|This Week, Let
The Flamewars Begin!
|December 22nd, 2010
12/22 - 12:00PM EST
The holidays are nearly upon us! Which means I'll be off next
week and you guys will get ... well you'll see. Anyway, lot's of great
questions this week so I'm going to skip the usual babbling intro and
get right into things.
I'll just address some of the sidebar topics:
Certainly. This is exactly what they are there for! Comment and discuss
to your heart's content, my dear sir!
1. Will Z.H.P. convert more
people to liking roguelikes?
No, people will always hate roguelikes. The simple reason is that
hardcore gamers (the only people with potential for liking them) are
few and far between. The generic "people" (plebians if you
prefer) don't stand a chance.
I mostly agree. I say mostly because there's a whole sub-series
of games that essentially springs directly from the tradition of Rogue. This would be Diablo and all similar games. The
difference is of course, that third-person-looters such as Diablo advance the formula,
whereas roguelikes stick to the original gameplay concepts, and then
add ideas from there, or even just change the setting. The adherence to
old gameplay ideas (as a base, games like Z.H.P. I wouldn't call old
fashioned) is likely what keeps away only the hardcore, despite the
popularity of RPGs in the west that are direct decedents of Rogue.
2. The FF series can go fly a
kite as far as I'm concerned.
Wow, alright. That's not really commenting on one of the hot topics.
You don't like the series? Sorry, but many do. Chances are in a few
games you will like something in the series again as well. That's one
of the reasons I love the series. It changes so much while managing at
the same time to feel familiar. I can't think of another series that
does that. Just be patient and there will be another game you like.
3. tri-Ace can go fly a kite too. With Tri-Ace, you're never
surprised but always disappointed when they release bad games.
That's not useful commentary, either. Yes, they just made the tepid Star Ocean: Last Hope not too long
ago, but also released the very good Resonance
Fate more recently. There's a reason they have fans.
4. JRPGs currently are more creative than WRPGs. Discuss.
Yes, they are. Excellent point. Every JRPG is: Teenagers
save the world. It's not hard to name an RPG where a teenager
doesn't save the world but let's face it: There are far too many where
teenagers do save the world. It's comparatively less common for
teens to save the world in Western RPGs.
Right, JRPGs use too many clichés in their stories. We all
know this. I
meant this topic to be about gameplay though, specifically the strict
adherence of many Western RPGs to classic PC RPG style gameplay (Baldur's Gate). Frankly though,
despite how much I love Dragon Age,
setting over its generic fantasy setting though.
Bioware can do better, such as with the well crafted Mass Effect universe.
This is the rule but there are exceptions. My favorite 2010 game
is Half Minute Hero which I
thought was original and well
executed. Everyone should play this game, even though a teen
saves the world in it (multiple times even, a capital offense).
Well, that's not surprising, Half
Minute Hero is very much a parody of many of the worst things
about JRPGs. It does a great job of poking fun at them while at the
same time being a great game itself.
I didn't play Dragon Age, Four Heroes of Light, or Mass Effect so I
won't answer those questions.
*insert comment about commenting on games you haven't played*
You know, you don't have to put something for each hot topic, you can
just write in about the ones you actually have commentary one! Anyway,
good to hear from you. Please write in again!
Of Pokémon and Romantic
It's been a little while since my last letter. How have you been? This
time I've got two largely unrelated topics I want to write about, with
one or two questions thrown in since this is Q&A and all. In other
words, not much different than usual.
I've been well! Let's see what's on
Anyway, as I am writing this, I am ever so close to obtaining the last Pokémon to
complete my Pokémon
fourth generation. I just have
to get Deoxys, that freaky space virus/alien Psychic-Type. You know
what I had to do to get this thing? Buy Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs
brand new so I'd be able to download the necessary quest needed to
capture said Pokémon
it gets taken off of WiFi. After finishing
the game and getting my character and partner Pokémon to the
appropriate levels, I had to seek someone else out who did the same, as
the quest can only be done over local wireless muliplayer. My luck
being what it is, none of my friends have the game or plan to get it
anytime soon. This meant I had to rent another copy of the game, play
it up to the point where I can do multiplayer, then also do the
necessary leveling. The last leg of the trip is to get my sister or a
friend to practice playing the game, then do the quest with me. All
this for ONE Pokémon.
Only Pokémon can
inspire this sort of
mania in an
RPG fan. That or (the more likely scenario), I am the world's biggest
No way! Pokémon probably
this to a lot of people. I'll let you in a little something that
might make you feel better. I was one of the crazy folk back in the day
who took the time to get every single Pokémon
in the original Red release.
It took a lot of effort, finding other people to trade with, grinding
random encounters until the right Pokémon
showed up, etc. You aren't alone at all! This is why the series has so
many fans (I haven't been able to get into one since the original) and
there's nothing wrong with going to crazy lengths to get some Pokémon. As long as you're
fun, it's all good.
And finally, as I am more than half-way through Tales of Symphonia:
Dawn of the New World for the Tales
2010 marathon. I am again
reminded of why this game has the best romance sub-plot I've seen in
any game. Of course, since the first time I've played it, I've also
realized that in some ways, that's not saying much. If romance in
an RPG goes beyond silly hints that lead to nowhere, it is usually
rushed, or done in some illogical manner. While I wouldn't go as far as
to say that ToS:DotNW is
almost a love story, it plays a large role in
the game because it plays a large role in the character development of
the main protagonists, Emil and Marta. One thing that I especially love
is how the romance at first seems like it isn't going to lead anywhere,
and just become one big dumb running gag. Marta is infatuated with
Emil, or rather some crazy fantasy version of him, and the boy doesn't
do much other than sigh and (nervous) laugh it off. Then he's had
enough, snaps at Marta, and she realizes that she's been treating him
unfairly. The two make up and start to fall for each other in earnest.
Yes, there's the whole Emil and Ricter Hoy Yay/Foe Yay, but I think of
that as the developers simultaneously throwing Yaoi fangirls a bone and
poking fun at them, seeing as which relationship actually gets
somewhere. That and. . . it provides hints to something REALLY
spoilerific I won't mention here. (If I recall correctly, you haven't
even finished the first Symphonia,
Dawn of the New
World.) And Arceus, do I love that scene in Altamira! I know
gets a lot of flack, but it really knows how to tug at your
heartstrings (well, maybe it knows how to tug at mine).
You are correct, I'm still playing through Tales of Symphonia! This makes me
excited for the sequel. I wish more games would come up with some
mature romantic sub-plots. Even Bioware's games, where romance is a big
feature, they do a pretty bad overall, with the payoff being, well,
visual and not anything significant story-wise for the most part. I
mean, it can't be that hard, right? I think it just shines light on the
fact that game writers simply aren't as good as their brethren in other
media. Which is a shame.
Oh dear me, it seems I rambled a bit there. Well, the gist of what I'm
trying to say is that DotNW
is the first RPG I've played with a very good, believable, and
well-paced romantic subplot. You'd think a genre with a strong emphasis
on story would have better romances, but maybe not. Or maybe by sheer
coincidence, I have mostly come across the games with vague at best,
poor at worst romance subplots. This may be a tad odd to ask a guy, I
suppose, but do you feel the same way, Wheels? What is the best
romantic-subplot you've seen in an RPG, or any video game so far?
Okay. I've got that out of my system. If it seems to weird, blame my
cold combined with a lack of sleep.
You're rambling about something you're dead right about! A genre often
very focused on story needs to be able to properly cover more story
elements such as romance. Hopefully we'll see better attempts that this
in the future!
The best romantic-subplot I've seen in an RPG? Final Fantasy IX. Yeah I'm
Happy Holidays to you as well!
You don't like me, and I don't like you.
I don't dislike you. You gave Nier and Final Fantasy XIII fair reviews
when I think many were unfair to both games. Here, I'll try and
mend the fences: You are correct, Tales
is the best Tales.
But as the two resident Tales
fanboys at RPGamer, it is our shared duty
to mercilessly crush the hopes and dreams of Tales fans now that Namco
Bandai has announced another game. You saw what they did when
that Graces PS3 port was
announced! Someone needs to stop them, and we
may be the only two fans cruel enough to do it.
I agree completely, even though I
boldly predicted this game will be localized. Even so, Tales fans need a wake-up call. The
reaction by the Tales fanbase
here has just been horrible. Let's put them in their place.
So let's go over the reasons why Tales
Xillia will never see the
light of day in North America!
Hold on, let me get a bottle of
Haterade and my dream crushing crowbar....
1) Mutsumi Inomata's character designs are a curse to the localization
process. We all know it to be true; since Eternia, none of the Tales games
featuring his designs have made it to the west.
Evil plot, or random coincidence? Destiny 2 and Rebirth I think had something to do
with Sony America's aversion to 2D, so I see a reason for those not
coming. However missing all three DS games, as well as the PSP
re-release of the game of his we did get (though it came out in
Europe)? Very strange. I lean towards random coincidence, but luck is
not on our side with his name being involved.
2) We haven't received a North American announcement yet. The
last major Tales title to be
released in the west, Vesperia,
the same time as the game was announced
in Japan, and the release was mere weeks after the Japanese
no announcement, it's clear that this game is not being designed with
western audiences in mind.
Are any of them ever released with
Western audiences in mind? Vesperia was
begin with, seeing as how it was developed for a
system that is very much an underdog in Japan. Granted, it sold fine on
360 in Japan, but perhaps a western release would seem to ensure it was
a profitable title? I don't think there's a history of localizations
being announced right on release, so this doesn't seem like the
3) Namco Bandai is broke and has no idea how to project sales.
Since their management is clearly incompetent, and they somehow expect
all their games, even their crappy ones, to go platinum in the west,
the company is running on fumes and can't afford risks. Since the
Tales series has continuously failed to live up to their ridiculous
expectations of it, there's no reason to expect them to release them.
Oh this is absolutely accurate, even
if I think they're often right in not bringing over every Tales games.
Namco is clearly not managed well, and I'd worry about the future of
the company based on continued stumbling. The middle of a recession is
not a good time to be mismanaged. The debacle that was the Wii release
of Graces is not a good sign
for the health of a company. If you can't delay a major franchise game
and get it working correctly, then something is seriously wrong. I
don't wish them ill or anything though. A healthy Namco is the best
track to more localized Tales games,
and Graces F sell great. We
chance of getting any Tales games
If Namco would just take a modest approach to the
series here, maybe even just not even do a dub (since that's what you
crazy whiners want, right), perhaps they'd find a profitable base for
the series in the West.
Hopefully this will dash any optimism that this announcement has
sparked, and prevent ridiculous forum outrages on the Tales
website. Abandon hope, Tales fans, and if the game is
it'll be a pleasant surprise. Holding onto that hope is just
Adriaan "Robomega" den Ouden
I agree completely. Modest
expectations, and preparation for using translation guides is the best
thing to do with this series. Be thankful that there are so many great
fans out there that make it so series in a
language other than your own.
Adriaan, keep it real.
Tales of a Wide Assortment of Topics
Wheels. Hot Wheels.
Eh, doesn't have quite the same feel. Ignore that name if it
displeases. It has come to my attention that you've never played Skies of Arcadia. Any
Hot Wheels? Please no.
I don't have a good reason, other than I'm saving it for a rainy day.
I've got the gamecube version in my collection, and will play it once
the time is right. I think I might take a look at it once completing Valkyria Chronicles since they're
from the same team.
With all these Ys remakes,
will Ys IV and Ys V ever make it across the ocean?
I think so, just not in their original
forms. Both of them are in dire need of complete remakes, most notably Ys V given its poor reputation.
It'll happen though, and I'm sure we'll get some version of them.
Falcom is very good at leveraging their old properties. It's only a
matter of time.
somehow was released in English for PAL audiences, but not in North
America. It's also stayed away from the Virtual Console so
far. Will the spiritual successor to Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia forever remain
unreleased north of the Rio Grande?
It would appear so. Square-Enix hasn't
even found the time to release these titles on Virtual Console, so it
just doesn't feel like they have any interest in them at all. A shame
for sure, but you can't expect them to re-release every obscure game in
their back catalog. Who knows what licensing issues there could be with
Quintet as well. I think fans of this game are sadly out of luck.
You don't need to impel my playing Shining
Ark, I've done so more than once. That was why I
inquired about Shining in the
Darkness, as something else along the same lines.
My bad. I should have figured. Anyway,
the Darkness isn't really that great, especially if you're going
to it after the fantastic Shining
the Holy Ark. It's worth play as a historical curiosity and
Did I just come across Beyond Oasis
and Legend of Oasis at a bad
time, or were they are unremarkable as I recall?
I think you came across them at a bad
time. They're the best non-Nintendo Zelda
type games out there in my opinion. I always loved solving puzzles with
the various spirits you can summon, and find the right material to
summon each spirit worked well. I found it impressive that
little bits of dripping water could be used to summon the water spirit,
for example. Perhaps they haven't aged as well as I thought, but the
only real problem I had with them is that Legend of Oasis was just too
hard. Give them another try!
I need to preface this by saying I haven't (yet) played Final Fantasy Tactics. Don't
bother telling me to do so, it's on the list. With that said, why
do the Tactics Advance games
get such abuse? I don't play games that infuriate me for over 80
hours, which is a roundabout way of saying I find them quite addictive.
This is a simple, and really kind of
stupid, answer. The complaint stems completely and utterly from the
story of the Tactics Advance games.
for sure, and not anywhere near as dark and as
complex as the great story from Tactics.
you're playing this game, or even the original
for that matter. These games are about the combat, and the job system,
and all through do a brilliant job with their mechanics. The great
story made the original game even better than it already was, but a
lesser story in the sequels does not hurt them in the slightest.
Having played Mother 3, I can
say that Nintendo did indeed a disservice by not localizing it.
Few are the RPGs in which you get to play as a monkey, but there are
many other things the game does very very right.
Play as a monkey you say? Sounds
amazing. I don't think many will argue that not getting a localization
of Mother 3 wasn't a big
deal. The original was an amazing and unique game, and it looks like
the sequel is as well. I mean I'm sure they had some good reasons, but
who cares? Why not repackage it as a downloadable game on Dsiware or
Wiiware? I know it never would have flown off the shelves no matter
what form it came in, but a world where we finally get one of
Nintendo's Heracles RPGs, but
3 is a very cold world. Come on Nintendo, you have lots of extra
cash lying around. Throw us a bone!
The Samurai Showdown RPG
actually came out on PS1 and Saturn in addition to the Neo Geo, with
each version being a little different. Naturally, none of them
came out in English. The elaborate and extensive backstory of
that series seems to have produced a rather deep RPG, though.
Very interesting. I wonder if they'd
localize it as a downloadable release or something? I'm not sure how
many fans Samurai Showdown has.
system did it have?
Link Dark Wizard to William
Wyler! Can you do it?
Of course I can.
was published by Sega->Sega made the Sega CD->MGM's Interactive's
first game, Wirehead was
released for Sega CD->MGM Interactive is owned by MGM->MGM
distributed Ben Hur->Ben Hur was directed by William Wyler.
You haven't played Breath of Fire IV.
or Dragon Quarter either, but
play I and II. I already know about Dragon Quarter needing to be
played, so discuss the merit of III
compared to the first two and convince me to partake of it.
I don't think I should. I think you
should spend the time to play Dragon
Seriously though, like the SNES games are somewhat generic, but very
well executed SNES-style JRPGs, so is Breath
III a somewhat generic PS1-style JRPG executed very
well. It's worth a look if you liked the first two games, and you can
get it on PSP in English if you import it from Europe. Give it a go!
Even in games that are otherwise awesome (FFTA 2 comes to mind), isometric
view annoys and irritates me. Comment upon this presentation
aspect, if you would.
I don't mind this presentation as long
as you can properly rotate and adjust the view to your liking. It's a
testamate to the Tactics Advance
games that I love them despite a lack of this. Most of the better games
with this kind of view allow for adjusting though, so it's not a huge
deal for me. Would you prefer a more top-down view for SRPGs? I have a
feeling that may be what you're getting at.
Nyx's favorite game is Valkyrie
Profile. Can you support her views?
Based on my 35+ hours with Resonance of Fate, and despite my
limited play time with Valkyrie
Profile, I can completely believe that tri-Ace can produce a a
game that would elicit that kind of passion.
Thanks for the questions, as always, you provide!
I Finally Get to Gush About
Resonance of Fate!
With Resonance of Fate as one
of my favorite games all year I'd be
delighted to shamelessly give you an opening to talk about it - just
how great is this game? On a more serious note, how much more exposed
or popular do you think RoF
could've been if not for the highly
ill-advised release date of right at the same time as Final Fantasy
XIII? Plus with their publication of this, Alpha Protocol and Valkyria
Chronciles, can you see SEGA as a publisher becoming a bigger
the RPG scene in future or were we just a bit lucky this year?
All the best,
For starters, thank you very much for giving me the chance to talk
briefly about this game I can't stop playing. Secondly, let's clear
things up quickly. Though originally slated to come out the same day as
XIII, it actually ended up being delayed a week. Thought that
doesn't make things that much better, it's far less stupid than their
original plan. I can appreciate perhaps the pure courage to release on
the same day as a title with a far larger marketing budget, it's just
not smart business. Finally, before getting into the game itself, Sega
seems like they could be a bigger player in the RPG market, but do we
want them to? Remember this is the same company that destroyed the Shining series, and apparently
won't try another single player Phantasy
Star title even with the success of the multi-player games.
That's not even getting into the lack of a domestic release for 7th Dragon. If I can be assured
we'd actually get the titles over here, I'd be more excited about Sega
doing more RPGs. Remember that none of these games were blockbuster
Alright, on to the topic at hand. Resonance
Fate is an amazing game if for no other reason than for who
produced it. Remember, tri-Ace seemingly has become notorious from the Star Ocean games far too much
talking in them. Resonance of
Fate essentially goes completely against everything you'd
expect. The story takes a backseat to the game mechanics, which has
always been the biggest strength of tri-Ace. They can make battle
systems. Everything in Resonance of
Fate revolves around the battle system. Side-quests involve
battles. Dungeons take place through the battle system. Unlocking hexes
on the world map often nets you battle items. It is all very well
crafted, and feels almost like an SRPG more than the standard design of
The battle system is just plain amazing. It seems simple, but requires
a lot of planning and forward thinking, and effective use of all the
tools at your disposal. It's been a long time since I've played a game
that essentially encourages you to learn the system by experimentation.
I just can not recommend this game enough to people, even if you hate
tri-Ace games! What they've done here, is shed off much of the excess
in modern day JRPGs, and get the most important part right: gameplay!
The story, while not the focus, even succeeds at being interesting, and
at times funny. This is my surprise game of the year. I did not expect
to like it this much.
Send me your thoughts on the game!
That's it for this. ... well year for me! Next week I've got a
fantastic guest column, contributed to by a bunch of volunteer readers,
who heeded the call back in November. Hope you all have a good holiday
season (if applicable) and I'll see you all in January!
Current Backlog: Stable
November 26th: Wheels
December 1st: Wheels
December 8th: Wheels
December 15th: 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. Crystal Bearers Soundtrack
3. Golden Sun soundtrack
1. Will Mass Effect 3 return some of the complex
elements, or keep things simple like Mass Effect 2?
2. Dragon Age 2 on PC looks to provide a system to switch between
classic Baldur's Gate Style combat, and Action RPG combat, can this
3. JRPGs currently are more creative than WRPGs. Discuss. Update: This
topic isn't about story. We know JRPGs have issues with
talking gameplay here.
4. You could almost call the last Theif game an RPG, but not quite.
Should Square-Enix and the Eidos Montreal do a full out RPG game for
5. Should Camelot do a new SRPG franchise, since it's unlikely they'd
work with Sega again?