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ASK ANDREW
Three And 0
June 2nd, 2007

Andrew Long - 15:14 EDT

ALL I HAVE TO SAY RIGHT NOW IS that my kittens are awesome. Seriously, it's all I can talk about right now :(




LETTERS
DO NOT WANT


Good day QNA host! I thought I'd write you a letter w/ my thoughts on Odin Sphere.

Graphics: Boy, these sprites are HUGE! *glomp* The developers at VanillaWare really need to hire a loading times optimization expert.

Flamethrower

Andrew

Sorry, Jack, my friend, but sharing my grandpa's name does not entitle you to drone on endlessly about this game, or indeed, any other. What you have written is more properly termed a review, and if you would only couch it as such I am certain that Roku would accept it. I, however, am in no mood to clog my column up with 18 paragraphs of verbosity, so if you can't compress your eloquence then I'm afraid it will have to go unappreciated. Seriously, are you that fond of your own prose?



Errata


Hi Matt!

Preordered Persona 3, Luminous Ark and (ordered) Pokemon Diamond yesterday. My first pokemon game, I have to tell you I was slightly put off by the idea of buying a "kiddy" game. I'll tell you in a few weeks what my impressions are, I guess.
Andrew

Eh, Pokemans themselves may be kiddy, but good game mechanics have no age limit. Besides, what's wrong with some cute little ookums? I loves my Piplup so <3

The DS is the first handheld system I have owned. My brother had a GameGear and GameBoy in the distant past but I wasn't very interested in games then. So I don't have much of an answer regarding the overall quality of RPGs for handhelds over consoles. I don't see why there can't be an excellent RPG on the DS, for example. Computing power isn't the issue - how many people's favorite is FFVI? The DS can handle a lot more than that.

A point - the smaller screen doesn't really help you feel in the world of the game, neither does the inferior sound system (which can be remedied with good headphones). A second point is playing games "on the go". When you're playing a console game you're planted in front of the TV in your own home, you don't have many distractions and you can play for long periods of time (save points of about once every half hour are completely acceptable). You can get more involved with the game that way. However, if you lock yourself in a room you can eliminate this factor as well.
Andrew

Eh, you're crazy. I don't think the size of the screen has anything to do with immersion; if you're paying close attention to the game, you can be playing it on a DS, a 13-inch TV, or a widescreen the size of a house and it won't matter. It's the quality of the game that counts. As to your sound argument, I'll concede that DS sound isn't quite up to par with that you'd find on a PS2 or Wii, but it is still a massive improvement over the GBA, and you don't really need earphones to make it work.

I think DQIX will be very interesting in that respect. It's an original RPG for a handheld system and we know Squeenix won't be holding back on that one. We'll have to wait and see.

Zohar Gilboa

Andrew

Yes, I suppose we will. This goes back to the first point we discussed, however; if S-E puts enough work into polishing the story and game mechanics it won't matter that it's on a handheld; it'll be just another absorbing DQ title. Well. As long as it doesn't turn out like VII, which I hate like pestilence.



Mmm... Angus beef


Hi Andrew

Can’t get any letters eh, that old matty fellow is stealing the show. Here I thought that you had given up the Q & A shtick for good. I have a question for you. Why do you want to replay FFXII? I mean to say that I managed, finally, to force myself to finish that pig but of the recent games from Square-Enix that is hardly a gem. Now I am not going to boast and say what sort of gaming god I am (especially since I am playing Titan Quest which is about as difficult to play as dominoes) but I really do wonder what it is about FF12 that you find so interesting. The premise for 12 is about as convoluted as I can imagine a set of exercises being.
Andrew

Umm? I never said I wanted to replay the thing, I just said I have really enjoyed the first playthrough. What is it about enjoying a game that necessitates wanting to play it again and again and again? With recent FFs, I've found that entirely unnecessary because on my first playthrough I've made an effort to experience as much as I possibly can of the game. XII has been no exception; while I think I'm going to give up on a sizeable portion of the hunts, I've seen all the areas, cleared nearly the entire Licence Grid, and obviously have played through all the story. That, by the way, is why I like FFXII so much; the dialogue and voice acting finally don't make me want to set my PS2 on fire in shame anytime somebody walks by. It's like S-E read all my reviews bitching about VA and decided to do something about it!

...

...

Well I can dream, can't I?




Moderate Spoilers


Why Ashe carries Vaan and Penelo to the end is just beyond me. Why Balthier does not just clout Vaan on the noggin and steal the silly gem at the start of the game is never explained. (Another why is why does Balthier choose to start the game with the most useless weapon on the planet)

End Spoilers

Andrew

Dramatic convenience, obviously. If you look at most RPGs the reasoning for the inclusion of certain party members is unclear; isn't "hates the empire too" enough for you? I mean, it was back in the day with FFVI, wasn't it?

So Andrew, there I have asked my question and stated my opinions. I am going to go back to Titan Quest and keep getting killed off. That game is kind of funny, as all action RPG’s are, in that things going hunky do for a great long whack of time and then just around the corner is that old mini-boss, or maxi-boss, which promptly whacks you!

Take care,
Angus

Andrew

Yes... To this day I'm snagged on the last boss of BFM due to such a concern.



Le sigh


Disraeli Gears, Andrew.

Ah, names. I never spend too much time thinking up a name for a character, not even when I've been naming them in Japanese games lately. It's simple enough: I either go with a character name from a game I've liked in the past or I throw in the name of someone in real life who has been particularly prominent in my thoughts lately. Or I toss in a movie/TV/written work reference. I seem to recall naming the hero in Secret of Mana Batman, which led to a few amusing lines.

I seek your input with regard to this title: http://hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/sting/sting2.htm I (obviously) have no problems with it being in Japanese, I'm merely a bit concerned about the random aspects. The novelty may entice me to snag it regardless though. Barring the language barrier, how does Baroque seem to you? Oh, and the Bratz are ugly evil inhuman marketing conceits that merit immediate destruction.

JuMeSyn

Andrew

I dunno... phrases like "sloppy dungeon design" and "sluggish combat system" usually make me steer clear of a game, and those graphics looked none too promising either. Basically the only reason I could see to get this is to say you've played it, which in your cases seems to be enough justification, so why not waste your money?

Wait, "the novelty"? I just realized that you said that. What, exactly, is novel about a post-apocalyptic world? Sure, a "giant heat wave" is a little out-of-the-ordinary as far as world ending scenarios go, but come on. There is nothing original about the concept, and judging from the agglomerate-breast creatures shown in those screenshots, the development team didn't take any pains to differentiate themselves from other titles in the subgenre, at least not in terms of art design. What is it about game artists that makes them think that gigantic boobies are somehow a spectacularly versatile evolutionary feature, allowing their possessors to survive the most diverse and terrible of calamities?

In any case, I entirely agree with you vis a vis Bratz.



And some names to finish things off


Hello Andrew,

So you ask what names we give to characters in games. Like you I name things in a variety of ways. In my Pokemon I think up puns based on real names. So I have a Bidoof named Chuck(since it looks like a woodchuck to me), a Shieldon named Wallace and a Drifloon named Poppins.

For my normal characters(sorry pet monsters you're stuck with puns) I almost always look for a quick easy way out(Like them having a name to begin with). So many of my unnamed heros get named Felix, after the character in John Steakley's Armor. Also I like the sound of it and can stand having it repeated every five minutes in text.

Other names of note to me: Kieron, which is what I named the Hero in Breath of Fire Dragon Quarter, after the last living Dragon in a book series that was supposed to be the extension of Willow(not highly recommended). Alex, because I like it and it can be used for male or female characters. And Victor/Viktor, since I really liked that character in Suikoden.

On the easy way out for names, how do you feel about name randomizers in games? I really liked the randomizer in Disgaea and it saved me a lot of effort since I have a massive army.

Later,
Ken

Andrew

I would like randomizers more if they weren't apt to continually pop up a handful of names, while only occasionally giving you something useful. That said, the good stuff that Disgaea's came up with was really good, especially the names that won that contest NISA held before the game's release (with the exception of Scarlet Pappilon, or whatever, which they misspelled horribly. It's Papillon, you fools!)





IN CLOSING

Muerp. Sorry for crapping out the last couple of weekends, I will do my best to avoid doing so this time around. It's these 3AM-11 shifts... they really make it prohibitive to do anything but sleep when you get home :(



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Unanswered Letter Backlog: 6 - ok-ish



castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew is embroiled in a ball of fighting kittens.


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