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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

And Your Rank Is... Oh, Who Cares?

I've been playing Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon off and on and it's a solid follow up to the original GCN Luigi's Mansion. It looks stunning, it sounds amazing and it made me fall in love with Luigi's heroic cowardice all over again. After I finished my first mission in Gloomy Manor, I found I was being graded and my score was decided on various things like money collected and how speedy I took care of ghost busting business. For all there is to like about Dark Moon, I found that the ranking system's very existence was my least favorite of the new features.

Ranking the player is nothing new. Plenty of games do it these days. Ranking has been a staple of the Sonic series for a long time now and while I'm not overly fond of it in the hedgehog's adventures, I think it works more towards Sonic's gameplay, in which speed has always been a key factor.

After I received my one star rank in the first mission of Gloomy Manor, I decided to give it a second go and for moving at a faster pace, I was rewarded with three stars, the best rank you can get. Huzzah! I have to admit that I was more than a little elated to see my one star rank move up to three. However, I was did more and more missions, I felt less inclined to move faster and more at ease going about things at my own speed.

Ranking seems like a more natural fit for
this fellow.

This is just my personal feelings on the matter, but I don't feel a ranking system should even belong in Dark Moon. True, you aren't exploring one huge mansion so you could argue that ranking the player is more efficient since where you can go is more limited. But at the end of the day, you're still exploring a mansion and even though it isn't as grand in terms of scale as the original in the first game, these areas are still pretty freaking huge. Why on Earth would I want to haul plumber overalls in a game that is all about exploring just so I can get three stars? One of my favorite things about the original Luigi's Mansion was snooping around and finding as much dough as I could. In fact that's one of my favorite things about gaming as a whole; when you get rewarded for your curiosity.

I may not get the best ranking, but I have
more fun when I'm taking my time
in this particular adventure.

There's even more nooks and cranny's to search in Dark Moon than the first game and I found that I got far more enjoyment when I took my time looking around. I may not be getting those glistening three star ranks, but I'm having a lot more fun than I did when I was rushing, playing with the mindset that I have to move faster to get a better score. If there's something special that can be unlocked for getting the best ranking on each mission, cool, but I doubt I'll go the extra mile to unlock it.

In games that rank you I seldom go for the best ranking. Nothing against those that do put in the extra effort. Actually, I have a great deal of admiration for those folks. I'm pretty adept at games but I just don't have the patience to S rank or gold rank everything. I got a few gold medals on the challenges in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, but my mouth gaped open when I found out that gold is not the highest you can get. I was content with my bronze and silver medals and just knowing that I completed. I feel the same with Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, but since the game is heavily based on exploration, I find the whole ranking system pointless.

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