THE CRAVE GAMING CHANNEL
V'lanna
 






Affiliates
metacritic
AnimeBooks
AnimeNation
Play-Asia.com

Send a Letter Send Me a Letter The Archives

ASK OLIVER
Gasping for Aer
September 15, 2008

9/15 - 3:48 PM CST

I'm late! I'm late! I'm sorry!

Mmmm, Wendy's. Good stuff. If you have never eaten at Wendys, then you have yet to experience fast-food at its best. If you have eaten at Wendy's, then you know what I'm talking about. So the message today is this: for those who have never done so, run to your nearest Wendys and order a burger. For those of you who have, go do so again. You know you want to.

Finally broke the 10-hour mark in Vesperia. I'm on a whopping 14 now. (Sigh.) I've come to realize that my weekends are entirely too crazy to include gaming. But the weekend is past, so I'm hoping to get an hour in tonight. But, uh... now that I think about it, I probably can't. GROOOOOAAAAN.

On to the letters!





The Letters
The Big One...


Hello, Meta.

Here to write my first letter to QnA. I was wondering if you know if there's any chance of Mistwalker's Blue Dragon Plus DS game coming to the states. I may be in the minority, but i, for one, greatly enjoyed the original Blue Dragon. Sure, it was unoriginal, with a fairly uninteresting story, and of course, the job system was ripped straight from FF5, but it had that...That undeniable charm to it.

And it was a novel idea... Playing that game, i just kept thinking "Now how amazing could a sequel to this be?" improve the story and translation, and that would have been enough for me. With the sales, however, it seems rather unlikely.

Oliver

Hello, newcomer.

I suppose Blue Dragon did have a retarded sort of charm to it. Okay, that's a bit harsh -- I liked the game quite a bit. However, I wouldn't place any bets on Blue Dragon Plus coming to the states. This recent Kotaku article indicates that even the Japanese weren't very receptive of the game. Stranger things have happened, though. If it did come out over here, I can safely say that I wouldn't bother with it. Perhaps in a world where I had loads upon loads of gametime I would, but I do not live in such a world.

I would likely play a true sequel to Blue Dragon. As you said, it would probably be much better. But I think such a sequel is doomed to never be made.

Fortunately, Lost Odyssey fared significantly better, selling roughly 800,000 units according to VGChartz, so we should be able to expect a sequel there, then, right?

Oliver

Lost Odyssey did fare quite a bit better, but not spectacularly. I'd like to think a sequel is possible, but my gut instinct says no. Mistwalker has never even hinted at a sequel of any kind, and you'd think that they'd have made some kind of passing mention at this point. On that note, Mistwalker hasn't really said anything recently... makes me wonder what the heck they're doing these days.

Oh, and please, do yourself a favor and don't visit VGchartz anymore. It's a garbage website that throws random numbers onto charts, and then adjusts them appropriately when the NPD numbers are released.

Now, on to the hot topics! An FFVII remake? DAMN YEAH! Even if it was just the exact original playwise, i'd definitely buy it just for orchestrated music, voice acting, perfected translation, and of course, hugely amped up graphics. As for the art style, Though i liked the more realistic art style of Advent Children, I think i would like to see the original Tetsuya Nomura heavy anime art style for the character models in the game.

Oliver

Heh... now that's an interesting thought. A FFVII remake that imitated Nomura's anime-style artwork? That would actually be kinda awesome, but I doubt it would happen. Mainly because it would be completely out-of-step with the art direction in the numerous other entries in the FFVII compilation. In case you didn't notice, Advent Children, Dirge of Cerberus, and Crisis Core all featured a more "realistic" art style.

The game could benefit from a more fleshed-out story also, however, as there were a few holes in the original. I think personally the battle system could use an update though...It was quite boring even in the original version. I believe that characterizing party members more would be a good thing...As it is, you never had to change characters, and aside from leveling up, they never changed except for the Materia you stuffed into them. Really, you could make Aerith your heavy hitter and Cloud a healer...Which just seems sort of wrong.

I believe if certain members leaned more towards certain materia types, or learned a few skills on their own, as well as if they added the ability to switch characters during battle, then there might have been some more strategy to it...On the other hand, changing it too much runs the risk of turning the game into an entirely different experience, which wouldn't be a good thing.

Oliver

"Quite boring?" Well, it's more or less the same thing featured in every Final Fantasy title...

Yeah, some way to differentiate the characters would be appreciated, but at the same time, that kinda goes against the concept of the Materia system, which was meant to allow you to make your characters into whatever you wanted them to be. I'm sure Squeenix could come up with something, but I don't really know what. And yes, if they change it too much, they run the risk of... well... changing it too much. And that wouldn't make the fans very happy, now would it?

At any rate, there is one thing they definitely need to add, which is a Materia swap option, like the Junction Swap in FF8. That definitely discouraged changing members for people who wanted to give everyone their chance to shine. When you wanted to bring in a new member in the original, you had to manually take it all off the one you were getting rid of, memorize what you took off, then slap it back on the new member, a tedious process to say the least.

Oliver

Yeah, no kidding. That alone would encourage players to utilize more than three party members. Yanking materia off one member and slapping it on another was a horribly drawn out and painful process, and the game actually makes you do it at several points. That was pretty much the biggest menu/interface problem in FFVII, and one of the biggest flaws in the game. Junction Swap was obviously designed in response to that, and I'm positive that a remake would implement a materia swap.

Well, this letter has been quite long. In closing, what would your most anticipated games for the rest of the year be? for me, definitely Persona 4, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and(if Virtual Console re-releases count) Super Mario RPG.

See ya for now,
StormofSwords

Oliver

Hmmm, well after completing Tales of Vesperia, the only games I see myself having time to play for the remainder of this year are these:

The Last Remnant
Prince of Persia
Persona 4

And whaddaya know, those happen to be my three most anticipated games. Thanks for the letter Storm, write again sometime.



Reaching for pie


Dear Oliver,
I've been reading RPGamer.com for a while and enjoy your column. But please keep Lusipurr away from it. Tell him there's a pie up on top of a shelf he can't reach or something.

OR ELSE.

Oliver

"Shawn! See if you can reach the rhubarb pie on the top shelf!"

Okay, he's gone. Shall we continue?

Anyway, what is with all the "omg guys I want a FF7 remake!"? While it is certainly possible for Square-Enix to do and will probably be done eventually as many other people have mentioned, it will be a much larger project than any Final Fantasy from FF6 (evilpaul does not believe in your Roman numerals) or earlier. The tile-based 2D sprite graphics in the 8-bit and 16-bit FFs can be readily converted to a 3D grid with some simply textured 3D environments. They're practically a map for the 3D level designers. FF7's use of prerendered backdrops will require SE to either re-use them which isn't really an accepted presentation style today, or make fully 3D environments from scratch. The things like battles (and 10 minute summoning magic animations) are entirely 3D already of course and still would "work". With some texture filtering and whatnot, of course. But, to me at least an FF7 remake looks like a huge undertaking.

Oliver

TECH TALK TECH TALK FOREIGN TECH TALK

No offense against you, my friend, but sentiments like that tend to annoy me. I can't stand it when I hear gamers say things like "well i think tat they should make teh ffvii for ds becuz it would be so much cheaper and easier to make, blahblahbla." (I'm not mocking you here, btw.) I hear the same sentiments when people defend DQIX for the DS, and so on and so forth. Here's the thing: why on earth should I care? Yes, a PS3 remake of FFVII would likely be a massive undertaking, and would cost Squeenix lots of time and money. But frankly, that doesn't concern me in the least. I want a PS3 remake of FFVII. End of story.

But all this FF7 loving misses the point really. If you want to play FF7 you can still get it. It's not *that* horribly dated. Do people really need some mediocre voice acting thrown in that badly? You know they aren't actually going to get Mr. T. to voice Barrett. The things people love FF7 for aren't going to improved much by remaking it.

Oliver

Yes, that I agree with. FFVII is still here, and it's still awesome. It may look a little dated, but it's a great deal better than any of the current-gen RPGs that are available. Voice acting would be nice, though. I thought the cast they assembled for Advent Children and the numerous other spin-offs was quite good. Mr. T did not voice Barret, but otherwise, I found it satisfactory.

I believe that some very notable things could be improved in a FFVII remake. The translation, first and foremost, is in dire need of improvement. The plot could benefit from a little fleshing out. If they did both of these things, maybe we wouldn't hear so many people whining about how "confusing" FFVII's story is. Oh, and teh PS3 grafx would be nice.

The FF title that really is in need of a remake is FF6. There's been a decent GBA port of it already. But no true DS-style fixer upper. FF6 has what I consider to be a more engaging (and less ridiculous) story than FF4. And the primary criticism of people who never played RPGs until SE splattered the ending cut scene of FF7 all over their TVs for six months is that FF6 and earlier games don't have the detailed graphics to convey the same level of emotion and storytelling that FF7 did. I'm reminded of a reviewer who pointed out that Celes looking down, Celes mourning General Leo, and Celes looking for her lucky Sprint Shoes is all the same animation. A sprite shuffling around and having his eyes bulge can convey the idea of what is going on, but the 16-bit era simply didn't have the hardware horsepower to actually show what was happening. But move the graphics into three dimensions and have better-animated, 3D models of the characters and it would really open the game up to the newer generation of gamers.

Oliver

Heh... you know, if you want the truth, I think FFVI's sprites were 839354 times more expressive than FFVII's horrid 3D models. (Man, just listen to how I talk about my favorite RPG.)

I second your opinions 100%. Sometimes I think to myself that I'd rather have a PS3 FFVI remake rather than a FFVII remake. Here's why: FFVI tells a story that is far more beautiful, epic, and emotionally charged than most RPGs out there. It's sinful that this story is hindered by the power of the SNES. It's just as you said: the bulging eyes and goofy bounces just don't get the job done, and when one plays the game today, these animations almost detract from the experience.

You could point to Chrono Trigger DS which is being released virtually identical to the SNES release and say, "Suck it up! Enjoy the GBA port!", but there are some pretty significant differences with how the Chrono used its 2D environment and how any of the 16-bit FF titles did. Whether it's just lack of random encounters aspect or that the storytelling didn't seem constrained by the SNES's capabilities compared to the FF6. I don't think a 3D Chrono Trigger would be the same game.

Oliver

*has never played Chrono Trigger*

This is becoming more and more of a problem...

As for a FF5 remake, which following FF3 and FF4 remakes would seem to be a logical progression, I'm kind of ambivalent. FF5 was a fun game. I first played it as a fan-translated version on an SNES emulator and later replayed it when it was released on the PSX. The job system was very well fleshed out and if you knew what you were doing your characters could be completely broken they were so powerful. Unfortunately, I thought the story was very lacking. The characters weren't as developed as they were in FF4 and the plot was so straightforward it could have been yanked out of FF1 or FF3. It really was the jobs and battle system that made it a fun game. Because of that I think it would probably be well suited for a handheld remake. Afterall, I know I didn't play FF:Tactics Advance for its story.

Oliver

True, true. FFV's plot and character development were not great. I still liked the game quite a bit better than FFIV. Why? Because I never thought FFIV's plot and character development was that great either. And FFV wins because it's so much more fun to play.

FFV managed, at least, to come off as slightly less ridiculous than FFIV, simply because you didn't have characters killing themselves left and right. And to me, the Exdeath/Gilgamesh combo was a lot more interesting than Golbez. And their theme songs were a lot better, too. In fact, FFV's soundtrack as a whole was miles better than FFIV's. Man, I could just keep going. But I won't.

So, while a FF5 DS release with 3D graphics would be cool and all, I'd much rather see FF6 DS and some worthwhile improvements to an already solid game.

Cheers,
evilpaul

Oliver

Consider your opinion seconded. However, grafx whore that I am, I'd really like to see FFVI remade on the PS3 or 360. Thanks for the letter EvilDude.



Oliver Motok's Official Seal of Quality


Hey Oliver,

Glad to hear your endorsement of Tales of Vesperia. Needless to say, the game will be consuming untold hours of my life as soon as it hits my mailbox.

Oliver

Well it's consumed approximately 14 hours of my life at this point, and I have NO REGRETS. It's a great game. Hopefully you'll get it soon.

Today I thought I'd talk about my shiny new Xbox 360 and the games I bought for it. I suppose youíve heard of a little game called Mass Effect? What did you think of the game, and if you have no firsthand experience, then what have you heard about it? Personally, I only bought it because I was two years late to the 360 party, and so many games were marked down significantly in price, which is awesome. (Maybe I should buy all my consoles two years late?) But I was completely blown away by how much I liked it, especially since I had no such feelings for the KOTOR games. Itís a little grating to realize that most of the "dialogue options" end up leading to the exact same response, but the process of deciding what 9 Cyour Shepard would do in that circumstance is still very engaging. Before long, I found myself becoming more emotionally attached to my Shepard (whose appearance adheres as closely to my own as possible -- except for a wicked scar over one eye) than even Bioware themselves must have anticipated. Surely this insane brand of attachment is what gaming is all about?

Oliver

I happen to own Mass Effect. I also happen to have never played it. Somehow, it just hasn't made the cut yet. I'm sure it will sometime, but who knows when that will be. Your official endorsement is encouraging, however. Maybe I'll fast-track it.

Any game -- RPGs in particular -- should strive to build likeable, well-developed characters. I mean shoot, you have to spend the whole game playing as 'em, so they'd better be worth spending time with. If a game fails in this regard, it has failed indeed. I am glad to hear that Mass Effect has suceeded in this case.

Now, on to Bioshock. I'm currently at that place where the crazy theater fellow has me running errands for him. And... am I just an easily-disturbed person, or is Bioshock a genuinely scary game? I suppose it's necessary to mention that I am, I admit, very delicate when it comes to creepy games. Heck, even Resident Evil 4 scared the pants off of me at a few points, and itís my understanding that it was universally regarded as the least scary RE in the main series (though still a spectacular game, mind you). So I suppose my question here is: Did Bioshock scare you?

Oliver

Heheh... poor young Fitzpatrick. That's one of the best parts of the game. In fact, it may be the best. Enjoy it while it lasts.

BioShock didn't really scare me, no, but I can certainly see how it could disturb some people. It's not really all that horrifying, (although there are a few fairly horrific images at certain points) but there's some psychologically disturbing stuff in the game. That's mostly because Rapture happened to be a city run entirely by psychologically disturbed people. No wonder the whole place went to hell.

But yeah, I guess what I'm trying to say is that you're not necessarily a pansy if BioShock happens to scare you. But don't give in to the fear! That's one game you simply must finish.

I also purchased Lost Odyssey, and I must say, though I am only in the early parts of Disc 2, I am impressed with the quality of this game. One gripe that stands out is a part near the conclusion of Disc 1. I thought the funeral procession cutscenes were very emotional, and I must admit that I teared up a little as Cooke and Macke sought out Kaim to solve the mystery of human mortality for them, leaving him to struggle with the fact that he could supply them no answers. But then they totally ruin the tone with a bunch of asinine fetch quests ("Go find 10 white flowers, Cooke!", "Go find 10 combustible sticks, Kaim!"), followed by the most tedious minigame of all time ("Light all these torches, Mack!"). Why? Dear God why?!

Oliver

Sometimes I'm shocked at how similarly we think. Your sentiments mirror mine exactly. The death scene near the end of Disc 1 was, without question, one of the most saddening death scenes in any videogame. Ever. It was really quite brilliant, and I wish I could discuss it in detail here. After the scene was over, I watched in absolute horror as the game made me engage in a lengthy, boring, stupid fetch quest. And then after the fetchquest was over, they had the gall to turn the freaking funeral into a minigame. I was furious. Absolutely furious. I wanted to fly to Japan and club Mr. Sakaguchi with a rusty trowel.

Lastly, I had planned on discussing how much Iíve fallen in love with The Orange Box, but Iíve already slipped one first-person shooter into an RPGamer column, and I doubt Iíd be able to get away with it twice.

Oliver

Hmmm... well, if anyone here could get away with it, it would be you. Take a chance, roll the dice. Or not.

I canít sign off without a passing comment about FFXIIIís multiplatform status: I am inexpressibly glad that I have been freed of my previous desire to own a PS3. Ironically, I have been looking forwar d to FF Versus XIII quite a lot more, which is currently a PS3 exclusive, but I suppose part of being a gamer is accepting that you canít play every (presumably) great game out there. Thatís what YouTube was made for.

ďGo find 10 tone-nullifying fetch quests, Oliver!Ē Cornman89

Oliver

Heh. Yes, FFXIII on the 360 is a great thing and worthy of commentary. As for Versus XIII, I really can't imagine that it will remain a PS3 exclusive. I already own a PS3, so it's not an issue. Even if I didn't own one at this point, I'd likely still buy one. Valkyria Chronicles looks amazing, as does God of War III. And whatever Team ICO's next project is, you can bet I'll be all over that shite. And, uh... it plays teh Blu-ray.

*Oliver declines the fetch quest*

As always, thank you for the letter Cornman. Let me know your thoughts on ToV!

IN CLOSING

Just so the lot of you know, Tales of Vesperia is a really, really good game. I'm having a great time with it. I just wish I had more time to actually play it! Have ANY of you played the game yet? If so, you should totally write in with your thoughts. Just make sure you keep them spoiler-free. If anyone spoils ANYTHING about that game for me, I will track them down and behead them. And I won't print your letter, either.

How about Infinite Undiscovery? Now there's a game that's created some dissent in the RPGamer community. Some love it, some hate it. What side are YOU on? Write in and let me know!

'Till next week!

-Oliver



Send a Letter!

Most Recent

September 07: Oliver

September 01: Oliver

August 26: Oliver



Links

About the Host

Quote Archives



What I can't wait for:

1. The Last Remnant

2. Persona 4

3. Prince of Persia

4. Valkyria Chronicles

5. Chrono Trigger DS



On my Playlist:

1. Tales of Vesperia



Hot Topics:

1. Which RPG would you like to see remade on PS3/360?

2. Fetch quest & asinine minigames?

3. What would you want to see in a FFVII remake?

4. Got Infinite Undiscovery?

5. Got Tales of Vesperia?



© 1998-2013 RPGamer All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy