Vaan doesn’t know the first thing about sneaking

Mission 3-2: Rendezvous Round Back in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings really did a number on me. A bad number. Not necessarily 666, but something close to that in terms of cruelty and evilness. First, here’s the mission’s description:

After saving the aegyl, the party heads for the shrine holding the auralith, but a watch has already been posted outside! How does Vaan plan to sneak past?  

And the main objective:

Sneak into the temple; Vaan must survive!

What? SNEAK?! Am I playing Metal Wings Solid here or something? Don’t think so. This is supposed to be a RPG/RTS hybrid…you seen an enemy, you attack it until it is dead. ‘Nuff said. Anyways, Vaan is all alone on the map and must sneak past a good number of guards in order to make it to the shrine’s entrance. Okay, sounds easy enough. Map is pretty small. Nope. Took me FOUR tries to complete this mission.

First try, I walked straight down the map, hid behind a pillar, and, when the first guard was looking the other way, tried to rush past him. Got caught, started fighting him, died a sad, painful death.

Second try, did the same thing, but this time used some brains and applied Vaan’s spell Sprint to the equation. Made it past the first guard, hid behind a tiny airship before trying to sneak around another guard. Only when I went to move, Vaan went in the opposite direction I told him thanks to an invisible barrier and thus got some sword swipes to the face.

Third try, all of the above, this time waiting longer for the second guard to move away. Then it was a mad dash across the screen. However, greed took over, and I just had to open one of the numerous treasure chests on the map. Got caught, got killed.

Fourth try, repeated same steps as before, utilizing Vaan’s Sprint ability as much as possible. Skipped all treasure chests. Tried to sneak by two viera archers guarding the shrine’s entrance, but they discovered me, loosing arrow after arrow my way, and all I had at that point was adrenaline and speed…so I made a beeline for the flag, finally completing the mission with a sliver of health left.

Whew. Also: ASDFGHJKL.

This game was not built for stealth missions. The biggest hurdle is that, unlike in games such as Metal Gear Solid or Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, there’s no indication as to how far an enemy’s perception ranges. Can that soldier see me walking towards him? Can the viera archers view me from afar? If I crossed the enemy’s path here instead of here, am I less visible? It’s a guessing game, in short. Try to sneak by and see if you have the luck of the Irish. Another problem falls on the touchscreen controls and speed that units actually walk at, but that’s kind of a muffin in comparison to the lack of stealth-like details missing from this mountain. Heck, even a simple ! mark above an enemy’s head when they’ve spotted you would help; I just rushed past enemies and had to watch them closely to see if they were following after me or not.

So here’s to me hoping that this was the one and only stealthy mission in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings

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