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Googleshng - November 14 '02- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

I'm told Resident Evil 0 says "Resident EVIL... ZERO!" when you start it. I really can't convey to you people how happy I am to hear that after all these years of waiting for numbers to follow those words.

Cortney: Hi, I'm Cortney Stone, also known as Alethea in IRC. I'm simply delighted to be cohosting Q & A today (hi Mom!), and I hope that I can answer all the questions to the best of my knowledge and lead our readers down a path of RPG enlightenment...or something like that.

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WA3age

Hey Goog,
Since you mentioned it a while ago, how did you upgrade your arms in Wild Arms 3? I ended up basically splitting my 15 upgrades between power and bullets. Speaking of which, is there a way to increase the amount of upgrades?

Cortney:
Well, I don't own WA3 yet...or a PS2 for that matter. Such is the tragic fate of a jobless college grad in today's economy. The closest I've gotten to WA3 was the demo at Wal-Mart (yes, I shop there...but not for clothes). From what I can tell, the weapons upgrade system looks like the one in WA2. During my arduous journey through WA2, I tried to balance out my upgrades, leaning toward power and bullets, but not neglecting accuracy. Remember: all that power won't save your behind if it misses most of the time.

Googleshng:
ARM upgrading in WA2 was a no brainer really. Crank power up a ton, up the bullets enough to use, remember you can just use Lock On so who needs accuracy, remember you have several characters better than Brad so who even cares? In WA3, ARMs are your regular weapons though, plus there's two new stats. Accuracy you should bring up if you're noticing you miss a lot, which is only really an issue for Jet. Crit can be largely ignored. Then comes bullets and weight. Weight affects the cost of using Gatling. Specifically, the cost per shot drops by 1 for every weight upgrade. That doesn't seem significant at first, but if you really pump it up, a full FP bar can yield a nice 10 shots at once (assuming you have the 10 bullets). Getting the full bar is easy once you hit the point where you have hot and cold running F. Carrots too. Just Mystic one every other turn and you're good to go. This leaves you with a few more upgrades, which can be pumped into power, giving you roughly 30 times the oomph of your starting attack every other round, which after factoring in reloads and fluke misses tends to be a bit more total damage than just maxing out power I think, and makes things obscene with proper spellplay. HOWEVER...

At the moment, I have Virginia set up like this. When I come across something with a high defense, she barely touches it. So don't put all your eggs in one basket, and make sure at least one person (Clive, since Lock On is honestly more cost effective than Gatling), goes the raw power route. Personally I have Jet between the two extremes, and if you really insist on tweaking Gallows' little peashooter, you might as well pump up the crit so on the rare occassions when he hits something it actually has a chance of doing damage.

One other WA3 question.... I'm sure you're further along than I am, so have you made it to the Abyss yet? If so, can you tell me where the thing is? I'm looking south of Humphrey's Peak, but I can't stay there too long. For some reason I can only avoid two encounters, and there is a monster out there that has really powerful magic. I've looked everywhere I can think of, but the geographical data the townsfolk give doesn't really help. I see no deep cravasse on the map, yet it is supposed to exist. That is my only real complaint. I really dislike the whole find the towns/caves/etc. yourself. That was something that should have stayed in WA2...

Cortney:
I'll just look the other way to avoid any spoilers.

Googleshng:
Actually, I'm not all that far, but here's a quick tip: If you're in an area where dodging an encounter takes out half your bar, toughen yourself up before you explore there. Hundred floor dungeons are a late game sort of thing anyway really. Oh, and hey, at least WA3 makes the concession of displaying exact map coordinates. My sources say it's at 25210,10200.

The only other complaint is that the Gaurdians STILL have really lame animations. Some of them aren't bad, but I was hoping for more impressive animations to take advantage of the hardware. What do you think about this?
Jordan

Cortney:
I suppose the grand summons of Final Fantasy have spoiled us a bit. The animations on the previous WA games were rather unimpressive, but I was usually more concerned with the effect on the enemy rather than the effect on my eyes. Nevertheless, not using the full capabilities of the PS2 is quite a shame.

Googleshng:
I'm really more curious why you're even bothering with summons. The WA series has always had this little habit of making them far less powerful than would be worth it for the cost... although theoretically enough full carrots and the time summon is enough to win any fight using just one character without taking a scratch, but do you WANT a long grandiose animation if you're doing that?

 
Why do multiparters always wait until guest host day?

Your'r foolish minion has returned with a few more questions.
1) With PS2 being online, can you download things with it, mp3s, emulators, documents, etc.? My lack of technological prowess and mental stupidity prevents me from figuring this out on my own.

Cortney:
I have no idea.

Googleshng:
In theory, if you bought a large number of gimmicky add-ons with questionablity on their U.S. releases, you can turn a PS2 into a fully functional PC and install linux on it. However, the resulting PC would be a total piece of garbage, so seeing how you clearly already have one, I would not recommend doing so. Particularly since as is you can have a console and a comp running at the same time, you know?

Any chance of ever seeing any more Earthbound games?

Cortney:
Also unlikely, since they dared to scrap the one for the N64. I thought it was rather tacky to do so, especially after teasing us with pictures in Nintendo Power. It's a shame...I played the SNES Earthbound over and over back in the day.

Googleshng:
Well, since Earthbound 64 was only scrapped because the piece of hardware it was being designed for never hit the market and there wasn't time to retool it before the N64 stopped being a viable platform, I'd actually say there's a darn good chance of the series reviving on the GameCube.

Oh, and speaking of 64DD fiascos, did everyone read that new Zelda story? Now THAT'S a jaw-dropper.

3) About how many RPGs feature a female who is not kidnapped or otherwise in need of rescue? I can think of only a few...
That's it. Forgive me for my lack of questions, Master and guest host!
I shall go on a pilgrimage and meditate on more questions.
~Minion Mary

Cortney:
The "damsel in distress" is a common element in RPGs due to overt male dominance and the systematic patriarchal oppression of women. I would greatly enjoy seeing Zelda rescue Link from Gannon's clutches just once. It would be a bold step in the women's movement in the RPG genre. I cannot estimate how many RPGs feature women needing the aid of men, but I do believe that female role-players must unite to support the few games that place women in positions of power. I, for one, am looking forward to the estrogen-powered Final Fantasy X-2, in spite of the "sexploitation" of Yuna's gluteus maximus. If enough of us unite together, we can end the days of low statistics and smash through glass ceiling in character development!

Googleshng:
I can think of a few HUNDRED. Please don't make me list them. If you want games which don't contain any girls in need of rescuing there's still a ton. In any case though, I'd recommend both of you grab yon GBA anthology of the Phantasy Star series. You should be quite happy with the plot of the first, the second has a girl you WISH would be kidnapped to free up the party slot (think Merle from Escaflowne made into a near useless RPG character), and PS3... uh... Well, PS3 was made by a different development team, and starts with your fiancée being kidnapped, then when you rescue her you have a choice of dumping her for a random girl on your party (and I strongly recommend you do in fact). Incidentally, PS3 also kinda sucks. Why couldn't they skip it and include 4 tanjit? Ahem, where were we?

 
No, I meant the hugging and kissing kind.

FF10 spoiler kinda sorta maybe?"
Google, I know the differance between Riku and Rikku, just so there are no more mistakes on my part. But I have one more question and then I'll leave you alone for a while. Exactly what do you mean when you say that Rikku is Yuna's new girlfriend? I'm a little confused on this subject but, aren't Yuna and Rikku cousins? I know that's true.

Cortney:
Even though I haven't played FFX, I can answer this one. "Girlfriend" has two connotations. One is that she is your best friend. The other is that you engage in activities beyond friendship. The first connotation is the most common one among women. Furthermore, I have yet to hear many lesbians refer to their partners as "girlfriends." Then again, I don't know too many lesbians. In any case, if Yuna and Rikku are indeed cousins, chances are they are "girlfriends" in the sense of good friends, as in "you go, girlfriend!" Ugh, I despise that tawdry colloquialism.

Googleshng:
Oh I was just picking on FF10's new... graphical style by making a joke related to another famous Eidos game. Don't mind me or assume I know anything about FF10-2 you don't.

Of course, if censorship of Sailor Moon has taught us anything it's that it's far more socially acceptable to be a lesbian if you're sleeping with your cousin than a non-relative.

 
Terrible PR blunder ho!

when does lunar legend come out in the united states? it said in electronic gaming monthly that it came out sometime this month. yet you don't have it on your upcoming releases and i never hear anything about it. i really ned to know this. thank you

Cortney:
One of our earlier stories reported that it was coming out on November 13. Who knows what happened with the folks at Ubi Soft? Aren't they allowed to change their minds? Or perhaps they hit a snag? *clicks into objective news mode* RPGamer will continue to bring you any information on Lunar Legend as it becomes available.

Googleshng:
It was pushed back a month since the writing of that story, and since I last checked the date pretty recently, that one kinda threw me. More importantly though, does anyone really care? Lunar has been rereleased more times than anything not by Capcom (except possibly the original Kirby), and die hard fans always declare that each newer version sucks more than the last. Seeing how with this one you're getting a slight facelift in exchange for a ton of screen size and a nice anime cutscene every 5 minutes, you'd be better off just hunting down a used copy of the PSX version. Unless of course you think dropping a Working Designs translation is a GOOD thing I suppose, but even then you're still grabbing a Genesis RPG when you could be grabbing a collection of 2 and an SMS one for the same price on the same system around the same time.

... I should quit pimping out PSC so much seeing how odds are most people reading this column can't stand oldschool RPG gameplay shouldn't I.

 
More WA3ism

Is it just me, or should I be having a much more difficult time with Wild Arms 3. I'm just breezing through the game, no boss has presented a major challenge yet, and the only problem I had was a shortage of Heal Berries. Is it supposed to be this easy, does it get more difficult. I'm level 21 and just grabbed the Light Guardian Medium. This is easier than the Ocarina of Time.
"All your base are belong to us!"
Walo

Cortney:
I recall a horrid shortage of Berries during my regrettable romp through WA2. I'm dismayed to hear that this trend may continue in WA3. Either the game is easy, or you are lucky, or even incredibly good.

Googleshng:
OK, first off, a curse upon you for that quote there. That out of the way, the difficulty of WA3 picks up a bit in the not too distant future, particularly if you decide to go exploring places you have no reason to, but as a general rule it tends to stay in that "hard enough to break a sweat, but you'll almost definitely win every fight" band of difficulty, which demographically speaking is the best place to aim for. Again though, you're still early on and there is such a thing as a difficulty curve out there.

Oh, and WA3 isn't NEARLY as easy as 2. What the smurf were they thinking with that First Aid spell? Seriously. The only way you could die was if something could take you down with full HP, and I don't recall anything that could.

 
Five parts past 5 AM

Hello Goog and Cortney, multiparter for thou.

1)I know it's been a while, but I was just wondering, what did you think of the rerelease of Final Fantasy 5 that came out in Anthology a few years ago? Long load times aside (that's a given) I thought that it had a boring story, a crappy translation, and nothing really new to get excited about. (The job system had been in FF3j) Plus, the graphics and sound both seemed to be a step back from FF4, as if they had it laying around from before FF4 was in production, and they dragged it out just to have something to sell in 1992. In fact, now that I think about it, that makes a lot of sense.
Any thoughts?

Cortney:
Someone mentioned me by name! Robust Stu, you have made this insignificant newsie's day! As for FF5, the major disappointment for me was Faris's horrible pirate accent. It was outright annoying and stereotypical. I think a light cockney accent might have suited her better. Even simply slicing off the "g"s in her "ing"s (as in "jumpin'" and "slicin'") would have worked. Graphically, it didn't seem to differ from FF4, which makes me wonder if the games were in production at the same time. The story wasn't too bad for its day, but I enjoyed the job change system

Googleshng:
OK, first off, FF5 looks worse than 4 only because you are looking at 4 through nostalgia glasses and 5 through one of the sloppiest port/emulation jobs ever done. That goes double for the sound, although 4 did have a very distinctive musical style going for it. It looked pretty snazzy for the time, especially when you've climbing that one tower. FF3 had a job system, but it sucked because it didn't have any sort of job levels/abilities system whatsoever. The story works just fine for me although it's kinda creepy how many princesses are on your party, but I am totally with you on the translation. Worst work I think Square has ever done in that department. Glaring errors all over the place, and UGH, Faris...

2)What did you think of the Final Fantasy Legend games? I thought they were very good given the time they were released and the platform they were on, particularly the second game.

Cortney:
I never played any of the Final Fantasy Legend games. They are just a handful of the numerous games that I've never tried in my 22 years.

Googleshng:
1 and 2 are mindless dungeon crawls, so blech. 3 I dug at the time, but then when Sunsoft rereleased it they left out the handy chart you really needed if you wanted to make people the best things possible, so uh... it's 6 AM and I'm tired tanjit!

3)If you had to pick ONE of these games to give a sequel to (assuming you'd find a way to make it good and interesting) which would it be: Vagrant Story, Valkyrie Profile, or Earthbound (not counting the unreleased NES game)?

Cortney:
Of the three, I'd say Earthbound. During the final boss battle, Pokey hints at his return, and I'd really enjoy an opportunity to stomp a mudhole in that devious little adipose swine.

Googleshng:
Same answer here. You just can't go and make a sequel to Ragnarok, and I couldn't even stand playing through VS ONE time. I would however like to see it turned into a comic book (or "graphic novel" if you want to be a snob about it). It very clearly wants to be, and it's a complete failure when it comes to being a GAME. (Send all virulent replies to me, not the weekend guy please.)

4)If you could pick one Square game that never crossed the Atlantic to be translated and brought to America, which would it be: Rudora No Hihou, Bahamut Lagoon, Live A Live, Romancing Saga 1, 2 or 3, Treasure Hunter G, Final Fantasy 2 or 3, or Seiken Densetsu 3?

Cortney:
Bahamut Lagoon, without a doubt. I feel so cheated without it.

Googleshng:
Of those, SD3, but could you explain to me why I'm not allowed to pick Front Mission?

5)Have either of you played the Quest For Glory games for the PC? Really great games that I enjoyed the hell out of when I was younger. <plug> In fact, I even wrote reviews for the first four games for Points Of View, a really great section of this site that you, yes YOU can write reviews for, so you can let everybody know what you thought of your favorite (or least favorite) games! You should really check it out. </plug>

Sorry about all the questions, I know you didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition. *DAH!* "NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!"

Robust Stu

Cortney:
Well, any inquisition that doesn't end in being burned at the stake is a good one! I've never played Quest for Glory. Thankfully, that will not mean a hug from the Iron Maiden...those were bloody days indeed.

Googleshng:
Actually, as a staffer, were Cortney to write a review she'd have to push it through a torturous gulag, but all you readers can submit away freely. Oh, and I have minimal experience with the QfG games, but put a lot of time into various other * Quests from the same people.



Quickies

How do you download games from www.rpgamer.com?

Cortney:OK, you caught us. RPGamer has a secret cache of SNES ROMs somewhere on this site. Our fabulous collection includes FF3: The Naked Uncut Version, a fully translated Popful Mail (try finding that one anywhere else!), and a blood-and-gore hack of Super Mario RPG. Just click here.
Google:In other words WE ARE ARE NEW SITE. NOT A PIRACY RING. Fun fact: The entirety of this letter was contained in the subject line.

The Last Laugh:

Cortney: I certainly hope that I have enlightened you all (or "y'all" as we say here in Okieland). Remember: rebel against the establishment! Think for yourself!





Google: Yeah! You should all do what she says and think for yourself! Hmm... catch-22 there. Anyway, now you all get to send letters to the new permanent Q&A host, whose last name I remembered before the sun started to come up and whose first name is Andrew, like a DISTURBINGLY large number of people RPGamer hires... I think we've hired enough that if every Andrew who ever retired came back there'd be enough to run the whole site. In any case, that strange fact aside, you may remember him from a guest hosting stint around December 2000 under the nick CN, but that takes a pretty good memory come to think of it. Anyway, be sure to send him plenty of nice long letters and play nice and all that and don't break him because good potential hosts don't grow on trees.



Googleshng "Go away sun! It's winter!" @rpgamer.com

Seriously, I either get no multiparters, or 5. It really makes it hard to estimate column time that way...

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