New Year's Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve
December 27, 2005
Matt Demers - 02:35 EST
IT'S COME AND GONE in a flash. The giant blob of
extended family all swarmed in the door on Christmas Eve, opened all their presents, made a giant mess, ate all the food,
and then left en masse out the same door not long thereafter. Somewhere in the storm, I picked
up a few very nice presents, though, so I can't really complain. In the RPG department, I
scored Wild Arms: Alter Code F (what I want to know now is why it's always written "ARMs"
everywhere?), Radiata Stories-o-Disputed-Goodness, and the much desired Mario & Luigi: Partners
in Time. Very exciting... I'm sure you'll hear more in the weeks to come.
I hope that everyone is enjoying time with their family, friends, video games, or whatever,
depending on how you enjoy spending this time of year. I'm going to spend a small chunk of it
answering some questions now, so buckle up your seatbelts. Oh, while you're doing so, trust me:
I've been made fully aware of my ineptitude for forgetting who Cid is in FFX and X-2. It happens
now and then, especially with the special festive grog a-flowin' (not eggnog... the stuff is
Didn't get a chance to write in one of my faux pas when it came to save games.
Unfortunately, mine was not towards my saved game, but one of my best friends.
I was about 30 hours into Baten Kaitos and my friend, having watched about
half of that, started to play for himself. He played about 7 hours his first
day. The next morning, I pop up my game....and promptly save over his file. 7
hours for him, gone. I felt awful. I mean he played 10 hours the next day so
it wasn't the end of the world, but still...that's a fair chunk of time down
Okay, I'm so happy that you mentioned this, because it's a scary issue that's far too
common. Even today, for any RPG I'm playing, I force any newcomers to save their files
at least three blocks away from my own, if possible, to try and circumvent such unfortunate
occurrences. Some games automatically store the save cursor's previous position into memory
too for next time, but not all, and those that do not should come with a warning label!
Still on the topic of Baten Kaitos, I absolutely loved it. It reminded me of
why I still love to play rgps in the first place. The first thing I commented
on was how gorgeous the first village was and I said something like "Just like
Chrono Cross..." little did I know, one of the graphic designers and
scripwriters from Chrono Trigger/Chrono Cross worked on Baten Kaitos as well.
I KNEW there had to be a reason I loved it so much....
But there are far more specific reasons why I enjoyed the game. For an RPG to
be truly great, through my own experiences, it must do two things. 1) It must
be somewhat traditional. I know many games that try to stray very far from
being a traditional rpg, but I find the best rpgs are still the ones that we
consider "classics" that stick to the tried and true formula, but do it
extremely well (Final Fantasy 6 is probably the best example of this. NOW, the
second part, which is equally as important, as while implementing the
traditional elements of an rpg, they have to have a unique trait that
separates them from being just another rpg. IE, something has to be
significantly different in the battle system, or gameplay, or something like
that. You can't just have good characters and solid music, because many rpgs
do that extremely well (Skies of Arcadia comes to mind...) but there has to be
something tangible that makes the traditional game fresh to play. Final
Fantasy X had the grid sphere, the ability to switch characters in and out of
battle and the masterful voice acting (not the first game to do that, I know,
but it WAS the first final fantasy to do it). Chrono Trigger had no random
battles, amazing double and triple techs (ie it mattered BIG TIME who was in
your party other than your main character) and multiple endings.
I suppose. A few traditional elements here and there make an RPG more likely to be
enjoyable to me, all in all, but many people would disagree with you. I can certainly
think of more than a few games that have many classical elements but fail to be anything
near "good" in quality.
Baten Kaitos has the following: You can only level up at save points (i loved
this feature), you don't gain money by killing enemies, but rather by taking
pictures of them, the BRILLIANT concept of having you, the player, as a
guardian spirit (breaking down the 4th wall never felt more natural) and the
biggest feature....the card system. I loved every aspect of the traditional
rpg storyline (nothing new, but i didn't care), good characters, AMAZING
graphics and sound and absolutely horrendous voice acting (which I turned
off). I was completely caught off guard about how much all of this worked.
Even though it was a traditional plot with not TOO many twists, the original
gameplay elements really made it worth playing.
You're certainly not alone there! It is agreed by many that Baten Kaitos is one of the
strongest RPGs that the Gamecube has to offer, for whatever reasons they have to give, and
you like it for your own reasons. Sure, the Gamecube isn't exactly home to a great abundance
of RPGs, but we'll take what we can get, hmm?
I've played more than 50 rpgs in my 21 years as a gamer, and I appreciate the
work you guys do at RPGamer. I faithfully read every Q & A hoping I'll get an
inside joke once in a while that will justify my 60+ hours I put into rpgs i
Also, the definitive Cid was easily from Final Fantasy 4. Gruff beard, a
hammer and a no bs attitude made him the best. I'm happy they made him a
mainstay in the series, but him as a fat headmaster in ff8 and
a...frog/emperor in ff9 was ok, but nothing near 4. Let's hope we see Cid
return in his former glory.
Now that I've been refreshed on the subject, I can stick my tail between my legs and
sheepishly say that I think that FFX had the strongest
Cid since FFVII. Headmaster Cid was certainly not Cidesque, and Regent Cid was a disappointment
too, as far as character was concerned, I found. I'm not making any bets on Cid quality for
the next game yet, since it's way too early to call.
And now I'll share with you a moment that I remember as to why I KNOW Chrono
Trigger is the best rpg I've ever played (still my favourite game ever). I
don't know why I'm telling you this, it IS Christmas Eve though and I'm
feeling nostalgic. The following most certainly contains spoilers. When you
get the ending where you defeat Lavos without reviving Crono, the ending is
phenomenal. In one version I got, everybody gives up on him and says he's
dead, he's never coming back. Not Nadia (Marle). She goes through hell to
revive him all by herself. When she goes up to Death Peak...and you see
Crono's ghost and she starts running up to it....man, I still get shivers
thinking about it. Here's hoping a third Chrono game comes out soon.
Merry Christmas Matt
If you ask me, it's not a matter of "if", but "when" instead. With Square's massive success
for the first two games, and Square Enix's penchant for sequels, I'm not worried that sooner
or later, we'll hear something.
Merry Christmas to you too, and a Happy New Year!
I'm glad to see that another family in the world is as insane as mine is. While I've
never had the demented sugar cookie making experience you've mentioned, we have done something
similar with eggs on Christmas. To give you a few ideas of more sugar cookies, here's a few
I'd like to see:
- A reindeer mounted on a plaque with a hole in the head
- Lois Griffin from Family Guy breathing fire ont o frosty the snowman
- Santa Clause with his big white butt cheeks showing, and a big read hang print on his butt with a caption reading "someone's been a bad boy"
Man oh man; with eggs on Christmas, your family must be crazy enough to trump mine five
times over! What do you do with Christmas eggs: hang them on the ol' tree, or scramble them
for brunch on Christmas morning? Or perhaps you are referring to a different holiday...(I hope)?
Anyway, beauteous ideas. I've logged them away for potential use next year.
As for the issue of Final Fantasy X's Cid, my little bro informed me that, not only was
there one, but that it was Rikku's uncle. However, he shouldn’t receive much mention in the
favorite Cid contest because he was not memorable by any stretch. Some time in my life I
intend on playing all the FFs straight through (like when I'm 90 and have time) and then
I'll be able to tell you which Cid is really the best. However right now my bets on FFVII.
Hah, he's evidently NOT memorable, given my recent bout of amnesia. I'm going to be kicking myself for
weeks, you know. You should have seen the way my brother pointed and laughed at me for being
such an idiot when he read the last Q&A...
Memorable or not, it's still a piece of Final Fantasy trivia that should never have escaped
this cranium; that much is certain. Enough about me, though: Final Fantasy VII's is a fine
choice indeed, and number two on my all-time totempole of Cidmanship.
But to give you an actual question; Currently Shadow of the Colossus, Magna Carta,
Disgaea, Wild Arms Alter Code F, and your favorite, Dragon Quest VIII are all showing up
as RPGs on my family's wish lists. What are your thoughts on the order to play these games
in if, theoretically, we were to get them all?
If you prefer Tactical RPGs to "regular" ones, OR if you don't have a great deal of extra
time on your hands, I'd tell you to play Disgaea as soon as possible. The way the game is set
up lets you jump in and out pretty easily, and the lighthearted humour is wonderful. If you
like epic-style huge RPGs and you've got a lot of time on your hands, definitely give DQVIII a
go. I'm so impressed with it, though I don't really need to say that... by this point, I think
I've driven the point home quite sufficiently. As for the others? So many people have loved
Shadow of the Colossus, I'd say it would be a pretty good bet. I have yet to sink my teeth into
Wild Arms: ACF, but from what I've heard, it's pretty good too. Magna Carta, I'm not so sure
about, so my final order is: Dragon Quest VIII, Disgaea, SOTC, WA:ACF, Magna Carta. Well,
unless you want to save the best for last, that is. In that case, do what you will!
Sit and wait... and wait... and watch your Fol fall...
First off, in your last column you said that you couldn't think of the Cid from
Final Fantasy X. There is one, Rikku's father. He pilots the Farenheit (the airship). At
least I'm pretty sure that's him... I'm not 100% sure... I haven't played FFX in quite a
while. Maybe I should replay it...
Note to self: Make more mortifying failures in the future in order to generate
massiver-than-usual amounts of e-mail.
On to the next subject!
I wanted to know your thoughts on a 5th Star Ocean game. I think that would be an AWESOME
idea! Though if they do, I think they should revert back to the SO2 SP Skill system and item
creation system. They were much better than the SO3 one. Also if SO3 had more of a free battle
system like SO2 did, that would be great. What I mean by that is... when Fayt normal attacks..
he's really slow and you can't constantly slash in SO3 like you could do in SO2. It was kind
of disruptive of the gameplay... though maybe that's why you rarely ever normal attack in
that game. It's always... "Air..RAID!" or "Ethereal....BLAST!" or "Sidekick! Sidekick!
Sidekick! Sidekick!" Y'know? But anyways, though I haven't beaten that game yet (I already
know how it ends so I kind of lost my will to play) I still really like the battle system
and some of the really hard bosses too. My friend has been trying to beat Freya for MONTHS.
Even I tired, he's level 255 and everything, it's just that hard! I think he needs more
bombs.... but they're hard to make. Anyways, no more rambling. I also think they should
bring Star Ocean: Blue Sphere over and make it for the GBA, I played a Japanese ROM for
that game and it's so fun! But.. kinda hard when you can't read any of it. It's actually
a sequel for SO2 which is why I wanted to play it so bad.
Alright, I gotta stop writing or else I...y'know.. won't.
Being a pretty big Star Ocean: The Second Story fan myself, I too was quite disappointed
with many of the things that Till the End of Time had to offer. They omitted so many of the
interesting skills and then made what was left of the item creation system into an
annoying, boring, expensive chore that was a pain in the neck to use and almost completely
pointless 95% of the time. Also, the battle system in II was far more responsive, and at
least for me, the AI of the uncontrolled allies was a great deal better.
I share your sentiments about end-of-game spoilers, too. There is nothing that destroys
a great healthy drive to play a game than finding out from someone else's blabbings about
what happens at the end of it all. It's an absolute tragedy for me, and is one of the
biggest reasons that I went out and bought DQVIII on the very day it was released.
I suppose that Blue Sphere wasn't released here over fears that it wouldn't sell
spectacularly. Also, I think it came out at just about the time that Enix was starting to
stretch its legs again in North America after being nigh-absent for many a moon. Perhaps
these are factors? We may never know.
Busy busy as an evil stinging bee
I've been reading QnA for quite some time now, and something troubles me. I've been playing
rpgs since the dawn of dragon warrior I and its ilk, but I don't see how its at all possible
to play as many rpg's as so many claim to have played, without being completely unsocial,
undernourished, unrested, or any combination of such. I work at least 40 hours a week, eat
normally, have a fiance, animals, and regular house chores. I'm still playing Xenosaga I,
and i hear its supposed to be "too short". I've been playing for 2 months now. Damn
responsibility. How does a typical Rpgamer utilize his/her time nowadays? My backlog of
games spans back to Shadow Hearts I...
Thanks for reading!
Trust me, I know. I put a large amount of my free time into games, but I definitely
end up having to set aside time for it every week. For the past three months, I've been
able to play anything for any substantial period of time on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only,
and even then only while not spending time with friends or pondering my homework. The older I've
become, the busier I've come to be, but I know I'll never lose my thirst for RPGs. For you,
all I can say is to just find the games or series you appreciate the most, and play those first.
There's a lot of crap out there, as I'm sure any big gamer would agree, so remember that a lot
of what you're missing out on isn't really that much to get excited over. Also remember that
having a life outside of video games is a very good thing!
Apparently the ps3 is going to be rid of the whole Japan/America/Europe thing. I hope it's
true cause being a UK gamer, I always have to wait a hell of a long time to finally
purchase a new game eg dragon quest viii!!!!
Hopefully your wishes pan out!! I don't know if I can fully understand the woes of
non-Japanese, non-North American gamers, but I'm sure it isn't pleasant. If what you and
others and myself have heard does indeed filter through, the future may be bright and sunny
for you indeed!
Also, to answer your confusion about a Cid in FFX, there was, I think I remember him
being an Al Bhed or however the crap you spell it!
Yeah yeah yeah yeah, I know, okay. :P
So, i might as well ask ein Question too, which i'll have to wait for an answer to until
after crimbo! But anyways, have you got any info on Shining Force Neo? I like the look of
the characters, but I'm not sure if it'd be worth buying if I only like the
Anwyay, Have a good one ,
Shining Force Neo looks like a drastic departure from earlier games in the series.
From what I understand, it's a more fast-paced (realtime?) version of a tactical battle
system, though I'm not entirely sure. I've heard a few good things about it, in fact, but
while I put it on my Christmas list, it didn't appear under the tree on Christmas morning.
I don't know much more beyond that, but it has been enjoyable for some, if that's any
Hopefully that satisfies your appetite for a bit. If not, there are likely to be a ton
of leftovers in the fridge... there are in mine; that's for damn sure. Turkey, ham, stuffing,
potatoes of the mashed and sweet varieties... the list goes on and on!
I won't be around to do tomorrow's piece, unfortunately, since I have one last family
event to attend, but I'll be back on Thursday to answer some more of your burning questions.
Thus, it's time that I fleed. Ta ta, until next time!
***Matt finished off Dragon Quest VIII last night! *tear*
Now... for the bonus dungeon?
Dec. 22 - Matt
Dec. 21 - Matt
Dec. 20 - Matt
Dec. 19 - Matt
About the Host
Matt's Newest Unhealthy Addiction
Another Unhealthy Addiction
Matt's Top 3 Current Games:
1. Dragon Quest VIII
2. Makai Kingdom
3. Warioware: Twisted!
Matt's Top 3 RPG Desires:
1. Final Fantasy III
2. Mario & Luigi: PiT
3. Wild ARMs: Alter Code F
8. Arros Raikou