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Lab-Tested for Gentleness!

Andrew Long - August 13, 2004 19:28 EDT

SO ANYWAY, today is Friday the 13th, and in celebration, I woke up an hour too early. Though it is merely 7:30, I am deathly tired, and will therefore crank this sucker out post-haste, so as to facilitate passing out.

Well, actually, I'm not really planning on passing out just yet, but it's Friday the 13th, after all, and I figure I can get away with some fantastic lying just to make things seem weirder, like this time back in fifth grade when I had a dream on Friday the 13th that the school janitor, because I had seen him committing the monstrous crime of mopping the walls at my grandparent's house, was bound and determined to shoot me.

Dreams, though, are not what we are here to discuss today, and apparently, the only disappointment people care much about is that which I experience everytime I glance at my copy of Xenosaga. As such, prepare for the Xenosagaing of a lifetime, or possibly at least a weektime.



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I saw a man
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Name that tune?

Clarification: the first of several

Hey, Cast. Just wanted to clarify. I really, honestly, DO love Shenmue, even with all of the mundane tasks that you think would be boring and tedious. It was cool and fun, and I got engrossed in the world that the game provided. I liked wandering by the shops on Altar Shop Street. I liked stopping by the park to do Tai Chi with Jianmin. I honestly did enjoy moving the crates. To any other fans of the series out there, I just have to say, "Gwu-Huh!" Yeah, you know what it's all about. Delin was a lot more fun than the ape-looking guy you have to move crates with for that dominatrix in Kowloon. You should try it, it's fun.
Kenny the C.

Thanks for sharing, Kenny the C. If this crate-moving is as engrossing as everyone is making it out to be, maybe' I'll just take up a career in the boxhauling business for fun and profit. If there's dominatrices involved, it's sure to provide the setting for some sort of wacky reality show!


I dont understand the love of Xenosaga. Why does everyone like it so much. Sure it has character development, and a deep plot, and nice animation. The first 2 I can find in most books, and all 3 can be found in a good DVD store. Where's the playing? Where's the exploring? For crying out loud where is the interaction? Long video sequence, bash a few monsters, more video, little monster bashing, oh look another video. Might as well play The Bouncer, at least it was shorter.

I was with you right up until you suggested playing The Bouncer, which pretty much counts as a crime against videogames. I will agree, though, that hacking thirty or forty hours off Xenosaga would probably improve it immeasurably. Unfortunately, Namco's pretty much stuck making drawn-out puppet shows at this point, so I don't hold out too much hope for XS2.

Flogging brother? I hope this guy isn't British

My happily flogging bother,

Just out of curiosity, why do you hate Xenosaga so much? The game play does suck, but the story is actually pretty nifty if you're into that genre.
Your happily flogging brother.

You just said it yourself - the gameplay sucks ass. While a good story can carry a game a fair distance, there has to be something to hold it together - else, as the last reader pointed out, there's little use in playing a game when you can get an equivalent experience from a book or a B movie. That's why I still haven't finished VS four years later, and why XS will probably malign my shelf for many months to come.

Hey Robo- DELETED!

Hey Andy (can I call you Andy? - No? OK, sorry)

I figured given your abundant Xenosaga bashing in Friday’s column, you’ll be receiving a lot of backlash from the fanboys. I thought I’d let you know that you’re not alone: I too have a bitter hatred for the feces-on-dvd known as Xenosaga.

I should probably start off by saying that XenoGEARS is my favourite game of all time. I love its atmosphere, the giant robots, the music, the story, and the game play. So naturally, when Xenosaga came out, I was on it like stink on a monkey. For some reason, they decided to ignore all of it’s predecessor’s good points. Music? I honestly didn’t hear any except for the battle tune, and it was completely unmemorable. Story? Here’s a warning for you – if you thought you’d have to trudge through 15 hours of engine-humming space ships to get through the plot, you’re mistaken. The game has little plot to speak of. It ends abruptly, with little to no wrap up and zero character development. Chaos can disintegrate gnosis with a tough, and they never expand on that beyond him saying that he’s “special”. Sure, they leave it open to develop it later, but there’s a world of difference between leaving enough content for a sequel, and not having any development period. I paid for a game – not a demo. Give me some advancement, dammit!

I could go on and on about the faults of Xenosaga, but I think I made my point: I’m on your side. Maybe it’s because I had such high hopes for it, and failing to meet those hopes made me even more bitter. I can’t say; but I do know that I won’t be picking up Xenosaga 2 when it comes out.

- RoboTroy

So wait - the plot that I was still waiting to happen when I gave up doesn't? So why does everyone keep raving about the good story, then? I'd hate to think that all of RPGdom is so easily suckered by breastulant robots and space ghosts...

Um, sure thing, peasantface

I bring forth an offering of Creamsicles, some of my usual bad jokes and, hopefully, a letter that will not enrage my lord.

What lord you say? Well, The Lord of Q&A that is. (Oh goody, I'm on a roll!)

I hate to break it to you, but our fearless leader kind of put the kibosh on RPGamer feudalism after an unfortunate incident involving myself, some peons from Warcraft, and another dragon that happened to kill them all. Facing millions in reparations for the loss of my good peasants as part of the international brotherhood of dragons, Mikel had a hasty declaration of emancipation drawn up which conveniently accused me of treason and carnal knowledge of demons and being generally icky, which I managed to escape on the grounds that I am not, in fact, icky, but am rather super great. Even so, I lost my lands in the proceedings and now I have to do this column to make ends meet. FOR WHY!

***User has used Hotmail's Spell Checking feature***

Well, it just happens that I am at the very end of Xenosaga (Right before Proto Merkaba, for those who want to know) This is the second time I play this game, last time I deleted my game at this very same spot. I am not about to say I love Xenosaga, but I can't say it's bad either. I can share your gripes about walking around a spaceship with only it's engine sound to accompany you.

***User has used Hotmail's Spell Checking feature***

I think the story is ok, makes you want to know more about what's going on and what that U-DO really is. I also keep hoping that it's REALLY connected to Xenogears and not just some small money making connection. If you do check out Xenogears Perfect Work, you can see quite a lot similarities.

***User has used Hotmail's Spell Checking feature***

Anyway, my main gripe about Xenosaga (and a lot of recent RPG since Final Fantasy X I believe) is the lack of RPG standard game play construction (if you will) What I mean is the lack of a World map you have to walk around and explore... and the lack of a cool Airship to go around faster. Menu driven Airship just sucks.

One more thing... anyone tempted to check the huge Preview of Xenosaga II on this site... Be warned, it contains of the biggest spoiler ever! It should be illegal to release such images before a release of a game.

***User really can't spell OMG! hOTmaIl si nifected bu users's mindless spelllling ability.... sux0r!!!1oneI*** (Hey, I extended the exclamation joke with a roman numeral!)

Anyway, since I've spent my whole childhood inside imaginary spaceship fighting evil, I don't mind the mindless walk inside noisy spaceship. Kind of reminds of Star Trek TNG... with my special "Sound effect accentuating" television I used to have. Ah, those where the days. Before I learned about the wires sticking from the ship.

Well this letter is getting quite pointless so far and the level of bad joke quality is skyrocketing... I guess it's time to go...

A question before I leave! While in the last letter, you mentioned liking clichés in RPG (related to Tales of Symphonia). Being the resident old geiser (or is that geeser? Spell checking won't help here) I too am quite fan of RPG clichés... which aren't quite clichés anymore since no game uses them anymore.... Anyway, don't you think it's about time we see a floating island/continent/ZEAL!

You take care my Lord!


I think the floating island craze has been pretty played, since FFIX, Skies of Arcadia, Star Ocean 2, and any number of other RPGs have all tapped that cliche for its levitational goodness, and judging from some of the FMV in ToS, I'm pretty sure there's something floating among the clouds in that game too. Floating islands have been a part of RPGs since FFVI (or possibly Lunar), and they haven't really gone away.

The only place I'd want to see Zeal, incidentally, is in Chrono Break, and since S-E killed that off, I'm guessing Zeal won't see the light of day for quite some time (unless you happen upon a time machine, of course.)

Snoop? What the fun

What up Snoop?

Have you gotten to tear into Tales of Symphonia at all? I'm enjoying it a lot more than I did Destiny or Destiny 2, and in my oppinion it's the closest any of the sequels have come to Phantasia.

Regrettably, after my first ten-hour rental glut a few weeks back, I've been unable to corner my sister into picking it up for me again, much as I would like to keep playing. I really do want to see it through though, since it's my first Tales game and so far, it's so good.

Also, do you think the reason Q&A gets a ton "less business" is because the RPGamer site layout has improved a bunch and all the information people would have asked you back in the day can now easily be found on the site? I realize that release dates, import questions and the like were normally questions, but now there's Japandemonium and the little on-the-left Relase-Date....action....

-Doby G

I'd say those things are costing us business here, but the thing is, our release dates tend to be a little on the never maintained side, while our Japandemonium host has vanished off the face of the earth again. Granted, Martyr's doing a great job filling in, but judging from the number of "um when iz ff7ac comin out plsz" letters that end up in my inbox, I don't think those things have quite cut us off from cool.

If Reeve onii-chan’s going to be in Advent Children,
I’m gonna do a fangirl faint.

Bucket Mouse

Oh, I see... First you don't write in forever, and then when you do, you faint on me? THIS WASN'T PART OF THE DEEEEEAL! Or at least, if we'd had a deal, it wouldn't have been part of it.

Hey dude,
In response to yesterdays Creamsicle question, you are only partially correct. While there does exist a chocolate version of said orangy treat, the fudsicle is not it. The product in question is a Revello. Chocolate on the outside, vanilla ice cream on the inside where the fudsicle is solid chocolate. Why would I take the time to write this in? Because I love Revellos.

On an RPG related note, has there been any mention of save file transfer ability between Suikoden IV and Suikoden III? Take 'er ease my canuck brethern,


Thanks for the correctioning, ndh. I would guess that since each of the first few Suikoden titles has included file transfer capability, the fourth will probably follow suit. That said, I have yet to hear any official word of it (although if any Suiko fans out there know different, feel free to give us a shout).

Who is Death Cab By Cutie?
I've never heard of them. Do they sound anything like Death Cab for Cutie? ~Jason

You've taken me down a peg! A WHOLE PEG! Seriously dude, my little typo has destroyed my ability to pretend to be a hipster, and I think I'll just burn all my mustard-coloured Mike's Garage skintight T's and corduroys now to save some time.


Early for once, eh? Well, tomorrow will probably be more of the same, unless I opt for the super-late night approach, which is always a possibility. Either way, I'm curious. What makes you like RPGs so much that you'd rather play them than, say, read a book or watch a movie? Even if RPGs aren't your favorite form of entertainment, what is it that keeps you coming back for just one more spiky-haired angsty romp through the verdant green fields of somewhere? Do you just play RPGs as some sort of bizarre form of water torture? I know it seems that way when I subject myself to games like Rhapsody! At any rate, we shall discuss this further tomorrow, but for now...
Andrew Long must go... But first, he will wait.



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