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ASK BARI
Mahler Maniac
January 18th, 2008

Matt - 6:05pm EST

Hey everybody. I'm back to answer a few more questions in Lusipurr's stead. Don't worry though, I'm only filling in for one column

I'm a Mahler Maniac, especially lately. I've been working on his Symphony No. 3. If you ever want to hear something truly magnificent, go to your local library and listen to a recording of the first movement. You won't be disappointed. It's full of romanticism, beauty, brass, and power. Go do it now. I'm serious. Put down what you're doing and go right now. Then come back and read the rest of the column.



Okay, so I'm glad you did that. Amazing wasn't it? Truly magnificent music; makes you happy you're alive. Well, that and the plethora of games I have in my backlog that need to be finished before I die. Enough of this grimm talk, onto the letters.




LETTERS
Obscurity is re-released!


Just a quick question. I was browsing the GameFaqs website this morning when I noticed that Langrisser 1 and Langrisser 2 were just recently released for the Nintendo Wii in November and December respectively. Was this a mistake on GameFaqs part or did they really just re-release these games for the Wii? If itís true, do the two have any shot of making a release on US shores or via download on the Virtual Console?

Matt K.
Bari

Matt, you're making me work hard. I did a little research and Langrisser, known as Warsong in the United States was a tactical role-playing game from a five game cycle released on many platforms--the main one being the PC engine--and eventually ending up on the Sega Saturn. GameFAQs does not lie! Both games saw release on the Japanese Virtual Console roster. As for their fate in the United States; that has yet to be determined, it seems. With a battle system similar to Fire Emblem, I think it would be nice to see these games released in America. Langrisser being the only title from the series released in NA, it looks grimm. Coupled with the fact that Warsong was a Master Drive title, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Thanks for writing.



Potent Portables for $500


My birthday is coming up. I live outisde the city, and commute and don't have a lot of time for console games. I'm a few generations removed, and the output for the current consoles isn't very enticing. If I were to go for a current gen console, what would you recommend? Furthermore, portable gaming seems to be carrying the RPG torch lately. Why should I go to console gaming when the portable world seems to be carrying the load?

Salut,

Vawnz
Bari

With the current generation, it always takes a few months for the RPGs to start coming. With that said, I think with your current situation you would find yourself better suited to the portable games. However, should you venture into the world of console games, I think I can help make a few suggestions. For the 360, there's Eternal Sonata and Blue Dragon. For the Wii, there is Super Paper Mario and Zelda: Twilight Princess (which some may consider an RPG). The Playstation 3 has Folklore. As for the PSP and the DS, their libraries are enormous. The PSP has Jeanne d'Arc, and Final Fantasy remakes, among others, while the DS has two Mana games, FFXII: Revenant Wings, Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Luminous Arc, Etrian Odessey, etc. As you can see, handheld gaming does indeed "carry the torch" as you say. But remember: the PlayStation 2 had many RPGs, and several are on the horizon for all of the next-gen consoles, so only time will tell.

I find myself playing more and more portable games lately, mainly for the convenience and the accessibility. I've found myself playing the portables over other incomplete games such as Metroid Prime 3 and Mario Galaxy, even though these games are much "higher profile." Will there be a shift? Who knows? Readers, write in and talk about this! Thanks for writing!



Do "U" hear what I hear?


Barieuph,

Bari

Whoa, creepy. It's like this guy knew I was going to be answering today

Thanks for covering todayís column for me. You will be rewarded.

Bari

I like the sound of this!

Do you feel that the soundtracks of the past were, on average, more engaging and better composed than the soundtracks of current games? Also, synthesising and production limitations aside, which game do you feel had the best score of all time? (That is, all other things being equal, which had the best composition?)

Thank you for answering my letter. I look forward to ordering you around in the near future!

See you at the meeting tomorrow,

~Lusipurr

Bari

Oh, Lusi! That's why. Anyway, it's good you asked this question. I've been listening to some of the more recent soundtracks of the age, and I'm seeing a very interesting trend in VG composers. There are a few camps of composers. First, there are those who are trying to compose music, that just so happens to fit alongside the video game as well. These are the composers we are familiar with, Uematsu, Sakimoto, Kondo, Kanno, etc. The list goes on. Second, is a camp of composers who write video game music. Composers for western games tend to fit into this genre. Last, are the games where they just need some sound to fit into the background. All the composers tend to write for this genre, since we musicians need to eat.

As for the best score, I think that there are a few that are really great. Final Fantasy VI will always hold a special place in my heart--and my ears--for the best score. Chrono Cross and Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter are also great examples. Dragon Quarter has a wonderful score that is representative of the setting of the entire game.

As for ordering me around: We'll just see about that!



Daily Double


What do you think about the current, and growing, trends in the video game world of games shifting from console to handheld. Is it inevitable that game developers will ultimately prefer the handheld platform as they can concentrate more energy on balance and gameplay? Console titles in the current gen seem to be both time and money sinks while elements like solid story telling or pacing seem to be ignored. Whats your thoughts?

Neist
Bari

I think that with video games and other forms of media, we're too worried about the stuff, and forgetting about the original reason why these art forms were created. Stuff incorporates all of the special effects, glamour, 1080p nonesense that doesn't make an art form, but just enhances it. Music was created to entertain, not launch your career as an actress. Games similarly were created for fun, and when you don't have the hardware to have the glitz get in the way, you can focus more on the gameplay. It's obvious: with the lesser-powered DS leaps ahead of the PSP, and the PSP bounds ahead of the PS3. Even the PS2, 'weaker' still, enjoyed a healthy life filled with some wonderful RPGs, while the powerhouse Gamecube and Xbox didn't.

As for the current gen, I think there are some exceptions to the rules. 3Developers of games for the 360 are starting to understand that gamers want the full experience, and that means pretty games with an interesting story. Bioshock does a great job with this, even incorporating some awesome music and voice acting. Wii games grab the fun factor that many developers are losing, but the Wii sadly is becoming a welcome home to shovelware. I think we need to wait and see what a real RPG experience is going to be on our current-gen consoles, and by that I don't mean wait for your favorite franchise games to have their sequels make it to the current-gen. Wait for some of the new and original games to pop up. Watch Vanillaware, or some other smaller developers. I think they're going to have something big to say for us RPGamers in the next few years.

Square-Enix seems to think that the portable consoles are the place to be. Look at Kingdom Hearts. That is the last thing I will say on the subject. Thanks for the food for thought. I look forward to seeing what the readers think.



IN CLOSING

It's been a lot of fun. Perhaps I'll be able to guest host again sometime soon! Send us more letters, and be sure to check out the Grand Audition results.



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barieuph@rpgamer.com
barieuph ...needs...more...Mahler.


Seriously, you should go listen to that symphony now.

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