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Googleshng - October 6 '04- 4:00 Eastern Standard Time

The title of today's column has absolutely nothing to do with anything. Well, except for antelopes I suppose.

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Having been bored out of my skull lately, I decided to check the Games link to see if there was an old RPG or two I'd missed for one of my consoles. And I suddenly realized that either I'm very blind, or someone forgot one very important aspect of that section.

You can check for upcoming games. You can check for games in a series. And you can check for a rather non-descript 'other'. But ... there is no complete list per system. Why not? I would think that's what most people need, like, a quick check of what RPGs are available for the GBA or what not. Any chance this can be brought up with whoever it needs to be brought up with?


Faithful reader Calydor

Actually, if you click that little "Release Dates" link, you can look at all the games for a given system (released upcoming or both), sorted by release date or alphabetically. The two listings really should be integrated admittedly. It's on The List.

Sidequests and Minigames

Dear Google and/or Andrew

I'd like to know what the hell goes through some of the designers of rpg's tiny little brains at some point in the development of the game. The exact point in time when they go "hey this game is going pretty well, smooth combat, exciting storyline, I know lets insert a sub-quest in which the player has to expend many hours getting extremely bored and frustrated thus totally ruining the forward drive of the story and hopefully making them give up on the game altogether!!"

I'm not just talking about the lightening dodging in FFX (though that did indeed suck), because that at least was only for a minor extra. What has REALLY cheesed me off is Muku "friggin'" Muku in Suikoden 2. I'll wager most people don't start out with a game fresh with a guide to hand so like me missed this little turd early on in the game. Imagine my annoyance when I find the best game ending is dependent on getting all 108 stars. And how impressed was I when I found I had to wander about on the World Map until he passively shows up in my party. Imagine my ANNOYANCE when after FIVE DAMN HOURS he still hadn't appeared. Which made me so mad I deleted my save game, and plan to auction the game on eBay as I hear it's worth a decent amount of cash.

So why do game designers do this? After failing to recruit him, I was so sick and tired that even the thought of loading the game up made me ill and I totally couldn't care less anymore how the story ended. It's not just Suikoden 2, said annoyances in FFX marked it down in my book and there are others, but I am too annoyed to think about them now.


Varalys The Dark

Well, there's a basic principle that everyone recognizes about RPGs. People who play RPGs like to have little optional sidequests to pursue as a change of pace, extra challenge, and length extender. A lot of them however, even ones who have been at it for years, often have a hard time understanding which sidequests are good ideas, and which are horrible. So they'll look at the wonderful little randomly generated hundred floor dungeon in Lufia 2, where you can take time out from the game to pop in and try for some cool new equipment, and try to copy that, but they don't quite get the point, and end up creating a stark, nearly empty, 100 floors of identical scenery you have to slog through in one sitting to get a special character. Or they find a game with some fun little action based mini-game, and decide to make a mini-game where you have to properly time 100 button presses in a row to get an item you need to get the best ending.

Now, why do these people have such poor judgement? Well, sadly, RPGs are the only genre of games where you can do well without having any idea of how to create fun gameplay. Pretty much every RPG ever made uses the exact same rules for combat, and pretty much the exact same monster stats. Even if you screw up on those, all that happens is the players has to grab a couple more experience levels at one point or another. So if you have no clue what you're doing, it only shows in option sidequests... or when you try something new and different combat wise.

Last time I work on the assumption the leg work got done over the weekend...

Hey googlator,

I'm a big admirer of the BG series(more like Black Isle series as BG has only one sequel but hey!) and have actually followed it since its debut.In response to the hot -for many of us- subject of BG3 and the various rumours that fly around,the fact is that there IS going to be one and even though it would be expected and quite logical for BG fans to overreact and create rumours,I can say from what I've seen that this in not one.Far from it.

You see,the new proprietor of the AD&D CRPG license(Atari),has officialy announced that they will proceed with a BG3 project.As a matter of fact they've said much-much more,like that's it's going to be a prequel,that it will use the AD&D 3.5 edition,the show up of some certain hamster-wileding NPCs(or their ancestors as seems more logical...)and many other things.This was covered(and probably was a reason for some crazy sales)at October's issue of PC Games magazine.Atari has even posted a poll about the most wanted returning NPCs and the deal right now!

So the point right now is not whether there is going to be a BG3 but who its developer is going to be.Fingers pointing towards Bioware(dnied and is busy with Dragon Age),Obsidian Ent.-former Black Isle(too busy with KotOR 2),and Troika ad Stormfront(quiote possibel if you ask me).Personally I thought logical and expected for Atari to hire as developers a team with as many former BS staff as possible as BS ''had already''(possible rumour,can't check) started the developement of BG3 before being disbanded.

As for the NWN being Bioware's sequel to BG2 like someone said in yesterday's column,,it is untrue and illogical.The trailer that came with BG2 said exactly''you may import your BG2 character''.Furthermore NWN is already out and neither can you import your BG2 character nor does it have anythig to do with the BG saga.

My personal opinion on this is that we're on the way towards a new BG,as Atari has not only announced it but they have stated that their BG3 will be a prequel,the only way they could continue the BG saga at the point (since at the end of BG2 you are almost a demigod).
So,in other words,rejoice!

Also,I was wondering about what you said yesterday about a work of yours hitting the market sometime this year.What kind of work is that?

Apart from that congrats to your ranting fingers Google as you've been on a great column spree!Keep on!!

The Love Doctor of Love

What's wrong with being a demi-god when the game starts? It worked well enough for Torment, no?

It's the second.


Well, thanks to being out of the loop, I was unaware even of the existence (or is it existance? oh well) of Koudelka or Shadow Hearts until a couple months back when you started to talk about it on the QNAs. Well, I got Koudelka off of Ebay but the loading times during battle just get to me. I can't get over the loading...maybe I'm a picky bastard, but that's the way it is. I'll probably go back and beat it when I get some patience in me or something.

Anyway, I pre ordered Covenant and so I got the first game (or is it the second?) for free. So now I'm playing the first game (or is it the second?). So far I'm quite enjoying it. The opening cinema lays out how much of a badass Yuri is which is nice, it's nice to be a badass. My only real complaints so far of the game are 1) you have to go to that stupid accupuncurist to change your party which is quite annoying and 2) that stupid cut-scene thing where the Sea Mother talks about Li Li's story...oh my god, that was the worst voice acting I've ever seen. MAYBE it was supposed to be funny but I just thought it was monumentally sad. But beside those two things (which are very minor) I'm loving it. I'm just ticked cause I can't get the level two fusions yet because Yuri is too afraid. What a SMURF.

So here comes the customary (or is it customery?) question: Do you know why we pulled you over? Littering and...? Littering and...? Littering and...?


Yes, the voice acting in Shadow Hearts is rather uh... hideous. It's much better in the other two games for whatever it's worth... and speaking of the intro to Shadow Hearts, I really miss that trenchcoat.


I just wrote you an e mail but I forgot to say two things:

1) Another thing I don't like about Shadow Hearts is the battle music. The music itself is fine, but that chanting woman kinda gets on my nerves.

I love the atonal chanting myself.

2) STOP TALKING ABOUT COVENANT! I wanna play it so bad but I WILL NOT do so without playing the first one first...


Uh, you're already skipping the first one. Shadow Hearts is about as direct of a sequel to Koudelka as you can get. Not like it takes that long, it's a 10 hour game.

Now then for what it's worth:

Koudelka takes place in 1898 at the Nemeton Monastery in Wales, with a fairly small cast of characters.

Shadow Hearts takes place in 1913, with your party crossing eurasia motivated by stuff that went on in Koudelka, and eventually running into various characters from Koudelka, around when you get to yon monastery.

Shadow Hearts: Covenant takes place in 1915, wih a couple characters from Shadow Hearts (and Koudelka for that matter), with a stop by that monastery to boot.

All three are equally connected story wise. The title similarities come from the fact that the two Shadow Hearts games have pretty much the same gameplay (and main character), while Koudelka focused on, well, Koudelka, and that weird semi-tactical combat.

Birthday fun.

Greetings (monks sing) GOOGLESHNG
How is it going my gender-challenged slime type thing? Today is my birthday? I have a question while playing Phantom Brave, what is the bonus stat do when you switch titles since it's not really known to me. That and what was the reason for your title on yesterdays column? It got me thinking as to what is the strangest attack of all as well since that would be near the top of the list.

Yesterday's column title comes from how the vampire in Shadow Hearts: Covenant reminds me of Phil. As for titles in Phantom Brave, here's pretty much everything I have to say about them. If you want some more loose ones, you can feed a character or item to Marona and the title will go to the pile. Each title has different stat effects. If you slap a title onto a random dungeon, the old title disappears. If you run through a random dungeon, each floor the title on it gets new bonuses, and when you finish, the title goes back to the pile. That about cover it?

Oh, and happy birthday.

The Last Laugh:

Here's hoping tomorrow is free of letters asking me whether Shadow Hearts is the sequel to Koudelka.

Googleshng "I said, if the soup wasn't poisoned, then I would have had some."

Wonderful scene that one.

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