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A pointless letter on the RPG

by dsanickl

Warning: Contains Final Fantasy series Spoilers





Is it just me, or has there been a lack of quality RPGs lately? Okay, you've probably read this same statement about a billion times before. Everyone has their opinion, and they all bore us to death. Monday is Rip-On-Final-Fantasy-8-Day. Tuesday is Trash-SaGa-Fronteir-Day. Wednesday is... Who the hell cares? Old-school vs. New-school, frankly the debate is making me sick. (Old school all the way!)

Now that I've probably offended everyone out there, I can call my job complete. I GOT YOUR ATTENTION! It's was almost as easy as putting pictures of naked people on this letter.

We all love RPGs, or else we wouldn't be reading this letter written by some smart aleck kid about what his "humble opinion" is. Not like I know anything. Not like any of us really *know* anything. All we know is what we like. And what we like is the role playing game. So, can we just get along for, say, five minutes listen to a smart aleck with an opinion.

No matter what, come hell or highwater, there must be story! Story above everything. I want a friggin novel with pretty graphics! I want a well thought out, intriguing, complete story. Emphasis on complete. Lunar: SSSC is the flagship for a complete story. The story of Dragonmaster Alex extends beyond the game. If you play through the game to only beat it, you will miss a huge part of the story. Lunar has a history, and a future. If you pay close attention to what the peasants say, you get history on Ghaleon, the four heroes, the town, Lunar, the Blue Star, and even hint as to the story of the sequel, Lunar: Eternal Blue. A complete story would have made Final Fantasy 7 a classic, on a level with the greats of the 16 bit days. I wanted more! There was an excellent base story, a few interesting plot twists, and a detailed history of Cloud, but there should have been more! Great classics should yield more every time, but I didn't get that the second time through.

Similarily, there should be an epic climax. Final Fantasies are excellent in this respect. Aeris dying, Kefka nuking the world and the brotherhood of Golbez and Cecil are truly epic. Final Fantasy Tactics, while an excellent game, lacks this truly epic climax.

Second only to story is music. A good musical score complements the game nicely, but an excellent musical score can quite literally make the game. Final Fantasy 7 has an excellent score. It throws so much feeling into the game: mysticism, hopelessness and love. The vocal stylings of Luna, and the continuing theme of the music add so much to Lunar. And perhaps the single most loved piece of music in RPG history, the opera song in Final Fantasy 6 adds so much feeling to subsequent scenes. Last but not least, Final Fantasy Tactics. What an excellent score! Just completely awesome! The orchestrated sound add anticipation, anxiety and fear to the Lion War.

Graphics are a very touchy subject. I dare anyone to look at the beautifully hand-painted watercolor backgrounds of SaGa Fronteir 2 and say that it isn't God's gift to RPG. Polygonal characters are poor on detail, and until this changes, give us sprites! CG or Anime? ANIME! What conveys the feeling of fantasy, or sci-fi for that matter, than anime. Unless you can get the producers of The Matrix to direct the next Final Fantasy... Lunar, once again, scores huge on the cinematics. It combines both anime and CG. Oh, and if FF7 taught us anything, 3-D battles rock! Who didn't sit awestruck the first time they summon the mighty Bahamut?

As long as I'm at it, remember to have fun. That's what this whole thing is about. I think the gaming community has forgotten what it is like to have fun. If it looks cool, rent it. If it's fun, buy it. When you're bored, sell it to some sucker. Go out and buy a Dreamcast. It has no worthy RPGs, but Soul Calibur, Dead or Alive 2, and, yes, Sega Bass Fishing, are fun beyond belief! Go on E-bay and buy some Saturn RPGs, just for fun. Don't forget to have fun. If you're not having fun, you might as well be resting six feet under.

So there you go. 15 minutes right out the window. Why did you read this? It's just a stupid letter. You could have been playing (props to The Rock) the most electrifying game in video game entertainment today.

-Aaron

Questions, comments, smart remarks? dsanickl@ic.st-peter.mn.us

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