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Eggnog and In-Laws

Jeff Walker - December 24, 2004 - 10:05 PM CST

WRAPPED WITH CARE AND NITROGEN. That's right, boys and girls! Santa is plopping down the chimney cursing at the poker being left behind. If you're lucky, your mom will be sober when you decide to open the presents. Don't forget to smile when you see the ashtray she got you. We have an intereasting batch of e-mails including one from an evil correction elf. I could have swore I locked him up with the rest of them. You can never find a good dungeon keeper anymore.

In seriousness, I want to extend Christmas good wishes from staff of RPGamer. We care about you like that friend that always peeks in the window to see if someone is home. You remember him, right? Yeah, I wanted to punch him in the face too. Merry Christmas to all!




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Merry Christmas fun To all good girls and boys, even mom She really bought too much.

Jeff makes a booboo


"Apparently, Final Fantasy 3 will be coming out on the DS, which will be the first time they've released all the Final Fantasy games overseas."

Nah, hasn't been announced yet for America.

-Phil

JEFF

Back! Back you demon of correction! Yes, I was wrong on this one. FF3j isn't announced yet on the DS. One can hope they will announce it one day. Maybe when we're 80. Apologies for the error, and I promise Phil will be getting a lashing and a candy cane up his nose.

Just to add a little more on this one, I'd like to see FF3j on the DS. Just because we could finally stop whining about Square hating us like the stepchild that gives the cat a haircut. I don't have a single idea what FF3j is, what the story is, or what the battles are like...but I want it! Maybe I am that stepchild. Here kitty, daddy wants to try a afro!


Kupo, in a Christmas-y way.


Hey Jeff,

I hate FF10 yes, but as for the guy saying all bosses are easy by charging your Aeon's Overdrive gauge, you were right to basically say the bosses would be easy in that respect. Although, even though I am defending the game on such a cheap way to play it, the game is however ridiculously easy. Bosses are infact easy due to the fact that if a character is almost dead, healing them is no set back, but if two are almost dead, you can just switch the other out, and heal Yuna(who should be in your party during a boss fight,) and when everyone is doing fine, and Yuna's turn is before the same bosses and after a character, then return the hurt character and restore their HP. The rest of the reason, is there is nothing that you really do throughout the game other than change characters and attack, which I see as mainly being extremely repetitive, where very few abilities are actually worth using, and you usually get them at the end of each characters sphere grid path, so you'll be at the end of the game before you get them(an example would be quick hit.)

Anyways, there was the one person saying 2005 is dying out in titles that are being rereleased, and an opinion of mine is that all the titles in early 2005 are much better than probably all the 2004 released RPG titles. To name a few, the ones I'm waiting for mostly, would be first.

Wild ARMs Alter Code F(a remake to one of the best games ever created.)
Suikoden 4.
Phantasy Star Trilogy(1, 2, and 4 with slightly upgraded graphics, the only one I want to own being Phantasy Star 4, as I already own PSC, and don't own a sega, and unlike 2, 4 isn't extremely overrated. As for the reason 3 isn't there seeing the name is trilogy, the storyline is completely different and on a completely different world, while 4 is basically a sequel.)
Megame Tensei Digital Devil Saga
Xenosaga 2(now this one however is a game I'm going to get, although I was ashamed at how the gameplay was to the first. Hoping it will be better because I really disliked the first one due to the gameplay, and it's true a game may not be recieved well in Japan, but it doesn't mean it sucks, because it could be pretty good, but it could not have sold well due to many reasons, one of them being that people didn't take a liking to the original, this being a direct sequel and all.)

Anyways, Jeff, I don't know if you like the Wild ARMs series, but what do you think about their next idea of 4th Detonator involving even more strategy than the rest of them due to the fact that your characters move on a hexagonal grid and characters and enemies will gain damage health or status effects if an action is chosen on that part of the grid. I have faith in them making a good game because I loved the rest of the series, and every upgrade they made didn't hinder the title, but made it just as good yet more different than the last. It's not going to be released for quite some time yes, seeing as it's not out in Japan yet, close but it's not out. Just wondering another persons opinion of it.

-andrew- -kupomogli-

JEFF

Wow, Supermail! Now, see, these are real concerns about battle. Personally, I ended up getting near the Calm Plains and I went 'squishy' under the foot of an army of flesh-hungry Celine Dions. I believe that Final Fantasy X was easy if you leveled right. I had many problems in some areas (Yunalesca, I hate you), and very few problems in others(Everything after Yunalesca up to the next to last monster). I do believe the ability to switch out was easily abused, but they had to think of that when they were making it. If nothing else, I thought the switching out was awesome because of the whole weakness thing. Having Wakka on the sidelines when I'd fight an air monster would have been annoying. Looking back, though, I love FFX-2's battle scheme more than FFX. A lot more speed and less time to think about switching out like mad and such things. I believe that FFX offered a lot more than just battles, though. Blitzball was entertaining for a while as was trying to gather all of the different ultra weapons. FFX wasn't full of different sidegames and sideplots, but I believe simplicity was part of its beauty. In the age of free-reign airships, it was a nice break to have to stick to the plot a little.

Phantasy Star makes me happy in the controller. I think I'm probably one of the few RPG fans that would put Phantasy Star 4 above Final Fantasy 7 when talking about classics. Not to mention the story also had that epic feel, as you traveled so many worlds with so many companions. It was like FF6, but without the poison clown of destruction! Like you said, Phantasy isn't overrated. Underrated games often end up being the best games.

I think the 4th Detonator system sounds less like the WildARMs that I love and more like a war strategy game. I love Risk like any other self-respecting megalomaniac, but I like RPGs that allow me to freely move on the character maps. While it is nice to break from the interruptable exclaimation point of doom, they seem to be trying too hard. I just hope it looks better in execution than it sounds. Otherwise, it'll ruin some really great games in the series. I loved Wild ARMs 3. A lot. Especially Maya dropping a gatling gun from her no-no area. Best gaming moment ever.


Subtle schmuttle


Final Fantasy X Spoilers Ahoy!

FFX was emotional, and the end made me teary eyed (when Tidus puts his arms around her for a little bit), but I'd hardly call its emotional content "subtle." Maybe the bluntness of it had something to do with the voice acting on the part of Tidus and Yuna?

JEFF
There are many subplots that we don't see much of. Such as the racism against Al Bhed and their coping with it; the feelings Wakka had when he realized his religion and his enemy were the same; and how the group came to terms with one of them was going to have to die. Things that added to the atmosphere of Spira, which was one of death and destruction. They never had much peace from the monster that ruined their lives. There were many little points that leave you to think. The ending alone gives a million and one conflicting emotions that are subtle. Yuna was going to die, and she was close to every guardian but Tidus for most of her life. Then, all of the sudden, she isn't going to die. They spent their entire lives coming to terms with the idea that she's goign to have to die so young.

They had to do this by destroying the very essence of the religion they believed. So Wakka's best friend gets to live, but the faith he based his life on had to be destroyed. These are little things you have to think about after the game. They're right in plain sight, but they're small feelings never given a spotlight. I think the delivery, or lack thereof, from Tidus and Yuna makes it a little less subtle though. They just puked their lines out, and it lacked a lot of subtext until the end. You can almost hear them finally getting the clue that this game has tons of subtext.

Just a sidenote full of useless information. Rikku, Drawn Together's Toot and Princess Clara, Teen Titans' Raven, and Rugrats Dil are all the same voice actor. That's some talent, if you ask me. Did you ask? No, but I told you! Ooh, you just got SERVED!


Pledge Duty! Get the paddle!


Dear AndGoogGuesHost,

Hah! I hope you appreciate that. Ok, so you've suggested that we discuss the current state of video games, media and copywrite infringement and the latest trend in video games. I have chosen the last one there and that is trends in video games. I've noticed something in video games that, interestingly enough, runs with movies, now. This particular trend is that I am no longer truely engaged by either, less with video games, I do still love them, but I feel like not only have few truely inspiring titles come out recently but are not coming out any time soon. Now don't get my wrong, SMT3 and FFX, in addition to non-rpg titles like MGS3 have truely got me tickled pink, but I haven't felt as compelled or passionate about some of the newer titles like I was when I first picked up FFVII and VI. Or Valkyrie Profile or Vagrant Story. So, I guess the question is: Is it me? Am I the one who's gotten old and jaded or is the industry just not putting out like it used to? I guess I really started noticing this every time I lose interest in FFXI (every month or so) and how, when I would return from class everyday and not feel compelled to play SMT3 until my eyes bled. Don't feel like I've just made a statement that conflicts with my love for SMT, I just played it at a relaxed rate which is directly proportionate to exactly how much I liked it. I experienced something similar with FFX-2, only this one I didn't finish, I was always a little turned off by Yuna's attitude, that sort of drifting air-headedness she exuded. Maybe I'm remember her incorrectly from FFX or maybe that's right, I don't know. Also, I felt like Rikku and Paine (in addition to Yuna) were very flat, two dimensional characters, like they were just cut-outs. Am I judging this game too harshly? How much more of a chance should I give it? I, like you, enjoy a game with a good deal of emotional 'nuance' as you put it, and do wish there was more of it out there. Sorry for rambling, thanks for listening...er reading. Oh by the by, I'm a first time writer long time lurker, so I'm not sure if there's some sort of RPGamer initiation process I should've gone through but

So long!
~Evan

PS I apologize for any incoherent thoughts/sentences/fragments as I am vehemently opposed to proof-reading and spell-checking...go figure ; _ ;

JEFF
I appreciate it very much! I hope you said it out loud while you typed it and had a little giggle. Not a normal one. School girl one.

As for the feeling with RPGs, or games in general I think it is normal. Personally, I'm very pick-and-choose about my video games. I don't just throw any RPG in front of me and watcha s I'm satisfied for years. I like to have some depth, and for the story to unfold in some way. I like certain looks. I think there's just so many games out that you have to almost search for ones that satisfy your current mood. I do think gaming has slipped a bit in terms of stories, instead exercising their graphical muscle. Why do they have to make a great story when they can make a game with an unique battle system? I certainly lose interest in some games. I have a whole mountain of RPGs just waiting for me. Including .hack, Dark Cloud 2, Xenosaga, and others. You just can't fret about not wanting to play. It's certainly more healthy than playing games 23/7!

As for FFX-2, I want to say I liked the game. Only because it had FFX behind it, and had much subtext. There wasn't as much development of certain parts of a character like other games. I think they tried to take FFX and make it something poppy, amusing, and less dark. There is most certainly less use of emotions and want to tug at heart strings lately, but that just means I will find a small gem out there and love it more than the sand I had to sift through.

Oh, and welcome to the fun of questioning and answering. Was it good for you? ;)


Panties go RIDE


Clay isn't a mineral you moron. A mineral has a specific composition and structure. Clay is just an inhomogeneous mixture of a bunch of different things (most often hydrated crystals).

Stop spreading half-truths and lies you idiot.

-An Educated Reader

JEFF
I know this isn't a question, but I wanted to run it because it proves one simple fact: everyone has a passion. Apparently, making an intentionally incorrect joke about mud is a unpardonable sin in the eyes of Mr. Washington Irving. The joy of this column, is he has a right to have his concern read by everyone. Feel free to send him e-mails asking him about his vast knowledge of geology!

If you'd like to know more about this wacky, fury-inducing substance I welcome you to search Google. You can also go to this website here. Please, don't go too fast to learn about clay, which is made up of a mixture of minerals. I would hate for you to hurt yourself over this amazing substance. No sense of humor required. Just add water!


More Shin Lovin'


Jeff teh s3cksie,

I have a little bit of a rant going, but I swear that I have a question at the end of this! If anyone is having doubts about buying Shin Megami Tensei: NOCTURNE because it is hard and you 'need' a guide, please don't feel that way! Honestly, all the game really requires is someone who knows how to make good decisions. Keep your most useful skills when fusing demons together and exploit your enemies' weaknesses with any chance you get! The game can get truely nasty, but EVERYONE, regardless of whether they have the guide or not, will bump into these intense situations.

The guide will not save you! I know, because I bought it, and read every page of it (kind of), and in the end I just ended up playing the game the exact way I did before I got the guide. Except I would occasionally look for enemy weaknesses, however if you are truely worried about that, you can use the skill analyze on almost all enemies except bosses. There are a few very difficult puzzles but if you are impatient and really afraid, go ahead and check GAMEFAQs.com there are a couple of very nice SMT:N guides there. This game is a breath of fresh air because it remains challenging to the very end, but it never seems truely frusterating to me at least. It's also extremely addictive, and you will love to keep playing no matter how many times you die. you have to try it to truely understand.

Hey Jeffy, I have a question for you. What do you love most about the MegaTen Series? SMT:N is truely much different from the other MegaTen games from what i've heard, and I'm glad you like it so fill me in on your opinions!

-Brendan Mesick

JEFF
You just think I'm s3cksie because I gave you cheese whiz last night. Why must you play with my heart so viciously?!

In the interest of dual ranting, I'd like to say guides are great for one thing: art. Seriously, if you buy a guide for your favorite game you'll get all the art we usually post here at RPGamer and more! I almost always buy a guide for a game if I like it. This would account for why I have so many. Also, it doesn't hurt to not have to open Internet Explorer (or Firefox, or Netscape, or a bank account) for a hint or three!

What do I love most about the MegaTen series? Most definately the darkness of it. Back when the Playstation first came out, there were so few RPGs. There was really just Beyond the Beyond and Persona on my radar. I bought Persona, and it avsolutely struck me that it was so dark! It wasn't a "you save the lush world and save the girl" kind of game. It was making deals with the devil, the monsters on the street, or even your inner demons. The fact I have a passionate love for mythology, and MegaTen uses mythological figures through name makes it much more appealing to me. The graphics aren't always the top of the line, but the storyline is just awesome almost every time. So I guess I'd have to say the atmosphere. The dark feeling the plot and game series have. I just hope we get the entire series one day!

I'm certainly pondering getting Nocturne as well. I loved Persona and Persona 2, I have a feeling I'll drop dead from extreme happiness from Nocturne!


Yes, Virginia, Ego boosts are good!


Dear CainEJW (guest host),

I just wanted to say, that you have brightened my day and made me laugh sooo hard. You need to be a guest host more often!
-The Lizard

Damn man, the guest Q&Aer rocks. I swear, he should be hired full time...
-Jake Sexsmith

JEFF
Holy poo thanks! Really, I think the Pope just had a can and the angels sang! Seriously, thanks for the kind words. I enjoy doing Q&A because it gives me a little more free reign than I had in Fan Art way back in the two or three months ago. I really enjoy doing it, and it's certainly a great area to test my wit...

Test. Test. Someone turned the microphone off :(



DA LAST DA

So, you see young boys and girls, that is how the Castomel stole Christmas. So what will you take from this bedtime story of insanity? You must love Shin MegaTen, I'm liked by at least two people, and if you call clay a mineral you will be cast into the seventh circle of hell forever to be eaten alive by obsessed mineral fanboys. They have sharp teeth and cateye glasses. Run while you can!

For my last, final, and most glorious day lets share our favorite Christmas loot! Try to keep it a little RPG oriented, but you don't have to talk just about the RPGs you received. Tell us what you were given, why you like it, and what you wish you could have gotten this holiday. It'll be fun, like camp but without the smores. Unless you bring some. Then you have to share.

By the time this goes up, we'll be straddling the line between sleep and putting Slot A2 into Slot B-C in hopes a trikey arises from the ashes of our past failing of shop class. It is only appropriate that I wish all of you a very happy holiday season. Be it having passed already, currently in progress, or coming up soon. Remember the reason we celebrate Christmas, which is Wal-Mart having a sale! If you don't get the perfect gift, keep in mind one very important thing...

They make receipts for a reason. Grab yours and run to exchange that copy of Britney's Dance Beat immediately.

Oh, and another fun aside...whoever decided to make "A Christmas Carole" musical should be slapped like the evil people they are. Scrooge should not be singing, and death should never ben an old woman in white. Also Rocky and Bullwinkle movie? They made one of these? Where was I? Someone must have drugged many an executive to get this one made.

cainejw@rpgamer.com
Jeff Walker still says clay is a mineral. Take that!

WE'LL PROVIDE THE ANSWERS, YOU PROVIDE THE

QUESTIONS


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