Well, after 16 days, an awful lot of googling, a fair amount of blind guessing, and just a touch of frantically looking kanji up, I have officially finished Ritsuko’s story mode in Idolmaster SP.
And for just a second, in a crazy fit of exuberance, I got called “Producer-dono” and we had this touching flashback to our first introduction…
…and then things were back to normal and I was getting abused again. I don’t know if ALL the characters are quite so, well, strict with the player, but if they are, I think the popularity of Idolmaster says something about men. “Closet Masochists”, I think, is what it’s saying, but who am I to talk?
As an example: After beating the game, which involved winning tons of auditions to get enough fans to qualify for ranking auditions that would let me advance to the next rank, wherein I had to accumulate MORE fans to enter tougher auditions and so on and so forth, and after WAY too many little mini games building up Ritsuko’s stats. she asked me “What was the one thing you brought to this?”
I had three possible answers. Two of them actually represented positive characteristics, like “Experience”. One of them was “I’ve been your straight man”. This was, of course, the right answer.
Anyway. One thing I thought was particularly interesting was the endgame, specifically the very last audition. Spoilers below, just in case you didn’t catch that bit.
See, throughout the game, you’re constantly chasing one particular rival idol, and she is WAY better than you. I’m talking, whenever you’re in a competition together, she comes in first, and you’re nowhere close; her scores are at least 50% higher than yours even if you have max skill. This is fine most of the time, because most competitions have two or three winners, so even though you’re doomed to second place you’re still getting fans.
The final audition pits you up against her, and there’s no prize for second place.
Unfortunately for your rival, HER producer isn’t very nice. He’s kept her working so hard that she hasn’t slept in three days.
So, for the final audition, her scores are, well, they’re still very good… but they’re not quite up to her usual standards, and that gives you the chance to get the win you need.
I’m not sure the message there. I mean, your final victory is at least partially your own doing, but it’s not that you really got BETTER than your rival – you just happened to catch her on an off day.
So, anyway, it was one of the more habit-forming games I’ve played on the PSP since I bought the thing, and it’s going to be a little weird for the next few days as I have to remind myself that, no, I don’t have any appointments to keep with my PSP lest a virtual character get mad at me.