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Googleshng - August 2 '04- 4:00 Eastern Standard Time

Ah.... a warm summer's night with me writing a column in a race against the sun. All is right with the world for the first time in quite a long time. Huzzah. Of course, being out of commision like that left me with something of a backlog, so fair warning, letters might be printed a couple days after they're sent this week.

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Grand Reopening!

Heyyy. Just wondering: has there been any word on Grandia III? I've heard just a few rumors, including some pretty scary ones involving X-Box. Sorry if you've covered this before, but I'm hankering for some more (hopefully PS2) Grandia action. Thanks.

- Caitlin

Googleshng:
Hmm... what's wrong with Grandia Xtreme? I mean, besides it having a hideous title and being a dungeon crawl. OK, fine, there's plenty wrong with it. Still, it's the closet to a Grandia 3 that's been mentioned officially. If there's any mention of it though, we'll point it out.

 
You have to at least snicker at this.

Tell me what you think, googriae. A young boy, chosen by the five spirits, who must stop a dark force from overwhelming the world. But he puts that off, attending his classes, going to frat parties, and eventually finishing up his credits Now, four years later, he has no excuse to keep him from finally going out and doing what the spirits keep nagging him to do. For he is now: Arc the Grad. You'de be wandering around, finding spirit stones and things, when suddenly your landlord and a pack of hemo-ji jump you, on a bloodthirsty rampage to collect rent! And OH, THE HUMANITY! Your ex-girlfriend turns out to have been the spirit of darkness all along! No wonder your friends always thought she was a total bitch! Yeah, I thought so. The inspiration behind this email? Me, needing to beat the last fight of Arc: Twilight of the spirits, all the while having to go to work and keep up on my loan payments, now that college is just a bad memory. I really don't know what's scarier, the difficulty of the last bosses of these games, or that if I turn the game off, I have to face reality again. I need more...MORE! It's a real shame that there's not a game that gets updated, and becomes a continuous narrative, that's not in the MMO category. Massive, okay, I like that. Online, sure. Multiplayer? Ehhh... Nah, not for me. Games of the future: Which should I buy?

Kenny the C.

Googleshng:
Hmm... that was actually a big selling point of the Dreamcast. A game comes out, a few months go by, you plug in the DC modem and download a new area or something into it. The problem with this of course is that a company can only support a game for so long like this before it really starts to cut into their profits. That and storage for all that new data. The other option is to release a game one piece at a time, letting you carry over your characters from one installation to another. Like with Ultima, Shenmue, .hack, and presumably Xenosaga. This of course has problems too though. First, it gets pretty darn expensive for the player, and second, well, serials are rather intimidating once they reach a certain size. If I'm going to spend 300 hours slogging through one story, it's going to be because I was keeping up with it when it wasn't so long, and after getting hooked, just kept with it. It's like how you don't see a lot of new people getting into Dr. Who these days.

Honestly though, if you want to play an RPG that has a continuous, ever evolving story, what you really need to do is pick up GURPS or Shadowrun or Rifts or D&D or any other paper RPG, and get yourself a darn good GM.

 
That Guy What Made Those Games

Hello

Well, Hironobu Sakaguchi has decided to start his own RPG company called Mist Walker. That's an interesting news. I wonder what his RPG will look like...

I know it's too early to speculate, but I wouldn't be suprised to learn that in fact, it was Squaresoft's investors that removed the fantasy in the Final Fantasy. Just look at the artist they choosed for Final Fantasy VII and up. Where is the fantasy in his artwork???

I can't say that my favorite artist is Yoshitaka Amano, but his work easily lends itself to fantasy settings.

So what do you think? I'm no industry buff, so I might be delusional. But do you think anything good can come out of Mist Walker?

Soul

Googleshng:
You're kind of weaving together two questions here, so let me sort them out before I answer.

Mist Walker: That's just plain odd. Not unprecidented, but odd. There's honestly quite a few game designers out there who have left the company they formed to form a new one. Especially when it comes to PC games. Of course, now I'm getting off topic. As far as what yon company is going to end up doing, probably the same thing as all the other myriad Square offshoots. Make some darn good games which look and play a lot like the stuff they made before splitting off, but which get almost no press at all because they don't have Final Fantasy in their name.

Now, as for the fantasy elements of the Final Fantasy games, I've never seen a noticable dropoff myself. We've still got the same exact monsters, the same exact magic spells and whatnot, the same having to save the world from such and such with a ragtag band of punk kids thing going on, all perfectly intact. What you tend to see dropping off is that quasi-middle ages look people always associate with fantasy, and that isn't really a question of a sudden change either. The setting of FF6 was based off the 1800s instead of the 1300s, 7 was fairly inconsistant in visual style, 8 was pretty darn modern, 9 was your standard castles and such, 10 decided to take a trip to the beach...

Of course, that said, I won't argue for a minute that "Belt Boy" Nomura there isn't a lousy and unimaginative character designer.

 
Funny thing this actually...

Dear Googling Shng,
Which massively multiplayer online RPGs have you played, and why did you play them? MMORPGs to me seem like a Diablo on a persistant world scale with, at best, little 'roleplaying' involved. While going around chatting and leveling are fun for awhile, I've had my fill with the Diablo series and a 3 month Ultima Online subscription. Q&A readers: Why do you play the MMORPG(s) you do?

-EE

Googleshng:
A lot more than you'd think actually. Let's see, there's Ultima Online, EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, various text based things here and there. In all these cases, it was because some friend of mine or other had them, and asked me to check them out... and in all these cases, I really was not at all impressed. If I want to character build mindlessly, I have no shortage of console RPGs, and if I want to have some sort of interaction with people while playing games, I'll play games with my friends. In both cases, it's a whole lot more practical, cheaper, and easier on my hard drive.

 
Sequelage

Hey Goog,
I was just wondering how close to a true sequel is Shadow Hearts to Koudelka? Is it more like a Final Fantasy type deal or like a Xenosaga type thing? I guess my question comes down to would I need to play Koudelka to play Shadow Hearts or is it just as good a game without the background info from Koudelka?
Thanks for the knowledge,
Chris DoubleU

Googleshng:
Well, every single character from Koudelka comes up in Shadow Hearts, and at one point you end up revisiting the setting of it, and they only take place around 20 years apart, so yeah, they're pretty darn well connected.

Of course, since Koudelka is such a hyper-focused game (it takes place entirely within one building, over a pretty short period of time, with less than a dozen characters to keep track of), there really isn't anything that happens in it which isn't quickly summarized when it comes up in Shadow Hearts.

That said though, I'd still recommend playing it if you can. It's a darn spiffy little nugget of weirdness.




The Last Laugh:

Oh hey.... Pikmin 2 is out at the end of this month, finally. Let's see... 30 days, $50, plus tax... seems like I'll have to bump off two slimes a day. Now where did I put my Large Blunt Object...



Googleshng "You have to love the little freaks." @rpgamer.com

Or at least love feeding them to the other various critters.

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