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ASK WHEELS
Buddy Cop Edition
December 15th, 2010

12/15 - 12:00PM EST

  Welcome to another week of Q&A! This week, I'm fielding more questions from the backlog, which is quickly drying up (hint, hint). I've mostly been playing Golden Sun(the first one) and Resonance of Fate lately, but managed to find some time to play a bit of Unlimited Saga and Birth By Sleep as well. What does everyone think of the latest Kingdom Hearts game? I think it's a nice rebound after the disaster that was 358/2 Days. Anyway, on to the letters!





The Letters
This letter is valued at $5000

S'up Wheels? Is your name a reference to Prof. X? Or just tires in general? Circular objects? I don't know. Moving on!
 
My main question today is about prices for new-old games. For example, I recently discovered that you can buy FFVIII or IX directly from Squeenix's website for like $15 each. Not for the PSP or anything, but actual PlayStation discs. Brand new. And they have others listed there as well, which is fantastic as a couple years ago all of my games were stolen and I'm just now able to afford to actually replace some of them, so it's nice to be able to buy brand new copies instead of paying the same prices for them used and virtually destroyed at places like GameStop or EB Games or whatever the game-invested pawn shops are calling themselves these days. But FFVII can only be bought new at insane prices (unless you own a PSP, and of course mine was stolen so I don't).  On Amazon, if you look at new FFVII games they start at $167 and go up from there. So my first real question in this email is why on earth hasn't Squeenix started distributing FFVII on PlayStation discs like they did with VIII and IX? Especially when IX is available on the PSN network as well. It's kinda disjointed... Thoughts?
 

Wheels

My name isn't really a reference to Professor X, it's a long story, which I'll save for another time.

Anyway, remember first, that Final Fantasy VII is by far the most popular, even now, of those three titles. So if we ignore Square-Enix's store for a second (I'll get back to that), the prices FFVII is going for, for a new copy are pretty much in the norm if you compare it to a lot of other games. The prices it's going for used seem crazy, given that you can get it for $9.99 on PSN, but around $40 isn't too bad. Now, back to the Square-Enix store. I'm not sure why they have PS1 games on sale there, I'd imagine perhaps they're just extra stock they had lying around (they probably printed a lot since all the titles made the greatest hits line) but I don't know for sure. If they are actually printing new copies, I'd imagine FFVII would be included, which makes me inclined to believe that it's just extra stock, and they'll probably remove the listing for them once they burn through the current stock. Who knows, perhaps they seeing physical copies be rare so that they can keep people interested for the inevitable remake? Or maybe sellers just want to rip people off, I mean there must be a huge number of copies of FFVII out there...

Also how are game prices decided on older games that haven't been opened? An example is the recent Metal Gear Solid Essentials collection that sold for like $30 and included MGS for the PlayStation. But once those were out of the stores, the price jumped to above $40 if you wanted it new, whereas thanks to Squeenix you can still buy a brand new copy of Chrono Cross for around $15. I don't really understand how pricing works for older games I guess, or what causes the prices to jump or the companies to stop releasing them in some form. Konami could make a killing if they distributed their old games in the same way, especially seeing as how some of the true PlayStation classics aren't being put on the PSN like they should be, and thanks to the PS3's backwards compatibility it would seem to make sense to keep the option available for at least some of the more popular titles like the Suikoden series (as far as I know Suikoden 2 still isn't on the PSN despite many people claiming it to be the best in the series and new copies selling for $190+ on Amazon or eBay), or Wild ARMs, Legend Of Dragoon, the list goes on.


Wheels

  Simple economics, my friend. Supply and demand. Also collections seem to go for higher, such as the Digital Devil Saga 1+2 collection, even if you can buy the title individually for cheaper. Basically, the more popular the title is, the more expensive it will be if there aren't a large number of copies. For example, Suikoden 2 and Panzer Dragoon Saga are both fantastic games which demand a high price because they are also in low supply. On the flip side, a game like Final Fantasy X , which was quite popular, is much cheaper because there are many more copies out there. Now, this is used copies I'm talking about. The older a title gets, the harder it will be to find new unopened copies, thus the reason why you're seeing  the huge price divide. I highly recommend sticking to used copies for older games. The best advice I can give you is to always look everywhere for older games to find the best price, and never pay an amount that makes you feel like you're getting ripped off.

As far as Legend of Dragoon? I hate that game. First person to e-mail me about it can have my copy free of charge!

The same seems to be true for OSTs as you can buy the Blue Dragon soundtrack for less than $15, but expect to pay at least $40 for Lost Odyssey (which requires importing for some reason as well). Both are 2-disc masterpieces as far as I'm concerned and for some reason they are both treated completely differently despite being composed by the same person and theoretically having all of the same options for distribution available. I guess I'm just curious as to how we can get such fair prices on some things, and others are completely insane despite coming from essentially the same source?


Wheels

Again, you have to look at the rarity and popularity of some things. I think the Lost Odyssey soundtrack would be more popular over here, and thus command a higher price. Not to mention video game soundtracks are often rare over here in general. I think Blue Dragon's soundtrack is available on iTunes in the US, which would keep the price of the actual disc down.

And, going to a completely different topic I've recently become very curious about Action RPGs. I had to ask myself what the best one was and the only answer I could come up with was Terranigma (which was sadly never released here and finding a way to make it legally playable in the US seems to be hugely problematic without emulation). I'm wondering if there are any other ARPGs that incorporate levels/items/weapons/etc. and fast-paced action in the same way besides the Kingdom Hearts series, Brave Fencer Musashi (another game expensive to acquire that shouldn't be) or Musashi Samurai Legend, etc. (and I don't think Zelda counts as in my opinion it has always been more of an Action/Puzzle-based series rather than RPG)? If you could give me some titles to check out, especially for the PS1, PS2, or the 360 I would be most appreciative.
 
Thanks Wheels,
"Keep rollin' rollin' rollin' rollin'.",
Kain Vinosec
www.EmbracingFate.com


Wheels

I will do my best to provide some titles for you! As far as PS2 goes, go for Ys Ark of Napishtim. It's got everything you're asking for (in a simpler, more streamlined way). Other than that on the PS2, try Rogue Galaxy for some Sci-Fi fun. For PS1 I highly recommend you add Alundra to your list, even though it is more of a Zelda style game than a full RPG. As far as the 360 goes? Mass Effect 1+2 man! I know, more shooterish than you're probably looking for, but they are brilliant games. There's also Infinite Undiscovery and Magna Carta 2 which are pretty good. Oh, and if you get nothing else I recommend for you, please give Nier a try. I wont say it's the greatest ARPG or anything, but its unique setting more than makes up for that. Finally, you can't go wrong with any of the Tales games, though based on the games you listed, they probably aren't what you're looking for.

So yeah, start with Nier! It's really cheap right now too (like how I brought this discussion full circle?)

Let me know if you play any of my suggestions!



Square-Enix: We Demand Sequels!

Hey Wheels,
As much as you want to defend Square Enix, they need to get their act together and release a sequel to The World Ends With You.  I know the control scheme had gotten mixed reviews (believe me I scratched the hell out of my Hori filter for my DS while I had Neku beat the crap out of Noise), but the story and the setting were excellent and I really want to see it revisited.  Is there an Underground in other Japanese cities?  Will we ever see a spiritual successor of Neku visiting Kiyomizu-dera and Gion in Kyoto or going shopping in Umeda and Den-Den Town in Osaka?

Wheels

I haven't played this game yet, so sadly I have no idea about half of what you just asked. If the game sold well enough, which it seems it did, I'm sure you'll get a sequel! Could be the staff involved has just been busy on other projects. With Square-Enix obviously fully supporting the 3DS, we should see plenty of new projects on that system. Don't be surprised if your sequel is one of them.


I've fallen out of the Harvest Moon fandom lately, since Harvest Moon DS was a HUGE disappointment (unfortunately for me I got the bugged version) and Harvest Moon DS Cute was just a liiiiiiiiitle bit better.  My favorite game of the series was More Friends of Mineral Town for the GBA which came out almost 6 years ago, so I'm thinking if I ever get back into the fandom, what game I should start with?

-Bucket

Wheels

Well I haven't played any of the main series Harvest Moon titles, so I will happily recommend the Rune Factory sub-series. So give those a try! I've had a lot of fun with them, and not just because of the included dungeon crawling and combat elements! I actually really enjoy the farming aspect of it, and I think they did a great job integrating the various elements together. I'm never short of things to do in a Rune Factory game. They aren't perfect, sure, but I think you'll find them enjoyable! You could also try the Atelier titles such Atelier Annie which are somewhat similar to Harvest Moon.

P.S. I have heard a rumor, a small rumor, that Squeenix might port Before Crisis to the DS...


Wheels

I think I heard the same rumor, but my guess is it's too far from when they did the whole FFVII compilation to release that now.  Never put it past Square-Enix to get a FFVII product out here, and I think the FFIV sequel on Wiiware showed them that they can successfully re-release cellphone games here in a different form. Again, though, not something I expect to see at this point.

Anyway, let me know what you think of my game suggestions!


Final Fantasy VII: Buddy Cop Crisis

Dear Wheels

A long time ago in some long-lost forum post, I posited that Final Fantasy 7 would have been a much better game if they replaced the plot with a buddy cop movie starring Reno and Rude.  Reno would be the reckless one, always willing to something completely insane to catch the perp.  Rude would be hard nosed, and by the book, yet completely dedicated to justice.  Cid would be the endlessly furious chief of police, Barret would be their bartender and everybody else barely gets a bit part.  Explosions and car chases follow.

Having taken a moment to revisit this old idea, it occurs to me that I'm totally right, and that would be a way better game than Final Fantasy 7.

What other RPGs can you think of that would be way, way better as buddy cop movies?

Sincerely,

BEAT.

Wheels

Beat, why the heck should I properly answer a question from you after you kidnapped me and stole my column for a week? Why I ask?

But....damn, this is great material. OK fine, your idea is actually pure genius. There is an untapped potential out there for a great Buddy Cop RPG. In that spirit, I present to you: Mass Effect 4: The Other Guys. Staring the voice talents of Owen Wilson and Bruce Willis, players guide Shepard's grandson, a grizzled veteran cop (Bruce Willis) and his unorthodox partner, the grandson of one of the other characters (player chooses, and this is your main character) played by Owen Wilson. Wilson's character (the player) doesn't take things too seriously, and the two end up in the middle of a galaxy ending plot, that they can only stop if they can learn to work together. Now how about that? No need to thank me for the idea, BioWare.

(*This is assuming Shepard survives the trilogy)


The Hunt For an Alternate Cover

Mr.  Wheels,
 
Okay so last night I was in a tiny convenience store in the middle of Montana.  I was getting some coffee and out of the corner of my eye I noticed they were selling some VHS tapes.  I glanced again and realized they had some old NES/SNES/N64 and PS1 games for sale also.  2 bucks each.  Anyway I was looking through them and I came across a copy of Dragon Warrior for the NES.  Now I have seen this game many times, and even have one already, but this one was different.  On the front of the box, where the majority of the art should be there is a big generic looking black and white “sticker”.  I use sticker loosely because it seems like it is actually an intended part of the box.  It is about 5”x4.5” and just has a bunch of general game information on it  There was something else attached to it at one point in the first paragraph of text toward the right hand side of the box.  Anyway I had never seen this before and I was looking for info online and stumbled across your(awesome) website.

I don’t expect you to go researching this for me, but I thought you might have some knowledge of why it is this way.  I bought a few other games that had some small round stickers on them with writing on them so my guess is that at one time this convenience store rented NES games and these are what they still had.  They are all in amazing shape though so that would be weird if they were rentals.  Maybe this was a promotional copy of some sort.  Anyway thanks in advance if you can help, and if not thanks for listening.
 
Jeremy M Brown


Wheels

Very interesting! I think there's a couple of different possibilities of what it could be. First and foremost, it could just be exactly as you said, some kind of special sticker on the box, possibly put on there by a rental place or something like that. On that note, it could just be a special rental box of some kind. Of course, you'd then expect to see other boxes like it for NES games, which it doesn't sound like you've seen at all. Finally, Nintendo Power did give away Dragon Warrior for free, perhaps that had a special cover?

Honestly, I'd imagine it's something to do with a rental place!

Anyway, glad you found the site, you should stick around! It's a great website, which I long followed before writing for it. Anyway, I look forward to hearing from you again!

IN CLOSING

Another week in the books! We've got one more week of Q&A, and then your friendly Q&A host will be taking the last week off. I've got something cool I'm going to try and put together for that week. So fear not. Anyway, see you all next week ... probably with me blabbing about Resonance of Fate some more!

-Wheels

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