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ASK WHEELS
Back to the Kupo
January 13th, 2012

01/13- 12:00PM EST

Welcome to another edition of Q&A. I've only got one guess at my top five  Zelda games from the last week. Are people finding this too difficult? I'll give you all another week or two before I post another clue. Keep guessing and maybe you'll awaken upon the answer!

On to the letters and tweets...





The Letters
Dungeons and ... 5th Edition Already?

@AskWheels Your thoughts on the new edition of D&D?

@FowlSorcerous


Wheels

Wait, seriously? They're releasing a new version of Dungeons and Dragons already? I don't even know what to say. I know there's been a major divide between 3.5 and 4th editions (my friends and I stuck with 3.5), but are they sure a 5th edition so soon isn't just going to divide players further? Besides, I don't really care to buy any new books. I've got a bunch of fun 3.5 books that I'd like to be able to keep using. It's just too soon. If 4th Edition isn't doing well or something, then maybe it wasn't ready to be released to begin with? I dunno, I just have a bad feeling about the whole thing. I'm gong to have to wait and see what the final product is like. It hasn't even been four years since 4th edition was released though, so this just leaves me with the impression that they think they messed up with 4th edition. Oh well, who am I to say anything, I don't even know any of the new rules. Regardless, I hope whatever comes out of this is a positive turn for roleplayers everywhere.

Final Fruitasy

@AskWheels Dear Wheels,
compare an RPG of your choice to a fruit of your choice. Go. :D

@Severinmira


Wheels

Fruit? Dang it, I was going to say I could compare Unlimited Saga to an onion. Alright, try this on for size: Unlimited Saga is like a Coconut. Large and heavy, and a bit difficult to pick. What's even harder is getting the dang thing open. However, if you can manage to get the fruit open, your prize is an extremely tasty treat. Is it worth the effort? Probably not, but there certainly is juicy fruit to be had if you put the effort into it. That is pretty much Unlimited Saga in a nutshell!

A King's Field

Hey Wheels,

How is the new year treating you so far? I know I promised last time to write in more often but I did just the opposite. So I'm sorry man, I hope to write in more often but I guess promising it isn't gonna help here haha.


Wheels

No worries! Just write in whenever you can. My new year has been great so far! Been playing Dark Souls a lot even though I've already finished it once, and I've even been playing some Mega Man Legends as well as Borderlands of all things. Hope your new year has been good as well!

Anyway, on to the questions! I thought just to cover some hot topics. Number 5 totally has my interest, since I'm a sucker for first person dungeoncrawlers!
So, will Western developers ever return to first person dungeon crawlers?
No, I don't think so. It really has become a "Japanese thing" (horrible choice of words I know. I can't really stand the Japan/Western RPG divide myself but understand this divide is usefull when talking about games with distinct features). The Wizardry IP, a WRPG classic is now partially or totally owned by by Acquire if I'm not mistaken. As long as they put out games I'm ok with it. Labyrinth of Lost Souls on PSN was a very nice effort and I had loads of fun with it. It's just a shame that we don't get the DS games localised. Because really, the (3)DS seems to be made for the genre, something Etrian Odyssey and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, kind of prove. I love those games and would really love if the genre would be brought back to its former glory.
Speaking of first person dungeon crawlers, do you have any personal favourites you can recommend or are you not that familiair with the genre? Know any good first person dungeoncrawlers nobody knows of but are must-plays?? Any system is ok by me!


Wheels

I have a tough time with Labyrinth of Lost Souls. It's not bad, but it's lacking a lot of the modern features that Etrian Odyssey has. I also have it on my iPhone, but it's really tough to control that version! Anyway, I'd have to agree with you. I think games like Skyrim have kind of replaced the market that games like Eye of the Beholder once served. The DS and 3DS are perfect for them however, so I hope Japan's interest in the sub-genre continues!

I'm not sure I know of any first person dungeon crawlers nobody knows about, unless you count Shining the Holy Ark. My personal favorite of the sub-genre,  its a long and challenging game that had a decent graphical style despite being on the Sega Saturn. I can't say the graphics have exactly aged well but it's still an amazing game if you can get ahold of a copy. Other than that, I'd say the Eye of the Beholder games, while not unknown, are must plays. What are your favorite less known first person dungeon crawlers?

What RPGs do you want to see get an HD update?
I thought about this for a while, and first, I would like to say that concerning HD updates, I'm totally into the idea if games get the attention they deserve. No lazy upscaling, but rather a remake or something like that. I would like to see Shadow Hearts, SH: Covenant and SH: From the New World, with Koudelka  as a bonus. These games had a funny, intriguing and deep story all at the same time. Awesome art direction that  truly deserves to be experienced in HD I think. And of course, the ring-battlesystem is really great, rewarding and addictive.
That said, how do you feel about HD updates? What does a  HD update have to accomplish (in terms of upscaling, remake, contents etc.) to be justified? Are there any games you think do not deserve an HD update?


Wheels

I've actually never played any of the Shadow Hearts games, so I'd like to see that as well so I can give them a try. They always seemed interesting and I'm not sure what held me back from giving them a try. As far as HD updates go, I'm all for them as long as they are moderately priced, or bundled in a collection of several games. For example, Sony's HD collections usually come with at least three games, and are priced well below that of normal PS3 games. I don't look for the actual games to do much other than a fresh coat of paint. Not everyone can do an update to the lengths of say Ocarina of Time 3D. Extras are always nice, for example the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus collection comes with free PS3 themes and some other fun stuff.

As far as any games that do not deserve an HD update (sticking to RPGs so I don't complain about Halo's recent HD update), I'd have to say a lot of 2D RPGs. If you look at the updates to the likes of Final Fantasy I & II for PSP, I think the sprites lose a bit of character in trying to update them. Sometimes the original graphics are what fit the game best. Also we need not ever have an HD version of Star Ocean 3.

Will Dark Souls continue to raise FROM Software's profile, or will it fade back to niche status?
I hope their profile gets raised, but I fear the worst. Although Demon's Souls and Dark Souls have been pretty huge hits, they are and remain typical gamers games. I don't think their profile can get raised any more. I do hope so though. I would love to see the King's Field game make a successful return! Talking about the King's Field series, ever played a game from these first person RPG series? Be sure to check some videos of these games if you are into the Souls' games. Such a great atmosphere!

And with this last question returning to the subject of first person RPG's, I finish this letter!

Cheers, and I'll try to write in sooner (no promises though, since I tend to break them and I feel horrible about that!)

Peter/7threst


Wheels

King's Field was actually one of the very earliest PS1 games I played. Sadly, it was just a rental so I never spent a huge amount of time with it. I'd like to go back and give it some more time, despite the aged graphics. I think an RPG like that would probably be welcome in the market given how popular Skyrim is. We shall see what's next from FROM Software (after Armored Core V).

Good to hear from you again! I'll tweet you my thoughts about King's Field if I pick it up again.


Connection Challenge Time
 
Hey Wheels,

First off, another guess, I suppose.

<list ommitted>


Wheels

Negative. Looks like I may have to give some black and white hints at people, or no one is ever going to awaken upon the answer!

Next off, I really have to agree with Cara on Chrono Cross having the best ever music ever created for an RPG ever (is that enough evers?)


Wheels

It really is quite the brilliant soundtrack. I think even people who absolutely despise the game would have to admit to that.

I mean, it's far from my favourite game, it wouldn't even make it in the top 20, I think, but the music... was just...


Wheels

That proves my point right there. Yeah, the music was quite amazing. I have some issue with the battle theme, but its more to do with hearing it too much than it is the quality of the theme itself.

I will disagree with you however... That space ship will not be carrying that song. No sir! It will carry over (Dream of the Shore Bordering Another World). That song can almost make me cry.


Wheels

While that is technically the better song, by a long shot, don't you think it's a bit of a depressing one? I'd prefer we send some positive vibes into space!

All Star Final Fantasy, huh? Nice one. It seems our tastes in Final Fantasy are very much alike. I very much loved FF XII and of course VI is my all time favourite. I wouldn't mind it to be placed in Ivalice, but only in the Final Fantasy Tactics : War of the Lions one, not the FF XII one. Just a tad less technological than FF VI, maybe a little more than Tactics... Oh well...


Wheels

I'd be fine with the Ivalice of Final Fantasy Tactics' time period. There's a lot more they could do with the setting, so there's lots of possibilities. Perhaps have the story involve rediscovering airship technology? So many different possibilities, not enough time!

So, a story that feels like FF VI, with a battle system and general art style of FF XII, but set in a (much less technologically advanced) world like that of FF Tactics' Ivalice. And just a tad less complicated than Tactics, mind you. Musically, it would have to be the a team effort between Iwata, Sakimoto, Uematsu and of course Mitsuda.


Wheels

Sounds good by me! That's pretty darn close to my All Star Final Fantasy so I'd be more than happy to take it. VI is my all time favorite as well, and I love XII, so I'd love to see some kind of amazing combination of the two. Stranger things have happened! Also your musical team is even better than mine.

So, I have been working extremely hard on that silly tabletop RPG thing I call Chronicles and I can send you a link with a playable test version soonish! But, I have been stalled (and inspired) a little by an older game I found in this little treasure trove of a game store I found. They had all sorts of PS2 RPGs that I had never been able to find before. I told you this before, Europe isn't exactly kind with RPG releases...


Wheels

Yes! Though thankfully that seems to be turning the other way now. Let's see what gems you found..

Valkyrie Profile 2 : Silmeria

My my, what a nice game. Have you any experience with it? The gameplay is extremely refreshing... Never expected a platformer, and the battle system is fast and furious, just the way I like it nowadays. The Einherjar thing is pretty cool too. The scenery is simply jawdropping. Since you can only go left or right, they could really go to town on the things you COULD see, and they did. Truly beautiful! The only gripe is the voice acting, which is pretty bad, but I can live with that. I played Covenant of the Plume a little but thought it an extrehemely hard game, and the moral choices too much for me to make. I might get back to it after I finish Silmeria. I am enjoying it greatly. Once I finish it, I am definitely heading back to that store, buy myself another PS2 game... It has aged well enough to be considered old school now, and that's the only way I roll!


Wheels

I don't have much experience with Valkyrie Profile 2, other than knowing it shares staff with the team behind my favorite game in recent years, Resonance of Fate. I plan to play it after finally playing the original. I have played a bit of Covenant of the Plume which I thought had a very interesting concept. Struggle through the game, or murder characters to make it easier? Such a nasty choice. There's plenty of classics on the PS2 so I'm sure you'll find some more on your return visit!

And on that piracy thing... I can just say this... “Ho ho ho, a pirate's life for me!” How else can I play obscure Japanese SNES games that only recently got translated through the HEINOUS act of piracy? No but seriously... I own 3 different copies of Final Fantasy VI, two copies of Chrono Trigger, two copies of Breath of Fire, but if the creators can't be arsed to make it possible for me to buy a legitimate copy, I will have no other choice. Three of those copies are in fact US, which is officially illegal as well, but what can I do? There, I said it.

Cheers,
Daniel Brouwer


Wheels

Is importing a US copy really illegal? Anyway the kind of "piracy" you're talking about is a pretty gray area, so I wouldn't feel bad at all. Especially when region locks are involved. I just thing region locking is really stupid, especially when you don't plan on releasing a game in all regions. Why cut away those import sales? Ordering things from other countries is so easy now so I just don't get the point of companies doing that, and I'm glad Sony at least has refrained from doing so. Why give players a reason to hack your consoles? Anyway, as always, thank you for the letter, I look forward to seeing that test version of Chronicles!
IN CLOSING

That's it for this week, get those Zelda guesses in!

See you next week... (did I just completely reuse last week's outro?)

-Wheels


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