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Killing Off Player Characters: How to do it Right

Posted by Pahrak #0579 , Aug 08 2014 · 645 views

As should be evident, this blog post will contain MASSIVE spoilers. Seriously, if you keep reading you’ll spoil a super important and surprising thing that happens in a video game, so do so at your own risk.

At first this was going to be a post opening discussion about what games people felt had effective player character deaths, but then I decided to stop playing around and just openly gush about Final Fantasy V. Well, one aspect of it, at least. The title probably tipped you off, but around the middle (or maybe a little later) of the game, one of the four playable characters you’ve had up to that point actually dies as part of the story. And it’s actually pretty great.


So basically, go play Final Fantasy V. It’s on smartphones now so you really don’t have an excuse.

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The only game I've ever played that killed off a player character was Final Fantasy II, and I HATED how that one handled it. You started the game by selecting and naming four characters, as in Final Fantasy I, but your fourth party member leaves your party at the beginning and only returns near the end of the game. In the meantime, the fourth member of your party dies and is replaced after practically every dungeon.

This is bad enough, but I was playing the GBA Dawn of Souls port. As soon as I realized that your fourth party member had the survival rate of a redshirt, I started taking all their good equipment before they died so I wouldn't lose it. It was only near the end of the game when I looked at a guide and learned that it was better to give them your BEST gear before they died, since the Dawn of Souls subgame featured all of the characters who died having to navigate a dungeon using the gear they died with. That's extremely counterintuitive, and I haven't really gone back to the game since then.
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Pahrak #0579
Aug 08 2014 10:12 PM

I did play some of FFII back in the day, the PSP version.  I agree that their handling of player character deaths wasn't so great, but my main complaint would have to be the growth system: while I can understand where they were coming from, it's just not practical.  Not to mention the story is basically Star Wars, so points off in the originality department. :P


You should totally play FFV, it's sooooo much better!  I'm going to keep hammering this seriously I love this game please play it

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