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Googleshng - November 30 '04- 4:00 Eastern Standard Time

Growlanser's shipping nowabouts. That should probably change the content of the ol' inbox. For now though, on with the timeless questions!

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Dear Google

Just one question? Why are PC rpgs all so dull and uninvolving? I do like Diablo 2, really I like it a lot, what I don't like is being forced to play it over and over again. Yes I am forced as well. As a jobbing reviewer for another website, I rather foolishly said I would cover the rpgs sections. Now though I am inundated with more myriad crappy clones of Diablo than I ever thought possible. I find my heart sinking whenever I open a box and find it has a fold-out map. And I am sick of Elves. I hate them. Why do you never get to play Orcs? Perhaps I shouldn't have taken WoW for a test drive at a UK game show, now average games seem even more crushingly average. Ah well, this is a lesson the kids should take onboard, reviewing games is all well and good, but not everyone bags the Zelda's and the Halo's of this world. Someone has to review the miles and miles of identikit garbage spewed out in the wake of one superior game. It just seems that whereas an average rpg on a console usually has at least some decent plot and character stuff to hold your attention, PC rpgs lack even that. When did PC rpgs become so souless?

Yours pensively
Varalys

Googleshng:
The real issue here is that console games are almost entirely made in Japan. So when a popular game comes out, and everyone and their mother makes a cheap knockoff of it to cash in on the next big thing, most of them don't do well enough to come over here, and we just get the ones from the companies with a lot of cash to throw around. With PC games, you're a lot closer to the source, so you get exposed to all the shoestring budget meritless garbage that's never going to ship overseas. That and Diablo's a bit easier to clone than most.

As for never having enough orcs, I agree. That's why I've been working on a 400 page RPG sourcebook focused specifically on playing as orcs.

Now there's the sort of segue you don't get to make too often.

 
Hungry?

Googleshng,

Yesterday, you mentioned Quistis (of FF8) 'eating a behemoth'. I'm not sure if this was just an off-hand quip (it's been awhile since I've played it), but it made me think of the ability you get from the GF Eden, called Devour? Unfortunately, I could never quite get it to work. Everytime I used it my character would charge up, run over to the target like they were going to attack and then... the battle music fades, I get a screenshot of the ocean or a field of flowers (both look like they're from the game) and a message scrolling across that says "Censored...". Afterwards, the result is a "miss", and the battle goes on.

At first I found this oddly amusing, but this quickly wore off as it just felt so unnatural. Again, I've never gotten it to work, and I really haven't found an answer anywhere else. Any ideas?

Googleshng:
If I recall, it works more often the less HP the monster has. So smack'em around first, and then eat'em. It's hilarious when it actually works.

 
Hype Machine

Greetings,

I know when games are hyped they are under much pressure to meet the expectations of those following that particular game (such as Fable, Sims 2 Halo 2), and the 2 games I will speak about witch have been hyped immensely, were reviewed exactly as expected. The games are Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft.

As reviewers, do they get paid more to hype certain games and give higher ratings to games that are more socially acceptable. Everquest 2 got a 7.9 and WoW got a 9.5. The reason being was WoW ease of play and great quest system. YET, EQ2 has the same system for questing and the same ease of play (from the review stated, I havent played WoW). So why is that perk applied to WoW but not EQ2? I know WoW is all about blizzard and "Zug Zug" and what not, and EQ2 is for Dorks and idiots that waste there life away. So I get the feeling that this influenced this review rating.

Now I am being biased, somethig I was trying not to do, I guess humans just have to defend what they beleve regardless of its equality and favorable conditions.

Thanks for the ear time,
A human creature of life.

Googleshng:
OK, before I get around to what I assume you were trying to ask, there's two things that confuse me about this here letter. First, you clearly aren't refering to RPGamer's reviews here, so I don't quite get why you're asking me about this. Second, the way you're wording things, it sounds like you have some sort of problem with games getting better review scores based on how much most people like them. I hope that's not what you meant, since that's kinda the point of a review... letting you know ahead of time how likely you are to enjoy it.

So, I'm going to assume what you're really trying to ask here is: Does the gaming press give overly high review scores to overhyped games?

Well... yeah, they do. High profile games are pretty much never going to get bad reviews from anybody. This isn't due to outright bribery though, at least, in most cases. What it really is, I'm fairly sure, is a combination of two things.

First, there's the symbiotic press-publisher relationship. A gaming site or magazine needs readers to survive. The best way to get readers is if you have a lot of nice material from publishers. Exclusive screens, interviews, that sort of thing. Hype. Meanwhile, publishers survive by getting good press coverage and reviews for their games. So, if the main draw for your site/mag for a full year is talking about how great Game X looks like it's going to be, you're going to look pretty stupid if you say "Oh, nevermind, turns out it sucks." It also doesn't help that this acts as a kick in the teeth to the publisher who was helping you out all year, and odds are they won't give you the same sort of treatment with their next game.

Second, well, reviewers are only human. They get swept up by hype just like everyone else. It really doesn't help that reviews have to go up right when the game comes out. Remember Chrono Cross? That had people whipped up into such a frenzy that we posted a review saying it was nearly perfect, except that managing the menus was a bit of a chore. Something like 50 people wrote in saying we were way too hard on the game. Then of course, a few months go by, people get a chance to look at it objectively, and it turns out everyone involved was just too swept up in the concept of getting a sequel to Chrono Trigger to actually take a fair look at the game.

 
Coverage

This may seem strange but I seemed to have a misconception that Zelda was the epitome of action RPGs. I am compelled to ask: what are the common RPG genres and what distinguishes them? And where does Zelda fit in to all of this?

Miles

Googleshng:
OK, the three genres RPGamer covers are RPGs, TRPGs, and Action/RPGs. The first two are pretty self-explanitory. RPGs are your standard party of a bunch of characters, picking choices off menus, clearly an RPG RPGs. TRPGs are things like FFT and Disgaea, where you have a bunch of characters, a big map to move around on, and so forth. Then Action/RPGs are basically just straight up action games infused with some "RPG elements" like, say, experience points. People generally think of Zelda games as Action/RPGs, but really, everything that can't be found in an action game that you can find in Zelda is just an adventure game style puzzle.

 
Anime

hola!,

as of late ive been very dissapointd in the lack of storylines in rpgs that actually strike an emotional chord with me, ive had this terrible lack of emotional connection with ANY rpg characters or storylines. they seem to be lacking any real feeling and it dissapoints me. Ive noticed a major pickup in the quality of storylines and characters in other genres. In the past ive refused to actually pick a game that i consider to be the greatest game of all time because its just not fair because games are all great in their own individual ways. But, ive finally ran across my uber-game. Metal Gear solid 3 is by far the greatest game ive ever played. Its story and characters put most rpgs to shame. Its only the second game ive ever played thats brought me to tears(R.I.P. Aeris) It has a humanitary aspect that rpgs seem to lack nowdays. Just figured id point out how great that game is.
Well, i suppose I have to ask a question, soooooo.......

Are u into anime? What are some of your favorites? are there any you can reccomend?
oh, and parasite eve 2 is THE WORST rpg ive ever played, anybody that says different is either hopped up on some crazy uber-drug or living in some bizzaro world where crap=awesome.
thanks for your time.

-Georf

Googleshng:
My page (which I already linked to in an earlier letter) has a section of anime reviews which goes into more detail, but let's see, real quick, these are good: Escaflowne, Slayers, Trigun.




The Last Laugh:

There we go, another column done. Now back I go to writing.



Googleshng "Orcy" @rpgamer.com

An orc and an orca are very different critters.

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