sometimes i spoil myself

So I was looking for a picture of the boss I’m stuck on in Persona 4 on Google Images and spoiled the story (although I had a strong gut feeling it would turn out that way). Ever since we stopped raiding in WOW, I’ve been occupying myself with anime and Persona 4, which I never got around to playing.

I have to say that P4 is much more enthralling than P3, simply because the events taking place are much more down to earth. It’s much easier to feel a sense of attachment to characters running around trying to solve kidnappings/murders than exploring a tower that only exists at midnight and generally has nothing to do with the outside world aside from the occasional accidental monster attack. Sure, I liked P3 a lot, but there was just a huge disconnect between Social Links and exploring Tartarus and killing rampaging Shadows. P4 feels a lot more interconnected, as evidenced by where I am currently in the story.

Anyway, this boss is a bitch. For those unfamiliar with the gameplay, there are 4 primary elements: fire, ice, lightning, wind. All of the characters aside from “yourself” (the typical silent hero who you name yourself) are vulnerable to one of these elements. During combat, a physical critical hit or an elemental weakness attack allow you (or your enemies) to go again; combat is round based (everyone gets 1 action per round; bosses sometimes get 2). What makes this boss so stupid is that he has the ability to cast the third level widespread spell for every element, so he frequently gets to go twice per turn (the AI is somewhat random, otherwise it would be impossible to win).

What’s even stupider is that, around 75-80%, he casts a spell that enhances one element, then only uses that element spell. Why is this stupid? Because, even if the character is not weak to the element and even though he’s casting a widespread spell, it does enough damage to kill a character who is not guarding. Even if you’re guarding, it will do more than half of a character’s max HP, which means that the only way I can heal is if one of my healers happens to be strong against the element that’s currently being strengthened. This would normally be fine, except I don’t know which element has been strengthened until after he casts for the first time after enhancing!!! God. Damn.

At least I can control all of the characters in this game. P3 had the problem of not being able to do that, which made the last boss really fricking stupid.

Boss – melee attack, casts Reflect Magic

Me – heal party

Party member 1 – cast Fire3, suicide

Party member 2 – cast Bolt3, suicide

Party member 3 – cast Ice3, suicide

Boss – melee attack, debuff

Me – rage against the retarded AI

Of course, I can control the AI via some vague role assignments (conserve SP, go all out, support only, etc.), however I can only do that when it’s the main character’s turn. In P3, when a character died and was rezzed, he would fall to the bottom of the round queue. And, of course, for boss battles, your party starts out going first, with the boss’s actions ending the round. So, what frequently ended up happening was, I get to the reflect phase, people start killing themselves, I rez them, then they go after the boss goes, so I can’t reliably predict when to switch their AI since the boss only randomly uses reflect spells.

I definitely spent at least 5 hours on this boss, since I wiped around 10 times. And after I finally beat him, I was treated to a rather unsatisfying ending. Argh, I really did not like the ending. I never got around to playing “The Answer” either, since it started out pretty lame (basically “yeah, we don’t know what happened at the end of P3, here’s a new game where all you do is figure that out”). Someday, though. Assuming I ever beat P4…

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