THE CRAVE GAMING CHANNEL
V'lanna
 






Affiliates
metacritic
AnimeBooks
AnimeNation
Play-Asia.com

Send a Letter Send Me a Letter Currents The Archives

ASK OLIVER
One-Track Mind
July 28, 2008

7/26 - 6:36 PM CST

Yawn. Good evening, everyone. I overslept this morning and missed the beginning of the podcast. So, and as you may already know, RPGcast #44 begins WITHOUT ME. I don't show up for about... well, I don't actually know at this point. All I know is that I did not wake up until nearly noon, rolled out of bed and onto this chair, and began podcasting. I tried very hard to hide the fact that I wasn't awake, but it kinda came through a few times. Oh well. I won't be on the podcast at all next week, thanks to WORK.

Persona 3! Persona 3! NOTHING BUT PERSONA 3! That's ALL I've played for the last two weeks. Are you not amazed at my conviction? You should be. At this rate, the game should be complete in another two weeks or so. That's what I'm hoping, anyways. Afterwards, I'll polish off some portable stuff, and then... uh... I don't know. I'll draw straws to see what game I should play next, I suppose. I really should play another game this week, though... maybe I'll try to polish off Fire Emblem, or at least advance in it.





The Letters
Inspector Gadget


Indeed I have returned, Oliver. I had something cool to say about that but it escapes my poor befogged brain. So, um, booya I suppose.
...And now you know why I never use texting acronyms or colloquialisms in my writing - because it just doesn't work coming from me.

Oliver

Indeed it does not. I'd argue that it doesn't "work" coming from anyone, but that's a rant for another day. What's on your mind, good sir?

All right! I did finish Final Fantasy VI using no shoulder button input whatsoever! I didn't bother with the Dragon's Den, but I did take down Leviathan, Gilgamesh and that irritating freak of a Gigantaur. In case you never found that punk, all it does it use 1000 Needles over and over plus physicals. It was cheap, but I just waited for him to run out of MP and then beat the crap out of it. Why no Dragon's Den? Because I plan to pass this off to a friend who owns a DS but plays almost nothing but Harvest Moon on it. Can I get a confirmation that she needs to play this game?

Oliver

CONGRATS. I just KNEW you'd find a way to do it! Now that you've proven this to yourself, maybe you can start saving your pennies for a new DS...? (I would.)

Concerning your friend, yes she does, and with all haste. Everyone needs to play FFVI of course, because it is one of the greats. If all she plays is Harvest Moon, her need for FFVI is that much more dire. See to it that she plays the game from START TO FINISH! Without respite, in fact!

Replaying it just nails down FFVI's status as my favorite Final Fantasy. Naturally my criteria for selection are a bit different than most other persons on this site; I've played FF I, II, IV-VI and IX. But rather than yammer on about that again I'd just like to say that poor Final Fantasy V deserves a bit more remembrance around here. Its story may not be much, but it is amusing, and the actual playing of the game is quite addicting. I think we can blame the lack of a GOOD English version (legal) until two years ago for FFV's semi-forgotten status. Though maybe it will get a full remake akin to FFIV?

Oliver

You have not played III for the DS? I mean, I can't really blame you, since I found the game to be a bore. But still, it's something you have the capability to play, so why not give it a try? And how about FFIV DS? Have any interest in that?

I have to agree with you about FFV. It is an underappreciated gem. The story isn't too impressive, but it has a few AWESOME moments that really make the game. Galuf's one-on-one battle with Exdeath, and the scene that followed, is among my favorite moments in Final Fantasy history. And yes, FFV's gameplay is spectacular and addicting. I absolutely loved the job system, and can't understand those who try to say that it's "broken." And yes, I firmly believe that if FFV had been given a proper localization back when it was first released, the stigma that is now attached to it would never have come into existence. I'd love to see a DS remake of the game, but somehow, I doubt it will ever happen. Who knows, though... I've been wrong before.

As an aside, your criteria for selecting the best FF titles are SADLY CRIPPLED. You have not played VII! You have not played XII! In my opinion, those are the two best games the series has to offer. The acquisition of a PS2 would grant you the ability to play both.

Enough talking about games you're familiar with! I started up another game of Dragon Force on my good ol' Saturn, and promptly got sucked into it again. I gave this game a 5 in my very first review for RPGamer, and I stand by it. Even 12 years later no other game has really copied its tactical model, save for its Japan-only sequel that will remain Japan-only because it was also on the Saturn. The full review is on the site somewhere, but if you want a nutshell example of why this game is awesome I'll say this: there are 8 different rulers to play as, each with a story different enough to necessitate playing it through with all of them to see everything the game has to offer. And the game is worth playing through 8 times. It's even in English courtesy of Working Designs, which means all sorts of silly references that have dated somewhat (Paraphrasing: For you my friend, I have prepared the ultimate torture: tickets to a Michael Boltonaveus concert! Mwa ha ha ha ha!) but an all-around quality translation. Possibly my favorite line: My soul burns with the holy desire to SMASH YOUR FACE!!!

Oliver

Ah, finally, a game I know nothing about!

Actually, I've heard of Dragon Force. In fact, everyone I've ever talked to about it said it's great. If I had a Saturn, I might check it out. BUT I DON'T. And I found your review for it. For some odd reason, a search for "dragon force" doesn't bring up the game page, but I was able to find it by looking at your personal review archive. And, uh, yeah... other than that... I haven't played it, so let us continue!

Wait - you've never heard of Shinobi? As a Sega devotee this horrible lapse must be remedied! Revenge of Shinobi is one of the few Genesis launch titles to hold up nowadays, because it's a damn fine game. Pretty hard too. Memorable moments include being able to jump back and forth between the foreground and the background in a few levels, with one of them having bottomless pits in front and speeding cars that will hit you in back: the boss fight with Spider-man who turns into Batman after enough damage: the subsequent boss fight with Godzilla: the nasty level in the airplane cargo hold with doors that suck you out to an instant death: and the final level's nasty labyrinth and final boss encounter - if you're too slow beating him, your ninja's girlfriend dies a horrible death as spikes cover the entirety of the cell she's trapped in. On a technical level Shinobi 3, four years later, is a showcase for what the Genesis could do when pressed hard. It's a damn fine game also. I've never played the PS2 Shinobi but it might be worth exploration by you.

Oliver

I actually saw the PS2 Shinobi at GameStop the other day. However, I did not buy it. And, wait a second... a boss fight against Spider-Man who turns into Batman? wtf? Surely you jest.

And believe me, it's just fine to discuss action games here at Q&A. I enjoy many action games myself, as I've made clear in the past.

I figured I would mention to Steve that the Mario RPG's I've played were very good introductions to the genre for persons who might be unfamiliar with it. Dunno if that had occurred to you when making your little list, but it occurred to me since I haven't played any of the games on it.

Oliver

Wow, ANOTHER vote for the Mario RPG's! I'm starting to feel less and less comfortable with the fact that I've never played them... hmmm... bother it all, it seems I shall have to make YET ANOTHER addition to my "to be played" list. (Sigh.)

Ah, the Langrisser lore! To best illustrate what this series is like, I shall need to talk a bit about the relationship between commanders and their troops. It goes like this: the commander is the heart of a unit. Take a commander down and all of his/her troops die too. But the commander is usually not such easy meat as the troops, and will often shrug off attacks with no damage.

Now in Langrisser games I have played (excepting 3) all units have 10 HP. So long as a unit has 1HP remaining it can be healed to full health over and over, both through magic and through the mechanism of troops automatically regaining 3HP if they are next to their commander that turn. Take a unit down to 0HP and it is gone though. Also you would want to kill as many enemy troops as possible, because in the usual way of tactical games there is a finite amount of experience to be gained. Commanders can regain 3HP per turn by using the Treat command, which means the commander cannot move or initiate an attack or use a spell that turn.

One other note regarding Langrisser's combat system: the aura of influence a commander wields. While troops can be moved independently of their commander around the map, the commander has a range of influence that adds bonuses to the troop stats. Moving out of that range removes the bonuses and makes the troops easy meat. And when you tend to have 8-10 commanders on the field along with the enemy's commanders, and each commander can have up to 6 troop units (8 in the first game) you can see how each battle will take awhile. Yet it does grant a sense of scale missing from any other tactical game I have played, to move your own gigantic army into the fray.

Oliver

Well, JuMeSyn, to say that I'm at a LOSS FOR WORDS wouldn't even begin to describe the situation right now. I do have a question, though: have you ever played Advance Wars? I actually haven't played any of them myself, but I've watched my brothers play Advance Wars: Dual Strike for the DS. From what I can gather, (and I'm probably way off base), it sounds like it may share some similarities with Langrisser.

I have never referred to any other personage from an RPG as The Man, just so you know. That is how good Elzam is. But in order for you to concur with/dispute my judgment, you'll have to play Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation, now won't you?
JuMeSyn

Oliver

I see. So, you are not one to arbitrarily label someone as "The Man." This is wise. And yes, it seems that in order to confirm or deny the veracity of this claim, I shall have to play SRT. Who knows if that will ever happen, though!

Thanks for writing, JuMeSyn. Your continued contributions are much appreciated, I assure you.



Welcome... weaver of the Eternal Circle of Zarathustra


Hey Oliver,

Oliver

WHAT UP, my man Rahul? What's on your mind today?

You are right about the final scene in Xenosaga 2. It almost made up for the shortcomings of the game. I remember it was about 1am when I saw the ending. Watched it again, and if I had episode 3 then I would have started the game right away. In fact all the Xenosaga games had some of the best endings ever.

Oliver

They really did. And they all had such beautiful ending themes, as well. I even liked Episode I's vocal themes, though I know a lot of people hated them. Episode II's vocal theme was better, and Episode III's vocal theme was just spectacular. All the endings were great, but Episode II's very final scene was positively CHILL INDUCING, and I loved it.

I also loved the quality of the cutscenes in episode 1. I remember the intro for chaos, where he vaporizes a gnosis like it was nothing just after Shion and KOSMOS make it aboard the Elsa. When I played through that segment I knew I was playing something special. Like you though I was disappointed that Namco Bandai shortened the cut scene length to appease some complainers. Somehow they have no problem making us sit through 500 skits and dull, clichéd cutscenes in Tales of the Abyss. The game's not bad but after a while, hearing the same old heroic "we can't stand here and do nothing" nonsense for 80 hours gets to you.

Oliver

Yes, the cutscenes in ALL the Xenosaga games were amazing, film-quality affairs. I shall never forgive them for shortening them so drastically in Episode II. About that particular scene you mention, though: didn't you think it was strange that Chaos single-handedly vaporized a Gnosis in his introductory scene, and then proceeded to be a mediocre party member at best? It bugged the heck out of me, personally.

Hahahah...haha. Yeah, I loved Tales of the Abyss, but I can't really argue with you on this one. SO MUCH of the dialogue was nothing more than "omg, isn't all the stuff going on right now teh sux?" "Yeah, it is definitely teh sux." "omg, it's all my fault!" "No it's not! Don't say that!" "Well, we can't just stand here talking about it! Let's go DO SOMETHING!"

Im glad you’ll get a chance to play Chrono trigger DS. Chrono Trigger was a solid game but I was even more impressed with Chrono Cross. Not to get into the argument of which is better but Cross was a gutsy sequel. The designers obviously took some hard decisions which may have alienated some of the CT fans but I think it paid off. They could have so easily just recycled the story but they took it much further. This is something Nintendo needs to do to breathe new life in the Zelda games (one of my favourite franchises). I hate to say it but its gotten quite stale. There used to be a sense of discovery of figuring out how to kill a boss or solving a puzzle. But now its just more of the same. The story has been improving marginally but no where near what it should be. They need to take the kind of decisions they took when they made Zelda 2. Im a bit biased when it comes to Zelda 2 because it was the first game I played where I could go to a village and solve their problems etc. First time I felt that there was a living world in a game. Ok perhaps Zelda 2 is not a good example since so many hate it but if they want to take the Zelda franchise back to the pinnacle of gaming like in the NES, SNES, Ocarina days (Majora was good but far from epic) they need to desperately change it up and give it a decent story that runs through the whole game and doesn’t simply setup a "find 7 pieces of XYZ" situation. Miyamoto has said that the next Zelda will be very different. However, going by E3 few days back and their overall approach the last 2 years, thinking what the new Zelda will be like is quite frightening but let's see...
-Rahul

Oliver

Yes, I am also happy that I will soon be able to play Chrono Trigger. Upon its release, I shall drop whatever I am doing and play it 'till the end. Ordinarily it would wait, but Chrono Trigger, is something I have to play in order to maintain my gaming honor. Yes, I know it's been sullied by the SotN incident, but that's a hit I can take. *coughbecausethatgamesuckedcough*

Hmmm... it's hard for me to talk about the Zelda series, because it happens to be my favorite series of all time. So when people say that it needs to have a drastic overhaul, I actually get kinda scared. But I can see where other people are coming from, and it's true: the series really hasn't done much to evolve in the last ten years or so. And the truth is that it will probably never see any truly big changes. That's just Nintendo. Their sense of innovation doesn't go any further than motion-sensitive control schemes.

Thanks for the letter, Rahul. Write again soon!



Sony Repeats History


Hey-o Oliver,

Well I've come to learn to respect other people's opinions on various subjects, even if I don't agree with them. That's just the way things are, no reason to get worked up about it. After reading your various responses to my last monster of a letter I've considered what you had to say.

Oliver

Good! In that case, your mental capacaties outclass roughly 95% of the internet. I have also come to respect the opinions of others, as long as they, you know, actually have intelligent opinions to respect.

In regards to what you said about most every game I mentioned for beginners I find that I have to agree with you. Dragon Quest 8 is probably not the best start for a gamer. Fire Emblem might also be a little on the hard side. Yay, discussion has helped form new opinions.

Oliver

Yes! YES! SEE?! NONE CAN ARGUE WITH ME AND WIN! BA-HAHAHAHA, MY OPINIONS ARE ULTIMATE AND DEFINITIVE!

Kidding. Well, I actually agreed with you that Fire Emblem is possibly a good start for a budding RPGamer, depending on how thick their skin is. DQ8? Naw. But to your credit, you probably didn't think about all the many points I brought up beforehand. I am glad to have aided you the in forming of new opinions!

Unfortunately you'll never change my opinion of Xenosaga. That's 40 hours of my life that I want back. I found various ways to exploit the battle system and never actually had a problem winning fights. But I had many complaints. The non-rotating camera was one, Shion, a scatterbrained scientist? And why does she enter fights? She has a robot that is built to be a weapon that follows her orders. Speaking of which, KOSMOS is never as awesome in battle as she is in cut-scenes. Why for the love of (insert deity name here) must every cut-scene of MOMO show her panties? She looks like a 10 year old. Also, as already stated and agreed to, the giant robots sucked.

Oliver

(Sigh.) All I can say is that I feel sorry for you, and all RPGamers who did not enjoy Xenosaga in the way that I did. For those who appreciated it, it was a truly wonderful experience.

Non-rotating cameras are annoying, but I can think of MANY RPGs with static cameras. Shion is not a "scatterbrained" scientist in the least, as I think is made exceedingly clear throughout the course of the trilogy. For a female RPG protaganist, she's actually quite level-headed and strong. Nice change of pace. I do not remember seeing MOMO's panties at any time. But then, I'm not prone to pay attention to such details...

Yes... the giant robots sucked. But like I said before, they stopped sucking in episodes II and III.

Ahem, now, I can respect that other people like the game, just wasn't for me. I loved Xenogears. It was fantastic. It had a deep combat system that if you ended up over your head you could summon a giant robot with which to slaughter your enemies. The story is one of the top five of RPG history (see also: Chrono Trigger & Final Fantasy Tactics). It was a complex commentary on religion, war and fate. The story of Xenogears also ended, when the credits rolled you'd had a complete story.

Oliver

MORE praises for Xenogears? Will somebody please just write in and tell me the game sucks? That way I won't have to buy it. UGH.

A completed story, eh? Well, from what I've heard, it ends by stating that it is, in fact, "episode V" of what was supposed to be a six-episode series. So, maybe it wasn't as complete as you thought! But the fact is that we'll probably never see another "Xeno" game ever made. Sad, but true.

So you can probably see where a lot of my hate comes from. Xenosaga is no Xenogears, despite it's pedigree of developers. It couldn't live up to the hype and the further issue with it is that I simply did not have fun playing the game. I beat it in 40 hours, completing all the side-quests and after beating the final boss I felt nothing. I still had questions, the story was to be continued, but I had no desire to see that through.

Oliver

Ah-HA! Ah-HAHAHA! I see the problem now!

You, my friend, fell victim to WRONGFUL EXPECTATIONS. You were looking for another Xenogears, and were instead given Xenosaga. The fact that you beat the game tells me you were looking, desperately looking for something... and yet never found it. You didn't find it because it wasn't there!

Here is my advice: if ever you find the time, begin Xenosaga again. This time, with a fresh mind, and no wrongful preconceptions. It's possible - and don't hold me to this - that you'll have an entirely different experience. Believe me, I've seen it happen before.

I've of course experienced similar things with another series, though many argue it doesn't count. Chrono Trigger was awesome. The supposed sequel, Chrono Cross failed in many ways. The barest of links to the source material, a battle system that could have been better, given that they practically stole the one from Xenogears, but then encumbered it with menus. And so many damn characters that you were never given the chance to care about any of them.

The argument has be posited to me that if I had never played the "originals" of either Xenosaga & Chrono Cross I would have liked them more. This may be true, but I still think that I would have ended up not caring about either, rather than actually liking them.

Oliver

See? You totally just backed up my claim. I honestly think that if you hadn't played Xenogears first, you would have enjoyed Xenosaga. Same with Chrono Cross. By the same token, if you hadn't gone in with such preconceptions, you'd have had a better time.

High expectations can really ruin things for you. I think I kinda fell victim to that when I started Persona 3. Everyone was telling me that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, and the first ten hours just... weren't. Now, I know full well that ten hours is hardly enough to judge most RPGs, but in the case of Persona 3, I was expecting... iunno. More. As we all know, after letting it sit for a month, I finally went back to the game. Since then, I've discovered that it's actually better than sliced bread, and most of your everyday food products. Except ice cream. Ice cream is better.

Woo, that went on a while. Hey that also covered a Hot Topic! So what's on the list this week? Oh I think I can keep these short.

Sony cutting backwards-compatibility is no surprise. They never wanted to include it in the first place. Which is a shame cause they introduced it to the masses with the PS2. It's just another reason for me to hold of buying a PS3. I have a working PS2 after all.

Oliver

Bah. I shall never forgive Sony for this little caper. I just don't understand it in the least. Okay, so perhaps excluding BC cuts costs a little. But by doing so, they are pissing off a LOT of people, and losing a lot of potential buyers. The only possible way this makes sense is if Sony believes that, by cutting BC, they will increase the sales of PS3 games. Even if that's the case, I still don't think this is a good idea. I think it's just yet another blow to their image, which is almost irrevocably tarnished already.

Another reason to hold off on the PS3? SquareEnix has finally seen the light and made FF13 available to 360 owners. I never understood why it took so long. The fact is the PS3 is lagging in sales in the U.S.A. to the 360. And the consumer of America is the largest buying force in the world. It was foolish to think of keeping it on that system. Why limit the profit you can make?

As a whole that previous announcement was all that came out of E3 for me. Nothing else really caught my interest, so I return to my previous state of not really caring about E3.

Oliver

Yes. It is impossible for me to argue with you, being sensible individual. Go tell that to a Sony fanboy and you may get a different reaction. (Yes, I must take every opportunity to bash console fanboys. I hate them that much.) I've stated this before, but I'll state it again: being a for-profit company, Square Enix will do whatever it takes to ensure that they make a profit. Releasing FFXIII as a PS3 exclusive is NOT the way to make the most profit, and in fact, would be a foolish thing to do given the current state of affairs. I cannot fault them at all, and I applaud them for making FFXIII available to 360 owners. I will likely still buy it for the PS3, but that's only because I'm a DualShock lover. And because the PS3 makes slightly less noise.

From what I understand, the deal between Microsoft and Square Enix was not sealed until very recently, hence how long we had to wait for a 360 announcement. Also, you have to consider the fact that FFXIII is still at least a year away, so... yeah, no rush. And I can't fault you for not caring about E3, since most people don't these days. Kinda sad, really.

Oh, wait the Wii MotionPlus. That sounds fantastic. Except for the part where I'm gonna have to buy one for every one of my controllers. Also it's hard for me to tell from the pics I've seen, but does it work it other attachments? As in, can I still connect a nunchuck to it? I mean, if not then I'm not as worried about it. If so then I'm sad that Nintendo has stooped to such a level of money grubbing.

Oliver

Again, BAH. How I hate Nintendo these days. Their E3 press conference was a chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of core gamers such as myself, and they wasted that chance. They stood up there and showed off garbage like Wii Music and Wii Sports Resort, after PROMISING that they'd have something for the hardcore variety. I mean, what the hell's up with them these days? Are they on some kind of mad mission to make a "Wii" version of every real life activity out there? Wii Sports? Wii Fit? Wii Music? What's next? Wii Office Work? Wii Spring Cleaning? Wii School? Wii Masturbate? Where does it end? WHERE DOES IT END?!

Furthermore, I take offense to the fact that, to them, the "core" gamers are merely the folks who buy Mario and Zelda games. Come up with a new IP that does more than simulate a real-life activity with a goofy motion-sensitive scheme. Go beyond Zelda and Mario. SHOCK US!

And I don't care what ANYONE says, a year from now, 95% of all Wii games released will require MotionPlus. Mark my words, people... mark my words. Might as well buy some now, cuz you'll need 'em.

To talk for a moment about Sony, I feel they're repeating the same mistake that Nintendo made back with the N64. They're not listening to their target audience. Due to the fact that they've spent the last couple generations on top of the pile they thought themselves unassailable. This generation they've done nothing to differentiate themselves from the 360. They've outright stolen the ideas of other companies and claimed that they'd created them first. The PS3 is, to my eyes, an overpriced 360. Playing a video format that I don't and probably never will care about means nothing to me. Personally I wish that Sony had stayed back another year, maybe two from launch. The PS2 is still a very strong system and if it had all of their support they'd probably still be in the lead of the current console generation, even with their "outdated" tech.

Oliver

Man, outside of your misguided Xenosaga opinions, I'm just agreeing with you all over the place today. You summed up the majority of Sony's problems in a nutshell. The PS3 was designed from the ground up with the misconception that the gaming public would embrace it simply because everyone had a PS2. Know why everyone had a PS2? Because it had by far the best software library of the last generation. It wasn't because everyone was in love with Sony. And guess what: the PS3 does NOT have the best software lineup of the current generation. In fact, it arguably has the worst. Sony somehow lost sight of the fact that gamers like to play games. They're trying to turn themselves around now, but at this point, it might be too late. I'm rooting for them, but only because I want to see some quality games come to my PS3. On that note, how the HELL long do we have to wait for team ICO to announce their next game? As of right now, team ICO's next project is my most anticipated PS3 title. And that's a sad statement, because we don't even know if it exists, or ever will exist.

One thing I will say to you though: the only people who don't care about Blu-ray are those who haven't seen it. Say what you will about the PS3, but the fact remains that it's an excellent Blu-ray player, and Blu-ray is an amazing thing. Once you go hi-def, you can never, EVER go back. Or at least, not willingly.

Ahem, this letter has gone on long enough. I believe I'll go play the Too Human Demo now....again. This game hits two days before my birthday.....I've been told I have to wait to play since I'll most likely be getting it then. Life can be so unfair.
Ken

Oliver

I like your letters. They need to be LONGER! Have fun with Too Human. I really need to download that demo and give it a shot. Everyone says its amazing, so I'd be a fool not to. But then, playing it would take away valuable P3 time!

Thank you for the contribution, Ken. Write again whenever the fancy strikes you.



Folly, pure folly


Hello whoever... :D

Oliver

My name is NOT "whoever," it is OLIVER. And YOU, sir, have no excuse for not knowing this, because it has BEEN Oliver for many weeks now. But I forgive you, because I love you, because you wrote me a letter. And I love any and everyone who takes the time to write me a letter :D

I just wanted to defend Xenosaga Episode II.

Oliver

Pure folly, I'm afraid. But continue!

Everywhere I look to, all I hear are people bashing the battle and game system. Well I also used to believe that the battle system was slow. I remember diving into MOMO subconscious and having every battle possible of defeat. It was quite a lot of trial and error, I died more times than I ever though I would, but I finished it. The game in my first play-through took 34 hours, but at the end of the day, I liked it a lot better than Episode I. There was background music instead of silence in dungeons, side-quests and bonus dungeons which were all M.I.A. in the first. So I played the game again and never died like before, never level-grinded like before, and finished it in half the time. I just learned a thing or two about the battle system. I don't know, I guess I just liked it because it makes hard-work (a.k.a. level-grinding) second fiddle to tactics and knowledge. To get what I'm trying to say, it's like being beaten by your button-mashing little cousin even though you know how to pull off all the combos and special attacks (*cough* Soulcaliber II).

Oliver

Oh, God... MOMO's subconscious is where the game finally takes off the gloves and makes you learn to fight. I did NOT have fun with that part of the game, but by the time it was over, I knew how to use Episode II's battle system. And... the game was a freaking cakewalk from then on.

The fact is that Xenosaga Episode II's battle system is EXTREMELY simplistic, despite how it looks at first glance. Every battle, be it a normal encounter or a boss, is handled in the EXACT. SAME. WAY. Stock. Stock. Stock. Attack until you have the maximum number of "boosts." Launch enemy into the air. Beat on said enemy until it dies. Other than that there is NO strategy whatsoever. None. Zero. And there's no challenge either, because you always know exactly what to do, no matter the situation.

That's why Episode II's battles sucked. They were insanely mindless, and yet took FOREVER, because you had to repeat the above process for EVERY SINGLE ENEMY.

And the sidequests? Dude, that "good samaritan" thingy, or whatever the heck it was, was a gigantic load of BS. Could they have possibly come up with more boring, tepid, and unrewarding sidequests? The game would have been better without them.

But, hey - I agree with you that Episode II is given more crap than it deserves. That sounds weird coming from me now, since I just trashed it, but I enjoyed my time with Episode II. It's a DECENT game. But damn, did it ever write the book on sequels done wrong. Devil May Cry 2's failures pale in comparison to Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose. (I like to write teh full names.)

It's my belief that the Xenosaga series became progressively better. Episode I had an extremely slow paced story that bored me to the point I passed out while playing it's no bgm dungeons. Episode II for the reasons above and thanks to it's criticized reception, it turned the fabulous Episode III into a marathon that never ended. No offense to anyone who thought the story was rushed, I thought it was great the story just kept peaking and into the finale. I don't think it would have been the same if dragged out into a few more games. So yeah, Xenosaga rocks!!! I don't want any sequels either, it ended too beautifully to be potentially ruined (*cough* Michael Jordan).

Oliver

Okay... back to bashing Episode II. By and large, the background music SUCKED, and the game would have been better if it had not existed. The silence in Episode I was INFINITELY better than some of the garbage Episode II forced us to listen to. You see, Episode II had two different composers on board. One was responsible for the cutscene music, while the other did the background music. The cutscene music was composed by Yuki Kajiura, and Shinji Hosoe did the background music. There is a REASON why Kajiura was brought back on for Episode III, while Hosoe was not. Episode II's cutscene music was beautiful, but the BGM music was, quite simply, an abomination before mankind.

But, who's to say that my opinions are any more valid than yours? If you actually enjoyed Episode II's battle system and background music, I'm happy for you. I wish I could say the same. Thanks for the letter, 'O nameless one. Write again soon!



IN CLOSING

7/28 - 12:33 AM CST
Only four letters today! There are a few reasons for that. For one, I wanted to get this column up at a decent time. Two, I don't have that many letters in my backlog! Write in, you silly people! SURELY you have something on your mind. LET IT FLY, I SAY!

I'm on floor 201 of Tartarus in Persona 3. I'm ALMOST DONE! But get this! Chris is being a pillock, and actually PLAYING THE GAME AGAIN. I was so hoping to beat him to the end... but if he keeps this up, that won't happen. BAH. Oh well. I suppose we should all commend him for actually making an effort to beat the game.

And with that, I'm out. Hope you enjoyed it; be sure to catch my upcoming Currents #90! And for those of you keeping track, this is my TENTH Q&A COLUMN! WOOHOO, YEAH, TEN IS A COOL NUMBER!

-Oliver



Send a Letter!

Most Recent

July 20: Oliver

July 14: Oliver

July 07: Oliver



Links

About the Host

Quote Archives



What I can't wait for:

1. The Last Remnant

2. Valkyria Chronicles

3. Infinite Undiscovery

4. Persona 4

5. Prince of Persia



On my Playlist:

1. Persona 3

2. Persona 3

3. MORE Persona 3!



Hot Topics:

1. This is a dirty, filthy lie. Girls do not play games. Am I wrong? Prove it. I want some letters sent by some bona-fide female gamers.

2. It's time to talk FFXIII and its 360 port. Sound off!

3. Uh, wow... a lot of people didn't like E3 2008. What do YOU think?

4. Wow, Nintendo's E3 press conference suck so much, they apologized for it. And, waitaminute... after TWO YEARS, they STILL can't keep retail stores stocked with Wiis?

5. Let's have some more Xeno-talk, what?



© 1998-2013 RPGamer All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy