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     Famous Historical Figures As Villains   April 6, 2005

I can name more than one anime series where the obilgatory Evil Badguy turns out to be someone like Isaac Newton. I don't really have any point here, that's just an oddity.

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Dear QnA host,

Last night, I played co-operative Halo with a friend of mine from start to finish, and while I know Halo doesn't exactly fall into the realm of RPGs, i was curious what there was out there for co-operative gameplay. I believe a SNES classic like Secret of Mana had a co-op feature, though i never played it (the era of SNES was long-gone when i first tasted RPGs, and it was never ported to a new medium as far as i know). Final Fantasy IX featured a slight co-op experience, but it was only in battles. I'm looking for a game that had two separate characters/parties roaming at the same time. I know that turn-based battes are probably impossible with such co-op gameplay, but I really enjoyed running around through Halo's levels with someone else to watch my back, help navigate through labyrinths, and really tone down the marathon-y feel. So what would you recomend? Or is this just another feature that won't work with the RPG genre?

Ryan

Googleshng:
Well, aside from every MMORPG there is, we've got a good chunk of TRPGs with a 2-player competetive mode, stuff like Phantasy Star Online and Diablo, Neverwinter Nights... that should be a good start.

Toejam and Earl would count too I suppose, but most people tend not to consider it an Action/RPG for some odd reason.

 
The S isn't capitalized, but please don't make me explain why.

Googs,

In one of your Q&A's, you mentioned Wild ARMS, of which I had only heard of, as being similar to the Final Fantasy Series, which leads me to a few questions. First, if I decide to get the original Wild ARMS, should I buy the PS1 version, or should I just wait for the PS2 remake to come out in May (I saw something for this on Gamespot)? Second, what other types of games would you recommend for someone who is looking for games similar to those of a Final Fantasy that owns a PS2? Are there some PS1 games (besides Wild ARMS) that I should check on? Finally, I've got a question regarding Shining Force Neo. I've been a big fan of the series ever since Shining Force 1 and 2 on the Sega Channel, and I just read some less than stellar reviews on Shining Tears that are making me think on passing on it. Is Shining Force Neo looking to be as bad as Shining Tears, or is it looking to be a good game (if there's enough info to give an impression that is)? Finally, will Neo be similar in style to the original Force games? Thanks for answering these many questions.

Googleshng:
Wow... that's a tricky question in there. First off, I'd highly suggest getting the original version of Wild ARMs, as the remake promises to change the basic mechanics to resemble those in the sequels, and most people seem to agree that it really wasn't a step up.

Anyway though, I don't recall ever comparing Wild ARMs (or for that matter, any other game) with the FF series. Generally all I ever say when Wild ARMs comes up is that it's pretty much the spiritual successor to Lufia 2, and that the series as a whole has a similar feel to RPGs from the NES than with the current trends of total linearity, and little to no exploration or proper side quests.

That being said, some other RPGs that play a bit like RPGs from the 16-bit era (i.e. FF4-6) include the rest of the Wild ARMs series, and Dragon Warrior 7.

Meanwhile, if you were looking for games that more resemble recent FF games, then you're good to go with pretty much any game we cover from the last 8 years that doesn't have some weird gimmick to it.

Oh, and as for Shining Force Neo, well, this next person doesn't seem to have much to say in favor of it...

 
What's with all the Sega hate these days?

Dear Google,

I swear, more and more video game companies are losing their minds. They produce more and more mediocre crap. The fans demand something, and they are rewarded with anything but. The biggest company that I have a gripe with Sega. I mean, what in Christ's name are they thinking?

Ok, we have Sonic. Most of Segas stuff is crap, but Sonic has always retained its own unique charm. Its kinda like Mario, I suppose (I mean I know that it was the original intention behind the character, but hey). Sonic didn't need graphic violence, obscene language, automobiles, or any other crap that sells most "main stream" games. They were all about the fun. Yet, with the new abhoration of Sonic, they are including a freaking machine gun... Has Sega completely gone insane? What imbecile actually thought this was a good idea?

Then we have Phantasy Star. Phantasy Star was one of the few RPG series that I could really get into in my childhood (although the beginning of PSIII is plain horrid). Rather than make more Phantasy Star games that are really high quality and engaging (as I believe the series is), the developers do nothing but pump out crappy wannabe MMOs - each more horribly pathetic than the last. I just don't understand.

My biggest gripe with Sega has to be with Shining Force. Shining Force 1 and 2 were some of my fondest memories of gaming growing up. Shining Force 3 (part 1 anyway as the second two thirds us Americans got screwed out of) is quite good as well. I've read several petitions (and signed them) trying to convice Sega to either produce the other 2 parts of SF III in English, or to produce another actual Shining Force game. These signatures on these petitions are a large enough amount of gamers, that you'd think Sega would actually listen to their fans. They make two "Shining Force Sequels" for the PS2 this year (Shining Tears and Shining Force Neo), and guess what? Neither is a true Shining Force game. Rather than make another Strategy RPG we all will come to love, Sega pumps out a stream of action games that have nothing in common with SF other than the name. And, Shining Tears at least, isn't even a good action game.

Sega is stupid. Produce A, and we will buy A! Produce B, and we still want A (and most of us are pissed we got cheated out of it). I want to ask, does Sega actually want to MAKE money? Pump out worse and worse crap instead of developing your few decent franchises. Sorry, Sega - or at least the chimps in charge - need to be shot.

As for a question:

Do you know if Sega has any plans on actually producing a new Shining Force game? An actual strat RPG? I hope, and I pray, but it is quickly fleeting. Any news you could give would be great.

Thanks - and I like the column/letters,

Hylan

Googleshng:
Well, first off, I feel I should point out the entire point behind Sonic is to try and be "edgy" and "extreme" throw around other things you hear out of marketting people and want to cringe. The series kicked off the whole "Fuzzy Cartoon Animal... With Attitude" craze that pretty much drowned the Platformer genre in a sea of gaudy orange fur, there's a constant influx of bad dated ideas in there (like snowboarding down the street), and I'm pretty sure I've seen guns in the series before too. Sega's never really been known for sound marketting either.

As for your TRPG gripes, they haven't really stopped releasing them, they just haven't been coming out in this country. Take the Sakura Wars games for instance.

I'm also trying to bring myself to point out Pocket Kingdom (which I'm told is pretty much a multiplayer Dragon Force clone), but, well, you know, the N-Gage.

So... yeah. Sega has a ton of extremely talented designers who they tend to squander on bad calls. Shame that.

 
Hey, it's Imperial Mog!

Greetings GOOGLESHNG

I was curious on your thoughts on Xenosaga II? I was always thinking in the series is why that Shion was so concerned on KOS-MOS's looks? Is there some more Shion/KOS-MOS undertones in the sequel? What other writers are going to rise from the dead now?

Imperial Mog

Googleshng:
Hmm... I'm, how shall I put this... less than thrilled with XS2. They took out a lot of things I was rather fond of (the branching spell trees, that card game, the option of going through the whole thing sans mecha), and they really didn't bother to replace this with anything. Plus the first dungeon where you have to use your newfangled AAGWSWSes goes a long way to suck the enjoyment out of the game. "Wow! You mean I get to use TWO characters? With no real special abilities? And my characters don't get any experience during all this? What fun!" It's not irredeemable, but I really have to wonder what they were thinking with some of this.

Oh, and yes. The whole bit with Shion's perpetual surprise at the abilities and AI of the android she just spent the last few years building and programming would be my biggest problem with the plot of the series as a whole. Sure, there's the attempt at rationalizing things with the "mysterious components added by some dead guy" angle, but it mainly just comes off as a strained plot contrivance in my book.

The plot of Xenosaga 2 however actually doesn't really go anywhere with that, and mainly focuses on Jr. For the first half of the game at any rate.

 
FPRPS

In response to yesterday's email about FPSs with RPG elements: The idea sounds kind of like the game Future Tactics. It advertises the RPG element, though it is rather basic level up/gain ability.

It is a rather fun game, especially for it's current $9.99 price.

-Herandar

Googleshng:
I believe we were really talking about RPGs with FPS elements rather than the other way around, or else I'd have mentioned Deus Ex. Either way though, well noted.




The Last Laugh:

Well, it's the weekend now, so play nice with Andrew. Meanwhile I'll be hatching evil schemes to get the government to quit messing with everyone's clocks.



Googleshng "If it were REALLY 5:45 the sun would be out!" @rpgamer.com

... and I'd be up too late, but you know.

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