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Perma-Ouro: Now With Louder Opinions! May 6, 2006

Josh - 7:27 EST

Well, if it wasn't clear two days ago when Matt mentioned it, I have now permanently taken the Weekend Q&A spot, so you're now stuck with me. Sorry guys, I'll make sure to send out tissues in the near future, so you can go ahead and stop crying. I'll try to refrain from being completely tactless, but absolutely nothing is guaranteed, and your consent is given to me upon reading this paragraph.

There, that wasn't so bad, was it?

On the real life side of things, my semester is finally over, and I've had a great day of BBQing with my friends. So now, I get to sit around for the next month, and talk to you guys! Hooray!

Well, I'll also be playing Guild Wars: Factions. Dear god I love that game. You can eat it, WoW.




L E T T E R S
Look, for the last time, NO!


Dear Matt & [Insert Guestname Here] and/or [Weekend Shift]

This was brought to my attention a while ago, via a group of friends in discussion over various SNES games, here's my question:

Is Super Metroid an RPG?

What do you think? What classifies an RPG an RPG? I mean I know plenty of games with RPG elements, but nowadays what's the clear-cut definition of an RPG? Don't point to a specific game for an example, as that never works. Same goes for TRPG, what defines them?

Okay, I'm out, see you.
~Blade

Josh

While I love Super Metroid, it is not an RPG. For one, there are no stats - you just have a measure of health and some ammo, which is...well, common in practically every genre except sports. Also, there are no drops. Enemies leave behind health and ammo, but that too is common. All items that you find are just addons to your current setup, and they are in set places just waiting for the story to lead up to it. You won't find an enemy that leaves behind the +3 Spazer of Uberness, just like no enemy in Mario 3 will leave behind a Tanooki Suit.

RPGs are defined (to me) as a game where you take control of a character, and instead of just playing as that character, you can view them as two entities - the character who is living out the story, and as a series of numbers that define HOW that character is developed internally. They both progress throughout the game, and in the end, you are stronger because of it, as well as the numerous items/powerups encountered along the way.

A TRPG is a much more specific genre. Merriam-Webster defines 'tactics' as "the science and art of disposing and maneuvering forces in combat." The key element here is movement. If you are able to move your forces, and have those movements add something to your fighting effectiveness, then it's a TRPG. Is Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter a TRPG? No, because even though you can move your characters, it doesn't do anything other than close the distance between characters. If attacking an enemy from behind made a difference, or if you could use elevation to your advantage, then yes, I'd consider it a TRPG.



Ugh...so...full...of...barbeque...


Hey Matt, good luck on your flight to E3! You'll be fine, really. Right?

Josh

Well, don't worry, Q&A will be...taken care of...

I'm sure he'll be ok. If they crash-land on a deserted island, they'll be fine. Unless they start getting hungry and resort to eating each other. Oh, you don't think they'd do that...do you? I mean, humans are stringy, and without mayonnaise, not a very good dish...at...all...ahem. Oh, you have a question. Please, continue.

Some things I learned from an hour or two in FFXII (and still not replaying due to massive backlog):

1. No, you can't block. Deal with it.
2. You can, however, run behind the opponent and beat THEM up while you put one character as a decoy for the enemy to pummel. That way you don't get any damage while your teammates (or just one mate) do.

Josh

You can't block? Oh well. I was always one of those people that would play fighting games with 'Guard' buttons and never use them. Psh. Who makes a fighting game where you can't press backwards to block? Sheesh.

And as for horrible save experiences, there was this time when my dad was playing Xenogears around the same time that I was. He went to get a cup of coffee and told me to run to the save point and save for him. Force of habit and reflex caused me to overwrite my OWN save game instead of his (mine was in slot 1, his was slot 2). This wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't learned ALL the Deathblows for everyone after Shevat (took me 6 hours a day dammit!), and his save was a good 10 hours before mine.

I got so depressed I didn't pick up the game for the next six years.

DMJewelle

Josh

Ouch. I feel your pain, really. I was dumb enough to believe all that 'bring back Aeris' hype (hey, I was 13 and ready to BELIEVE), so back when I had finally made it to the northern crater (the last dungeon), I decided to go back and see if I could figure out a way to keep that pansy flower girl alive. Well, sure enough, I plowed through the save screen right before the ShinRa tower raid you do on Disc 1, and before you knew it, I was screaming obscenities at the TV screen, completely aghast at the idiocy of my folly. So, yeah, I know exactly how you felt.



Mediocre? Maybe. Decent? Not the word I'd use.


I just finished reading CactuarJoe's review of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

I am very disappointed with said review.

He says that the story is lacking and is "braindead." This is certainly untrue. For one, the story in Final Fantasy VII took 40 HOURS to get through (give or take 15 hours, depending on what you do). They have an hour and a half, to set up, and finish in said time. So of course its not going to be as, grand, as the original story.

I view this movie as more of a character study. The growth of Cloud over the years and so on and so forth, and how he feels about certain things, as well as the people around him.

And to actually think he said that the voice acting is good ? Are you serious ? Granted, when I got my copy, I watched it in English, and I still enjoyed it. However, upon viewing it in Japanese, it made it a hundred times better. Things make more sense, and the messeges the creators really wanted to convey (of course this is my opinion) came in crystal clear. There are pitfalls in dubbing, I understand that, but dont even bother watching it dubbed.

All in all, a decent review. However it seems you are marking it down because its a movie.

Valence

Josh

First off, you're disappointed at a 'decent' review? O_o What?

Second, I know Roku wouldn't mind if you wrote your own review, so feel free to write one if you differ in your opinion from CactuarJoe's. Trust me, Roku will probably hug you or bake you cookies or something.

As for the story, I've seen 90-minute movies that have some semblance of a grand plot, and FFVII:AC came nowhere near that (honestly, about a good 85% of the movie was fight sequences). The story really wasn't very complex or anything...without resorting to spoilers, the whole conflict between the 3 enemies and Cloud could be summed up in the words 'this seems vaguely familar...'

Spoiler in hidden text: I mean seriously, what the hell was the whole thing about taking those kids? Kadaj didn't do anything with them except make them stand in the town square while Bahamut razed the town? What the hell was that all about, there was absolutely no basis for kidnapping and brainwashing them!

As for the character study, here's an excerpt from the review - "The movie takes place two years after the events of Final Fantasy VII, and deals primarily with Cloud's attempt to come to terms with Aerith's untimely death...It does provide some interesting insights into a few of the less-developed characters of the game, though Cloud receives most of the attention and development as the story unfolds."

The voice acting was pretty good. However, I'm one of those people that would rather listen to the movie than read it. I think Cloud's VA could have used some work, but for the most part, everyone else's was good. Sure, there are hiccups at times, but that's pretty commonplace when it comes to dubbing CG/Animation. Localization also usually misses some information due to losses in translation, but the general messages were still there.



I've purged today. Have you?


Dear Matt,

Recently one of my roommates picked up the English version of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and I have to say, while it was fun and entertaining to watch, I'm not really very fond of the rendition. It's not that the actors did badly, persay, just that the lines themselves really didn't have the same effect when spoken that the lines in Japanese did... but this has been a major issue with translated media from Japan for me since I started watching Anime and became familiarized with the language years ago. With very few exceptions, I find that the localized scripts always greatly "miss the target", if that makes any sense.

The one voice I have to say I really enjoyed in the American version was Vincent. It took me a moment to really get used to his voice, but I found myself liking the way he carried the character quite a bit more than the other western actors.

As for the movie itself, it's very pretty, but it didn't impress me at all. In particular, it looked to me as if the animators tried too hard to make the fight scenes -look- fast, and they ended up seeming very jerky in places and unnatural. The biggest offender, to me, would be the fight between Tifa and Loz. Aside from that, it seems that many of the fights follow a very simple formula, ie. Clash left, jump back, clash right, spin to counter second opponent, repeat ad nauseum. That in itself is fairly well adjusted for by the rapid camera movements and ample amounts of John Woo-esque slow motion, and it's not something most people will probably notice or care about unless they look for it.

Also, was it just me, or was the incarnation of Bahamut in the movie the ugliest yet? I'm a huge Bahamut Fan-boy, but I just... couldn't help but chuckle when I saw that portion of the movie the first time when I got my import version. The whole bit of everyone giving Cloud the extra boost up at the end of the sequence was just over-cheese for me, and sorta tacked a few extra nails into the coffin, as it were.

All-in-all nothing ground-breaking, even if the character/background models were the nicest CG I've ever laid eyes on.

Josh

The Tifa fight seemed a little jerky to me too. I think the designers were also a bit heavy on the aerial fight sequences, but...meh. It was still an enjoyable movie overall. As for Bahamut, it seems like they took the FFX Bahamut (though the face was a tad different) and popped him into the FFVII universe. I didn't think it was ugly, so much as it was just really out of place.

As for FFXII (I've played the japanese import), I can safely assure anyone wondering if the game is an action RPG hybrid, that the game in it's final form is no such thing. There is still active and wait mode, and the gambit system is GENIUS, and I can say that in my opinion it's by far the most intuitive and intelligent means of party AI. I've ever seen effected in a game.

Anyway, just be patient. Those of you waiting for the localization are waiting for a very good thing assuming that the story is not somehow butchered (and with SE, it usually turns out fine ^_^;).

I suppose I'm not really adding much to the whole conversation with all of this, but I just felt like throwing in my wad of twenties.

~Crow

Josh

Agreed. Too many people assume too much about upcoming games, and they end up destroying their own desire to play it by just defeating the game by proxy. I usually have opinions about games before they are released, but until I've had a chance to see the finished product, I'll reserve full judgment. However, from playing the demo, I enjoyed the battle system, and I hope that the Gambit system is as useful as you say, because my experiences with Computer AI have rarely been exceptional, so I'm looking forward to something that will prove me wrong.



QUICKIES


Hey,
Just thought I'd send a note in about sock question #184, the Cinnamon character. When I saw the question, I recalled there being a character in FFIX called "Cinna". He was member of Zidane's troupe, and I think might also have been a cook.

Just thought I would mention it,
Adam
Halifax, NS

You are absolutely right! I hereby grant thee the Parentheses of Irrelevancy ( )! Wear them with honor!



C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Well, here we are at the end of my first column as an non-temp. Yay! I'll be here the rest of the weekend (I will be doing columns from Saturday to Monday), so I expect you all to write me letters praising my name! Or...asking questions and demanding answers...I suppose those would work too. Sigh.

However, that first question made me think. What do you all think defines an RPG? As a genre with no clear-cut definition, RPGs tend to be an entirely subjective type of game...so what are your views on it?

And also, how am I doing? Anything you'd like to see me add to the column?

Have a good one, I'll see you all tomorrow!


ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh wonders why his friend doused the turkey in lighter fluid.


Send a Question

Seriously, he took the bottle and sprayed it right on the turkey. We had to get rid of it! I was prepared to toss him in the creek at that point...grumble...

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