Circle of Strife [ COMIC ]

I had to make sure that the character in this comic looked nothing like anyone I knew. My rotund friend that I mentioned in the previous comic thought that was him in the actual strip. Took me more time than it should have to convince him otherwise.

When I thought of this comic two games I own came to mind: Final Fantasy XII and Odin Sphere. Odin Sphere is the game I am currently playing now. My original time through I had so much trouble with the Pooka Prince and unbalanced nature of the green ooze things in Titania that I put the game down for a few years. I since learned that napalm is the key to destroying them and loaded up on such before I hit that chapter. Unfortunately, now I’m onto Oswald’s story and dealing with Skuldi the Sorcerer…Making sure to load up on elixirs.

As far as Final Fantasy XII goes I got to and fought Vayne on the Sky Fortress Bahamut, but got my ass seriously handed to me during my attempts to defeat him. Then, much in the same way as with Odin Sphere, I put the game down for a few years. I picked it up a few months ago and have been since level grinding and tackling all the available hunts. I’m back at the Bahamut, but haven’t entered it yet. I know my characters are much stronger than they were last time, but I haven’t taken that final plunge yet. Maybe soon…

Do you have any games that you’ve had similar experiences with? Planning on trying them again any time soon?


  • TossTheDice

    The two games that come to mind for me are Golden Sun 2 and Zelda: Twilight Princess. I’ve probably restarted the Zelda game at least 4 different times >.<

  • Liz McBride

    I’m stuck in a boss fight in Demon Stone. I don’t think I’ve played that game in a year at least. Also, Pokemon. Though that’s just because I’m bored of grinding. I was getting stuck in various points of Dragon Age, but I am far too addicting to stop playing.

  • Erudite Gamer

    I quite literally just stepped back into the circle. I played Final Fantasy II many years ago and made it all the way up to the final boss. In no uncertain terms, he slaughtered me so mercilessly and without remorse that I swore the game off right then and there. I later learned of a sword that all but kills him instantly but haven’t been able to bring myself to restart the game to obtain it until just now.

  • Rob

    Baten Kaitos and Baten Kaitos Origins on the Gamecube……….parts of those games are mericiless if you don’t spend some time grinding

  • Kaye

    I had that problem with Super Mario RPG. I made it to Smithy’s Castle and got stuck on the clock. Started a new file 3 years later and beat it. I may have to do the same with Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story.

  • Pocket Lord Sephirjon

    Romancing SaGa (why can’t I grind?!?!) and Valkyrie Profile 2 (got to the Dragon Palace TWICE, then dropped it again).

    • Pocket Lord Sephirjon

      Oh yeah, also Lost Odyssey. Got to, like, the beginning of the 3rd disc, then died horribly in the next dungeon, found out I hadn’t saved, and ended up back in disc 2. To which i said, “No.”

  • Guy

    I have had this issue with so many of the Final Fantasy games as of late. I think the last one I fully beat was X. I got a bit into X-2, got bored with it, left it. Same happened with XII and XIII. Each time, I get excited for the new elements to the game, but after the novelty of it wears off, I get really annoyed at different things. Basically the same thing that happened to my VIII and IX play as well. One day, I will beat them, II and V.
    So far, only ever finished I, III, IV, VI, VII and X.

    Much better luck with DQ where I have beaten all but VI, and only because I do not want to rush VI with nothing else console based for a long time, I want to enjoy that one.

  • Kira

    I had picked up Star Ocean: The Last Hope in a bargain bin not too long ago. I wanted an RPG I had never tried but after playing it for awhile, the characters started to drive me insane and I put it down for awhile. Having come back to it to give it another go, I can’t remember at all what the goal of the protagonists is, and it doesn’t help that they’ve veered so far off the beaten path of whatever the hell they set out to do in the first place, they literally took a side quest, which lead to a side quest of that quest, and then a couple more side quests…. I’m so lost.

  • DIV

    See: FF9 (even though I’ve already beaten it), FF12, FF5, Demon Souls, Mass Effect

  • Gathma

    I wouldn’t consider it a “cheating thing at the end,” but I do remember that the Shadow Queen in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door had a ridiculous amount of health, even compared to Grodus, the boss right before her, and you had to pretty much fight her twice. The first time I got to her, I tried as hard as I could to win and lost my first three attempts. Then 3 (maybe 5) years later, I try again and beat her on my first attempt.

    I was so happy and pissed at the same time.

    • spike

      The final boss in Paper Mario TYD was the only one i actually had to think about, and after tweaking my badges she went down!

  • 622killer89

    I’ve done this cycle on Chrono trigger, Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 multiple times through

    Its less I would get stuck in the middle and more of a Playthrough again for Nostalgia as I have very little problem beating games that dont bore me to hell

    I’m in the middle of Baldur’s Gate 1 and, since I’ve circled through it like 3 times already, it bores me more than frustrates me

  • GuidoNCSU

    I got bored with the puzzle repetition in Twilight princess near the end and haven’t picked it back up yet.

    Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World is probably my best example. I ended up coming across some “hidden” enemy in an early dungeon that was 10 times stronger than anything else in there. It wasn’t a boss and really didn’t look like anything special until the battle began. After I got destroyed, I stopped playing. I think it was just the last straw as the game wasn’t holding my attention much anyway.

  • Klas

    Inindo:Way of the ninja.
    God damn that game is hard.

    FFIV as well actually, quite early in the game (just after turning paladin) there was this one reflect-based boss who owned me so badly I grew bored.

    Lufia II, due to a puzzle one time, another due to using save state in the middle of a huge dungeon and then not playing for a couple of weeks and I’d lost my way.

  • Jakk Frost

    See, for me it was FF7. I’ve played through most of it several times, but I’ve actually never even gotten to the Sephiroth fight. I always wind up “circling the block” in that one section of the northern caves that tends to spawn a lot of the bouncing ball things (I don’t remember their names, sue me :P) and tonberries, maxing out my materias and such, then suddenly, for no apparent reason, one day I just don’t go back.

    I’m sure the fight is easier than I imagine, but I’ve always been intimidated by it. The concept of fighting on, what is it, 3 fronts at the same time? Even though the “fronts” obviously must take turns, I was never very good at that kind of multi-tasking.

    Also I think I probably shied away from the final battle because it would mean the game was over. Ironic that, since I stopped playing it at all just so it wouldn’t end and I’d have to stop playing it…

  • Staples

    It’s funny because it’s true!

    Damn, I might have beaten 25% of my JRPGs.
    It’s like a curse or something.

  • MindTricked

    Add me to the list that never finished FF 12. I played until it said I couldn’t go back (the final area), got distracted by other stuff, and didn’t get back to it until two years later. Since I couldn’t remember much of the game play, and wanting to rediscover the story, I started it over… only to realize that I don’t get much of a sense that there *is* a story, at least not to the point where I feel the need to see it through. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever finish it, and I’m okay with that.

    • deathdragon

      There is a story to FF12 but it is buried beneath so many side quests that have nothing to do with the story, hard hunting marks(seriously, why does the final mark need 50million hit points!!!), and finding and claiming better summons; you lose track of what the story is pretty quickly. Shortened story? Vaan steals from the palace only to find out there is a whole corruption thing going on and, in the end, kills Vaine(who killed his father to get into power and is now pretty much a ruthless dictator) to set it straight.

  • mrboots

    Morrowind GOTY for me.

  • Jack Wood

    Change the bottom panel to something about doing every possible side-quest and you’ve got me. Almost every JRPG has a section near the end crammed full of different things you can do, and my brain just won’t let me advance without doing all of them. But of course, in the vast majority of them, this section rapidly becomes wearying. It’s not always the case though. In Final Fantasy VII, Phantasy Star IV, Kingdom Hearts (not quite a JRPG but close enough), Lunar (the first), Breath of Fire (also the first), and Chrono Trigger held my interest to the end. Wow. I’ve finished very few of my JRPGs.

    And of course, some I just lost the mood in well before the end. Like Final Fantasy XII, and Dragon Quest IV.

    The 3 o’ clock panel is really accurate though.

  • Zero

    Whether it’s due to my memory or my attention span, I’m guilty of the 3 o’clock panel if I drop a game for longer than a month. Thus, I always make it a point to finish a game, because having to go back to the beginning has always been a crippling negative for most games.

    Now, for FFXII, allow me to explain why I HATE the dude who created the Gambit system, and why I can NEVER fully enjoy any game that utilizes it. There are a few monsters in the game that can spawn minions endlessly; I don’t know the actual number, but I know there’s a particular rare one that you can find in the ruins on the icy mountain. Now, with the proper Gambit setup, you can basically have all your characters attack ONLY the minions, leave the summoning monster alone, and keep yourself alive, either through items or spells, for as little as 6 to as much as 15 hours or so. SO, basically, I’ve just given you a hint to instantly level ALL your characters to 99 without YOU having to lift a finger.

    And don’t get me started on Yiazmat. A 6-hour long fight that I had absolutely ZERO participation in. Yeah, that’s real entertaining. After I cleaned that dragon’s clock, I stopped playing. Vayne was designed for level 60’s to be beaten in a half hour, he seemed like so much chump change after Yiazmat I figured it was a bigger waste of my time to actually see the ending of this wretched game. I’ve tried on two separate occasions to replay it and actually figure out what the story was, because I got lost around the time the big specters started showing up, but I get so bored after a while I just give up. And like MindTricked above me, I’m okay with that.

  • Daniel Schealler

    I recently discovered BGTutu.

    This awesome modding project takes the resources of Baldur’s Gate I and ports them into the Baldur’s Gate II engine.

    I never finished BGI – so this is *awesome*.

    So I paid for BGI and BGII on then grabbed a copy of EasyTutu. All works great.

    Now if only I had the time to play it. >.<

  • Thorvald

    FF VII for me. Originally saved 95 hours on it, set it aside for waaay too long more than a year) and then restarted, saving 98 hours. Still have the last sequence to go with the movable save point….but it’s been over 4 years and I haven’t touched it. Argh. Why do I do this to myself?

  • Darkwolf

    Just 2 days ago, i finished my first runthrough of Legend of Legaia.

    I started it as a rental near the release of the game. I recently had my 10 year HS reunion. It took me over 10 years to beat this game.

    Granted: 1.5 yrs from rental to purchase, 1 yr of being loaned out to a friend. 1.5 more years of the memory card being lost and starting over, and then finding the memory car which was near the endgame. 1 more year until I actully beat the game.

    Now I’m focusing on finally finishing Grandia. After that, either Xenogears, Xenosaga 2, or Metal Saga. Or replay Kingdom Hearts or FF IX.

    • Darkwolf

      Actually, it’s kind of funny, I finally beat LoL the day before I discovered this comic… that was a LONG archive trawl.

  • Jimmy T.

    My most similar experience was probably with FFIX. Except it wasn’t even with a hard part of the game or anything, or even near the end.

    I’ve had the game for at least 5 years now, and within those 5 years, I must’ve started the game, finished the introduction, got out of the swamp/forest thing and into an Ice Cavern, only to get bored and stop playing at least 4 times.

    Though, this seems like a common probably with any old Final Fantasy game for me. If I ever get around to replaying FFII(SNES), FFIII DS, and FFVI, they will all become this comic incarnate.

    FFII had some invincible boss halfway through the game that I didn’t grind enough for to survive, FFIII shot my ship out of the sky and locked me in a town where I couldn’t grind and was forced to fight an over powered boss, and FFVI had me lose hours of data due to a super powerful random encounter.

  • How convenient then that I designed something which among other things solves part of this problem:

    (if that link doesn’t work, google for “Save Timelines” with the quotes)

  • Vilecat

    Unlimited Saga. I finish a chapter with one of the characters and then either a side-quest or the main quest just frustrates me to no end, or I feel like I totally failed with the leveling section (the skill grid). 5 times I’ve tried and 5 times I just gave up.

    Other than that, it’s more of a “finished the game once, giving up a few hours into the NewGame+” than stopping playing a game then starting from scratch months or years after.

  • Angel Xtreme

    Ocarina of Time.
    I didn’t knew that I had to throw a bomb to the Goron that was in Goron City, so he could tell me about the other Gorons, give me the red tunic, and open the way to the Fire Temple.
    I also didn’t knew that I could store Blue Fire in the Ice Cavern, so I neither could go to the Water Temple.
    I got the Lens of Truth, but the event in Kakariko Village didn’t appear, so I couldn’t go to the Shadow Temple.
    And lastly, because I didn’t had the Longshoot (or knowledge of it at least) and didn’t think of using Epona, I couldn’t cross the bridge in Gerudo Valley.
    All that in my first playthrough of Zelda, and without Internet. Also the only guy who had bought Ocarina of Time between all my friends.
    Months later I learned about the Goron and the Blue Flame, I played it again and finished it with only some throubles in the Gerudo Fortress when saving the carpinters, Solid Snake Style.

  • Rorinthas

    So guilty of this.

  • Jonas

    Fucking Final Fantasy IV, on that port to the PSX. The last boss was a pain in the ass, so, eventually I started playing something else. Later, my memory card crashed and I never got that far in the game anymore, despite trying to start playing again a few times. Maybe I should try that NDS remake…

  • Armane

    I’ve got plenty of JRPGs where I’ve got bored somewhere along the way and never finished it. I call it Final Fantasy syndrome. Cause I’d always get stuck every time I tried to finish 7 and 8. 7 I didn’t know where to go after the Golden Saucer dating events, and 8, I think I was looking for the White Seed ship.

  • Loktera

    Currently: FFIX, FF: Tactics, MGS, Xenosaga, Battle Ogre, and Parasite Eve. I started them, never got around to finishing them. Currently working on my third playthrough of Xenosaga.

  • mindrunr

    Remembering being quite poor at the time and wanted to something to do so I looked threw my collection to see if there is something I haven’t played threw to the ending. Ooh lookie here FF Tactics PSX, I neved did beat you. I stopped playing it cuz this one fight was hard but that was a few years ago. As I played it again I thought “this isn’t so tough; easy really, was this really that hard back then?”. It was the last F’n fight of the game. It took me 3 years to finally beat that game.

  • Nightmarezerosg

    I got to the desert in Breath of Fire 3 but the magazine Tips and Tricks had the WRONG instructions to clear it, so I spent DAYS trying to get through till I up and quit. On my second playthrough I followed the games instructions and got through on my first try! :p

  • 06th

    I have a similar, but not identical problem. I end up quiting on games right at the last dungeon. Breath of Fire 3 and 4 and FF VII and XII are the first things that come to mind, but I feel like there are more. I also had problems with FF Tactics, but that was just due to my only save being during a battle I didn’t have the levels/skills to beat.

  • HunterX57

    Actually I also haven’t touched my FFXII save file in forever. I’m stuck on a sidequest trying to kill this crazy dinosaur that causes the desert storms. I know I shouldn’t even be fighting it at my level, but I almost killed it once chaining the limit breaks (so long I don’t even know what they’re called in XII anymore) and then I ran out of meter with everyone and got owned by it’s melee cause I didn’t save mana on a white magic caster. One of these days I’ll beat it underleveled because I know I can. Until then, it’s MMO’s that are free to play cause I don’t feel bad about quitting those halfway through. :p

  • Mallavaughn

    Honestly, there have been way too many RPG’s I’ve played that all hit that stage. Luckily I have been able to finish a few of them over the years. FF VII, VIII, and XII to name a few. VII it what started it all for me as I lost my memory card while leveling to take on the weapons, and just could not get back into it long enough to ever finish it since.

  • Retix

    Legend of Legia… Played it for several years and still haven’t gotten past the first real boss…..

  • Panchira Joey

    Of my 40+ PS1/2 era RPGs, I have only finished 4. About 40% of the games haven’t even been started yet, most of which are still in the cellophane wrapping. The remaining half of my collection are all at about 90% completion and the save file hasn’t been revisited in years…

    I honestly thought it was only me who had this problem! I have had to put a special condition on my gaming: No starting a new game until I’ve finished an old one. Slowly I’ll get through them.

    Worst culprit – Persona 3. After an hour long, dull battle the final boss heals itself to full. I’ve put 90 hours into that game twice, but it’s so good that I’ll probably do it all over again very soon!

  • Yukikah

    I’ve actually been pretty good about this particular idea lately; After years of not having done so I finally beat Final Fantasy 5 and Children of Mana on my DS. Now I’m trying to get through Torchlight and Riviera… then onto the Phoenix Wright games which I must have started 20 times now.

    Oh, and mayhaps eventually I will end up cheating my way through Braid; been stuck for quite some time now.

    Worst offender for me though is Final Fantasy XII. I don’t know if I just don’t have the attention span or what. It’s not like I don’t enjoy it when I am playing it…

    • Yukikah

      Correction; Worst offender is Fire Emblem on the GBA; I bought that new and STILL haven’t beaten it. It doesn’t help I don’t want my people to die and such, but I always get to a point where things just go wrong and I need to start a hideously long map over again from scratch, and that does it for me.

      Wish there was a way around that; kinda worked that way in Advance War too after all.

  • Trueblaze

    I think I’ve owned at least fifty or more JRPG’s but have only ever beaten about eight or nine of them. Off the top of my head I’ve beaten Ledgend of Crystalis (an old original nitendo game that actully got me into JRPGs when I was a kid) FF7,8,9,10,13 Persona 3 and 4.

    Problem for me was, back when JRPGs were still the big thing they were coming out so quickly and I tended to take the games slowly trying not to miss anything as once I beat them I rarely went back to play them again even if they did have unlocked content, I would only get partway through one before a new one I wanted to play came out. I’d buy that one and want to give it a try rightaway thus shelving the previous one until sometime in the future.

    Back when I was younger I remember I used to play almost to the end of an RPG, look around at magazines or online to find out what I missed, then start over from the begining to get everything. Now adays I simply don’t have the time nor attention span to do that. Thankfully there are fewer RPG’s coming out now that MMO’s (which I hate btw) are all the rage so I have more time to go back and enjoy the games I’ve yet to finish…that is if I can get past the fact on how degraded the graphics now look on most of the older games….

  • Ugh, I probably have a short stack of games, most I beat thirteen years ago like FF7,8 and 9, but lost the saves to and never rebuilt (properly, must have restarted 7 about six times since then) Xenogears, Xenosaga, Chrono Trigger/Cross, and so on, but unfinished? Well, Kingdom Hearts is one, still sitting on my shelf, Disgaea, Disgaea 2, Makai Kingdom, Odin Sphere, and probably a couple more. I honestly stopped buying RPG’s probably in 2005 or so because with real life and all, I knew I’d never finish them.

  • Lord Milkman

    My worst culprit is the Persona series. I got the first from a friend and I think I played it 4 times before I finished it. I would just… give up because I got bored trying to grind for that one “cool” Persona that I wanted. I don’t know if I would have finished it ever had I not come across some items that make any Persona kickass. I can’t imagine the Japanese version of this thing, since grinding was even more time consuming (more enemies with smaller rewards)

    Persona 2, put it down years ago. Maybe I’ll play it, probably not. P3 got the same treatment, though I do plan to finish it eventually. It’s just so stylish.

  • ThePeebs

    I know we’re talking about RPG’s. I do. But one that seems to have me restart frequently is Elder Scrolls, Oblivion. I’ve started it 3 times now. I have 12 games that I forgot the story line to, that I really should restart,…. So many games, so little time to game… DAMN YOU ADULT LIFE.

  • I’m sort of that way with Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. I made it to Bowser’s Castle and beat most of the Koopalings, but Roy kicked my ass. I gave up for a little while, but every time I get back to it, I have to get used to the control system again. I don’t start the whole game over again, but it’s frustrating in much the same way.

  • Phaelin

    I love how many people have commented on this. It’s absolutely ridiculous!

    For me, every damn Final Fantasy I have ever picked up, with the exception of Crisis Core, which isn’t really a traditional FF game anyway. In case you are wondering, that would be FF, FFIV, FFVI, and FFVII. I’d say X2, but I just really stopped playing it because it was terrible.

    VII’s the worst for me – I really love it and want to finish it, but I always find myself stuck *somewhere*. It’s always further along than the last time I restarted. The last time around it was in the midst of Cloud’s breakdown and I was stuck with all the terrible party members I didn’t think about practicing much with. Actually, I just have a habit of not grinding enough in that game. Or something.

    So I guess maybe Final Fantasy just isn’t my thing? I don’t know, but I do love the games so.

    Oh, and MS Saga, but that’s for reasons other than getting pissed off and putting it down. Oh! And Lunar Eternal Blue. Huh, I’m noticing a turn-based RPG theme here…

  • Sabaku no Kat

    It’d have to be Odin Sphere for me. I played it when I lived with my family and I saw it again at Gamestop and /seriously/ had to have it. It’s been one of my favorite console games and I don’t really play that many. Mostly watched my brothers when they played and now I watch my boyfriend, soon-to-be father of my child. :DDDDDDDDDDDDDD (March 30~ SQUEEEE) It’s why I like to read webcomics about older games and such, because I actually /KNOW/ them. And it’s fun to learn about the newer stuff. When I read that you had Odin Sphere in your PS3, my first thought was, ‘OMG They remade for the PS3?! I’m definitely buying one now!’ Then after a few more seconds of thinking I realized that that couldn’t be right, but I love you now more because you have and play it!

  • DuelistVash

    I just checked my pile of games and realised I have 11 RPG’s that I’m playing through and have got to the circle of strife with. More if I include my DS and PSP, but I really have no clue what to do on those games as there isn’t a quest log or even a recap so they’ll probably go unplayed. Why I keep going out and buying more RPG’s is beyond me.

  • Cesar

    LOL my two games with this situation were: Xenogears almost the end of the game i guess where you face Ramsus with some gear that leaves your party´s gears at 1 hp in the first turn… I remember smashing some stuff because i didn´t have a chance to defeat him xD years passed before i re played the game and finally finished the game.

    The other one was kinda sad xD FFVII was my first RPG and i didn´t put attention on the in game messages so i only smashed buttons to kill stuff like Fatal Fury xD so obviously I wasn´t capable to kill the scorpion guardian “boss” in the very beggining of the game… I threw the disc away xD and a couple of years later I replayed it and became one of my most favorite RPGs of all time (along with Xenogears of course)

  • Bill M.

    Well, for me the only RPGs I remember not beating are:

    Final Fantasy II (remake on PS One) because it was stolen
    Final Fantasy VIII, because I was running around trying to get all the side stuff and not really ready to lose Odin at the end of Disc 3
    Magna Carta: Tears of Blood, because even WITH my grinding regimen, that game is freakin’ hard and it doesn’t help that all the women in that game are either flat lolita types or Tits McJuggs, with the male characters looking like regular women
    Xenogears, tooling around before the final boss fight
    Xenosaga Episode II, grinding because of really difficult bosses
    Breath of Fire 4, I really need to restart it because I stupidly grabbed one of the dragons as the Emperor, not as Ryu

    However, other games that I’m working on the extras for:

    Makai Kingdom (a lot of the extra characters you get on the repeated playthroughs)
    Disgaea (just have the Baal fight left)
    Disgaea 2 (lots of the extras left)
    Dragon Quest VIII (grinding to pass all the Dragon King trials & then get the true ending)
    Final Fantasy X-2 (beating that freakin’ 100 level dungeon because I’ve gotten all 3 endings that I know of)

    That’s all that springs to mind right now, I’m sure I’ll remember some later because someone else here will post something later.

  • i have tried to play a game called the Angry Video Game Nerd’s Angry Video Game that some guy made online. i get my butt handed to me on the first level! i put it down for about a year and then try again only to get frustrated and put it down again. but i think i am going to give it another shot and this time try playing it with a controler.

  • xXMissGuidedAngelXx

    I had the exact same thing happen with Final Fantasy XII. I got to fighting Vayne and I got my ass handed to me. I put it down for two years and have started it up again recently. I’ve grinded immensely (Though I still have yet to get the Zodiac spear… stupid chests) And now I’m just about to head to the Pharos… at level 78, I’m hoping everything goes better this time around.