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     The One Year Mark   June 15, 2005

Today's column may be a tad on the short side, as I have to get up early for some nasty family business.

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Someone missed my point.

Hey Google,

For the question on the Nippon Ichi TRPG's. Sure there's humor in them, but there is rarely any storyline when you compare them to most TRPGs, and then in most parts, none of the randomness in the game is just funny.

Like in Disgaea a little bit after Ninja Flonne and up until Gordon, there really is nothing amusing, and the storyline is just crap anyways. Then the ability to change classes is just that, an ability of changing classes. It doesn't make for any character customization, because having those different classes you'll have one or two stat points off. The only thing you can customize your characters with the classes is the weapons, and each weapon can only use certain abilities that are usually much like the last weapon a character used.

Disgaea is the same as La Pucelle, where La Pucelle has the exact same thing, where you learn spells or gain different things from weapons, but there really is nothing at all to customize.

It's just that these games have so much stuff thrown in there to look like you can create largely customized characters, but there really is nothing in the area of customizing, and you end up with hundreds of characters who have different abilities that do the exact same thing because they're equipped with different weapons.

-andrew- -kupomogli-

Uh... no? I don't know what you think "storyline" means, but Disgaea has one, and presents it nicely I should say. It's somewhat smarmy and not at all epic in scope, but again, variety is good.

Also... who said anything about costumizable characters? I don't particularly WANT customizable characters in a TRPG. Too much hassle. I do however enjoy being able to form huge parties, freely selecting from a couple dozen classes as I see fit. Party customization in other words.

Everything else you're saying I could answer by pasting bits of yesterday's column, so let's just move on, but next time, please try to phrase your question in the form of a question.

Again and again and again...

Isn't La Pucelle a Nippon Ichi game? Then it most certainly does have a plot involving a corrupt church secretly run by demons in a setting resembling Europe in the 1400s.

And that's pretty much while I'll play through Disgaea 10 times before I'll play through La Pucelle once. I didn't say none of their games used the old standby, just that they do other things too.

Who wants fish?


You mentioned that your personal favorite secondary character in an RPG is Myau. I have to disgaree. Nall is far superior. Not only is he quite humourous, but he's a talking, FLYING housecat (baby dragon, really, but he LOOKS like a cat, so a cat he is). That makes him automatically 50%better than Myau right there.

First, I didn't say that. Second, I consider Myau to be cooler than Nall precisely BECAUSE he's a plain ol' ordinary housecat. I'd make another observation here, but it'd be a decent sized spoiler for a game most people still haven't played.

Anyway, my actual question:

I'm a huge Lunar (or LUNAR, if you prefer) fan. I bought a Sega CD specifically to play that game when it came out, and it blew me away. I've since followed the series, even to the point of purchasing the tragically disappointing Lunar Legend. and the upcoming release of Lunar Genesis fills me with both elation (because it's a new Lunar game. Duh.) and trepidation. First of all, the screenshots seem to indicate that the combat system is an isometric affair, similar to games like Golden Sun. I don't know about you, but Lunar's traditional battle system was always one of my favorites... moving to a generic turn-based system really seems like a step down to me.

In addition, this whole Light/Dark thing, as well as "Battle Cards" that can be traded seems to smack of gimmickery (is that a word? Well, it is now!). Maybe I'm overreacting, but it seems to me that the Lunar Genesis team is hard at work annihilating the mechanics of the series I love so much. I really haven't seen or heard anything about NPC interaction or inter-party interaction, but if they ALSO remove the wonderful character interaction that Lunar has grown to have, I may just cry.


Thanks for putting up with my incoherant ranting, and keep up the good work!

When I first played Lunar (on the PSX) one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much is that nobody makes games the way they did in the 16-bit days anymore. So the problem with yon actual new Lunar here is, again, people don't make RPGs like that anymore. It's like griping about how the latest GBA Castlevania game has all this collection stuff that wasn't in Castlevania 2... except that here you have a somewhat legitimate reason to gripe... I've never seen anyone who calls CV2 their favorite.

Controller Design

i actually (still) own one of the alps controllers mentioned the other day. i rather liked it since the dpad was one big, smooth dimple, and i brought it whenever i went somewhere to play street fighter. i liked using it in general because it was bulky. i could really get my hands on it and actually control stuff.
so what i want to know is if i am a minority thinking that controllers are generally not being designed with the expanding demographic in mind. i'm no giant, and i'm hard pressed at times to feel like i'm really in charge of one of those little buggers.


Actually, the average gamer's hands are on the smaller side, and this used to be even more true. The problem is that most people who "design" controllers have absolutely no clue what they're doing, so they just take an existing controller, make it bigger, stick some more buttons on pretty much at random, and frequently add on poorly angled handles. Shame.

I'll still take it over Grandia's jungles.

Hey Google,

I finally broke down and picked up a copy of Shadow Hearts: Covenant after hearing so many people ranting and raving about how great it is. I'm about 5 1/2 hours in, though, and I'm really not enjoying it so far. I went through abandoned subway tunnels, an abandoned wine cellar, and I just got to my next dungeon: an abandoned mine!

I've been forcing myself to play so far, and I wanted to know: does it get better any time soon? Why do RPGs always have so many boring filler dungeons? And most importantly: how many variations of "generic abandoned underground tunnels" is this game going to make me go through?


From that point out you start seeing a lot more variety actually. To be fair though, where do you expect weird monsters to hang out in a fairly modern real world setting? There's only so many sorts of shadowy corridors people never enter.

As for the abundance of pointless dungeons in RPGs, they are there for two reasons. A- To bloat play time. B- Because, once upon a time, exploring new dungeons was, you know, the entire point of playing an RPG to begin with.

The Last Laugh:

Huh. OK, so I didn't have to cut things short after all. Spiffy. Still need sleep though.

Googleshng "Wave'o'babies..."


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