|January 12th, 2011
01/12 - 12:00PM EST
That's right, Wheels is snowed in with nothing else to do but
answer your crazy questions! This week we've got...SaGa talk? Oh boy. I
hope people aren't sick of me talking about the series. Anyway, plenty
of other good stuff to talk about as well! Such as, what was everyone's
favorite RPG of 2010? I'd like to know, even if it's just Mass Effect 2!
On to the letters...
Yo Wheels! Got SaGa!
If you do, then congrats on having such speedy international delivery.
If not, allow me the pleasure of gloating juuuuuust a little. SaGa 3 is turning out to be a nice
birthday present to myself. Care for a quick impression?
Damn it. It shipped the day before my birthday, but it hasn't come in
the mail yet! I get the feeling that international mail is slow with
the holidays. I'd love a quick impression though. Let's hear it!
Remember that editorial
I put in JP right after this game was announced? I talked a lot
about how the story and gameplay would have to be improved before I'd
enjoy the remake. Well, they made a lot of changes to the gameplay and
I was hoping for this. Not that SaGa
3 was bad or anything in it's original form, but it hasn't aged
quite as well as the non-standard systems of SaGa 1 and SaGa 2. I was very pleased to see
that Kawazu was involved with the project. SaGa 3 really was the odd duck in
the series, which is to say it was the most normal.
The main story is pretty much the same, but the supplemental stuff, in
the form of sidequests, actually ties in really well. Even with the
parts that are technically the same, there are more lines of dialogue,
more details fleshed out, and more character all-around. The main
characters actually have enough personality to be called characters,
and that's major in
Well this is actually bad news for me. I can't read any of this new
story goodness! I'm hoping the new personality of these characters
comes through in the cut-scenes somehow. I suppose that's a defeatist
attitude, to think it will never make its way over here, but there
doesn't seem to be much reason to be hopeful. Good to hear they
improved things though, SaGa 2
didn't seem to do much in that area (though on the flip side, this made
it easier to play in Japanese).
I've played all the way up to the Future scenarios, and it's been fun
picking out just what bits of other SaGa titles have made their way
into the game. There seems to be a lot of Romancing SaGa (both SFC and
PS2 versions) in the mix. Like the SFC game (and Mystic Quest for that matter), the
worldmap is a set of linked points. Crossroads areas are easily skipped
over, or explored at leisure for battling, treasure-hunting, or finding
new routes to other areas. Also like the SFC version of Romancing SaGa, every weapon in the
game (including spellbooks) has a basic attack and three stronger
attacks that can be sparked in battle. Like the PS2 version, though,
each attack takes durability points off the weapon, with stronger
attacks taking more points. Thankfully, there's a repair shop in every
This is fantastic news! Well maybe not so much the point-to-point world
map, but given what I remember of the original game, it was linear
anyway. I very much like the sound of what they've done to the battle
system. Sounds like battles will be a lot of fun.
Racjin (the actual developer group) has done some changes to the
transformation system as well. Mecha, Cyborgs, Humans, Espers, and
Beastmen all count as specific racial types, while the Monster
transformations include all enemy forms in the game (including robotic
enemies). Each character can be switched between the different races at
the player's discretion, including from Human to Esper (which couldn't
be done in
the original version).
I never really used the transformation system at all in the original,
nor really SaGa 2 for that
matter. I think the broken system from the original game just turned me
off of the whole idea. This sounds a lot more to my liking. I wish they
would change up the story if you change your characters into robots and
monsters, that would be interesting.
Finally, the graphics and music are much improved. But we already knew
Hope you get your copy in the mail soon!
P.S. Feel free to write back to Culture Corner sometime.
Based on SaGa 2, I knew that
graphics and music would be fantastic. I wish they'd give this
treatment to the first game as well!
I hope I get it in the mail soon as well!
p.s. will do!
We Really Need Some Romancing SaGa
Hot Wheels doesn't work... how about Big Wheels?
No, I suspect that carries even worse connotations. Let's shelve
So the SNES-era Romancing SaGa
games, I presume you've tried them at some point? Where do they
stand in the annals of Kawazu game design?
I've played them to some extent,
however the language barrier prevented me from really playing them
in-depth. Even with Romancing SaGa 3,
the translation patch is so bad that it is very hard to get into the
game. From what I've played, these games have more in common with
classic PC RPGs such as Ultima than
you'd think. I really hope we get all three in some form in the future.
I consider one of the "huh?" moments in FFX when the Al Bhed purpose is
revealed. I'm forced to ask - assuming the Al Bhed succeeded in
their goal of preventing Summoners from sacrificing themselves, what
was their plan to deal with Sin? Simply to die content with the
knowledge that the needs of the one outweighing the needs of the many
had been firmly established?
Not sure about this one, didn't they have some idea as to the true
nature of Sin? I don't recall all the details, but I seem to recall
something along those lines. You could be right though, the Al Bhed
weren't exactly a friendly group.
Is E.V.O.: The Search for Eden
worth the high prices it commands on eBay? As a fairly obscure
SNES Enix-developed game, don't count on it being put on Virtual
Console, meaning that the only legit way to obtain it is the expensive
I'm just going to go ahead and say no. Unique as it may be, it's still
a side-scrolling action platformer and not nearly as complex as many
modern games are. A unique game I'm sure, but I have a feeling it's
value is mostly derived from being obscure and unique.
Pick a John Carpenter movie to turn into an RPG, and develop how it
works a little bit! Anything from his filmography is fair game,
though if you pick Memoirs of an
Invisible Man and make me control Chevy Chase onscreen, that
might not be ideal.
I present to you Halloween: The RPG.
As Michael Myers you must terrorize the town in the most creative way
possible. You gain more experience the more creative you are,
unlocking...larger knives? It would be like Costume Quest, only not funny or
cute, and really brutal and violent.
It's almost certainly not going to happen, but if Shining Force 2 saw a remake along
the lines of Shining Force:
Resurrection of the Dark Dragon, what would you want to be sure
Well, for starters, I would want to keep the varying difficulty levels
intact. I felt like Resurrection of
the Dark Dragon was too easy in comparison to the original game.
Other than that, a visual and audio upgrade would do it just fine. Not
that there's anything wrong with either, but Genesis games aren't
exactly aging well. Maybe they could even include a port of Shining Force Gaiden:Final Conflict to tie it
into the first game. Now I really want this to happen, make it happen
Was Hoshigami as bad as most
It's not, shall we say, offensively bad, it's just really boring. I
tried to like it, given my love for Final
Fantasy Tactics style games, but there's just nothing
interesting or fun about it. I'm not sure why it got a remake on DS
though, I had never even heard of it when it was released on PS1.
Has the Lufia series' death
knell been sounded by Rise of the
Sinistrals not setting sales charts afire?
I don't think it should, but it very well may have. They tried to
broaden the appeal for the remake by making it an action-RPG, and that
resulted in the exact opposite by the looks of it. The sad part is that
Dark Dawn took the opposite approach and seems to have met with
much success. I think someone failed in their market research. If Dark Dawn had come out before Rise of the Sinistrals, perhaps the
developers would have gone in a different direction. Lufia still seems to have a
fanbase, and I hope they get a proper sequel in the future.
Did you ever play any Langrisser
game (keeping in mind the original was released under the name Warsong in North America)?
I've never even heard of them. Judging by the series wikipedia page,
seems like something that I should correct.
Is there any reason (aside from portability) to play the iPhone version
of certain games if I own the original cartridge? Keeping in mind
that I also don't own an iPhone would be wise, I think.
Other than portability? Not really, unless the game has been updated in
some way. I'd say don't go out of your way to get an iPhone unless
you're dying for Shining Force and
Mana on the go.
What RPGs have you played that you would grant the supreme dishonor of
giving a 1 on the RPGamer rating scale?
I don't think I could proparly give any such bad game a 1, because I
never finished them! I think Cross
Edge deserves it based on what I played of it. Terrible
dialogue, awful battle system, and uninteresting story, combined with
terrible graphics (it's not a good thing when Disgaea 3 looks better than you).
Thankfully I wasn't reviewing it or anything, and could quit before it
How long do you estimate high-quality DS games (as opposed to licensed
schlock) will keep entering the market after the 3DS is for sale?
At the very minimum I'm going to guess a year, possibly more. This is
par for any new console, remember how long it took the PS2 to get some
good games? At least there's a long list of great RPG series coming to
Connect Blake Edwards to Ultima!
Easy! Blake Edwards directed the Pink Panther Films->These films
contained the cartoon Pink Panther character->The company TecMagik
published a Pink Panther game->TecMagic was somehow involved with
the expansion to Populous, Populous: The Promised Lands -> Populous was published by EA->
EA currently owns the Ultima franchise.
In your no-doubt subjective judgment, which game is most overpriced on
the secondary market?
This would absolutely have to be Final
Fantasy VII. This is not a judgment of the game being good or
not (I'm a fan), but the game sold a lot of copies, and I just don't
understand how black label copies of the game can sometimes go for
insane prices. It's not hard to find a copy of Final Fantasy VII, people are just
taking advantage of its popularity.
Once, long ago, I tried Shining
Wisdom and gave up after about an hour, deeming its status as
the black sheep of the Shining
series (back before Sega threw all the off-shoots not made by Camelot
onto the market) completely appropriate. What say you regarding
That's funny, that was pretty much my exact experience with Shining Wisdom! Just seemed like a
mediocre Action-RPG. Thankfully Camelot's other Saturn efforts are
quite fantastic. The sad part about this is that Shining Wisdom is still better than
most of the post-Camelot Shining
In a similar vein, I played perhaps an hour of Mystaria before deeming it not good
enough to continue. Did I err in that judgment?
You did not, though I don't think its quite that bad. Mystaria's fame, or infamy if you
will, comes from the whole lawsuit that resulted in it being retitled Blazing Heroes. Judging by the fact
that copies of the game with the original title go for a low price, it
doesn't seem like too many consider it to be a classic.
I proclaim this sufficient content for the column!
As always, it is! Now let me ask you a question. What is your favorite
Camelot developed game?
1 vote for Beat as new curator of Q&A. That stuff was funny and
much more entertaining to read than watching Wheels try and connect
random entities Kevin Bacon-style.
Man, come on! It's not like I started
the crazy connection thing! Someone wrote in asking me to do it a few
times, and soon everyone wanted me to do it. Even Beat! Good to know
people liked the guest column though.
I wonder if Kevin Bacon likes RPGs?
This is my first time writing to your Q and A, or for that matter
writing to a Q and A at all. I have a question about the Phantasy Star
complete collection that was released for the PS2 in
heard at one point this was coming to the U.S. But was obviously
canceled for whatever reasons. Why was the PS2 complete collection of
canceled for the u.s.? Supposedly, you can play all 4
titles in English but the game gear ones are still in Japanese. Thanks
for your time Wheels.
I'm not sure whatever happened to that. I remember following it on
ebgames' website, eagerly waiting for it to come out (mostly for Phantasy Star IV). It hit several
release dates without any updates, or reasons as to why it was delayed.
I believe it was slated to be released by someone other than Sega, I
think Conspiracy Entertainment? That doesn't have the game gear games
on it though (they aren't worth your time). Your best bet for getting
the series is Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection
for PS3/360. If you haven't played them yet, I highly recommend the
Rather than just blabbing about random things, I'll just repost the
contest for those that missed it:
win a copy of Radiant Historia
or Ys I&II? Send me your
pitch for what Ys VIII
should be like (if you want to win Ys)
Trigger sequel (to win Radiant
Historia) in the form of a letter for use in Q&A. The best
entry will win the respective game! I
suppose I'll throw in pitch me a new Ogre
Battle game to win Tactics Ogre on psp as well. You
have until the end of February.
'Til next time!
Current Backlog: You're a Backlog!
December 15th: Wheels
December 22nd: Wheels
December 29th: Wheels
January 5th: Wheels
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Ys: I&II PSP
2. Lord of Arcana (Yeah I'm shocked this is here too)
3. Tactics Ogre
4. Disgaea 4
5. Radiant Historia
On my Playlist:
1. The World Ends With You Soundtrack
2. Uncharted's epic tunes
3. Donkey Kong Country Returns soundtrack
1. Will Mass Effect 3 return some of the complex
elements, or keep things simple like Mass Effect 2?
2. Dragon Age 2 on PC looks to provide a system to switch between
classic Baldur's Gate Style combat, and Action RPG combat, can this
3. Does the crazy complexity of the Armored Core series qualify any of
the games as RPGs?
4. Fallout-Who should do the next game in the series?
5. Should Camelot do a new SRPG franchise, since it's unlikely they'd
work with Sega again?