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ASK MATT
Wild Mood
October 5, 2006

Matt Demers - 22:40 EST

IT'S TURKEY TIME! Yes, Thanksgiving is nearly here for myself and we Canada-folk. I like the fact that it's the second Monday in October rather than the end of November; I eat so much crap during the month of December, what with being at home and "suffering" through Christmas baking that if I started it off with a giant whopping dinner, I might never recover! At least this way, I get a few weeks of turn-around time before the true trial. Boy, though; I can't WAIT to spend a good few weeks at home. I miss it like... like the dickens.

Anyway, Macstorm will be stepping in to pick up the slack for tomorrow's column, so make sure you send him your very best. In the meantime, though, I'm still in control! Let's get to the mailbag.




LETTERS
Pokémon: Looking strong? Or just plain wrong?


O' Wonderous of Slimes, lend me your ear!

Am I the only one who has lost enthusiasm for the Pokemon series, at least in its recent handheld iterations. Back in the "day," I was huge into the games, being a lover of the original and second generation. When Sapphire came out, I quickly became a defender against those who said it was hardly an improvement over the last generation. Slowly though, I began to switch sides. As I delved deeper into my copy, I found myself lacking the enthusiasm and will to play further on, and as a result never actually beat the elite four. Restarted my game a couple more times after that, before finally giving up and selling it the Gamestop.

The magic just wasn't there for me with the last generation, and in many ways it felt like a step backwards with the loss of the night/day system. The graphics were nice, and the core gameplay saw some welcome changes, but some of the depth felt missing. And in some ways, I felt like Ruby/Sapphire was much harder than the last games. With Red and Silver, I played through multiple times and could beat the elite four without much difficulty given a high enough level, but with Sapphire, though I tried my best, I never could topple all four of them.

Matt

I'll admit it; I never really became obsessed with the series until I bought my copy of Ruby. I found so many things absorbing, though. The story was a bit of a step up from past episodes, though there is SO-ho-ho much room for improvement there, but the item-holding and special abilities made the battle system even a little deeper than past, I thought. I thought it was a little bit challenging too, but nothing over the top. The most fun you can possibly have with the game is competing against human rivals, and believe me- my brother and I spent so many hours creating the coolest strategic teams to fight each other. Another great thing about Ruby/Sapphire was the fantastic interface, which was such an incredible improvement over the awkward boxes that the first couple of games featured.

That said, I think the game did get a little lazy in a lot of ways. I really liked the Day and Night system too, and I was disappointed that it was removed. The most shocking thing, though, was that they teased all through the game that Kanto and Johto might just be accessible somehow. Of course, it was just a tease, because they definitely weren't there! I was looking forward to an extra quest on the scale of Gold/Silver's awesome journey into Kanto, but all I got was a stupid Battle Tower that didn't give me anything useful (like Experience! What!?) at all.

I dunno. I miss a bit of the simplicity of the early years. I think if I were to continue playing the games, it would probably be on the GBA with FireRed (which I'll probably pick up soon). Oh, and yes, Leafia is a stupid name (what happened to the [name]-eon structure?)

And now, for SOCK!

#336:
b) 1000 Zenny

#337:
c) Cait Sith

--
~ The Irish Ninja

Matt

There are so many reasons that I'm craving Diamond/Pearl, Ninja!! I don't know if you've heard, but the real-time aspect is returning, except that now there are going to be more "times of day" that will affect gameplay and the Pokémon you can catch. There are a lot of really cool new ideas being put into play, and I really hope that the scope of the game increases nicely over Ruby/Sapphire. There's a WHOLE lot of potential, too, in an even more exciting way. You and I could easily do battle or trade Pokémon through Nintendo Wi-Fi, which is just an incredibly, incredibly fun idea. Imagine: No cables, no muss, no fuss; you don't even have to live close to your gaming friends! I just cannot wait for this to become reality!



When is FFXII? How about "where"?


Hey, Matt,

I've been reading some early previews for Final Fantasy XII, and they seem to be generally positive. Like many others, apparently, I was not impressed with the demo released with Dragon Quest VIII last year. Still, as the game approaches I find myself getting very excited about the story, and I think I will truly enjoy tweaking the AI of the characters and the whole implementation of the license board. I think that I could find myself getting used to the gameplay; after all, I liked Knights of the Old Republic, which had a sort of real-time battle system. Also, I'm looking forward to a Final Fantasy without random encounters.

Matt

I really hope that it turns out to be a lot of fun! We've waited way too long to have to be let down, don't you think?

Since Final Fantasy games have always had what I consider to be obnoxious encounter rates, up to and including FFX, I'm really looking forward to not having my exploring interrupted quite so often. That said, the nostalgic side of me is going to be a bit sad to see them go at the same time. I think, though, that we can all agree that nostalgia aside, without any changes at all, we'd still have pixellated bosses defeatable in three turns casting spells like "XXXX" on us. We've come a long way, and we have a long way to go.

Here's a minor question I've been kicking around...

I've never completed Final Fantasy Tactics Advance...as far as I know, the world of Ivalice was formed in the imagination of Mewt. How does the Ivalice in that game relate to the Ivalice of Final Fantasy XII? Is this also the same Ivalice that appeared in the original Final Fantasy Tactics, or are they all different interpretations of the same country? If they were the same world would be interesting if FFXII had some sort of background for Ivalice since the Lion Wars. I only wonder because

*** spoiler ***


one of the characters from FFTA shows up as a NPC in FFXII.


**** end spoiler****


- Sundoulos


Matt

That's not REALLY a real spoiler, is it? I don't know- didn't someone named "Cloud" show up in Final Fantasy IX somewhere?

Your question is a good one though. I don't know if all three are one and the same, though I'm pretty sure that at the very least, Mewt's Ivalice and FFXII's Ivalice must be identical. They share the same races, judges, and the same composer for the background music!

If there's one thing I'm looking forward to in the game, it's exactly that- the soundtrack. WOW! Hitoshi Sakimoto created a masterful soundtrack for both Final Fantasy Tactics games, and an absolutely stunning one for Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. I can't wait to hear what he has up his sleeve for FFXII!



Sim-ply awful.


Hey Matt!

Bah, the Sims. I agree completely, the game was horribly overrated. It was ridiculously repetitive, and you had to buy endless expansion packs to try and keep it interesting (which I didn't do). If you built things too large, it took forever just for your characters to walk across the room. Build it too small and they couldn't walk past one another. I got bored as heck after a couple of hours. I'm glad to hear there are other people who can't stand it either. I'm glad I got it free with my computer, I would have been pissed if I had paid for it.

336) A. 100 Rupees
337) B. Umaro

Thanks!

BigWook

Matt

I'm glad that it was able to entertain so many people, and I mean, the idea was pretty novel. I just feel like it's probably one of the most buggy popular games that has ever been. If I were really absorbed in that game, I think that having family members just freeze in place and urinate on the floor periodically until their deaths -or other random things like this- would get more than a bit frustrating from time to time. Actually, I think that would prevent me from getting absorbed in the first place, so the point is pointless. I'll leave the Sims to my mom. Give me Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest.

Thanks, BigWook!



Mwahahaha... impressionable newbies!!


Hey there, Matt!

I have a friend who claims he sucks at video games. I used to think the same thing of myself, until my girlfriend introduced me to RPGs. (And later on, I discovered I have an affinity for fighting games.) What game should I expose my friend to, to introduce him to the RPG genre? It shouldn't be too difficult a game, but I don't want to introduce him to a super easy one, either. Thanks for your help.

-CW


Matt

For sure. RPGs are more strategic, and they don't have to require lightning-quick reflexes either, which is why I tried to introduce my mom to them. I might try to get her Contact for Christmas if she gets her own DS Lite for exactly that reason. She SO needs one. (Don't tell her! Oop, I hope she's not reading.)

Anyway, you want something fun, something not terribly heavy, nor too difficult, and I think you want something that would feel different from a "typical" video game, since your friend is so intimidated by the idea; thus, I'd suggest a more traditional turn-based game. I think in your case, I'd recommend Final Fantasy X as a first experience. You've got to hit a newcomer with something great, and (perhaps unfortunately) I think that nice graphics don't hurt either. Since so many people loved FFX, and since it's a pretty easy yet substantial game, that might be the way to go. Of course, there are lots of games you could try instead. Everyone likes different things, so showing him everything from Xenosaga to Dragon Quest might work too.

Best of luck, CW!



Race to the finish!


Dear Mr. Matt,

SOCK first:

#334 (e) MagRowan
#335 (c) 10 minutes (Just a guess)
How's it goin' Matt? I'm doin' good. I've quit my job at the bank, and I couldn't be happier! More time to catch up on all the games I haven't finished! I just got Valkyrie Profile 2, and I'm going to start on it as soon as I finish my letter. I keep hearing wonderous things about the Wii, and I can honestly say that I believe Nintendo is poised to reign supreme in this generation of consoles. How do you feel about it? Also, I keep looking Devil Summoner over, and I'm up in the air about it. I like SMT games...but I wonder if this one will have a great plot? Nocturne just didn't hold my attention, despite others saying that it was a pretty deep game. I dunno. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Matt

Hey, Donovan! I'm doing very well. Even though I'm busy, I'm alive, and last time I checked, that's better than being undead. Undead things smell bad, so that would kinda suck.

Lately, my attitude has shifted somewhat about the next-generation race. I don't think that it's going to be a runaway for Nintendo by a longshot. However, I do believe that the gap might narrow somewhat. Instead of the 70%/15%/15% market share of the last generation for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo respectively, I'd guess it's going to be quite a bit closer, with none of the "big three" going over 50% at all. Of course, anything could happen, and I'm hardly a qualified analyst.

You should try out Devil Summoner! I don't really know very many other people who are looking forward to it, but it looks pretty cool, especially since you're into Persona and SMT and such. I can't really say what the story will be like, but it might be worth at least a rental, hmm?

On a side note...I have a new job (I think) that you might be interested in knowing about...but I'll leave it to you to figure out what I'm talking about. You should be able to discover my new profession if you look around a bit. Au revoir, mon ami.

~Donovan


Matt

I'll bet I know! Welcome to RPGamer, Donovan!

Everyone else: You're looking at one of RPGamer's new news-hires-in-training! Perhaps you'll see some interesting articles in the days to come from this guy.

Thanks for the letter! It's always great to hear from you.



Reports on: Enchanted Arms, Oblivion, Valkyrie Profile 2, and more!


Hey Matt i hope you are having an awesome day

Well i have just completed enchanted arms and it was a pretty good game overall it had a very good story and battle system but it was way to simple for hardcore rpgamers.

Matt

It looked like a neat game! A guy played through a demo back in May for us at E3, and it looked like it could have been interesting in some ways. Of course, it suffered from the Xbox curse; the guy mistakenly spent at least half of his time emphasizing things "look at how COOL this looks! Aren't the spells and stuff AWESOME?" Of course they are; it's an Xbox 360 game. I wanted to hear more about the GAME, though!

In any case, you're the first to report on it! I'm glad that you enjoyed the game in the end. Does anyone else have anything to say about this, one of the 360's first RPGs?

and everyone is saying oblivion is super good but i have played it and i think it sucks really bad the npc thing sucks in the game the quest are stupid and the story is really bad too the battle system is the worst i have ever played in my life but it has awesome grafix though, i think if you have played an mmo game like FF11 you will NOT enjoy oblivion, FF11 is way better then oblivion i just wanted to let you know that there are ppl who hate oblivion.

Matt

Point taken. You might remember when we talked about this awhile back, but Oblivion is almost like the "RPG for people who aren't RPGamers" in a way. Given how big the game is overall, there is very little talk about it around here, and we never really figured out exactly why that was.

I played it for awhile, but it just isn't my style of game. It lacks a certain RPG feel that I look for, though I didn't play long enough to determine exactly what feel it did possess.

And Matt i think you will love valkyrie profile 2 it is really hard game the puzzles are hard the battles are very hard so i think it is the perfect game for you.

Matt

Now now- I do tend to like challenging games, but not just for the sake of being challenging. That aside, I've also heard that it comes with a fantastic battle system and a neat storyline. Valkyrie Profile is a series that I should have played first years ago; if the forces that be are good to me, I might have my own copy by Christmas! I'm crossing my fingers. :)

And Matt i have been trying to find out if Grandia online is put on hold or not because it should have been out this mouth in japan do you know something i don't?

Matt

It's a good question. It's been awhile since we've heard anything, but I think that a beta test is set to begin in Japan fairly shortly, if it hasn't begun already, unless I'm totally hallucinating.

I hope that the Grandia series has been popular enough that we'll see it here too! I know that you and others are really looking forward to this different take on the familiar series.

and lastly matt congraz on the first year you have done an awesome job i hope you will be here for many many many years to come and to answer you're question you can call me grandiaerbest or Ragnar ok just whatever you feel like.

and matt i wish you all the best in you're life you are such a nice person and very easy to talk too take care matt

watch this i hope it will make you laugh have a great day matt:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92NOXSe7CzM

Grandiaerbest


Matt

...

In all honesty, it's the readers like you and so many others that makes Q&A a fun place to be. Ouro and I could never do our jobs as well if all of you didn't provide the discussions that you do! So, don't thank us; your loyalty is more than enough in the way of thanks!

I really appreciate the comments, though. And the link. ^^

Take care, and I hope to hear from you again soon!





THE NEXUS

Mummy's coming to pick me up in the morning! And I'm a-bringin' Disgaea 2 home. Hopefully the next time I put up a column, the game will be COMPLETE, like all good proteins.


Caption


For complete contest rules, click here!


Answers to October 4th's Questions

#336. a) 100 Rupees - 880 points
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was your link to this question! This is written on a sign near Hyrule Castle. Not the most difficult question, but they can't all be brainbusting, can they?

#337. c) Cait Sith - 750 points
Now this one was much closer than last. Here's how the numbers shook out:

a) Boco: 6 votes (15.0%)
b) Umaro: 12 votes (30.0%)
c) Cait Sith: 16 votes (40.0%)
d) Moomba: 3 votes (7.5%)
e) Quina: 3 votes (7.5%)

If I were playing, I would have voted for Boco, because I think he's just awesome. <3 Anyway, good job to the sixteen of you that got this one right!



Today's New Questions

#338:
Another name for a pumpkin seed can be found by removing a letter from the name of a character in which of the following games? (770 points)

a) Golden Sun: The Lost Age
b) Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
c) Breath of Fire IV
d) Star Ocean: Till The End of Time
e) Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana


Reader-Submitted #339:
If my Japanese friend's last name is Hoshiko, what part of Japan are they most likely from? (700 points)

a) Tochigi
b) Aichi
c) Kumamoto
d) Hokkaido
e) Gifu




SOCK's Item List

Obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!

3,500 points:
Point Doubler (3 left), Mythril Armor (2 left), or Mythril Sword (1 left)

5,000 points:
Any 1st-Level Elemental Spell (4 left), Point Halver (1 left), or Poison Needle (2 left)

7,000 points:
Slowga Spell (2 left), Annoying Curse (1 left), or Item Bomb (1 left)

10,000 points:
Gold Armor (2 left), Any Gem (5 left), or Biora Spell (2 left)

14,000 points:
Shuriken (3 left), Ultra Sneak Glove (1 left), or Scan Spell (3 left)

19,000 points:
Any 3rd-Level Elemental Spell (3 left), Esuna Spell (1 left), or Wait Mode (1 left)

25,000 points:
Vanish Spell (2 left), Sadness Stone (1 left), or Item Destroyer (2 left)

32,000 points:
Mythril Shield (1 left), Point Quadrupler (2 left), or A.P.G. (2 left)

40,000 points:
Toxic Waste (1 left), Sean's Dictionary of Doom (1 left), or Flare Spell (2 left)

50,000 points:
Regega Spell (1 left), Rebirth Stone (1 left), or Hyper Sneak Glove (1 left)

61,000 points:
Dark Converter (2 left), Drainga Spell (2 left), or Apocalypse Spell (1 left)

73,000 points:
Rare Candy (2 left), Cloak of Evasion (2 left), or Point Tripler (2 left)

STRAGGLERS:
(people who I love, but who still need to check their e-mail or somehow get in touch with me because they have unclaimed items- if you fall off the list after a week, it's TOO LATE FOR YOU! Check your spam/trash folders for my messages if you're not getting them, and I'll check mine, too!)

  • Weretiger Rei
  • MrMSty
  • Waterfiend
  • CW
  • Laurie
  • Thinkfreemind


SOCK's Prize Shop

Obtain enough points, and you may buy items, merchandise, or guest-hosting positions.

Click here for the current list of potential prizes!


QUICKIES

Jesus Christ, I'm having quite the night. I just accidentally taped over an episode of MST3K I've had on VHS for like ten years and probably watched over a hundred times. It's like I deleted a chunk of my childhood.. And now I'm YET AGAIN snaked out of the co-host spot.

Damn it, man, take the (1 left) listing for Co-Host off of the prize list! I've been striving toward a non-existent goal!

And what's worse, what I REALLY wanted was that pearl item that USED to be at the 19,000 spot. Man, I have no use for this other stuff.

I'm losing my faith in SOCK and democracy.

-TV's

Matt
Hmmm... maybe you should just stay in for the next little while. With your luck, it might start raining pianos if you walked outside anytime soon, which would surely be painful. Despite the old saying, those ivories don't tickle.

Hi ya, Matt,

Hope you got your scholarship papers straightened out. You're having an autumn like mine - it all works out in the long run, but it all has to be done with us pushing uphill the whole way. The holidays are coming - things will calm down.

Just wanted to let BigWook know that we are getting Phantasy Stars II through IV with a bunch of other games on the Sega Genisis Collection. It's supposed to come out in Nov. and is $19.99 for the PS2. Ouro said it's $29.99 for the PSP. It's not all four, but I think it's a great deal.

Have a super week.

Jbumi

Matt
A great deal indeed!

Four games, thirty bucks; that sounds budget-friendly. But four games... a hundred-plus hours? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO!?

Wassup, D? (lol, just wanted to say that)

336) E

337) D

I really, really envy you guys in non-PAL regions. You always get everything before us. It makes me MAD!!!! Genjuu ANGRYYYY!!!!!

Genjuu is still learning how to write proper letters. And how not to copy the Incredible Hulk's syntax.

Matt
Ruh-oh! Calm yourself, before you sprout super-muscles and go stomping around Vincent-style with a crazy chainsaw to massacre all of North America! Spare Canada, at least. The US? Well, okay, them too.


IN CLOSING

And so ends my abbreviated anniversary week!

Macstorm will be stepping in, as I mentioned above, to take over tomorrow, so make sure you mail him lots to work with! He doesn't have access to my slimey@ account, so make sure you use the other one.

I will most certainly return next week for more. Have a great weekend with Josh, and to all other Canadians out there, have a restful and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday!



Send a Letter!

Inbox Status: Pretty "dece".



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt has had a loooong week.


Time for a long winter's nap. Or autumn's. Whichever.

Most Recent

Oct. 4: Matt

Oct. 3: Matt

Oct. 2: Josh

Oct. 1: Josh



Links

SOCK's Rule Guide

SOCK's Prize Shop

About the Host

Quote Archives



What I Want to Play:

1. Final Fantasy III

2. Final Fantasy XII

3. Xenosaga: Episode III

4. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

5. Final Fantasy V



What I'm Playing:

1. Disgaea II

2. Fire Emblem GBA

3. Grandia III



SOCK's Scoreboard

Summon in Play:

-BOREAS-
HP: 6,425
----------
1. Erika
57,291 pts

2. BigWook
53,948 pts

3. LufiaLvr
49,569 pts

4. Aurelius
46,072 pts

5. JokingChimer
42,573 pts

6. Draconn
40,641 pts

7. Kanato
39,053 pts

9. Arpijy
34,620 pts

8. Prismatic
34,615 pts

10. Boojum
33,159 pts

11. Alexander
33,048 pts

12. Alan Tse
31,177 pts

13. Belthasar2
29,338 pts

14. JuMeSyn
28,609 pts

15. Ourobolus
26,708 pts

16. MagRowan
24,324 pts

17. Purelunatic
22,669 pts

18. Arros Raikou
22,574 pts

19. Thinkfreemind
21,736 pts

20. MrMSty
20,910 pts

21. TV's Adam
20,501 pts

22. BLG
19,092 pts

23. DMJewelle
18,900 pts

24. Erunion
18,485 pts

25. Kharamain
17,127 pts

26. Hunter B
16,689 pts

27. Jwcooley
16,415 pts

28. Macstorm
16,101 pts

29. Leaper
15,895 pts

30. Dermot
15,336 pts

31. Leaper
14,930 pts

32. Bucket
13,983 pts

33. Vigilante
13,780 pts

34. Carabbit
11,395 pts

35. DDX
11,098 pts

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