Babies are not more interesting than video games. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.
Then why is the Sims su OH HOLY SHIT HUGE BUG ON MY WINDOW WHAT THE FUCK ch a big seller? Or tomagotchis? Or uh... http://www.baber.com/baber/gifs/software/babyz_scnsht3.jpg
Anyway, Square's problem with doing original stuff is that, as I said, I don't think they're really a design-oriented company so they tend to screw it up. And I've said it before that I don't think Square has any idea what proper balance is, whether they're trying to be original or not. And the simple fact remains that you can't patch console games.
The mana games, for instance.
Legend of Mana doesn't have any sort of balance at all, most of the produce doesn't work as described (and worst still -- don't actually work at all), and pet raising is arguably broken as a result of it. Then there's the fact that tempering not actually explained anywhere.
SD3 has some broken stats (luck is one, apparently) and some skills that aren't really useful at all, and then there's the big problem of certain character combinations are just *really f'ing boring*. Like, any party without any magic user. And Duran's just... slow.
And with SoM, there's the problem with magic being sort of not worth it to level up unless you grind because you don't really have the MP to ever use spells consistently or the item slots to store enough Fairy Walnuts to restore MP much. And two of your characters are primarily magic oriented (with Popoi never being much good at attacks), and you also have that issue like with Cyan where waiting for the attack charge bar to fully charge is *really boring* and most of the special attacks aren't worth it anyway, especially considering how wonky the hit detection is. Also a lot of the spells just aren't that useful.
Chrono Cross fares somewhat interestingly in terms of balance because every spell is arguably useful and there's nothing that won't work by default. i THINK this is the only Square game where buffs and debuffs have a near 100% chance of working. Except you run into problems with all of the non-boss fights being fairly meaningless (like... most... well, not Square RPGs but like most RPGs in general. Why is there even combat with regular enemies if it's not significant, ever?) and the, uh, think with having 45 characters that aren't really that different from eachother...
Chrono Trigger has sort of similar issues with non-boss encounters mostly just being there to run up the clock on an already really short game. Sure, the boss fights are interesting -- especially if the game is in Active mode instead of Wait mode -- but... Also, a lot of the combo attacks have questionable MP costs in comparison to the amount of damage they do (and some really do seem like they just do the same amount of damage as doing the two attacks separately would've done). I do appreciate the idea of everyone having magic capabilities though. (The balance issues are more apparent taking a fan patch I played into consideration, which is actually really well balanced and interesting).
I think with the FF games, Square's biggest problem is that they add features without thinking how they really affect each other/the game as a whole.
Also, there's no concept of strengths and weaknesses. Everything is progressively stronger -- it just takes an extra degree of effort to get the stronger stuff.
Hey, that bug on my window finally went away.
Nevermind it's back.
It's actually gone now. Here's a list of things I consider essential to balance. The first 11 or 12 are the most important ones.
1.Every action that the player may take must, at some point, be useful.
2.Every action that the player may take must be useful in multiple contexts, within reason.
3.No action that the player may take can be equally useful in every context.
4.Contexts must be varied enough that the situation described in 3 does not occur by default.
5.Contexts may be varied with the express intent of preventing a single, dominant pattern.
6.There should be no situation where a single, limited “correct” set of actions is necessary.
7.A situation as describe as above may not be used to justify an action as useful.
8.The merit of a given action or set of actions (i.e. a strategy) must not be based wholly on predicting non-user events.
9.Enough feedback must be provided to sufficiently judge the merit of a given action in order to prevent a situation as described in 7.
10.The outcomes of both user and non-user actions must be consistent and somewhat predictable within a given context.
11.Within a given context, the most appropriate or “best” action should vary based on dynamic parameters that change either as the result of user actions, non-user action, or the result of some sub-context.
12.All actions must have appropriate advantages and disadvantages.
13.All actions must be varied enough to prevent a simplistic (i.e. rock-paper-scissors) approach or a situation where all actions are essentially identical.
14.All advantages and disadvantages associated with actions must be sufficiently varied to prevent a situation such as described in 13.
15.The advantages and disadvantages associated with an action should appropriately offset each other.
16.Any cost associated with the action must be of an appropriate value to either: A) Prevent an otherwise heavily advantaged action from becoming dominant. B) NOT prevent an otherwise valid action from becoming invalid because of high costs.
17.If new actions are presented over time (or are otherwise differed from being usable immediately) these actions must not be presented in a strictly linear manner of constantly increasing merit. In other words, new actions must follow the same standards for balance as old actions.
18.Similarly, while some degree of action obsolescence is probably inevitable, it should be avoided at all costs.
19.Similarly, no early action should overshadow a later action. In other words, old action must also follow the same standards of balance as later actions.