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ASK MATT
All Play and No Work
January 19, 2007

Matt Demers - 20:25 EST

AS MUCH AS I LOVE my new Wii, it's time for me to rant a bit. Nintendo, there's no damn excuse left at this point. Nintendo has had two months to catch up on the supplies of accessories and the like. Today, I spent a good deal of my afternoon hauling my behind through the snowy wintery awfulness, everywhere through town, to try and find two extra remotes. We're having friends over tonight, and I wanted to play with them, but four-player anything is just not going to happen, because Nintendo hasn't supplied stores with nearly enough accessories whatsoever. The EB Games apparently got a shipment of them yesterday. THREE remotes. Guelph has a population of 110,000 people. That's a pretty low ratio, don't you think?

If you're going to make a gaming machine that's completely dependent on the innovative controls, you'd think that making the damn controllers themselves would be a priority. It's not like Nintendo is some hole-in-the-wall mom 'n' pop company; they have the capabilities to produce massive numbers of them. And after two months, as far as I'm concerned, there's no excuse for the empty shelves everywhere.

In any case, my money instead went to a much needed haircut. "I went from drab to fab!" Ugh, did I actually just say that? Let's move past this to the letters of the day.




LETTERS
That's a novel idea.


Hey Matt,

So, like everyone else here in your column, I plan on writing a novel, and the concept goes like this. Its called TechBreaking where people from the future are able to see into the past by using time travel technology to project their consciousnesses (dunno if that's rightly spelled) into the past, and one of the characters is based on..wait for it...being an RPGamer! In the future, its originally meant to be used for peaceful observation, but then it goes commercial and it becomes a future Myspace or Facebook. Which reminds me...does RPGamer have a club on facebook or myspace?

Matt

It sounds like your creative juices are flowing freely, BLG! I don't know about Myspace, but we do have a Facebook group. Search us out. Or, if you like, search me out and find the group that way. Either way works! Back to your juices, though.

Anyway, techbreaking becomes a mix of SecondLife.com and WOW, but here's the problem....I don't do broadband, and I'm perpetually broke, so I can't afford either one. The class I made up for my RPGamer character is someone who's anime and video games and the latest technology like HD screens and iPods while cynical about the real world and wishes reality played out more like video games with good winning over evil and people obsessed with power fall flat on their face. His class in the game is being a RolePlayer where he can cosplay as any traditional video game or anime character that's been recycled before in million other types of Japanese anime and video games. You know, like in FFXII and World of Warcraft's latest expansion.

Matt

Heh heh heh. A million is a lot of times, but yes, the same archetypes have appeared many times over, I'll buy that. So, when this guy gets all dressed up, will he acquire exactly their abilities from whichever game/anime they hail from?

If HD screens and iPods are present, I assume that this story will take place in the not-so-distant future. 2027 or thereabouts, give or take? By 2050, people will have Apple's new iPod Angstrom or something; cerebral installation for only $399.95 (plus tax)!

Currently, the character cosplays as a Naruto ninja with techniques and hand signs and stuff, but I'm looking to give my character video games to cosplay after. So, my question to you is what RPGs should I look into that give good cosplay ideas?

Have a nice day,
BLG

Matt

Oh, man. Well, you know that I'm a huge fan of the Dragon Quest series, and so many of the heroes of past DQ games would make, in my opinion, fantastic "targets" for cosplay. But come on... you can't do better than Chrono Trigger, can you? Crono's design just asks for people to emulate him. Just make sure that your character has a lot of hair gel/dye/etc on hand!

Whatever you choose, I wish you good luck on the story, BLG!



Awww... djya miss me? There's a bit of FFXII talk here: Beware, to the spoiler-shy.


Matt, it has been entirely too long. Don't you ever do that to me again. Just kidding. Glad you had a great holiday. I am glad you're back though, and Josh too. So, what shall we talk about? Hmm....how about FFXII?

Matt

How about it? FFXII a fantastic subject, because everyone has something to say about it, and while nobody has exactly the same opinion, everyone has a "sort of" similar view that while it's fantastic, it isn't perfect. Now, will you continue that trend?

Might as well just tell you up front that I loved it. In fact, I enjoyed it more than most other FF's, with the exception of VII and and maybe X. The game sorta grabbed me up with it's "wow" factor in the beginning with its huge world, fresh battle system, and a story that *seemed* at the time, to be developing. The wow factor wore off after a while, but it certainly did not change my opinion about the game. The new style battling is the way to go, in my opinion; congratulations to Square for breathing new life into the combat system.

The only thing that kept FFXII from being perfect was the plot. It really dissappointed me, actually; I was having a hard time accepting that the story in FFXII just wasn't all that exciting, and wasn't even that well-developed. Here's a game that has too few cutscenes. There just was actually too few hours devoted to plot development, and too many devoted to endless dungeon-crawling and battling. It's a good thing the gameplay is so fun, otherwise it would have gotten really old with no story to carry it. But the story wasn't a total waste, it was certainly intriguing. And it's worth mentioning that the dialogue is extremely well-written, and the voice acting is nearly flawless. Also, I found the ending of the game to be very pleasing, and certainly worth viewing. What say you, Matt? Is your opinion on FFXII positive overall, or did your worst fears come true?

Matt

Definitely not. I loved the game. Actually, I'm "loving" the game, since I haven't quite finished it off yet; I'm at the last dungeon with a hefty need for some power-leveling.

I know that you remember this, because we bantered on about it months ago, but my fears that the battle system would be weak were greatly unfounded. The challenge of the game is superb, representing a huge step up from Final Fantasy X's cakewalk. In fact, I'd almost go as far as to say that this game is the most difficult one of the series. Period. I've never experienced a Final Fantasy game where leveling-up is pretty much a requirement before progressing in the storyline. The fact, though, that I had FUN doing that leveling speaks volumes for the quality of the system.

I feel that the game lags in storyline too, though. It's not like the story isn't a good one; it just doesn't feel like a FF game, because it's too simple. While the voice acting and the dialogue in general is absolutely top-notch, I sometimes find myself swimming in it, as if I was reading Shakespeare or something. In all honesty, on more than one occasion, I've come to the end of a cutscene asking myself "What the hell just happened?" The characters aren't my favourite either; when I reminisce on the character development in Final Fantasy VI and VII, I really feel an emptiness when I compare these games to XII.

The whole packaged deal, though, is really phenomenal nonetheless, and while there are a few little disappointments, I'm by and large very impressed. My favourite aspect of the game, despite the new composer, is something that people haven't talked about much: The music. Wow. WOW! Now that is a soundtrack worth investing in!

Well, soon after FFXII's end, I embarked on Twilight Princess with my Wii, which I bought on christmas day as a gift to myself. (I'm such a good giver.) Nintendo has once again breathed new life into the Zelda series, which is something they do with each new installment. All the long months of waiting were worth it, and Twilight Princess may possibly be the greatest in the series. I like the Wii controls, personally; they seem to suit the game well. The wii-remote sword action is just a little pointless in my opinion, but what the hell, it doesn't hurt. Sniping with my bow-and-arrow is easier and more fun than ever, and the spin attack is actually useful now that it doesn't take five seconds to charge. Twilight didn't impress me as much as FFXII did overall, but it wasn't too far behind. It took me a full 43 hours to complete, which is impressive for a Zelda title. (It's got nothing on the 101 I spent on FFXII, however.)

Matt

Zelda has taken a bit of a surprise backseat for me lately, only because I don't get the chance to spend hours on end gaming at a time, and I like to spend big chunks of time with any Zelda game, rather than little pieces. Playing Twilight Princess has taken me back to the days where my heart was lost to Ocarina of Time. Some people complain that the two are too similar, but I don't think that at all. It just... it's really made me realize the things that I love about the series, and when paired with wicked controls and awesome dungeon design, you simply have a winner in my books. Final Fantasy XII + Zelda: TP = the most awesome Christmas vacation ever.

Now, I'm playing the third chapter in the Xenosaga series. I've got 13 hours so far, and I'm loving it. I am a little disappointed in the rarity of actual cutscenes this time around, however. It makes the game lose a lot of the cinematic punch that episodes I and II had. On the other hand, it probably has more story development overall than any Xenosaga title before it. I like the new battle system, it's a refreshing change from episode II's mind-numbingly repetitive battles. And thank God, they've fixed the skill system. Overall it seems like they very specifically addressed all the complaints about Episode II, which is exactly what they needed to do.

Matt

It's true, but you know, I'd rather take the heightened development over prettier cutscenes. The way that conversations unfold in Episode III - with the character close-ups and expressions - is a pretty effective one at conveying the same things as conversations all done up in little movie sequences.

The battle system is so, so much quicker in Episode III, but I find it to be almost oversimplified from the previous games. The skill system, on the other hand, is so perfect. It's a wonderful marriage of Episode I's interestingness with Episode II's stupid (and senseless) customizability. I never really understood how, say, Shion and KOS-MOS could have all the same capabilities in Episode II, but thankfully, that issue has been fixed up very nicely indeed. I think you'll enjoy the rest of the game! Make sure to report in on it as you progress.

Dragon Quest IX on the DS. Woah. I'm not a Dragon Quest fan-I've never played a single game-but if, say, the next installment of Final Fantasy were to be on the DS, I would most certainly not be pleased. Call me a graphics whore if you wish, but why would I want to see my favorite series take a step backwards in terms of technology? And if it was an action RPG on top of that, I don't know what I'd do. How about you, Matt; I understand you're quite a fan of the series. Tell us how you really feel.

Matt

It's kind of funny, but I've gone through a few different phases. My first reaction, when I read the news on Day One while eating breakfast at home over the holidays, was one of pure giddy joy and surprise. This was more out of the shock that it was announced for the DS and not for the more-expected PS3 or Wii, so it was a bit of a nerdy reaction. Plus, it's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the DS, so that helped to contribute a bit.

The second reaction I had occurred over the next week or so after the initial announcement, when my excitement turned to despair. They're changing Dragon Quest? They're changing my BABY? I was furious. Action-RPG!? Action RPGs aren't my favourite things! I tried to paint Final Fantasy XII as a frickin' Action RPG when I was worried that I'd hate it, for heaven's sakes. (In fact, that was in a little debate that you and I had, wasn't it?) Why would they do such a thing? Why would Square Enix cave on what was supposed to be the "only" popular traditional RPG series left in existence? These questions swirled through my mind.

My third reaction kind of evolved out of my second. I thought back to Dragon Quest VIII, which was great, and I realized with great hope that the same team is working on its sequel. The screenshots, while not quite as beautiful as Dragon Quest VIII's sprawling landscapes, are still beautiful, and quite incredible for the Nintendo handheld. And then I realized that this is a Dragon Quest game. Square Enix would be absolutely stupid not to satisfy its core fanbase, because it's one of the company's flagship games; one of Japan's most popular series, period. And now, frankly, after thinking about things rationally, I'd be surprised if I didn't end up loving the game in the end after all.

And that's how I really feel.

Hmm. The Burning Crusade is upon us, it seems. Eight million served, my God. I am not one of those eight million, although I admit, if it were not for the fact that I live out in the boondocks and thus have no broadband connection, I would probably give WOW a try. Moot point though. I'm addicted enough to my console games; if I played WOW I might just fall into the abyss for good.

Matt

Totally agreed. I don't have the time to play games that end, let alone games that don't. I'll pass, and in the process, I'll save $300 every year, thank you.

Hey....you know what's actually an excellent game? FFV! Heck, I never woulda known if not for the recent GBA release! I tried to play FFV on that horrible Final Fantasy Chronicles port for the PS, and just couldn't stick with it. But it seems to have new life on the GBA for some reason. I haven't been able to touch it for a few weeks due to Twilight Princess and XSIII, but the 20 hours I spent on it were very enjoyable. In fact, in my opinion, FFV is a better game than IV. If only it had seen decent English release back in the early 90's, who knows how different its reputation may have been.

Matt

I know! It's a game that really has a lot going for it. The battle system is quick and snappy, the job system is interesting (though not flawless), but the storyline is surprisingly good, full of the dramatic events and intriguing twists that always made Final Fantasy games what they were. While the game is nowhere near the quality of FFVI and VII, in my opinion, FFV really helped to set the stage for the modernization of the series. (VI and VII finished that job up.)

If you, O readers, still have doubts about the game, don't. It's $30 or $40 at the video game store, and it's an absolute classic. Pick yourself up a copy, and fall in love with the game that we should have all fallen in love with fifteen years ago.

Damn square enix, releasing an ultimate edition of Advent Children. The only reason I'm interested is because of the inclusion of the Last Order anime, which will (presumably) be dubbed in English. I heard that they were releasing an extended cut of the movie in blu-ray format over in Japan, but I don't know if this is the extended cut or not.

Matt

In English, too? I haven't heard anything of it, yet, but who knows? While Advent Children was okay, I almost wish that they had just left the original game alone. A new-gen remake would be welcome, of course, but sometimes, ends-of-games should be left just-so, you know?

Do you think that it's a possibility that Square may just re-release Final Fantasies VII-IX on the DS, similar to FF I-VI on the GBA? Now VII has long been rumored to have a PS3 remake in the works, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Tetsuya Nomura, the man who, according to what I've read, would head up the project *if* it ever occurred, is currently working on FFXIII, Versus XIII, and three new Kingdom Hearts projects. So, I don't believe that that leaves much room in his schedule. Plus, the DS could easily handle a port of FFVII, don't you think? Just look at games like FFIII DS! I would love it, personally; it would give me a perfect excuse to replay those games.

Well, that's all for today, Matt. I'll write again soon.

Oliver.

Matt

I've wondered about the same thing, though now, all bets are off. It seems like Square Enix loves the PSP, too, and a lot of PSP-owners are crying out for those remakes as well. It would be interesting, wouldn't it? Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX are all games that have never received remakes. If your response is to scoff and say "pshaw, they were just released," remember you this: We'll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of FFVII this fall. Goodness, I feel old.

Anyway, you have no idea how excited I'd be if such a trio were announced for the DS. Could you imagine the spike in sales the unit would receive if that happened? Square Enix is sitting on a gold mine, and they know it. They'll waiting for exactly the right time to unveil a remake, and, almost disappointingly, something tells me that they're going to wait until they can do it with graphical ridiculousness. It's just a little inkling. I could, of course, be wrong.

Thanks for the monster e-mail, Oliver, in my time of need. I hope that my answers were adequate, and I'll be glad to hear from you again sometime in the future!



The best bonus out there!


Matt,

So I've got plenty of games post birthday and Christmas to last me for a while, but seeing the sceenshots for DQIX got me thinking back on how fun DQVIII was and, knowing that inevitably sometime towards the end of summer I'll be looking around for something to play I was thinking about replaying it again then. However, as I recall at the end, I'm not sure if it was a little before the credits roll or right after that, it said something about doing something more to find out the 'true' strory. So, I'm wondering, first off is my memory about this correct, and secondly is this possible bonus content something meaty enough that it might just be worth it to just go after that stuff? I guess if that's just something I dreamed up out of nowhere it doesn't give you much to work with but, meh, that's all I got's right now.

a-ight then
kezzy

Matt

You've got that right. Dragon Quest VIII has some fantastic bonus material that manages to tie up just about every loose end the storyline has to offer you. At the same time, it provides you with some pretty incredible challenges, so whether you're a gameplay-oriented or a storyline-oriented gamer, you should be more than satisfied in every way. Indeed, the bonus dungeon of Dragon Quest VIII feels anything but tacked-on. It feels like it's an integral part of the main story, which is pretty darn cool. You'll enjoy it, I think, especially if you liked the rest of the game so much; just don't get killed on the way down!



Oblivion vs. FFXII: Fight!


Dear Matt and/or whomever is hosting today:

I saw you needed letters, so I thought Iíd chime in on the FFXII discussion. If Iím feeling brave, I'll even compare it to the other big RPG of 2006: Oblivion. *gasp*

Matt

*gasp*

I'm only about 8 hours into the game, and I'm already having to resist the urge to hook up my 360 and dive back into Cyrodil, despite playing Oblivion for 40-plus hours already. It's not because of the graphic difference; I think Final Fantasy XII is a lot prettier than Oblivion (and I'm not just talking about Ashe, either; my own final fantasy is for the two strips of leather Ashe wears as a skirt to be even more non-existent). It's not because I'm bored by the storyline, because I'm not, and Oblivion doesn't offer up much in the way of story.

No, I think the real difference is in the weight (or lack thereof) the characters have in the world. From the moment I broke out of the Imperial Prison in Oblivion, I felt like I was important. After I killed a random Imperial Legion soldier and joined the Dark Brotherhood, that feeling intensified. No matter what you choose to do in Oblivion, you're an integral part of the world. I have yet to get that feeling in Final Fantasy XII.

I guess part of the problem is that I want my heroes to be more, well, heroic. Epic, even. I mean, sky pirates are great (except when they get beat to death by a giant desert chicken...wtf?), but everyone else is just meh (uh, except for Ashe). Oblivion manages to make you feel like whatever you want to feel like, be it noble warrior or cold-hearted killer. And it does this without lengthy cut scenes or a pre-established main character.

Matt

Or a Vorpal Bunny, how about? Watch out for those!

Your words ring true. While I never really liked the looks or feel of Oblivion based on the little I played, I've said it many times this week: The storyline feels like it happens "around" your characters in Final Fantasy XII more than anything. It feels like really, your people are just off doing their thing to try and succeed in their quest while the world is going crazy, falling apart, and warring in the background. It's not like so many other FF games, where you feel like you're in the driver's seat, plotwise. It's not necessarily a bad thing; it's just totally different.

Itís almost like Final Fantasy is acting like something other than the RPG industry leader; the game puts all these fantastic innovations on the table, then modestly sits back and lets you play with them. Sure, there are touching or amusing moments. When Kytes told Vaan heíd have to go fetch some tools in order to open the door to the Garamsythe Waterway, then said he was just kidding, I had to laugh at the sly poke at fetch quests.

The fact of the matter is, though, that too many of those cool moments happen in cut scenes. Itís almost like the game is on its head; all the things that you want to play, you have to watch, and all the things you want to happen in a cut scene, you have to play.

I could say more, but Iím going to wrap this lengthy letter up by saying that yes, Iím going to finish Final Fantasy XII. But I donít think Iím going to enjoy it as much as I anticipated. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe thatís just the nature of the beast. I do suspect that when FFXII is finished and gathering dust on the shelf, Iíll still be exploring the world of Oblivion.

-Jeffrey

PS: Hope this helps with the letter drought!

Matt

I think, though, that Final Fantasy offers you a whole lot that you aren't seeing yet. If you've got just eight hours on the clock, you have a lot more gaming ahead of you before you really get into the meat of the quest. The world is an awesome and oddly realistic one to explore, and while exploring every nook and cranny of every area does get somewhat old, it's inexplicably addictive at the same time. You'll see. There's just so much to do and find and unlock and more that by the end of the game, despite all of its shortcomings, it will prove to you that it is, indeed, a Final Fantasy game.

Good luck, Jeffrey, playing both games; I sincerely hope that you have a good time doing so! And yes... the letter drought has turned into a flood instead!



Short and Sweet.


This is going to be short but with your lack of letters I'd figured you wouldn't mind. I'd LOVE to see a sequel to the game Shadow Hearts: From the New World. I liked the game and while I haven't seen the 'good' ending I think that it could easily be fleshed out more considering what you learn of Johnny very near the end of that game. If they continued with the bad ending like they did with SH II to III it would have even more potential. I'll also add that I am looking forward to ALL the games that you listed for 2007 but I'm taking a week off for Rogue Galaxy because I'm expecting so much from it (I know I'm an RPG addict). Happy gaming!

Matt

Hey, just about everybody who visits this site is an RPG addict, so join the club! Shadow Hearts really came a long way with Covenant, and even though some didn't like the direction that From the New World took, many others heartily enjoyed the game nonetheless. I don't think we've seen the end of this series yet, so keep your hopes up!

I'm glad you're looking forward to Rogue Galaxy, too. We mustn't forget that despite this new-generation phenomenon, there is much left to anticipate for older systems, like the PS2 and GBA. Happy gaming yourself!



One, Two, Three, Four.


First, I'm gonna get a DS, and load up on GBA games like FFV and FFTA (and later FF6A). W00t for blue magic!

Matt

Leaper, here's a question for you: What's your favourite game to include Blue Magic or some other means of Enemy Skill Acquisition? Did Final Fantasy VIII's method offend you? It kind of offended me.

Secondly, I'm not sure what to think of PS2 RPGs in the near future. The only ones that really float my boat so far are Wild Arms 5 and the last two chapters of .hack//GU. I'm not sure how much else there is I really want to play (one more reason for the DS decision).

Matt

Well, at this point, as far as I can see, you can't go wrong with the DS. There have been about a hundred million RPGs announced for it, and the library outside RPGs is growing by the minute. I don't know what I did without Nintendo platforming games over the last ten years, but between The New Super Mario Bros, Super Princess Peach, and Yoshi's Island DS, I'm in heaven.

I'm a bit worried, now that you mention it, about .hack//GU. It's not like development for the PS2 just has to come to a halt now that its little brother has been born, but on the other hand, I find it a little bit unnerving that three months have gone by since the release of Episode I without a single word on Episodes II or III. Here's hoping.

Third, as for FFT for PSP, I find FFTA infinitely superior because of blue magic. Seriously, though, I remember FFT as okay, neat, cool, but not the huge classic some others think of it as. Mebbe I'm just not strategy RPG material?

Matt

Not everyone is a big fan of the genre, true. I'm not sure, though, that I'd agree. To me, Final Fantasy Tactics (the original) was a fantastic game with wonderful character customizability and a fairly involving storyline, despite an awful translation. FFTA segregated classes by race and then vomitted up Final Fantasy IX's skill system, for a not-so-winning combo. It wasn't terrible, but I feel that FFT's was superior. FFTA was, as well, way too easy on the whole, I feel. Or I felt, rather. I haven't played the game in a couple of years, by now.

Fourth, a question I asked Josh over the weekend: what latest-gen system do you think is going to be king of RPGs? I think the PS2 had it pretty much locked up for the last generation, but it seems to be anyone's game now, what with the nice DS titles (is the Wii even that suited for non-action RPGs?). One of the big reasons I'm waiting before I buy a PS3 (besides waiting for bug fixes and backward compatibility issue repair) is to see how the battle susses out. How do you think it'll go?

Matt

Right now, it's hard to say. The PS3 only has Final Fantasy XIII, Versus XIII, and White Knight on the way. Calling the first two "different games" is, while technically true, a bit of a stretch, I feel. White Knight looks potentially interesting, but I'm really not sold on the gameplay from the one trailer that I saw back when it was announced. Of course FFXIII looks great, but I'm not about to blow $750 on a PS3 in order to play it.

The Xbox 360 really doesn't seem to have much going for it in the RPG world at all. Yes, yes, I know, there's Blue Dragon. But that's ONE GAME! One. And it's been out for a little while in Japan now without a word on how the localization is progressing. I really hope that it's coming along, because 360 owners deserve more than just Enchanted Arms. And, despite the massive honours the game has received, not everyone is attracted by The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Nintendo's Wii is a system that at first I was pretty worried about. I always thought it looked like it would be fun, but I fretted greatly about how many RPGs would ever be developed for it. But look at this: We got Zelda: Twilight Princess at launch (even though its "RPG"ness is certainly debatable), Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn is in development, Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen looks like so much fun, and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles even seems promising. Add to that the Virtual Console releases that we might be getting (Earthbound or Super Mario RPG, anyone? Maybe more?) and incredibly, I think we have a winner.

At least for now, the Wii is the RPG system of the new generation of video gaming. It's still really early though, of course: Things could look a whole lot different a year down the road.



On the hunt.


Well since you seem in desperate need of a letter... I got into RPG's in the mid 90's, around the end of the SNES era and the beginning of the PS1. Since then I have not played very many games due to time constraints as well as the fact that they haven't really appealed to me, mostly due to the "innovations" and departure from the old RPG standards. However, some free time has emerged from my schedule as of late, and I am looking for suggestions for games that I haven't played, either for the PS1, PS2, SNES, or the DS. I like a good story and am not a fan of voice acting, although I can stand it if it is done well (ala Dragon Quest VIII). Some of my favorites are: Final Fantasy 6, 7 and Tactics, Chrono Trigger, Suikoden II, Xenogears, Earthbound, and Dragon Quest VIII. Any suggestions?

Peter

Matt

You know, that's a tough question. I'd encourage you to pick up the Final Fantasy remakes for the Game Boy Advance, since they'll play on your DS. Though FFIV had a few bugs, FFV is a joy to play; it's truly a classic game, so it won't feel all weirdly innovated, as you're worried about. It's also been redone with a mostly beautiful new translation, which you should appreciate as well.

I see you have Final Fantasy Tactics on your list, too, which makes me want to recommend to you a newer strategy RPG. Since you also like Earthbound, which is kooky, I want to tell you to give Disgaea a try. If you can find the original, then fantastic. If not, the sequel, Disgaea 2, is just as good (though you'll lose a certain something if you haven't played the first). The game is hilariously weird, and while there is some bad voice acting, I feel like it's a small price to pay.

Seeing Suikoden II on your list, I can't help but tell you to give Suikoden V a whirl. It was released not quite a year ago in North America, so it should still be fairly easy to find, but I've heard that it's a really fantastic game. No one really talks about it much on here anymore, but based on everything I've heard, I'd bet that you'd enjoy it.

That's a good start for you. If you're not entirely sure about something, don't be afraid to buy used games or rent. I almost hate the idea of renting these days, though. I was in Blockbuster today looking for Wii remotes, and gaped in absolute horror when I noticed that the price of a week-long new-console game rental has risen to a despicably-high $9.99.

Best of luck!



QUICKIES

How do I submit a quicky... Is there something special I have to do?

superjoe

Matt
You just did. Despite having a ton of mail in my box, I don't have many of these, so if you want to contribute, but just a little bit, don't be afraid to send in a one-liner! Or a two-liner. Just not an ocean-liner. Those don't fit.


MOGNET MAIL

If you'd like to send me some Mogmail, too, and you have Final Fantasy III DS, my code is 515 480 192 117. Send me your number, and I'll add you to my list! Then you can send all the letters you like!

Having never completed the original FFIII, is there anything that you've missed from the older version?

Matt
Hmm. I don't know if "missed" is the right word. There are a few differences, though. In the original, battles were generally way, way more enormous. It wasn't uncommon to get into battles with six foes at once, which would obviously make things more difficult. Sages and Ninjas were also far, far more useful- in fact, you didn't get them at the last crystal; you got them as special classes even later on in the game. Generally, though, the DS remake has been more faithful to the original than I ever could have hoped!



IN CLOSING

The e-mail flood continues. Again, I thank everyone who has sent me a letter (or two!) and apologize to those of you who sent me things I haven't had the chance to reply to; especially those of you who have never written before. Don't worry, I haven't lost your mail! I'll do my very best to get back to you next week.

And next week, Boojum, SOCK's tyrant, will be joining us on Tuesday for the next dual-hosted column. Please join us! Send him a personalized letter, if you like. And if you're feeling the itch to write, but you're also having trouble thinking of things to write about, take a look at the Hot Topics in the sidebar for inspiration.

Thanks for a great week, everybody! If anyone finds a Wii Remote tree in their travels, don't hesitate to send me a few seeds or something. It might be my only chance at ever finding one of those darn controllers.

See you next Tuesday, and have fun with Josh in the interim!



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slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt is having a fondue party tonight! Wanna come over?


Mmm, gooey cheesy and chocolatey goodness. I'll need to get in a Wii workout to burn it all off!

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What I Want to Play:

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5. Final Fantasy XIII demo in 2007!? But didn't XII take six years to develop!?



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