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ASK ROKU
One Step
April 6, 2007

Roku - 18:45 PST

PHEW. One step at a time. I was hoping to have my Atelier Iris 3 Impression step done by now, but my progress seems to be rather slow. I'll have that for you guys within a day or two though, if all goes well. Well, I'm not really in the mood for long introductions or conclusions, and these letters are awfully long, so let's jump right in, shall we?




LETTERS
The first behemoth


Well, if you're back for another go-round, I'm game. Because I have the day OFF! Beware the advent of work, sir Roku, for it will make a mockery of efforts at regularity in other activities!

Roku

^^;;

Now then... I mentioned Tengai Makyou Ziria on the Xbox 360 because anyone who releases an RPG on that system and DOESN'T put it into English is a nut.

I know Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, Eternal Sonata et al are changing its perception in Japan a bit - but the system is not doing well across the Pacific. Therefore, does it not seem odd for a game to be released in Japan only when the user base for the system is many times larger elsewhere?

Roku

Even so, if it did poorly in Japan, it's unlikely that they would make efforts for it to be localized.

Oh, and the series is also known by Far East of Eden (written in English on the boxes).

As to my interest in Tengai Makyou... either you've noticed all the insanity I mention regarding IV on the Saturn (such as piloting the Alamo around Texas and charging Skull Beat's Skull Tank after he somehow slew General Custer) or it's a surprise. Which is it?

Roku

I noticed ^^.

So Aethelred is in charge of quotes now. For some reason every time I've sent a message to him in the past none were received. Either that or I'm getting tossed in the spam bin for his email account. Any way you can inquire about that?

Roku

I sent a message to him for you since he wasn't on.

So you have indeed played more Fire Emblem. Care to enlighten me as to which titles they were and how deeply you got into them?

Roku

I've played all of the ones released here, though I haven't quite finished the GameCube one. I really should finish the remaining chapters when I finish the other games I'm working on.

On the tactical front - what will it take for you to dive into the Shining Force series?

Roku

I already have. The thing is, we needed reviews of the action RPG ones more, so I've had to set aside the tactical ones. I like the tactical ones a lot more.

Related to this: there is a Shining Force title that RPGamer does not list. But even I haven't played Shining Force Final Conflict, which is only on Game Gear in Japan.

Roku

I'll make note of it.

Ah, Jeanne d'Arc. Well, if that game ends as the historical record proves, players who cannot handle unhappy endings will be very angry. But I had in mind a theoretical game that you would provide the setting for, not one already in development. I'll pick Spain and set it in the early 1500's as the country was conquering, mostly via pestilence, the majority of the Western Hemisphere. What's your pick?

Roku

Well, I'd say feudal Japan, but there are plenty enough of those currently. I don't know. There's an awful lot to choose from, and many of them have been done or are being done.

Based upon its current library, what titles would you think worthy of importing for the DS?

Roku

I'd grab the latest Atelier.

Alright, I'm gonna throw Naruto into this discussion. If you don't know anything about it, say so now.

Roku

I know enough, though it's been a while.

What RPG's in the Naruto world have you heard anything good about? I'm tempted because the subject matter is well-suited for an RPG but, as you said, many anime-derived titles are cash-ins.

Roku

I haven't looked into them.

And now for a MAMMOTH SPOILER to anyone who doesn't read the scanlated Naruto manga, so run away and hide if that's the case: the Oro is NOT dead! I don't care WHAT happened here, I have faith that the Oro did not get such a lame end at the hands of Sasuke! He's lurking in Sasuke's consciousness waiting for a chance to return, probably when Itachi beats Sasuke down as has to happen. No one can convince me otherwise! END MAMMOTH NARUTO SPOILER.

If you do in fact read the Naruto manga, go ahead and give me your analysis of what's been happening recently.

Roku

It's been a while since I read it, so I can't really comment.

Got any thoughts on Treasure Hunter G? I'm wondering what to plug into the SNES next and it's got the seeming of a very interesting title. Or it could be Tengai Makyou Zero. I'm wide-open, pick and choose for me.

Roku

I'd say Tengai Makyou Zero based on our recent conversations.

Now, there is an English title for the Saturn that I haven't acquired and am wondering about. Can you find anything on the Horde? It originated on 3DO and was then ported to Saturn. Apparently featuring Kirk Cameron in video segments - but it's a strategy title.

Roku

I'll look into this as well.

Another English title for Saturn that RPGamer doesn't cover is Iron Storm. The game is a World War II strategy piece translated by Working Designs. Can you unearth information regarding its applicability as to listing on the site?

Roku

And this as well ^^.

I would recommend you pick up a Langrisser title once you feel ready to work through an import tactical game. Or you could just grab a Genesis and Warsong, but since most of the games got ported to the PS1 after their release on Saturn that route is available.

Rhetorical question, but maybe you have the answer - why must the store's Muzak system keep playing Alanis Morissette? I got my fill of her over 10 years ago!

JuMeSyn

Roku

^^;;



Another fellow reviewer


Hey Roku,

I'm glad you're playing Boktai 2 because I was going to do a review of it; I even swore that I wouldn't play Lunar Knights until I finished Boktai 2 and reviewed it. Then I caved and bought Lunar Knights...

Roku

I'd like to do that. Stupid sun! Rarely being able to play this during the day is making it a pain to finish.

I subsequently forgot all about Boktai 2... but it is a pretty good game, really. Of course, Lunar Knights is much better, but we judge each game by its own merits. After all, Boktai 2 was for the GBA, and let's not fault the old gal for being on a system that's not as graphically powerful. For that matter, you liking the game? Played Lunar Knights yet?

Roku

I'm liking it more than the first so far. Lunar Knights is tempting, but I need to finish this one first.

Also, I love Final Fantasy VI, but I've played it so many times that it just isn't worth it playing it again, even for a "better" translation and additional espers. What do you like or not like about the game so far? What made you decide to pick it up again?

Roku

What made me decide to pick it up again was that I hadn't played it in a while and the bonus dungeon seemed tempting. I like most of the port so far. There are some downsides, though. There's an awful lot of slowdown in some places, and the soundtrack has been altered for the GBA. Still, it's a good port. Better than the PS1 version for sure.

I refuse to play Maple Story but only because it seems fad-ish. I know that's silly, and really, it should be about whether the game is good. I'm also suspicious of "free" online games, but my friend who plays it assures me that the costs are recouped from players who pay real money to decorate their characters. That's fine by me but I still don't really see the appeal. Roku, what's so great about it?

Roku

Appeal in the game or in decoration? The game itself isn't really anything special aside from it being side-scrolling. The reason I chose it is because I have friends playing it and we're lacking a review. Well, I haven't seen side-scrolling like this one elsewhere before either, so I guess it's somewhat special in that way, though I've been avoiding MMOs since FFXI because of how much that burnt me out. As far as decorating your character goes, well, it depends on what your equipment looks like, I guess. Running around with a torn up cape for 20 levels when you could have a pair of glowing wings instead? Yeah, I can see the appeal there. If your equipment looks pretty cool as-is, then I don't see much point, though. I'd rather buy the teleport stones and merchant stuff.

I would play Mario & Luigi except that what I really crave is good, long DS games, but they are apparently few and far between... When I say long, I mean more than 30 hours of non-mini-game madness, and so far all I can come up with are Advance Wars, Megaman Battlenework 5: Double Team and maybe Final Fantasy III. Have you found other good, long DS RPGs? If so, what are they? And if not, does that bother you much or does that really matter?

Also, are you getting Puzzle Quest? I hear great things...

Looking forward to Super Paper Mario,
- waterfiend33

Roku

Hoshigami Remix will be out in a bit. I imagine that's going to be quite lengthy. I can't say I enjoyed the original, but they're making a lot of tweaks to this one, it seems.



Puzzles and Mindless Battles


Roku:

A dearth of letters? Uncool. I can fix that problem for you.

First and foremost, the game that surprised everyone by being totally awesome, Puzzle Quest. Have you played it? If you havenít, I canít recommend it highly enough, and I know some of your fellow staff- members will agree. If you have played it, what do you think of the dirty rotten no-good cheating AI? I will say this: itís consistent. If your opponent is ďluckyĒ at the start of a round, heíll be lucky throughout the entire round. If you happen to be lucky (a rare occasion) early on, youíll most likely win very easily.

Roku

Sadly, I've been too busy elsewhere. I'd like to pick it up for the DS within a month or two, though.

Second, random battles. Itís an excuse for the game to force you into battles you donít want. If the battle system is fun and exciting, youíll seek out battles against on-screen foes, not avoid them simply because you can. A great example of this is Valkyrie Profile, a game I put down only because Puzzle Quest has taken over my life. I would scour every dungeon I entered to make sure I had fought every single opponent, simply because battles were enjoyable. Random battles allow the developers to be lazy concerning the battle system, forcing you into using whatever recycled affair they come up with. Not that every battle system has to be completely innovative; far from it. I looked forward to every battle in Final Fantasy III DS, simply because I loved watching my characters progress in their jobs (and dressing their little chibi selves up in different outfits). Would the game have benefited from on-screen enemies (i.e. non-random encounters)? Absolutely. Itís a balance issue, though; if you give the player a reason to fight other than because they are forced into battle, youíve succeeded. Does that sound reasonable to you, or do random battles not bug you at all? One possible solution is to make certain areas of the map designated ďrandom battleĒ areas, as is the case in my next topic.

Roku

Well, how much a random battle bothers me depends on how fun the battle system is and how many fights I've been in recently. That said, your thoughts mirror my own.

Third: Pokemon in a little over two weeks. Iíve got to get some of these other games wrapped up, which leads me to...

Fourth and finally, the backlog. Macstorm wrote an editorial about that particular beast. As the GBA and (less so) the PS2 near the end of their life cycles, Iíve been picking up as many titles for both as I can afford. This also means I now have more unplayed games than ever. I found the original Golden Sun months ago, and itís not even seen the inside of a GBA since I bought it. After it sat unplayed for several weeks, I finally popped Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga in and gave it a go. And the Xenosaga IV April Fools thing made me panic at first, as I havenít even played Xenosaga III yet. The specter of the backlog keeps growing; Iíve got upwards of a dozen titles pre-ordered. In short, I must echo the letter from yesterday: I now have the funds to create a respectable gaming library, but I lack the time to do it justice. Itís a catch-22, also, since having more time for gaming would mean less time at work, which means less money with which to buy games, which means the backlog would disappear and Iíd be left with nothing to do but swear at Puzzle Quest, hunt for elusive Pokemon, and finally finish all the hunts in FFXII.

Roku

Yeah, it is a bit of a dilemma. If you manage to balance it, though...it's awesome.

Fifth and finally (I lied before), Viva PiŮata has turned me into a hollow-eyed shadow of my former self. Iíve lost sleep over Mousemallows. If youíve got a 360 and a desire to replace that opium addiction with something else, this is the game for it.

-Jeffrey

Roku

I've been thinking about the 360 a lot more of late, but I still haven't purchased one. My Wii is enough for now, along with my own backlog which I've recently fallen out of balance with.



Game releases


Hello Roku.

Firstly are you looking forward to Sock 2.0?

Roku

Yup!

And now its time for Ranting Australian!

So i've noticed that at the moment (at least in Australia) there is a drought (not just in water) of RPG's being released. Now I know Valkyrie Profile 2, Shadow Hearts 2, Rouge Galaxy, and Pokemon are scheduled for a PAL release sometime this year but there doesn't seem to be much in the ways of filler in between. Luckily Pokemon (USA version) will work on my Australian DS so I should have that by the end of April.

Roku

Luckily, our drought here is just ending.

So what are your opiniond on VP2, SH2 and RG?

Roku

This is very sad. I haven't played any of those. As many games as I play for my job and for fun, some always slip through, and I missed all three of those. I'll have to put them near the top of my list now.

Lastly do you happen to know when Fire Emblem for the Wii is due out?

Bainick hasn't written a letter in a while, bad Bainick.

Roku

I'm not certain, but I think it recently came out in Japan which means probably less than a year. There hasn't been an announcement that I've noticed yet, though.



I suppose she can sing if an octopus and survive on land and push a huge weight


Hey QnA folks-

I'm a fourth year undergraduate music major at the University of Virginia, and I've somehow convinced my adviser to let me do my thesis on video game music. My focus is on the opera scene from FFVI, in terms of a) its ambivalent (parodic?) relation to the genre of opera as a whole and b) its status as one of the earlier moments in video game history where the music becomes diegetic. Diegetic here means that the music is heard in the characters space as well as by us - i.e. Locke, the Impresario and co. are also listening to the opera.

At any rate, I was curious about how other RPG fans experienced the opera scene. What did ya'll think of it, now or when you played it for the first time?

Roku

I've always enjoyed it, personally. It mixes together a mini story and a lot of good music with the excitement of a timed sequence (which I don't usually like, but they pulled it off) and boss fight. Of course, you have to suspend disbelief some, such as with how Celes was able to sing like that without training, but I feel that scene as a whole was enjoyable.

Chris Russell

p.s. If you could encourage others to write in sharing their thoughts on the opera, I would appreciate it. Consider it a step towards getting VGM to be an accepted academic subject!

Roku

You hear 'em ^^. Please send in your opinions~



IN CLOSING

I guess this is it for me again. Castomel will return tomorrow, so I'll be focusing on my other many tasks. I had fun, as always, and I'll probably be back again someday. I'll see you around everybody. If not here, then in the sections I run normally. Take care ^^.



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roku@rpgamer.com
Roku is sleepy now ^^;;


Work all day and all night. Phew.

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On my Wishlist:

No idea. Way too much.



What Roku is (mainly) Playing:

1. Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm

2. Final Fantasy VI Advance

3. Boktai 2

4. MapleStory

5. Mario & Luigi



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