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Googleshng - December 14 '04- 4:00 Eastern Standard Time

The WarCraft 3 expansion! Thus far the only package shipped a week ago to have arrived! I can't believe I never heard they went and threw in a whole new race. Well, half-race at any rate. I like'em.

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Vagrant Story

Hey Goog,

Since you asked...why does everybody seem to hate Vagrant Story? I think it's a REALLY cool game that I'm finally, after all these years, going all the way through. Yes, the lack of damage you can do to bosses is a major pain in the butt, but other than that I think it's a really fun game that did a great job of mixing RPG elements with a Tomb Raider-style action-plaformer. So I ask you..why the hate?

Robust Stu
Gold Reviewer/Swell Guy/True Believer

Googleshng:
Well, not EVERYONE hates Vagrant Story. I know several people who can ignore all the flaws and love it for what it does well (visual style and story). I am not one of these people however. First off, it's a dungeon crawl. A fact I feel the need to point out because, personally, I am not a fan of the genre. Running around in One Big Dungeon for several hours gets rather monotonous in my book. That's not enough to make me hate the game though. That takes the deeply, deeply, deeply flawed gameplay. On paper, I like the concept. You carry a bunch of weapons around, with various strengths and weaknesses, and the more you use a certain weapon to kill a certain type of monster, the better it works. That's all well and good, except that in practice, the variety of monsters needed to get your weapons properly specialized can't be found early on, building them up takes way too long, and the whole Risk instead of Rounds bit is just plain stupid. The end result is that I get into a boss fight, switch to a weapon which it would be weak against if I had the proper things to whack at with it, and proceed to launch into a 200 hit attack combo, gradually whittling it down, knowing that if I stop, it'll kill me in one or two attacks on my totally light-aligned head.

That jus plain isn't fun.

 
By similar token...

Hey Google,

**Mild to moderate "Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories" spoilers**

They're doing it again. And I don't like it.

What is "it"? "It" is liking Kingdom Hearts, particularly the GBA sequel to Kingdom Hearts. And "they" is everyone. Everyone is liking the GBA Kingdom Hearts.

I'm one of the minority who didn't think the first one was all that and a sack of potatoes, but it had a decent story and I thought it had gameplay that remained at least mildly fun for most of the game.

However, having played through most of Chain of Memories, I find myself now avoiding all unnecessary battles like a fruitcake at Christmas. My impression of the battle system very quickly went from "What the heck am I doing with these cards?" to "OMG THIS SO COOL CARDS AWESOME YAY" to "Woo. Battle. L+R, L+R, L+R, L+R, Omni-slash, repeat..." Ten floors of monotonous battles quickly turned my new favorite RPG battle system into my new most hated RPG battle system. Once you figure out how to stack your deck right, there is absolutely no challenge left, even in the boss fights which do provide some sense of variety that the other dungeon battles do not.

I did complete Kingdom Hearts, and I plan to finish Chain of Memories, but only because the stories of both are intriguing. However, good story aside, when the gameplay gets old so fast, it's kinda like giving someone the greatest novel ever written and making them read it while being mercilessly beaten with a croquet mallet. Yes, it would be nice to stop the mallet beating, but this book is just so great that I don't want to stop reading it.

So my question is, is a great X, Y, and Z in a game always enough to make someone forget about the mediocre W? I mean, whenever I hear about a bad RPG, it's because almost everything about it is bad. So is one poor aspect of an otherwise outstanding game always so easy to ignore?

kweee

Googleshng:
Well, it depends on the person, and what W X Y and Z are to be honest. Take me for instance. If a game has a really original concept, with at least halfway decent execution, that's going to make me somewhat less critical in other areas. Most people I find will ignore all the flaws in a game, no matter how big, as long as it has "a good story" going for it. I have no clue what people mean when they say that though, because I can name a dozen games off the top of my head with a huge base of rabid fans insisting they have "TEH BEST STORY EVAR!" when what you really have is a bunch of extremely generic one-dimensional characters, most of whom don't really have speaking roles, going through a poorly executed rehash of the exact same completely predictable story we've all seen hundreds of times. No accounting for taste I guess.

The only ones that really get under my skin though are the ones who jump down your throat just for acknowledging the flaws exist. As is often the case with...

 
FF10

To...whoever decides to answer this one.

Hey, Im a long time reader, first time mailer, with a few questions.

Well first off, Ive been wondering what's up with the Chrono Trigger series. I mean a while ago there were rumors of another game, (y'know, the whole Chrono Break thing). But, for some reason it was nixed. Has there been any news at all about the future of the franchise? I, for one can't handle much more space-time craziness (Chrono Cross's plot still makes my head ache.) Also, I heard a few things about Grandia, and Skies of Arcadia sequels a while back. Any news about those?

I am excited about the FFVII compilation and all but, S-E is milking all it can from VII fans, not that I blame them. Advent Children looks great and maybe Dirge of Cerberus will be good, but with the release of all these games, the possibility of a "True" FFVII remake is declining. I just don't see it happening now which is sad, how about you?

Finally, I'd like to hear Google's take on the flaws in FFX. I thought I was the only one who didn't like it much. Granted, the graphics were great and, blitzball was mildly entertaining, but Tidus... lets just say my comments are unfit for the ears of the younger readers. X-2 just makes me want to gouge my own eyes out for looking at it. But, as you guys have said many times over, S-E can cast a singing pile-o-feces as the protagonist of FFXIII and still sell 30 million copies, heck Id still buy it...

Anyways, thanks for your time.

- Toran

Googleshng:
You know, you can't "nix" a game that you were never even working on to begin with.

The premise of an FF7 remake would best be held off until we all have a chance to see if we aren't fed up with it after all these spinoffs I'd think.

Finally, my main problems with FF10.
#1- Way way way too easy. Rushing through, you're going to have characters doing 9999 damage halfway through, I never so much as had anyone get low on MP, and in order for something to kill you, it would have to be able to take down every single one of your summons, and then your entire party.
#2- Bad voice acting. "HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!"
#3- Tidus. As a character, I can't stand him. That much I can get by though with the help of all the decent characters hating him too. What's really bad though is that the role Tidus plays in the story is the clueless idiot people explain everything to for the audience's benefit. So, his complete inability to work anything out is actually an insult to MY intelligence. #4- This here is the biggie. I hate the Sphere Grid system. On paper, it's just find and dandy. Of course, on paper, there's actual choice involved, and I don't have to press 14 buttons and mess with a joystick to go up a level after just about every fight. I could produce the same thing with one button press, without losing anything.

I wouldn't dimiss singing feces out of hand though. It worked just fine for Conker's Bad Fur Day.

 
Hat Trick!

Hello again,

What exactly was it that you didn't like about Vagrant Story, Chrono Cross, and Final Fantasy X? This is only out of curiousity of course since you are very wise in your knowledge of and criticism of video games.

On a side note, what is it about games that interests you the most when you think about buying it?

The Buddy Wingnut

Googleshng:
Since I already covered the other two, Chrono Cross it is.

Aside from the fact that the connection to Chrono Trigger managed to be both vague and a complete kick in the teeth, it has this odd unfinished quality to it. Major plot points often seem like they were just pencilled in and nobody got around to fleshing them out, that sort of thing. Plus, you know, switching people's magic setups around was pure hell if you actually wanted to change your party around sometimes.

Oh, and the main thing that influences my game buying decisions are the reputations of the developers. If you've made a bunch of good games, I'll grab your next one no questions asked. If it sucks though, you're most likely off the list.

 
Release Dates

Hi Goog, I'm that guy that is writing the research paper on Role-Playing Games and I was just wondering if you would like to post it as maybe and editorial or something? If you do want it (a really big IF) who should I send it to? Also, a couple of other questions as well. Why does your Christmas Theme for your website only appear during the middle of the day? At night and in the morning, it's the normal theme. It's rather bizarre. And why was your last Q&A filled with random E's? That was rather bizarre as well. Anyway, one of my main questions is about Wild Arms: Alter Code F. On your website in the Released Dates section, the release date for this game was 2.21.2004 for America. But the last article in your News Archives saying that this game was "Headed to North America" was posted on 4.26.2004. When I click the link to read that article though, it takes me to a completely different article completely. Then when I go to the Games section, and choose this game, the same article is then labeled as being posted on 4.26.2003. I don't think this game is out yet, but according to your site, it's been out since February of this year. Is it out? Sorry. I like to notice glitches. I've found myself doing that a lot lately. One more question really quickly. Do you know when Digital Devil Saga is going to be released? I've heard February 15, 2005, but i'm not sure if it's right. I've also heard of some Pre-order bonus DVD, but i'm not sure about that either. THANKS!!! Morridor Danny

Googleshng:
Nothing wrong with spotting errors. You'd be better off throwing them to webmaster@rpgamer.com though for future reference.

Anyway, the mystery of these things:

Basically, there's a lot of various characters that can appear in a block of text. Some of them are just fine and dandy anywhere you see them. Others are less standardized. Like this one here: In my text editor, that's a big thick bullet. In web browsers, it tends to look like the euro symbol or somesuch, and if you grab he source and paste it somewhere, it might turn into the yen symbol. Anyway, one of these non-standard characters is something people's e-mail clients throw in that (usually) looks like a space, but is actually a seperate character, which is good because if you type a bunch of spaces in html, you only end up with one, unless you use some funky character. The problem is, I said usually. Somewhere between people's e-mail editors and web browsers, that little sucker goes from " " to "" on you. I generally make a point of running a quick search/replace for all such weird characters (smart quotes are another), but it slipped my mind yesterday.

As for dates, DDS: 2/15. Wild ARMs: 2/19. I'll see about getting the proper person smacked for bad dates and links there.

Finally, the matter of disappearing, reappearing snowflakes, that's all you. Try emptying your image cache.




The Last Laugh:

Fun with computers! Yesterday, my cable modem was being a pain, my new router had to be replaced due to some fun compatability issues with my old computer, and my laptop managed to fall off the table, losing the ability to lock closed. None of this however stops me from playing WC3x.



Googleshng "Ohohohoho!" @rpgamer.com

Cut me some slack. I've got Nagas, and someone who casts big huge firey death spells.

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