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ASK MATT
On the Polka Dot
June 21, 2007

Matt Demers - 19:22 EST

THERE ARE ONLY TWENTY-FOUR hours in a day. It's just not enough! The year feels like it's flying by at an incredible rate. Here we are at the first day of summer (first day of winter for you southern-hemispherians) and it feels like only yesterday I was pushing through my thesis, trying to get it done, even though that was months ago.

On the gaming side of things, it seems like only yesterday when I was pining for Pokémon Diamond and Super Paper Mario, but now, they've been out for two months. Where has the time gone? I feel so old.

I choose to forget it, though, and think forward. More game releases are on the way! It won't be long before I'm saying the same things about Dragon Quest IX, Super Smash Brothers Brawl and more. And time marches on...




LETTERS
Whoops!


Which RPG hero do you want to see in a fighting game? Not exactly heroes, but at least party members -- as soon as I saw this, I thought of a Smash Brothers-style game with all the demons you can collect in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. That game has the most crazily imaginative and interesting monsters I can think of, and I'd love to pit them all against each other in a battle royale.

Also, I'm free to wrap up my last cohost in Tuesday's column if you want to send me some letters over the weekend.

-Boojum

Matt

That's a different idea. Better yet, for a little bit of variety, we could take one of those demons, along with an E.S.-riding Xenosaga character, Quina from FFIX, Jessica from Dragon Quest VIII, Laharl from Disgaea, and Frog from Chrono Trigger, among others. Stick 'em all in one big pan-RPG fighting game, and there you have it: A fighter other than Smash Brothers that even I might be interested in.

Oh, and sorry I didn't reply about your cohost offer for Tuesday. Truth be told, I didn't have the time earlier this week anyway. Perhaps sometime soon, though- let me know, and I promise I'll respond more promptly. We've got to finish your last two up before the new crop begins, after all.

Later, Boojum!



Oh, if only it were that easy...


Why would a ninja girl have an axe? Ninjas are about speed, not raw power. Axes are big and slow. You might as well give an axe to a white mage, it fits about as well. Ninjas should have swords, or if possible, a dagger or kunai. As for the rest, okay maybe you're not into that sort of thing. Don't forget, all that sneaking around usually requires some...flexibility. :)

Slashlen

Matt

Eh, I don't make the rules, but that's how it was in Disgaea. I thought it was weird too, that ninjas should be super-skilled with heavy axes, but I got used to the idea quickly. Maybe they were futuristic StealthAxes introduced specifically for ninja-awesomeness by the Rosen Queen Co.



O Player One, O Player One, wherefore hast thou not saved recently?


Dear Matt (Or Question Answering Equivalent)

I've not got much to say, so let's just burn through the applicable Hot Topics, shall we?

Matt

Suretainly.

1. The RPG Hero I want to see in a fighting game the most? Man, that's a tough one. There are a lot of good ones to choose from. First to come to mind is Citan from Xenogears. I would love to see his moves transferred into button mashing goodness.

Matt

I remember Citan! And I only played the game for about 4 hours, total. Man, if I had the drive, I'd love to get back into it... someday.

Another great choice would be Yuri from the Shadow Hearts series. His finishing moves pretty much write themselves, what with becoming monsters and all. Fun times.

Matt

Heh heh. I can see it now: His ultimate move could require some swift timing using a mini-Judgement Ring that pops up from out of the middle of nowhere. Fun indeed.

3. Favourite NON-Remake PSP RPGs? I... don't know. Mostly because I don't own a PSP yet. I will be getting one though, I'm just waiting until the Silent Hill game comes out for it. My fanboy-ness for that series extends to purchasing a system just for one game.

Matt

Another Silent Hill fan! I wonder whatever happened to TV's Adam? He used to write in every now and then, bubbling on and on about it. *reminisces fondly while rocking on the porch at sunset possibly eating saltwater taffy*

But there is one Non-Remake PSP game that I'm interested in that happens to fall into RPG territory. Jeanne D'arc looks to be pretty interesting, and I'll probably pick it up as well.

Matt

Oh yeah, that. Between that game and Crisis Core, there are a fair number of games that seem to have been announced AGES ago that we haven't really heard a ton about since. It'd be nice to learn some more details, but you know how video game companies are these days. Mm-hmm, keeping us all in the dark until BOOM, they announce a bunch of stuff all at once. I guess it helps to build the anticipation in a sense, but I don't know- I haven't felt that pang of excitement for Jeanne d'Arc that everyone else seems to have felt. Perhaps I'm just a big fat looooser.

5. I'm lucky when it comes to classes and clothing. My favourites are Thief and Time Mage, and I'm male.

So, were as female thieves are required to show as much skin as possible, males don't usually follow suit. And Time Mage? Wrapped in a sheet.

Matt

I suppose, though if Vaan is any example, you might have some bare midriff to reveal anyway. Final Fantasy XII: I've never seen more perfectly stylized bodies in my life, male and female alike. If Square Enix really wanted to make things look more realistic, they'd realize that in real life, people can be any of: old, fat, non-light-complexioned, acne-prone, or out-of-shape.

Time Mages though, yeah. Grab a bunch of robes, and hope that the climate you live in isn't too hot. Otherwise, you might need to cast "Haste" on the wind to bring forth a nice breeze. (Could you do that?)

So there we go. Now I think I'll pose a question to you. As I mentioned above, I'm interested in Jeanne D'arc, which is inspired by Joan of Arc's life. Can you think of any other famous historical people or battles that might make a good fantasy RPG?

Maybe a War of 1812 Strategy RPG? It'd be the only time Chatham would be in a videogame. Ha.

Well, that's all from me. Until next time.

-UFJ

Matt

Wowee! You know where I live! And yeah, that would be interesting. Heh, the first thing that comes to my mind is something far more bizarre; how about an RPG starring Shakespeare? To explain why he actually wrote so many plays, you have to journey into a bunch of them as him (in a light-hearted, modern and hilariously written way, of course) in order to try and uncover something. Maybe some incredible demon-villain is threatening to trap the real world inside one of his plays, or something. Imagine scenarios such as running into the three witches from Macbeth, or Duncan's ghost in Hamlet. I probably have those mixed up, by the way, so don't be too harsh... I'm no English major.



The bestest boss.


Hi Matt,

When I first got the item from the sand dungeon in Twilight Princess, I was like, yay, I can move over sand, how *yawns*. Then I had to look at a walkthru (for the first time this game, darn it) to figure out how to REALLY use it, and while the rest of the dungeon was still mediocre, the boss fight I thought was very, very cool.

Without going into detail, I thought it was very dynamic and ranks about third in my mental list of Zelda boss/miniboss fights behind the eyeball monster in Majora's Mask and the witches in Ocarina of Time. What are your favorite Zelda bosses of all time?

Joel

Matt

The boss fight was really cool, but it followed the terrible pattern of being way, way, way way way too easy. It's impossible to die when things do half a heart's worth of damage occasionally, and you have eight full hearts, two bottles of potion and a fairy to spare.

BUT, it was fun. Many Zelda bosses have never been terribly inspiring to me, to be frank, but there is one that I remember really clearly as being incredibly exciting: The Forest temple's boss from Ocarina of Time. For some reason, I just thought it was incredibly spooky and fun, with a little bit of a poetic/classic-scary demonness. I don't even remebmer exactly WHAT it was- some headless ghost rider that came out of paintings in the wall, but I found it to be awesomely eerie. That said, the witches you mention were fun too.

Thanks, Joel!



Choices of platform choices...


Host o' the day:

A reader wrote recently that SquareSoft has chosen traditionally the platform with the widest possible audience. They pointed out that recent announcement of the DQ9 for DS was because of this, and also the SNES->PSX move.

I think "Platform Choice" is really a false choice. No one stops EA from releasing Madden NFL 2008 for 14 platforms. What is stopping Square-Enix from doing the same? In the case of multi-platform release, development costs are higher and the potential audience is increased. This is not a tradeoff Square will make?

Usually, when a game (Like Halo) is exclusive, it is because the hardware maker (Nintendo, Sony, or MS) paid to make that game exclusive. If it wasn't exclusive, the developer would release on multi-platform and sell more copies.

Flamethrower

Matt

Oh, it's certainly a "choice" to not go multi-platform. I think that the aim of Square-Enix is to develop games to the full potential of the systems they're on, and obviously, when you go multi-platform with the same game, it becomes harder to do just that. What's so interesting about their strategy is that nevertheless, they're giving decent support to almost all platforms anyway, so just about everyone gets a piece of the Square Enix pie. That is, unless you're exclusively an Xbox 360 owner, in which case you likely aren't reading this column.

One way or another, IF they're going to only develop any single game for one platform only, it would only make sense for them to turn to the DS, since it's the top-selling system in the world right now by far, with the exception of the PS2, which may or may not be nearing the end of its lifespan. (In a perfect world, it wouldn't be, but this world is very, very imperfect.)



Turn that Arkadyfrown upside-down!


So I am almost to the end of Xenosaga III and the second to last boss keeps beating the hell out of me. This makes me sad. I really want to start on Odins Sphere but with being so close to the end I have to finish this first. Sigh, level grinding here I come.

Matt

There there, you'll get it sooner or later. I rather enjoyed the last challenges of Xenosaga: Episode III; they required some fun strategy and were filled with tense, near-death moments. That automatically-brings-you-back-to-life spell is KEY, even if it costs a ton of EP to cast.

So what do you think of Nintendos buying of Monolith. Will we see some RPGs on the WII that are worth playing? Not to much to report, just really excited about Persona 3 :)
One more question. If you could have anything out there turned into an RPG, what would it be?

Arkadysmile

Matt

There aren't any announcements from Monolith or Nintendo yet, to my knowledge. It'd be fun and kind of weird to have a new Xenosaga series appear for the Wii at some point, though, or how about this concept: Something totally new! *gasp* The industry would do well to have a few new franchises, methinks.

If I could have anything out there turned into an RPG, I'd have to pick my real life. It practically is one, as it is, with the battle music racing through my head before exams and such. It'd need a small dose of monster goodness, unless you count the creepy "downtown" people that sometimes wander into residential south Guelph. (Great potential here for Earthboundesque enemies.) Really, though, the people that live in downtown Guelph are on average way weirder than anyone who lives around campus. On the weirdness-o-meter, they'd be like, an 8.1. (Some downtown Montréalers might score about a 9.7...)

And as for my favorite class, that would be... recess. Just kidding, hey stop throwing thing. Really its got to be a healer because without one of those your pretty much screwed. I mean I know the first thing I do is learn a heal spell, potions and such are expensive most of the time.

Matt

It's interesting, though, when healers are given a nice little twist. Straight-up clerics are boring as hell, I find, but when they have surprise monk-like abilities or the odd attack spell in their arsenal, they become a little funkier.

Thanks, Arkady, for the letter!



"Ing-wee"? "Young-weigh"? "Ying-why?"


I need someone to confirm this...either a Zelda expert or a Heavy Metal Guru, but here goes:

Matt

Well, I'm not really either, but I'll do my best.

Is it or is it not true that Heavy Metal Guitar virtuouso Yngwie J. Malmsteen did a Guitar Solo of the Legend of Zelda theme?

If you guys can confirm or deny this, in any official sense...I'd sleep better at night.

And if you don't know who Yngwie J. Malmsteen is..you should be very sad right now.

~Blade

Matt

Why of course I know who he is. Widely recognised for his guitar skills, Malmsteen achieved widespread acclaim in the 1980s for his technical proficiency and his pioneering of the shred guitar technique, and neo-classical metal genre.

*cough*

I think that the answer is yes, simply based on a quick Google search. Not only does " 'Yngwie J. Malmsteen' Zelda" turn up close to a thousand hits, but it seems like he has (or had) a large following in Japan, which isn't confirmation by any means, but helps the case at any rate.

If anybody else can shed some more official light on the subject, Blade would for sure be a happy man, so please write in and talk!



"Beep! Beep! Beep!"s that aren't cutting out profanity.


Hi Matt!

Don't you hate it how you put down your wallet just for a second and then you spend the next 15 minutes finding it? I wish I could just call it on the phone... I'm sure someone is working on some sort of tags to put on things so we can find them with a special device and die from radiation poisoning.

Matt

Hey, they have remote controls out there that will beep frenetically so that you can more easily locate it, perhaps under a couch cushion or Uncle Billy's right buttcheek. This sort of thing happened to me yesterday, when I couldn't find my KEYS (very scary) on campus, before I realized that I had locked myself out of the faculty's mail room. I had to go down and bashfully ask the secretary to bail me out... I felt like I was suddenly put into the middle of my own stupid fetch quest.

Anyway, I don't get what all the fuss is about Radiata Stories' interface. I seriously had no problems with it and I don't think I'm more technology inclined than the rest of you. Maybe I just enjoyed the game too much to notice wrong button presses?

Matt

Perhaps, or perhaps it's just my intrinsic idiocy that prevented me from latching on very quickly. I can't be alone though, because I've received other e-mails chiming in with enthusiastic agreement.

I'm before the final dungeon of FFXII and I'm stuck again. On the one hand, I could spend another 20 hours or so to unlock all the quests (it's my first playthrough), but some are tough, boring and long. On the other hand, I could just go on to beat the final dungeon, probably without much difficulty, but I'm afraid to lose some of the experience. Beating the game and then loading a previous save to do the side quests is not an option.

Matt

And it won't be, either. The marks were tempting for awhile, until I got sick and tired of getting 2300 Gil and a Teleport Stone *gasp* as a reward all the time. Who cares? Argh!

I found that once I finally bit the bullet and got past the game, my desire to go back diminished very significantly; you'll probably find the same to be true.

Do you every think there are too many sidequests in games these days? I like game where the extra content is a bit limited in scope and you kind of know what to do where...

Matt

I don't know, really. Sidequests have their place, but I think that in order for them to actually be SIDE quests, they should take second spot to the main quest, which should be far more interesting and significant. That's what the problem is with some RPGs; they run with side bits and never know when to stop, while totally skimping out on the central quest. It's like serving a tiny three-ounce steak alongside an oversized heap of green beans. Green beans are good, but they have to be secondary to the delicious juiciness of the steak.

Speaking of which, I beat Puzzle Quest the other day (first game I've finished in ages). I really liked the system there - on the world map each town shows you if there are new quests available and whether they're story related or not, if you can redo previous quests or if there aren't any quests at all. It really helps keeping things organized. Even better - it doesn't matter if you forget what to do, you can always see "active hotspots" on the world map.

Zohar Gilboa

Matt

What a bizarre little game. I can't believe I couldn't convince my brother to get a copy so that I could steal it from him. Are there multiple save files available? I really have to get at least a small taste of this game...

Until next time, Zohar!



QUICKIES

But what about Yukimaru, zam! Her class was Kunoichi, zam! She had a sword, zam!

Matt
It's true, zam. Disgaea 2 changed the formula a little bit from the original Disgaea, though, and made ninjas a little more ninjaly. Either that, or the Rosen Queen Co. realized how f-ed up the idea of axe-wielding ninjas really was.

"And yes. Triangle = Menu, end of story. Sorry, Final Fantasy VIII... you tried."

And let's not forget your precious Dragon Quest VIII. >-)

Matt
Damn you! Damn you and your observation skills! Dragon Quest VIII is PERFECT! *explodes*



IN CLOSING

Dear ME, there is a load of letters in the inbox! I don't know if I've ever had such an incredible backlog of mail before, so please be patient or understanding if it takes a long time for your letters to be posted. I so appreciate the effort you've put in lately!

We have one more day before the week closes out, and so I ask you this question: Do you think that side quests have gone rampant in recent years? Are the portions of green beans getting excessive these days, or do you want more of those beans piled onto your gaming plate? I want to hear from you!

Have a great day, everybody.



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 44 - What the **** is going on here!?...



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt is incredulous! Matt is incredible, too. ;)


I'm really having the craziest craving for Final Fantasy VII lately... I could just sit down and play it for hours, given the opportunity, right now. Argh!

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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:

1. Have sidequests in RPGs gone a little bit overboard recently?

2. What is your favourite RPG class... and why?

3. What are your favourite NON-remake PSP RPGs?

4. Do you think today's games only "good" while yesterday's were "great"?

5. Are Final Fantasy III's job-change-requirements refreshing or annoying?



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