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Q & ABUSE
Meatloaf Railing
Chapter XIX: In Which the Truth Can Be Told
2008.03.14

Lusipurr - 22:00 GMT

Greetings, peons.

Last week I supplied you with my own brand of political satire. I promised not to make speeches, and followed it with a gigantic speech. Then, I made promises of reform, without saying what those reforms might be. I couched it all in fuzzy, warm, generalisations, sure to appeal to the masses. Some of you saw through my ruse, others did not, but now the truth can be told.

Pitiful and mindless Americans, bow to your future King.

When I succeed in taking over your rebellious and mutinous government, I will immediately implement the following policies:

- All republicans and democrats will be put to the sword, hanged, drawn, and quarter'd, as traitors to their most benevolent King.

- A military state will be instituted which will carry out the policies--and whims--of the great and benevolent King.

- Tea-time will be cumpulsory.

- Everyone will be pleasant all of the time, or face a sentence of death.

- Last but not least, it will still be a government policy that it is illegal to be Jack Thompson, on pain of death. Slow, painful, very terrible death.

I will now address your tiresome and annoying questions.





The Letters
Potpourri


Devil Cat Noise, lord of all things RPG, blah blah blah. Whatever. Hi.

First of all, I have kind of a really stupid question that you are bound to ridicule because I'm so naive and have no idea what's going on. What the HELL is SOCK? I honestly have no idea.

Lusipurr

SOCK is an online role-playing game run by my illustrious predecessor Wonderslime. I know very little about it other than that it is no longer accepting new players and that it is in the process of being finished. No offense to Wonderslime intended, but I never had much of an interest and consequently know relatively little about it.


OK I have a question regarding Eternal Sonata. I know that it's going to be released on the PS3 in Japan, but will his version ever make it over to North America? I would just get a 360, but I've already devoted myself to the PS3 for Final Fantasy XIII. I know that the game is supposed to be great, and I really want it.

Now I'm starting to question this unending devotion to the PS3. There are SO many great RPG's out for the 360 already and there are more on the way. Blue Dragon, Mass Effect, Lost Odyssey, and Eternal Sonata. I just wish I had the money and the time for both consoles.

Lusipurr

As my colleague Oliver Motok has said, Lost Odyssey justifies the purchase of an XBox 360. The problem with this equation is that the XBox 360 is a relatively unstable piece of architecture prone--I am sad to say--to self-destructing. Both Oliver and I have found myself on the receiving end of this unpleasant implosion process.

Here is my advice: buy a 360 but do not buy a Gold Live! account or any of their downloadable content. Should anything happen to your 360, the difficulties of getting that nonsense transferred (which I am still wrestling with after more than a month) are practically insurmountable. Only after they saw I actually worked for RPGamer were they even remotely willing to assist me--and then, they could not assist me themselves, only the head of the department could, and he has not called me back yet.

As for Eternal Sonata, I fully expect it to be released here in North America. So much so that I actually sold the copy I owned for the XBox360 once it was completed. I will rebuy it again for the PS3 when it is released. Unfortunately, this re-release on the 360 is most unlikely for Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey, so the XBox remains a fixture alongside my other consoles.


At this point I will ask you to go into a huge lecture about FInal Fantasy XI. It's pretty much the only FF I haven't owned, and I feel that I just HAVE to play it due to my undying love for the franchise. Please tell me what I should do and why I should start playing my first MMO.

Lusipurr

My love for MMOs is rapidly evaporating--I hardly play WoW at all anymore and my participation in Final Fantasy XI is ended. I will say that if you wanted to pick a hard MMO to get into, you couldn't do much better than to pick FFXI. Quests give quite marginal rewards, and your starting resources are very limited, so it is extremely difficult to play without assistance. Furthermore, the amount of knowledge necessary for even the most basic level of play is truly vast. One must be aware of how to play their job, know of a variety of necessary quests, comprehend how to write macros, and so on. It is truly a massive undertaking and, at this late stage in the lifecycle of the game, not one I can in good conscience advise to any new player.

This is a pity because it is truly an excellent game and worthy of a look--I just don't feel that you would have a good time trying to make any real inroads into it now that it is essentially ending. This is the real shame about MMOs--once the servers are off, they cannot be played again. The loss of this capability gives me cause for sadness, as has been mentioned before on the podcast.


Also, have you heard anything about The Last Remnant, Star Ocean 4, or White Knight Chronicles? I'm really pumped about those as well. So many great games are on their way out, but they just won't come out soon enough! I guess that's just life, though. All we do is wait and wait for something good to happen, then when it finally does, it all wears off after a while and the cycle starts all over again.

Wow. That was kinda deep.

Thanks,

-C.No

Lusipurr

Last Remnant interests me significantly, and I have not heard nearly enough about it myself. The other two games you mention are of less import to me and I have heard very little about them. Hopefully we'll hear something about all three soon--but most importantly about Last Remnant, which I am now looking forward to. A release date would be nice.

Thanks for writing, and keep it up! More letters!



Return of the Definition


Lusipurr:

I bring to you a letter containing two parts. The former deals with your take on the RPG genre as a whole, the latter furthering the discussion regarding the roles pets play in RPGs.

You once said you don't consider *Mass Effect* to be a "true" RPG. That in mind, I'd like to know two things:

1) What defines "true" RPG for you?

Lusipurr

Oh no, not this question again!

To my mind there is no accurate way to quantify it satisfactorily. The best way I can describe it is to say that an RPG meets certain requirements and has a particular feel. If it deviates too far from this, it stops being an RPG. The only meaningful answer that we can ever hope to come to for any particular title is through a general consensus. If a majority of self-described RPGamers feel a game is an RPG, for all intents and purposes it is best to consider it as such, despite any omissions or additions inconsistent with previous RPGs.


2) Do you see creative interpretations of RPG elements (such as the battle system) as perversions, necessary evils, innovations, or something else? Elaborate, please.

Lusipurr

You need to be more specific!

Generally speaking, I like innovation as long as it adds something positive, and doesn't take the player out of the game or detract from the story-telling experience of the RPG.


So, a previous column discussed pets in RPGs, and touched in brief upon the roles they play. A few examples were given, but I'm not sure the parameters of the word "pet" were fully established. Some games incorporate animals as party members, while others incorporate them as devices unrelated to combat

Lusipurr

At this point your letter ends suddenly. Did you accidentally press send? Were you suddenly called away? I leave the definition of 'pet' up to the readers. If you go too far, I will step in and, as they say, 'put the smack down'.

Write in and finish your letter. Until you do, I can only give you half credit.



TWO BILLION DOLLARS!


Greetings Mr. President-in-Waiting,

On the topic of "Currents",

I find myself fascinated by the entire Take-Two / EA buy-out situation. I mean, I read that correctly, right? EA is offering 2 BILLION dollars? Billion. Not million, but Billion. That's nine zeros at the end of the 2 kiddies. I'm glad to see Take-Two thinking so highly of themselves, but in all honesty, is turning down 2 BILLION dollars a smart move? Is that snub gonna cost TT in the end? I can't for the life of me see them getting anymore.

Lusipurr

It seems an astronomical figure to me, but honestly, most very large numbers do. Human minds are not well-equipped to deal with the very large or the very small. For an example, let us take the common brick. We all know what a brick looks like. Now imagine a vast, unending car park. What would one brick look like? Easy. How about ten? Easy. Now what does one hundred bricks look like? Hmm. How about a thousand? Ten thousand? Now about about an hundred thousand? By now you see the problem. It is extremely hard to visuallise these numbers, let alone a million or a billion.

To sort your problem for you: look at the pyramids. They seem big, vast, but just how much so? Well, if you were to take all the stone used in the three great pyramids and use it to build a wall, you could circle France and the wall would be nine feet high and three feet thick. That's a lot of stone, but seeing it laid out in two different ways seems like vastly different amounts.

What am I trying to say here? I forgot. Something about two billion dollars being a ridiculous, unimaginable sum. I would have taken it and retired to an island filled with palm trees and drinks with little umbrellas in them.


The Wii's smashing success is a wonderous sight to see. Being a life-long, card carrying Nintendo fanboy, Seeing Sony get the snot kicked out of it warms my heart. Anywho, as nice as this lead is, I don't see it staying this big for long. I'm sure Devil May Cry 4 has helped push more units for the PS3, and you KNOW that we'll be hearing "boom goes the dynamite" when MGS4 hits, with all its glory and splendor. Couple that with FFXIII / Versus XIII somewhere on the horizon, AND the potential price cut, then the PS3 seems poised to make a push. My question, (finally) is, will the PS3 "Big 3" see the PS3 close the gap enough to overtake the Wii?

Your Civil Servent,

-Frammy

Lusipurr

I do not think it will ever close the gap, but I think the PS3 will eventually carve out a significant, second-place role for itself--possibly quite near the Wii in terms of systems shipped/sold. The Wii has a broader appeal (and a lower price) which is going to drive sales of that console well into the future. The excitement will most likely not wane any time in the near future.



Chocobo Tales


Lusipurr,

Real life has been interfering with my desire to play copious amounts of videogame playing, but I've just recently come across some much needed free time. Using a friend's Xbox 360 I played about an hour of Mass Effect before deciding that whatever draw the pornographic alien-sex might have, the battle system is simply so atrocious that I have no desire whatsoever to play ithe game at all. Instead I picked up Eternal Sonata and have been very pleased. I can see why the game got so much buzz. After I finish it I'm going to grab a copy of Lost Odyssey and give that a whirl, hopefully it'll live up to all it's praises as well.

Lusipurr

Eternal Sonata took our RPG of the Year award for 2007, and rightly so. I feel the ending is weak, but you must be the judge of that. As for Lost Odyssey it is a glorious wonder, the like of which is seldom seen. You will not be disappointed.


Anyway, the purpose of writing this email is to mention the best pet from an rpg ever. I mean that in terms of most developed, most useful, and also the most attractive/cutest. I'm talking about, of course, Nall from Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned him as of yet, but if they haven't it's probably because Nall is so well developed he's just like any other character in that game, and not just a mere sideshow pet. But, nonetheless, Nall is Alex's pet and so therefore deserves and is in fact entitled to the "Best RPG Pet Ever" award. I mean, come on, Nall's a snappy-voiced flying white cat at the beginning of the game, who is much more adorable than say a megaphone-wielding, moogle-riding black cat we might know. And towards the end of the game he turns into a dragon! You even get to ride him! How can you get any cooler than that? The answer? You can't.

An Honorable Mention should go to Boco from FFV, though. Simply for the fact that I believe he was the first (and only?) chocobo in the series to have a story-driven name and help out with the plot of a game.

That is all.

Koala Bob

Lusipurr

Nall is definitely the best pet ever, and I feel ashamed that I did not even think of him until you brought it up. Shame on me. And I love Lunar, too.

Nall is not more adorable than Cait Sith however. Shame on you.

Boco is another excellent example--but other chocobos had names! In Final Fantasy IX, the baby chocobo in the Black Mage village is given the name Bobby Corwen in an obvious homage to Bartz's famous companion pet in FFV.



A Massive Letter of Massiveness +1


My Lord Lusipurr,

Though this isn't the first letter to you, I believe I sent that last one to the general Q&A email and wasn't sure if your or Sean would've received it. Regardless, I must apologize for my lack of letters to you. I always feel that I shouldn't write in unless I have enough to talk about. That and I am humbled by your columns. You ask for letters though, and I thought it was time I send something in.

Lusipurr

I always need letters. Send more letters. Letters, letters, letters.


Pets in RPGs, eh? The most developed one I can think of off the top of my head is Noishe, the horse-sized dog-like pet of Lloyd's from Tales of Symphonia. Game play-wise, he is basically a way to move quickly on the overworld map and to avoid monsters, at least until you get the Rhearids. Noishe is, however, a lovable mutt who loyally follows his sometimes dense master, except through an area populated by monsters. Then he'll run for the hills, rejoining the characters when they are through it despite being larger than most monsters. He'll join Skit scenes, though of course he can't say much aside from barks and whines. Later in the game, more is revealed about the giant canine such as his original master, the reason he fears monsters, and just what in the world he actually is.

Lusipurr

Yet another pet I have never heard of--and it sounds like he is well-developed, too! Can you think of anymore, readers? Keep them coming!


I'm afraid I don't have much to say on the news in the Currents column. I'm not at all surprised at the sale of Wiis, with Brawl out and all. Heck, it's already impossible to get a Wii here and now, and probably will be for the next couple of weeks. The likely price cut for the PS3 is interesting, but I'm still not getting one. The next GDC being invite-only is a bit of a disappointment.

Lusipurr

We talked about the GDC situation on the podcast this week past, and I recommend a listen. There's as much good to say about it as bad (possibly more)--as long as they don't go overboard like E3.


On a different note, in the recent issue of Nintendo Power, Baroque for the Wii was given a 3/10! I'm suddenly not not sure about getting this game. Sure, they also gave Riviera: The Promised Land a 6.5 and I thought the game was much better than that, but with a score as low as 3, you have to think they have a good reason for the rating. I'm especially surprised that the localization was called "laughably bad". Isn't localization Atlus's strong suit, at least from what I've seen in Riviera, Yggdra Union, and Luminous Arc. It makes me wonder if the delay is somehow tied to this.

Lusipurr

Luminous Arc was given a 2.0 and a 3.0 from our staff reviews, so I am not certain if it is something that should be held up as a model for other games, but it certainly seems to be better than an average of 30% for Baroque. I am not familiar with any translation issues, but now I will certainly be looking for comments on that particular facet of the game. Look for a review from us in the near future.


A question before I end this: Has there been any word on a North American release for the DS game Soma Bringer? IGN.com has a vague 2008 release date, but other sites (including this one here) don't have one at all. I'm looking forward to this game, but I don't know if I should get my hopes up for an English version.

Lusipurr

Cross your fingers. No word yet, but there is still time.


And to finish off, I am most definitely voting for you, and not just because you will be the first gamer President! A president like you is just what this country needs to get through these tough times!

Strawberry Eggs

Lusipurr

Your support is noted. You will be spared in the general execution which is to follow.



Closing Thoughts

You will note that the letter backlog condition is in the sidebar at right. When it is red, this means there are no letters in the backlog. Yellow means there are letters, but not enough for a full column. Green means there are at least enough letters for one full column.

Whatever the condition of the backlog, letters are always accepted and desired. Many thanks to Maxime Viventi, once again, for his gracious loan of his artistic skills. We will have to find some way to reward him. Perhaps a ministerial post in my new Kingdom.

Until next week, loyal minions,

Pip pip!


Lusipurr will rule benevolently.

God save the King!

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