Sometimes You Need To Press Reset To Make The Most Of A Game

by Mike Futter on Feb 16, 2015 at 07:16 AM

Ever since I was young, there are some genres that have required a different approach. Action games, whether third- or first-person, run-and-gun or methodical are simple for me. I start, I play, I finish.

My relationship with RPGs and strategy games has always been different, though. Ever since I first played Dragon Warrior and the original Final Fantasy, I’ve been disquieted by my initial play through.

I couldn’t identify it in those early days, and I didn’t always realize it was happening until it was done. I would play, often for a couple of hours, and then start over.

It’s not necessarily that I was playing poorly. In some cases, I was progressing just fine. But inevitably, I’d wipe my save and start over.

While I should have been bored going through the early moments a second time, instead I found myself appreciating the game that much more. I was able to recognize smaller details, appreciate the design and the music, and revel in the experience.

Final Fantasy III on the Super Nintendo was when I realized the benefit of this quirky behavior. Reliving the Magitek armor introductory sequence, listening to Nobuo Uematsu's dramatic overture, and getting a better sense for Terra's place at the opening of the story all made the experience more special. 

Along with that came a sense of familiarity and confidence in the complex systems that helped me fall into a rhythm much earlier in the game. That practice continues today, especially when it comes to titles with in-depth character creators or random elements.

When I started Dragon Age: Inquisition the first time, I crafted a character, played through a bit to get a feel for the game flow, and then restarted. XCOM and Darkest Dungeon have also been part of this ritual.

I find that I enjoy games in these genres that much more if I can break the ice earlier in the title. If that means a second chance at a first impression (and investing a couple more hours in something that might take over 100 to complete), so be it.

The best time to get familiar with a game is in the earlier moments. The pressure is lower, you might catch a tutorial pop-up the second time you missed the first, and you have a bit of premature knowledge about what some of the earlier skills offer your play style.

If you’re the kind of gamer that just pushes through on your first start, great. I’m not suggesting you change. However, if you’ve found yourself having trouble getting into the rhythm of more complex games, don’t hesitate to retread ground for the sake of familiarity. Sometimes you just need to press reset.