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ASK ANDREW
I Like the Sound of My Own Voice February 6th, 2005

Andrew Long - 14:56 EST

I PROBABLY SHOULDN'T HAVE GOTTEN sucked into the Super Bowl, but morbid curiosity, if nothing else, impelled me to stick it out to halftime. Now, however, sated on tasteful if schmaltzy entertainment, I have admitted to myself that the game, though close, is as dull as watching paint dry, so I've opted to stop putting this off!

Today will be a day of recrimination, of correction, and most of all, of love, because that's what this column is about. Also, to anyone who read yesterday's column and happened to encounter a curious term used to describe the process of mass-producing artwork, it was intended for elimination in my final edit, but it somehow snuck through. The offending computer elves have been sacked, if you catch my drift.



Ramblebox
You wanna piece of my heart? You better start from the start!

-AL  


L E T T E R S
Oops


You know, I find it kind of funny that you insulted the guy for not understanding your Suikoden II comment because he didn't stop to think about it, when you apparently never researched Drakengaard at all before you decided to say it was a DMC clone when it plays nothing like DMC. Now I will assume you meant Dynasty Warriors(DW) and not DMC, because you are apparently so "smart" that you can insult other readers for not understanding something when you don't have a clue. Ask Andrew? Sure, for false information.

ANDREW


You're right... That's exactly what Ask Andrew implies! You are slightly incorrect, however; I have a basic idea of what Drakengaard is all about, having done a number of news stories on it back in the day when I worked in the salt mines. I just happened to pick the wrong generic game to compare it to, for which I apologize. I meant to compare the generic blandness of Drakengaard to the generic blandness of those delightful Onimusha-style (or indeed, Dynasty Warriors) hack-em-ups that are all the rage right now. I'm glad that the basic message got through, at any rate.


Arr


In regards to your email from Bumper Sticker 1. First of all, the game was developed by Cavia Inc. which also developed Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex for the PS2 for Bandai. Second, just because you don't understand the story doesn't make the game bad. It just makes the game not for you.

Now, I admit, I'm a Drakengard fan and so I don't quite count for much, but I still think it's wrong to blame anything on S-E which only published the game. Also, in the future, I recommend you use less spoilers about a game when referring to one in the future. I'm sure there won't be any complaints in this instance but in the future, just letting you know.

-Billy


ANDREW

Thanks for sharing, Billy. You've got a good point about both the story and the spoilers, and I shall endeavour to mark them more clearly in future. And now, let us never speak of Drakengaard again.



The furry whiskers of doom


Oooh, biggest disappointment? I can rip into that one pretty good

I was SO disappointed in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. I was looking forward to playing it a lot by the time I picked it up (I remember doing the first screens and art for it when it was announced). Then the battle system ended up being flat out frustrating. Out of the 12 or so hours I had clocked, I spent an additional 4 recovering from deaths. It's crazy to be able to stone and whack the main character in one turn (which is game over)...especially when there's no way to prevent it at that point in the game.

I was also greatly disappointed in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. The difficulty difference between normal enemies and bosses is astronimically huge. There's no reason if I can kill pretty much all the outside enemies in one shot that I should die to a boss multiple times when I have a solid strategy, good deck, and boosted stats. The unbalanced gameplay led me to put it aside for now, and I'm nowhere close to finishing it.

-Paws =^^=
Reviewer
paws@rpgamer.com


ANDREW

I was actually expecting to hear CoM come up a lot more yesterday, because the reactions I encountered while tooling around in staff channels looking sexy went from "Yay" to "Hmm.." to "ARGH" to "Finally...I can put this on the shelf and never touch it again." This isn't to say that it's the worst game ever; a couple of staffers enjoyed it, if I recall correctly, but it certainly didn't live up to what people seem to have been expecting in the light of Kingdom Hearts' success, and given Disney's involvement, it's a little surprising it didn't turn out better.

Then again, Square Enix hasn't exactly had the greatest year, so maybe it's not all that surprising. As for SMT: Nocturne, I'm still interested, but if a third of the game is spent recovering from your main character getting whacked, perhaps I'd better revise that opinion...



Robust Stu adds a new honorific


Hey Cast,

Just thought I'd chime in on this little dealie with my biggest disappointment of 2004. In my case, that disappointment turned into the most gratifying moment of 2005 so far. I bought a Playstation 2 and a bunch of games, some RPGs and some not, but they were there. Only problem was that I never had time to play it. I loved Final Fantasy X, I really did, but was it worth keeping the system and risk buying more games for it just to play that one game? The answer I came to was a resounding "no". But I tried, I really really tried, to play and enjoy the games, but it always felt completely forced and I never really enjoyed myself when playing on it, it always felt more like a chore. Finally, the breaking point came this past Friday night when I decided to force myself to get through Final Fantasy X-2. I figured that since FF10 was one of my favorite games ever, that I just hadn't given X-2 a chance. Boy was I wrong. I sat there and played it for about a half hour, but finally I just got so frustrated with the stupid story, crappy battle system that goes WAY too fast and doesn't give you time to figure out your characters are about to die, and about a half dozen other complaints I can't be bothered to remember at the moment, that I just turned it off, went out and bought a six-pack, and sat there playing NES games and watching Jedi the rest of the night. The next day, I got to the point that I realized that I was sick to death just LOOKING at the stupid system, and that I had to be rid of it. After checking with my girlfriend, Robust Alison, to make sure that she didn't want to hang on to any of the games, I unplugged it, packed it and all my games, and was going to give it to my brother, but then I decided I'd feel better about it giving it to somebody I actually LIKE, so I took it up to my friends Chris & Erin's house and gave it to them. Monkey (who lives with Chris & Erin) made various lewd offers in repayment for this totally unexpected gift, but I declined, assuring him that he was doing me a favor by taking the f---ing thing off my hands. And now that I've had a day to reflect on it, I feel much better about the whole situation, and look forward to living the rest of my life out with my NES, SNES, PSX, and GBA and NOTHING ELSE. I resolved never to buy another "Next-Gen" system ever again. Will I miss out on a lot of great new games? Sure, but I'd probably buy them and forget about them for months on end like I did before, so I don't care. And that's my story. It was the greatest day of my life!

Robust Stu
Gold Reviewer/Swell Guy/Crotchety Old Fart


ANDREW

I would wag my finger at you about what a shortsighted decision you've made, but really, I can understand how FFX-2 might compel a man to such a desperate act of generosity. If you should ever feel the urge to give away games in future, however, consider sending them my way. I haven't had the money to buy a game since 20dickety4, which was what we had to call it back then because the kaiser had stolen our zero! I wore an onion on my belt, as was the style at the time, and a little game called "World of Warcraft" was just hitting shelves...

Okay, so I guess that was two months ago. Can I be blamed if the mists of time have shrouded my memory so?



A weak and watery multiparter


Hello again Answer lackey,

Fear my multi-parter *cheesy evil laugh*

I was reading the unfit for print from Saturday from another person that wanted story info/vids/ect about games from online sites. What the heck is wrong with these people? If the game's story was so unremarkable as to not remain in their memory to a reasonable degree, why would they be picking up the sequel? Clearly they didn't like the first game enough to remember it. So why buy the next game? It seems we now know why bad games get sequels...

Also, I know Andrew doesn't like the Star Ocean series, but it's personally my favorite series (Chrono Cross was rather disappointing for me). I have much love for SO3. I believe that the 'plot twist' throws quite a few people and it disappoints them so much as to cause them to miss some key points through to the end of the game or the concept is simply over their heads. Although, come to think of it, some aspects of the concept are over the heads of the people that made the game.

But anyway, if that one plot point is such a source for disappointment then the story was far more effective than those people realize. And the story fixes itself in the end if people would pay attention to the cheesy stuff before the private endings. The battle system is still the best so far in an RPG (add multiplayer and the ability to fight in the field like SoM and it would be about as perfect as things could get without VR). The PAs in this game were really, really easy to miss. Which makes it easy to not care about the characters as much.

Hey, come to think of it, when do you think the next console Seiken Densetsu will come out? It's a great series and i always thought it was quite popular. Why has it disappeared on us?

This is getting long so i'll stop for now.

watcher


ANDREW

I'm not so sure Seiken Densetsu has much of a chance of making it back to consoles anytime soon. I do recall hearing rumblings of a GC title in the offing, but that seems to have vanished as Square Enix has much bigger fish to fry. Then again, Brownie Brown is working on a mystery title of doom for the GC, so perhaps there's hope yet. Either way, though, the only game in the series that I really enjoyed was Secret of Mana, and since it was a departure from the rest in many respects, I don't know that I'm too terribly eager to encounter a new title.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Apologies for the shortitude, but I must get me to a nunnery, or at least, to bed. Until next weekend, then, I pray you - limit your difficulties to those that can be resolved with the purchase of creamsicles.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long has climbed every mountain - boy, it was tiring!


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