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ASK MATT
Freshly Squeezed Goodness September 1, 2005

Matt Demers - 12:01 EST

I GUESS that it's my turn now... prepare yourselves. Really, everyone has done so well to this point, I'm confident that whoever is lucky enough to win this little challenge will do a fine job in the captain's chair.

I have discovered how much I truly despise dial-up, though. I'm at my parents' home for this "Cleft Between Semesters", and while reading your mail is lots of fun, having a 45-second pause between each new screen online makes me want to hurl the monitor out the window in agony.

On that happy note, let us begin:




L E T T E R S
Missing: The Olden Days


To Matt,

As an old school rpg type I am very out of touch with newer games and systems. I will be getting a PS2 for the sole purpose of playing Dragon Quest 8 though and would like some info on other good games for the PS2.
Matt

Alack, for it seems like, the video game world doesn't really cater much to fans of the tried 'n' true, old-school, turn-based, etc anymore. My first suggestion would be to jump into a time machine and go back about ten or fifteen years to revel in the midst of the good oldies, back when they were 'newies'.

If you find that too troublesome, there are a few really good games with an "older-school" feel to them. While it's not turn-based, Nippon Ichi has been pumping out some really fun games lately, that seem to emphasize retro-ideas like levelling up and collecting things. I've played Disgaea and loved it to pieces, and I'm playing Makai Kingdom right now; two others are La Pucelle Tactics (I've heard it's not as good), and Phantom Brave. Don't expect awe-inspiring graphical wonderments, but the gameplay is SO addictive, I wouldn't be surprised if an anonymous club or three have arisen as a result.

Dark Cloud 2 is supposed to be a fun little dungeon-crawler as well, with an old-school feel, or so I've heard. Again, it's not a turn-based RPG, but these seem to be in short supply unless you want to "go all FFX" like everyone else. The Xenosaga series is turn-based, but it is anything BUT old-school.

There is one other thing I'd like to ask. Another of my favourite rpg's is the old Microprose PC game Darklands. I think this was an absolutley amazing game which was so far ahead of its time that I don't know if anything similar has ever been made. It was an open end game with a huge amount of detail and gameplay and was almost a simulator it was so massive in scope. Any info on other open end RPG type games and not the linear do this and get the wand to do this and get the scroll and then get the carpet to fly to the island and so on.

Thanks.

Dragon Chaser


Matt

Unfortunately, you're out of luck here. Most of these games seem to have evolved into games of the dreaded MMORPG genre, and the ones that haven't turned into the horror that is Fable.

Of course, this comes from a huge online-game-abhorrer. Many people get much joy (and even more addiction) from online games like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XI, so maybe those kinds of games would turn your crank.



Marsupials Attack!!


G'day
(Please note Australians and sheep don't mix, that's New Zealanders!)

An open ended question for you. If you could create your own pokemon what would it be?

Mine are Wallyroo that evolves into a Kangaby. Fighting type of course, but WITHOUT the boxing gloves, that's for the koala!

Bainick

Matt
It does seem like Australian-native animals have been largely overlooked in the series, doesn't it? After all, how could there not be a platypus pokemon by now? They're only the coolest mammals ever, with their egg-laying and beak-having. I think they're poisonous, too.

I call it "Platty"... a Water/Poison type? It could then evolve into "Kersplatty", which of course, has the dreadful ability to mash its opponents with giant webbed feet! Beware the giant platypus!



Skeletons in my closet...


Hi there whomever is left for this week,

Here's two questions for you

Question 1: Since someone asked Z-force or whatever he calls himself what the worst game he ever played was, let me ask you this about guilty pleasures, Are there any games that while the majority of the gaming populace can't stand that you for some reason secretly love? If so what game/games?
Matt

I'm probably writing my name on the next RPGamer Idol contestant gravestone by saying this, but I've always kinda liked Secret of Evermore, despite the outcry you hear everywhere against it. Sure, it wasn't Secret of Mana, and the storyline wasn't exactly something to write home about, but I thought the alchemy system was fun and different, and having a toaster-dog?? How can you go wrong? ROWRF! *splat*

Question 2: A really odd conversation spawned this but, since most superheroes save the world or at the very least there designated city, Why aren't there more RPGs based on superheroes?

Trust me that you don't wanna know what made me think of that last question

Arros Raikou

Will be voting for the underdog and/or whoever answers this letter


Matt

That's good, because I need all the votes I can get to combat the evils of the Bucket 'n' Zforce duo. Yay!

Anywho, I can't really say for sure why. However, I do know that in this lovely corporate world we've carved out, copyrights and trademarks govern all. An RPG featuring a Marvel comic book hero would, for example, be very unlikely, I think. When the head honchos from Marvel get together with a video game developer, the first things on their minds will assuredly be "Sales, sales, sales!" and "Money, money, money!" As of now, fighting games, first-person shooters, and '3-D adventure games' are all more mainstream than RPGs (at least in North America), so such games are likely to be more profitable. I like to think that things are changing slowly, but then again, I pretty much live in my own little dream world.

On the side, most comic-based games like these are produced in a rushed fashion upon the release of a similarly-based movie into theatres, and end up shoddy at best, so it would take a LOT for me to feel any love, regardless of which genre they appear in.

Spiderman for Gamecube- *shudder*- it's the sort of game my nine-year-old cousin would want.



Der Wille zur what...?


Q & A Host, Congratulations on making it through the first round. You all did great. My question is about the future of the Xenosaga series. I want your opinion on whether or not you think the rest of the games are going to come out or not, and why. I'm a huge fan of the series and would be heartbroken if the questions the games have presented remained unanswered.
Matt

Xenosaga: much controversy in-game AND out. I guess you've been attacked by the Xenosaga bug, at any rate...hopefully you don't turn into a gnosis!

Your beloved Xenosaga has been faced with some difficulties in the past little while. There were internal problems with the developer, and not as many people bought the second episode after buying the first: perhaps because many of them fell asleep during the extra-long movie sequences, or found themselves in a mental hospital while attempting to wrap their heads around the cryptic and melodramatic storyline (read: I actually like the games, but they're far from perfect).

It was leaked a little while ago that it is under development- at least, according to a voice actor for the game, who mentioned it in her blog. RPGamer posted an article on it awhile back...maybe that was when you were doing the aforementioned sleeping. However, nothing has been announced officially.

My other question regards the Xenosaga games themselves. I want to know what the subtitles mean and how (or even if) they relate to the games. Also, if you've played the series, what do you think is the truth behind chaos? I think he provides the game with the greatest mysteries. On a similar note, do you think they will redo Xenogears when the time comes? Thanks for your knowledge and opinions, and best of luck in the competition. -Chris


Matt

A quick surf around reveals that the first subtitle, "Der Wille zur Macht" means "The Will to Power" in english. I guess that such a title makes some form of sense, since the main objective in the game is to locate a source of infinite power. I know that "Jenseits von Gut und Bose", with the two dots above the 'o' --is that an umlaut?, means "Beyond Good and Evil". Take that as you will, but I'd say that it might be hinting at the fact that maybe the story isn't so simple (not that it was in the first place) as it first appears: maybe, what SEEMS to be the bad guys/good guys of the game depends very much upon the point of view from which the story is being told.

Either way, the subtitles are all right, but the Germanness is quite pretentious and helps add to the snooty feeling of the game.

As for chaos, I wouldn't be surprised if he played a much different role in any upcoming games... I don't think that it's supposed to be exactly clear what role he plays until the next episode- the ending movie was quite obviously a cliffhanger designed to draw in loyal buyers.

If the series gets that far, I'd like to see a re-done Xenogears- but hopefully without the jumping... I didn't much enjoy the jumping. Never fear though, for at the rate they're releasing the games at, Episode V might be six or eight years away, and (maybe in the hopes of Monolith Soft) no one will remember Xenogears at all by then...



Keep your Q away from me!


Dear QnAerizer,

I'm a long time fan of both Square and Enix. Final Fantasy 3 (6) and 7 started my obcession with RPGs and if Final Fantasy 12 is a steaming load of fecal matter I will weep for days. However I have also loved several Enix games including Star Ocean 2 (easily one of the top RPGs I've every player reguardless of what previous QnA hosts have said) and Valkyrie Profile. Both were innovative games back before there was this huge rush to break the turn based RPG mold. My question is; Do you think Squeenix will start using the insite from Enix's division to make more innovative games? Sure every company's got some gimmick to make their RPG's "innovative," but no one did it quite as well as Enix and tri-ace.

Just as a side note, this better not get answered with another "i dont know" cause I'm getting tired of QnA people who can't A a Q. If this gets an idk I will be convinced you cannot A a Q and I will promptly begin inserting something in your A.

"Would you like to ride the lift?" "Off course" - Chris P.

Matt
idk... idk... oh right- "I don't know". Yes, I really didn't see that one right away...senility must be setting in.

The twelfth of that series is something that ought to be looked upon with skepticism, in my opinion. The in-battle movie trailers I saw months ago left my jaw slack with shock-filled despair, and I haven't quite recovered yet. I too shall be very saddened if the game ends up being really terrible, and we certainly won't be the only ones.

I tend to disagree with you on the "Enix is innovative", "Square is traditional" implication. While Enix does had a lot of innovative games like Star Ocean: The Second Story, and Square had many tried-and-true styled Final Fantasy games, this is definitely NOT a rule! Dragon Quest was made by Enix, and that's about as non-innovative as you can get. Square produced the Seiken Densetsu series, which is certainly deviant from the everyday mold.

So in the end, if you liked Star Ocean 2 that much, give Star Ocean 3 a spin. Yes, it is riddled unacceptably with frustrating problems. Yes, there are many who dislike the game highly. BUT, it has a lot to explore and discover, and maintains some similarities to The Second Story in innovation and gameplay, to an extent. You might like it! If not, then dem's da brakes... go back to playing your Star Ocean: The Second Story, till the end of time.




C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

And there you have it, another dose of a delicious concoction of my words of wisdom; take it or leave it. There may be some side effects, but vote for me, and everything will be just fine in the end... I'll make all of your dreams come true (the happy ones).

*bows*
Good day, all.

Matt is in favour of free cookies for everyone! Won't you send him your love?


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