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ASK SEAN
Column 20: Procrastination
September 30th, 2007

Sean - 9:04pm EDT

Yes, I am actually writing this on the correct day for a change. I just got really tired last night and couldn't do anything. I am really ashamed of myself--I didn't even look at the stuff I was supposed to study yesterday. Between Wild Arms 5 and watching the Game Trailers Retrospective series, I never did get to it. At least I have confirmed to myself that I am not overly worried about the upcoming exam. Anyways, studytime will happen. Eventually.

I have a busy day today, but I still hope to get to tomorrow's column before I go to bed tonight. I guess I just got the gaming out of my system for a while.

Let's get to the letters!




LETTERS
WoW should be taken offline to save the souls of mankind.


Hi Sean and how goes? I couldn't help myself and went ahead and bought a Wii (I had been debating StarOcean 3 or wii + Prime 3) and am playing through Metroid. I just finished the orb boss, man was he annoying.. 25 minutes of trying to keep him from regenerating those blasted orbs. My worst run on him had me fight him for 10 minutes, only to have him restore all the orbs and basically put me back at square 1, with less life and a sore hand. But then I shouldn't complain, I chose veteran instead of normal and am enjoying the challenge.

Sean

I don't have the patience for hard mode in games anymore. I like a challenge, but not at the expense of frustration. For the most part, Metroid Prime on normal or easy is hard enough for me. I am glad that you are having so much fun with it!

I'll start this off by adding my first RPG experience. It was Final Fantasy IV (well 2 on SNES), I was leafing through a magazine for a present from the parents and I got drawn in by the red colouring and the sword in the name.. I was so young (maybe 10?) that the game seemed immense, I think it took me like 3-4 months to finish it the first time, the game totally sold me on the whole genre. Unless.... you count Wonder Boy 3 on the sega master system, it was kind of like an action rpg and I loved it to death. To comment on your most recent column, I think that the initial WoWers are probably in rehab and avoiding video games like the plague, or they're still playing WoW...

Sean

I think we had to put down a few initial WoWers as they wouldn't properly enter the mainstream population when they became ex-WoWers. If I were ever like a WoWer, I know I would want to be dead that is for sure!

I rented FFIV once and then vowed to buy it, which occured on a trip to the southern US when I got it a bargain in a Savannah department store. A Walmart or something similar.

The longest I've ever played was probably something disgusting like 18 hours...back in the ffxi/school days. I was probably doing the bcnm 40 sprouts, making xp groups and farming for gil...oh the good old days. I'm kinda happy I was able to quit that game...

Sean

I was never one for farming. I found it a horrible use of time, as I would rather just RMT some money than spend like 100 hours to get same money. I don't do that sort of thing anymore, unless the economy is really unbalanced and my wallet needs a big kick to be able to afford anything.

Now to hit your hot topic, the worst premise for a game that I've ever played is probably Secret of Evermore on SNES. For those who don't know, it's the tale of a boy and his dog...who randomly wander into a mansion only to be teleported to a new world in which they progress through some kind of "history" in order to get back home. Lucky I wasn't playing the game for the plot, I finished it only because it reminded me of Secret of Mana and Soul Blazer, both games I really loved. Evermore was alright but nothing special.. Now games that did the history thing well (back in the SNES days) are Illusion of Gaia and EVO, just incredible.

And for the other topic, no thanks to a Simpsons or Family Guy RPG. If it were South Park then I might entertain the idea..

Sean

A South Park RPG? Intriguing, but I doubt it would really keep our attention for long. My only problem with Secret of Evermore was the need to collect reagents for spells--and then needing to cast them over and over again to make them worthwhile.

I'm kinda confused, maybe you can clear this up.. the column I just read has the date September 23rd, 2007, while the link to the column has the date 09.24 11:17, and I'm reading all of this on September 25th..

-Rolly

Sean

Ummmm I explained this a little while ago. Since I have problems writing on Monday nights, I write the Monday column on Sunday night, which pushes all the columns up a day. In fact, I put together the Saturday column on Friday night as I tend to already have my letters for the weekend at that point, as well as a solid two hour chunk of time that I don't want to use to get into anything serious. It is just that convenient time between getting home from class and going to bed. I then post them when I get up the next morning (or on lunch break on Monday.

I used to date them for when they would be posted, but I stopped that practice, as I disliked needing to write about today as yesterday. I kept messing myself up.

Thanks for writing in!



And now for Wednesday... but sent on a Thursday.


Sean,

So, after much hard work and not a little sacrifice (I lost my left little toe...long story, don't ask) I finally developed time travel, all just so I could travel back in time to Wednesday (which is today, ignore the email date heading it's a glitch) so I could keep up my plan of writing you a letter every day this week. I hope you appreciate all the effort I'm going through for your sake ;)

Sean

Yep, I do. It does feel a little like SOCK-spam, but at least they are letters and not quickies. Speaking of which, I should probably start SOCK-spamming Matt too.

Anyway, all this time travel has of course got me thinking of the classic game Chrono Trigger. Do you know if SE has any plans to make a re-make of the game like the slew of FF remakes they're coming out with? I wouldn't mind seeing a new and improved CT for the DS or even the PSP (maybe especially the PSP since that's the portable I chose to buy), not that the original needs any improving. It's a classic for a reason. What a great game.

Sean

Unfortunately, I don't have any news for you on that regard. As much as I loved Chrono Trigger, I wouldn't mind getting a Chrono Trigger 2 more. I don't count Chrono Cross as anything worthwhile anyways. I like remakes, but new games sure have their charm too.

In fact, I still don't know entirely where I stand with all the remakes the Squenix is coming out with. On the one hand it really pisses me out that they're not coming out with more new games and instead have such a significant amount of their resources devoted to re-doing old games. I mean, seriously, how many Final Fantasy IVs are we up to now? 3? 4 if you count the original, right? I think that's just a little ridiculous. But on the other hand, I have to admit that the games are good and while I may not buy every remake that comes out I do buy a few of them and I do still play the games. They are very worthwhile and there's obviously still an audience out for them so it makes sense to keep making them. Don't have to put as much effort in for a new game but can sell it as such; a sound business proposition.

Sean

I like remakes, but getting too many of them sucks, unless it is the first time that we are getting them. A remake of DQ5-6 would be really welcome, as was FFIII. A remake that feels like a whole new game is deserving too (FFIVDS). I just think that sometimes they come too soon and at the expense of getting new games. I am as guilty as everyone else though--I keep buying their damn remakes. One of the reasons I think they do this to us is that remakes take little resources to pump out and can bring in large revenues--revenues that can be used to help pay for their newest and biggest ventures.

I guess that's what really pisses me off though. The first Final Fantasy was made by a guy who thought it would be his last game ever, that he was at the end of his video gaming career and so he sought out to do something unique and different and to push past the barriers even if it was a risky manuever. That was the spirit of the beginning of Square, and I really respected that. And now? It's making sound business decisions and riding the coattails of its own flagship into the ground. Bah, where's the sense of adventure in that? I don't want to think of a corporation when I think of Square I want to think of swords and sorcery and fantasy and adventure. I don't want remakes, I want new and exciting.

Sean

Yes, Squeenix is still a business you know. They need to make money and their ventures are usually doing just that. It wouldn't help us if Squeenix went under because they couldn't finance their incredibly huge projects that would cripple most other developers. It must be really hard to carry those costs for several years before seeing a return.

Maybe that's just me though. And maybe Squenix has gotten big enough to where they can make new and exciting games and make remakes, both at once and all that. It just seems like they've been overly focused on remakes lately and as soon as one remake dies out another one pops into place.

But, all this time travel has worn me out so I'd best be going.

Koala Bob out!

Sean

The rate of remaking a game that has just been remaked is indeed an issue. They keep popping up, but at least the new DS ones are offering something new that is just not a bonus dungeon tacked on to the end of the previous game. This is likely why I would never go out and pay full price for the PSP remakes--I just got them and they don't offer anything too astounding to encourage the purchase.



Girls in gaming... etc


Hi Sean,

How are you? I sent a letter to Matt today so I thought I should send a letter to you also. I wouldn't want to be unfair. As for your second hot topic, I'm not so interested in a Family Guy/Simpsons RPG because I don't watch much TV. However, this brings me to a question. Do you think there will ever be a fabulous game that is based upon a TV series or movie? It seems to me, those games invariably fail, but I'm not sure why they always turn out awfully.

Sean

In terms of RPGs, I think not. Brave Story is based on a novel and it turned out excellently. A good bunch of the TMNT games turned out well when I was a kid, as well as a whole slew of the Disney games. Rescue Rangers, Ducktales and Darkwing Duck were all fabulous, not to mention Aladdin and The Lion King. Don't forget Kingdom Hearts, either.

The key for releasing memorable movie/tv tie-ins is to not base it entirely on the entity it is tired to. There was a Chronicles of Riddick game that accompanied the movie, and didn't just retell it. The same happened for Enter the Matrix. The fact that they didn't follow the movies exactly, helped keep the players interest. Often it is the fact that it is a simple retelling that keeps the player from really getting invested in the game. A simple rehashing of a story is just not going to sell a game to us RPGamer, as the story would be completely lacking since we already know what will happen.

Also, regarding your comment about Harvest Moon being "for girls" I have two things to say. First of all, whenever a game is made with a boy version and a girl version the boy version comes out first. The girl version doesn't arrive for quite a while (if at all in the case of Back to Nature for PS the girl version was never released in the U.S.). Also, yes I admit, I'm a girl, however my brother's friend Bradley plays Harvest Moon a lot, as does an avid gamer at my school named Alex. I would encourage you to try out Harvest Moon if you get the chance. I reccomend Magical Melody for GCN. The Harvest Moon premise almost fits the hot topic of "worst premise" in a way. Not in the sense that it's bad, but in the sense that it doesn't sound good until you play it. I just can't explain what makes Harvest Moon fun. By all logic, it should be boring, but it isn't.

Sean

For the same reasons that I don't/won't get into the Sims, I avoid Harvest Moon. I just find it too repetitive and it can't keep my interest for long. I have played them and seen them being played, but I tend to just ignore them before long.

As for the boy before girl comment, I think it might be simple marketing strategy in play. Release the boy version, most fans will buy it. Release a second version later, most female fans would buy it a second time. 1.5x the standard sales.

Speaking of the whole gender issues thing, I think it would be nice to have more games with female main protagonists. Also, a small (but still annoying) issue is that when there are female characters they are....what's a good word...scantily clad. I don't think they should be made ridiculously ugly or anything, it's just that when you're in the middle of a battlefield and the guys are all wearing chainmail, the girls are practically in bikinis. All other facets of the issue aside, the girls would logically be dead a lot faster because they have totally inadequate armor.

Sean

True enough. I don't like it when either a male or female character dresses in that way. I mean, for a barbarian warrior it does make sense, but not for warrior generals. The clothing that the main guy from Magna Carta wore.... ugh.

Also, I seem to recall a discussion in the Q&A column a long time ago about whether guys have a problem with playing as girl characters and vice versa. I don't have a problem with playing as a guy character (which is fortunate or I wouldn't have as many games to choose from!). I am curious, what do all of the guys out there think of playing as a girl character?

Thanks for listening to me ramble,

Annalou

Sean

That is a good question to ask the masses. What do you all think of playing as chicks? Is your manhood threatened when doing so?

On a second note, I tend to play female characters in MMOs more often than not, so I am pretty comfortable either way. Thanks for writing in!



Oh my GOD--A question on Heroes of Might and Magic!


Sean,

I played through the first couple missions of Heroes of Might and Magic 5. There are some super-easy tutorial missions at the beginning that are really time consuming. When I got to Mission 5, which is the first "Real" mission, I lost badly despite multiple attempts. I pretty much gave up after that. I think the pinnacle of the series was HOMM 3, which I regularly play even today.

Please let me know what you thought of HOMM 5.

Flamethrower

Sean

First of all, thanks for your explanation on R4s, which I didn't post as requested. I didn't know them by that name before. I never really felt the need to get one, as I prefer to build a collection. I did play with one that Konami sent me years ago with review copies on them, but not since them, really.

I agree that Heroes 3 was the top of the class. Heroes 3 had the best gameplay, hands down. What you are trading here is the solid gameplay in 3 for the slightly worse Heroes 5, but gaining an excellent story. The cinematic style used in 5 engages the player and keeps them going. Also, all the expansions follow the same storyline to its end next month. The inclusion of cut scenes make it really worthwhile. I said the same thing about Warcraft 3 when I first played it.

That being said, some of the missions are just cruel (but nothing compared to the standard set in Armageddon's Blade!), but there is a diverse set of mission goals that keep the game interesting. The first campaign in the first expansion was a lot of fun. It is only for closure that I am anxiously awaiting the final chapter... Sigh.

Thanks for writing in, Mr. Thrower-of-flames. I think you should give it a chance. Just don't give up on the second campaign--it is boring, but the rest of the game makes up for it.



And it is suddenly Thursday again. For real this time.


Sean,

So, I read your Etrian Odyssey review and the game sounds pretty intriguing to me. Actually made me want to play it, why couldn't you have written it two weeks earlier when I was torn between the PSP and the DS? :) Well, considering you were raving about Brave Story I imagine I'll enjoy that once I get around to playing it too, and besides there's always the chance I'll win that DS in SOCK II and then I'll be able to play both.

Sean

I didn't get around to writing the review since I needed to actually finish the game before writing it. I didn't get around to it until the weekend when I started playing it alot again.

Etrian Odyssey sounds like a much more developed version of the Ancient Cave in Lufia II, which I loved. I have to say there's something comforting about just playing a dungeon crawl every once in a while, killing things and getting some loot only to become more powerful and kill more things. There's something almost carthartic about it. A lot of times--especially since I've gotten out of college and had to work for a living--I find myself needing to take a break while playing the more roleplaying heavy games. Periodically while playing through the 3 Xenosaga games in particular, I'd break out Castlevania SoTN and just kick some monster butt just to have some button mashing relief.

Sean

Heh, I turn to MMOs when that happens. Etrian Odyssey felt a lot like my beloved Might and Magic games, but failed to become as good in my eyes. Just so you know, I would likely rank all the Might and Magic games with 4s and 5s, except maybe part 6, as I would need to really think about that.

That reminds me of another question I was thinking of asking you, do you have any game that you can always fall back on and play when the new games just aren't holding your interest for one reason or another? For me I'll either bounce between Parasite Eve II and Final Fantasy Tactics. I don't know what it is about those games but I always seem to be in the mood to play them. Ah, I very nearly had my PS taken away when my mom walked in and saw the shower scene in Parasite Eve II, but my fervent excitement not at Aya naked in the shower but at the big elephant guy with a flamethrower in his mouth convinced her that the game wasn't so bad after all :) Anyway, do you have any games you fall back on?

All right this one is short but it is a letter! Well, maybe a letter-ette but it still counts!

Koala Bob out!

Sean

No, I don't fall back on any particular games. Instead, I fire up an MMO and sign away a month of my life to it. I need to stop doing that and actually power through the game instead. *Sean looks at Persona in disgust*

Thanks for writing in! I am sure I will hear from you again tomorrow!



QUICKIES

Hi Matt,
A dead series I want revived? Earthbound! And also some form of Xenosaga. Not that the latter is dead... it's just concluded. And that makes me sad. It would be incredibly exciting if some new (or foreign unreleased) game were released here...
-Kharamain

Sean
Mother isn't dead. It just isn't being localized here. You could play it, if you learned Japanese. Just a thought.

Hey Sean,
I hope you don't mind getting another letter from me so close to the last one. I have a question about FF3. Seeing as Gamefaqs did not produce an answer, I thought I would ask you and the RPGamer crowd. I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to ask a gameplay question but I'm not sure who to ask. Anyway, I'm really close to the beginning of the game (FF3 DS has been on my backlog for a while) and I just got the ability to change jobs. I changed from all freelancers to Theif, White Mage, Warrior, and Black Mage. I've been through more than the two battle adjustment phase but something weird is going on. Everyone except my Theif has an attack stat of 18 barehanded but when I equip a weapon, their attack power goes down. They're not even awful weapons either. I equiped a Mythril rod to my Black Mage and his attack went down to 12. My characters are only levels 8 and 9, yet I am getting 1 hit kills on the easy enemies with no weapon. The only exception is that my theif has an attack power of 0 with no weapon and equiping something brings the attack stat up like it should. Do you have any idea what's going on?
Thanks,
Annalou

Sean
I don't have a clue, really. Some jobs take a lot of battles to adjust, so I would suggest you try waiting a little longer. Anyone have anything better to suggest?



IN CLOSING

Well, I got to get going, if I am going to attend this family function. I hope I will have a chance to step out a bit early as I am still tired.

For the topic of the weekend, I would like to ask everyone, if they intend to purchase the new Zelda game on Tuesday, or whenever it comes to your region. Will you? Why or why not? Send some letters to Matt about this too--I think he is curious about this as well!

Matt. Slimeboy. Pick a prize so the contest can continue! And for those that already won prizes, I need your mailing address as I intend to get everything out this week, as long as my ebay auction sells. Ok, so I am lazy and not too inclined to make extra trips to the post office. I would rather play RPGs then do so. ^_^

Peace out!



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gorne@rpgamer.com
Sean doesn't like the concept of exams.


I lost count how many times I lost to Sol Nigers today. I hurt all over.

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