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ASK ANDREW
Well Doesn't That Just Beat All April 23rd, 2009

Andrew Long - 9:57 EST

Well, I tried to get you people somebody else to fill this spot after Lusi and Meta went off and shacked up at a new website. He was really nice! British, ended every sentence with :) and he even had a column done somewhere or other, though where is anyone's guess. Sadly, you people crushed his gentle spirit. That's right, he didn't even get a chance to post a column before you devoured his soul. So you get me again. I hope you're all happy!




L E T T E R S
WHY CAN'T EVERYTHING BE AN RPG BLWHAAAAARGGGARBL


Why isnít Lux-Pain being covered on your site? Itís an Adventure/Strategy/RPG, no? Similar Hotel Dusk, but with more sci-fi-ish properties.

Itís a pretty damn good game too. Thanks for your time.

- Val

Andrew

Hotel whatnow? You'll have to forgive me. Over the years, working here has slowly stripped any enjoyment I derive from RPGs out until now, where I am left a hollow husk of my former RPG-loving self. As such I have no idea what you're talking about. Even so, I can go over our game coverage guidelines with you. Basically, an RPG should contain some or all of the elements you would find in an older game bearing that name; namely, experience points, levels, a combat system based upon the old D&D rules, and either a cyberpunk, sci-fi or fantasy setting. None of these is explicit, of course, because the genre itself is so ungainly that you can argue for the inclusion of basically any game that involves characters, but to save time we just dump it in o_O's lap and let him decide. So I shall do that now.

HEY! NWASHY!

Hmm, it seems he's not online, so I guess I'll take a gander at some press for this thing. Ah. What you have there is an adventure game, which is to say a title that focuses more on the story than the gameplay. Any "combat" usually takes the form of using various items you find lying around to contrive a Rube Goldberg-style reaction on the fly, tipping a bucket that squashes a mouse whose guts fly all over a screendoor which, when observed by Schroedinger's cat, looks just delicious enough to shift time forward two seconds and cause the villain to um, I dunno, explode.

So you see, it can't possibly be an RPG and we will never cover it.

Exciting News! It seems eyes is online, and he falls in the text-based adventure camp too! No dice!



I wish webmail wouldn't fill some people's letters with random characters


Dear Mr. new Q and A host guy, Welcome to the Q and A, hope you will be here for a long time.
Andrew

I don't, but I can't seem to find anybody so here I am.

For some reason lately there haven't been a lot of letters, so I thought I'd provide for the Q and A with a few pieces of text to keep you occupied. There is a price however you must endure the flames of a searing hot question which will change you very outlook on RPGs altogether.
Andrew

OK I figured it out: when you write future letters please avoid apostrophes at all costs. They make your letters look like alphabet soup when it's halfway through somebody's digestive tract.

Well maybe not, I tried to filter out all the rant that inspired this legitimate question. See the thing is I have yet to play FF12. I tuned it out as soon as I heard how the battle system works (it reminded me of KotOR and Star Wars Galaxies)
Andrew

Perceptive... It's quite close to KotOR!

...but a while back Oliver asked why someone who was a fan of Final Fantasy would not like FF12, that comment and a different discussion involving the upcoming FF13 demo got me thinking. My initial reaction was that the problem with FF12 was obvious, the gambits. Later I realized the gambits aren't really the problem, they are merely a symptom of the problem (and in fact in an Action RPG I wouldn't mind them).
Andrew

Forgive me, but if you haven't played the game how do you know you'll mind them? In practice if you spend about 30 seconds setting them up, they're actually quite unobtrusive, and if you're the overbearing micromanagement type like myself, you can still tab through your characters with the shoulder buttons at lightning speed and make them cast things manually on all but the quickest fights. In the end you have a combination of Secret of Mana-style menu spamming and your run-of-the-mill MMORPG combat, and in my estimation, it works quite well. Granted, I liked Grandia 2... ahem, FFX's system better, but you can't knock S-E for trying something new, and it turned out rather well.

To be sure of my theory I looked through a large number of FAQs and reviews and couldn't find the answer to this simple question. If this problem can be corrected within normal game circumstances, then

I will have to consider FF12 as a game to go back and try.
Andrew

What problem!?

In FF12 if I walk up to an enemy with gambits off, is it possible to select the attack command, have the attack play out, wait for the ADB charge meter to fill, and watch as my character does absolutely nothing until I give another command?

If the answer is yes than maybe I will have to pick up FF12.

If the answer is no, I have a simple observation. You cannot play FF12 like old FFs as some would like to suggest. I say this based on these principles:

a) Menus do not appear when the meter is full (it does matter, especially for wait mode)

b) Old games did not have an auto attack, which could not be turned off

c) Everyone attacks as soon as there meter is full which means almost simultaneously, not turn based (ATB may not be turn based either but attacks are performed in order of confirmation)
Andrew

Oh.

Why on earth would you care about that? Yes, it's an entirely different battle system, and if your enjoyment of games is predicated upon how much they are like other games, then you're cheating yourself out of a lot of good titles. I mean, take for example the evolution of the battle system throughout the Final Fantasy series. Would you have refused to play FFIV because it stopped being completely turn-based? Would you have jumped ship on FFVI because of the ATB gauge? Would you have spurned FFVII because it cut back to three players and changed the dynamic of the battles with the summoning system, a situation that was further developed in FFVIII? In FFIX, would you have then been outraged when Square sneakily almost-but-not-quite returned to a turn-based system(yes, I know it still has the action bars, but if you watch commands play out, there is significant lag between entering some commands and seeing them executed)?

It just doesn't make sense to me to think that way, and while I can certainly understand steering clear of a game because its battle system is similar to others that do not appeal to you, the basic game retains a Final Fantasy feel, even as it is completely different from its predecessors. Also the music is godly, the graphics beautiful and the characters well-developed. Oh, and the voice acting is actually good in a couple of cases. I don't know if you read my old columns, but I am not one to praise voice acting. In any case, it is your decision, but I don't see how a menu popping up at a certain time (yes, there's still a menu that pops up for your main character, and you can wait for the action gauge to fill and tab over to one of your supporting characters' menus too) is crucial to the perceived quality of a game.

If this is the case, I think that I understand why this is a love it or hate it game, and will probably stick to other games I still haven't gotten too. I want to be able pick my actions and not worry about them ever being put in a que.
Andrew

Again, I hope you're retroactively binning FFIV and FFIX.

On a slightly less ranty but related note, a common criticism of turn based RPGs these days tends to be their lack of innovation.

I am not willing to debate or agree to that, but I do think any new features that doesn't head into action RPG (Eternal Sonata) or MMO like(FFXII) territory would be good.
Andrew

Hate to break it to you, but unless you fancy racing RPGs or MLB YAOI PRINCES OF CHAOS 2015, there aren't many other directions to go in.

That said I am reminded of Super Mario RPG and how successful that series has been.
Andrew

Well, if you overlook dross like anything with the words "Paper Mario" attached to it.

My question is do you have any game series that are not RPGs at all (not even action RPG) that you think would be awesome as a turn based RPG?
Andrew

Iunno... Zelda? Oops, I don't think I'm supposed to say that. Nothing to see here, comrade. Please move along.

Personally, I would love to see a full on FF7 or 10 inspired RPG using the Legend of Zelda universe with enemy avatars on the regular world map and in dungeons while a la Blue Dragon, using classic Zelda items to change whether you surprise the enemy or they have status effects.
Andrew

They made that, it's called Wild ARMs.

In combat said items would comprise the set up of the actions the player can take, each with slightly independent rules e.g. Magic Boomerang: targets multiple enemies over a series of turns but not the same one twice. Honorable mention also goes to a tactics RPG based on the Sly Cooper series, imagine a tactics RPG where the in story mission is to perform various sub goals (steal some keys and blow up a dam) so you can perform a heist. If you still need inspiration check this out: GIANT ENEMY CRAB
Andrew

Who has time to make these things? Honestly...

Anyways I'm still trying to figure out what to get with my last Wii points. So between 2000 Wii points what would you recommend from Secret of Mana(800), Breath of Fire 2(800), Legend of Zelda(500) and Kirbys Dream Course(800, what I need something that's light hearted)? Also since Final Fantasy 1-6 will be on the virtual console (of those I own IV) which would you recommend based on the same cost division?

Kit Cloud

Andrew

Hmm. Well, BoF 2 is mediocre, and if you don't have the original Zelda by now you should cut your losses and get the Adventures of Link instead since it's ten times better. You have to get Secret of Mana, and noodle will kill me if I don't say Kirby, so prepare to eat some bricks! (Yes, I know, that's 2100... Buy the extra hundred.)



Unfit for Print


I'm looking for the stragery guide for Ar tonelico Melody Of Elemia.I have used some cheat codes but i'm stuck at one point which i can't get passed.Is thier any way you can help me.

Andrew

Seriously? After this long some of you still need me to forward you to places instead of just, you know, typing GameFAQs into your address bar? Or into Google if you're especially impaired? I mean true, if your FAQ isn't very detailed I might have been able to ask around for help, but you didn't even tell me what part of the game you're having trouble on, leaving me to guess. Here, then, is my totally random advice, based upon my assessment of your needs: to enter letters into the character/gamesave name field at the beginning, use the arrow keys on your d-pad. Hope that helps!





C L O S I N G
BLAH BLAH BLAH BLING BLING BLAH:

Well, that's all the letters we have that the new guy didn't abscond with. I will do this as often as letters allow, so please, send some. I know you kids are more into the J-RPG thing, but I've been experiencing a serious annoyance with WoW lately that I think also extends into J-RPGs. Mainly, things are just too damned easy nowadays. I remember a time when you had to scrawl out ten floors of a dungeon onto a 5x5 grid of graph paper and the boss at the end could smash your face in by blinking if you didn't have some magic talisman of facial fortitude purchased at great cost from a famous armorer who for some reason lived at the bottom of the ocean. Now, I'm not suggesting a return to those days is necessarily the way to go, but what do you guys think... Are games too easy nowadays? Or has RPGamer's audience devolved entirely into the lazy little 12-year-olds that plague me daily in Azeroth? I must know! You will tell me. At least, if you ever want to see another of these. Ok bai!

qna@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long used to walk to school uphill both ways in a blizzard.


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