March 21, 2007
Matt - 15:10 EST
SO, THE RUMOURS ARE FLYING, or so it would seem. Apparently in an interview last night, the exclusivity of Final Fantasy XIII was suddenly thrown into question in a moment. Wow. My crystal ball must not be failing me after all!
Microsoft has a ton to gain from this, and Sony has everything to lose. I've already said that this would be the dealbreaker; FFXIII for the 360 means Microsoft gets my money, and I suspect that a lot of other people out there would say the same. With a few other RPGs out there, it's not like the 360 will be rampant with our games, but it won't be devoid of them either. Of course, this is still very, very unconfirmed. But, one has to think about these things.
Phew. What an absolutely interesting time to follow the industry, no? Let's dive into the mailbag, as always!
What? I was supposed to LIVE? NOOOOO!!
Hot diggity damn, Lufia 2, Rise of the Sinstrals. It is THE game that got me into RPGs. Was awesome. Perfect amount of sidequests and mini games, the battlecave was fantastic, hunting for dragon eggs, raising capsule monsters, the list just goes on and on. Fantastic character development for it's time, and (possible spoiler alert) the fact that the 'unwinnable' battle with gades was actually winnable!!! It's a game that I actually still play through every couple of years. Oh, and then there's the puzzle solving, fantastically varied dungeons, the IP Attack system, DEAR GOD there is so much about that game that I love. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of were the sprites, because I thought the ones from the original Lufia looked much cooler.
It's a truly great, classic game, filled with cute character sprites, wicked dialogue, a funky battle system, neat puzzles, and more newts than you can count. And not nearly enough people have played the gem!
Just a quick question, do you also find it really irritating when you are fighting one of those 'unwinnable' battles (that the story requires you lose) and you use all your items because you didn't realise it was one of those battles?
Or just as bad, when you're sure that you are fighting one of those battles because you are getting smacked about so hard, only to face a game over screen when you die!
Yeah. I really appreciate it impossible bosses are so obscenely powerful that it's very obvious that you're not supposed to have a chance at all. On the other hand, I love it (somewhat sadistically, maybe) when your second case happens- when you die because of an uberstrong boss, but you weren't supposed to. Heh heh, that sort of thing fills me with shock, disbelief, with a pinch of glee and a dash of desperation.
Yeah, I'm not a big fan of that as a game mechanic.
Also, the 360. Initially, I was very anti X-Box. But given that there are now a few semi decent looking RPGs, and some other fun looking games I really want to play (Dead Rising, Crackdown, Viva Pinata) it's getting very very tempting. Also, I at least want to play the new bomberman on it, just once, to find out just how badly they have sullied something that was once so pure.
Anyways, back to FFXII
Yeah, I think that a lot of RPGamers out there are slowly changing their tune, this one included. It's a bit sad, because I once vowed never to support them. Why should Microsoft be able to waltz in and stomp all over the industry? Well, heh, just because they're in town doesn't mean that I'm going to stop wanting to play the games I want to play. 'Tis a reality. Have fun with FFXII! Whack a Coeurl for me.
FFXII stuff; possibly very minor spoilers involved, so watch out!
Congrats on the completion of FFXII!! I myself clocked un at just
over 115 hours, and the only major thing I didn't accomplish was to
get the last esper. I enjoyed the game moreso than FFIX, and maybe as
much as FFX. I dunno why, maybe because I loved blitzball so much.
Why thank you! You clocked in at just a little bit less time than myself. I don't really know how so many other people apparently got through the game on their first try in sixty, unless they were using an FAQ or guide. There's just so much to explore and do and find, and going through only regular storyline places would, I think, be very difficult to do without a little bit of level-grinding on the side.
Blitzball was definitely an involving "not-so-mini"game, and a few friends of mine got completely lost in it for awhile. I didn't play more than a couple of games, just because I thought they got a little over-time-consuming for their own good. X wasn't a bad game... it just wasn't my favourite. I miss it from time to time, though.
Anyway, what was your impression of the ending? You don't have to
give anything away, but in my own personal opinion, I felt that the
last area, boss, and the ending video were a bit of a let down. Also,
I didn't have to do any supplemental leveling up, as I was around
level 60 by the time I finally made it to the end, and I basically
breezed through the end.
It definitely wasn't the best ending of a Final Fantasy game, but it wasn't the worst either. We've come a long, long way from the single-screen finale of the original, haven't we? Just imagine the reaction if a modern game took that strategy!
The last boss was kind of disappointing, I'd agree. I won't make a secret of the fact that I did have a lot of trouble with it, though, when I first tried at Level 52-54 and failed miserably. It's such a relief to finally be done, though.
To end the rambling, I'm more or less getting to one of your
questions, about random battles. I feel that random battles are, of
course, an essential portion of any RPG, and it wouldn't be very good
without them. The only gripe I have with the random battles in FFXII
is the fact that with a persistent enemy, they'd follow you EVERYWHERE
until you either killed them, or went into a new area. This
especially sucks if you are low on mp, health, lower levels, etc... I
missed the "any minute now!" random battles of FFX greatly during
those moments, but on the whole, the "I can see'em!" system in FFXII
It wasn't bad. It wasn't my favourite of all time, either, though, and I thought that every area was pretty much saturated with monsters, which got more than a little bit annoying from time to time.
I'm looking forward to seeing what FFXIII has in store. It sounds like it's changing to a more "Star Ocean" type format, where you see the enemy and then go into a special "arena" every time you get into a battle. Hopefully it doesn't follow the all-around suckiness of that game too, but I'm optimistic.
Random battles in RPG's are intigral, and unavoidable, so I really
don't see why people complain much. I know that some games are worse
than others, and that you can really get screwed up if you are in a
bad area with limited supplies, but that's why the games are
challanging and exciting. It's why, even if we don't like to admit
it, we love the games, the challange, and the thrill.
P.S. - Now that FFXII is done, it's time to finish DQVIII, and yes,
it's much better than DQVII.
In some games, yes, they're integral. In general, though, they aren't. While I prefer a random battle system myself, it is the case that some non-random battle systems can be of very high quality. As you say, it's the challenge, and the thrill of the challenge, that makes RPGs so likable, and any system, when developed with care, can make the game experience into a great one, I daresay.
Como esta, Senor Slimey! Apparently you need an anime theme that doesn't
sound like the rest. I've got ya covered.
Hellsing's opening is rather unique.
The show itself is interesting too, unless vampires running rampant in
modern-day London bores you. The manga went on to have the vampires be led
by resurgent Nazis operating from South America who then crossed the
Atlantic in zeppelins to avenge Hitler's defeat. Yep, didn't make a bit of
That's, uh, unique. Budding, immature historians, beware.
And yes, that opening theme is quite different than most others I've heard. It reminds me of something
recentish in the world of pop music. Well, never mind, not really. The "Shoobi-doo-bi-doo" thing knocked that out of my mind. And that just reminded me of something else...
Shooby-dooby-doo: Where are you? We've got a [somethinggoeshere] for you now~
Quick apology to Bainick: I wrote you a letter way back when Ouro was first
announcing your latest co-hosting, but apparently it got lost in the inbox.
I crave your pardon.
One can only keep track of so many letters; I apologize if it got lost somewhere, but that's life.
You know, incidentally, that back in the early days of Q&A, hosts actually got like 30 or 40 e-mails per day, damn them, and they had to pick and choose which letters to publish? No one ever expected or was ever guaranteed to make it into the column like they pretty much are today, even if they wrote monster-huge letters. Seriously. So consider yourself lucky that I only miss the occasional one.
Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 2 has some amusing moments such as when the
hero must be as sexy as possible to be admitted into a new area, but the
boss fights aggravated me. See, they take place fighting-game style with
weapons. Only problem with this is that the enemies seem to have much less
recovery time than your character. One boss near the end has a weapon with
the range of the spear and the speed of a fist, seems like. I only beat her
by being cheap and using as much powerful magic as fast as I possibly could.
Which worked just because I was lucky and she didn't heal. Let alone that
damned battle with the TWO ninjas. I don't necessarily regret playing it,
but bosses ripping me apart thanks to cheapness was irritating.
That's part of the fun of bosses, though. Bosses have bent the rules as long as RPGs have been around! It's part of the reason that you're filled with the urge to stick it to 'em.
I gave Boojum a track from Napple Tale, now I'll give you one.
This is one of the very few boss tracks
that actually FEELS like a boss, which fits since the Toy Train actually
puts up a good fight. Yoko Kanno writes fine music.
It's a little insanely chaotic. It sounds like a really bad dream where you're being chased by clowns wielding oversized pieces of cutlery and sporting big frozen smiles. Yikes.
Oh, and I tried ActRaiser 2. I very much doubt I'll ever finish it if
playing just a few minutes made me so angry. The biggest problem is that
the double jump makes the hero start gliding, except the glide is difficult
to control and cannot be pulled out of easily. The game is honestly not an
RPG in any sense, though, and should not be listed on RPGamer. The sim
aspect of the first game is gone, disappointingly.
Alack. A lack of goodness, apparently. Frustrating play control is one of the biggest game-breakers to me, too; it's such a basic, fundamental aspect of any video game. How could anyone get something so wrong? Yargh.
Have a Tales of Phantasia track. http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/1189/58 As
you can probably tell, this is the hidden Ninja village's music. Like it?
Yes, it sounds like a hidden ninja village's music. Nay, I can't say why I'd like it any more than your run-of-the-mill hidden ninja village music either. It's fine, but it's not exactly what I'd call outstanding. Perhaps I'd better appreciate these if I had played the actual games, you know?
Currently I have Sonic Rush and Drill Dozer in both slots of my DS. It was
time for an action rush, and I'm getting it with both. Sonic Rush seems to
be pretty cheap in stores, while Drill Dozer is worth tracking down.
So I've heard. So this month's issue of Nintendo Power told me. I'm getting three free issues for rocking so much, you see, and wow, that magazine has withered down to almost nothing over the years. Or so it seems.
Now, listen to this and judge where you think it comes from.
Don't read on until you have a pretty
good idea of what game this seems to be from. I'll tell you it originates
during an aerial battle with large airborne imperial forces.
Answer: Panzer Dragoon Orta. Which is one of the reasons why an Xbox is not
useless. That game is superb.
Aha. Yeah, that kind of makes sense. It definitely sounds in-step with the Panzer Dragoon Saga stuff you've sent me in the past. I can only assume they're composed by the same person/people?
It had to happen. With my Saturn returned, I had to start up the second
disc of Tengai Makyou IV. Thusly did I travel through Carlsbad Caverns into
Texas, whereupon I found the Alamo. Commanded by General Custer, the Alamo
is a gigantic tank moving through Texas. Oh, and then I went to Mexico.
The Mexicans sure like to say 'Amigo!' All of the Mexican men wear
Hola. Muchos hielo por favor? Yes, this is about as much spanish as I learned during my little February excursion.
There is of course more, but I'll just share a little interesting music with
you. Here's the theme to Oaxaca (which somehow sounds different from
anything else I've heard) http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/6603/70 and the theme at night in Mexico City thanks to something evil going on:
The first one is a little different, isn't it? It sounds like a strange mix of like... Final Fantasy Tactics and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Anybody else hear it? The second makes me feel like I'm in church or something... one with a choir that can actually sing (quite unlike the old ladies' that populated the choir at my old church, back in the days when I actually went...)
As I started the random battle debate of recent weeks, I'll expound a bit
more. At BEST, random battles are just there to me. I do not get
infuriated, but neither do I enjoy. Clearly the underlying game can make
this mostly moot - witness the scores I've given a few titles with random
battles. More to the point - if I throw logic into this, something snaps.
How is there an infinite amount of enemies to slaughter? After enough
killing of enemies shouldn't they get scarce? I realize along this road
lies a game with a finite number of enemies - once they're dead, no more.
And I wouldn't necessarily mind.
Logic and RPGs do not go hand in hand. When's the last time that you pointed your finger at an eight-eyed blob and had lightning stream out to zap them? Since when have you tripped and fallen and lost 8 HP on the sidewalk, only to wake up in the morning with all of your wounds completely healed?
Sword of Vermilion is on the Virtual Console now. If you do not believe my
admonitions regarding its incredibly crappy nature, go ahead and test it.
And I will laugh at the discomfiture!
Hey - at least we know now that Nintendo isn't afraid of putting other-console RPGs up for sale, now. We can be totally hopeful for Shining Force or Phantasy Star, now, I feel!
Heh heh - not today, not tomorrow, but soon... I shall unveil MY backlog to
everyone. I guarantee titles on it no one else reading this has played. My
current eBay binge will cease soon, and I shall have enough games to last
for a couple of years without much new. I don't mind.
Before you do this unveiling, bear in mind the word limit!!! And think of the children!
In the meantime be glad you don't work retail (though the experience would
doubtless change you). Crazy woman yesterday talked about her beautiful
baby (which was a plastic doll). Disturbing.
Yes, I'm more than happy working in my comfy TA seat, though occasionally, it means that I have to mark about a hundred papers within a very short period of time. I'm not really complaining, though, because I get paid pretty darn well for doing it. Yay for yoonions! ("Yoo-" for alliterative purposes, of course.)
The contrast needs... adjusting.
Konban wa, Matt-san!
Out of curiosity-slash-boredom, I thought I might report on the Japanese
game release list for March and April. This is just a few notes that I
scribbled down in my local game store, nothing TOO detailed:
The Wii has 8 games for March, none of them RPGs
The PS3 has 5 games for March, again no RPGs
The DS has -29- games for March, 7 of them RPGs
The PSP has 3 games, no RPGs
The PS2 has 22 games, 1 RPG (and a heck of a lot of pachinko and sports
The XBox 360 has 2 games. Just 2.
The Wii has 4 games, including Super Paper Mario (which seems to be accepted
as a sort of RPG)
The PS3 has 1 game only, not an RPG
The DS has --37-- games, but only 2 RPGs this month (and one of those was
delayed from March)
The PSP has only 1 game in April, but that game is Final Fantasy (out April
The PS2 has 22 games, with 3 RPGs in the lineup.
The XBox 360 has again, just 2 games, no RPGs.
My decision to stick with my PS2 and DS seems to still be the smart
Your man in Japan,
(PS Can I please be a Black Mage in SOCK2? Pretty please?)
You bet it is. The DS is ripe with games, and the number is just growing by the day. The most exciting releases aren't even due out for a very long time. Do you know what I'm looking forward to? Tetris Attack, over the summer. Holy crap... Tetris Attack, Wi-Fi style!? YES PLEASE.
PS2 games will likely slowly fade out by the end of this year, which would be highly unfortunate for Sony, given their situation. However, there are easily more RPGs slated for release on the PS2 yet than the PS3, and by a longshot. Sit on it for a year; it may become much clearer as to whether you "need" any of the new-gen systems at all by then.
A hero for you, a hero for me.
I just finished playing God of War 2 and it got me thinking about my
favorite kind of role in rpgs. I like to play the role of the badass. I'm
talking about characters like Cloud or Yuri from Shadow Hearts 2. They are
tough as nails from the beginning and you have this feeling that whatever
enemy comes after you that they are no match for your strength. I guess it
gives me a feeling of empowerment. Instead most games give you this weak 14
year old kid with amnesia that lives in the smallest backwoods town in the
world. A tragedy strikes and he or she feels that they need to do something
about it and every time this hero is almost killed some strange power welled
up inside of them lets loose and saves the day. These characters are not as
much fun to play as. It usually seems that they have no right to be saving
the world in the first place.
Aww, come on! It's the unsure, unconfident little lamb that finds his or her inner strengths to overcome those hesitations and grow into a true hero! Those brash bigshot badasses are best in the dumb-physical-attacks-but-no-magic supporting roles, I feel. That said, I don't think that Cloud is completely bad-ass. Yuri, yes, but Cloud has a lot of inner insecurities to overcome, and a little hint of a related "feminine" personality. Not that females can't be badasses, for sure... it's just that they almost never are.
Switching to another topic, I read some article about more video game to
movie titles like Castlevania and Metal Gear and realized that they should
do that with an rpg. I am not talking about a sequel to an rpg like Final
Fantasy Advent Children but a retelling of the story in movie form. I think
that Suikoden 2 would make a good choice on this. It has an excellent story
along with a ton of characters and military battles. What they would need
to do with this title is to break it up into multiple movies. In the middle
of Suikoden 2 is one huge plot twist that could serve to be the end of the
first movie and setting up for the second. What are your thoughts on this?
Surely! Games-to-movies are not nearly as despicable as movies-to-games, that's for sure. The transition isn't always wonderful, as FF: The Spirits Within and Mario Brothers demonstrate quite clearly. Well, I don't think I can compare anything to the Mario Bros. movie, actually... that was absolute filth.
Thanks for the letter!
Another question on the big game!
It was only a matter of time wasn't it? But before I sign up for SOCK 2,
I have some questions...
My friend is also playing the game. My question: if players want to create
an unofficial "party," wherein one player heals a damaged comrade, or one
comrade defends another against a monster, will that be possible? I dunno if
this is allowed but I'd like to do it... it would make the game more fun for
both of us, whether or not we win. Because a party isn't a party without
being able to form parties
A second question: will we be able to use sub-classes in the game? I'm
debating whether to be a Fighter or White Mage, but if I can't team up with
someone, or if I can use White Mage as a sub-class, then I won't bother
making it my main class...
I need answers to both of these questions before I can decide which job
class I want to pick.
Thanks for your help,
Not only is partnering up allowed in Sock 2... it's encouraged! Communication is a huge part of this game, so I have absolutely nothing against you joining up to work with someone else. In fact, you can even join a more formalized alliance, called a guild, in which you work with lots of other competitors in order to divide experience obtained from KO-ing other contestants and enemies. Someone just needs to find a guild permit, first. Not only will guild members get to share their e-mail addresses with each other; guild leaders will be able to make public announcements like "Stay away from that monster, or you're toast!" or any other thing... creativity will definitely be key!
Also, you are totally free to gain levels in any class you choose, as you go along, and you can change gears and go with any other at any time. Thus, if you start as a Level 1 White Mage, you can spend Experience points to gain a level, and a job level to go with it. You could then end up as any of the following:
- Level 2; White Mage Lv. 2
- Level 2; White Mage Lv. 1, Fighter Lv. 1
- Level 2; White Mage Lv. 1, Defender Lv. 1
- Level 2; White Mage Lv. 1, Black Mage Lv. 1
So, quite literally, you can build any sort of character with any combination of skills you wish over time.
Such is Sock 2, coming to a Q&A column near you in a mere six weeks or so. Keep abreast of developments by checking out today's tidbit, updated every day. Check it out through the link on the sidebar.
I suppose I'll give Sock 2 a chance. Sign me up as a Black Mage. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.
I've been reading Q&A for a long time, but I've never felt compelled to write in. Maybe getting involved in this will change that. Who knows?
- Tasukete, he who dances with moogles kupo!
Do so! I'm always lusty for letters, and the weekend people are constantly deprived of them too, for some weekend reason that is potentially black hole-related. Writing in with actual letters could in fact net you in-game bonuses, if you have certain accessories equipped, too...
We touched on it above, but now I want to hear your opinion: What is your favourite type of RPG hero? Do you like the moody, cool, emo heroes? Do you like the cute orphaned youngster version? Or maybe you're also a fan of the badass overstrong destroyers, too. Let me know! I'll be waiting.
Unanswered Letter Backlog: 9 - approaching iffy
Matt is one-third done! Almost.
Final Fantasy XII's soundtrack is going through my head almost constantly these days. It's good, actually.
Mar. 21: Matt
Mar. 20: Matt
Mar. 19: Cast
Mar. 18: Cast
About the Host
On my Wishlist:
1. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl
2. Super Paper Mario
3. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn
4. Metroid Prime 3
5. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
On my Portable Playlist:
1. Final Fantasy VI
2. Lunar Knights
3. Mega Man ZX
On my Console Roster:
1. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
2. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria
3. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
1. What's your favourite type of hero?
2. Calling all Lufia Fans: Talk to me!
3. Are games chiefly an art form?
4. The Xbox 360... in new light?
5. Are you interested in Lunar Knights? Why not!?
Coming in May.
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