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ASK MATT
No Regrets
August 14, 2007

Matthew Demers - 17:39 EST

HAVE YOU TAKEN a glance at the new Dragon Quest IV DS propaganda? The stuff of dreams, my friends, the stuff of dreams.

I beat Mega Man ZX on the weekend, so Etrian Odyssey is next up to bat; Valkyrie Profile 2 is coming along in the background. It's not a bad game... but as with many tri-Ace games, it hasn't really gripped me yet because of what I consider to be bumbling interaction. Those people- they always have huge ideas in mind, and big games to go with them, but they have an awful time explaining how the fuzz it works to the player. At least the story is pretty decent so far.

Some letters! Let's march.




LETTERS
RPGs and the new current gen of gaming.


Hey Matt,

I thought I would chime in on your wavering antipathy towards the XBox 360. I am the kind of person who despises letting a good RPG get away from me, which is kind of an expensive habit. When the XBox was around, the number of RPGs on it was very slim, and I was able to get Fable, Sudeki, KotOR 1 and 2, and Jade Empire for PC, meaning that there was NOTHING I wanted for XBox that I couldn't get somewhere else.

As we move into the next generation of systems, I have been hoping that I could play things the same way. There is no doubt that I will be getting a Wii. My wife has promised it to me as a graduation gift. (Hopefully, there will be some available by next summer.) But, as things have progressed, games that sound interesting to me on X360, such as Blue Dragon, Eternal Sonata, Mass Effect, Overlord, etc, have started coming out. Some have also come out on PC, but I think there are more X360 exclusives that I care about than there were total XBox games that I cared about.

So I will continue with my plan to get a Wii, but it won't happen for a year. Maybe by then, more X360 games will start to make their way to the PC and my problems will be alleviated, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be joining the X360 bandwagon in a few years.

Your thoughts?

Draconn

Matt

It's true. Unlike the previous generation, the 360 has actually managed to grab a few interesting-looking exclusive titles. That's something that the PS3 hasn't even done, with the (big) exceptions of FFXIII, possibly White Knight Story and Disgaea 3.

My feelings are so up and down on the Wii, it's not even funny. A big part of me, I think, is influenced by the stupid message board threads that go on and on tirelessly about there not being any games for the poor system besides Zelda, and that it's a lost cause.

But then, I have to remember and catch myself before falling into that trap: Yeah, there was Zelda, but it was phenomenal. But there has also been Super Paper Mario and Trauma Centre, both of which were excellent, Wii Sports and Warioware, which are just fun to play with friends, with Metroid Prime, Super Mario Galaxy, Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn, Dragon Quest Swords, and Super Smash Brothers Brawl out before the end of the year. That's easily more in the way of interesting titles than I could name for the 360 or the PS3, and that includes two great-looking RPGs. No, I'm really satisfied in my purchase, and I think that Nintendo's Wii has a lot of promise, despite what a bunch of pathetic adolescents have to say on the issue.

It is my hope, of course, that no matter which systems emerge, that RPGs have a strong and healthy future. I'm becoming more and more convinced, however, as I've mentioned a few times, that that strong future is a handheld one (whether people like it or not). From the looks of it, though, you probably won't be disappointed as an RPGamer if you do wind up with a 360 one day.

Thanks, Draconn!



A nyewww game.


Here are a link to a ruliweb article on the recently anounced Astonishia Story 2 for the PSP (due out in korea). The second link is the game's banner/logo.

- Brian

PS. I think the game looks beautiful

http://ruliweb.empas.com/data/rulinews/read.htm?num=15601&main=psp
http://ruliweb.empas.com/data/rulinews/read.htm?page=&num=15563&find=&ftext=

Matt

Yes, it does look pretty nice. It has that bizarrely ultra-crisp anime look that a lot of PSP games are receiving (if you've seen screenshots of FFI or II PSP, you'll know what I mean. Worth watching for, even though RPGamer hasn't even received anything official on this title as of yet!



A letter from my exotic lover (I wish...)


Dear Matt:

It's been awhile since you've had one of these in your inbox, hasn't it? I apologize, but as you must realize, I've been quite busy. My various responsibilities have been such that I haven't even been able to keep up with Q&A every day, though I have read a few columns here and there. As such, I apologize if a) I talk about something that's already been discussed, or b) if I go way off-topic.

Matt

Jeffrey! Oh, I've missed you like I miss hot water while camping in the wilderness. How's life?

I'm playing Brave Story: New Traveler on my PSP right now, and I can't recommend it to you highly enough. Now, last I checked, you were still debating between the 360 and the PSP for your next system purchase. Given your love of the DS, I feel comfortable suggesting the PSP. If you decide to go PSP, there are quite a few games in a variety of genres that I'd be happy to point you toward.

Matt

Sweet. Given that there are a fair number of unique RPGs coming out- and that ridiculously-hot looking Mega Man remake- it's a possibility. Plus, it doesn't cost half a million dollars; it's the cheapest new system that I could buy right now (excluding, of course, Xbox-regulars or Gamecubes, neither of which is or ever will be on my shopping list, heh heh).

Brave Story is one of those games. At times it feels so like Dragon Quest that I have to remind myself of exactly what game I'm playing. I'm about a dozen hours in, and while it is fairly light (lite? Will that ever be the officially accepted spelling?) on story, the characters are quite well done.

Matt

"Lite" is okay for gaming, because it has that gamingy-connotation, for some reason. "Light" makes me think of reduced-fat cream cheese for some reason.

Sounds nifty, though. Judging from a few opinions I've seen, Brave Story looks like a game that some people love, and some people hate. Of course, that would mean that it has something else in common with Dragon Quest. Either way, it's a little reassuring to see that the "classic gameplay" games haven't bitten the bullet in this age of real-time everything and supercool innovations.

Speaking of story-lite (gah! Did it again!) turn-based RPGs, I'm afraid I've been distracted from Etrian Odyssey. One disadvantage of being a primarily portable gamer is that it makes the decision of which system to take with me that much harder. I will get back to Etrian Odyssey, but with Jeanne D'Arc and the Disgaea port upcoming on the PSP, I'm not sure when.

Matt

Oh MY- now this was an unexpected twist. I might just catch up to you, since I'm finally, at long last, starting the game myself! (Yes, after all this time! You should be proud of me for clearing my backlog so handily.)

Finally, I'd like to talk a bit about our most recent Final Fantasy. Now, while I was a fairly heavy gamer during my formative years, and again more recently, during my later high school years, and all through college, I barely picked up a game pad. Suffice it to say that I entirely missed Final Fantasy X. FFXII was the first PS2 FF I played (and play it I did, amassing around 99 hours of play-time). Recently I stuck a copy of FFX in ye olde PS2 and...found it completely unplayable. About 7 or 8 hours in, I thought, "You know what? I could be playing FFXII instead, and I'd actually be having fun." Maybe it's just me, but for all its failings (yes, I'm aware of them), I still think FFXII is amazing.

Matt

I know- that's the ultimate and somewhat ironic reality of Final Fantasy XII. I could go on (and I have gone on) for many, many columns about the number of things that irritated me about the game. There were so many things that I feel could have been done better. But, for what it's worth, and despite all those things, it was a fantastic game nonetheless. I don't understand it myself, but I think that many people know exactly what I mean.

Not as amazing as FFIII DS, though. I love that game to death.

Matt

Eh, I'm not sure about that one. As much as I love FFIII, and as much as I LOVED seeing it brought to life in such a glorious and respectful way, I have to admit that the gameplay was slow and the job system isn't my favourite one of all time. I think I'll take XII over III, myself, but you know what they say: Different strokes for different blokes. Folks. One of those.

So, my question for you: Of all the upcoming DQ titles, which are you looking forward to the most? I'll go ahead and tell you that I am (still) anticipating the release of DQIX. As lovely as DQM:J looks, and as stoked as I am about IV, V, and VI (and of course I'll buy them all), I've been so excited about DQIX for so long that I find myself placing unreasonable expectations on it. I fully believe in the power of DQIX to protect me from vampires. DQIX's awesomeness will pay my bills. The sheer amount of greatness that will be packed into DQIX's minuscule cartridge will solve the problems in the Middle East.

Matt

Oh, there is no question in my mind that Dragon Quest IX is not only my number-one-most-anticipated Dragon Quest game; it's my single most anticipated game since its wonderful prequel. The people at Level 5 have a lot to prove with this one, but if they can do for it what they did for DQVIII, then my god, the game will be amazing. The other games... they all look good too, without exception, and many of them make me very excited indeed (namely, the remakes). However, there is NO comparison to a brand new, shiny Dragon Quest game, and man, you're going to see the excitement build from me in the months to come.

Yours, until somebody else wants me,
Jeffrey

Matt

No no, you're all mine, you sexy thing you. Ahahahaha. Thanks for the letter. ;)



Aww, my other love...


http://youtube.com/watch?v=bMIAp7F0wVU This is an AMAZING trailer! Don't miss it. BTW, how many games in this trailer have you played? Are there any ones that you haven't played but are interested in? *cough*trymegamanlegendsplease*cough*

Matt

Oh, Mega Man. It's funny how often this is turning up today, but I've played through a good number of them. I haven't, however, played a Mega Man Battle Network game, and in fact, I didn't even know how the battle system worked until I watched it- it always looked weirdly turn-based to me for some reason, which it evidently is not.

I know all 8 original series and X games, though, like the back of my hand. I've played through and liked to a lesser degree Mega Man Zero 2 and 3; Mega Man ZX, which I just finished on the weekend, was pretty darn good. They forgot a couple, though! Does anybody remember Mega Man Soccer? Holy crap, what a silly, random, fun game. But there were two more, and they actually FIT the theme of this site.

Mega Man: Network Transmission was an interesting platformer with heavy RPG elements that I absolutely adored. Can anyone agree with me at all? I imagine that only Mega Man fans could ever understand, but I don't care. I thought it was great, and awesomely challenging. Secondly, Mega Man X: Command Mission was a PS2 RPG that made more of a "bim" than a "boom" in the industry, but it wasn't a totally bad game either. I meant to review it, once upon a time...

Thanks for the trailer! It brought some nice fuzzy feelings up.



Sudden DQ fears...


Y'know how FF1 was rejiggered to use an MP system, presumably because it was too "primitive and limiting"?

Matt

Ohhh yeah. NOT a fan of that idea, you can just bet... that's nearly rant-worthy.

Now I'm thinking of DQ4. What do you think they'll do with the whole "most of your characters automatically act on their own" thing? Will they change THAT? It'd take a whole lot less thought than converting FF1 to MP, that's for sure, and thus more likely they'll miss balance issues.

Matt

They'll make the auto-AI optional, almost certainly. And you know, I'm actually really happy about it. After all, it was the only DQ in the entire series that forced you to rely on AI to make decisions for your allies. While it was really neato-cool back in 1992, it really restricts the number of strategies you can take, especially when facing a big ugly boss or something. Plus, Cristo won't continually try casting instant-death spells on the final boss.

Luckily, I think that Dragon Quest IV (like many DQ games) was one of the most balanced and wonderfully-challenging RPGs ever made to begin with, so they shouldn't need to do much tinkering in that department.

I don't mean to frighten you, but it came to mind, and I was wondering what you thought would happen.

Matt

Eh, it isn't too frightening, to be honest. It is, after all, a remake, so they should be adjusting the weaknesses of the game to make things better. I'm also expecting a bonus dungeon, since it's almost a given with DQ games these days, and I'll also bet that they'll bring back the spell names used in DQVIII: Frizz, Frizzle, Kasizzle, Kerplunk, and the like, just to try and help establish some series consistency over here. It'll be good for the series, and hopefully, much like DQVIII, DQIV will have a strong enough release that North America will, after twenty years, really come to embrace one of the best series ever.



QUICKIES

You want to talk epic? Rogue Galaxy - that was epic.

The final boss on that game was astounding.

Carabbit

Matt

Ooh, so "epic" can also refer to the scale of a game's villains! Makes sense- look also at games like Chrono Trigger, Suikoden II, and Final Fantasy VII, versus games like Pokémon. All of the above are fun, potentially, but definitely not all of 'em are epic. Maybe that's why...



IN CLOSING

Well, that's a wrap. For tomorrow, I'm asking all PSP owners: Which RPGs, or even games in general, are the ones to play? If I'm thinking about latching onto one of Sony's cheaper and more attractive devices, what should I keep my eyes peeled for?

Thanks! More tomorrow, people.



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On my Wishlist:

1. Dragon Quest IX

2. Metroid Prime 3

3. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

5. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker



On my Portable/VC Playlist:

1. Etrian Odyssey

2. Shining Force

3. The Legend of Zelda (NES)



On my Console Roster:

1. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria

2. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

3. Tales of Symphonia



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