But after coming off of such a long haul, It's tough to break the save scumming habit. Did I miss a renegade option I liked in Mass Effect 2? Reload! Did my favorite companion in Skyrim die? Reload. Did too many of my Pokémon die in a gym battle? Want to try that conversation in Deus Ex Revolution? Reload.
I've probably taken this habit too far of recent. I just picked up Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 the other day. I'm only on the second day, and so far the game says I've put in three hours. I've probably put in five or six already, and that's starting with lots of trivial decisions.
When you boot up, and a fellow classmate introduces you to the very macabre website "Nicaea," which shows you videos of the upcoming deaths of anyone you care about (Similar to the emails in the previous game). You register for the site (choosing your name in the process) and then you choose an online avatar. These avatar's come with widely different personalities, but you don't learn that until you choose one. They're presented as small, cartoony sprites similar to the one's you'd see on the field of play during a battle, and the choice is made completely binary; Male or Female. This is a character that you'll have to interact with for the rest of the game. My first time through, I chose the female. I was immediately bombarded with an incessant, peppy attitude. The writers decided to tie an infernally obnoxious personality to a set of anime tits with bunny ears.
Started from scratch; typed in my name. Chose the male. I was expecting an obnoxious male. Instead I got a somewhat reserved butler.
20 minutes later, the game is starting to heat up again. My character and the first two party members are all about to die. The butler avatar dude asks me if I want to live. The game gives me two dialogue options; I choose the second. "No. Let me die." After confirming three times that this is what I want to do, I finally get the alternative game over screen with Apocalyptic message followed by a "403 Forbidden" error.
Pretty cool; reload.
I get through the first battle and finally get to the meat of the game. Both Devil Survivor games take place over a seven day period split into 30 half hour scenes. Once you enter a scene, you chew up half an hour of the day, discounting free battles (which allow you to grind for experience and Macca, the game's currency). Some events occur at specific times. At this point, I'm just saving, trying every option, and seeing what works better for me.
And now I have to wonder; is this a viable option? Is this play style worth it, or is my obsession with seeing every option and choosing the optimal consequence preventing me from being swept away by the game? Is this a design flaw, or a play style flaw?
I can't say either way. All I know is that I've got Macca to earn and demon's to fuse. I'm ready to Survive.