaPonderer on Sun Feb 26 2017 8:53pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby MCRT » Sun Feb 26 2017 12:51pm

@Domingorules
I agree that it can make the death of a member really frustratingly (especially when he was a soulmate with all other members of the force :damnit: ). It literally let you feel the characters pain :)

It is a step back for late-joiners, but not as much as the potential lower stats due starting already promoted. If Fynnding/Horst would have better stats than a around lvl 15-20 promoted Eldar/Obright, I would have no issue with replacing the first with the latter. Especially as due to the available options like AOE-spellcasting items, it is much easier to build up friendship late game.

Due to the available exploits, Sc. 2 is the fairest scenario in this regard. You can use a glitch to multiply stat items to give the already promoted team members comparable stats and in a later battle you can use a glitch with NPCs to build up friendship at sky-rocket speed.

@Zethaponderer:
I have to disagree about the afterthought thing. For the biggest part, it works as intended, Camelot even changed the soulmate mechanic after the release of the Japanese Sc. I (where it was much easier to became soulmates). Also such points like that the friendship is not decreased when your character is killed by a friendly archer in the berserker-stat (or getting killed by curse) appears intentional.

But I agree that it can really frustrating (except in JPN Sc 1) to get characters soulmated. What bugs me most about it that only soulmates have the increased bonus range which allows real tactical usage of it.

I actually think the mages & ninja's friendship spell-damage bonus to be the most game-breaking once Spark 2 becomes available. At first there is no better item/spell equivalent of this bonus and additional 8 damage per soulmate to multiple enemys at range of 3 crushes every opposition.

But without the dying feature it would be completely win-win only... no, I want a reward for making sure that nobody gets killed :thumbsup:
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby DomingoRules! » Sun Feb 26 2017 6:37pm

ZethaPonderer wrote:4. Oh and I agree with you there completely DomingoRules! when any of your character dies lose friendship level nonsense. They should've omitted this feature and go with just killing as many enemies to finally earn those friendship levels for good.

Well, like I said, I have mixed feelings about that. Honestly, I don't know about it being completely omitted, since it does give some extra penalty to death, and I do feel it makes the game more immersive in a way. You're so desperate to keep your friendship from lowering, it creates sort of a faux connection to the characters with yourself that makes you feel their pain every time one falls. However, I do believe the drop should be more lenient. Maybe make it so you can't easily drop below Partner level, and Soulmate status is permanent.

MCRT wrote:It is a step back for late-joiners, but not as much as the potential lower stats due starting already promoted. If Fynnding/Horst would have better stats than a around lvl 15-20 promoted Eldar/Obright, I would have no issue with replacing the first with the latter. Especially as due to the available options like AOE-spellcasting items, it is much easier to build up friendship late game.

The stat thing isn't so much a factor for me because I always promote at the minimum level in these games. That may bite me in the ass on higher difficulties, but I just can't stand the thought of an imbalance like you just mentioned. Besides, you level up so slowly in this game compared to other Shining games (naturally because of the game's drastically increased length), that I'd probably get sick of waiting by level 12.

MCRT wrote:But without the dying feature it would be completely win-win only... no, I want a reward for making sure that nobody gets killed :thumbsup:

Rewards for hard work are definitely nice, but like I said it also feels like it's punishing the players who need it the most. I mean, I look at something like that, and think back to the old days when I was a kid, and I'd regularly lose a third of my party every battle in both SF1 and 2, and 3 would've been no exception if I played it when it was freshly released. I don't mind rewarding playing well, but it shouldn't come at the cost of making things harder for those who need the boost.

Another example of this are some of the Mega Man Zero games. Particularly 2 (and I believe 3) where the only way to get boss weapons is to basically play through the stages perfectly to get a high enough rank. It's basically the game's way of saying, "Hey, you're a pro at the game, so here's something to make it even easier," while simultaneously saying, "Sorry, but since you could use some help with power ups, we're not going to give them to you."

My point is that rewards for exceptional playing shouldn't be something that worsens the experience for lesser players. It should be things like maybe extra money, early item access, alternate scenes/endings, or maybe even a secret character. Features that improve the game, without feeling like progress is being hindered for not achieving such greatness.
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby ZethaPonderer » Sun Feb 26 2017 9:32pm

@MCRT:

While we can agree to disagree on the matter when it comes to the friendship system being an afterthought, but I just think the friendship system isn't explained very well in the actual game. My point is that compared to the previous SF entries, SF3 brings a lot of interesting mechanics that are just not explained very well when playing the game and requires new players to develop a learning curve that was not present in the previous entries. I'm curious, was the friendship system along with the weapon level system explained in the manual from both Japan and USA (SF3-Scenario 1) respectively?

You also bring out a fair point about the Magic Friendship bonus so it is my fault for not including that as well. I just love the +15 DEF and the extra Magic Defense my Warriors and Healers give out :p What can I say? I just love Defense and Magic Defense in my SF games than any other stats. And the Luck stat is a welcome addition for being one of my favorite stats to raise in SF3. :)

As for the whole friendship level losing, this is honestly very counter-intuitive IMO because it removes the essential component of what made the previous entries of Shining Force stand out in comparison to Fire Emblem. The fact that if I screw up in my strategy and any of my characters die, there's simply no consequence to their deaths and I can just simply bring them back to life provided that I have money of course. However, in SF3 because of this friendship system the game stops becoming a Shining Force game and starts becoming a pseudo-wannabe Fire Emblem knockoff where I have to save in every battle and restart every single time for making sure none of my characters die at all throughout the course of the game.

@DomingoRules!:

Whether you have mixed feelings about the friendship system I still understand your points and have no qualms about your points as they are all valid and fair. I'm pretty much in the same boat with you when it comes to the friendship system. To me it just feels like they could've done so much more with this e.g. you get to know more about your partner as to who he/she is and what do they stand for like the Support System in the Gameboy Advance Fire Emblem games although I'm pretty sure that would require more memory on the actual game and it would be asking for too much for these games that were released before the Gameboy Advance FE games. XD
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby DomingoRules! » Mon Feb 27 2017 5:57am

I don't know about the Japanese manual, but the US manual for SF3-1 describes Friendship and Weapon Proficiency in the following ways.

Support Effects: This section starts by giving a general rundown of the utilization of Land Effect, Friendship, and attacking with super-effective weapon types, followed by a more specialized description of the three. This is the excerpt for Friendship. "Over the course of the game, party members develop close bonds of friendship and loyalty. These strong ties generate support effects, which come into play when characters with a close friendship are positioned on adjacent battlefield squares. There are many types of support effects, determined by the relationship between the two characters involved. A small icon appears over the character's head when a support effect is active. To check the support effects and friendship levels for a character with other party members, see the Friendship Status subscreen."

Weapons and Skills: After stating that only certain classes can use certain types of weapons, it goes on to explain proficiency. "But put the right weapon in the right hands, and sparks will fly. As fighters gain experience with their weapons of choice, they can master special attack techniques that deliver extra damage or multiple hits to an unlucky foe. There's no telling when these special attacks will be delivered - think of them as a boon from the God of War. One thing is certain though, the more a character uses the same weapon type in combat, the deeper their arsenal of special attacks becomes."

Lastly, in regards to you mentioning how the game makes you feel driven to save, and reset when a character dies, it almost feels as if the developers were fully aware that some players would want to go that far, as demonstrated by the fact that it's the very first Shining Force game where saving mid-battle doesn't automatically boot you from the game. Making mid-battle saving more of a dependable tactic against misfortune, and RNG than it had been in the past.
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby MCRT » Sat Mar 11 2017 10:56am

DomingoRules! wrote:
Lastly, in regards to you mentioning how the game makes you feel driven to save, and reset when a character dies, it almost feels as if the developers were fully aware that some players would want to go that far, as demonstrated by the fact that it's the very first Shining Force game where saving mid-battle doesn't automatically boot you from the game. Making mid-battle saving more of a dependable tactic against misfortune, and RNG than it had been in the past.


ZethaPonderer wrote:My point is that compared to the previous SF entries, SF3 brings a lot of interesting mechanics that are just not explained very well when playing the game and requires new players to develop a learning curve that was not present in the previous entries.


Yeah, it is not explained very well, but so are the most elements SF III brought to the table compared to the 2D games, as for exampe the luck stat or the elemental affinities of the magic users. Therefore I am note sure if it was lazyness or intention by Camelot.
On my very first playthrough in Sc 1 back in my child day I always had the idea that luck increases your critical chance :damnit:

I still think that the Soulmate status should be some kind of random reward for caring for your characters instead of something you should be able to rely on to get (therefore the random chance to get it).

Are you sure that SF3 is the first one which boots you for saving mid battle? I am pretty sure that this was only the case in SF 1... (as I always disliked the idea to save in a church I always preferred to use the in-battle save feature)

ZethaPonderer wrote: I just love the +15 DEF and the extra Magic Defense my Warriors and Healers give out :p What can I say? I just love Defense and Magic Defense in my SF games than any other stats. And the Luck stat is a welcome addition for being one of my favorite stats to raise in SF3. :)


Well, then you will enjoy Sc 3... you will get 3 characters which magic resistance & luck friendship bonus. And (depending on your previous actions) up to 3 people with attack friendship bonus.
The member with DEF friendship bonus on the other hand are all 2 optional (you meet them in battles, but you do not have to recruit them)

ZethaPonderer wrote:As for the whole friendship level losing, this is honestly very counter-intuitive IMO because it removes the essential component of what made the previous entries of Shining Force stand out in comparison to Fire Emblem. The fact that if I screw up in my strategy and any of my characters die, there's simply no consequence to their deaths and I can just simply bring them back to life provided that I have money of course.


Maybe there is the difference, I always cared to make sure that my members are not killed, especially since SF2 introduced the death's count :thumbsup:
I am also not sure if this is the one defining feature that differentiates SF & FE... but I cannot really compare as FE was not that well known here back then
(was "Seisen no Keifu" not the one with a comparable mechanic and the first FE that enabled resurrection of characters?)

ZethaPonderer wrote:To me it just feels like they could've done so much more with this e.g. you get to know more about your partner as to who he/she is and what do they stand for like the Support System in the Gameboy Advance Fire Emblem games although I'm pretty sure that would require more memory on the actual game and it would be asking for too much for these games that were released before the Gameboy Advance FE games. XD


exactly, just remember when the games was actually released, but of course they could have done more with it.
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby DomingoRules! » Sat Mar 11 2017 6:59pm

MCRT wrote:Are you sure that SF3 is the first one which boots you for saving mid battle? I am pretty sure that this was only the case in SF 1... (as I always disliked the idea to save in a church I always preferred to use the in-battle save feature)

I'm so sure that SF3 is the first one that doesn't boot you for saving mid battle, I'll wager my account here on it if you want to go check right now.
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby MCRT » Sun Mar 12 2017 7:15pm

DomingoRules! wrote:
MCRT wrote:Are you sure that SF3 is the first one which boots you for saving mid battle? I am pretty sure that this was only the case in SF 1... (as I always disliked the idea to save in a church I always preferred to use the in-battle save feature)

I'm so sure that SF3 is the first one that doesn't boot you for saving mid battle, I'll wager my account here on it if you want to go check right now.


I have some freetime this evening, so I will check the one's I have on emulator, but you can keep your account ;)
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby DomingoRules! » Sun Mar 12 2017 8:28pm

Okey-dokey
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby MCRT » Mon Mar 13 2017 12:48pm

DomingoRules! wrote:Okey-dokey


Good that we did not gamble, because your right :)
There you see what can happen if you play the megadrive/genesis titles on emulator only since having a laptop :damnit:

But one more reason to enjoy SF 3 ;)
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby DomingoRules! » Mon Mar 13 2017 5:23pm

Game Gear as well. Those also boot you.

As for SF1 and 2, I grew up with a Genesis, and rented those games constantly. There was a long stretch of time where the only game I was ever renting weekend after weekend was Shining Force 2, so eventually I was simply given the game for Christmas. I also rented Shining Force 1 fairly regularly, although that one not so much since I liked the second one more, although I actually started renting it more frequently after I owned SF2 for a bit of variety.
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby Pappets » Wed Mar 15 2017 1:10pm

Yes, losing friendship level is frustating. I guess it's a feeling shared by all SF players. After achiving something that takes time and then losing it so quickly it's annoying.
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby MCRT » Fri Mar 17 2017 6:41pm

Pappets wrote:Yes, losing friendship level is frustating. I guess it's a feeling shared by all SF players. After achiving something that takes time and then losing it so quickly it's annoying.


I definitively agree on that.

Also great to see another known face back :)
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby Pappets » Fri Mar 17 2017 6:46pm

MCRT wrote:Also great to see another known face back :)


I never forget SFC and my favorite RPG, Shining Force 3, even after i concluded that this game is far from being flawless. Someday i'll post a video on YT about it.
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby drunkensailor » Wed Mar 22 2017 1:07pm

DomingoRules! wrote:As great a mechanic as friendship is, there are two gripes I have with it that I find myself constantly thinking about while playing. I'm by no means complaining about the mechanic, as it's probably one of the game's best features for adding tactical depth to combat. I just wanted to let out my couple small peeves.

#1: The fact that it drops when killed. Now, I have kind of mixed feelings about this. Sure, it makes sense, and it's cool that they added a bigger penalty to death than simply paying money for revival, but it can also make losses feel more frustrating than they ought to be (especially if it's a cheap death). Additionally, it feels kind of hostile to players in the sense that if you are frequently losing characters in battle, that means your inability to play efficaciously all the more needs the bonuses to get by, which you're in turn deprived of. Creating a reward system that excessively helps pros get by, while punishing those who are probably in greater need of the aid.

#2: I feel like it somewhat disqualifies the usefulness of late joiners. Every time I get a new party member, I find myself worrying less about their stats, spells, and other attributes they bring to the table, and more about just asking myself, "Do I really want to go through the hassle of starting fresh with a new character, or just maintain the companion bonds I've already built up?"

1: totally disagree on this. the game should be punishable on deaths. and it only lowers one friendship ranking and in case of 'trusted' it makes it all the more tense not to die.

2: the first level of friendship 'partner' can be obtained rather quickly. I've played through scenario 1 and 2 multiple times and 3 only once and I've never even obtained 'soulmate' status and even trusted is something I've rarely got so it's not too big of a deal to me.

also I can't believe other people here are complaining about this. frustration?! no it rewards you to be careful and keep your force a life. you want this game to become a total walk in the park?
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby ZethaPonderer » Wed Mar 22 2017 2:04pm

drunkensailor wrote:1: totally disagree on this. the game should be punishable on deaths. and it only lowers one friendship ranking and in case of 'trusted' it makes it all the more tense not to die.

2: the first level of friendship 'partner' can be obtained rather quickly. I've played through scenario 1 and 2 multiple times and 3 only once and I've never even obtained 'soulmate' status and even trusted is something I've rarely got so it's not too big of a deal to me.

also I can't believe other people here are complaining about this. frustration?! no it rewards you to be careful and keep your force a life. you want this game to become a total walk in the park?


You're entitled to your opinion, but have you even begun to read my response for why the friendship system makes this game become a Fire Emblem knockoff? Hasn't the Shining Force series been a total walk in the park in comparison to that franchise? I expect SF series to be challenging yet forgiving in comparison to FE. SF3 doesn't do it for me.

Yes you can still revive your characters in SF3, but the fact that this game provides such consequences to a character's death completely defeats the point of what made this franchise stand out IMO.

No consequences to a characters death (except Hero) + Revive them anytime you got the money = BIG DIFFERENCE.

So as much as I do like SF3, I do consider it to be a 'black sheep' despite the many innovations it brings out. I like SFCD more than this and that's saying something since its the most forgettable of the bunch.

Don't get me wrong. I still enjoy SF3. I just find the learning curve different from what I'm used to when playing the previous entries that's all. :)

MCRT wrote:Maybe there is the difference, I always cared to make sure that my members are not killed, especially since SF2 introduced the death's count :thumbsup:
I am also not sure if this is the one defining feature that differentiates SF & FE... but I cannot really compare as FE was not that well known here back then
(was "Seisen no Keifu" not the one with a comparable mechanic and the first FE that enabled resurrection of characters?)


True if you wanna do a no-death run of SF2 and SFCD then the death count is understandable on your part, but still its not that much of a consequence to me unlike SF3. Actually it was Fire Emblem Gaiden that brought out the revive mechanic (which is another black sheep game for the FE franchise), but I wouldn't put your bet on any revive items you find in any of the FE games since the whole point of that franchise revolves around making sure your use the best characters (best growths, bases, skills etc.), use the worst characters as meat-shields/errand-boys, and don't let any of them die due to the perma-death mechanic that is a mainstay on that franchise. At least that's how I roll.
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby drunkensailor » Wed Mar 22 2017 5:58pm

the friendship mode is a bonus in this game. you can just as well go through the game without building up any friendship(I did the first time I played), so the comparison with fire emblem goes completely blank since there characters are gone for good.
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby ZethaPonderer » Wed Mar 22 2017 6:32pm

@drunkensailor:

I really doubt getting those friendships will be a bonus if you decide to play SF3 on the harder difficulties (especially Insane Mode). But, you made your point. Just explaining that the consequences for dying in SF3 is pretty big especially if you Soulmated/Trusted any of your characters which can cost you in the long run.

What part of 'Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship' do you not understand? Pointless to even make a topic about this? So what?

DomingoRules! topics about SF3 is entertaining to read and he's making his points (all of which are reasonable) just as much as you are. Take everything that you're reading with a grain of salt. Don't let it rub you the wrong way. :lol:
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Re: Minor Negative Thoughts on Friendship

Postby DomingoRules! » Wed Mar 22 2017 11:05pm

At the very least, I think soulmating should be permanent because of the effort that goes into acquiring it. Considering you can reach the end of the game, and still not have a single one, I don't think that would be too unreasonable. While losing friendship is a punishment for death, not losing maxed out friendship should be a reward for managing to pull it off.
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