Writing about Persona 4 reminded me of a couple of things I found frustrating about the game’s puzzle design. I thought of two things right away — both of them related to the current part of the game I’m in. The first, obvious one is the dungeon I’m stuck in, and then there’s the investigation mini-game I had to play just to have the privilege of entering the dungeon.

To reach the boss in this dungeon, I have to go down a number of floors, pick up a key, backtrack several floors, dispatch a mini-boss, then go back down to where the key was. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that it defies the conventional dungeon-crawling logic the game’s used so far. Oh, and the monsters respawn. XP

The investigation mini-game is an excuse to talk to every NPC in the game. Once I find the correct one, my teammates arrange themselves around the town and I do it all over again, until I hit the next plot point. It’s pretty boring, and where there are no obvious leads, I’m stuck talking to random strangers until I get lucky. Monotonous.

The latest one required me to wait a day or two as part of the investigation. I didn’t know this at the time, and I gave up in frustration when the scene refused to advance. I turned to GameFAQs. Progress in this mini-game required me “give up” for a day or two? What the hell kind of puzzle was this? I mean, why do I have teammates? Would it kill them to have a line of dialogue somewhere that says “we’re getting nowhere today, let’s try again tomorrow?” Seriously.