June 27, 2006
Matthew Demers - 17:14 EST
THIS WILL BE a quick week! With an extra job to take care of on top of all of my normal tasks, the next few Q&A columns are likely to be, ah, how do you say? Concise. Hyes. Rutting through other people's error-ridden pages isn't a whole lot of fun, but it supports my awful, terrible gaming habits. Oh yeah, speaking of which, I went out and bought a DS Lite, making it the first time in history that I've bought the same console twice, but the fact that it was within a year's time is a little more embarrassing. What can I say, though? It's a beautiful handheld that is much improved over the original. The screen really is gorgeously bright in comparison to the old one, and the D-pad is sexy and feels like the one found on the Wii controllers that I played at E3. Exciting, no? So if you want a mini Wii preview, buy a DS Lite! AHAHAH!
OK! It's time we got this party started, huh? Here are today's letters:
Final Fantasy... Forever!
Just a quick note. Although I have my fill of Final
Fantasy quite often, it can never be covered too much.
It is a series that brought many RPgamers into the
genre, and as you said before 7 opened up the door to
many people who would never even consider the field.
So while I must admit that sometimes I scroll through
Final Fantasy 7, 10, 11, 12 letters in Q and A, it is
a vital part of our world and should be decussed ad
Really? I would hope that if the subject ever got that boring that I'd come to my senses and stop putting up so many. I think, though, that I try to construct these columns to reflect the diversity of the readers here. There are a lot of Final Fantasy questions because, well, we all play Final Fantasy, pretty well. But, of course we get questions about other series from time to time; Dragon Quest and Suikoden are games that people inquire about fairly regularly as well, with smatterings of other games speckling the landscape every now and then. As long as the subject matter doesn't become too dry, I'll keep on posting whatever you guys throw at me, so keep throwing! I'm a sitting duck for your letters.
Greetings, Erika and Matt.
A lot, and I mean a LOT of letters have been sent in by people proclaiming FFVII "overrated". They talk about how sick they are of the fanboys, how FFVI is SOOO much better, blah blah blah.
Sorry I didn't get the chance to spin this letter off to Erika last Friday; you got it in just "over" the wire, as it were. Oh well, I can still suck it up and answer it myself.
And yes, there have been a glut of those letters lately. What of it?
Funnily enough, for all these letters complaining about FFVII fanboys, I haven't seen a single one write into RPgamer. Well, while I wouldn't call myself a "fanboy", FFVII is my favorite of the series, so I guess I'll be slapped with the title of "fanboy" whether I like it or not.
By some, you will be. I won't. I used to think that Final Fantasy VII was one of my favourites in the series, and it's still among my most-beloved. It's a great game.
It's quite funny, people write in basing VII and elevating VI. Without realizing it, they have effectively traded places. Am I the first to realize that, at this time, the FFVI fanboys are being far more offensive than the FFVII fanboys? These people proclaim that VII is definitely NOT the best, and that VI ABSOLUTELY is the best, and in doing so, the FFVI fans are doing exactly what they accuse these so-called FFVII fanboys are doing!
How can one say that FFVII "doesn't deserve" the attention and the sales it received? It's not a matter of "deserving" it; for crying out loud. Whether people like it or not, FFVII sold the most out of any FF title, and it is hands down the most popular of the series. Haters of the game simply need to move on, and realize that even if they did not enjoy the game, a lot of other people did. It all comes down to personal opinion in the end. The vast majority of these FFVI fans seem to be doing little more than expressing anger at the fact that VII is more ppular than VI, which is a whiny, useless thing to do.
Precisely. As I've always said, it doesn't matter what people say. Games like Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and the Kingdom Hearts games sold well for a reason; there's something attractive about all of the games, and there are hundreds of thousands of fans out there who love them, no matter what certain other people have to say about it. Expressing that enjoyment in a public place like this shouldn't be centered out as "fanboying", because it's a bit insulting and unconstructive. Discussing and debating about what things might make other games stronger without taking things personally is much more fun for all.
I guess that I've never realized it before, but you're right; a lot of people who have decried Final Fantasy VII are huge FFVI fans. I personally think that FFVI is a better game, but by no means do I ever get angry at those people who hold other opinions. It's funny how many people take their gaming opinions to heart and make it an emotional, dramatic, personal matter when discussing video games should be a light-hearted matter (I think).
Not only is it popular to insult FFVII these days, it is becoming more and more popular to insult its numerous spin-offs and sequels. Now, something about this strikes me as incredibly funny. First of all, let's step back and examine which of these spin-offs have actually come out yet. Hmm...ummm...gee, Advent Children. That's all. And what's this? Gee....it's shipped over two million units. Obviously, it's reception in the U.S has been quite positive.
Dirge of Cerberus, Crisis Core, et cet, none of the others have even been released yet! How are we to know if they won't turn out to be good games? Forget the fact that they have FF7 on the title, (as this is what people complain about), what if they actually turn out to be good? This must be the peak of close-mindedness, (if that's even a real word). Here we sit bashing games for the fact that they have a roman numeral VII in the title, when we have not played a single one of them.
I think that a large part of the anti FFVII sentiments have stemmed from the fact that a lot of people see them as nothing more than cheap money-grabs on the part of Square Enix. Square Enix is a company, though, and has the right to do what they think will earn them the most money. Interestingly, too, no matter what they do, they'll piss someone off. People begged for direct sequels to FF games for a long time, so if they didn't step up and make one, they'd disappoint all of those fans. Of course, the purist-traditionalist FF fans all got super-pissed off when they started making direct sequels in the first place. I think I'm somewhere in the middle; I attempt to be open-minded, but I'd still really rather them work on brand new sequels in the main series instead.
My own reservations for these FFVII spinoffs come from my own experiences with them. Advent Children was all right, but it wasn't as gripping as I hoped it would be. From the demo at E3, Dirge of Cerberus wasn't very well-received, and it hasn't exactly scored rave reviews in Japan. As for the other two, I don't have a PSP, I don't intend to get one, and I'm really not into the idea of cell phone gaming. That's that, I guess.
I guess what I mean to say is that if anyone were to have a (negative) position on these games, I only hope that they would have valid reasons for feeling the way they do. Just hating games arbitrarily is a trait in gamers that could lead to "antisocial old man-style permabitterness" syndrome, and people with that often get ulcers by the time they're 25, or so I'm told.
To say that the game you like best should be everyone's favorite is incredibly intolerant. But then, there are people who honestly believe that FFVII fanboys are somehow deceived and influenced by the fact that it was so mainstream, and they aren't really fans of the game. This is an incredibly stupid thing to say. Final Fantasy VII became mainstream because it was such a high-quality title. And it is still a high-quality title today. I could make a huge list of why I believe FFVII is the best of the series, but it would be useless. It would all be pure opinion. If somebody didn't agree with my opinions, then it wouldn't matter how many I gave to them.
We all have our opinions, and lets try to keep them at just that; opinions.
Hear hear, Oliver. People tend to forget from time to time that we're all here because we have something in common: We all love RPGs! If you find yourself getting worked up into a knot every time you browse through forums or read other people's opinions, take a deep breath, and instead of accusing people of fanboying or calling games "overrated" willy-nilly, do something better: Come forward and talk about the games you like instead, no implied insults attached.
Thanks, Oliver! We could all use a smack from time to time, especially when things get hot around here. ^_^
The real story on Vagrant Story!
That's it, I'm fed up. Enough trash talking on Vagrant Story! I can only
think that Arros couldn't get the hang of the chain combo system, because
otherwise there isn't much to HATE about Vagrant Story.
Let's look at the plusses and minuses:
+engaging battle system, encouraging use of different weapons for each
+Beautifully done graphics and character designs
+A finely crafted story, filled with lots of twists and turns
+Status ailments that are acutally useful and in some cases necessary
+Giant dragons and Minotaurs are awesome
+Replayability factor is high with lots of hidden areas and bosses
-Combo system a little picky about timing
-Said timing is necessary not to die in certain boss battles
From taking a gander around the web, I think that the gameplay is the part that is most hotly contested. Most everyone seems to agree that the plot is superb, but the game itself doesn't seem to be for everyone, from the sounds of it. There must be some things going for it if it got such rave reviews; Famitsu isn't the only magazine that praised it highly upon its release.
I do understand that Vagrant Story is in kind of a grey area when it comes
to what genre it falls under. It's most definitely an RPG, but it's also
some bizzarre blend of Action/Strategy game too. Balancing all of your
weapon affinities can be a bit overwhelming, but I was never anything but
enthralled to develop my weapons into my own personal Dragonsbane or
whatever. The fact of the matter is this. Vagrant Story put alot into the
players hands, more than just item management and leveling. You had to find
the pieces to create the best weapons and craft them yourself.
This game made me really happy to be an RPGamer and I applaud Squaresoft for
taking a risk (no pun intended) and bringing it out over here. My
Playstation 1 collection wouldn't feel complete without it.
Well, good! I guess your letter is a prime illustration of Oliver's from above: You're totally entitled to your own opinions, and I'm glad that you wrote in to communicate why you believe that it's in fact a great game.
Vagrant Story is a game that came out during my RPG-coming-of-age, when I was just starting to broaden my horizons (but very hesitantly and carefully). I can actually remember picking it up on the shelf of a video game store, thinking "what is this?" and putting it back, and then doing it a few more times. I didn't have any money, so I couldn't just buy it myself, and trying something new would have meant... well, I don't know. A risk? So I always asked for other things when it came to birthdays or Christmases. The moral of the story is, your collection is more complete than mine, and Vagrant Story is one more example of an RPG that I maybe should have tried out, once upon a time, because it'll be much harder to now.
The trio of foregone games
Grandia 3 and Suikoden 5 are on opposite ends of the plot/game play spectrum.
I thought Suikoden 5 had a great story but a boring battle system. Grandia
3, on the other hand, is worth buying for the battle system alone. I didn't
care for the story in Grandia 3 and my favorite character permanently left
the party early in the game. Over 100 hours of entertainment in Suikoden 5;
around 30 for Grandia 3.
Tales of Legendia was a button masher with fun and interesting characters.
Each party member had a well developed back story that provided their
motivation in joining the party and saving the world. Feels good saving the
world, doesn't it?
Thanks for the take on that trio of games, a trio that I unfortunately snubbed in favour of pinker games such as Super Princess Peach.
It seems that the land is divided heavily on the Grandia III and Suikoden V front. I'd say that on average, people like Suikoden V most out of those three, and ToL least, but the landscape is very uneven, and none of the games are "universally" popular, based on what people write in about. I think that what makes Suikoden V the most attractive is that it's apparently such a large improvement over its predecessor; I've heard that it looks pretty flashy, too, if you like yummy graphics from time to time.
And of course! Having saved the world several times over, I can tell you that it feels like nothing else, especially when the credits start rolling, a vocal track or two are dedicated to your success, and you get anime stills in your honour. Whee!
XLASH WILL PAY!!!!!
OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!!!
BAINICK SMASH "SMASH SMASH SMASH"
I think that this letter speaks for itself. ^_^
Welcome to the nexus of Q&A!
Okay, that's about all we have to say here for today. Maybe I'll do a limerick tomorrow.
***Answers to June 23rd's Questions***
#238. e) None of the above - 350 points (A Torkoal is a single-type Fire Pokémon, so no attacks could possibly be 4x effective against it under normal circumstances)
#239. c) Much Ado About Nothing - 350 points (This was Erika's question! Blame her! Blame her!!!!! Actually, most of you got this right, believe it or not.)
***Today's New Questions***
Werekitty casts Blind! The questions were obscured!
#240: Ho. ma-y "La;s eoes it .ak# fo- LuMa t( hEql s.mEonE ij bA--le w.tY hER bzs-- reC.v.-^ xPel-? (360 points)
Reader-Submitted #241: b.LO@ you wk;. fiNE lisg.D - SE$iii of eVEN.- *-n Al;gabrticQl .Rder) tgst oXXu- im teh Vinal =an..Sy sw-ies! tAking i.-o axcoPnt -ge FIRSP %e. Funak tAJtasie-< a.d noy ciiN---g BO.us maree*al in r..akEw, giVE eaC- rveNT one poi-t fOR ea.h gsme it App#1rs in, Pivk rhe .vEnt --th %he ,Edian baLue .-r YH# cottecT AnswwR"
a) cId van pr d(es diW *nyT IN batt..)
b) EnxpunTer t.e e-e-y MaoBOYO
c) Fo..T -gaimst PDIN
d) NON+hymqn olAy-bl. chAr-c--r- .. ... pfrty
e) UlTIna%@ sw-.d RagHWrok
Yoicks. Blame Werekitty!
STRAGGLERS: (people who I love, but who still need to check their e-mail or somehow get in touch with me because they have unclaimed items- if you fall off the list, it's TOO LATE FOR YOU! Check your spam/trash folders for my messages if you're not getting them, and I'll check mine, too!)
SOCK's Item List
*You may obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!*
2,000 points: Your choice of Drain Spell (2 left) or Quick Spell (1 left)
3,500 points: Your choice of Aux. Point Generator (1 left) or Mithril Sword (2 left)
5,000 points: Your choice of Thunder Spell (2 left) or Fira Spell (1 left)
7,000 points: Your choice of Gold Armor (2 left) or Super Sneak Glove (1 left)
10,000 points: Your choice of Point Tripler (1 left) or Light Converter (1 left)
14,000 points: Your choice of Hyper Beam (1 left) or Annoying Curse (1 left)
19,000 points: Your choice of Rename Card (2 left) or Vanish Spell (2 left)
Click Here For Item Descriptions and Contest Rules!
SOCK's Prize Shop
*You may SPEND points here in order to obtain any of the following prizes- new ones may appear at any time*
2,000 points: Matt's Mom's Cookie Compilation- 6 fantastic recipes right out of Matt's mom's amazing
kitchen! Yours, upon request. (4 left)
4,000 points: Intro Paragraph Cameo- If you feel like having a piece of Q&A all to yourself for a day,
but you're not up for answering a bunch of questions, this option might be just for you! Say the word, and the
Intro Paragraph is yours to do whatever you want with for a day. (5 left)
15,000 points: Nintendo Wii Canvas Carrying Bag- It's simple and white, with blue print, and two drawstrings; I picked this up while waiting in the nigh-infinitely long line to play Nintendo's new console at E3 2006. If you'd like it, I'll mail it to you free of charge! (1 left)
15,000 points: Pokémon 10th Anniversary game case- Not as special as it sounds, but useful for carrying up to 4 DS games or 2 DS games and 2 Game Boy Advance games. Translucent plastic with a silver Pikachu and print on the front. (1 left)
15,000 points: Bonus Cohost Opportunity- I like giving these out because I don't have to pay for shipping. (2 left)
20,000 points: Cohost Opportunity #4- It might sound like a lot, but it'll be here before you know it.
Your next chance to reign over Q&A with yours truly. (5 left)
22,000 points: Slime Keychain Dangler- Fresh from the Square Enix booth at E3 2006, this cute little guy can be yours. (1 left)
22,000 points: Slime Snail Keychain Dangler- Anyone remember Slime Snails from Dragon Warrior III? I managed to snag one of these, too. Strut with Dragon Quest pride!! (1 left)
25,000 points: Full Host Opportunity #1- This is it. Write your own Q&A section, without having me
interrupt, break in, or steal your sunshine. Be RPGamer's new idol for a day! (1 left)
30,000 points: Nintendo DS Lite Carrying Case- This won't quite fit old-model DS handhelds, but it's lightweight and flashy. White and black with an extra zippered pocket for carrying games, and a hook to attach to clothes, backpacks, or whatnot. I received this at Nintendo's Pre-E3 Media Briefing. (1 left)
30,000 points: Your choice of Megaman X4, X5, or X6 for the PSX. If you're into the Megaman series
as much as I am, and you don't own any of these, I don't need them any more, now that I have purchased the
collection. You can take your pick, and I'll send it to you in the mail with a handwritten note of congratulations
from myself. They aren't RPGs, for sure, but I'm working on it for the future. (Sorry, NTSC-format only) (3 left)
50,000 points: Suikoden for the PSX. Play the game that started off the entire series! Josh was generous enough to donate this exciting prize, so it would be cool to send this to a good and loving home. (Sorry, NTSC-format only) (1 left)
100,000 points: Arc the Lad Collection, for the PSX. Donated by ~Sean~~, so thank him! This collection contains four RPGs from an often-overlooked series. If you can get to 100,000 first, you can call this your own. (Sorry, NTSC-format only) (1 left)
Lately, I've suddenly had a huge desire to play Pokémon. I started talking to my brother about it last night, and we got into a very frenzied conversation that lasted at least an hour. I can't wait for the new games to come out, and I don't know why; I promised myself I'd never become re-addicted after my dangerous encounter with Ruby/Sapphire.
So are there any games that YOU have become absolutely addicted to? Step up and admit it, so that I don't feel so embarrassed about my own weakness, and maybe I'll post it for all to see later this week in Q&A!
***Matt thinks that sebum is disgusting.
O LA LA. I can't wait until I grab the extra time necessary to play with my DS Lite! Isn't it terrible when you have a new toy, but no time to do anything with it? *sigh*
June 26: Josh
June 25: Josh
June 24: Josh
June 23: Matt
About the Host
Matt's Top 3 Current Games:
1. Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
2. The New Super Mario Brothers
3. Radiata Stories
Matt's Top 3 Gaming Desires:
1. Final Fantasy III
2. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl
3. Xenosaga: Episode III
SOCK's Top 25:
3. Alan Tse
17. TV's Adam
26. Arros Raikou
34. Angus Creighton