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ASK WHEELS
Q&A Gaiden
August 24th, 2012

08/24- 12:00PM EST

Welcome to another edition of Ask Wheels! This week we've got some interesting questions, but I just want to take the time to request that readers send in memories of Nintendo Power now that we've found out that the magazine will be ending after a long run. Many of us got started with console RPGs thanks to the free copy of Dragon Warrior that was given out back in the day. Nintendo Power did a lot to bring attention to console RPGs back then, and though the magazine isn't as great as it used to be (remember all the cool comics?), it's still very sad to see it go. So please, send me your favorite Nintendo Power memories for next week!

On to the letters!





The Letters
Monday Night RPGBall

Dear Wheels,

After its great success in the Olympics (which can clearly be put down to the brilliant selection committee), RPGLand has somehow managed to get an NFL franchise! Who from RPGLand will manage to get into the starting offense and defense (I doubt any of us can be bothered with a complete line-up so let's have one each in seven key positions)?

- Severin


Wheels

Well let's start with the most important position, and go from there!

Quarterback - Barret from Final Fantasy VII - You know how they say some quarterbacks have a cannon for an arm? Well, Barret could literally install a cannon for an arm. Think touchdown throws fired from your own end zone. Who's going to catch that though?

Wide Receiver/Running Back - Sonic from Sonic Chronicles - I mean, the obvious answer right? Who else is going to be able to run and catch the shots Barret fires off? He can also double as a running back.

Left Tackle - Snorlax - He's so big that players will have a tough time getting around him to get to Barret even if he is just sitting there taking a nap.

Linebacker - Sabin from Final Fantasy VI - With his mastery of blitzes (see what I did there?) he's the perfect fit for this position.

Kicker
- Chie from Persona 4 - I've seen her kick enemies clear out of the battlefield so I'm sure she would have no problem kicking the football really, really far.

Punter - Teddie from Persona 4 - Listen, this team is never going to have to punt. They're just too darn good! So he's here just to entertain those currently on the sideline.

Kick Returner - Tails from Sonic Chronicles - He can catch the ball in mid-flight and easily return it for a touchdown without even touching the ground!

There you have it, a small sampling of the team, but as you can see a team that won't be losing much.

Operation Success or Failure

Dear Wheels, Oper8tion rainfall raised a lot of hu88u8 for very little discerna8le reason given that it seems to have 8asically just 8een the usual fan entitlement mixed with a lot more anger, do you think it actually had a discerna8le effect on the localiz8tion choices made 8y Nintendo of America?

-FBM


Wheels

That's a complicated question with a complicated answer. Certainly to some extent some people were pretty incensed about Nintendo originally having no plans to bring the games over, and preached the usual fan anger without actually looking at what economic factors may have gotten in the way of localization efforts. Wii games weren't and still aren't exactly flying off the shelves, and these are huge games with a lot of voice work required. That said, the one wild card and cause for much anger here is the fact that the games Operation Rainfall was concerned with were all set to be released in Europe. Now, the reasons why Nintendo of Europe was set to release them and Nintendo of America was not are probably complicated and seeing as how I have no idea about their specifics I'm not going to speculate. At the very least gamers would be able to import a localized version of the games so things were looking good in that regard. So then, what eventually led to two of the three Operation Rainfall games coming to the US, one by Nintendo and one by XSEED?

Well, for starters, Xenoblade did quite well in Europe, possibly well above expectations. Since in the US Xenoblade was made a Gamestop exclusive and Last Story was published by a third party, it's quite likely those parties had been working on the releases for quite some time. Now, did Operation Rainfall help? Maybe, they certainly got the gaming press to pay closer attention to some Wii RPGs that may have gone under the radar otherwise, and the push to get people to pre-order Xenoblade on Amazon while the old pre-order page for it was still up was a cool step. It's almost impossible to quantify what effect though, especially given that the arrangements for their release could have been going on for a long time before their announcements. At the very least they got gamers' attention to focus on some really great RPGs. On the other hand, I still don't get why they tried to focus on Pandora's Tower as well, an RPG that no one seemed to have much interest in.

So long story short, without knowing all the facts there's no possible way to tell if Operation Rainfall had a discernible effect, but the answer is probably no.

Tales of Side Fantasy

Contrary to popular belief, there is more to Final Fantasy, than the main numbered rpg titles. There are the side games, the side games, which tend to be highly innovate, and sometimes not even rpg's at all.

So this is my take on those games in reverse order.

10) Final Fantasy: 4 heroes of light (DS) - A game that was localized in 2010, for the Nintendo DS. It takes the ideas laid out in Final Fantasy 1-3, gives it a new painting like art style, gives us a new crown job system, and lets gamers go to town. It was a highly overlooked title because the 3ds was right around the corner. I put about 50 hours into the game, finished it, 100 percented it, and I really enjoyed myself.


Wheels

I had an absolute blast with this game. It does a great job presenting an old-school experience, with some modern touches such as the streamlined battle system. It wasn't perfect, as you are often shoe-horned into using certain jobs instead of using whatever you'd like, but my overall experience was still exceedingly positive.

9) Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time (WII/DS) - Imagine a time, when Final Fantasy only consisted of turn based games....its true, there was a time like this until Square introduced the Crystal Chronicles series. Officially number 4 in the series, the game was dual released for 1 of a kind ds/wii cross play. The combat is more of the hack and slash variety with 4 party members or live people if you so choose. Its really fun.


Wheels

Not my favorite in the Crystal Chronicles sub-series, but still a fine multi-player RPG to be sure. The various armor inspired by classic Final Fantasy characters was a very nice touch. The Wii version was awful though. It's just the DS version running in an emulator, and is still restricted to one save file like the portable version, which made no sense. An actual port to the Wii would have been much preferred. Still, if you had a friend with a Wii but no DS, it was there as an option so they could join in on multiplayer sessions.

8) Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon (DS/WII) - Part of the larger Chocobo subset of games which range from racing titles to card games, this one is my favorite because its an rpg. Not only is it an rpg, its a mystery dungeon, roguelike. One of my favorite rpg types. The gameplay involves randomly generated dungeons and turn-based battles. Different jobs change the appearance of the player's Chocobo and alter the layout of the dungeons the players enter. I personally played the game on the WII, but I hear the ds version is just as fun.


Wheels

I'm not sure if you know this, but there were actually previous mystery dungeon games in the Chocobo series, one of which came out in the US on PS1. The Wii game is of course far better than the previous games, as is the DS game. These fun and easily accessible roguelikes are a really great diversion, with a ton of remixed Final Fantasy music. I highly recommend them.

7) Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy (PSP) - A fighting/rpg..............WHAT???? That was the general feeling when the first was released. And while it was good, it wasnt perfect. The sequel perfected the formula, while including alot of cool new characters. One of which is my favorite character in the FF series. Giligamesh. If the game was a steaming pile of BACON, but it had gilgamesh, it would be on any top 10 list of mine. The fighting was deep, the rpg elements and library were cool. In general, this side game was very successful.


Wheels

Don't have much to add to this, Dissidia 012 is an absolutely fantastic fighting game that has everything necessary to please series fans. I just wish it had more characters from Final Fantasy VI! How could you not put Sabin in a fighting game?

6) Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS) - The newest game on the list which I just started playing the other day. A combination Rhythm/rpg, the game involves using the touch screen in time to various pieces of music from the series. Amazing pieces of music. Its relaxing, awesome, maddening, all at the same time. The game features 60+ tunes, and that alone, is worth the price of admission.


Wheels

A fun little rhythm game that I've quite enjoyed, though I wouldn't go as far as to place the RPG tag on it. They've covered the gambit of Final Fantasy music quite well in it, so I have a feeling it'd be hard to do another game like this unless they dig up music from side Final Fantasy games or create a different gameplay experience.

5) Secret of Mana (SNES) - Uh, stealth have you gone crazy? Yes, but not about this. The Mana series did start out as a final fantasy side series, and many aspects are still shared, like the importance of the crystals in the over arching world. This is the best Mana game, so why wouldnt I include it? Action rpg perfection, this game is one of my favorites on the SNES. What I loved is each of the 4 playable characters had a purpose. There was no weak link in the group.


Wheels

Most people don't realize that the first Mana game did actually have Final Fantasy in the title, even in Japan, so you'll get no objections from me on this one. Don't you mean three playable characters? Anyway, brilliant action RPG that I don't mind replaying over and over.

4) Final Fantasy :The Ruler of Time and Space ~ SaGa3 (DS) - The japanese only remake to a GB game that some would remember as Final Fantasy Legend III. This is the SaGa side series inclusion on the list which includes a great many games.The series is notable for its emphasis on open world exploration, non-linear branching plots, and occasionally unconventional gameplay. This title is no different. As a remake, as one would expect from the GB game, everything was made better, and its because of this game, I want to go back and replay all the SaGa Titles.


Wheels

Unlike Final Fantasy Adventure, the Final Fantasy Legend games are not a sub-series, and were just renamed that way to sell them in the West. That being said, the remake of SaGa 3 is brilliant and any fan of the SaGa games needs to import it. I'll let this one go this time!

3) Final Fantasy Dimensions (IOS) - Another game I just started recently. This is as old school as it gets. Turn based battle system, Sprites, Saving the world with a band of strangers, everything. It was initially released as an episodic game, with the first two installments released on September 9, 2010 on the Japanese i-mode distribution service, and December 9, 2010 for the EZweb distribution service. The game was recently ported to iOS. The game has a job system like V, and that alone makes it worthy because V might be my favorite FF main title.


Wheels

I'm guessing you played the originally Japanese version? I can't say that the graphics look all that great, but if the gameplay systems are that good than this could be quite interesting. Too bad it will be retailing for a shocking $29 on the app store!

2) Final Fantasy Tactics (PSX) - While the other Tactics game on the list is more gameplay than story, this one was the opposite. It will be far more remembered for its story, than for its gameplay. With a deep mature war story, that really tugged at the heart strings, I wont ever forget the game as long as I live. The game achieved something in me that a very few games do. I became angry. Which is to say. I felt. I really hated, the villians, and when the characters triumphed I smiled as much as I did at things in real life. I felt the world.


Wheels

Not much needs to be said about this one, this game is an absolute classic.

1) Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (DS) - Part of the Final Fantasy Tactics sub set of games, which are notable for there srpg gameplay. This is the most current game of the series. The game is enormous. 400 missions, Freeplay battles, ect. While the story is generally considered the weakest part of the game, the gameplay is so stellar and deep, it more than makes up for it. With a deep job class and partner system, its one of my favorite titles on the DS.

Well there you have it. My personal Final Fantasy Side game list.

-Alan


Wheels

Surprised to see this one over the first Final Fantasy Tactics, but I've had a blast with it so far, after putting an insane number of hours in the first Tactics Advance. That was a fantastic list! Can I request the next one? Perhaps your top ten underrated RPGs or your ten least favorite RPGs?

Beat Deux

MAN I JUST WANTED TO SAY I REALLY LOVE YE GAME HAPPY WHEELS. OMG IT'S SOOOOOO MUCH FUN!

WHERE DID YOU GET SUCH A GREAT IDEA?

-BEAT


Wheels

I know right? Clearly no one else has ever thought up the idea of a charming raccoon thief and his adventures with other animal based creatures...

Sly
                                        Cooper

...damn it
IN CLOSING

That's it for this week folks, send me Nintendo Power thoughts!

-Wheels


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