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ASK MATT
King of the Castle
September 6, 2007

Matthew Demers - 20:52 EST

TWENTY-FIVE PEOPLE showed up to Survivor Math. It was decently fun, and I got to meet some of the students I'll be TA-ing for this semester. Next up: I'm participating in this incoming Graduate Students Orientation day tomorrow, and I'm apparently participating in a skit. Why can't I learn to just say "no"?

I played Etrian Odyssey for awhile this morning, and discovered a whole new giant area meandering up through previously visited floors. I got to the end, and yep, got my ass handed to me by an impossible (and apparently optional) megaboss. Not pleasant... not at all.

To calm myself, I'll answer a few letters right here and now.




LETTERS
Whoaaa.


Hottest RPG characters? A topic near and dear to my heart. There are so many, where do I start? Wait, I know exactly where. Nel from Star Ocean 3! That serious look she always seems to have, that incredibly hot outfit, and she's so ninjalike. Ok, I know, she's not actually a ninja. She's close enough! She also fights with daggers. Short of whips and chains and the like, it's the hottest weapon out there for a female character. Ok, it may be hotter than whips or chains. There's also Clair, and NOBODY can convince me that there wasn't something more going on between those two. In case you didn't know, implying possible girl on girl action increases hotness by a factor of at least 3.

Matt

Oh... hee hee... yeah, I hypothesized about that with some friends back when I was playing the game. I don't know about this hotness factor of which you speak, but would have been "cute" together.

Also, I'm worried with how far you're going to go on with this. Perhaps I should get out my DS while you continue...

Of course, we can know a character's hot even before the game she's in is released. Next is Lightning from FFXIII! Hot and badass! The outfit is great, and high-res FMV is great for showing off her...um... assets. I also really like that belt she has around her midsection. Great weapon too, a true gunblade. Somewhere Squall is crying...

Matt

Blah, it looks like her hair hasn't been washed in a week. Plus, I get the feeling that you might not want to piss her off...

And I can't go on without mentioning a very hot but sadly very minor character from FFXII. Al Cid's... let's call her a companion, I don't actually know her name. To refresh your memory, here's a very blurry pic: http://bluelaguna.net/viewimage/ff12/fmvshots/3559/139.jpg Her face, that hair, and that not-quite-a-schoolgirl-uniform just makes me scream WHY ISN'T SHE A PLAYABLE CHARACTER! And don't say anything about not being important to the story. Vaan isn't either and he gets to go around with the rest of them. Couldn't Al Cid say, "Why don't you take her with you? She may come in handy." I admit I stayed in that temple for a while because if I advanced the story, she would leave.

Matt

B-but... NamelessGIRL looks so plain and dull. I guess I don't understand straight boys.

She was so hot I picked her for THONG 2. Lorelai from Suikoden! Specifically, the Suikoden 5 version. She has a whip! Add her outfit and it makes the list. I always made room for her in my party. Too bad Suikoden doesn't get FF-quality FMV. Maybe she'll be in VI, I can only hope.

Matt

A whip, eh? Kinky. Do you like Quistis, too?

More from Suikoden V! Miakis! Easily the hottest of the Queen's knights, she even manages to show a little leg while kicking ass. She also uses daggers. And if you don't realize the sexiness of daggers, watch her threaten Euram in the senate. She always made it into my party too. Why couldn't I recruit her earlier? I have to reserve this spot in the letter for Lym should she come of age in a future Suikoden game. She's too young in V, but perhaps in a sequel we'll see her all grown up.

Matt

*cough* Pedophile! *cough*

Also, daggers scare me...

Misha from Ar Tonelico! Shut up, I'm talking about the adult Misha, not the loli version. Her normal costume is hot enough, but there was a reason I picked her path, a reason I suffered through loli Misha for half the friggin game, a reason I kept diving into her. She has a Shinobi costume! The pic from the artbook should speak for itself: http://animedesho.animeblogger.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/artopnelioartbook-4.jpg I shouldn't even have to explain this one. This justifies putting her here and confirming once and for all that ninjas > pirates. It just took so long to get to the adult Misha, and the whole time the loli version keeps asking Lyner if he will still like her after she changes. I kept yelling, "YES! Shut up and let's get on with it!" I don't know if the Shinobi costume was the most powerful, I didn't really care. "I don't care if it's hard to move in, keep it on Misha!"

Matt

There's no question that ninjas outcoolify pirates. And that artbook pic is truly scandalous- it's about four square inches of skin away from belonging on a different sort of website!

Shion from Xenosaga! The Vector uniform is very nice(why can't they dress like that where I work!), but when episode 2 came out they got rid of it! Shion's face and shape got a great upgrade, but the new costume sucked. While I haven't played episode 3 yet(I know, I need to), they improved the costume greatly by combining the art style of 2 with a costume worthy of 1. She shows a lot more skin and there's this V cut in the front of her shorts that's very...inviting.

Matt

My brother calls her "Space Whore" due to the unnecessary costume changes. I loved the old Vector costume- it went more with Shion's slightly nerdy and reserved side. Her costume in XSIII was appalling, I thought- that V cut in the front looks more like she's just too lazy to do up her pants. WHATEVER the reason she'd have for that, it's disgusting. I think that Sophia or someone from Star Ocean: Till the End of Time had a similar chronically-undone fly. Ick!

This time it's an entire village, Alma Kinan from Suikoden 3! Hot outfits, crossbows, which are hot, just not dagger hot, and it's an entirely female village. No men, so what do they do in their spare time? The possible amount of girl on girl action is staggering, and that's why they deserve a mention here.

Matt

I don't want to know what you did when you first stepped into Eruyt Village. Of course, NONE of these girl-villages compare to my favourite, complete with 16x16 pixel character graphics: Gardenbur Castle in Dragon Warrior IV! Just imagine that low-res-sprite-on-low-res-sprite action.

They don't have to be human, do they? There are a couple of monsters from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night that I always liked. I usually am not a fan of plant girls, but I always found the Venus Weeds very hot. I don't know if it's the tentacle like things that come out of the ground, or that she always seems to be trying to hit Alucard in the eye with those roses, but sometimes I'd run across one and I'd pull out my shield, crouch down, and take a little break. Do I really need to kill her right away? The other worth mentioning would be those ice girls in the same area. Very cold and very hot at the same time, unfortunately I usually HAD to kill those right away, they weren't as easy to avoid as the Venus Weed. If I was at the end of the game though, I could easily just take the damage...

Matt

OK, that's just weird. The plants more than the ice, though I suppose they might have abilities to do superhuman things with their, uh, tendrils.

Yuna from FFX2! Ok, the summoner costume from X was hot, but the Songstress from X2 was hotter. And X2 may not have been the greatest game ever, but most people forget the true purpose of that game-Yuna FMVs! It's not the only great costume. I'd go into it more, but I'm nearing the 1000 word limit.

Matt

Blah, blah, blah- boring boring Yuna. I still can't believe that they took Yuna's personality in the original game, tossed it aside, and shoved her character into that ridiculous new outfit. I feel like an old man, ranting on and on here, by the way.

Quickly, Charlotte from Castlevania: PoR! Hot little magic girl, and there's something about that finger wagging as she's charging a spell. I'll have to stop here, no room.

Slashlen

Matt

I believe I've discovered another reason why some people play RPGs. You've failed to convert me to the dark side, Slashlen, but I'm glad to see that the games you play are, shall we say, highly fulfilling in certain respects. ^^

Hope to hear from you again soon! Have fun "playing your games" in the meantime.



An online alternative.


hey matt

this is my first time writing to your Q&A thing...i've been reading for about a year but i never had the urge to write...this may be classified as a quickie...but have you looked into the online rental gaming...reason i am asking is because you were upset with the $10 rentals...but for about $20 a month you can rent online from many places at 2 games at a time...i'm with one now that i'm really happy with...don't want to say names because don't know if that violates the rules of q&a...i was surprised they had so many rpg's and they rent out DS games...just a suggestion..you may want to look into it if you ever clear out your back log

later,
dave s. aka strychnine

Matt

Ah, you could have told us the site, I'm not too strict with stuff like that. I haven't ever looked into renting online either, even if the deal is slightly better. To me, a rental is like a "try before you buy" thing, but if you're going to pay 25% of the full cost to do so, I'd really just rather take the plunge. Though the scale is completely different, just imagine if you had to pay $5000 to rent a car for even a month. It's a ridiculous idea, of course, and nobody would ever do it.

Now, I know with a month-long rental, things could be a little different, in that you might actually get the time to finish a game completely! But the problem, then, to me, is this: What happens if I ever want to go back and play the game again? Though I haven't had as much time lately, I've historically always loved going back and playing through old games for a second time, and with a rental, that's obviously impossible.

It's a tough thing for me. But, I very much appreciate your recommendation, and perhaps a few other readers will be quite happy to take your suggestion up!

Perhaps I'll hear from you again soon, Dave. Thanks for writing in!



Blah Dragon?


Matt,

I'm pretty deep into Blue Dragon, probably nearing the end of the second disc, and so far I disagree with most of the reviews out there. Blue Dragon is not the best RPG ever made, but it also isn't a mediocre sub-standard release either. The job system is too small, limiting, and easy to exploit, but so was FFX, and FFXII's systems. The story is actually pretty interesting, fairly well-crafted, with a kind of annoying "main character", but otherwise a solid party. I put main character in quotations because the game has the same problem as FFXII, Vaan really wasn't the main character, he wasn't the party's leader, the strongest, most magical, or had the most developed storyline, like Shu in Blue Dragon, he's just the first character you control and the one that the manual and game demand you to recognize as the protagonist. Many reviews say the game starts out slow, and like many RPG's nowadays the first hour or two are mostly cutscene and storyline stuff until you get your power's, and can change job classes, you know the good stuff. The first two hours aren't incredibly boring by any means. The battle system is pretty basic, but not necessarily in a bad way, I could see how grinding could be a bore in this game, but as long as you don't just camp there fighting around it doesn't get stale. I like how all you equip on your character are accessories, no weapons, your shadow takes care of all the attacks, you just need to worry about defense. The game could definitly stand to have a difficulty setting, but what RPG couldn't use that.

Matt

Hmm. Actually, I'm typically never fond of systems in which there isn't a wide variety of character equipment. I really, really prefer systems like Final Fantasy IX's or XII's over those of games like FFVIII, Radiata Stories, and few others for some reason.

In the reviews that I've read, the main problems with the game lie in the story, characters, and what apparently is terrible music. The music thing- that would probably the most disappointing aspect for me. Since for me, great gameplay can often make up for a poor plot, there's still hope.

The worst part of the game are the boss battle music, which is laughably bad, but is ridiculously easy to get stuck in your head, seriously if you get the chance give this song a listen and make fun of the lyrics ("race Merlin to the clouds!!!!").

Matt

Oh no- there are actually voiced lyrics during the boss theme? Ayyiiieeee... this could indeed be bad. Isn't it interesting? Artoon was involved with the development, apparently, but they did Yoshi's Island DS as well, a game that also featured disappointingly terrible music. Any connection? Or just coincidence?

All in all, I agree with most reviews scoring Blue Dragon somewhere between a 7 and 8 out of 10, I just don't agree with those same reviews calling the game mediocre, or just barely not mediocre as I think one reviw I read put it. It's as good a solid of a RPG as your gonna get not named Final Fantasy. Not only that, but if you're into storyline driven RPG's and were immensly disappointed by FFXII's complete lack of story, this is the game for you. BTW I liked FFXII, I just felt that they sacrificed story in favor of ridiculously awesome gameplay, which for me meant no second playthrough.

Matt

Hey, based on what you say, one would think that Final Fantasy games are of a level not approachable by other games in terms of quality! I'll tell you one thing: I'm one RPGamer whose favourite RPGs since the turn of the millennium do not include any games with the words "Final" and "Fantasy" in the titles. I think that many other people out there would agree with me.

Back to Blue Dragon, though- I hope that it's solid, overall, but that's just not what I've heard from a lot of people. You're definitely the first to come out in strong support of the game. The big Catch-22 here is that the only way for me to create my own opinion is to go out and get an Xbox 360. But, when I hear from many different sources that one of the few games that I was actually looking forward to in a big way turns out to be a dud, that significantly decreases my desire to buy the console in the first place. Gragh!

I think the biggest beef most people seem to have is that it was heralded as the Final Fantasy killer for the 360, and that it is not. I don't get it though. When I was making the decision to buy a 360, the biggest RPG that won me over was Mass Effect, I don't think RPGamers should give up on the 360 until this game comes out. But I don't hear a lot about this game on this site whether in news or just the buzz in the Q and A, so let me be the first to tell you that Mass Effect is the game that will make or break the 360 for RPG's(not Blue Dragon) and I have a feeling Bioware is not going to let me down.

Later,
Crono8581

Matt

A lot of people were looking at Blue Dragon to be the big Final Fantasy-killer. We first heard about this game a LONG time ago, and the whole Mistwalker thing was super-exciting to everyone. Perhaps it's because of the kinds of games that I'm into, but this WAS the major lure for me to get into the Xbox 360 craze. Sure, there are some other games that look potentially interesting, but I won't lie: I'm a bit disappointed by the fact that it's not a killer RPG that scored 9 or 10 everywhere, because that really would have upped the ante for me.

Granted, I know I tell everybody that reviews aren't everything, and that it's more important to try games out for yourself that you think will be interesting. But, when laying down hundreds of dollars for a console as well, I just have to play a more "defensive" game, if that makes any sense.

Thanks for your opinion, though! Maybe you've just opened the floodgates, and many other people will pour in their letters singing this game's praises. Is Blue Dragon worthy of a console purchase? I sense a new hot topic...



Exploitation!


Glitches can really annoy if they cause you to lose things. But what about those glitches that unfaily give you free stuff, like those that generate more items for you, or raise your characters' status beyond what they should be? I actually remember playing one playthrough of FFVI where I actually took advantage of a such a glitch, and I remember having multiple Econimizers, Gem Boxes, Atma Weapons, and more.

Matt

Oh, come on- you know me better than that! I might take advantage if it's, like, the third or fourth time I've played through a game, but I'd feel absolutely dirty if I did something like that.

It's like the glitch that people have found in a couple of the Pokémon games. My cousins come over and boast about how THEY HAVE EIGHT RAYQUAZAS, and my reaction is to want to say "Hmm, well, that's really cheap and stupid! I guess I'm not going to play with you now; go cry." My real reaction is to only say the first sentence, and I think they end up feeling 10% guilty for it. Good. Legendary Pokémon are cheap and stupid enough as it is.



Out of the frying pan and into the...


I've been reading up on Soul nomad and the world eaters, and personally im not a fan of NIS work (minus disgaea) but wow! It looks like a mix of disgaea and ogre battle 64 (the best game of all time). I really hope that its not a dissapointment like other NIS games *cough* phantom brave *cough*. Another non rpg game that i have extreme expectations for is the new smash bros. game. Long time fan of the series and next to soul cal is the best player vs player fighter. I KNOW there will be no dissapointment in that one. OOOO growlanser heritage of war! how could i forget?! thats a shining diamond for any growlanser fan like myself. Im extremely anxious for that release with all those free goodies Wow, i guess i really didnt ask any questions in here. Lets see. Have you played the best game of all time aka ogre battle 64? and if so what was your impression of it?

-Thanks, Phire-Hazard

Matt

I have high hopes too, but I'd just... I'd be surprised if it did end up feeling unique. I know, it's terribly cynical, but am I right? At the core, Disgaea, Disgaea 2, La Pucelle, Phantom Brave, and Makai Kingdom all feel like clones of one another, some being more playable than others. Yes, some of them are quite enjoyable too, but if you're looking for a new experience in this upcoming game- suffice it to say, I'm not holding my breath. (Maybe I'll eat my words one day.)

Brawl does indeed look awesome, but you know what? I'm starting to worry. It had better deliver in spades, or Nintendo will face a massive ton of heat.

As for Ogre Battle 64? I rented it once, back in the days when video game rentals only cost $5 or so. *cough* It was a lot of fun, and in retrospect, I really wish that I had begged for it for Christmas or something, because I highly enjoyed it, as well as its associated level of challenge. With any luck, maybe it will appear on the Wii Virtual Console. We've seen a decent variety of RPGs from a bunch of different third-party companies released for the VC, so I don't think it's out of the question.

Good to hear from you, Mr. Hazard!



QUICKIES

I guess I prefer light-hearted topics, even though I take hot RPG characters seriously. I'm waiting for that letter show up. I'm not complaining, but I'm beginning to wonder if you're afraid that letter will turn you straight or something. :)

Fear teh hotness!

Matt

There there, Slashlen, I posted it today.

Hey Matt,

I went out and bought Wild Arms 5 yesterday, but I can't seem to get myself to play it until I finish Alter Code F and play 4, which I bought but still haven't actually started either. I need to stop buying games before I plan to play them, but those art books and such are so tempting...

- Tasukete

Matt

Barely a quickie, but I'm desperate. Yeah, the candy jars are bad, with all those sweet and colourful treats- hands off until you finish your dinner! WA:ACF = Overcooked Brussels Sprouts, btw...



IN CLOSING

Another day from now, and yet another week will be behind us. Forward we march...

OK, we talked about it a little bit above, but has anyone else around here played Blue Dragon yet? If so, what is your opinion? Are the many reviews out there dead-wrong, or is it really a bland and mediocre game to play? Write in, and tell me your thoughts!

I'll publish more of your Questions & Answers tomorrow, everybody!



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 49 - Very Large



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt has to wake up EARLY in the morning... waahhhh.


Oh, Etrian Odyssey... you are such a frustrating, frustrating animal that I wish I could just not play anymore if only I could help it.

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