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ASK ANDREW
Donkey Says, Haw Hee October 28, 2005

Andrew Long - 3:09 EST

SO ANYWAY, I really think that you should never send letters to castomel@rpgamer.com again, because my spam filters, which have been ratcheted up in view of the baffling explosion of jerks that want to sell me fake rolexes, tend to murdalize anything that even lives in the same area code as spam. Yes, I managed to dredge fully eight emails sent this weekend out of my spam folder, meaning all my whining was in fact silliness. I apologize, and will clear said eight emails out of the pipes forthwith. As such, please stick to qna@rpgamer.com henceforth, unless of course you are sending in SOCKS-related dealies, in which case Matt will be more than happy to receive them at his own addy, which has yet to be jaded by the evils of the interweb.

Yet. It will happen, oh yes, it will happen. In other news, it hailed here today while the sun was still shining. This created a rainbow over The Brick, a store directly across the highway from where I work that happens to compete with us. I hate everything.




L E T T E R S
Randomblings


Andrew-

Sorry about your lack of letters. I'd write in more, but I have a rather polished set of topics that I care to comment about that are usually pretty particular to my personality and therefore, no one else cares. ;_; I will make an attempt none the less.

First, what do you think about Rogue Galaxy? That game has incredible graphics (mind you, I'm extremely partial to highly stylistic graphics and the cell technique so the combination of the two is just glorious.) Level 5 is a great company that makes really fun games. Now if only they'll announce it for a stateside release, my day would be complete.

Second, are you going to get Suikoden Tactics/Rhapsoida? I have a bad habit of calling this game rhaptactics (^^;), but it's really the only game that I can see myself playing between now and the end of the year. Unless you have some recommendations on something I might have overlooked.

Third, what was the hardest RPG you ever played? IMHO, the harder the game the better. My friends call me a masochist, but really if there's no challenge then what's the point of playing the game?

Fourth, are you excited for the new NHL? ^_______^

Carabbit -"Your future is full of struggle and anguish - most of it, self-inflicted."

ANDREW


I shall endeavour to answer in sequence. First off, I think Rogue Galaxy is, in theory, just peachy. Unfortunately, I have paid approximately zero attention to it so I couldn't tell you why I think this, but I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason in there just dying to get out. Ah, there it is: those screenshots look freaking cool. So hells yes, I want that game to come here.

Numero dos: I doubts it very much unless it garners a favourable reception. Konami has been rushing that series out faster than Square can even poop out Final Fantasies, so I have grave doubts as to its eventual quality. Sure, it might benefit from being strictly a strategy game, but I'm not going to be convinced until I hear someone I trust tell me it's worth getting. Even if it is, I'm already hopelessly behind this fall's release schedule, to the extent that I will be barely justifying DQVIII when it comes out in two weeks or so.

Third, the hardest RPG I've ever played, to completion, would have to be Beyond the Beyond, due to its terrible design and poorly-balanced battle system.

Finally, the "New NHL" is cool beans, but if I hear one more person call it the New NHL, I will rip out their lungs, forcing that person to use them to play Scotland's national anthem while I stab them in the face. You stand forewarned.



Hmm... False


Hi Andrew, I'm confused. Both you and another person on rpgamer mentioned the poor translation on Star Ocean the Second Story and said that it basically ruined the game.

What the heck game are you guys playing? I've been playing SO2 for a while now and the translation is actually really good, and the characters very lovable.

Is it possible that I somehow got a later printing of the game with a different translation? I mean it really feels like you are talking about a different game.

I really think that Star Ocean 2 is one of the best RPGs ever and it would be sad if you had people pass it up due to the translation when perhaps there were (somehow) multiple translations. Because i assure you that I never noticed any translation problems playing it. The dialog seemed natural.

-Dan


ANDREW

Okay. Let's not overlook junk just because you happen to like the game. I haven't in fact "passed up" Star Ocean 2; far from it, I've been stuck on the final boss for the past year or so. I think it is a game that could have been very good, but as it stands there are a lot of things I don't like about it, and the translation is one of those. You can't tell me that you think the localization is good. The voice acting is horrendous, the dialogue itself frequently breaks down into engrish, and while the plot is more or less easy to follow, it is not explained in the clearest of terms. While I can certainly see why a good many people like Star Ocean 2, I do not think there is any way that you can call that a good translation, no matter how much it's clouded your judgment.

And no, I don't have any concrete examples, except for "Looks like you're not loved...", a statement which seems like it belongs in the original Zelda to say the least. All I remember is a lot of Rena's dialogue tailing off into a soupy mess of pseudo-English and the descriptions for any number of items being fairly unhelpful to my deciphering what they happened to be. Oh, and "Looks like that's about eighty points!" What does that even MEAN?



HEY STEVE!


YO ANDREW!

Yes, I agree that the FFIII picks are gorgeous. However, I'm going to have to take the road less traveled and not jump on this bandwagon.. Personally, I wish we in North America would have gotten to play FFIII in its original 2-D form, much like we did with FFI and FFII. Preferably, Square should have gotten its act together did to the game what it did to FFII and released it stateside in the Final Fantasy Origins package (which I most definately bought and beat). I don't mind the remake per se, I just wish I would have had the chance to play an officially translated 2-D version. Plus, are they going to actually add significantly to the story (there's my question for you)? This kind of bothers me as well, I would have liked to have known what the "official" story would have been if it had been translated by Square. I'm really big into the idea of what's "cannon" in a game (when there are a lot of remakes). The only version of FFII to be released in America was the FFO one, so to me that's Cannon. However, the FFIV in FF Chronicles is canon to me simply because FFII US was an uber-dumbed down version of the game. See what I mean? Anyway, the graphics do look amazing, and I'm thankful that we're getting the game to begin with.

-Steve


ANDREW

Hmm.. You make a curious complaint then, in view of the fact that you haven't seen what FFIII DS is going to contain. In any event, as I said last week, I don't think Square Enix really had any reason to include FFIII with FFO, since not only can it now dangle it in front of us, it can hype its spiffy new graphics and added features. I'm not saying I would have disliked a 2D version, but honestly, having slogged through a certain amount of FFIII NES, I have no problem with S-E knocking the rough edges off. Beyond that, I'm not really a stickler for 2D vs. 3D; my preference is 2D, but since most companies steer clear of that, I have learned to live with 3D.

Also: you got it right the third time. Canon, not cannon. Cannon is a big gun. Canon is another word for theology or doctrine. Thanks for your letter!



Look PAL...mweehehe


Dear Andrew,

Upon hearing your last week's complaint of a lack of letterness (which, I guess I'm partially to blame for, since I didn't send one in,) I decided to hold back on writing a letter until it was your turn again. That and I managed to attain the golden treasure that is a three-day weekend, so why not use it?

My question actually entails a certain issue of mine: living in Australia, we don't get quite as many video games as certain not-restricted-to-the-PAL-region people do, as you've probably figured out. Anywho, would there be any games (they don't have to even be RPGs, seriously) that would be coming out in the aforementioned region in about the Christmas area? I've got like, one thing on my wishlist and I'd just like to hear your opinions.

May many creamsicles come your way 'till next we meet,

Peter 'insert poinless middle thingy here' Brennan.


ANDREW

Hmm. It's a good thing you're not picky about it being an RPG, because the only one I can find on our site before Christmas is Tales of Eternia PSP, which lacks even a precise release date, making it somewhat questionable. That said, a little digging turned up this little dealie, which might be of some use to you. Notables on there in RPGland include Fire Emblem GC and Pokemon XD, both of which you will be able to snag within the next month or so (and assuming, of course, that Australia is in the same heap as UK in this little listing). If you can hold out till Q1, on the other hand, you will find yourself relatively awash in games, the most delicious of which is Dragon Quest VIII. Thank you for your letter, in any event.



What's with you people and difficulty today? Ah, it's that Matt guy's doing


Andrew,

Just wondering who you feel was the most difficult boss in an rpg (regular boss, not hidden), since i believe Matt had brought this up as a topic earlier this week. I would have to go with the final boss of Arc the Lad II. I can't remember how many tries it took me, but I remember that when I finally beat him it was over an hour since the start of the battle. Also, have you played Shadow Hearts Covenant. I just made it to the final dungeon, I think, and I have loved the game. Can't wait for the new one. What do you think.

Sincerely yours,
Mr. Snuggles


ANDREW

First off, *snug*. Second off, the most irritating end boss in the history of the world is that found in Paladin's Quest, a) because of the distance between it and the most recent save point, and b) because the spell names in that game are impossible to decipher; herego, the status magic that is actually required to defeat him are only yours by trial and error, which of course takes forever when it's a 5 or 10 minute slog to that endboss(lame-o SNES cutscene not included!) Finally, SH2 is teh awesome and I only wish I had more time to play it, because I quite enjoy it. Thanks for the letter, in any event.



Multiprandomblings.. A new adventure in compound words!


Hey Andrew or Matt (I forgot who owns the Friday column...),

I'd like to say c, a, d for the SOCK questions (in that order) even though I am just saying it without actually reading the questions (too much math and gibberish!).

I too am annoyed at the boss fights against your allies. 7th Saga was the worst, and forced me to restart the game from the beginning, rush through to the ally fights and whoop them before they had a chance to become unbeatable.And... did you ever try the sequel? I saw it on a ROMs page but was too scared to give it a try...

Radiata Stories does the ally-fighting a lot better than all the other games I've played. All your allies are as strong when you fight them, as when you fight beside them! Which also means that you can level them up and then fight them for more challenge and experience! And of course, the super hard to beat Elwen ends up kicking as much ass for you as she did to you.

I'd like to list my top 5 favorite RPGs of all time (in no particular order). I'll put groupings when I think that they all contributed the same way...

1 - Lunar 1 and 2 - these games proved that remakes can be done very well, and let newer games experience the classics, or older gamers who didn't own the systems that they were on. Lunar 3 is nowhere near as good (the fact that you have to say you want xp OR items before the battle, and the fact that you have practically no say in what happens during battle... sucks).

2 - Dragon Warrior 1, Final Fantasy 1, Pool of Radiance (the gold box version!) - these three games started my love affair with RPGs from a very young age. All were perfect games back then, and I still feel the urge to play them again!

3 - Valkyrie Profile - This game was unique enough to rise above the rest. Its combat system was alot of fun and the story was stellar. The best ending was too hard to get without a walkthrough though.

4 - Dragon Warrior 7 - I am a sucker for games that let me pummel God with a sheep stampede! Of course that is but one of the reasons! =)

5 - Baldur's Gate 1+2+expansions - These games were all super challenging and had great storylines with a horde of bonus things to do. One of these games can keep you busy for months...

Runner ups: Final Fantasy IX, SMT: Digital Devil Saga, Disgaea, the various Mario RPGs to name a few.
ANDREW

Thanks for sharing, Sean... @.@ I shall leave this for matt so that your SOCKulance can be duly tabumalated.

Now for some Questions:

1 - Do you think we will ever see localized versions of Dragon Quest 5 and 6? I know I can get them with fan translations, but I really would like to support an official release than succumb to the evils of downloading them!
ANDREW

I do believe that will depend entirely upon how well Dragon Quest VIII sells. There are no new DQs in the pipeline for the time being, and once FFIII is finally in stores, there will be no further FFs to exploit with remakes (well, okay, FFV and VI GBA, but like those will be anything but a direct port) so S-E will inevitably have to turn to other, less run-into-the-ground sources of potential milking revenue. Should DQVIII sell through the roof here as it did in Japan, I think your chances will be reasonable of seeing V and VI make an appearance. Who knows; maybe they'll even be released as a companion remake set to FFV and VI GBA!

2 - What RPG game would you give to your non-gaming significant other to convince them that RPGs are fun and not a waste of time? I am thinking of starting with a good old pen and paper game, but not too sure if she'll be able to sit still enough for the whole thing...
ANDREW

Tsk. That will never do. Give her Chrono Trigger - it's the game that got my sister interested, so if my sister is anything like other girls, which I have to assume she is in some respects, that or FFVII might just work. The key is to go for something accessible; starting someone out on FFT might not be the wisest plan (although Disgaea's another thought; who could possibly hate that game?)

3 - If you were Kellogg's, which RPG brand do you think will sell best as a cereal? I would have to say Kingdom Hearts since it has the ability to mooch off of Disney.

Anyways, as is the case on Thursday afternoons, I have a programming class to run off to, so thanks for reading and (hopefully) taking the time to indulge my curiosity!

~Sean~


ANDREW

Well, since I don't want to steal your technology, I will say... The Legend of Zelda, because I seem to recall something like that happening in the 80s, though that could just be my memory breaking down as it is prone to doing. Can you imagine... Rasberry Octoroks? Limey Links? Orange Tektikes? The possibilities are endlessly delicious!



He must be drunk...


hey googles
ANDREW

Hmm... How to break this gently... Well this is awkward! You crazy drunks! Always putting me in binds!

I just sold Legaia 2 over to EB last friday and do you know what they gave me for it??? A measly $7.25. Australian by the way, so thats like $5 to you guys. Anyways I come back 5 days later and what do I find? My copy of Legaia 2 running for over 4 times the sold price at $29.95. Perhaps I'm just sooking right here but if something like this ever happened to you guys I'm sure you'd feel the same way,its a bloody rip off, unless it was some universally recognised shit game, but Legaia wasnt that bad. What is the world coming to ripping all of us poor people off(at least I'm right about something, we notice all the time while it slips under the noses of the rich, look at how much they donate to charity).
ANDREW

I award you the commemmorative drunken rant prize:

Now, please. Do you really think that game stores are going to give you fair value for resale games? I'm honestly surprised you got even $7 for such a piece of crap as Legaia 2 is. You don't make much profit on reselling games, at any rate, if you buy them for any significant percentage of what you sell them for, so yes, while I agree that it's a bloody ripoff, I don't think you should be surprised. Next time, throw that stuff on eBay; you'll probably get a better return.

Anyways Im one of the statistical few who have collected it but I was wondering if you have collected the ultra elusive 'added cut' materia in ff7 too? Not that its useful or anything, rather its more symbolic.

By the way, I'm drunk at the moment...but its all good

Drunken 'dont call me hobo' Mikey.
9


ANDREW

I did, in fact, get added cut my first time through FFVII. I don't really remember where, though. In any event, it is indeed all good, just try and steer clear of duct tape.



What a noisy little fellow... I think I'll keep him!


greeting Castomel

Why are all these people talking down the FFVII compilation. I mean NONE of you have played ANY of them apart from maybe BC, which is unlikely any of you would be playing that though and it probably kicks ass anyway. Perhaps its that you've all been let down by so many spinoffs in your life that you hate to get hurt once again. Thats all just stupid. Everyones being stereotypical. The people who are letting the original game down are the people who put it as 'milking the cow'and complaining some more afterwards. They all think the spinoffs will never be as good as the original, well DUH, ofcourse they wont. Theyre not supposed to be, theyre just there to compliment. Squareenix obviously has that in mind. They're not feeding us empty lobster husks, otherwise the compilation would have been release already and we all would have been dissapointed ages ago. The original will always be as great as it was for its time, and nothing will change that fact for those who have played it and are fearing hell will break loose and lame will spread forth. From what you can already see the comiplation is looking sweet and i bet alot of you out there drool when you see another AC trailer or imagine yourselves playing as Vincent and sniping down some SOLDIERs then mowing a few more down with a chainsaw after turning into Hellmasker. Basically you all want more, and you know it. So instead of badmouthing the compilation, look forward to it. And if one is crap then ONE is crap, not the whole bloody thing.
ANDREW

You make a very loud point, but it'll still take more than a frothing lunatic to convince me that FF7:BC, CC, and DC are going to be anything other than crap (not that we're going to see BC, especially in Canada; our cellphones are so gimpy compared to the ones in Japan I'd be lucky if mine didn't explode on contact.) Yes, it's not nice to prejudge, and I try my best not to, but quite honestly, if you admit that they won't be as good as FFVII, then your argument is moot; I demand all games that I spend money on to be worth the time and expense, so why on earth would I want to buy third-rate crap just because someone decided to slap the FF name on it? Did you learn nothing from FF:CC and FFT:A?

And a question..where do you usually buy your new games from? I tend to stay away from EB. The last few times I bought myself a new game from there the cases were reused from older traded-in games so it was all damaged and whatnot, simply the cover was replaced. And also the discs had suspicioius finger prints and the odd scratch, though not too suss as to make it definitly look second hand..Well at least thats how it is down here in Australia.

mikey


ANDREW

Yeah, some EBs can be pretty dodgy on account of that irritating and intrusive policy of yanking games out of their packaging. That said, I must stringently warn you against dissing them here; last time someone did that, like seven EB employees came out of the woodwork to admonish me for raining hate upon their underhanded tactics, so be aware: they will be sending assassins to your house. In any event, I still buy a fair number of games either there, or at a little independent game shop near my old place in Toronto, which tends to have surprisingly good selection (Scar of ex-RPGamer fame once found Valkyrie Profile there for under 50 bucks CDN ;_;).



q u i c k i e s


Andy,

You.
Are.
A.
Tweaker.

That is all.

Gryphon

ANDREW:DON'T CALL ME ANDY! And let's be serious... If I used speed do you really think I'd be up this late past midnight? ...On second thought, don't answer that.

ive never understood why so many people seem to get down on suiko3. i absolutely loved it my first time through, and find myself replaying it fairly often.

so , questions. have you played it? did you like it? and why do you think it seems to get trodden down on by so many people? do you think it was just a case of people not liking something new and different? (the trinity sight system, which i loved)

ANDREW:No, no, because Suiko 2 was awesome, and no, I think it was prolly a step down. I can't say for sure, though; my copy remains in its package, as untouched as the day I bought it.

the problem is the division by a-b (or b-a, don't remember which)...based on your own assumptions, b = a = 1.....so you are trying to divide by zero...not defined!

ANDREW:Sure thing, giant beer.

I know on Suikoden II there is a way to save Nanami. So on Suikoden is there a way to save Gremio?? I know you could choose to keep him behind would that do it? If not then how??

-Clayton

ANDREW:Beats the hell out of me, but Suiko 2 does have a song titled "Gremio's Special Stew," so who knows... Maybe, just maybe, it can be done. Thanks for spoiling Suiko 1, in any event. <3
C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Mm mm.. Quickies and everything! For tomorrow, let us discuss the baffling profusion of Growlansers. Let us chat about the joys of WA:ACF finally having a release date, the marvels of our awesome Prinny Sweepstakes. We'll shoot the breeze, youse and me! And now, to smack myself for the 'Shwa slang. Lator, gators!

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long is certain he should have been asleep by now.

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