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ASK MATT
Well Met, Good Sir
June 14, 2007

Matt Demers - 16:58 EST

I'M REALLY ENJOYING Lunar Knights. I know I've tried coaxing people over the past couple of months to try it out, but if you want a different-feeling game and a change of pace, this is something you should consider. It's like an Action-RPG version of a Disgaea/Castlevania hybrid. I really am not sure how else to describe it, because it's quite unlike most other things I've played.

It provides a nice change from Pokémon, anyway... and believe me, that addiction hasn't dried up in the least. Yeah, I know. You don't want to know what my game clock is at.

To the lettermobile!




LETTERS
No, and um, no.


Greetings my man,

i wonder when exactly this summer Phantasy Star Collection (Sega Ages, PS2) will be released. And for Landstalker the remake (PSP) goes the same. Those games should haven been released years ago for crying out loud.

Anyways, have a nice day!

Matt

I think you'd better give up hope, because you might end up waiting forever. There was a Phantasy Star Collection released for the GBA awhile back, if I remember correctly, though finding it now would be a reasonably tough feat.

As for your PSP game? I've never heard of Landstalker, or this alleged remake, so my help will be limited. There's no information about the game here at RPGamer as far as I can tell, though it looks from a Google search like there was an announcement almost 2 years ago. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there has been much news since then, so I worry that your remake might be hanging in development limbo (a bad place for games to be).

Sorry about the double-punch of negativity, but that's life, sadly.



A list of DS goodnesses.


I finally jumped on the DS Lite bandwagon just last week (having the prospect of 8 hours on a train helped the matter). I haven't had a handheld since the old gray-brick Game Boy, and I have to say that I'm absolutely in love. I'm going to have a hard time going back to console gaming when:

-I can instantly pause the game whenever I want.

Matt

A useful feature. (Though, come on, consoles usually have that too.)

-Game loading does not take a full minute to get to the actual game play.

Matt

Now THERE's a reason.

-I have that neato stylus which can really be used in a ton of cool ways.

Matt

...90% of the time.

-I don't have to go downstairs to my video game fortress to play.

Matt

Yes! I feel so lazy now, but it feels like such WORK to actually get up and play a game on one of my consoles in comparison to just hitting "ON" and playing within 30 seconds from the comfort of my sofa. Or bed.

-It looks sleek and stylish.

Matt

Mmmhmm, it does.

-It's the perfect size: light enough to fit in a pocket but big enough not to feel cramped in any way.

Matt

The only other handheld that I've ever actually owned myself was a Game Boy Advance (not an SP). For some reason, the DS Lite DOES slip in and out of the ol' front-right jeans pocket with greater ease. I don't know why.

-It comes with a rechargable battery pack which easily lasts for 8 or 9 hours per charge (on the second-lowest brightness setting).

Matt

I think that I've played mine so much that my battery's life has been reduced considerably. I never thought that I'd reach this point, but it seems like I'm getting less and less playtime for a night's charge these days...

-There are such cool games for it!

So far I've finished the first Phoenix Wright (AWESOME game, one of the only Japanese games I've ever played that literally keeps me laughing out loud, and some very creative and interesting gameplay) and gotten started on FF3DS, which I have very few complaints about. I need friends, by the way. :) My friend code is 1289 5053 4956, so if you or any readers can add me, I want to get started unlocking Onion Knight!

--Cidolfas

Matt

Eh, why not? Consider you "added" to my list. The DS has a huge number of great games, and a lot more on the way, especially if you're an RPGamer, which you presumably are if you're reading this. And it wasn't that long ago when people wondered if the little handheld would go into a tailspin and tank...

Thanks, Cidolfas! You're on my list. My friend code is 5154 8019 2117, for reference!



Man, I keep missing these stupid titles when I proofread my columns. *smacks self*


The SOCK 2 question from the other day was from Dragon Quest 7. Speaking of that game, it had a bunch of interesting classes. Some of my favorites are:

Shepard: The mastery ability for the class is Stampede which lets you summon a gaggle of sheep with which to trample all enemies. The attack ignored defense too, which was a nice plus.

Superstar: The master ability for this one is Hustle, which heals everyone in your party for a decent amount of HP for no MP cost. A useful skill, to be sure.

Matt

There WERE some neat classes in that game. The monster classes were really complex, too, and some skills could only be learned through adopting monster classes. Not only that, but there were many "hybrid" monster classes that could only be obtained by mastering weaker monster classes first, creating a sort of evil family tree of power. It's too bad that mastering classes took -F O R E V E R- in that game...

My favourite classes were the not-so-standard Mariner and Pirate classes, which had high HP but also the ability to use some Water Magic... the first Water Magic of the entire DQ series. Exciting, that, and "Coralrain" is such a fun name for a spell, too.

Classes in the game were divided into four categories: Basic, Advanced, Expert, and Monster. Expert classes usually required you to have mastered two or more other classes before you could switch to it. Anything like this in SOCK 2?

Matt

Mayyyybeeee! You'll just have to see.

Your current class in DQ7 affected only equip-able weapons and armor. All abilities once learned were always accessible in battle.

Matt

I think that more importantly, your current class affected your stats significantly. Change to a wizard, for example, and watch your HP plummet to 40 or 50% of what it normally is! So fun, even if it doesn't make a shred of sense.

Of the "Standard" classes, how could you possibly have a favorite? Each class (usually) represents a trade-off. Black (Attack) mage? Powerful offensive spells when MP is available and high magic resistance but poor strength and weak vs. physical attacks. The fighter is vulnerable to magic, cannot use magic, and has powerful physical attacks. The red mage is a compromise between the fighter, black, and white mages - Not particularly weak or strong in any area. When many players have the same favorite or least favorite class, it means the developer did a poor job balancing the game's classes.

Matt

It's true that if they're balanced, everyone shouldn't have the SAME favourite, but over time, I think that most of us gain some tendency to enjoy playing as a certain class. My friend Mike ALWAYS plays as a White Mage/Cleric-type character in everything he does, just because that's what he enjoys. I like off-beat classes, or Wizards too. A lot of people like swingin' around a heavy axe as a huge muscle-bound fighter. To each their own!

Also worth noting: Games are easiest when you have a diversified party. Four fighters in FF1 is tougher to win with than 2 fighters, red mage, white mage (The toughest party to win with is four white mages). The diversified party is successful because the party makes use of the expert skills provided by each of its specialized members.

Flamethrower

Matt

...and when we all work together, we can achieve anything!

Exactly. This is why in the real world, we aren't all doctors; we aren't all lawyers; we aren't all fishermen. The RPG world represents just a small-scale version of what we all know from life: Without a diversity of different people with different skills, you'll see the GAME OVER screen.

Thanks, Flamethrower!



Oh, technicalitays.


Hiya, Matt!

I mostly want to point out something about question # 34 of Sock 2. Though I lost my copy of Smash Bros. Melee some time ago, I seem to recall either Paula's or Ness's trophy implying that it was Paula that taught Ness PK (PSI) Fire and Thunder. While it can be argued that none of the Smash Bros. characters are the same ones from their original games (aren't they figurines come to life or something like that?), Ness knowing PK Thunder isn't a reason he isn't the same Ness from Earthbound. After all, with Ness knowing mostly healing PSI, they had to add on Paula's attack PSI for Smash Bros. Speaking of which, assuming Ness makes it into Super Smash Bros. Brawl, do you think Ness' PSI/PK Rockin' Omega (or whatever you name your "Favorite thing") will be Ness' "Final Smash" move? That would be awesome to see.

Matt

Okay, okay, fair enough. I guess I didn't really take that technicality into account, but I think that everybody knew what I was getting at: How is the Smash Bros. Ness different from Ness' Earthbound form? Since the only difference was that he can't use Thunder in Earthbound, the answer was clear nonetheless, I hope.

I'd LOVE to see him with his big move in Brawl, or better yet, PK LifeUp. Imagine: You could slowly heal your wounds, but you'd have to stay perfectly still while doing so. It'd be fun, especially because I think that Ness sucks as he is currently.

And just to avoid making this letter about only one topic and a question, I'll voice which RPG class I'd like to be. Out of all RPG classes out there (or at least the ones I know of), I'd love to be a Phantasy Star Online HUnewearl. A HUnewearl is a female Hunter Newman, basically an elf-like blade wielder with the best Technical capabilities of a non-Force. When it comes to RPG classes, I either like to hit hard and fast with an agile character or mix decent magic and physical attack capabilities. HUnewearls are essentially both, the fastest of any character class in PSO with excellent Technical prowess. HUnewearls actually have the lowest attack stat for a Hunter, but they can get around it by using Dagger or Twin blade-type weapons, hitting an opponent quickly and with multiple strikes. I just love being able to switch between slashing monsters to bits with my Bloody Art daggers or standing back and unleashing a powerful Rafoie Technique.. The long pointed ears are cool too. The only difference I'd make is that I would dress more modestly than HUnewearls tend to.

Matt

Ah yes, this is the problem with many RPG classes in the video-gaming world. Adopting one of these classes would almost necessarily mean wearing approximately eleven square inches of clothes over your whole body (less if you're female by a significant margin).

I like the mage-mixed-with-fighter as well. In a game that I was designing not long ago (but never got around to making) there was a class called "Summon Knight" obtainable by leveling up Summoner sufficiently. A Summon Knight doesn't summon monsters... instead, it summons wicked enchanted equipment which the summoner can temporarily use to kick the crap out of monsters. I was proud of that class idea, because I've never heard of a game with an idea like that before, and I thought it was purdy neat. Again though, what makes it especially fun is the whole mage/fighter mix, which is lots of fun. It's fun for the same reason that Paladins are more fun than just regular old knights.

Now time for the aforementioned question. I asked Andrew to question quite some ago, but I may as well hear about your experience: have you ever a final boss in which its last form was actually easier than its first? I find this more irritating than an easy last boss since you expect the last form to be HARDER than its firs/pervious forms, not easier. Mithos's first form would teleport all the time and paralyze, poison and curse your characters making it hard to land a hit but his second form was practically immobile, making it too easy to hit and knock him down.

Matt

Oh... yes, I have. Actually, this happens fairly frequently, leaving me super-disappointed. The most recent example of this was Super Paper Mario, which I experienced less than two weeks ago. Fun idea for a final boss? ABSOLUTELY. But why, oh why, did they make it so damn easy? I had to try to make it challenging by doing utterly unintelligent things on purpose, which is pretty dumb.

Well that's all from me today. Hopefully I'll be able to send the next letter sooner.

-Strawberry Eggs

Matt

Cool! I'll be looking for it. And sorry it took me so long to get around to this one... I just have a ton of mail in the ol' inbox these days. (I'm NOT complaining... it's nice for a change.)



A not-quite-satisfied customer.


Hey Matt!

I've recently taken the plunge and bought myself a Nintendo DS. Yay! Now I have no excuse for missing out on Dragon Quest 9 whenever it comes out!

Matt

No you don't! MAN, am I looking forward to this game! I'm so excited, ahahaha.

To tell you the truth, I have been a little dissapointed in a game I got for the DS. That game would be Pokemon Pearl. Don't get me wrong, I do like it, but I have a few issues with the most recent iteration. One of them can be summed up by saying that i feel like I am playing a rerun of Ruby and Saphire. The two morst recent titles feel very much the same, much like the way Gold/Silver felt a lot like Red/Blue. To me, it seems that there really wasn't a lot of innovation between the sequals. What made the jump from G/S to R/S was the inclusion of team battles and weather effects. The idea of having non combat contests was a compliment to the gym battles we expect from the series that made the jump from the previous game worth it. Diamond and Pearl have all that R/S did, but that's about it. I am surprised that Nintendo didn't really take advantage of the DS's capabilities in the gameplay (Except for Chatot's Chatter ability and the online battles!).

Matt

Sure it did! The touch screen is used widely in the underground, as well as with the Poketch. Yeah, those aren't exactly crucial things, but they're there. Also, most importantly, the amazingness of Nintendo Wi-Fi is used so smartly in multiple ways (battles, trading, GTS). The best part of this game is battling your friends, and now you can do so from far, far away. (I battled with Bainick from Australia last week!) Not only that, but the DS microphone works beautifully during Wi-Fi connections... it's kind of like free long distance, really.

I do think that the game had a few shortcomings, and I think most of them stemmed from the fact that the Sinnoh Pokédex was so... limited. There were so many Geodudes, Starlys, Buizels, BIDOOFS, and Shelloses all over the place that it got a little annoying after awhile. Further, I feel like they snubbed the Fire type completely while making still more Water/Ground critters (even when enough of them existed already).

One last gripe I have is that the world of Ruby/Sapphire seemed to be a lot more diverse geographically than this one, and there seemed to be more exciting secrets to uncover. BUT, despite all of this, I think that the game is a lot cleaner than Ruby/Sapphire, and overall, a more challenging and better game.

I wish that the creators of Pokemon would make better stories for this series as well. I know they tried with the two games for the Gamecube, but they were only a secondary thing to the entire colliseum aspect for multiplayer. I am not asking for a dark and violent story from these guys, but it would be nice to have a story that doesn't involve some sort of team of wannabe villains trying to something evil that requires a legendary Pokemon to do their bidding and then taking on the top trainers for the championship. D/P did try to mix it up with Team Galaxy (Trying to make their own galaxy??? What's up with that?), but it came off as being silly. Oh well.

Matt

Now, that I can agree with. I don't know why something AWESOME can't happen. Say, you get to the end, become a champion, and then BOOM, all of a sudden, Team whatever comes in and does something simply incredible and you get into the "real" final battle. The games are too predictable, I agree, and they would do well to have a delicious dash of story.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, I would like to add that the game was indeed fun and that the gym battles were pretty challenging at times. Some of the new pokemon were nice, and the music was great this time around. Lets hope that the next game will be better!

Witecat

Matt

Agreed. If I had one wish, it would be that the emphasis is taken off the darn Water Pokémon, of which there are FAR too many. I'd love to start the game off with a bunch of Psychic and Ice types, for example, and have the "big scary ones" be of the Grass and Bug varieties... the ones that have been the traditional pushovers. Ah well.

"Being a pokemon master is cool, but why do I have to look like a delivery boy from the local pizza shop?" -random quote from my friend when he started playing Pokemon Diamond.

Matt

Mm, that's kind of true. Mm, now I want pizza.



QUICKIES

You read the printed word, right Matt? What varieties of the printed word do you most enjoy reading?

JuMeSyn

Matt
If they aren't game manuals or fractal analysis textbooks, chances are that I'm not going to read it. I don't have the energy to read actual "printed word" nowadays...university did it to me.

IN CLOSING

Okay! We just talked a whole lot about Dragon Warrior VII of all things, and so much Pokémon that I'm feeling somewhat heady. I think I'm going to go lay down for awhile.

While I'm out, write me! Would taking on a real-life class be worth it if it meant you were condemned to wander around everywhere half-naked? If you could transform any of your favourite RPG characters into a fighting-game-version, which would you choose and why? These are the questions I am posing to you; write to me and give me some answers!

Until tomorrow, I wish you well.



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Unanswered Letter Backlog: 23 - The Tetris blocks are dancing near the top!



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt is leveling up.


And I just reached... Level 65.

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On my Wishlist:

1. Dragon Quest IX

2. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

4. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker

5. Metroid Prime 3



On my Portable Playlist:

1. Pokémon Diamond

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



Hot Topics:

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5. Would adopting a real-life class be worth running around in skimpy clothes?



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