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May 2, 2014

Welcome to another edition of the mailbag! We've got more from the multi-part letter from the King of Content. That means more Final Fantasy! We also discuss the topic of indie legends, and a little Ys talk.

Let's get right to it...

- Michael "Wheels" Apps

This Edition's Contents:

Grand Space Emperor of Content Part 2

Final Fantasy IX.  While tempting, since I played it almost ten years ago now, I don't know that going back and finding out the load times are much more irritating than I remember would be wise.  I certainly had fun though, and the fellow I borrowed it from at the time gets big-time kudos for making me have a fun summer when I wasn't scanning crap into a computer system.

Wheels' Comment

The load times weren't great for sure, but that game is so good that I barely even remember the load times being an issue. Final Fantasy IX so expertly captures everything that was so great about the earlier series, while executing the visual flair the series was known for by that point. That's not even touching on the soundtrack, which is quite possibly the best of the trio of PS1 Final Fantasy games. I have very few negative things to say about Final Fantasy IX.

Final Fantasy X.  Now this theoretically could be interesting, since I adored the fighting but thought the plot took WAY too long to unpack its information and had huge holes.  I don't expect to change my mind much, but it could happen a bit.  Fighting was a joy, anyway.

Wheels' Comment

I feel like the great characters (note: not blue guy) make up for the plot holes, but we will agree that the combat was an absolute joy. More games need to find ways to make use of the whole party roster in combat. Now if they could just remake the game and touch up the plot a bit...

Final Fantasy X-2.  Look, a sequel I played!  I have to wonder how many people would adore its combat system if they'd played any Grandia games though - those games did a much better job with similar component parts.  Plot is silly and I didn't like the mission structure at all, nor did I get anywhere close to all the Dress Spheres since the requirements got pretty arcane for some of them.  I didn't HATE it, but I don't see the need to inflict it upon myself again either.

Wheels' Comment

I'm coming around to it now during this whole second chance contest. Everything seems to fit the goofy style of the story pretty well, especially the whole costume changing nature of the combat. While Grandia certainly does all the real time interuption stuff much better than Final Fantasy X-2, it certainly can't mach the fun job swapping. Someone needs to mash the two together into one glorious and awesome system.

Final Fantasy XI.  Never gave it a first chance, not going to either when my internet likes to go out and I refuse to go through the hassles this game requires.  Sorry.

Wheels' Comment

I could never get into it, partially because I had played World of Warcraft before it which is leagues better in terms of interface and design. Final Fantasy XI was just a bit dated in those regards. I've heard the story does get pretty cool. It's a shame there's no single player version of it.

Final Fantasy XII.  I remember liking it quite a bit, though the loss of Matsuno was not a good thing since it left a lot of dangling plot items that were just kind of ignored.  Fun to play and rewarding to explore though.  If I was to play it again though I'd probably get sucked into trying to tackle those monstrous extra battles - I remember just blundering into Zeromus and getting taken apart in under two minutes.  Not so good, eh? 
Oh, and the conclusion rips off Star Wars even more than certain other parts.  Just gotta get that out there.  Death Star escape at the end of Return of the Jedi, anyone?

Didn't play Revenant Wings.  Should I?

Wheels' Comment

Yeah, the whole Matsuno situation is a crying shame as I'm sure this game could have been even better had the plot been properly wrapped up. Also I feel like Matsuno probably didn't want Vaan and maybe Panelo in there, as they barely feel like they belong with the rest of the cast. No sense pondering what could have been though. As it stands, Final Fantasy XII is a fantastic game.

Revenant Wings is a decent enough experience, I'd recommend giving it a try.

Also didn't play XIII, XIII-2, or Lightning Returns.  I'm comfortable waiting a long time before tackling that trilogy.  You can go ahead and try to convince me to do it immediately, but unless you're a silver-tongued devil (Django Unchained memories...) I don't expect it to succeed.

Wheels' Comment

No, wait a few years to tackle this so that the insane vitriol has died down. Also, you don't need to play XIII-2. Others love it, but I found it to take everything that XIII did right and needlessly mess with it, including ditching the loveable cast for two awful characters. Lightning Returns is a far better experience, that offers unique gameplay and lots of nods to the series as a whole.

Same with XIV.  I'm perfectly prepared to believe it's an awesome MMO.  I've never gotten into one and that's not about to change. 
Then there are all the side entries in this series... no.  We don't need to suck up even more time with them, unless you've got some burning a hole in your brain that must be used to convert people right now  In which case - go for it!

Wheels' Comment


Let's try one you might get easily... put Anna Kendrick into an RPG!

Wheels' Comment

Well she played Scott Pilgrim's sister in the movie adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, so how about some bizarre spin-off RPG where you play as Stacey Pilgrim trying to navigate the bizarre things happening to Scott?

Now to touch on the continuing bane of my existence.  Oh yes, I'll talk about Agarest again.  Only one mention of the title though.  No need to get too hateful yet.



Wheels' Comment

That's right folks, tune in next week for some Agarest talk!

The Legend

In nearly every media, there have been surprise masterpieces created from the vision and hard work of but one person.  Why hasn't this happened in the indie RPG yet?  Where is that one game where people ask "where did he come from" that catapults some dude from hobbyist to legend.


Wheels' Comment

I don't really buy into the whole idea of "vision and hard work of but one person" thing. There's always others involved, be it creating certain assets, actors, set designers, musicians, etc. While there are certainly plenty of individuals who act as a driving force behind something, rarely are they the only part of the package. Such is usually the case with video games, especially considering you aren't going to find many programmers who are also artists and musicians. There's a few instances, like Jeff Vogel being the main force behind his original Exile series and the many indie RPGs that followed from Spiderweb Software, but I don't think he makes the art or music assets himself. So long story short, I don't think the thing you're looking for exists in any medium. If you're looking for "driving forces" behind games I think there's a ton, they just aren't always as front and center as they are in other places. If you did you can find them though!

Top Tweets

Wheels' Comment

That is great to hear! I always enjoy hearing people get into an Ys game. It's a series I've come to love in recent years. Memories of Celceta in particular has the great battle system from Ys Seven along with a larger world to explore, and of course the usual fantastic music. As much as people seem to drool over the Legend of Heroes games, I wish that Falcom had more resources available to make more frequent Ys entries. I can't really complain though, the Ys games they do eventually put out have been fantastic. It's good to finally consistently get localizations for a series that was once open only to importers. Thank you XSEED!

Oh, one last thing:

Hot Topics

Here are some hot topics I've seen around the net:

  • JRPGs don't seem to be having much trouble selling decently in the West, so where has Dragon Quest gone?
  • Atlus has announced localizations for the upcoming bananza of Persona games, but what of Devil Surviver 2: Break Record
  • If Child of Light is a success, will we see more RPGs with the UbiArt engine?

See you next week!

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