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ASK WHEELS
Snowed In
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...





The Letters
Got SaGa?

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?
 

Wheels

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 supplemental story.


Wheels

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
itself.


Wheels

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 town.


Wheels

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).


Wheels

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 that.

Hope you get your copy in the mail soon!
--Gaijin

P.S. Feel free to write back to Culture Corner sometime.



Wheels

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 1&2 Translations

Hot Wheels doesn't work... how about Big Wheels?

No, I suspect that carries even worse connotations.  Let's shelve it.

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?

Wheels

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?


Wheels

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 one.


Wheels

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.


Wheels

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 transpires?


Wheels

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 Sega!

Was Hoshigami as bad as most sources say?


Wheels

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?


Wheels

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 Golden Sun: 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)?


Wheels

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.


Wheels

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 Secret of 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?


Wheels

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 destroyed me.

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?


Wheels

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 the system.

Connect Blake Edwards to Ultima!


Wheels

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?


Wheels

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 the game?


Wheels

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 games!

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?


Wheels

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!
JuMeSyn


Wheels

As always, it is! Now let me ask you a question. What is your favorite Camelot developed game?


Oh Come On!

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.

-Lewis

Wheels

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?

Missing Collection

Hi Wheels,
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 Japan.  I 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 Phantasy Star 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.

Gamer emporium


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 series!

IN CLOSING

Rather than just blabbing about random things, I'll just repost the contest for those that missed it:

Want to 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) or what you would do for a Chrono 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!

-Wheels

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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



Hot Topics:

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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?


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