12/06- 7:00PM EST
Welcome to another episode of Q&A! I
hope Thanksgiving treated all you American
readers well. I've been busy with A Link
Between Worlds (which has distracted
me from Ys) along with Guided
Fate Paradox which is taking much
longer than I like. I've been able to power
through a few Disgaea games in quick
fashion to get some timely reviews out, so
to not be able to do that with this game is
frustrating. That's not to say the game is
bad at all. I'll explain in detail in the
Anyway, on to your questions!
The Horrors of Idea
Mr. Walker? No, it's Mr. Wheeler!
It's been awhile since I submitted a good
dollop of content, hasn't it? So let's
start off with some recent news I'm sure
you're cognizant of!
Such as Ys: Memories of Celceta.
I admit my own experience with Ys IV
was the Super Famicom version, which I
enjoyed at the time but didn't think was
particularly great. It played pretty
much like the first two games only with a
quest slightly longer than that of the
second. Plus the developer thought it
was a good idea to add poison to the mix -
fortunately not many enemies had it.
The final boss was some angel guy (in looks,
not in temperament) who was naturally a
handful. It also had no character
portraits anywhere, sad when they add so
much personality to the games. That's
all I remember right now.
It has been way
I never played the Super Famicom
version of Ys IV,
but the PC Engine version is a
rocking good time, so perhaps
you can give that a try at some
point. As for the re-imagining,
it's fantastic and nice to
finally have in English. With a
recent translation patch made
available for Ys V, the
whole series is finally
available to enjoy in English!
Apparently this Persona announcement
is big news. I respect that, but
remain lukewarm to it. My experiences
with the overall SMT series are not
so overwhelmingly positive that I react with
I forget which
SMT games you have
played, but it sounds like you
need more Persona 3 and
4 in your life. These
games are fantastic and the news
of getting more related to them
is news we should all be excited
for. Go play Persona 4!
It will not mirror your Devil
Survivor 2 experience.
Hm. Lightning Returns means
nothing to me, so I have no feelings there.
probably best to ignore the BACON-storm
that is anything related to Final
Fantasy XIII. All I can
say is that I hope it isn't as
deeply dissappointing as Final
Fantasy XIII-2 was for me.
You have no experience with One Piece,
correct? So in spite of the fact that
I expect to have a good time with the 3DS
game coming soon, you probably have no
Yeah I really
know nothing about One Piece
other than the fact it is an
anime and somehow involves
pirates. I have heard good
things but I've never watched.
If the game is good I'll
probably give it a try
Okay. Time to get to the meat of this. 69
hours of my life have been expended, with at
least another 40 to go before it's done at
the current rate. Agarest: Generations
of War is educating me in all the ways
Idea Factory sucks. I don't want to count
them, but I can give my inner demons voice
to let the pain ebb away a bit. Here we go.
The core idea of a lineage going through
multiple generations is a good one. Phantasy
Star III did it, and we can excuse a
lot of the miniscule story in that game
because it was an early Genesis title. Agarest
is harder to excuse. Sure, there's some
plot. Most of it is fluff that could be
excised without hurting anything.
Particularly after the first generation,
characters just join for vague reasons and
then somehow stick around inexplicably
through the years. Aging is ridiculously
inconstant - a young elf girl aged between
the first two generations, but no one else
has gotten any older, even though they don't
time travel the twenty years or so between
the protagonists. What were they doing
during all those years? Who knows! Idea
Factory doesn't think that's worth spending
any time elucidating!
Oh the horrors
of Idea Factory! Given this is
the whole idea behind the game,
I'm not sure how they could not
get something as simple as aging
correct. Is the whole idea
nothing but a gimmick for the
seadier part of the whole
The scenario is ripe with possibilities,
which are promptly ignored by Idea
Factory. The protagonist at the
beginning, somebody named Leonhardt with few
discernible personality traits except being
a just guy in an unjust world, is revived by
some monotone-voiced woman named
Dyshana. He agrees to bequeath his
existence and that of his descendants to
stamping out the forces of darkness around
the world, and thereafter he doesn't really
talk about it again. His son doesn't
talk about it much either, nor his
grandson. I haven't seen the
great-grandson or the great-great-grandson
yet, but something tells me they'll just
accept the family lineage without much of a
problem either. I mean, wouldn't
you? If your grandfather made a deal
before you were born and you're expected to
fulfill it, wouldn't you do that without
much more than minor annoyance?
Strange that it never comes up
again. Shouldn't that be what
everything revolves around? The
struggle of the decendants to
deal with the task that has
passed down to them? What a
marvelous idea that wasn't used
Ah yes, and there's the wooing of women
aspect. Well, that takes up something
like 0.2% of your playing time. There
are a few questions in each generation that
affect the hero's relationship, but don't
you worry, all three of the candidates will
show up near the end of a generation and
pelt him with enough questions that he can
salvage pretty much anything right then and
there! Actions in battle or
elsewhere? Pshaw, those have no effect
on how women view a man! What
Then we come to battle. Hoo boy.
the developer of Mugen Souls
is a master of creating
I suppose this is technically a tactical
game, in that your characters are on a grid
and so are the enemies. Fine.
Except boss fights, you're always on the
same grid (which you can select, but all it
does is change the dimensions of the grid -
it's always flat and lifeless). So to
win, you do this: move your characters
around so that their zones of effect
overlap. Wait as long as you can,
because characters get bonuses when standing
in the zones of effect generated by
others. Then dump a combo on the
enemies - standing in another character's
zone of effect also means you can summon
those who aren't in range to hop over the
grid and hit the enemy anyway. Then do
it again for whatever's left standing at the
next turn start, because your characters
just hop around without any control by you,
and so that careful formation you set up
will be disrupted and must be put together
Also, there is no way to run from anything,
and the world is littered with battles you
must fight in order to reach the next plot
point. Can you say 'monotonous' with
me? I knew you could!
sounds like an abomination.
Ah, but Idea Factory had another idea, one
that is executed so ineptly I wonder if any
quality assurance took place. An
occasional Exploration Point lets you just
wander around some big areas, and if you're
in the same room for too many steps it's
time for a random battle on the same grid as
usual. Exploration Points also feature
JUMPING, executed so choppily that I can't
believe anyone said it was done
tolerably. The terrain is frequently
so hard to see that points where you're
getting stuck because it's impassable and
parts where it simply requires you to stop
and jump are indistinguishable except the
hard way, and the choppiness is just
inexcusable on a game that wouldn't
challenge the Dreamcast to run.
Then there's the menus. They can go
straight to hell. Idea Factory is
under the impression that I want to overkill
everything I fight in order to obtain the
key items without which fresh weapons and
sundries cannot be made. Oh, and the
blacksmith sometimes screws up and gives you
an item you weren't expecting - too bad if
that means you're fresh out of the required
parts now! There isn't just an item
shop, but also the blacksmith and some
title-granting place that use different
forms of currency obtained from
battles. Navigating between all three
is an everyday occurrence, and it just gets
more tedious and irritating with each
No stop, please
stop you're giving me flashbacks
to Cross Edge.
Plus this thing has the unmitigated gall to
CRASH on me, and it's a pattern too.
In the second and third generations
something just goes wrong when entering a
town, and a crash can result. Too bad
I have to go there for plot points, isn't
it? Even worse that some of the points
at which it crashed were right after a fight
in the town location, so I had to redo that
until it finally let me proceed, isn't it?
This thing is so. Damn.
Bloated. Each generation takes in the
neighborhood of 20 hours to complete
(sometimes more, seems like) and that would
be excusable if the game warranted it.
As is, you're fighting the same rubbish
enemies most of the time and listening to
inadequately set up dialogue what little
time there isn't spent doing that, plus the
menu getting in your way at every
step. Why five generations?
Why? And now the idea of a class
change is apparently somewhere to be found,
but the game gives me no idea what the hell
to do with it so back to the FAQ that has
been my friend most of the way
certainly sounds like Idea
Factory. With so many technical
issues in 2D games it's a marvel
they were even able to make Mugen
Souls. Since this
developer is apparently around
to stay I can only hope that
someday they make better games.
Actually better wouldn't even
cut it, then we'd just be at
mediocre wouldn't we?
I like the music. It's rockin'.
There, I said something nice.
I wonder if the
game has just injured your brain
because what little I've heard
of its soundtrack made me want
to destroy whatever speakers
happened to be playing it.
Hoshigami is kind of fun by
comparison. Though I was playing it on
DS with an easy difficulty, which apparently
the PS1 version didn't have. Got
pretty monotonous though.
I think that's enough for now.
I think you now
can truly understand my post Mugen
Souls state of mind.
Thankfully that game was a bit
shorter. I recommend deleting
promptly and playing... well
anything else. Perhaps ponder a
world where Neverland goes under
but Idea Factory remains.
Perhaps someday they'll hire
better dev teams and we'll be
spared further horror. The
upcoming roguelike from them
almost looks to be from a
So, can we sign you up to review
Mugen Souls Z?
What's your take on Neverland's sudden
death? I've heard various things about
it, from genre shifts to a shift towards
mobile phone gaming.
And I know this isn't what you do in this
column, but I think Gaijin's and/or Nyx's
thoughts on the matter would be interesting
For the most
part, shock. I couldn't even
make any joke about their
involvement with Shining
Force Neo. I've only just
finally gotten into a Rune
Factory (I've previously
had fun with them but never got
too deep in any of the games),
so to see this news was
incredibly disheartening. I hope
all the developers land on their
feet, hopefully developing more
Rune Factory games for
Marvelous somehow. The series
still has too much potential for
it to end now! I'll see if I can
get Gaijin and Nyx's thoughts
into the column next week.
how often do PS1 classics get sales on the
Not very often,
if at all. PS2 classics have
gone on sale but at the moment I
can't think of a PS1 classic on
sale. There were several PS Plus
freebies and/or sales but that
could be it. With compatability
on three platforms it'd be cool
if those could show up on sale
What's an alternate name that you can come
up with for Legend of Zelda: A Link
Between Worlds? I came up with Legend
of Zelda: Paper Link.
How about The
Legend of Zelda: Ravio the
Which brings me to my next question,
actually. Why does Link never get facial
I guess because
he's supposed to be relatively
young in all the games? Could
just be a genetic trait where
they don't get facial hair until
late. I believe most of the
Links are supposed to be from
the same bloodline or something
right? Of course we've also had
a few kid Links. Sounds like
we're overdue for grizzled old
bearded Link in a future Zelda
What video game characters would you like to
have as collectable bobble heads?
The casts of Final
Fantasy VI, Persona 4,
Disgaea 3, and Shining
What system have you purchased the most
I'm not going to
go count at the moment but I
believe that would be the DS.
There were so many decent to
great RPGs and other games on
the system that I quickly
aquired a large collection,
including several imports. I
think second place would
actually be the PS3. With the
PS2 game collections replacing
some of my old games, a ton of
RPGs, several action games, and
some cool platformers there's a
ton to get on the system. I
actually probably have too many
and may give away a few on
Q&A. Add in free games from
PS Plus and there is a ton for
me to play on that system. As
for third place? Probably the
PS2, almost all RPGs.
What's your go-to Christmas greeting when
filling out cards for friends and family?
I'm not really religious myself, so usually
it's something funny.
I really just go
for funny cards if I get cards
at all. I'm terrible at writing
stuff in cards. It's not that
I'm not sentamental or anything,
I can just never think of
anything that sounds right. So I
usually go for a short "Merry
Christmas" and let the funny
card do all the work.
If you had to choose a video game character
to make an energy drink based off of them
who would it be, what would the can look
like, and what flavour would it be?
I don't think I
could choose anyone other than
Sonic the Hedgehog. The can
would be blue. The flavor would
somehow give a hint of chili
dogs! The can would just have
the classic style sonic doing
his finger wag.
Mullets: yay or nay?
As long as I
don't have to sport one, I say
live and let mullet.
Answer Me These Questions
Couldn't pass up registering and asking a
question for a chance to win a game. So here
are some questions, sorry if any are recent
1) Lately on podcasts I listen to, more and
more people are saying they'd rather have
their games be in the 8-10 hour range. I
know time is precious, but I really don't
want to pay $60 for say a 8 hour Zelda
game, or an 10-hour Dragon Quest.
How do you feel about that?
For me, what I want is games
that feel the right length. I
don't mind a 8-10 hour Zelda
game if it fits that
particular Zelda game
well just like I'm fine with a Dragon
Quest that goes 100 hours
if it fits the story and
gameplay. I've played way too
many games that are either way
too stretched out or way too
compressed. Pacing is insanely
That said, I think wanting all
your games to fit a certain
range is very misguided. For
starters, if you have less time
to play wouldn't a longer game
just mean you have to stretch it
out for a longer period of time
instead of switching games, and
thus would save some money buy
not having to buy something else
for a while? Developers need
some creative freedom and should
never have to worry about some
magic 8-10 hour range.
On the flip side, I think it is
also silly to dismiss a shorter
entry in a series you generally
want a longer experience with. Dragon
Quest has some varying
length games and in most cases
the length fits each game pretty
well. Just worry about pace not
length developers dang it!
2) EA is hoping to be voted the best company
in the US after two years of being voted the
worst. Yet they continue to offend gamers
with their microtransactions and yearly
installments with minor tweaks (Madden,
Fifa, etc). Do you see them making
any real effort to change for the good?
Not really? Thought they ditched
their unpopular online pass
program (which other companies
do and people seem to ignore),
they've still done some annoying
stuff of late, like literally
repackaging last year's version
of Fifa on some platforms and
putting it out there as
something new. Still, they're
often hardly the worst offender
out there (Hi yearly Assassin's
Creed and the rotting
corpse of Call of Duty),
so I'm not sure how they can
ever dig their way out of the
bad image. They have to try,
especially if it's hurting
3) It seems pretty clear that the casual
market is mostly using tablets/phones now.
Do you think 3 consoles can survive this
environment, given the escalating prices of
games ($60 + limited edition + day 1 DLC
that should have been on the disk for free
in the first place, etc etc).
Hope that helps!
think they can, but the question
may be at what cost? There seems
to be a lot less new in the
realm of AAA games, and much
more playing it safe. I can't
see how that won't continue with
new consoles that I can't see
selling as well as the
360/PS3/Wii. Sure there will be
more Indy titles for more
variety, but that's not enough.
Perhaps the fact that everything
except the Wii U will be on
Intel based hardware may help.
We shall see! There's clearly
still a large market for video
game systems at least, so if
this generation have issues
hopefully companies will learn
form it, because enough gamers
are there clearly to keep a
See you all next week!
About the Host
What I Can't Wait For:
1. Dark Souls 2
2. Lords of Shadow 2
3. Final Fantasy X HD
4. Bravely Default
5. Final Fantasy XV
On my Playlist:
Less Than Jake
1. Should Disgaea switch to a Tactics Ogre
type turn system?
2. Will Dragon Quest X come to the West?
3. Final Fantasy XIV's rebirth seems to have
gone well, will it be worth it finacially for
4. What RPG series would you like to see revived
5. Will Tales of Xillia 2 garner as much
interest as the first game in the West?