THE CRAVE GAMING CHANNEL
V'lanna
 






Affiliates
metacritic
AnimeBooks
AnimeNation
Play-Asia.com

Send a Letter Mail Me Recent Columns Archives

ASK MATT
Buzz-Buzz
November 29, 2006

Matt Demers - 20:46 EST

WITH SUCH BEAUTIFUL WEATHER, and so much work to do, video games should be the last thing on my mind. Well, not so. Despite the sixty-degree temperatures and looming stack of assignments to mark, all I really want to do is curl up with Final Fantasy III.

A lot of us are in the midst of an end-of-semester crunch-time right now. Let's just remember that it won't be long before Christmas break gives us all a healthy dose of much-needed relief!

Anyway, I ran into a friend of mine earlier today, who bought a Wii over eBay. He gushed about it for a good ten minutes, and we talked excitedly. I've got plenty of positive feedback about Nintendo's next-gen system, but I'd really like to know more about the PS3. None of my friends have bought one, and I haven't really gotten much of a good impression about it. If anyone out there does have an opinion and feels like sharing, the ball is in your court: Write me a letter and tell me about it!




LETTERS
RPGiis...???


Ugh, I haven't written in forever. Between work getting crazy, the holidays, Wii Sports, and the trifecta of Final Fantasy games I'm working through, I have time for nothing. However, I must make time for Q&A as I'm approaching my one year anniversary of writing to you.

Matt

Yeah, I'm beginning to feel like an old man around here. I realized something frightening as I thought about my response to this letter: I've been doing Q&A at RPGamer for 5% of my entire life. Ahhh!

Anyway, I totally hear you on the busy front. There is nothing to worry about! If I had a Wii, I'd be playing with it all day, too, much to the detriment of my studies, and likely this column.

Hmmm... an RPG tattoo? I would never get one normally, but if I had to it would be a tough call between a three part triforce on my back or a cactuar on my leg. Life's important decisions, that's for sure.

Matt

Oh, a Triforce! Of course. That's a good idea.

I'd have chosen something related to Dragon Quest, but I'm not sure what. Perhaps Erdrick's birdlike emblem from the early games; that would lend itself well to the idea.

I see how well the Wiimote works in an action RPG environment like Zelda, but I am having a tough time seeing how it is going to revolutionize the traditional RPG genre. I kinda enjoy having a minimal amount of physical interaction in my RPGs. Maybe something new and exciting will come from it, but something like Dragon Quest Swords just doesn't seem to be deep enough for me. Maybe the video just made it seem slow-paced, but I was not overwhelmed. Are they going to be called RPGiis?

Matt

Ha ha ha... I hope not.

The footage from Dragon Quest Swords was a bit unattractive to me, too, to be honest with you. That's my series, and it seemed like it was just all about hacking and slashing everything in sight, which seems pretty stupid, honestly. I hope that if the game makes it across the Pacific, that it turns out to be more substantial than the first impression I got.

Keep in mind that there's no reason that RPGs have to be revolutionized by means of this new controller. A few new touches here and there might be neat, but on the other hand, it might be fun, and a nice change, to simply play through a game with the classic controller, or the remote held sideways. The Wii is uniquely flexible because it offers such a variety of different types of gameplay options.

So you want my Christmas list, eh? Gonna get me something? Hehehe. Well, that's a tough one as I hate leaving RPGs to chance and my them myself, but here's what I'm hoping to get.

- Xbox 360 Pro
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (PSP)
- Elebits (Wii)
- Some money to buy new games throughout 2007

Thankfully, I have some time to kill with Final Fantasy VI Advance coming in February. Maybe I'll finish the other three by then. Man, I'm slow.

Matt

That sounds like a fine-enough list! I wish I had the money to give out random presents to different readers... maybe when I make my first million, I'll give it some thought.

If you do decide to get me something, maybe you could get me some new SOCKs. My last pair had holes in them.

- Macstorm

Matt

Holes, eh? Well, the new contest is work-in-progress for the moment. Since my own future is rather unclear (I may be teaching a course sometime next year), I'm unsure of exactly when or how I'm going to introduce it. Just stay tuned...

Thanks, Mac, for taking some time out and writing in. Take care!



"Black Friday" ... it sounds more like a historic stock market crash or something.


How's it going? Life been treating you fairly?

Matt

No. But, then again, people have always told me that life isn't fair, so I should just shut up and do my job, shouldn't I?

Nah, everything is going fine on this end. ^^

So I was FINALLY able to get a copy of Dragon Quest 8 yesterday. I'm not very far in it (just had Angelo added to the party), but I must say, this game is even better than I expected. It's one of the best RPGs for the PS2, I think.

I really enjoy the creative enemy designs, especially when the enemy chooses to stare off into space instead of attacking. Who comes up with this stuff?

Matt

Heh heh, I know! My favourite monsters in the game have to be the skewers of twin bell peppers, because... come on, barbequed vegetables gone mad!? Awesome.

I'm glad you're enjoying the game so far! Dragon Quest is near and dear to my heart, and with every new fan, I can't help but get excited. It's hard to believe that an entire year has passed already since I first played the game...

Anyway, this is the only Dragon Quest game I've played. After playing this one, however, I've decided to get some of the other ones. Hopefully, I can download a few of them with the Nintendo Wii's virtual console. Well, time to spend the next few days with DQ8. I'm anxious to start the Monster Arena. Talk to ya later.

Matt

I would be so excited if any Dragon Warrior games made it onto the VC. You have NO idea how much I'll flip out if that happens; I advise you to be not within a few hundred metres of me in the case that that happens.

In any case, if you want to go old-school with Dragon Quest, ease yourself into it with Dragon Quest III or IV before you plunge into the first couple; they get more and more "hardcore" the earlier you go. Consider yourself warned... but otherwise, welcome to the Dragon Quest fan club!

PS: Is there any chance that the DQ Yangus game will come to North America?

Matt

Sadly, I'd say the chances are now next to nil. The game has been out in Japan for about half a year, now, and there have been absolutely no announcements of any treats or translations for North America.

On the other hand, some other spinoffs are readily available here; take a look at Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, which is supposedly an insanely fun little game for Nintendo's DS. It's not really a "real" Dragon Quest, at the heart of things, but it might give you a temporary fix!



Tattoos, Final Fantasy XII, and more!


Hey Matt,

Haven't written in a while but I still read. Figured I'd chime in on the RPG tattoo idea since it is something I've given a bit of thought to. Should I get one, it would be of the fire rune from the Suikoden series (not True Fire, that one doesn't look like a flame at all), probably on my shoulder blade. The Suikoden series may not be my favorite series, but I do like the flame coming from a video game. I've always had a fire-type personality; very passionate about everything I do, but can get a little out of control at times. I never did get it done only because I'm afraid of what it'll look like when I'm 50. You know, the whole "18yo girl gets a dolphin on her lower back that becomes a whale when she's a granny".

Matt

...complete with wrinkle lines, faded spots, and that one mole that popped up in the middle sometime after having your second kid. Yeah, tattoos aren't exactly my style either, but I thought it was a fun idea for a topic nonetheless, thanks to Alexander's Mognet question.

But, that's neat! If you feel like you can actually identify with a symbol and that it has a greater meaning than just being "cool," then maybe one day if you do decide on a tattoo, it will actually carry some significance.

Unfortunately I can't really contribute to the FFXII conversation. My RPG work has been mostly dealing with my backlog. First Tales of Legendia, now Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army. FFXII has only gotten 5 hours of my time, so I don't want to pass judgment yet. I do like how expansive the world is, makes it feel more like a world than the terrariums of other RPGs. I'm a bit annoyed that if I attempt to dodge an attack in battle by running away, it still hits anyway. But we shall see, FFX-2's battle system grew on me despite finding it a trifle odd at first.

Wishing he had more time to play FFIII,
venus577

Matt

Yeah, I had the impression going into Final Fantasy XII that one would be able to scamper into the background to avoid attack, but that simply isn't the case. It's definitely possible to be targeted and hit from a small distance (ŕ la FFVI and earlier), which brings home the fact that yes, maybe it's not exactly as much an "action-RPG" as I once hypothesized. Once you get used to the fact that there's no point in trying to avoid attacks by running amok, things are good.

Good luck dealing with all of your games. There are a lot more great ones on the way soon, so keep it up!



Nitpickers, and their picking of nits in Final Fantasy XII


I hope nobody thinks I was calling out the fans in my last letter about us whining. Yes, I said us because I fully acknowledge myself as one of them.

I'm by no means an expert, I just noticed that over the years of reading magazines, perusing the internet, and living life, that people have something to complain about. Then when the powers that be address those things, we still complain. I've seen confusion and rants about overcooked RPG plots, then we get one that's reasonably scaled back (at least as far as I've played), and we still aren't satisfied despite the general consensus that the game is awesome. We just cannot be pleased.

I'm not a game reviewer, so I don't have to force myself to finish crap games. With that said, any game I play through to completion is good in my book. I should be finishing FFXII pretty soon. It's fun. Play it. I just want to see a column where everyone nitpicks about the little things that make a game great and endearing.

Here's one: The way the opening cinematic flows right into the start game screen at the height of the FF theme still sends chills down my spine. Totally could have been left out, but it's there.

Jonezy

Matt

Oh, I know what you mean!! Hearing that theme music play at the beginning for the first time almost made me emotional.

And hey, there will always be disagreements over what things should be emphasized in RPGs. Some people really like the crazily twisting and unpredictable storylines, and others like simple, sweet, and traditional ones. This is exactly why both Xenosaga and Dragon Quest have pretty hefty fanbases! No matter what you throw out there, though, there are going to be people that dislike it (and some of them, as you probably know, will "choose" to dislike a game only because everybody else likes it). I'm with you here: If you're not just playing to have fun, then what is the point?



Potpourri


Last time we had Namie Amuro's 'Come'. This week it's Hitomi Shimatani's 'Angelus', also from Inuyasha, and one of the most unique anime openings I've ever heard. http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/5392/77482

Matt

Hello to you, too!

And yes, it does sound rather unique. It kind of screams "Scantily-Clad in Rio," doesn't it?

Well, I've found a couple of news items you'll probably be interested in. Here's one on the DS in Europe: http://www.gamespot.com/news/6162142.html and one on (perhaps) why eBay PS3 prices went so insane: http://www.gamespot.com/news/6162190.html

Matt

That sounds about right! There's no way that 400,000 PS3s were made available on launch day, because even now, I've seen a couple of sites that peg the total number of PS3s sold to date at a little more than 300,000.

As for the handheld news, that's no surprise. 2006 was the year of the DS, as far as I'm concerned. It went from being a fledgling system with lots of potential, but has since shone through and past its competitors. This has been a hard-fought battle with a well-deserved victory, and the great part is that there's all sorts of promise to come. Long live the DS!

And this is a fascinating feature on things that the author doesn't care for in games. Most of them don't really relate to RPG's, but pay attention to the one where a picture is from Grandia 2 yet the caption describes Dragon Quest! http://www.1up.com/do/feature?cId=3154540

Matt

Actually, this article is extremely annoying. This guy puts down RPGs repeatedly, for various reasons (like having to walk from place to place, because man, we have ZERO patience for these things in 2006), praising the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for being cutting-edge on many fronts on multiple occasions. To top things off with a giant cherry, he puts down Mega Man games for having instant-death spike traps and bottomless pits! NO! You just don't. That's part of the challenge of Mega Man games old and new, and his words are nearly painful. What does this crackpot want? If he's into gaming only for instant gratification teddy bears-easy platformers that your great-aunt could walk through, then fine. Leave my games alone, though.

Ugh... now I'm stressed out.

Mmm, I've sunk about 85 hours into Grandia now. Which is quite impressive when I'm playing the Saturn version. Turns out that the battle theme changes with disc 2, to this: http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/213/38 It still changes if you get surprised by the enemy, though, which is the slightly different second portion. And here's the Garlysle theme - can you guess what mood prevails in meeting the Garlysle people? http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/213/32

Matt

Something tells me it's not sunshine and smiles, is it?

What's your take on review scores at RPGamer? If you've looked at the message boards for PoV lately, people find it odd that I hand out so many 5 scores. If you haven't, do a quick poke around the one from last week because I don't want to repeat all of that.

Matt

I like our system a lot because rather than arbitrarily handing out "80%" to games of average quality, our scores actually MEAN something. 3/5 is, theoretically, the score that any "okay" games should get, which is quite unlike almost every other site out there. 5/5 and 1/5 are - or should be - equally rare, indicating games that are absolutely outstanding, one way or another. This helps to distinguish the games that truly stand out, since it's much more difficult when you're comparing, say, scores of 97 and 98. What do a couple of percentage points really mean in the scheme of things?

I've done four reviews in the past, and I keep meaning to do more, one day when I have less on my plate. But, between the four that I've reviewed, I think I've averaged something like 2.625/5. Yikes. But I have to be honest; I really enjoyed playing Makai Kingdom, for instance, yet I gave it 2.5/5 in the end, because I still felt that from an unbiased standpoint, many things could have been much-improved upon. I feel that just because I played the hell out of a game and enjoyed it does not mean that it deserves a full score. I think that that might be the reason you're getting reactions over your many 5s, anyway; the almighty "5" hasn't historically shown up very often on this site.

In slightly related news, a bunch of people got excited about the idea of scoreless reviews, but I'm not big on that idea, since a lot of readers feel that the number is an important. Instead, I'd rather have the scoring categories revampeed, making certain that things like "Interaction" and "Originality" are more clearly defined. On the whole, though, I think we have one of the strongest and most complete set of RPG reviews on the web.

I had in mind a 2-player cooperative gaming fest for Guardian Heroes, actually. Since you play Mega Man games, your action reflexes are clearly extant. Of course if you WANT me to beat you senseless, I have a few fighting games that really aren't much fun solo. Or there's Bomberman. Bring some other people and Saturn controllers, Saturn Bomberman takes up to 10 players!

Matt

That's a lot of explosive action. I'd say that my reflexes are above average, but a far cry from the best. I'm still awkward at many fighters and nearly all FPSes, so you probably would kick my ass if we were ever to duel. Of course, then I'd have to counterchallenge you to a game of Tetris Attack, because I'm pretty much a god at that one. ^_^

Got another Panzer Dragoon Saga musical bit: http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/570/30 Does it sound like others? It's from when you fight several... well, I don't really know WHAT they are, but they're definitely ancient weapons.

Matt

It has a similar sort of sound, yeah, to the others that you've sent me. I think that these tracks are mostly characterized by the their backgrounds; the little almost "ethnically" musical ornaments that are inserted here and there. I'm a fan.

While I'm on the musical link track - is my second attempt to ingratiate Sailor Moon: Another Story's music to you. Four distinct pieces here, as Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus must respectively go to Switzerland, Nepal, CANADA, and Turkey. Canada is portrayed as a very forested area with people dressing like lumberjacks.

Matt

Why, I even have my plaid flannel overalls in the dryer, even as we speak. Darn... I have to remember to shine my axe tonight before bed, though; it's been a few weeks.

The music, though? It's kinda boring, to be honest with you. Not my style, anyway; I've been listening to final boss themes a lot these days...

Oh, and here's a genuine music question for you. Rivera's arranged soundtrack is quite good except for one instance: http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/2956/28362 doesn't sound to me like the original http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/2956/28367 (names concealed because this is a newer game). What say you?

Matt

I'm a really big fan of almost all of Riviera: The Promised Land's tracks. They're really upbeat, exciting, and all-around neat. The arranged soundtracks are, for the most part, fantastic, though I had difficulties locating the final boss music in arranged format as well; not just this one. What do I "say," though? Not much, I guess. What can I say? It's disappointing, to be sure, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it; after all, the original is good enough on its own, without being fluffed up.

Now here's a story from two weekends ago that I thought you'd be interested in. I was with my father for awhile, and playing a variety of tunes from my laptop (cruddy speaker quality, but better than silence). I tried playing him some game music. This has been tried before by me, and the result this time was that he listened for a little while before he strongly urged me to switch the music. Doesn't matter what I play, he considers game music, at best, on par with movie soundtracks: something that works in the context of a larger work, not outside of it. I know he hates listening to movie music outside of the movie also. So rather than pursue a lost cause, I put on some AC/DC, Slade, Stevie Ray Vaughn, ABBA, Lou Rawls - you get the idea.

Matt

It's unfortunate, but true: Many people associate video game music only with repetitive tinny tunes that they remember from 1986. There's not a whole lot that can be done, either. My parents are exactly the same, and I wager that most moms and dads out there are similar. Of course, I'd say, too, that a large majority of people our age would give you a strange look if you told them you loved video game music. We're just outcasts. *sniffle*

Probably out of time. Shining Force III musical moment: http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/1780/1274 and http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/1780/1279 take place when Gracia must become a true Innovator, which requires one of the most interesting battles in the whole game, because there aren't any enemies if the player doesn't allow it. The second track is the actual battle, the first story bits.

JuMeSyn

Matt

I see. Thanks for sharing! And good luck with those reviews, Grandia, convincing daddy that video game music is a decent option, and everything else.



QUICKIES

No letters fit for Quickies are in the inbox today! Lots of longies, though. Maybe tomorrow...


MOGNET MAIL

If you have Final Fantasy III DS, send me your friend code, and I'll add yours! My code is 515 480 192 117. Then, send me mail, and I'll respond to you in the column. The moogles will be waiting, kupo!

So, I heard this crazy rumor that you could bring a certain military officer back to life in FF6A. Would that be sacriledge or acceptable remaking?

Matt
Really!? Whoa. Well, there's only one reason that something like this would be true: The character you're speaking of is, most certainly, one of the most popular non-central characters of the entire Final Fantasy series, and yeah, I have to admit that the idea of reviving him excites me (though I have to say, it isn't really a surprising decision on the part of Square Enix). Is it sacrilege? Well, it's true that his death gave the player a real reason to invest his/her feelings into the game, and thus, it might draw a bit of outcry from hardcore fans, but I personally don't care all that much. It's not like everyone who has ever played the game didn't wonder if it was possible in the first place, given that he is playable already. Sort of.



IN CLOSING

And so ends another day!

Thus, as I mentioned in my introductory piece, for tomorrow I want to hear from anyone among you who has managed to snag a Playstation 3. What are your thoughts? What are the possibilities for the next generation of Sony RPGaming? I'm itching to hear, so take a few minutes and send me a letter!

Until next time, I bid you all a fond farewell.



Send a Letter!

Inbox Status: Improving...



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt's mom's astrological sign is Leo!


...and my sister, Danielle, and brother, Chris, are both of the sign Libra. It sounds like we're already living in a Final Fantasy world! ;)

Most Recent

Nov. 28: Matt

Nov. 27: Roku

Nov. 26: Josh

Nov. 24: Matt



Links

About the Host

Quote Archives

Playstation 3 Compatibility Guide



What I Want to Play:

1. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

2. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

3. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

4. Yoshi's Island DS

5. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl



What I'm Playing:

1. Final Fantasy XII

2. Final Fantasy III DS

3. Final Fantasy V Advance



Uhhh...

This space seems awfully, terribly empty, doesn't it? :(



© 1998-2013 RPGamer All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy