|This Week, Let
the tri-Ace Love Fest Begin
|December 8th, 2010
12/08 - 12:00PM EST
So as you can tell by the title of this week's column, I've
really been having a lot of fun with Resonance
Fate. It's hard to
even explain why this game is so great, as there are so many strange
about it. I am hopelessly addicted to it. So yeah, give it a try all!
Any of you readers fans of this game? All right, enough of that, on to
Stop...Mana Time! ....doh! I already
used that joke
Long time reader, first time writing in (aren't my lines tote's
original?). I was told I need to practice my writing and critical
thinking so I figured I'd sharpen my teeth on your Hot Topics. Hope you
don't mind? And it's not because that I have no siblings to bounce
video game discussions off since moving out. Believe no lies.
1. I, personally, would love to see a new Mana game. So perhaps I'm biased
but I think Square should take another shot at reviving the series.
However, the execution is key here. If they make it another standard
RPG style Mana I don't think
it'll do as well as they'll wish it to. I won't say it will do badly,
because this is a Square and for all its flaws I did enjoy Dawn of Mana. But to create the
blockbuster the series needs I think Square needs to go back to Legend of Mana. Allow me to wax
fannish here, but Legend of Mana
was the high point of the series to me. It was the style of the game
that really did it. The bright colorful art with the toy box feel of
building up the world as you played through it made the game feel
fantastical instead of just another fantasy RPG. There was a sense of
'magic' to the process, and the nonlinear gameplay this resulted in was
also excellent. Between me and my sister, we may have had the same
overarching story but I saw scenes she didn't and she saw scenes that I
didn't. Our worlds did not look alike, and the flow of our stories were
different. It was absolutely fascinating to compare and contrast. It
certainly made the player feel like they were having a real true impact
on the story and world in a much more lighthearted way than the 'moral
choice systems' that modern games employ. For these reasons I think
that if square were to make a new Mana
game they should follow in Legend of
Mana's footsteps and create a similar kind of game, and
hopefully taking full advantage of the capabilities of modern systems.
If not a full console game, both the PSP and DS are capable of handling
a game of Legend's design.
Perhaps that would be a better path to take?
Hey there, good to hear from you!
I agree the Mana series
would be best served staying on handhelds. Not that an HD Mana game with graphics along the
lines of Eternal Sonata
wouldn't be awesome. It'd just be a very risky venture on Square-Enix's
part based on the failure of the whole World of Mana thing. So yes, I
don't think they should give up on it either, and I think a low budget
non-linear type Mana game on
portables or as a downloadable game is just what the series needs.
2. Final Fantasy IX was my
favorite PlayStation era Final
I would love to see a return to a more classic Final Fantasy. However
I'm not sure that right now is such a good time as Four Heroes fills
that niche quite nicely for the moment. A return to the roots would be
good to see in the main series after people have had time to digest Versus and Agito, but certainly not before
I put up this hot topic and oddly never thought too much about
it. Certainly Four Heroes
fills that niche (quite nicely, see other hot topic). I didn't
necessarily mean classic in terms of only gameplay though. FFIX paid homage to the games of
the past in a lot of different ways, while still managing to do a lot
of new things, such as providing a cinematic experience just like VII and VIII. So perhaps they do a game
with a fast paced battle system, but a setting and other features
similar to classic titles. Perhaps could do another job system? Four Heroes is a fantastic game,
but it mostly just plays on the 8-bit classics, and not so much the
recent titles. Perhaps they can just do a 16-bit style Four Heroes 2?
3. If a Final Fantasy XIII-2
were made I would actually like to see
some more class restriction. In Final
XIII I've found one to
two paradigm set ups that work and I use pretty much the same strategy
no matter what characters are available to me. I would love to see
expanded skill trees for every paradigm and then a little more
restriction on what paradigms a character can learn. That is,
restricting the ability of one character to be an uber healer and in
the next instant be a damage dealing monster. I think it would add more
strategy and challenge to a game. Imagine a scene where your party gets
split up and your healer(s) are in an area with relatively weak
monsters but they're class isn't exactly great for fighting. The rest
of the party is in an area of stronger monsters but without healers
it's a whole new ball game. Eventually the two would meet up again, one
hopes, but I would like to see a revival of the 'beat the game with all
white mages' challenge. I'd also love to see a lead character that was
a white mage/healer instead of a sword wielding powerhouse, but that's
neither here or there.
I'm all with you on expanded skill trees, but not sold on more
restrictions yet. I liked the restricted sections of XIII, but they mostly served as a
nice learning experience for when you have all the tools at your
disposal. I mean Even having characters switching from healers to
damage dealers, the game was still quite challenging, so I don't think
that restricting like this is the best solution. A good idea for sure,
but for me the better thing to do would be perhaps to divide the
roles into sub-roles, so that, maybe you have a healer, but they need
to switch to some other role to heal status ailments, or multiple kinds
of commando roles that do different kinds of damage. Now that I think
of it, this is actually pretty close to your idea....
4. I agree that much of the criticism for Square is unwarranted. Their
games aren't as absolutely mind blowing as they were to me ten years
ago, but I attribute it to the fact that I've been playing for ten
years now and am quite a bit harder to impress. My sister is ten years
my junior and Final Fantasy XIII
was her second Final Fantasy
after IX. She was blown away
by it, loves it, and ten years from now I can see her still singing its
virtues the way many Final Fantasy
VII fans do today. I believe the complaints about Square-Enix
come from a small but vocal minority, and nothing more.
I certainly hope it's a minority. Also, as I think I pointed out in a
previous article, we're getting a lot more of their games when we used
to, and obviously they aren't all going to be brilliant. I'm sure there
were plenty of games we missed out on back in the day that aren't very
good. I mean we can argue about Final
all day, but I think it's pretty clear
that the Dragon Quest series
is far better
than it was in our youth.
5. I haven't caught this trend, then again I've been sticking around MP
heavy games a bit recently (Megami
Tensei games mostly, and a horribadfun game called Dragoneer's Aria). MP isn't
something I miss when it's not there, can add a bit of strategy when it
is, and I only seriously dislike it when it's abused as it was in Lunar: Dragon Song, where running
costs MP. Actually Dragoneer's Aria
also has this problem. Dear god this game is so idiotic and bad, I
REALLY shouldn't be having as much fun with it as I am. Have you ever
This probably wasn't a great topic, as it really boils down to what
works best for which game. Perhaps a better question would have been
"what games would have been better with an MP system, and which would
have been better without it"? I really like either as long as they are
I have not played Dragoneer's Aria,
bought it a few times. Sounds like it's a good thing?
Anyway, good to hear from you, feel free to write in again!
tri-Ace: Why I originally hated them
Hi Wheels! Why do you hate Tales
Phantasia so much? And why do you like the other tales
games? Have you no soul?
Thanks for your time!
I hate Tales of Phantasia so much because
it's an incredibly mediocre game. I just can not understand how it is
the pinnacle of the series for some people. Combat is terrible, the
story is pretty much a mixed bag of concepts from the biggest 16-bit
hits, and the music is sub-par even by 16-bit standards. This is
without even going into the terrible dungeon designs, such as the
infamous mines. Maybe had I played it in the 16-bit days I would have
been less harsh on it, but when the next game in the series is a vast
improvement over it, despite involving TALKING
SWORDS, you know something is not right. It's just not a very
good game, and way too long even by Tales' standards.
This game combined with the god awful Star Ocean 3 is the reason I hated
tri-Ace for the longest time. I just couldn't reconcile the fact that
the creators of these things could make anything good. This is an awful
way to go about things though, as most of the other games they created
are good to great. So Tri-Ace, for all the hate I sent your way, I'm
Resonance of Fate 2 please?
P.S. So there's been this interesting split between in-house
Atlus RPGs lately. There's the old-style first-person dungeon
crawlers, currently represented by the Etrian Odyssey series and
Strange Journey on the DS, and then there's the PS2 SMT games, which
are pretty varied but seem to be coalescing around contemporary or
historical settings of some sort with press turn and real-time
elements. Aside from the obvious hardware differences, where do
you think the series is going to go in the future? Where will
Atlus focus its efforts? Will the 3DS's upgraded hardware phase
out first-person dungeon crawlers? Which elements do you think the next
games are likely to use? And how does Catherine fit into all this?
A very interesting question. Let's start with the first-person dungeon
crawlers and their move to the 3DS (Etrian Odyssey was on the list of
franchises coming to 3DS, so unless something changes, or they vastly
change the series away from first-person dungeon crawling, we should
see one on the system). Naturally the first change should just be
improving the look of the dungeons. Not that they're bad or anything,
but they certainly could use a bit more variety and character, and an
increased poly count can do a lot there. Now, on to the question of
gameplay changes: They could with the extra hardware, make for a more
realtime experience, perhaps similar to Eye of the Beholder, but I think
that would be unlikely. This is based on the fact that other
first-person dungeon crawlers
in Japan have kept things turn based, so I think that's exactly what
market for those kinds of games is looking for. If anything, perhaps
they'll make all monsters visible and avoidable, instead of just
I don't think there's really a "divide" on the in-house RPGs though. Etrian Odyssey they've been doing
for awhile now, and that engine probably provided a good opportunity to
revisit the roots of Shin Megami
Tensei. Simply put, Atlus is pretty much great at making any
kind of RPG, so I'm sure we'll see more great first-person dungeon
crawlers, and more great Persona
style games, and everything in-between.
As far as Catherine goes, I
get the feeling they didn't want to jump right into one of their big
franchises with the team's first HD game.
P.P.S. how can you like Tales of the
Abyss I mean seriously
I don't understand the question. Tales
Abyss is a fantastic game, despite dragging a little in
the later portions. Perhaps you're sick of anime type
stuff? I don't watch anime, so I think I'm generally less bothered by
the clichés. Not that Abyss
is the biggest offender in that area.
P.P.P.S. when it takes a series longer than Final Fantasy to even
consider cutscene skipping you know it's bad
Well not really. Though you may hate them, remember that your average
fan does not skip those kinds of things. It's a nice feature to have,
but I don't think fans, especially Tales
fans, really request it that much.
P.P.P.P.S. I'd rather play star ocean 3. yes, Star Ocean 3
I can't even respond to this. Are you joking? Please tell me you're
@AskWheels if you could give any JRPG franchise to any western dev
which to who and why? and vice versa?
I would love to see BioWare make a Final
game, so let's start with that. Final Fantasy XII is a fantastic
game, which in many ways already felt like a Bioware game. I'd love to
see them do a Final Fantasy game
style, perhaps even doing one in Ivalice, with an open-ended
political type story with Bioware's fantastic dialog systems. I think
the resulting game would sell like gang busters.
As far as the other way around, I'd love to see Atlus do an Eye of the Beholder game, using
their experience from the fantastic Etrian
games. There's already an Etrian style setup in the first Eye of the Beholder game, one big
city sitting over one giant dungeon, though you never actually get to
explore the town. I think Atlus could make a really fantastic
first-person dungeon crawl from this long dormant Dungeons and Dragons series. Make
it so Atlus/Wizards of the Coast!
Like all red-blooded Canadians, I have, both, a passionate love of
losing all my progress when I die in a video game (it was a tenant on
which our country was founded) and handheld RPGs. What is the best way
to reconcile these two concepts?
The answer to this question, is of course, to play a portable
game. You've get plenty of options, but the one that would be the most
brutal as far as losing all your progression would be Shiren for the DS. Though the
elements of progression are saved when you die (I think short cuts and
some people that you save, and of course your warehouse of items), I
think it fits your description perfectly. Also, despite being a
portable RPG that let's you save anywhere, there's essentially no way
to reset the game or anything should you die. There is a wifi rescue
option, but not too many people use it, and there's only one save, so
if you want to be rescued that way you're locked off from playing until
someone saves you. There's also similar games in Izuna 1&2 and of course Z.H.P. However, these games are
not quite as brutal when it comes to losing progression.
Let me know what you think of Shiren,
pick it up!
That's it for this week! I'm trying to finish up the Golden Sun games so I can play the
new one (yeah I hadn't played them, I'm an awful Camelot fan). Any of
you readers enjoying that game? Also I recently found out that the name
actually equates to something in the games (and is extremely useful
information even!) so I've gone ahead and ordered the third game. Looks
like fun! Anyway, back to Nier
and Resonance of Fate for me.
See you guys next time!
Current Backlog: Oh dear, needs food!
November 10th: Wheels
November 17th: Wheels
November 26th: Wheels
December 1st: Wheels
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Ys: I&II PSP
2. Cthulhu Saves the World
3. SaGa 3 DS
4. Disgaea 4
5. Radiant Historia
On my Playlist:
1. Resonance of Fate Soundtrack
2. Calling all Dawns
3. Golden Sun soundtrack
1. Will Mass Effect 3 return some of the complex
elements, or keep things simple like Mass Effect 2?
2. The Final Fantasy series is ever changing and evolving, but do you
think it's time for another main series game like Final Fantasy IX,
that pays homage to the past?
3. JRPGs currently are more creative than WRPGs. Discuss.
4. tri-Ace: What's next for them?
5. Does 4 Heroes of Light deserve a sequel (hint: the answer is yes)?