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ASK ANDREW
Freedom and a Block of Cheese February 5th, 2005

Andrew Long - 14:56 EST

YOWZA.. I appear to have reverted to nocturnal type all in one night (I might also say "all in one unadvisable session of World of Warcraft," but somehow, that seems much less flattering to me). I can't say as though I didn't kind of expect it, and I guess it was a good two weeks. Well, back to playing with bats again!



Ramblebox
Cheese is tasty. Three out of four doctors prefer cheese. Three out of four doctorbs do too!

-AL  


L E T T E R S
Four Swords? :o


Hi 'drew: In 2004, my biggest letdown was with The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventore for GCN. Being all puzzle and no fighting, I totally hate that game. I had very good expectations, but was disappointed. Drakengard was another letdown too, as was Fable. What do you think? rocker-otaku

ANDREW


Four Swords? Really? Wow... I have to say, I'm a little shocked, because I really enjoyed Four Swords. Certainly, it was heavy on puzzles, but it was also a lot of fun fighting against your friends for the gems; pushing them off cliffs, knocking them into caves... Yes, being the unhelpful Link is in many respects my greatest gaming moment of 2004. But oh well. I can understand disappointment at a Zelda title overly puzzle-oriented; Oracle of Ages was certainly that to me.

As far as Drakengaard and Fable go, I have played neither, but I think the problem with both was hype. Square Enix used the spectre of Bahamut's Lagoon to drum up interest in the first, and Microsoft used bribery and a considerable advertising blitz for the second. It is therefore not really surprising that the less-than-perfect end results were in each case less favourably received than they might have been (Especially Drakengaard... Does the world really need another DMC clone? More importantly, is RPGamer really obligated to cover it?)



More Four Swords... Apparently, the Nintendo Gods frown upon my mockery of PM2


Hey there Cast,

There were three games that let me down in 04

The first of which was Zelda: Four Swords Adventure... it took all that is fun about Zelda crapped on it, then stuff Link in a hybrid of FF:CC and Zelda, I had expected to explore hyrule, go on quests, find peices of heart what have you instead it was collect 2000 force gems so you can shoot your sword with power, fight an easy boss then rinse and repeat til you get to Ganon -.-;;
ANDREW

I--You--Actually, that is pretty much what the gameplay was, but I did enjoy the puzzles... sort of...

The second of which was Phantom Brave, not a bad game per say but the story wasn't as humorus as Disgaea's, gameplay was very original, but I hated the fact you didn't get any characters that play a role in the story under your control except for Marona and Ash until you beat the main game... that gave me FFTA flashbacks...
ANDREW

I have to admit, I skipped this one partially because I wasn't finished Disgaea, and partially because of the reason why I skipped Disgaea (namely, the way the gameplay kind of wore me down after a certain time).

The last of which was Star Ocean: Til the End of Time, The story never really picked up, it took forever to get back to space and the infamous plot twist has been done before, I felt no connection to any of the characters, and I hated backtracking through the Hills of what have you back to the mine of thingies, to get something then backtracking to whoever wanted that, namely because there was no world map, no faster means of transport than Fayt's feet, hell at least FFX let you warp from the airship to many of the areas, At most you have 5 or 6 short cuts in this game, I was dissapointed by everything but the battle system...

Arros Raikou


ANDREW

SO3 is another one I haven't picked up yet, based largely and once again upon two things. First, I still haven't beaten SO2 (notice a recurring theme here?) and second, I wasn't the biggest fan of SO2, so when I heard dubious things about the story in SO3, I figured it might be in my best interests to play keepaway. I may yet scoop it once it ends up in the bargain bin, not unlike what I did with SO2, but for the time being, I will do without. Besides, I have SH2 to keep me company.

Oh, and speaking of SH2, a freaky thing happened at work yesterday: a painting went up in my office that looks exactly like one of the bars in the game. It claims to have been painted in Paris, but I have my doubts about that, since the store I work at generally picks up art that looks like it was created at one of those painting mills where they churn out "original masterpieces" by the basketful.



SO3 scores another vote, and a new record is set as three straight letters are on-topic


The biggest letdown for the year was, without a doubt Star Ocean 3. My God, it was such a letdown, considering that I was anticipating the game for a least a year, when it was supposed to be released third quarter of 03. hated the characters, esp fayt, what an annoying character, in fact, i really didnt like how any of the characters were developed or written. Also, it was just too star trek for my tastes. There was some good points to it, the concepts of travel were interesting, and the fourth dimension thing was quite interesting, and the battle system was also good, but not good enough to make this game worth while. I'd still prefer Grandia X whose battle system was really good and engaging, but the plot was horrid.

On a different note, Valkyrie Profil was totally worth the 100 bucks that I spent on it.

Q: other than FF and chrono, what games on nes and snes are worth playing?


ANDREW

Hmm.. Sounds like more compelling reason to avoid SO3. On the NES and SNES, the following RPGs are worth playing (were I to list games, you and I would be here a long, long while): on the NES, Crystalis, Dragon Warrior 1-4, and Zelda I & II are all well worth your time. Zelda II remains one of my favorite RPGs of all time to this day, and Crystalis has a certain je ne sais quoi. Dragon Warrior, meanwhile, is quite simply teh awesome and it was my first true RPG ever and it should be in every RPGamer's library.

As to your SNES, you can't go wrong with Secret of Mana, Breath of Fire II, or Tales of Phantasia, should you be able to find it. I also hear the an import of the original Star Ocean can be pretty keen, though I can understand if you have a certain level of acrimony towards the Star Ocean series in general at this point.



Why it's always a good idea to read things fully instead of doing text searches for "OMG SUIKO SUCKS"


Andrew,

I was reading the Q&A column, go figure, and noticed that you "ruined the Suikoden series" with Suikoden 2? You didn't give a lot of background, and I want to know why you didn't enjoy Suikoden 2.

I can see where you can complain about some of the translation issues, but the general storyline is there. I thought it was the best Suikoden to date. Suikoden 3 was good except for the battles. Suikoden 4 was good except for the map-system & the plot.

Suikoden 2 has got to be one of my favorite games, and I just wanted to know why you didn't like it. I mean, the characters are well rounded (the main ones atleast) all the plots from Suikoden 1 are solved nicely, and it has one of the best villians of RPG history: Luca Blight. I mean, come on, it takes 18 people, four arrows, and a one-on-one duel to the death with the main character to kill this guy.

-Jason

P.S.
Where does RPGamer come up with the funny quotes that appear at the top of my browser? Some of them are really funny.


ANDREW

Well Jason, had you taken the time to read what I said about Suikoden II instead of digesting that paragraph in one frenzied gulp and promptly disgorging its contents into a disarrayed jumble in the fevered hellscape of your memory, you would have noticed that I said "I ruined Suikoden by playing Suikoden II first", which is to say that I kind of spoiled many plot elements in the first Suikoden game by playing the second one first. I also feel that way about some aspects of the game itself, since Suikoden II outshines Suikoden in pretty much every way possible, being as it is, as you've pointed out, an awesome game. To put it in different terms, that was my way of saying that if your first system is an SNES, the old grey box that little Jimmy Woods so adores is gonna look like a big plastic pile of crap to you. Sorry if I was unclear.

As to those quotes? They come from your friendly neighbourhood RPG. It is your civic duty to guess which one.



More disrespect for Drakengaard


Howdy Andrew, Ever play Sqeenix's "DrakenTard"... I mean Drakengard? Well, I thought it was pretty craptastic. There isn't a redeeming quality about this game, but here it is sitting in my collection. The hell's wrong with me? The graphic's okay, but this is what we've come to expect from Square. The music sucks. The gameplay sucks. The story kinda sucks too. You're given an interesting cast, minus that guy that tries to kill you, yet he was once on your side? Sorry, but the story was really weird and stupid in that there aren't any memorible characters or events other than the endings. Getting back to cast, they (your summoned allies) could have been more useful if they were explored a little more. That was another issue. The ammount of time your given to use an ally was limited to a minute or two. This SUCKED big for in the final stage the blind guy was the only one who could easily kill the zombie babies of doom. Anyways, give it a rent and see how it fares with you. On another note, I must apologize to everyone (Q&A-ers and readers alike) for my last letter/rant about people having game shortages. I see that some folks took offense to it, but it wasn't meant to be taken as such. To clarify, I don't think asking the Q&A guys what game to get next because you don't know what's good, cause they're always name dropping games in the column. Also, my first rpg WAS FF VII (disregarding any zelda games) and that was my reason for buying a Playstation. I'm content with my purchase cause there are a great number of rpgs that have appeared on the system and it's successor, the PS2. In closing, we need to just chill out cause we're ALL GAMERS, no matter which genre we favor or how big of a nerd we are. Keep things simple and all will be well, so simply put, "Sorry."
Be good neighbor to the North, V

"I pretend to work. They pretend to pay me."
BumperSticker 1


ANDREW

Apology accepted, BumperSticker, even though I really have no idea what you're apologizing for. You should rest assured, in any event; there's really not too much wrong with you. You've simply fallen victim, as each of us has at one time or another, to the unfortunate assumption that Square Enix still knows what it's doing. It happened to me with FFTA, and it'll happen to me again with FFXII. It won't be the last time either, given what's on the horizon and how delightfully shiny Radiata Stories looks.



Leeloo Multipart


Okay...I have a couple of different questions...

First...Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children on the big screen? Isn't it a little early for "April Fool's" jokes? Come on...didn't Square lose enough money on TSW? How could they possibly consider putting this one on the big screen?
ANDREW

Hubris? I dunno. Maybe they actually think FFVII:AC is better than FF:tSW, which given the subject matter really isn't too difficult a thing to imagine. More likely, somebody at S-E pulled out the old sales figures for FF games and discovered that wa hey, FFVII was the best selling FF of all time, especially in North America, where it outdid sales in Japan, if memory serves. With such a solid market, it's not too hard to imagine why someone might think that a theatrical release would stand a chance of success; movies have been made with a much smaller fanbase in mind (though admittedly, many of those movies are directed by Uwe Boll and made for six bucks and a cup full of rusty thumbtacks.)

Second...I looked at the most recent propaganda ad for Xenosaga: Episode 2 on your website. After I stopped drueling, I realized (for the first time) that I actually LIKE the new look for Xenosaga. After the previous hundreds of individual scenes I had seen previously, I was still feeling as though I wish they had stuck with the anime look. But for some reason, in that ad, it all came together and it looks like the visual presentation will be an improvement over Episode 1's visual presentation. Has there ever been a poll on this topic? If not, it would be a good one. But, I'm guessing it was already done.
ANDREW

Actually, I don't recall seeing such a poll, but that won't stop me from never mentioning it to Zach, because let's face it; I hate Xenosaga to the very depths of my grubby little soul.

Third...could you try not to post too much on Xenosaga: Episode 2 over the next week and a half? Its just an awful reminder that I still have to wait for what seems to be a lifetime before I can play what could possibly be the best console RPG yet.

and RPGfan


ANDREW

No danger here, buddy. A week in which I never have to talk about Xenosaga is a good week indeed. As to the news department, well, they're really kind of at the mercy of developers as to what they end up posting. I suppose we could sic Mothra on Tokyo in an effort to keep things to a dull roar, but my control of him is tenuous at best and besides, I think Gamera is building up for a run at my secret volcano lair.

RANDOM JAPANESE GUY

CASTUUMERU!! STREEEISAND!

ANDREW

Wait a second... Streisand? I think there's something horribly wrong here...AUUUGH!!!

CASTOMEL STREISAND

HISS! SSSSSHISTAH! MY SHIIIIIIISTAH!!!! WE WILL NEVER BEEEEEEE AS ONE! SONIC PULSE!

MOTHRA

SCREEE!

*THE SOUNDS OF COMBAT ECHO IN THE DISTANCE*


Truth and Rumours


Someone I work with told me that Hironobu Sakaguchi was fired from Square-Enix. I've looked all over the net, but have found nothing. Is this true? If so, do you know the status of Lord Sakaguchi today?

ANDREW

Lord Sakaguchi? Your platitudes fill my heart with anger, but I will nevertheless answer your question, if only because I have to. Hironobu Sakaguchi, seeking new challenges and new frontiers and perhaps sensing the odious nosedive Square Enix was about to launch itself into (although I suppose it could be argued he triggered said nosedive) jumped ship last year, forming his own development outfit, which is known as Mist Walker. Mist Walker is currently hard at work developing an as-yet untitled game, and rumour has it that Nobuo Uematsu is involved somehow. In conclusion, it is the recommendation of this panel that you switch your undying allegiance from Square Enix to Mist Walker.



Yes... give in to your anger...


I just played through Suikoden 2 again because thats really just the best game of all time. But I'm writing partly for a question and partley because of a resent question i just saw someone with the name The Mysterious Auger wrote that the first three Suikodens were good. But really the third one sucked. The battle system wasn't good at all and there wasn't a main Hero that you could name, and the main reason NO VICTOR AND FLIK!!! So my question is when you beat Suikoden 2 it says they went on a journey with kind of leads into they'll be back, SO WHY AREN'T THEY??? Those two and Shu from the 2nd one are the coolest characters I've ever seen.

-Clayton


ANDREW

Well, Clayton, they're not back because somebody at Konami decided that the story of Flik and Viktor had been sufficiently told. More pragmatically, however, Suikoden 4 is labelled a prequel to the other titles in the series, and Suikoden 3 was pretty much unrelated to the first two.



Unfit for Print


All knowning question people, I read the post of the guy who was looking for a site that does a recap on previously release games to get you up to speed on the latest ones. I also think that's a great idea, in addition, I think a site that just has the storylines and endings in it would be great as well. For example a site that takes the game and makes into a novel or something similar, and also depicting all the secrets in the game and hidden endings would be very cool. I often times find myself cruising gamefaqs just to read the endings to games I've played to keep me up to speed. A dedicated site like that would be great. I also came across a site that lists the videos of endings to games, they have videos from most ff games and a couple others. I guess my question is do you know of any sites that do these things or of a site that has the endings to a lot of different games in video format? Thanks much
mcslug

ANDREW

Wow. Two people in two days. Look, games are there to be played. If you want to see the ending so badly, PLAY THEM. If you want to see secret endings, go to GameFAQs and find out how. Seriously, I can't see the use in posting the end videos to games online because if you haven't played through the game yourself, the ending really has no significance to you whatsoever. It's like reading the last page of a novel first - it's entirely without context and does you no real good.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Well, it was looking like we might have an on-topic day, but I just can't keep you little scamps focused, it seems. For tomorrow, as such, I throw the doors open to whatever your hearts desire. Until such a time, fare thee well and all that jazz.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long is never quite as good without strawberry jam.


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