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Fini March 5, 2007

Josh - 10:10 EST

Sick as a dog. Not a great way to end Q&A, eh? I got a few letters for Bainick...around 7PM, so...uh... ^^; Sorry man. Looks like you'll have to take care of it with Matt. We've just had a string of bad luck, huh? Ah well...I need to get this done before the NyQuil kicks in.

You know what else sucks? This will be my 99TH COLUMN. What the hell? I planned this horribly, horribly wrong. I warn you, I'll be covering for someone, possibly next weekend, so I can get that frickin' 100th column. ^^;




L E T T E R S
Maybe I should put a dead baby joke here.


Hey Bainick,

Josh

Bainick's not in right now. You'll have to deal with poor-old, bed-ridden me. I'll try not to sneeze on you.

Someone mentioned the final Sephiroth showdown a couple days ago, and that got me thinking. My heart was absolutely pounding that entire fight. The reality is he's not a hard final boss in any of his forms, but I was seriously pumped the whole time. The makers did an unrivaled job of leading up to that final fight. The balance of that game is amazing. I finally got around to seeing Advent Children, and talk about nostalgia. When all the characters make appearances in rapid fire succession, it was just crazy. Sequels are a mixed bag, but this is a sequel Squenix would be crazy not to make. It'd sell like hotcakes. Are they afraid to not live up to expectations? Of course they wouldn't, but that's not the point. They seriously need get on that. How the hell does FFX get a sequel (albeit crappy) and FFVII not?! Justice now!

Josh

Exactly (the Sephiroth thing, not the FFVII sequel thing). Sephy was a great boss that just was begging to have his ass kicked. Sure, it wasn't incredibly difficult, but you got an immense sense of satisfaction from defeating him. Not because it was some major obstacle, but because it provided the closure that you needed.

FFX deserved a sequel because it's completely unknown what happens to Tidus. And, it's -intruiging- to find out. Cloud, on the other hand, defeated his arch-nemesis, and...foom. The planet is saved. No internal conflict left over. Yuna is heart-broken over the loss of Tidus, and is -unsure- whether he died or not. Aeris...was freakin' dead. Period.

I've been playing through Ubisoft's Prince of Persia series lately and really enjoying it. RPGs need to incorporate more this sort of acrobatic adventure into them. Very cool!

Josh

I love the Prince of Persia games. I beat the first two for PS2, but the Two Thrones is giving me trouble on Hard Mode. After the chariot race, you have to fight a pair of bosses simultaneously that are just ridiculously hard to dodge. Otherwise, the games are fantastic. It's like Ico with more emphasis on fighting than puzzles.

Another good one I've picked up recently is Hitman: Blood Money. The system actually works this time. It's very cool to be able to complete objectives satisfactorily in completely diverse ways. GTA's more recent renditions allow for this, but the only RPG that has done this well is Growlanser 2. It took me several hours to realize that the mission objectives are dynamic. Basically, don't die and the story progresses, though in potentially very different ways. Sweetness. Why don't more RPGs do this? Talk about replay value! I guess most RPGs can't come up with one good story let alone a good branching story.

Vicissitude

Josh

Indeed. I haven't picked up Growlanser, but I've played Hitman and GTA, and what you're referring to is pretty neat. It exponentially adds to the replay value to be able to branch out as such, and if the story is cool enough, and the differences are significant enough...players can jack up play time like nobody's business!

Thanks for writing in to me, Vic!



Nah.


Hey Ouro,

You were an awesome QnA host; its sad to see you go, honestly, after all the time you spent interacting with us QnA letter-writers and managing your game THONG. BUT you're obviously headed for better and brighter things with your life, so its obviously a bittersweet goodbye for you, so I'll leave you with these questions for you and Bainick.

Josh

It was fun, and you guys kept me entertained; I just hope I did the same for you guys.

First, what's the most memorable RPG game or series you remember fondly playing thus far? It can be anything from Zelda 2 to the Xenosaga series. And how would you say that game/series affected your view of how RPGs should be?

Josh

Oh come on. You know what my answer will be. :P

Xenogears and Chrono Trigger. I have to say both of these, because they provided two different insights.

Chrono Trigger first introduced me to RPGs. I saw it in GamePlayers magazine back in '95, thought the graphics were outstanding (I thought the white and blue backdrop while fighting Lavos was especially nifty), and knew I had to have it. After conning (read: whining) my parents to shell out $70 for the game at Toys 'R Us, I proceeded to immerse myself in the game for hours on end. I still go back and play it from time to time, and I enjoy it EVERY SINGLE TIME. The battle system in that game is still one of the best in history, in my opinion. Anyway, after CT, I saw FF6 in a used game store (Funcoland), and got that, soldifying my entry into the RPG realm.

Xenogears proved to me that you can have your cake and eat it too. I found practically no flaws with the game (ugly sprites, slow text speed), and realized that the game had everything I wanted. Great soundtrack (Mistuda <3), awesome battle system, amazing plot and character development...it showed me what I wanted in every RPG thenceforth.

Second, who was the most memorable or most colorful QnA letter writer you remember in hosting this column? You know, which consistent letter writer stood out the most for you, or who seemed the most colorful letter writer to you, etc?

Josh

Stood out? Well, I did groan every time I saw a JuMeSyn letter in the inbox. Vic generally wrote good letters which engaged my attention, just to name one out of several. Hell, I didn't even mind the unfit for print ones, since they gave me a chance to be even dumber than usual. You all were just dandy. :P

Finally, uh, any backlash from your superiors for telling JuMeSyn that no one "speak your language, dickweed!"? Seriously though, what was the most memorable response you ever gave to someone who wrote in to your column? Was it in the quickies, was it in Unfit for Print, or was it some inside joke that made sense to you and no one else? This applies to Bainick too since he's cohosted a few times before.

Josh

Nope, no backlash. I mean, if he says he knows MST3k like he says he does, he'll know it's a line from Pod People, one of the greatest episodes of MST3k ever.

Sheesh, memorable? When I had my roommate cohost, I wanted to kill him immediately afterwards. There was an inside joke in the intro of my InFrozenFires column in June that really made no sense to anyone except those on staff, and I thought it was pretty funny. Honestly, maybe I'll write in later with my answer, since I've gone through two months of my archive and haven't chosen a favorite, and I'm getting sleepy...

It was nice being your bitch, and now we must go our separate ways.
Farewell from BLG

Josh

I'll see you around, man. Thanks for writing in all this time!



That would just be mean.


Hi Josh and Bainick.

Congratulations on the latest recruit to the Xeno cul... err... fan club. Yeah. Fan club. We're not a fanatic religion at all (all hail the Uzuki family line).

Josh

Uzuki! U-zu-ki! Chant with me now!

Now turn your hymnals to song #346, Awakening, and hum along.

About .Hack... I've played them. All four. While, in retrospect, they're not worth 80$ (for 80 hours of gameplay), it's still a pretty fun game. It can get a little repetitive but I didn't mind that too much. The story's pretty interesting and it's an unusual setting. You shouldn't be that afraid, I think.

Josh

She tells me that the story is great, and since she owns them all, I'm not paying a cent, so...more power to me.

I don't have a question, really. I'll go with a generic "What are you playing, what are you waiting for?" Strangely enough, I'm not waiting for anything in the coming future.

My most anticipated game is Spore. I hope it comes out this year. I suppose theoretically you could say it's an RPG, but I don't really think it fits in the category... It's a strategy/simulation game.

Zohar Gilboa

Josh

Spore does look pretty sweet, doesn't it? I can't wait to at least -try- the game out.

I wish I had the time to wait for something. I'd like to look forward, but I don't have the time to play anything new just yet. Metroid Prime 3 might be an exception, though.

As for what I'm playing...Metroid Prime 2, Digital Devil Saga, Twilight Princess, and Metal Gear Solid: PO. I'm trying to stick to one game per system at the moment, if possible. ^^



Better to just say goodbye. "Goodbye!"


Dear Josh/Bainick

I've been keeping track of Gurumin for quite a while, and I think that it looks like a very worthwhile game. However, my mind is still trying to wrap itself around the feature of including the original Japanese voice track as an UNLOCKABLE, a feature that needs to be earned, rather than available at the outset like other games that include it. Now I know that the localizers were very vocal about how hard they worked and how proud they are of their work on the English script and voice acting. Therefore, I was wondering if they were in some kind of dilemma: they clearly wanted to appease the fans who demanded the original voice tracks; however, given how proud they were of their localization work, they might have been afraid that fans would just pass on their English voice track altogether in favor or the Japanese track if they included that option at the beginning of the game.

They must have REALLY wanted their own created English track to be heard and enjoyed by everyone who play the game, so you can kind of say that they compromised. They provided for the demand for the original voice track, but required players to listen to their track for the whole game at least once before getting to the original track. That still seems kind of bizarre, but it would make sense if I what speculated above were true. Now I wonder if there are more companies out there who may have felt or still feel the same way; they want to appease those who want to listen to the Japanese track, but also want those players to enjoy their voice track that they worked so hard on. I wonder if those people might look at what Mastiff has done with Gurumin, and turn this practice into a trend, forcing players to listen to the English tracks before listening to the Japanese ones. Do you think that this is a good trend if it came to be, or do you think that it might be too conniving somehow? What Mastiff did might risk pissing some people off (likely the very reason why it hasn't been done until now), but those people don't as much to complain about with this approach than not having the option at all. I'm not sure what my stance is on this. For me, I would ALWAYS want a localized game to include the original voice track as an option, no matter what loopholes I may need to jump through to get to it. I always think that the Japanese tracks always give a different "feel," a different experience for me, espcially since I've learned to understand the language. But that's just my point of view.

Josh

That's...interesting, really. Actually, that rather appeals to me. The English voice acting, if well done (which it seems like it will be), should be appreciated. I prefer not to read my games if the VA is done superbly. And come on, if you're one of the people who prefers the Japanese VA over the English one, chances are you're 'hardcore' enough to play through the bloody thing again. ^^

My point of view regarding Japanese VA is thus - If I have to read text, I can generally gauge just what the character's tone should be displaying. I don't need some gibberish (if I don't understand it, it's gibberish) blaring in my ear, and I have to sit there and figure out which word they were emphasizing. Japanese sentence structure is a bit different, so...it doesn't really help me out that much.

It's been a blast having you as a host, Josh. There are few people out there who can answer as many RPG-related questions as you can. THONG was great too, and given your vast knowledge of RPGs, I was quite impressed by some of the more evil questions that were asked, not to mention the game as whole and how you were able to come up with it. Best of luck to you and whatever path of life you choose!

Alan

Josh

Thanks a bunch, man.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret, though. I don't inherently know all this stuff. I just really, really, know how to abuse Google. Honestly, 90% of the questions I've been unable to automatically answer have come from thorough research. The other 10% I already know, or know who to ask to figure it out.

Been great having you, Alan. I'll be seeing ya around!





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

And my time as Weekend Q&A Host comes to a close. I'm thankful for the hours (and hours...and hours...) of entertainment you guys gave me, and I'm positive you'll find me back here at some point filling in for someone. Until then, I'm on to bigger and better things, so you'll have to deal with Matt in the meantime...all by his lonesome. Don't cry all at once...no...just, just...go, my children.

See you all later!


ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh is sick, but sad to go.


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