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ASK ANDREW
On the Move June 11th, 2005

Andrew Long - 4:14 EST

AH, FIVE YEARS AGO MUSIC. There's nothing like it when it's deathly hot and you can't come up with a title to save your life. Yes, I am stuck dead in the center of a giant mass of stinky southern air, and I don't know what you guys are putting in this stuff, but quite frankly even the stink from Sudbury's giant nickel stack can't compare. True, L.A. was still more putrid, but this little heat wave has come pretty close to the same levels of sticky craptasticness.

In other news, it seems Suikoden is getting a real spinoff. You'd think they would have been more concerned with getting the host series back into decent shape, but who knows... Perhaps the ol' Suikoden name is being put out to pasture or something.




L E T T E R S
Villainy of some description... I should really try harder with these titles


Hey Cast,

Well I don't know if you followed the GameFAQs Villain Battle, but Sephiroth won. So the other day they had a poll up asking if Sephiroth really is the greatest villain of all time and the majority responded yes. This irks me. Sephiroth is not a villain. He is a confused individual driven insane by the misconstrued knowledge of his heritage. He doesn't really have "evil" designs, they just happen to be bad ones that no one else will particularly like.

Meanwhile we have true villains like Kefka and Gannondorf who crave power and will stop at nothing to get it and crush whoever gets in their way. These are true villains. I think it just annoys me that the real reason everyone thinks Sephiroth is so bad is because he's bad ass.

And so we have a question, what game are you most looking forward to that is coming out within the next 3 months?

-- Kalledon --


ANDREW


Are you actually and truly losing sleep over people classifying Sephiroth as a villain instead of as a bad-ass? Because if you are, not only are you wrong, but you're apparently some sort of obsessive compulsive. While you could certainly argue that in the end, Hojo and Jenova were the true enemies, the fact remains that for the majority of the gamers who played FFVII and didn't bother to replay it for the purpose of unwinding its convoluted story, Sephiroth was the one and only villain. You chase him the whole game, he tries to kill your party frequently, he wrecks stuff up worldwide and calls a giant meteor to crush humanity and then, not satisfied with all that badassery, he sprouts wings just so Square could continue exploring its random Christian symbolism fetish. Finally, your delightfully subjective version of evil fails to take into account that the only requirement that need be satisfied for a videogame villain is "dude who threatens either the world or the interests of the hero involved". As far as the vast majority of people are concerned, bad actions amount to evil designs, regardless of how much mens rea you throw into the mix (and beyond that, Sephiroth had no more compunction about crushing whoever gets in their way than did Kekfa or Ganondorf).

So while you may wish to excuse dear old Sephy from villainhood by virtue of his stark raving crackersness, it doesn't wash, and I think he makes a perfectly acceptable villain. Hell, you should be glad that no zombie volleyballers from DoA ended up in the winner's circle, not moaning about evil intent.

If I had to pick a game coming out in the next three months, it would probably be Makai Kingdom, assuming the interface art looks a little nicer on a non-HDTV.



Subtitles and a recommendation: damn I'm descriptive!


Hey Andrew,

Just a couple questions for and I'll be on my way. First of all, do you know if Advent Children is to be subtitled? Every clip I've watched is in japaneses. The reason I was asking is because should it not be in english I will most likely be unsucessful at getting(forcing) my girl friend to watch it with me. It's hard enough to get her to sit down and watch classics like Jin-Roh: Wolf Brigade(not subtitled) or even my most beloved Robotech. :(

Anyway my final question is about a purchase in my future. I'm debating on wether the TRPG Disgea(is that how it's spelled?), Suikoden IV, or Digital Devil Saga would be the best use of my very limited cash flow. -Drachir Nella Farg


ANDREW

Subtitles? Uncertain, but given that the project is a straight-to-DVD affair, I would expect that a certain amount of attention to DVD-friendly features like that would be given. I don't know what the space limitations on the PSP version will be, however, so whether or not a multilingual option will be available across all formats is uncertain.

If cashflow is your sole issue, Disgaea offers the most bulk gameplay, since you can tinker with it for hundreds of hours and still have stuff left to do (albeit fairly similar stuff to the things you were doing for the first hundred or so hours.) DDS, however, is supposed to have a very good story, so if you're in a more traditional frame of mind, that would be a better choice. One that I can definitely rule out, on the other hand, is Suikoden IV, which by all accounts is not something you should bother with.



An interesting query


After reading the currents spotlight, I started to wonder about how long it takes to finish an rpg. I can still remember back in the day when 20 hours was considered a long time by non-rpg gamers. These days it seems like a requirement that games should be a minimum of 80 hours to finish without distractions such as sidequests, leveling up, and various collection goals. I know that may not be realistic but I find myself more and more unwilling to make that kind committment since I am often underwhelmed by the ending of many current rpgs.

What do consider a reasonable tiem to complete an rpg?


ANDREW

That all depends upon the RPG, but if you're talking about your standard RPG, then 25-40 hours seems like a reasonable ballpark to me, since most games that I've enjoyed have fallen in that range. If, however, you're talking about an action RPG, then no longer than 20. If it's a strategy RPG, no fewer than 80. No longer than 20 because most action-based gameplay systems grow repetitive if they go any longer than that, and no fewer than 80 because that's about the amount of time it should take to truly master a T-RPG system.



An interesting point


Hey there again,

Ok, one thing. Do not get me wrong, and/or take this the wrong way. I love the Q&A column, the writers that write in, and the gurus that answer the questions. (Obviously cause i read it every morning.) But what I am seeing is a lot of the same questions, just worded differently. I might even be responsible for one or two of those. That aside, lets start to narrow these questions down a little from say...

"what do you guys think about the next gen consoles?"

to something like

(Actual Question) What kind of impact do you think the next generation of consoles are going to have on the type of games that developers are going to produce, in regards to the age bracket that they are aiming the systems at? With all the new features that the new systems are going to have ( media players, cd rippers, hard drives, basically computers/multimedia centers, and the fact that Sony basically said that there new system is not going to be a gaming device per say, but a home entertainment center) do you think they are going to start gearing most of the games towards a much older audience? if so are the outcomes going to be favorable?
ANDREW

(Actual Answer)I think that a certain percentage of games will be geared at older gamers, even as they are today; however, until the core market of kids, teenagers, and early twentysomethings starts to show significant movement, I don't think we'll be seeing much in the way of a difference in demographic targeting. I would hope, though, that if their material was geared towards an older audience, that it would subsequently improve, at least as far as the depth and scope of the storylines involved is concerned.

or something like

(Actual question) Personally, what features would you guys at RPGamer want implemented into next generation consoles? We all know your stance on better/shinier graphics, and your stance on "Its not time to release new systems yet" But if some cosmic force in the world made you *have* to release a new system come this holiday season, and you happened to have 100% control on what would make them so "next generation", what are some drastic changes you would make? hover controllers? virtual reality goggles? peanut butter and jam sandwich makers? (ok im hungry)
ANDREW

(Actual Answer, damn I'm a clever guy) Call me crazy, but I really don't need my consoles to have all that much functionality. Certainly, I find it convenient to throw DVDs into my PS2 and Xbox, but beyond that, I can't really think of much else that I'd want it to do; my mp3s are doing just fine where they are, and while I'm sure you could package some absolutely bitchin' speakers with the consoles, I'm just as sure that you can get a better home theatre at an electronics store. Call me crazy, but I'd rather buy higher quality parts separately than get an all-in-one dealie that isn't likely to have much of anything at its highest possible level.

I feel that these kinds of questions would make the Q&A column guys have to use there head a little more, and come up with some creative answers.

Again, do not take this as an attack on anyone, because that's not what my intentions were in any way shape or form. It was just, you know, "bored at work, middle of the day on Friday" thoughts.

Thanks for your time, and keep up the good work.

Kainage


ANDREW

So, not a deadly attack, eh? I'll be the judge of that! Actually, you make a pretty good point; the same questions do tend to get bandied about a lot here, but I can only assume that is related to the fact that people don't read every column, so when I answer something in one column, they're just as liable to skip that and go to Google for answers instead(the host, not the search engine, able though it is at sensing souls in search of answers). Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot we can do about that; I try to make repeat answers as gentle as possible, and steer conversation away from things when they get driven into the ground, but beyond that I can't think of anything else to help it, other than only printing original, thought-provoking questions. If I did that, however, I don't whether or not I'd have enough material to fill a column. I don't mean that as a rebuke, necessarily; I just don't think everyone comes to this column expecting to discuss philosophy or anything beyond "OMG WHERE IS THE GORON SWORD." On that note, then...



OMG WHERE IS THE GORON SWORD?


can u pleas tell me how to get the big gorons sword? i am up to the part where you have the wight chicken

ANDREW

There's a whole big horse-trading game you have to play, and I'll be damned if I'll give you a play-by-play of it, especially in view of the fact that at most of the steps along the way the people tell you where to go next. Since you can't seem to get that part down, though, if you're on the part with the little alarm clock cucco, you have to find the ranch owner and use the chicken to wake him up. Then the cycle continues and all that jazz, and you get one step closer to a big useless sword. I'd tell you where he is, but I frankly don't remember and anyway, where's the challenge in me telling you where to find him?



Semantics


You'll probably be bombarded, but just for the record:

Catholic priests can be married if they're married before they're ordained. Episcopalian priests can be married. If the game shadow hearts is in Europe during just about any time after the beginning of the Reformation, then her father wasn't necessarily a Catholic priest (could be Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Byzantine, etc.), but I'm not certain what their practices were.


ANDREW

Indeed, Catholic priests can be married before taking vows, as I believe I suggested yesterday when I said "perhaps her father married her mother, impregnated her, her mother died, and then her father entered the priesthood. No muss, no fuss!" If that wasn't explicit enough, I don't know what is. Thanks for the tip on the Protestants, though; having never sat through an entire episode of Seventh Heaven, I was wondering what a priest was doing with so very many children.



Well okay, maybe I sat through one or two.. but they were all bad!


Dear Answerer,

Hi. I have a response to the question about Alice's father being a preist. Perhaps he had a lover before joining the Church? Now I haven't played the original Shadow Hearts, so I don't know how old the person in question would appear to be, but that is my first logical guess.
ANDREW

That makes three of us...

Also, Is it me, or has some of the originality gone out of the Wild Arms series? For instance, in the original Wild Arms, you have Rudy, one of the only two characters that can use A.R.M.s. I only played a part of Wild Arms 2, but it seemed that Ashley had something special in him with the whole "Acccess" force ability (didn't get to play far enough to find out what the whole thing was about.) Now you have Wild Arms 3, where everyone can use an A.R.M. Did something happen in part 2 to allow everyone to use A.R.M.s, or is it just something that the developers decided to do? I think the uniqueness of Wild Arms is falling. What do you think?

Thanks for reading and answering my question.


ANDREW

Gee, does the originality go out of any series by the third installment? Of course it does, because whatever it is you're doing in the third part is at least tangentially related to the parts preceding it, so naturally there's going to be some repetition. If I had to draw a parallel with your example, I would point you to the FF series; in FFs I, III, IV and V (FFII just shouldn't have been) only magic-users can use magic, with subjobs allowing certain classes to use a limited range of spells; then all of a sudden in VI you get Espers allowing everyone to use magic and in VII and VIII, Materia and Junctioning basically made characters interchangeable. As you can see, over time people try and refine their basic concepts so that they can concentrate on other things like gameplay and making more pretty stuff go boom. If you have problems with WA3, I would therefore suggest that it is probably related to the fact that more attention was paid to making pretty stuff go boom than the actual gameplay.



Finally, someone on topic!


For $260 Iíd only get the FF7:AC premium collection if it came with Rude. *kyaa!*

*blush blush*

Aside from that, most of the ďpremiumĒ stuff I buy are first volumes of DVD series, which usually come with extras. Iím right now crossing my fingers on getting the Volume 1 + Box of Fullmetal Alchemist, and recently I completed my collection of Azumanga Daioh, which also came with pins in select volumes. The most I spent on a DVD release was $60 for the first volume of Galaxy Angel + Box + Pencilboards + Five little plastic figures, which I have discovered I no longer want (ANYONE?)

I recently just heard that if you preorder Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life or Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town at Gamestop or Electronics Boutique, you get a free plush of the dog. Hereís hoping that itís true and that Paws (right?) is gonna have a puppy for her cow to be friends with.

Bucket (still in advanced state of fangirl fever)


ANDREW

The Harvest Moon rumour is indeed true, and while I thank you for following topic, I must say that I am shocked and outraged that you would use my column as some sort of fish-trading market. HAVE YOU NO SHAME?





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

At any rate, I have a wedding to go to in the stupid morning, so I guess I'd better get to bed. May all your troubles be creamsicle-related, and may this wretched heatwave go bother Minnesota for a while or something, cuz I've had quite enough of it.

Mweehehehe.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long is beginning to resemble a steamed ham.


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