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ASK ANDREW
The Champlain Jig October 9, 2005

Andrew Long - 00:56 EST

WELL, TRY AS I MIGHT I just can't seem to conjure up anything to talk about here, so I'm going to smile and nod in the hopes that somebody is saying something to you that sounds particularly agreeable, which will then cause you to associate that awesomeness with this intro. Then you will read with a happy heart and I can get off scot-free! SCOT FREE I TELLS YOU!

In other news, when following recipes that involve eggplant, do not use the eggplant. It can only end in disaster.




L E T T E R S
Paine gets the day of the week right!


Yo Weekend guru of Q&A

i got a question for you. now that we got final fantasy V and VI coming out. whats your thought of square-enix giving us chronotrigger and secret of mana for the gba?

do you think those 2 games could work on the DS?

Sincerly

Paine


ANDREW


Why wouldn't they work on the DS? I honestly don't understand what exactly would prevent them from doing so, although I guess anything's possible. As to whether or not you will see them, Chrono Trigger is possible, but I doubt you'll see Secret of Mana, a) because it's already announced for the GBA and b) because another Mana game is currently under development for the handheld. A new game, that one is. I know you're not a big fan of those for some reason, but they do manage to sneak past S-E every so often.


Self-restraint has no place within these walls


The announcement of Disgaea 2 makes me want to go 'whee."

But I'll restrain myself for now.

Anyway, I recently picked up Lunar DS and found myself completely unable to get interested in it. This surprised me considering how much I loved the first two Lunar games. Admittedly, I haven't played it for very long, but it's just very... dull. Am I missing something about it?

I find myself playing Riviera and the Nippon-Ichi games in its place, so I wonder if Lunar DS is headed for the 'get a refund' pile?

And am I the -only- one who thinks the characters in Lunar DS are WAAAAAAY too young? I mean, seriously, they're like... 9 or something!
-Caffeine247


ANDREW

As it so happens, a few people I've talked to have been comparing Lunar DS to rather unpleasant things. Paws, our resident lovely reviewer, has indicated that she is quite disappointed with it, and doesn't think it's very good at all. She, as I, recommends that you indeed toss Lunar DS on the refund scrapheap and additionally, she has authorized me to pimp the following link so that you may be brainwashed into buying the game it hypes:

where's ma money?

So yeah, even though I may be a bitter bitter man who has not liked a Lunar title since the original Sega CD entry, you can take Paws for her word, because she likes every Lunar game for some reason, which, while curious, gives her dislike a certain satisfying heft. You can even throw it at seagulls!



Late starter


I have been a video game fanatic since I was 5, but I didn't start playing RPGs 'til FF7 came out and I instantly got hooked on them. Over the years, I've tried to go back and play as much of the older RPGs as well as the new ones, but I'm still missing out on some, Chrono Trigger and the Dragon Warrior series I can think of off top of my head. Dragon Warrior VIII looks pretty good, and what I was wondering is if I pick it up, will I be completely lost as far as the story goes, or is it like Final Fantasy where each game has new characters, new story, and a new world?

PS - Just found out about Koudelka being a prequel of sorts to Shadow Hearts, fans of the series should try it out if they haven't already, its pretty good, although really short (12 hours)


ANDREW

Dragon Quest is somewhat similar to the Final Fantasy style of utter non-linearity, but several of the games in the series are linked to each other; that said, the most recent entry (Dragon Quest VII) was independent of previous titles to a large extent, and I was able to follow its story without much knowledge of DQs II through VII. Thus, I think you'll probably be okay to give it a whirl, but if you do find yourself headscratching, the following Dragon Warriors seem to be the most widely loved: III, IV, and VI. Also, I-III are a functional trilogy, and IV-VI are more loosely so, although Enix refuses to admit as much because they are nonsense. Some people like VII, but those people are masochistic freaks with no taste in games.

PS - Thanks for sharing, Dustin.



Randomblings


To the red grinning Slime shaped like a Canadian Leaf,
ANDREW

Yeah... about that. Yoink!

It's been so long since I played an RPG where exploration was less of a hassle and more of a pleasure and curiousity, the concept of backtracking to certain places really irks me.

I'm one of those gamers who actually likes to "walk" through my games instead of run from place to place doing stuff, I like looking at every nook and cranny noting the little details and workmanship of the designers. Besides the Legend of Zelda series which basically set the standard in a lot of respects, do you have any recommendations for an explorative RPG that doesn't yell at you to go do this, that or the other thing to advance the story, or oops, we forgot, you need to go back and get this for that thing?

I'm a PS2/Cube gamer, and it's really sad when I see the state a lot of RPGs are in where the storyline locks the characters up in certain events and the only way out is through side-quests or hidden passageways in a dungeon. I like an RPG that develops/reveals the story based on what you do, and not what the game tells you to do.

I know that perhaps a lot of people will disagree with me on my points, but that's just like the difference between turn-based and active based RPGs, really. One has you fixated in one area and doing things based on established rules of the game, the other lets you have some breathing space to pace yourself and enjoy things. I tried Suikoden II a while back, and while that game is done well, it goes overkill on the party member aspect, my personal opinion of course.

So yeah, any thoughts?
~Blade


ANDREW

Better be Symphony of the Night, or any Metroid-style game, really. SotN rewards your obsessive attention to detail, and has an awesome soundtrack, excellent gameplay, and some of the cheesiest, most hilarious voice acting ever found anywhere. It's also a million-seller, so you can pick it up on the cheap, although since it's a PSX title and six years old or more, availability might be an issue. That said, it certainly rewards your style of gameplay, and I think you will enjoy it. That said, there has yet to be another Castlevania to equal its excellence, so don't go fiddling around with others if you can't find SotN; many of them are mediocre, and a handful are pure awful (yeah, I'm looking at you, LoI.)

Beyond that, Brave Fencer Musashi is another good choice, and I suppose if its sequel is worth its salt that might be something to look into as well, though having never played that, I couldn't really say for sure. Finally, if you like storylines expanding based upon your actions, you should grab Breath of Fire V, an excellent game I never miss an opportunity to hype. Gamers who manage to drive Ryu all the way up to Ryu 1/4 will be in for a most excellent storyline, and while maxing out the game itself is no great chore, it is a difficult game to play and actually finishing it and fulfilling the conditions required to get Ryu to that magical 1/4 is a fairly tall order.

Okay, that should be enough to get you on the move, so you got the chance - DANCE!



Irritations and oddments


Greetings Andrew,

Fellow Canadian here from the Wet Coast. Biggest :>~ of the year? (That`s my attempt at a turkey anyways)

I would have to say its Xenosaga 2 *ducks the thrown Bunnie dolls*. The first one started with a great in-depth story (number one selling point for me!) but the second one seemed to have lost its way. I loved the new graphics, but what happened? The battles became boring drawn-out affairs where I would just seem to stock up on turns for half an hour and then unleash major attack after major attack in one big flurry. Alternatively you could do little attacks for half an hour instead... : S The story seemed to focus on two characters for the majority, which disappoints me because first they were not my favorite characters and secondly with the new announcement that Xenosaga will finish at 3 games instead of the original six, leaves me feeling like my preferred characters will get cheated of similar screen time.
ANDREW

I'm guessing what happened was Namco heeded the complaints that a number of people had with the first one, which was that there was story and almost nothing else. There is also the fact that development on the series has followed a downhill spiral since the release of the first game, with the overall direction of the development team being under question, concerns over the series actually continuing arising, and a number of embarrassments like half the team quitting and a voice actor being the one to let the cat out of the bag and reveal that the XS3 was under development. So yeah, there are any number of reasons why that might be. Even so, most people I've talked to about this seem to think Xenosaga 2 was an improvement, so you might be in the minority in your opinion. Nevertheless, I support your use of the turkey and give you a wholehearteded cluck.

DS? PSP? I am not even interested. When would I play them even? In rush hour traffic? There`s Carmaggedon waiting to happen At work? When I get home, I can enjoy a nice big TV screen of PS2 goodness. Why would I want to squint at a little itty bitty screen then? Are there any hardware inventions that are popular yet completely miss the mark for you?

Gouden Draak


ANDREW

Well, most prominently I have never managed to sustain interest in keeping a cellphone on my person, despite everyone around me finding them absolutely indispensable, even to the extent of rudeness, like stupid soccer moms yammering on the morning commuter train at their kids at top volume, oblivious to the fact that the other eighty people in the car couldn't give a damn whether little Timmy is throwing dirty diapers around the kitchen or not.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Well, five is better than two but it still doesn't make for a very meaty column. As such, tomorrow is open topic day; everything goes. You'd best be writing!

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long still needs more than two new letters a day.

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