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ASK MATT
Twenty-One Days Later
March 6, 2007

Matt Demers - 14:14 EST

SOOOOOO, it's been awhile, hasn't it? If you thought or hoped that I had fallen over, never to return, you are sorely mistaken. The last three weeks have been utter insanity. I've written exactly one hundred pages of pure thesis goodness, and while I'm not yet done, the light at the end of the tunnel is finally becoming visible, I think.

Thank god.

Do you know how sick I am of looking at that stupid thing!? UGH! It's occupied nearly every waking minute of every day for the last three weeks, except for that one week where I was gone to the Dominican Republic, which seems more like a strange and wonderful dream at this point. Ah-hum.

All that said, I'm sorry for my sudden departure. I didn't even get to say goodbye!

Oh, by the way, when I was down in the Caribbean, I brought my DS so that I could actually do some gaming. As "luck" would have it, it rained half the time we were there, so Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime got a lot of attention. Holy hell. If you haven't played the game yet, it's incredibly fun. I don't know why I waited so long to get into it, because while it's mostly super-easy, it's just a wonderful, wonderfully funny, little game with some sharp and surprising wit and stupid puns. If you have had any inkling of interest whatsoever, you should really think about investing. I mean it!

The letter bag is full of these musty old things from a few weeks ago. Let's get on that, hmm?




LETTERS
I'll answer this question on one condition...


Final Fantasy X! I mean, hi, Matt!

"And that, as they say, is that" is from Final Fantasy X, I mean. That Maechen. What a riot. You know, if you find lengthy discussions about nothing important to be riotous.

Matt

So riotous, I have one shrimp and four molotov cocktails ready and waiting in my kitchen.

Speaking of Final Fantasy X, I think out of all the Final Fantasies, the conditional turn based battle system was my favorite. In theory, anyway. It made battles have the potential to be so strategic, instead of mash-the-attack-button tedious. I say "in theory," though, since the majority of the battles in that game posed no need for strategy. But they tried. I think my favorite battle in that game was the one where you're fighting the boss with the six circles around it and the circles are marked to cause damage, and the boss only attacks the three circles it's facing, so you have to shift position and watch the turn order to know when to attack and when to move if you want to avoid damage.

Matt

I loved the opportunity to introduce CTB-versions of tried-and-true status ailments like Haste and Slow, and the introduction of new attacks that do things like "Delay" your enemies' attacks. I think that I pretty much agree with you in that, yeah, you had to do some thinking, especially with the boss you mentioned, or with a few of the "special" fights. Remember the one with the airship? Fun times, that. Oh, FFX... it's been too long.

Can you think of any ways to improve FFX's battle system, though, outside increasing the difficulty of battle to force more strategy more often? I don't know. I guess Shadow Hearts II and III had the same system, with the Judgment Ring, combo system, and battle bonuses adding a welcome layer of complexity. But are there other examples you can think of?

Matt

Hmm. I'd knock Yuna out of the game entirely, or change her skills so that she faced some sort of penalty for summoning things. I mean, come on... how cheap can you get?

I do like the idea of having monsters that specific characters are strong against, but they shouldn't be mostly killable (fellable?) in one blow, especially if you have the speedy-change-with-L-button aspect. I also think that AP should have been divided equally among all characters who participated in battle, rather than having any old ally be able to waltz in and use a potion to gain the full amount upon victory. I did like the insta-change thing, though, because it made battles speedy and fun. Changing in the heat of battle in some other games is soooo excruciating sometimes, when you know it's just going to mean sitting through extra enemy attacks. Especially Xenosaga. Ugh.

Hmm. Anything else? I think that spells were overpowered in that game. I absolutely hate the fact that Flare and Ultima cost you *significantly* more MP than any of the -ga spells, even though in practice, they both do 9999 damage most of the time. Which brings me to my next thing: that whole "Break HP Limit" and "Break Damage Limit" aspect was really nifty indeed, but should have been automatically available. I don't have time to gather 40 Wings to Discovery now or tomorrow or the next day either, just to break a limit that shouldn't be there in the first place. Grr.

I must admit, it's a little strange playing FFVI now off the heels of FFXII. The whole random battle thing seemed especially tedious at first. But nostalgia kicked in and I'm ready to play through an old favorite in a new way!

Anyway, 'til next time. I mean, "and that, as they say, is that." Or something.

Josh

Matt

Whoo-hoo! Aw, how can you not love FFVI? The new translation is really spiffy and cool, too. 90% true to the original, but really cleaned up, I'm finding. Five stars. Thanks, Josh!



Sometimes we agree, and sometimes... we disagree.


Hey Matt,

On Final Fantasy, they don't give you the exact details on how it happens, but here's how I think.

At the very beggining you end up killing Garland and although you fight the four fiends at their specific areas, they possibly send Garland back into time right after you killed him, yet it doesn't really show any storyline or anything. You have to remember they were there in the first place because the light warriors never have shown up before so it only started at the beggining of the game. Since I'm assuming Garland wasn't all powerful yet, he just told the four fiends in the past about them sending him back and then the light warriors were killed in the past and sent Garland back into the future. Sometime then, Garland gained the powers to turn into Chaos which is when the timeloop should have ended, but that's the same time that the light warriors actually killed him instead.

Matt

Grrr. My problems with the original FF's storyline is with the time loop itself. It's the same darn problem as with FFVIII's odd twist. You can't claim that there is a time loop at one point, and then say it's broken later, thanks to these heroic heroes... otherwise, there is clearly no time loop. Same with time kompression. If Ultimecia is going to squish all times into one, then where (when) the heck were your characters for the first three-quarters of the game? Outside the realm of time? Ridiculousness. If she compressed all times together, then the kompression SHOULD have been in place throughout the whole game.

That's why I think the original FF deserves a 3d remake instead of FF3 having got one. Because the story and the game itself is far better, so why not give extra plot detail to the game that's more deserving. Even before FF3 was released to the DS I thought the game had too many noticable flaws that just ruined the game, the multiple useless classes being the biggest flaw of them all, but then again, we still have those stupid areas you turn small, or into frogs, which is just an embarassment in game design, plus many many more.

-andrew- -kupomogli-

Matt

*gasp* I love the classes of Final Fantasy III! Who cares if they're mostly useless? They're neat.

And those dungeons that require Mini and Toad are among my favourite of all time! I think it's awesome that they tried to integrate spells in the magic system into the different areas of the game somehow, and I feel like it's one aspect that they should have emphasized more in later games. You see it a little bit in Final Fantasy IV, where different characters cast Fire and Blizzard to get through impassable areas, or where you can cast Float to avoid damage floors. I think it's far from an "embarrassment in game design."

So, kupomogli, I have to say that while I often agree with you, this time I just have to disagree. Respectfully, of course.



The popular child of the FF series.


I do have to say that I, too, am one of those great and loyal fans to the Final Fantasy series. I grew up playing them and plan on growing old playing them. However, I would also be glad if they did NOT remake FFVII. I do enjoy the technical demo eye-candy. I watch it quite often just to regal on what it would be like. But I also feel that touching up or modifying some things should not be done. If you take into account all of the comic-mischief and not-even-side-story events they experience in the game (when things would be at their most serious, but then some people would do some silly stuff to make you think that Sephiroth will wait for you to get done snowboarding and piloting submarines), you come up with a lot of story that would need to hold up to the action-drama that is Advent Children and the OAV anime. I believe that Final Fantasy is among one of those games that will never budge from the top ten list of World's Greatest Games, but I also believe that Final Fantasy VII had its time in the spotlight... going on for ten years when it hits mid September this year! I think it's time to step aside and let some of the others have a turn.

Matt

Oh... one of my favourite moments occurs when Cait Sith first joins your party. He pulls the whole clichéd "I'm coming with you!" routine, and then proceeds to do the joins-the-party merge into Cloud's sprite while Cloud protests with a "Hey, what are you doing?!" or something. It has been awhile, but I recall that as being super funny. And I'm 100% sure that the play during the date just wouldn't be the same in a remake.

In 1994, Final Fantasy V got a moment with a two-hour (or four-part) anime set 200 years into the future. It was a couple years before the game was released, but it wasn't franchised into a multitude of products. I think we got exactly what we needed from that game and its anime sequal. Nothing else was necessary.

Matt

Really! I did not know that. How interesting. Hmm.

My biggest concern is attention to Final Fantasy VI. When I heard FFVI Advance was coming out I though, "Oh, my God!! I must have that!!!"

FFVI is my favorite of the whole series, and I think it needs its turn of special treatments. The game had its ending. There was no cliffhanger, making you ask if everything turned out okay. It simply ended. But there were many things I feel could have been explained: the War of the Magi one-thousand years ago, the one year gap where Celes was unconcious... What adventure could have happened to the others during that time? I doubt it took Locke one year to venture all the way into the Star Mountain, and what other rebels may have come and gone during Kefka's rule? Another story to further tell could be the future life Clyde (Shadow) will lead in the New World of Balance. How will he learn to cope with the death of Baram, and what kind of factions and groups would he run across, trying to avenge his friend's death while fighting his own inner demons? These are all stories that could be explained. I would rather enjoy playing not a remake (as cool as one for FFVI would be), but a telling of these stories. Have you eve thought what it would be like, playing as Odin and defening the Esper world from the human invaders?

-MP

Matt

I totally agree. There are so many things that could be fleshed out with Final Fantasy VI, and there are so many possibilities for future games, spinoffs, and the like. Really, though, I haven't been a big fan of any of the extras for any other Final Fantasy games, to be perfectly honest. Whatever happened to leaving things to the player's imagination? I really didn't care for Advent Children all that much, and none of the other VII-related materials look terribly appealing. Final Fantasy X-2 messed with Yuna's character way too much, and while the game was kinda fun, I could have done without the "disasteriffic" storyline. (OK, it wasn't quite that bad, but still.) As for Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings? We'll have to see. But I kind of miss the days where "The End" actually meant "The End." You know?

All that said, I'd totally eat my words if FFVI sequels came out, because I love the game too much. So I guess in the end, I'm just a hypocrite. A big, fat, hypocrite.



Now if only the "student life" were more conducive to gaming...


Matt,
Just wanted to let you know that I can sympathize with you in terms of academia. I barely got my research paper (the last required item for my Ph.D. application) in by the deadline on the last Friday in January. It was due in the office by 5:00 PM and I got it there at roughly 3:30-ish! My entrance exam and divisional faculty interview are on the first Monday in March, so I'm a little anxious about those. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you have RPGamer brothers out there who are in your shoes school-wise. We may not have a lot of time in which to play our beloved games, but we are diehards through and through! I hope things work out for you application-wise. Who knows--maybe you were intended to have another year to prep before jumping into the Ph.D. student waters.

Matt

Matt

AHHH, don't say that! Every extra semester I spend here means another few grand lost to unnecessary tuition fees. The bloodsucking bastards. Anyway, I defend my thesis sometime at the end of April, so I hopefully won't have to worry. If anybody wants to come and see, the University is at 50 Stone Rd. E. in Guelph, ON. Heh heh.

I've been accepted to the Ph.D. program at Guelph for the fall already. One way or another, I'm bound and determined to live the life I'm living now for the rest of my life, except while making increasing amounts of money. Mwahaha.



Ring-a-ling-a-ling!


You may remember a letter I sent about 2 weeks or so ago defending oft mal-aligned translator of FFVI, Ted Woolsey. There has recently come to exist an audio interview with him in last Sunday's playeronepodcast. He explains the situation he was in and definitively concludes, once and for all, that he personally was not at all to blame for the "horrible" translation, how anyone in his situation would be very hard pressed to provide a more satisfactory work, and how in some ways he was actually a bit of a pioneer for comprehendible English translations.

Here is a link to said podcast: http://playerone.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=180834 The interview begins approximately halfway through and continues to the end. It's pretty long, so make sure you have time to listen. -- Alexander M. DeMichiei

Matt

Thanks, Alexander! I know how a lot of people feel about Final Fantasy VI's original translation, but I really think that it was one of the most endearing ones out there, even if it wasn't completely true to the original. It's funny-- every time I mention some of the changes in FFVI Advance's script to my sister, she nearly freaks out. I personally believe that Mr. Woolsey did a fantastic job back in the day, because the game probably wouldn't have the fanbase it has now if he had really done such awful work.



QUICKIES

Hello there - Reech here!

Friend code for FF3 is 5197 8226 6753.

Will send some mogmail before the end of month!

R.

Matt
Hey, Mr. R. I'm actually discontinuing Mogmail after today, just because it hasn't proven to be popular enough. Also, I have to admit that it's a little annoying to have to get out FFIII every single day and check mail. I'll still add any new friends, of course, because you apparently need a certain number to open different secrets, so feel free to drop me your friend code anytime, anyone out there. I'm not that mean.


MOGNET MAIL

This is the last day for Mogmail! I'll still add you as my friend, though, so if you have Final Fantasy III DS, my code is 515 480 192 117. Mail me your number, and I'll add you to my list!

GRAAAAWK or GRUUUUUU?

I vote GRUUUUUU

Xlash

Matt
Good call. I do too. Two votes GRUUUUUU, no votes GRAAAAWK. What say you?

Forgive the simple message. Cant wait 2get FF6A. I'll let the translation stand its own.

JRC

Matt
It really is great! It's hard to believe that the graphics and sound are Game Boy Advance, too, because they're really well done! Some of the effects are a little different than the original, but some are better (opera voices) and some are worse (the sound of "Cure").

I'm really digging the new translation of FFVI. The differences are often subtle and it's a fresh look at the greatest FF ever!

Joshua

Matt
I totally agree! Certain things happen to make a lot more sense now, too, I'm finding. Sabin's "think a 'bear' like me could help you out?" suddenly makes a world more sense, among many other little things like that. You'll see when you get there, if you haven't gotten there. Now that Square Enix is running out of announced remakes to release, what are they going to do!?



IN CLOSING

It's back to the books for me! Until tomorrow. And I promise I won't disappear again. Heh heh.

Check out the hot topics board if you're wondering what to write about! I need letters, though, at any rate. Ouro tells me you've been lazy in my absence. Tsk, tsk!

At any rate, it's been a pleasure.



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Matt becomes Marking Ninja Matt again tonight!


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