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Googleshng - January 11 '01- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

Curse this devil-game! I really don't see why I can't yank myself away from PSO. Oh. Wait. That's right. It has Phantasy Star in the title. Mystery solved. Now on with the column! Don't forget to send questions for CN tomorrow!

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Dear Google,

On PSO, can you hire NPCs in the town, to travel with you and help out (like on Diablo 2) or is strictly you and your buddies?

Also, are there teleporters (or something like that) to take you to the different zones, or do you have to walk from the town to where you wanna be every time? (Again, like the teleporters on Diablo 2)

Oh yeah and lastly, when you get a level up, do all of your stats just go up according to what class you are, or do you get to choose how points are distributed to customize your character? And do you just learn magic and techniques at certain levels, or do you get to pick which ones you learn? (hahaha, maybe i should have just asked "is this game like diablo 2?" ^_^)

Pimp-BOT 9k

Googleshng:
As yes, the great question of just how much PSO is like Diablo 2. First off, you can't go around hiring mercenaries in town, largely because you're too busy being one yourself. Like in PS4, you are, technically, a bounty hunter in addtion to whatever else you are, so, when you aren't out advancing the main plot of the game, you can loiter around the hunter's guild and take odd jobs for some quick cash and experience. These little jobs have their own little plotlines, some of which foreshadow a lot of the stuff in the game, and in several of them, an NPC will take along with you, usually a client wanting a bodyguard, or some added muscle to help you out. In theory, NPCs like this might join your party in the main storyline too, which I've personally been sluggishly advancing. Anyway though, even if you have no friends, you will occassionally have a partner.

Yes, there are teleporters to the various areas of the game once you reach them, and there's even an item which acts like the scrolls of town portal in Diablo 2.

Going up levels is not like Diablo 2. When you get enough EXP, you go up a level, and your stats increase depending on what you are. the higher your stats, the more equipment and spells you can use. However, in the spirit of customization, each character has a little robotic companion that you can feed common items to, making it grow in different ways, giving you bonuses to different stats, teaching it new attacks to use when it actually feels like fighting, and making it look really cool.

Another way PSO is like Diablo 2 by the way is that you can only save when you quit the game. This saves a lot of the headache involved in having multiple people playing at once, but unlike Diablo 2, you can still reset your game if you, say, drop a great weapon to pick up a healing item and have 3 giant praying mantises come up and kill you and you don't want to face them to get it back.

 
Is it hip to be a Square?
Do you like Squaresoft or not? Do you think Square should make games for the DC instead of the PS2 because of PS2's (just about) failure is America?

Googleshng:
Of course I like Square, or at least, Square's games. You can't deny that Square is one of the best RPG developers in the world. The problem as I see it though is that since everyone adores Square and buys their games no matter what, lately they've been getting sloppy. Take Vagrant Story for example. That game has some really great concepts, but the mechanics don't quite seem polished. If everyone didn't love Square unconditionally, chances are they would have tweaked things a bit before releasing the game so that, for example, fighting a boss didn't boil down to attacking it for 5 points of damage for half an hour. If anyone other than Square made the game, that sort of thing would make everyone complain. So, while I do like Square, when they do something I don't like, I point it out. You know the saying, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Now, as for Square doing Dreamcast games, well, that WOULD boost the DC's popularity through the roof, make a big pile of money for both Square and Sega, and generally make the world a happier place. It's not going to happen though, because Square doesn't like Sega. Probably because Sega is another one of the best RPG developers in the world. So that leaves Square with the Gamecube, not too likely considering Square kicked Nintendo in the teeth, the PSX2, which strikes me as looking pretty darn sickly right now, the X-Box (Yeah RIGHT!), or making their own console, just for their own games, using terrabyte discs and a processor that can show two times as many polys as an HDTV has pixels. You know they're going to do it eventually, it's just a matter of time. 8)

 
More on PSO!

Yo!

Yeah, that's right: the fruitcake (that would be me) is back. ^_^ Hmm... you're not running away? How strange...

Anyway, I have a question (or a few questions, rather) about PSO: what about the techniques? I haven't heard anything about tech use yet, apart from the fact that there are techniques... so:
1: Are there as many techs as in, say PS2, or as few as in PS3?
2: Are the techs mostly the same as in the previous games, or are there a lot of new ones?
3: Since I love playing wizards, is the "force" class worth using? I've seen far too many games where magic turns virtually useless about halfway through the game... and games like PS4, where the best fighter ends up with the best magic, as well...
4: I've heard nothing at all about "skills" (as in PS4), so I'm assuming there aren't any of those in PSO... am I assumiong correctly?
5: Finally... does anyone know when PSO will be released in europe? All I hear is "2001"... and that isn't really much of an answer.

Well, that's about it for now. I'll be back to pester you again some other time... ^_^

/JL

Googleshng:
OK, PSO's techniques. The character I'm using has access I believe to the whole standard battery of techs. The three power levels of the 3 main elemental damage spells, and healing, anti, rever, some stat boosting and lowering spells, and Megid. My character is a Hunter. Therefore, I assume Force characters have access to a while bunch of new ones, and I'll check on that as soon as I get a second memory card. As for them becoming useless later on, I really don't see it. To my understanding, the only weapon that can hit a bunch of monsters at once is the Really Big Sword™, which is extremely slow, not to mention short ranged. Later techniques hit pretty wide areas. There's also something to be said for having a ton of MP for healing and support spells. Really, the classes in PSO are remarkably complimentary and balanced. Stuck as I am with just one character, recently I've been in the situation of pulling out my Really Big Sword™, hacking down a swarm of fast short ranged monsters, then switching to my cheesy little handgun to pick off something I don't want to get close to, all the while healing and being prepared to cast my one big MP sucking spell if things get scary. Since you can't pause it, it would REALLY help to have someone else handling the firearms and magic, and for that matter having another person around period would prevent little things like being mobbed and slowly killed by 8 baby chicks. As for the european release date, I would assume it will be either simultanious with the US launch, or really soon after. I know for a fact that the whole game has already been translated into all five languages, because even in the Japanese version, you can pick any of them. I'll look into that more though.

 
More on awards
LOD as a runner up for worst let down of the year? aw come on, i thought you liked that game, you spnet like 2 months writing posts about it. The battle system was very innovative plus the story had nice twists, good characters too. back me up on this one. or tell me why it the "worst let down of the year"?
-ade-

Googleshng:
OK, once again I see I must remind everyone that those awards were compiled by votes from the entire RPGamer staff, and Sony DID hype LoD up as a technically amazing fresh new game, then released a dated FF7 clone. As for my opinion of LoD, like I said when it happened, the only thing LoD REALLY had going for it was very very good timing. It was released at a time when there weren't any other pure RPGs to compete with. At that, like you said, it took me two months or so to finish. When I REALLY like a game, I get through it in just a week or two, unless it's really long and/or hard. When you get down to the cold hard facts of the matter though, LoD is an FF7 clone released in 2000. The engine is dated, the map screen characters are attrocious, more importantly the plot is terrible. A collection of one dimensional stereotypes walking through the most cliché ridden story ever made, with a main villain who's nothing more than Sephiroth with a stupid name. On top of that, the dialog is so clumsy and the clichés are so pronounced, you'd have to be really fresh to RPGs not to see every single plot "twist" coming from miles away. Full of holes too. "Dragoons are humans who use dragons to fight non-humans." Then a good chunk of the game is spent having your dragoons, a couple of which aren't humans, kill dragons for no REAL clearly defined reason. Granted, it has a few good points. The battle system, the style of all the ancient stuff (Dragons, Virage, the tree), and that darn impressive looking water. Granted, it's fairly fun. When you get right down to it though, LoD is by far the most mediocre game of the year.

 
Coverage questions
Hey Gurgle...

I'm a happy Dreamcaster who loved Shenmue.

Now that my intro is over, I have a few questions and a comment:

Q: There was a lot of crap to collect in Shenmue that had no use. Therefore, should I assume it is a good idea to keep my VMU file for possible compatability with Shenmue 2?

Q: I'm surprised that RPGamer isn't covering Black and White. This is the ONLY PC game I plan to buy in the next while. What have you got to say about that one? Do you even care?

Q: My rommate is an AC geek, and we are both getting serious about Anarchy Online. Will RPGamer ever cover MMORPGs?

C: You have been raving about SoA for a while now, so after I finished FF9, I nabbed it from my EB (though the first one I got was defective). After about 10 hours (I just had an hour long, grueling battle with the Lynx), I can safely say this game is sweet! AND, I thought VP was sweet too, though not worth buying. Anyway, the point is, I officially trust your taste in games. 8?)

Keep your opinions coming!

Thanks,
RockyDil

Googleshng:
OK, I can almost guarrentee you transfer your character over to Shenmue 2 with all your EXP and stuff, so yeah, hold onto that file. RPGamer doesn't cover Black and White because it isn't an RPG, but it does look pretty interesting. Kinda like how Populous SHOULD have been. As for covering online RPGs, that's a matter of eternal debate around here. I personally have always been against it, simply because, well, most of what we do just wouldn't apply. You can't write walkthroughs of them. With our policy of not writing reviews until we've actually finished the game, we can't do that either. There's no way CC or I could answer questions on them since they take too much time. All we'd be able to do is gather news and screens on them, and at that, the things come out of the woodwork. We'll cover FF11 of course though. Oh, and as for SoA, glad you like it. Everyone seems to.

 

The Last Laugh:


This time, I'm NOT going to forget about this!

Ever notice how when CC stopped sending stuff like this in, Rad started, then after he stopped Guifá did, then after him came LightSoul here? Wonder if one day they'll all wake up at once and clutter this little area up.

Anyway... this column is a tad... ranty. Odd how tha worked out. Hope you enjoyed it though. Someone pointed out that AOL doesn't get along with the DC, so I suppose I should revise my PSO facts wallpaper. I know it works with Earthlink though. Now, don't forget, CN will be here one last time tomorrow. Make sure to send in good stuff.


Googleshng "Addicted" @rpgamer.com
I wish I had a friend playing, or at least a pause button.

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