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   In a Kingdom By the Sea  
Brian Rogovitz - December 11th '01- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

Finals. The very word brings terror to the human heart, and calls up images of long nights of writing, studying, and lots of caffeine. Even the subsequent recuperation period can be torture, when you find yourself going to sleep while the rest of the world is waking up. Which leaves me screaming in frustration:

Damn you, game companies, for releasing so many good games right now!

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I honestly don't know why anyone would want to take over the world

Hey Lord,

Have you played the FFX Demo? What do you think about it? Personally, I think the battles are great; it's about time we get some variety! The music is superb, as well. My only problem is the voice acting. They could've done better, but hey, it's their first time w/ voices in FF, so I'll give them some leeway.

And Galvatron, you may try to take over the world, but you'll have to go through my army of sock puppets. You've been warned.

~Cryte Lynn

LordBrian:
Wait a minute...someone isn't completely denouncing the game based on the voice acting? This is completely unprecedented! Yes, I've played the demo, and it only made me want the game more. Everything that I was able to experience, whether it was the graphics, music, battles, or whatever, was executed superbly...with the exception of the voice acting. But so what -- I lived through Grandia, and that coupled horrid voice acting with the most monotonous storyline ever, so I'll live through this, too. As long as the story doesn't let me down, I'll be quite satisfied with the finished product.

 
Who are you writing to?

Hey Lord Brian! How're you today? You probably don't remember me considering my many month break and name change. (Course, according to literary works, I'm my brother now) I came back though. PC RPGs are way cool, so I'm back to reading the site again. I'll have to submit a few editorials and reviews so I can work on my skills for the school's paper (which I've been sucked into, CULT!) and possibly do some fan art so I can work on my webcomic.

1. Are there any decent MMORPGs that don't require a monthly fee? Being a high school student, I have no credit card, or any real cash that I could get monthly to pay for subscription services. But a preview with Diablo II of the sense of community and just blew me away. I need moooore!

LordBrian:
I'm really the wrong person to ask about this one. For me, "decent MMORPGs" is an oxymoron. MMORPGs are just glorified chatrooms, and if you take the chat away you're left with nothing that can't be made into a single player game...and usually an incredibly boring one at that.

2. I've been hearing that Hoshigami is just FFT with a few minor plot differences and story scenes. Say it ain't so!

LordBrian:
That's funny, I'm hoping that Hoshigami is just FFT with a different storyline. From what I've seen, the two look very similar, with Hoshigami sporting some upgrades in the battle department (and lacking a whole lot of Final Fantasy goodness). TRPGs never look all that dissimilar in screenshots, though, so it may actually play a lot differently.

3. When's Neverwinter Nights coming out? I need a new AD&D game! Besides, I wanna import all my webcomic characters over and use them.

LordBrian:
Well, since BioWare needs to find a publisher (and theoretically finish the game, but that's optional with PC developers) before the game can come out, it's somewhat indefinite at this point as to when it'll be out. Though I've been informed by my fellow staff that if you're really that desperate for an AD&D game, then check out Pool of Radiance. However, be warned that PoR is both really buggy and really crappy, but makes for a decent multiplayer dungeon crawl nevertheless.

4. I made a few comments about it, but I'm starting a webcomic about PC RPGs. It's not so much of a big spoof because there will be a huge storyline, etc... I'll let everyone here know about it as soon as it's up.
Well, It's getting late, so I must be off. Later Aegis,
Locke

LordBrian:
To answer your question...oh, never mind.

 
Nobody ever remembers me ;_;

Hey LB,

Never seen you be at the old Q&A column? Are you new? Well I have a question about FFXI? I know the american release isn't even announced yet but its only going to be online and is it going to be worth buying? Do you know if there is any extra equipment that will be needed because I haven't heard anything about the Ps2,s online service. Do you know how much it will cost to buy and how much the monthly fee will be?

~Crazed Final Fantasy Fan

LordBrian:
I'm not new, I just haven't been a host in a little while either. I just fill in whenever I can wrest control from the regular hosts, but it's a difficult thing to do with their iron grips.

Ah, Final Fantasy XI. The largest point of contention in the RPG community next to Shenmue II moving to the Xbox. To clear some things up, a North American release of FFXI will happen, it's just a matter of when. As for extra equipment, you'll need to have a modem of some sort (either dialup or broadband) to connect to Square's PlayOnline network. You'll have to buy FFXI (probably at normal retail price), and then pay a monthly fee to play it online (probably somewhere between $5 ~ $15 per month). Will it be worth buying? That's a matter of opinion, but if it's not significantly different -- for the better -- from normal MMORPGs, then I won't be picking it up.

 
The good thing about long letters is they take up a lot of room

Greetings sir,

Final Fantasy X gets an early release? Itís great news, especially for the millions of gamers hoping to snatch up a really expensive PS2 system on Christmas. Joy, even though it comes out a whole week early, most people only get to play it a day early. Brilliant marketing plan! Iíll get mine late anyway, since Iíll be out of the country for 2 weeks around Christmas. Oh well.

Speaking of that game, all signs point to it being different, which will be nice. A change for a change. Itís interesting looking back at the announcement at Square Millennium Conference for Final Fantasies IX, X, and XI. Because now Iíve had IX for a year and a half (Japanese copies rock), and it was announced a full six months before release. Thatís two years of Final Fantasy X knowledge. And the world cared a little less.

Seriously though, the game is looking to be pretty good. Iím listening to my MP3 copy of the entire soundtrack on random, and itís very different. Thereís a huge variety. Though a word of warning to fans: do not expect this to be a majestic soundtrack by any means. The three composers have done a good job at making this a very ambient soundtrack, perfect for what it appears that it will do. Unfortunately, the track names give away half the plot, but I wasnít in the mood to care a few months back.

Oh, and Auronís Theme is awesome!

To a more recent game: Tales of Destiny 2/Eternia. This game is great, in a cheesy way. Iím working on a comments page of my observations throughout, tabbing down the bizarre and the classic (particularly quotes). The voice acting is just bad enough to be cringed at, but good enough to get a decent chuckle from. The story is horrendous, but nobody plays any of the three Tales games for their plot, itís all about the gameplay. Namco took all that was good from Tales of Phantasia, and the little bit that was good from Tales of Destiny.

One note about the North American copy: They took out our map conversations! Anybody who has played one of these games in Japanese knows that the map conversations are key to character development. Shame on Namco.

Anyways, thatís a five-course meal for thought,

--Hyu

ďIím sorry, I must be leaving. There is somebody interested in my pot.Ē
--Ras, Tales of Destiny 2

LordBrian:
Releasing FFX before Christmas is a much better move in terms of marketing. True, if people are buying it as a present then it won't be played until the 25th (or whenever people open presents), but a lot more people will actually buy it for Christmas. Say, for example, Little Jimmy says to his mom, "I want Final Fantasy X for Christmas, woman!" If when Little Jimmy's mom goes to the store (ignoring the "woman" crack because it's Christmas) and sees no FFX, she'll just buy something else instead. After Christmas when FFX comes out, if Little Jimmy says, "I want Final Fantasy X, woman!" she'll reply with, "You'll play what I bought you and you'll like it. Now watch your damn mouth!" Little Jimmy will then proceed to cry and cry and eventually burn the house down out of spite. So you see, releasing on the 18th is better for everyone concerned.

Besides, this way I get to play it a week earlier.

I bought the soundtrack to FFX months ago, but haven't listened to it yet. I'm one of those weird freaks who feels that the soundtrack is part of the experience of the game, and wants to have it all at once. But for what I paid for those CDs, it better be good, or there will be issues. And we don't want issues.

As for ToD2, I am also a fan of the game. The story is a little uninspired, but not bad by any means. And it also has a very nice translation, too. The battle system is really fun, and doesn't ever get boring. And best of all, the voices can be turned off!

 
Is playing through FF8 really that bad?

Oh, great lordbrian, with your greatness,
HELP ME!

I've been asking this for a while, so if ANYONE knows, please tell me:

What's the name of the missle base music in FF8? It's a good tune And I need to hear it. and I don't want to play it over (shudder) to have to hear it.

Please help me so I can move on with my life.
Thank you.

-Starsickle "Ok, I moved ZIG, now what?"

LordBrian:
I believe the name of the song you're looking for is "The Spy," from disc 3 of the OST when you're infiltating the base.

 
Ok, this is the last letter about these battles

Hey, LordBrian!

Well, I wish I could write to you about the FFX demo that everyone else seems to be playing. I guess the reason for this is that I don't want to be teased by a short demo, especially when the game will be out in a mere 8 days.

Anyway, as I was reading Aegis' column today, I noticed that someone wrote in about FFIV (my favorite FF) and how to deal with the Four Fiends (as well as Bahamut, Behemoths, and the CPU core). Well, it turns out that there're easy ways to deal with all three. First, Bahamut. The easiest way to take him down is to have Rosa cast Reflect on herself and someone else, and then cast Life2 on those that may fall (I remember for me, only Rydia fell). Then just repeat the cycle while pummeling Bahamut to wear down his 60000, or so, HP.

Next, the thing about Behemoths is that they are quite slow UNLESS you use the strategy outlined by the other writer. A Behemoth will rarely attack, but will always counter-attack physical attacks with an attack of its own or magic attacks with Storm, so take it slow and you should be fine.

As for the Four Fiends, rather than using Meteo and Bahamut (with their horrendously long charge times), use Fire3 on Scarmiglion, Bolt3 on Cagnazzo (or however that was spelled. Let's just say the "Blue Turtle") and Vivalis (I think), and Ice3 on Rubicant. Both FuSoYa and Rydia should be able to do it.

Finally, CPU core. Just knock out the Defense Orb and then continually attack the CPU. Do not take out both orbs, or the CPU will use Orb999, or something, which does 9999 damage to any given character. So just take this battle slowly.

Anyway, let's get to my question...

Are there any upcoming RPGs for the PS2 that you would recommend besides FFX and Xenosaga? I bought Okage: Shadow King a few months ago, and I was majorly disappointed.

Anyway, thanks for your time.

--I need a cool sig,
darnit!

LordBrian:
Sure, there's a bunch of games coming out that I'm looking forward to. I hear good things about Shadow Hearts, the sequel to Koudelka. Farther in the future is Wild ARMs 3, Suikoden III, and Star Ocean 3 (lots of 3's). For now, though, you'll have to settle for FFX.

 
Go then -- there are other worlds than these

Square keeps pushing Final Fantasy X up and I was wondering if you knew how this would affect the game, if at all. I know in the case of Metal Gear Solid 2, early release meant less extras and easter eggs, but I was thinking it could also mean a less developed ending then they originally planned or (my worst fear) taking out something that would be important to the player or severely decrease it's playability or replayability because of not enough time (reviving Aeris anyone?). I don't know if there's a topic I should be writing a question for but I needed an answer and I knew you guys would be my best bet. Thanks alot

The Gunslinger

LordBrian:
I really doubt that the change of release date will have any effect on the final product. By the time a game gets to localization, there's probably not a lot of major coding work going on. This would probably be a larger concern for the Japanese release than a North American one, anyway.

However, the Aeris thing I find interesting. Does the death of Aeris really affect FF7's playability or replayability? Not only would the ability to revive her not add to it, it would also remove any and all emotional effects the player would have felt. No, her resurrection wasn't added to the game not because of time constraints, but because that wasn't part of the story. Cripes, people, just accept that fact already.



Quickies

Greetings (Chu-Chu's sing) LORD BRI-AN
I wonder if you ever at a resturaunt reserved a table under an alias. I just once want to reserve a table for me under the name Schtolteheim Reinbach III. Also wouldn't the sillyest RPG couple would be Kuja and Adel?
Imperial Mog

I don't go to restaurants that require me to reserve a table. Saves me a lot of time and embarrassment when I use the wrong spoon.

And the silliest (or sickest, depending on your viewpoint) RPG couple has already been done for real: Cloud and Barret.

Hey (robots sing) Lo-rd Bri-an!

I have come to deliver a message of impending doom, my master the great Galvatron shall be the master of the universe! Hahaha!

-DeceptiMog

Bah. Any true Mog knows that Lord is one syllable.

To all RPGamers out there,
I just finished watching a 1973 Charleton Heston movie called Soylent Green. To any Xenogears fans this should sound very familiar. At any rate, it was a very good movie and rings very similar. Just thought I'd get that out if anyone is interested.

-Xon Baldir "Riskbreaker Extraordinaire"

It's funny how that "plot twist" in Xenogears wasn't all that much of a twist at all for most people. And when I say funny, I mean not funny at all.

Before I Go:

I always get a bit morbid when I'm running short on sleep, but don't let that stop you from writing in! I'll be back again tomorrow, ready to print any letter that's even a quarter intelligent (though hopefully they'll be significantly better than that).

 LordBrian "Aren't there some times that you're very reluctant to leave a particular place?" @rpgamer.com
 I wish that I could turn back time, 'Cause now the guilt is all mine

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