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questionanswer&andrew


I've got Castomentum, Baby!

Andrew Long - January 28 '04- 16:22 Eastern Standard Time

AND BY THAT, I MEAN THAT I'VE BEEN snowed in for the past two days. Now, I'm not one to spread Canadian stereotypes like snow and igloos and that polar bear that was pawing through my garbage, but it seems to me that this is a little bit excessive. Not as excessive as the snow Scar got, of course, which in one day neatly crushed our pitiful snowfall, but it was apparently enough to close down the University of Toronto for two days. This is a good thing, because during those two days I seem to have skipped all or most of my classes.

At any rate, all that snow has had a most deleterious effect on my pantaloons, for even though road crews know that salt does jack shitake once the temperature hits -18 (that's 0ish, for all you crazy folks stuck in the Fahrenheit age) they insist upon loading bag after bag of salt on the roads until the road's breath smells like dog food and my pants all have garish salt stains up to the knees. I mean, I could do laundry, but then what would I have to complain about? Besides, the salt also makes the water taste kind of funny come spring, when it's had time to seep into the soil and ruin all the geraniums in my irritating neighbour's garden.

All of this notwithstanding, I must say in closing this introduction that I was deeply disappointed by MarioKart DD. That is all.




SEND LETTER




01-27-04
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27-13-8-3
L, 2-0 to CAR?!
Ugh. Let us never
Ever
EVER
Speak of this
Again.
Damn, it's cold and snowy

Editorial, anyone?


Hey Andrew,

I've been without an internet connection lately, so please forgive me if this has been covered lately. I'm here today, to stand before you in an attempt to open your eyes about the horrible horrible merger that sired Square-Enix.

In my opinion, it is the worst thing to happen to RPG fans, EVER.

ANDREW
Oh, this is promising.

Now, before any of you jump up to smite me for my blasphemey, hear me out. Since the merger, what have we seen? FFX-2, FFXI, FF: Crystal Cronicles... three games that created quite a buzz among the fanbase while they were in development.

I've been an avid FF fan since the first time I put FFVII into my PSX and hit the power button. Granted, that means I'm a youngin compared to many, but I have gone back to play many of the games that came before in the name of Square, including but not limited to: Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, FFV, FFVI, FF: Mystic Quest, FF (the original), and FF Tactics. So I consider myself to be well versed in the works of Squaresoft.

ANDREW
So wait... You're listing FF: MQ and FFV as positive reasons why newer Square-Enix titles suck? How very odd.

The reason I list my experiences with Square is to establish something. I've played most of what they've offered, and I've always, ALWAYS finished what I've started in terms of the games I've started. (Except for Mystic Quest, but most of you will agree, it shouldn't be listed with the others, so we'll just pretend it doesn't exist)

ANDREW
And yet, you listed it.

For the first time since the dawning of the PS age, I've started a FF game and have no intention of finishing it. FFX-2 is one of the most utterly rediculous piles of steaming monkey poo I've ever laid my eyes on. I still, trembling with fury, cannot comprehend how such a horrible mistake could have been made. Despite my love of FFX and my eagerness in the past years to find out what exactly did happen to Tidus at the end of that story, I cannot put another moment of my life into the atrocity that is its sequel.

ANDREW
You know what? People said the same thing about FF's VII through X, and oddly enough, there were still a lot of people who played and enjoyed those games.

That brings me to FFXI. We were promised a groundbreaking game that would be like no other. We were promised a game that would break the mold of MMORPG's forever and that would take us into the new age of gaming! What did we get? Everquest with some new bells and whistles. It was nothing more than a pretty looking, cookie cutter, level grind. Aside from the nifty opening movie and the fact that your mission quests were opened with a small cinematic opening, it was Everquest.

So, that's 0 for 2... tons of buildup, little to no follow through.

ANDREW
Says you.

What's next? FF: Crystal Chronicles... it's less than a month away... Am I going to buy it? No... Am I going to rent it... no... For the first time since I started reading Gaming Publications, a Final Fantasy game recieved a mark below 8.5. In the latest issue of Game Informer magazing, Crystal Chronicles recieved a score of 7. To give you a frame of refernce in case you don't read Game Informer, a 7 means: if you're an avid fan, it might be worth a rental or two, but don't get your dander up for it.

ANDREW
Because magazines know best!

My how the mighty have fallen.

Since the merger we've had three major releases (counting Crystal Chornicles which comes out in like 2 weeks) and each seems to be a bit worse than the one before it. I look at all the pretty images from FFXII and my skin tingles... then I remember what I've gotten from Square-Enix so far and I get depressed. Squaresoft used to be synonimous with greatness, unparalleled attention to detail, amazing story telling abilities, fantastic visuals and music and a near unfaltering ability to put out games as close to perfect as was possible. Now that they've merged with Enix, they seem to be getting held back, dragged down to the murky depths of mediocrity.

I truly hope that it's only a temporary thing, that the two companies have yet to find a common ground and work out all the kinks. Perhaps in time they'll start functioning in a fluid and graceful manner... but for now, they're moving ahead with all the grace of a heard of elephants. Somebody please save Square!

====

ANDREW
Whoa there, fella. This entire essay (very nice form, incidentally) is strictly your opinion. There are hundreds of thousands of people who would disagree with you in the case of FFXI, FFX-2 has sold quite nicely, and FF:CC isn't even out yet, but you're judging it strictly on the basis of a magazine article? Tell you what. I know that I probably lack the calibre of such an esteemed publication as Game Informer, but having personally played FF:CC, I can tell you that at the very least, it is worth a rent. No, it's not a grandiose masterpiece, it has limited storyline appeal and indifferently developed characters, but it looks, sounds, and plays just like any of the other Square titles you're yearning after. So I say to you now: rent this game, and if you can, play it with friends. It's way better multiplayer, even if you do have to haul the cursed drop-thingy manually.

At amy rate. saying S-E has gone mediocre is kind of silly on the basis of two games that you personally disliked (assuming you've played them both), and I think you should indeed give it time. Of course, that's just my opinion, so if you'd like to keep crying foul, by all means, find yourself a cozy, snow-drenched street corner, and start howling to the crowd. I hear you can get really cheap copies at that 3-cent copy joint, so you can even make flyers!


Mmmm... Creamsicles


Castocreamsicle,

It would seem that with your departure Friday, the world has come to a complete standstill. Yes, my orange-vanilla flavored friend, the world does revolve around my favorite holder of power and might. It seems "The Batman" is still sneaking around. O.O We shall see if he lasts the fury of my deadly ninja stars of deadly consequences that involve death. As for a kinda-would-be question..who would win in a duel, in your opinion? 3/5 of midterms are done, so that means I have Friday all free. To my suprise, english math and history weren't that bad, so the worst is over...or is it? We'll have to see my friend. Yet again, it is quite frigid outside. Without being able to feel any appendages, the day just seems to fly by. It actually hit 0 C today, an all time record high. You would think that with such a "high" temperature that it would be bearable to go outside to let the dog out. Sadly, the weather would have nothing to do with my thoughts of blue skies and warmer, sunny temperatures. I should wrap this letter up because I must get the dogs ready for some sledding into town...we're out of hot coccoa.

"You're so hot, your melting the creamsicles",

O' Shrouded One

ANDREW
Well, if you can't stand your balmy temperatures, the likes of which I haven't seen in over a month, then I'm afraid the Batman may have the edge. Still, if you're on a dogsled you might be able to perform a drive-by scalding.


FFV? Ugh.


Hey Andrew, got two questions for you. Google's column yesterday prompted them, with the business about FFV being the most underrated Final Fantasy.

1) Have you heard the Black Mages' remix of "Battle With Gilgamesh?"
2) Doesn't it rock so hard?

-Jackson Ferrell

ANDREW
Well, I've got to disagree on the underrated part; I think that FFV gets exactly the reputation it deserves. As to your questions, however, I have heard the remix, and I will in fact concur as to its general levels of rocking.


Bringing new meaning to price wars


Hey Andrew, just thought I'd drop a message to respond to "Boomshanka, the Jumpsuited One"'s letter from the column on the 22nd. I work at an EB location in Winnipeg, and the price for a used copy of the Zelda Collector's Disc everywhere in Canada is $24.99. If he's from the US, I really can't see them charging four times as much down there.

Maybe the employees of that particular store have a little something going on the side, or maybe they stickered their discs with the price for a new Gamecube, I don't know, but it's really annoying seeing EB get called out for something that I know they aren't doing. I mean hey, EB is a business and as such they do charge too much for things sometimes, heck, I think even the $24.99 is a bit of a rip, but really, it's absurd to think they'd go as far as charging a hundred bucks for a disc you could get by, oh, buying the system for a hundred bucks.

Anyway, just felt like doing the unfashionable thing and defending EB. I remember the world of buying games being a much more inconvenient place before they and their ilk were around. I wish I could understand why everyone is so quick to slam them.

-Shaun Musgrave

ANDREW
As far as EB goes, buying games was never that inconvenient; granted, selection is a lot better now, but there have always been little game shops - I remember going into one in 1985 to buy my dad Pac Man for his birthday. I'm not trying to harsh on EB, since it's a heartless corporation and heartless corporations will do what they need to in order to remain profitable, but they do have pretty lousy deals on a lot of used games, and "new game" doesn't always mean new game, as I can attest to (hi, Mr. resold Unlimited Saga - why were you on the new game rack?). At any rate, I do by and large have no problem with EB, but those are my gripes. I'm sure little stores can be just as guilty of those crimes, so I'm not out to condemn anyone.

As to the $99.00 tag, well, I can only assume that somebody mislabelled it; not everyone has a Gamecube, so I'm sure that a game bundled with it could be mistakenly labelled.


Unfit for Print


How do you get the steal command in ff viii.

ANDREW
The same way you get everything else: with a GF. Come on, this is really basic.

YOU 'DREW
QUICKIE I
Lurid Moon

Moon shining brightly
Prey falls short in line of sight
Shadows move slightly
Shroudie

Andrew:
Slightly? I'm gettin' outta here!



DA LAST GRUMBLE

So, see that big long Square-Enix letter there? I know I printed it, but in the interests of making this column more widely readable, I think we should keep things down to a slightly more manageable size. As such, I will be highly disinclined to print long letters unless they have lightning bolts shooting off them, as my crazy old history teacher / toilet salesman once said. Speaking of toilet sales, since it has absolutely nothing to do with anything, what do you think of Square Enix's output thus far, as well as what is slated for release? Remember, keep it reasonably short, but above quickie length. And please, don't ask me how to cast fire in FFVIII. I will cry tears of blood.

In other news, since my official duties hereabouts are "Weekend Q&A", it has been deemed logical that I should probably do Q&A on weekends, so starting next week, after six creamy days of sugary Googleshng columns, we shall proceed to the Friday of Fire. Actually, that won't be any different, so I guess we'll just call it Friday.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long is a big ball of rage - now with delicious butter topping!

I'LL PROVIDE THE ANSWERS, YOU PROVIDE THE

QUESTIONS


Mmmm... flavours



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