Okay, so I just finished chapter 7 (Omega Quintet is set up in an episodic format despite not being released piecemeal) and it took forever. Every time I’d push the story slightly forward, a new barrage of sidequests would pop up and demand addressing lest I fail to attain the true ending—and this is my only shot at it, because I simply don’t have the time to play through this game a second time. That’s a pretty cheap way of lengthening the game, as is the fact that you have to check every area after a field map power is upgraded to see if a new area is accessible, if for no other reason than there possibly being an item there that unlocks an important sidequest. The sidequest grind is definitely beginning to get to me, but the story has also started to go somewhere, and I’ve actually had a couple characters go down in battle. It’ll be interesting to see if this ends up being a good thing or bad thing.
Actively misleading quests
Chapter 7 had a sidequest that tasked me with going to the Misty Plateau and getting an ingredient from some “Flood Shark” enemies. It seemed like an easy one now that I know exactly where the Misty Plateau is, but there were no shark-type enemies there. I ran around for 15 minutes looking for a rare mob, but the only rare enemy that showed up was the insect one required for the earlier (maddening) sidequest that sent me there. Then I started running around other areas looking for sharks to no avail. It was only when I went into the enemy encyclopedia and looked up Flood Sharks that I discovered that they were in an entirely different part of the level. One separated by a level transition, no less. Either the Misty Plateau is a generic term for “wherever the hell we feel like in the Verdant Greenbelt,” or the quest text is actively misleading. Neither possibility reflects well on the game.
Let’s talk about crafting
The crafting system is required for a small handful of sidequests, and it’s kind of strange. Basically, enemies drop items after you beat them in combat (these can also be stolen with certain attacks), with these items being components required to craft higher-level items and equipment. The weird part is that you have to go into the menu and disassemble a certain number of that item before it becomes available to craft with, and it’s probably not wise to disassemble everything preemptively in case a later sidequest necessitates having a certain item still intact. When you have all of the necessary components, though, crafting is a pretty smooth process.
When you don’t have all of the necessary components immediately at hand (because, say, you started ignoring random enemies after realizing that they offer pitiful amounts of experience), however, things become quite a bit more tedious. You have to check the crafting screen to see how many of a certain thing you need, go into the enemy encyclopedia and slowly scroll through it looking for that item, chase down the corresponding enemy in one of the levels, and farm the item out of it. When you’re missing two or more components, this can be a real chore.
The difficulty suddenly spiked
I can now confidently state that normal is the ideal way of playing. One moment I was steamrolling absolutely everything without too much trouble, and the next enemies started actually doing damage to my party, even managing to knock out certain characters. That’s good in the sense that I now know what happens in this situation (party members KO’d at the end of battle don’t receive experience, as is usually the case in jRPGs), but it’s also made a couple fights really annoying. Basically, combat starts and my turn order is all messed up. Harmonics only work so long as two or more characters are next to one another, so they’re most effective when all five characters join in and can chain together skills. Only having two or three characters next to each other when you activate Harmonics means being incredibly limited as far as which chains you can perform, and since these chains are the ideal way of defeating enemies (and particularly bosses), it really just slows the process down. Worse, it’s difficult to plan around this by strategically defending or using certain moves to have everyone’s turns happen one after another, because enemies will just use a move of their own that ruins all of your planning.
Still, it’s nice to finally have a bit of a challenge. Hopefully the enemies will stop being so irritating by constantly breaking up everyone’s turn order later on. Otherwise, this could ruin the one truly special thing about Omega Quintet.