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ASK OLIVER
After the Battle
July 20, 2008

7/19 - 3:38 PM CST

Whew! E3 has come and gone, leaving a great deal of info to be processed in its wake. Quite a good show if you ask me. Now I just can't wait until the holiday season, when many of these games will be seeing release. Infinite Undiscovery, The Last Remnant, Valkyria Chronicles, Persona 4... man, there's a long list. I'll be spending quite a bit of money in this latter portion of the year. But WHO CARES, I say!

I've been playing a lot of Persona 3, and nothing but. Iunno why, but whenever I get the chance to play games, I don't feel like playing anything else. It's such a great game, and every moment I am parted from it is a painful one. Once I'm done with it, (and I doubt I'm even half done at this point) I'll likely go back and knock off a few portable titles like Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics. By that time, Tales of Vesperia will likely have been released. And by the time THAT'S done, Infinite Undiscovery will probably be here. And then Last Remnant, Valkyria Chronicles, Persona 4, Prince of Persia... oh dear. My poor backlog.

Letters, letters, time for LETTERS!





The Letters
I guess I've never been called that over the internet.


Hey Ollie Ollie Oxen...free....is that the spelling of that old-timey saying? Or whatever it is?

Oliver

Yes... yes it is. And yes, I've heard it probably 34829148 times in my life. But that's okay. It's gotten to the point where I find it endearing. What's on your mind today?

Ah, starting with nonsensical drivel. Anywho, just finished Dragon Warrior 4 for NES (got a NES Emu on my phone muahaha) and it changed my life. It was the only one in the series I never played, and after spending 40 bucks for a copy on ebay I realized I didn't have an A/V cable for my NES anymore....oh well at least I'm one of four people who legitimately use roms. If you never played this game, it's LEAGUES ahead of it's time. Best balance ever to grace an NES game (all the DQ's made the Final Fantasies look like junk on NES) and, unlike the first 3, it's much harder to get hopelessly lost, even when the world map opens up via ship aquisition. It made me wanna restart the never-ending World Map romp that is DQVIII, because that game makes me wiggly.

Oliver

I've never heard a bad thing about Dragon Quest IV, so you can bet that I'm counting down the days 'till DQIV for the DS. As I've stated before, I've played only one DQ game (VIII), and loved it. November can't come soon enough!

So yes, I noticed you like M. Night, and I can't for the life of me figure out why. He got what I feel was an unfair introduction to the film world with Sixth Sense, as he snagged Bruce at one of the highest points of his career, discovered Osment's talent, and wrote quite an amazing screen play with (PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION TO THIS)--a TWIST! Yes, the twist was very well executed and blew everyone away! I was an enormous fan, and so when Unbreakable came out, I flew out to see it.

Oliver

I'm not exactly a "fan of M. Night." I just happen to really enjoy a few of his movies. I liked The Sixth Sense, but it scared the hell out of me as a twelve year-old kid, and I'm just not a big fan of the walking dead concept. The twist at the end WAS quite spectacular, though.

The problem with every movie since Sixth Sense is that he keeps trying to do "the twist." He's turned himself into somewhat of a gimmick-director, especially considering each "twist" has gotten worse at an expnential rate. If you didn't know **MOVIE SPOILER, maybe change text to background color so you need to highlight this to read it??** Samuel L. was the "archvillain" **end spoiler** one hour into the movie, I have serious questions about your perceptiveness. Not only was the twist obvious, the pacing of that movie was AGONIZINGLY slow. My ex-roomate touted this movie as "the most ingenious superhero concept ever" but everyone else I've ever met, including myself, was seriously underwhelmed. The camerawork was "over-dramatic", in that it just seemed like it was trying too hard to be deeper than it was. Still, it wasn't a bad movie, it was just very, very average, and a marked step down from sixth sense.

Oliver

YOU'RE WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, HAHAHAHAH ROFLMAOZ

Heh. You are quite mistaken, good sir, and I regret that you were unable to appreciate Unbreakable for the shining gem that it was. Call me unperceptive, but if that's true then I am glad for it, because the ending to Unbreakable blew me away. The movie was a tad melodramatic, but it was so well-directed, and so well-acted, that it felt believable. Bruce Willis did a fantastic job, as did Mr. Jackson. And it WAS an ingenious concept - a "real life" superhero, per say - not the kind from the comic books who are products of freak experiments and end up in colored spandex. I thought it was brilliant, and your naysaying falls on deaf ears. Anyway, moving on!

Then the village. Good god. Not only was the twist painfully apparent from about the 30 minute mark, the twist sucked. The dialogue SUPER SUCKED--hokiest M.Night movie ever. I actually never saw the end of the movie, cause once we realized we were right in guessing the twist, we walked out of the theater. First time I've ever done that. Definitely his worst movie. I felt simmilarly about Signs. One - the alien was retarded looking. Two - it wasn't scary. Very, very underwhelmed with this one as well, especially considering his weak "divine intervention twist" at the end...are we sensing a pattern here?

Oliver

I can forgive you for disliking The Village, although I actually derived some enjoyment from it. Upon my first viewing, I was QUITE disappointed. And yes, the twist WAS painfully apparent in that one - it's almost as if Night didn't even try to hide it. And, uh, it wasn't scary in the least. And the overgrown porcupine suits were just too much. But, getting past all that, I enjoyed it for what it was. It's a good romance tale, and like all of Night's films it's very well-acted, and strikes a very somber tone. Oh, and the music was awesome.

Signs I loved. I didn't think it was scary, per ce, but it was quite suspenseful. For fear of turning this column into ASK OLIVER ABOUT MOVIES, I'll stop here, but I loved every minute of Signs.

The biggest problem with M.Night's first "twist" movie becoming such a ridicu-success is that it pidgeonholed him into thinking that it needs to be in every movie, and that it must become his directoral footprint in movies, when in actuality it took a man who apparently has quite a bit of directoral talent and turned his works the way of Capcom Syndrome -- Megaman Battle Networks 1-3 were great, but 4-6? And Starforce...and they just keep regurgitating the same formula with less and less "heart"... I haven't seen The Happening, but I have no desire to given the formulaic failures he keeps forcing at the public. If he just directed a movie and left his footprint behind him (was that clever on accident?) I think we may get another decent M.Night movie some day. This is also why I fail to feel sorry for his lack of recent box office success. If he'd take a risk, he may just release a movie worth watching.

Oliver

From what I understand, both Lady and the Water (which I never saw) and The Happening (which I have yet to see) forgo his traditional twist ending formula. And yet, both of these films were beaten with verbal clubs by critics and viewers alike. Sounds like he just can't win. I just think he should try something really different... shake up his routine a little. But I'm no movie critic. I head to the theaters whenever a new superhero movie comes out, and that's as far as my expertise goes. And wow, that was a lot of movie discussion for an RPGamer column.

And dude, Song Summoner is friggin' incredible. It's "NO FINAL FANASY XI 11/5 ROFLATORZZZZZZ" mostly because....wait XI is slow paced and average! It's an ingenious concept, it's 5 bucks, and it's got quite the enjoyable battle system...and it's 5 bucks. This is my favorite move Square's made since DQ8. Who'd have thought an iPod game would work so well?

Oliver

Ooohh... I sense a subtle shot at Lusipurr, the one who penned the FFXI review you mention! Interestingly enough, Lusi is also quite enjoying Song Summoner, as you already know if you listened to last week's RPGcast. It does sound somewhat interesting, but since I have no iPod, and in fact, no Apple products other than the keyboard I'm typing on, I'm afraid it's impossible. Oh well, it's not like I don't have 9384205 other games on my plate, and more soon to come. I just think an iPod game is an intriguing concept, and I'm wondering how many future iPod games we can look forward to, if any. Should be interesting to see. If there's enough, I may end up having to buy an iPod, just for the games!

Anyhow, take care, and keep this section from dying! Oh yeah--figured out that JuMeSyn's name is actually taken from SF3 on saturn ( big suprise :) ) and is somehwat of an amalgamation of the 3 disc's heroes names. Got a functioning Saturn emulator finally, and re-remembered how average Albert Odyssey is. Ciao, must go fleabomb the house.
-Swerd Murderous

Oliver

This section ain't dying anytime soon, and certainly not while I am at the helm. Of that, you can ALL be assured.

Wait, there's a game called Albert Odyssey? A name like that pretty much causes instant failure, I fear. If you're looking for odysseys, I'd check out Lost Odyssey.

Thanks for writing, Swerd, and have fun FLEABOMBING!



Games and candy


Hello again, Oliver.

Well I've been away from internet for the past few weeks due to work. So I was pleased to see that you responded to my first mail to you.

Oliver

Hello again, Ken.

I try my very best to answer each and every letter that comes along. It doesn't always happen, and they don't always go up the week that they're sent. I have this bad feeling that people who send letters and don't get answered get pissed off, and give up on the column. PLEASE DON'T! I don't answer letters based on how "good" I think they are, so if I didn't answer your first letter, it's not because I thought it was crap. Try again! You'll see print eventually! I love you all equally, but there's only so much to go around!

Anyways, that was a really random tangent, but I'm glad you gave me the opportunity to make that statement. MOVING ON!

Which again brings me back to how I write on these lovely Q&A's. What's on the hot topic list?

Oliver

YAY HOT TOPICS LIST!

The best RPGs for beginners? Ooo, interesting. Cause they have to be good, but not horribly complicated. Ease them into the realm as it were. Well I'll list off a few and then comment. Final Fantasy 10, Dragon Quest 8, Fire Emblem, Tales of Destiny, Kingdom Hearts, Paper Mario and Chrono Trigger

Oliver

Hmm... good recommendations, with the exception of DQVIII. I loved DQVIII, as I touched on last week, but that's a TERRIBLE recommendation for a budding RPGamer. But, I note that you elaborate further down, so I'll let you continue for now.

That's actually a bigger list than I anticipated, so let's do this.

Final Fantasy 10 and Dragon Quest 8 are both typical/standard Japanese RPGs. Story, characters and good game play. They're good introductions to how most games work. It helps both that they have pretty graphics for the modern consumer. Also I find their overall difficulty to be tolerable. You don't want to beat a new player over the head with Final Fantasy 1 and the Marsh Cave.

Oliver

Final Fantasy X, yes. Dragon Quest VIII, NO.

First off, DQVIII's difficulty is actually quite IN-tolerable at times. Overall, it's not a terribly hard game, but it is littered with a few RIDICULOUSLY difficult boss battles. Or at least, I thought it was.

Which brings us to the next reason why DQVIII is a bad start for new RPGamers: GRINDING. At times, usually in order to defeat the aforementioned uber-bosses, DQVIII is simply grind-tastic. Making new RPGamers fight turn-based battles again and again and again and again, for about 90 hours, is not a good way to get them into RPGs.

Which brings us to the NEXT reason: DQVIII is a long-ass game, and if it happens to be the first RPG a person plays, I highly doubt they'll see it through. Took me close to 90 hours, and I didn't even do half the optional stuff. For a beginner, a 30-40 hour game is what you want to recommend.

Finally, and this sounds kinda shallow, but... DQVIII just feels too old. Sure, it's on the PS2, it has shiny graphics, but the game feels very dated. I don't mean that in a BAD way, as I loved the classic/traditional RPG feel it had. But new RPGamers probably wouldn't be thrilled. Let them tase something more modern, and then ease them into the older stuff.

With that, I conclude this rebuttal.

Fire Emblem is a good intro to the Strategy RPG. The "Simplified" rock/paper/scissors system is an easy one to pick up on. The problem with this one is that the dead don't come back. So you might just frustrate the person into giving up.

Oliver

Hmmm... it's kinda hard for me to say. Fire Emblem is really quite easy to pick up and play, I agree with you there. But (and as you mentioned), there's a good chance that new players would be thoroughly disgusted with the perma-death system, and give up on it altogether. I mean heck, I know plenty of seasoned RPGamers who won't touch the series because of that. Overall though, I agree that it's a good recommendation for new players. As long as they don't start with Radiant Dawn, because that game is BRUTAL.

And on a semi-random note, how is it that I'm recommending everything except for my personal faves? DQVIII and Radiant Dawn are, like, among my favorite RPGs of all time, and I'm steering people AWAY from them. Doesn't seem right...

Tales of Destiny(Or a more modern one, been a while since I played one from that series) and Kingdom Hearts both are good intros to the Action RPG. You might mention that I didn't bring up Zelda, and that was on purpose. Zelda games are Action/Adventure in my mind and always will be. Back to the two I am talking about. Tales games have an excellent, fast paced fighting system, so a player won't be bored waiting for their turn. Same with Kingdom Hearts which has the added bonus of Disney. Unless of course they're anti-American, at which point steer clear.

Oliver

Yes, Kingdom Hearts and the Tales series are both great intros to the world of RPGaming. And I agree with you that Zelda is NOT an RPG. I know a lot of people who enjoy Zelda and cannot abide RPGs, so I doubt it would work as a great intro to the genre. I'm just glad RPGamer covers Zelda, because it happens to be my favorite series of all time!

I will say that it's a BIT iffy to recommend Kingdom Hearts, because it's really not indicative of an average console RPG experience. It's a very actiony, button-mashy game that is light on story, exploration, or skill management. But hey, it's a better start than Zelda.

Paper Mario is another intro to JRPG, but with the more interactive combat, zany story and Mario you've got a winner for most younger audiences. But it's solid enough for any beginner.

Oliver

Never played Paper Mario. Can't offer an opinion. Watched my brothers play some of it, looked kinda fun. Sure, why not give it a spin if you're a first-timer? Once again, though, I'm unsure if it's truly indicative of a traditional RPG experience.

So last on the list you see Chrono Trigger. That game is there because there's no better way to get people hooked on RPGs than to give them a game from the SNES that can kick the pants off most modern games. The only downfall to this is that after Chrono Trigger all other RPGs after it will seem pale shadows. They'll keep playing them of course. But only because they're looking to find that same magic else where.

Oliver

Oh REALLY. Well, I'LL be the judge of that, after I play Chrono Trigger DS upon its release! No, I haven't played it yet, as I've stated before.

Wow, this letter is going on, some short sweet answers next maybe?

Oliver

I'LL decide whether I want to supply short and sweet answers, or LONG AND BITTER answers. Moving on!

Nope, you want my opinion of Xenosaga. Well maybe I can keep it short. It's crap. Xenogears was awesome, one of a select handful that contends with Chrono Trigger for the coveted "#1 RPG" Xenosaga took all that potential and promise and pissed it away with crappy story, characters that had no purpose and a battle system that made no sense. If I get in a giant robot I'd like for that to mean something. My only recommendation to anyone thinking about playing Xenosaga? Don't.

Oliver

Wrong! You're wrong! You're even more wrong than the last guy!

Xenosaga's story was not crap, it was epic and beautiful. The characters were not purposeless, they were all extremely well-developed and likeable. The battle system made perfect sense, unless you were too impatient to learn its nuances. (Which took some time, I concede.) The only valid point you make concerns the A.G.W.S units, which sucked severely. But, they were fixed in Episode II and III, so that complaint holds little water after all! Sorry!

Ahhh, okay, venting over, what's next? What's coming in Round 2 of '08? Too Human look interesting. Final Fantasy 4 DS since I travel for work so much would be nice. Tales of Vesperia, Infinite Undiscovery, Fable 2, oh and look at this Chrono Trigger for the DS. Why yes please. I'll give up the rest just for that....who cares that I have beaten it every way possible, own it for SNES and PS already? I'll buy it again. Bastards.

Oliver

Good choices! I actually haven't been too excited about Too Human, and I can't really place my finger on why. I think I'll give the demo a try as soon as it's available to Silver users. FFIV DS is almost here! I'm totally picking that up on day one. I'll be buying Tales of Vesperia, Infinite Undiscovery, and Chrono Trigger DS. Maybe Fable II, but probably not. And you fail, because The Last Remnant is not on your list.

Ahem, E3 2008 is going already right? I've never really been a fan of E3. Just another time of year that developers have to put up or shut up. I'd rather that instead of making a big show of things they were working on more games for me to play. Still it is cool to know that every year we get the chance no to see what we'll be buying come Christmas.

Oliver

I love E3. Last year's show blew, but 2008 was quite good. The week of E3 is something I look forward to every year, even though I've never been able to go. I love the rapid-fire stream of news that (ideally) comes from the show, all the trailers, new announcements, funny blunders, (Nintendo's E3 2008 press conference LOLZ) et cet, et cet. I live for stuff like that, I can't wait until the year I can actually go. I just don't know when that will be. (Sigh.)

And the Hershey's Symphony Bar. Personally I like the Hershey's Cookies & Creme bars. I also used to get tubs of Spice Drops that I would pick through while playing games all night. Alas, the stores in Alaska stopped carrying the tubs and something about the ones in plastic bags tastes off. So I've been forced to leave that habit behind. Shame too, cause I had to stop playing DQ8 and start over cause I couldn't get in my groove anymore without them. Gaming hasn't been the same since.

Oliver

Cookies & Creme bars are quite good, but they have NOTHING on the Symphony bars, I'm sorry. I don't believe I've ever had Spice Drops.

Wait, what? You couldn't play DQVIII without Spice Drops? Uh.... okay...

So, have you ever had a little game ritual that once interupted you couldn't play anymore? Another example of mine is when I played Grandia 2 I listened to Nine Inch Nails. My roommate at the time couldn't stand the voices, so we compromised. I couldn't start the game up until The Downward Spiral was blaring through those speakers. NIN was the best soundtrack for that game. Better than what it came with anyway.

Oliver

Uh... no. No, and that's WEIRD. And Nine Inch Nails sucks. How can you listen to outside music while playing an RPG? I know a lot of people who do that, but for me it was RUIN the experience.

It's okay though, I still love you. Even though you seem to be a quirky fellow.

(Like I'm one to talk.)

Well, this went on far too long. Hopefully you can come up with a justification for posting this monster.
Ken

Oliver

ALL letters sent have a right to be featured in my column. Thank you for the letter, Ken! Talk to ya later.



There is much I still don't know


I was happy to read about your love for Dragon Quest VIII in the latest Q&A column. I think it gets too little credit for just how good it is. For years Final Fantasy VII had stood tall as my favorite RPG, but when I finally finished DQVIII with the good ending (after roughly 80 hours of gameplay) I knew my favorites list had a new leader. The plot isn't the deepest, but the characters are so great that I still found myself constantly wanting to know what would happen next. Everyone from the main party to the NPCs to the monsters are unforgettable. And multiple customization options mean that every time you play through it can be a different experience. A classic in every sense of the word... and to think one of the main selling points for me was that it came with a Final Fantasy XII demo (which also turned out to be an amazing game, but that's a different story for a different day).

Oliver

So true. Sure, DQVIII's story wasn't the deepest, but it was always entertaining. And yes, the characters were just awesome. One of my all-time favorite RPG casts. King Trode is the freaking BOMB, as is Yangus. Heck, I even loved the main character, even though he was silent. Maybe it's because I named him Ollie, which just so happens to be one of the coolest names around.

Speaking of the multiple customization options, I would really like to play the game again and do things differently. Sadly, I don't have the time to replay classics like DQVIII. Or FFXII, since you brought it up.

I'm writing today to talk about another game that is far too often overlooked. The action PRG / adventure hybrid known as Shenmue (and of course it's sequel). It's role playing in the real world. There's no magic, no armor to buy, no stealing items from people's kitchens as they casually inform you of the history of their town. Need money? Get a job (or gamble, or sell your Sega collectibles). Need to talk to someone who works at a shop, but it's closed? Go home and wait until morning. It's the believability of the world that really draws you in. The graphics were amazing for their time. I still find myself just walking along the streets of Yokosuka looking around and enjoying the sights. In times like this it's one of the only games I can honestly say is relaxing. But you can't get too comfortable because the next thing you know you find yourself using a lead pipe to "sword fight" a chainsaw wielding transvestite. The QTE system is intuitive and makes for extremely cinematic fights. The story seems a bit static in the first game, but starts to get extremely interesting in the sequel. The final boss fight of 2 is one of the most epic things I've experienced in a video game. When it was all over I was all primed for the ending to play... and there was two hours of gameplay left! I won't spoil the unexpected turn of events for you, I'll just tell you that my jaw dropped farther and farther during those two hours.

So if you haven't played it, I highly recommend picking up a Dreamcast and playing Shenmue. The sequel can be found for under $10 for XBox and it comes with the movie version of the first game's events, but while that's great for the hardcore fans like me, you're much better off playing the original than watching it. Sega still hasn't finished this series so if you'd like to see Shenmue 3 please at least sign an online petition. Yeah I know those usually don't do squat, but it's better than nothing.

Oliver

Well, your positive rantings inspired me to do a little research on Shenmue, and now I'm intrigued. Unfortunately, I do not have a dreamcast, so it is impossible for me to play I. Perhaps I'll pick up II, although I wouldn't be surprised if the 360 didn't play it. I do not have a regular Xbox, you see. Bother! Another potential game on my plate.

Well, by the time this would get printed on the site E3 will be over so you've got all kinds of new things to talk about. I'll let you be so you can digest all of that news now (Final Fantasy XIII for 360 makes me happy).
Caleb
www.myspace.com/legendofshenmue

Oliver

Yep, E3 has come and gone. Final Fantasy XIII for the Xbox 360 makes me happy as well, man, believe me. Even though I have a PS3 and was set from the beginning, I'm happy that so many other people who may not otherwise have played it will now have that chance. And you'll be happy to see that I left your link intact.

Write again soon, dude.



Was it supposed to make me want to buy the game?


Pimpsuit-Ridley,

Oliver

wut?

So, I've finished off GTA IV, although I'm still playing online after work, and am ready to start getting back into the RPGame, and of course discussing them here. Actually I came for some advice on where I should direct my attention next. I downloaded the Penny Arcade game last weekend and pounded through it (some real funny stuff in that one) along with the demo for Eternal Sonata, thinking I'd get a feel for some battle mechanics and such before I purchased it on my next paycheck. Then I ran into a problem, that problem being I was extremely dissapointed with the demo. I had been following the game since before it came out, was very intrigued by the whole premise, and then when I saw such glowing reviews here I figured it was a no brainer of a purchase. However, playing the demo I ran into a mildly amusing battle system, a fairly bland environment, and graphics that were none to impressive (unless you're really into pastel colors, then I guess it could be considered an example of great though untraditional art design, like an Okami, or an Ico.)

I guess what I'm looking for here is for someone to tell me that the demo isn't representative of what I'll get if/when I purchase this game. Or maybe it is but the story is really worth it. I don't know if you've played this one yet, but I do get the impression the staff here stays in fairly frequent contact, so if you haven't played it, may be you could ask around? I mean it all sounds so good, but what I played? Meh. It's making a thirty dollar Oblivion purchase look real tempting.

Oliver

I have not played Eternal Sonata, but let me tell you something: RPG demos suck. By and large, they suck, and they are poor indicators of how good a given RPG is. I played the ES demo as well, and I didn't like it. I talked to some of my acquaintances, and they assured me that the game itself is miles better than its demo would imply. So, I fully intend to purchase and play Eternal Sonata. But, since the PS3 version of the game was just confirmed for North America, I'll simply wait until then.

I'm increasingly more tempted to try the Penny Arcade game. (Sigh.)

Also, playing the Penny Arcade game did get me thinking, have you guys ever considered doing any kind of merchandising. I mean, those guys site is free to us all to check out still, just like the great RPGamer, but I suspect they're raking in some serious gouda selling hats and t-shirts and now games. How cool would it be if this site just started making mad bread as well, and you could get paid to work here instead of long hours at the resturaunt, and you know, post Currents on time and such. Maybe it's just the hustla in me, but I'd totally buy a RPGamer shirt. And don't get me started on how giddy I'd be with a Thor's Groupie Quest game or whatever it was that was supposed to be called.

Oliver

Heh, I'm the wrong person to ask about this. Hit up Firemyst or some such. I do know that our staff members wear shirts with the RPGamer logo at events like Run to the Sun, but other than that, we have no merchandise. And I doubt we have any in the works. We're not exactly small-time here at RPGamer, but we're certainly not Penny Arcade. I, too, think that some RPGamer merchandise would be an awesome idea, but I wouldn't hold your breath for it... yet. And, of course, I LOVE the idea of getting paid to work here. Unfortunately, they'd have to pay me quite a bit before I'd be able to forsake my job at the restaurant.

Finally, let me address starter RPG's. You were right on the money with FFX, Lusipurr be damned. That linearity is just the ticket for a newbie, and the battle system where they show the order of attack changing as you select actions should be helpful as well. I would also throw out there the Paper Mario series, although Super Paper Mario was more of a platformer. But Thousand Year Door would be a good one playable on Wii. There's never any real confusion as to what to do next, a fairly simple combat system, and although it's child-appropriate, I've never found the series childish.

Oliver

Hm, another vote for Paper Mario. Can't ignore the voice of the masses; sounds like Paper Mario is a fine place for RPGamer wannabes to get their start.

FFX IS a great place for RPGamers to get their start, Lusipurr be twice damned! I never really understood why people spent so much time complaining about the linearity, since EVERY Final Fantasy game is, when you get right down to it. I think it was just the fact that there was no world map for people to gawk at. The 3D environments (which included an awful lot of straight roads), kinda brought the linearity into sharp focus, and people didn't like that. I never minded it. It was miles better than the disorganized mess that was X-2's story progression.

I guess that's enough for now. Although GTA kept me from having much to write in about I have been reading and you've been doing an excellent job so far, so keep up the good work.

The videogames they play me,
Kezzy

Oliver

You think they play YOU? Dude, I'm like the video game industry's bitch. I buy and buy and buy, supplying them with hundreds - no, THOUSANDS of dollars, and I barely have the time to play a quarter of the games in question.

Thanks for the compliments, my friend, and don't feel bad about playing GTA. Everyone needs a break from the RPG genre once in a while. I know I'll need one after Persona 3. Write again soon!



It's actually best not to part with one's kidneys


Hello Oliver!

Oliver

Hello, hello, hello. My friends actually call me Ollie!

loving all the Xenogears/Xenosaga talk. You must MUST play Xenogears, it is my absolute favorite in storytelling. Truly an epic tale that has yet to be topped in my book, i was hooked through every moment, and despite the games length (its an easy 80 hours), i've managed to play through it 4 times, and still have a craving to play through it again (coming in second to FFVI, which i've plowed through 8 times already, I surely hope they'll do to it what they've done with FFIV). If you are having trouble attaining a copy, start a "get oliver a copy of xenogears fund" on paypal or something, and i'd be happy to contribute a few bucks. I guarantee you'll be hooked even after the first 15 minutes of the game.

Oliver

My friend, you can't have meant it, but you've done something very bad. Do you know what you've done? You've prompted me to visit eBay and search for Xenogears. Every time I log on to eBay, I end up buying something. This being the case, I avoid casually visiting the site. Because every casual visit turns into a shopping spree.

Hm. Looks like I'll have to spend at least $50, probably more. And that's for a used copy. Oh wells. Not now, though... not now. I have too much on my plate as it is. One day, though, I shall experience Xenogears. It would be foolish of me not to, considering how much I loved Xenosaga

I think i also enjoyed the gameplay of Xenogears a bit more as well, Xenosaga felt like it would have made a much better anime then a game, as I always hated the moments when i had to pick up the controller and had to plow through some nasty dungeon for a few hours before i could continue the incredible story. Though at times, it felt like Xenosaga dug too deeply into the plot, and i was not perfectly satisfied with the way it ended, things felt a bit rushed for me. Xenogears on the other hand felt like a much more complete story.

Oliver

Episode II was the only game in the trilogy in which I truly hated slogging through the dungeons in order to get to the cutscenes. This was for two reasons: first, the battle system in II sucked, as I've stated many times. This made the gamplay segments most unpleasant. Second, cutscenes were SO SCARCE, especially on the second disc, and the were SO SHORT. You'd spend HOURS in a dungeon and be rewarded with a five-minute scene. Rough.

I don't think Xenosaga should have been an anime, though. I and III were really good games, and plus, just the fact that they were interactive experiences made them that much more involving and immersive. In fact, that's what makes the videogame medium (potentially) superior to film.

So long story short, start a fund, sell a kidney, whatever i takes, get that game! as somebody who's closely followed RPG's for around 15 years, it still remains #1 on my list of favorites. I would love to see your thoughts on this game after playing it.

Also, for those fans of Xenogears, do not loose hope! Watch out for the game "World Destruction" This could prove to be the game we've been waiting for, here's to hope!
-Mark

Oliver

Oh, I have more than enough money, Mark, just not the time. Selling a kidney is hardly necessary, but if you want to paypal me a few dollars to get the ball rolling, I'm all for that.

Huh. I'd never even heard of World Destruction before now. Looks good, but I'm not holding my breath for a North American release. The scenario writer from Xenogears (Masato Kato) is indeed working on the game. Upon viewing his Wikipedia page, it seems he is responsible for gems like Chrono Trigger and Xenogears, but also for RUBBISH like Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. Man, he must have had a string of major off-days or something.

And Mark, while I'm no Lusipurr as far as strictness on spelling and grammar, I simply cannot abide when people spell "lose" with two "o"s. "Loose" is an entirely different word; it refers to when something isn't tight. "Lose" refers to the loss of something, and it is spelled with one - only ONE - "o". Please commit that to memory.

Anyways, thanks so much for writing in! I'll see ya later, I hope.



IN CLOSING

7/20 - 8:56 PM CST
Well, that's that. Managed to get both columns written and posted. I'm proud of myself.

Unfortunately, there's not much for me to say here. I'm kinda tired, and I want to play some P3 before bed. So, I suppose I'd better get this thing up! Thank you all for reading (and writing), and I hope to see you in the upcoming Currents #89!

-Oliver



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