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Googleshng - February 26 '03- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

I forgot that pre-ordering Xenosaga from EB got me a free art book when it came out. Not quite enough pencil sketches of giant robots for my taste, but that's still pretty nifty.

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Pre-Order Jitters

If I were a malevolent dictator, I'd make it illegal for people like "RPG MASTER Stick" to exist. I'm not sure he even fits the qualifications of an RPG Master, let alone a stick.

Also, is it just me, or is it really annoying when, for example, Namco makes a big deal about Xenosaga's release being on the 25th, going so far as to make a countdown timer, when in reality, nobody will be able to get the game until the 26th? The worst example of this in recent history, in my opinion, was the release of the GBA. I still remember the night of June 10th, not sleeping at all, muttering to myself "gonna get a GBA, gonna get a GBA, gonna get a GBA," when I ended up having to go through the same thing on the 12th. And you'd THINK after a while I'd learn my lesson.

Wow, I just realized this whole letter has no point whatsoever. You can just reply however you want, because by the time I'd have a chance to read this, I'll be playing/watching Xenosaga instead.

BL Alien

Googleshng:
Yeah, that's the thing with ship dates. It's the day they're shipped out to stores. If you think being off by a day is annoying though, I once had a something preordered that hit local store shelves a good 3 days before my copy actually arrived (a good week after the official release date). That always sucks.

 
Ecclectic Taste

Googleshng,

I am relatively new to making a choice between several good games. Usually, I have one in mind and just get it. However, I have a problem. I do not know whether to get Xenosaga, BOF5, or DC2. DC2 is supposed to be REALLY fun, so I am leaning towards that. However, I have always thought that my favorite RPG's have been the ones with good storylines, making Xenosaga appealing. And BOF5 is supposed to be centered on a single dungeon, which I find very cool. Now, rather than flipping a coin, which do you think I, a lover of fun games with good stories/action that don't revolve around button mashing, should get?

--Ewcoolio

P.S.- The well-dancer thing was referring to something Andrew got yesterday about FFIV(2).

Googleshng:
Let me get this straight. You like games that put the emphasis on the story, and yet you also like Dungeon Crawls? That's a pretty rare combination.

Anyway, here's some other factors you may wish to consider about these games:
Xenosaga- It's 80 hours. By all accounts, a whopping 40 hours of that is cutscenes.
BoF5- I'm told it's a 10 hour dungeon crawl. If money is tight, you can most likely finish on a rental.
Dark Cloud 2- An Action/RPG where you add to the world as you play. Sounds fairly neat, but bear in mind how much the average person enjoyed Legend of Mana.

Hope that helps.

 
After this column, I'm off to "play" my new "game".

Hello!

Xenosaga is indeed coming out soon or is already out now (some of us ordered it with overnight shipping and pretend to not keep track of it,) and it seems to me some reviews are making it out be horrible! (Xengamers comes to mind, they hated it to pieces.) The biggest complaint says that Xenosaga plays too many cinematics with too little interaction on the player's side.

Anyhoo, my question is this : in light of many reviews complaining about a monotonous storyline with cutscenes that drag on too long, does this lower your expectations for Xenosaga? (or did you have high expectations for it in the first place?) Whenever I read a review about a game I have or will get, even if I get it and enjoy it, I always begin to notice the flaws that reviewers point out and it sort of destroys the experience for me.

-Rob

Googleshng:
From everything I've heard, Xenosaga has something like a 1 to 1 ratio of gameplay to cutscene, and the gameplay isn't really anything to write home about. So personally, I'm just going to treat it as the first DVD of an anime series. You know, sorta like this:
Pros- The first DVD contains a whopping 80 episodes of the series, making the price tag of $50 a far bigger bargain than it appears at first glance.
Cons- The disc doesn't play on most brands of players, and a rather confusing navigation menu keeps popping up after every chapter. Furthermore, the staff at Namco for some reason chose not to include the original Japanese language tracks, a surprise as many people buy their anime on DVD to have the option of hearing either Japanese or English voices. As to the quality of the series itself, rather than hand drawn art, the entire series is computer animated, which may be something of a turnoff to some, and the story is highly derivitive of other popular series.

Tomorrow I might pair that with some impressions from the perspective of playing a game, so feel free to check back.

 
It's surprising how dull the Ogres actually are when you actually get to Battle them.

good day, eh!

I wrote in and asked andrew about an Ogre Battle anime, 'cause last week (or the week before, I dunno. I'm foggy.) you guys were talking about the star ocean EX anime that actually suprised me with being pretty good. Anyways, I'm curious about an OB anime 'cause there generally wasn't too too much character development with the "destin" character in march of the black queen, and in OB64 he was kind of a jerk. That vexed me.

I'm also curious as to what the previous "episodes" of the OB series were. Is there any fashion in which to get them? Or at least the story behind them? I would be rather happy with that.

thanks much, Nick

Googleshng:
Last I checked nobody ever made an anime series out of Ogre Battle, although I suppose it COULD work as one.

As for the various episodes before the original game, theoretically, those will be made into games sooner or later, so you'll eventually get to see'em.

 
Depends what you're into says I.

Hey Google.

First, let me tell you I know all about having the flu - got it myself, so here's one RPGamer feeling for you.

Second, you told Stick in yesterday's column that thinking RPG's were getting more boring was a common sentiment for 'newer' RPG players, i.e. those who started with FF7.

I started way back when with The Legend of Zelda. Yes, the first one. The -very- first one. No sub-plots, fetch quests, plot twists ... Just 'Ganon has kidnapped Princess Zelda. You need to collect the eight pieces of the Trifoce of Wisdom to save her.' That was it. And it -rocked-. Don't ask me why, I can't explain it. That game is just one of my all-time favorites.

I kept playing RPGs. I love the genre, I really do, although I don't have the cash to get every single one (or every second, heck not even every third :/ ), and ... well, I agree with Stick. FF9 was a very pleasant surprise, because there was a story in it for once. I don't have as much against FF8 as most others, but then ... I'm RPG starved.

RPGs are getting worse. The producers are running out of original ideas. The gamers want constantly more, and all we really get is the same plot, new characters and (sometimes) better graphics. Start being creative!

Oh, and the guy talking about an upside-down dancer? He's referring to a post in Monday's column about one of the dancers in FFII(IVj)

Sincerely, and hope you recover from the flu,

Calydor.

Googleshng:
Thanks, although I already got the whole recovering from the flu thing out of the way. Also, you realize of course that Zelda is really an Action/Adventure game and not an RPG, right?

Anyway, whether RPGs on the average are getting better or worse is a matter of opinion, and how hard you look. A lot of recent RPGs are targetted at people who aren't really looking for anything too involving. You know, the sort of people who never want to be low on money or experience, never want to have to fight random battles, and never want to see a Game Over screen. Why are so many games targetted at such people? Because they're in the vast majority, that's why.

Now, assuming that you aren't a part of said majority, there's still a lot out there for you. There's a number of developers who try to cling to the sort of game design found in the 16-bit era (the Wild ARMs series is a good example). Then there's people exploring strange new territory with games like .hack, Tsugunai, and Koudelka. Oh, and then of course there are games out there where someone tried something new, realized it works, and decided to run with it. Like, say, the Megaman Battle Network series.

The bottom line is, if you don't see any RPGs flying around that interest you, you might want to try looking a little harder. Particularly at the low profile stuff.




The Last Laugh:

That last letter should balance out the recommendations letter from last week a bit... although to be fair, last year WAS pretty sucky RPG wise no matter what sort of game you were looking for. There was still most likely at least one game for everyone though.

Googleshng "2 days until NonCon..." @rpgamer.com

I really like schematics. I'm weird that way.

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