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Back in Inaction January 9, 2006

Matt Demers - 12:40 EST

I'M BACK!

Andrew seems to be back, too, which is just splendid. He even got to answer the first "anti-DQ8" letter, dammit. No really, there haven't been any (I think) until I read that one, but I wanted it! Ohhh well...

I'll at least be a little more effective at this, now that I'm on a computer that coasts through the internet at a tolerable speed. I'm telling you, it feels like dial-up has just become slower and SLOWER and S L O W E R as the years have gone by. I was barely online at all during my little holiday in Chatham, and not being online is a paralyzing thing to a guy like me.

That said, the holiday was great! Much Euchre was played, Dragon Quest VIII was finished off, presents were received, and partying was accomplished. I don't have many complaints, except that dammit, I'm going to have to go to school sometime tomorrow.

Ah well, let's see what new stuff you've sent in since last time.




L E T T E R S
DRAGON QUEST = <3


Heya Matt,

I'm not sure why, but Chrono Trigger still ranks highly as one of my all time favourites. There's no other game (not even Lunar) that I can recall more of. The music/scenery especially. Zeal was one of my favourite chapters, as I thought the music and scenery were so lush and awesome. Interesting story arcs there too. I also like when you storm Magus's castle and the battle at the end. I haven't played it through in some time, but in a three year period back in the SNES glory days of olde, I beat it 10+ times, only 2-3 of which were New Game+. Comparatively, in this same time I probably beat FFVI 3 times, which is also a favourite.

Matt

You're not sure why? To me, it definitely sounds like you do! What makes a game so pedestal-worthy are exactly the things you mentioned: The special moments that made you smile, the stories, the big battles, the cool areas... it's the package in the end, and Chrono Trigger is a terrifically-made game. A few details bother me here and there, as I've mentioned, but no game is perfect.

On a related note, which game do you remember most not for game play or story, but just the music/feeling that music stirs up in you when you hear it/something like it/think of it. As said, the music from CT always brings a smile to my face, and I can easily recall what area of the games its from/story context. Ahhh, waxing nostalgic.

Matt

Oh. My. Gawd. You have NO idea, having been brought up on Dragon Warrior, what hearing the music does to me... and NOT in the remixes or remakes that have been done over the years, but the sweet tinny NES notes. Boy, when I hear the overworld musics or battle themes or almost any background sound at all from especially Dragon Warrior 2 and 3, I get filled with this unbelievable desire to play them through yet again. It's just, I dunno, really weird, but it starts in the pit of my stomach... this "excited" feeling that is completely unique and entirely unrelated to any other possible feeling a human being can have. I'm sure someone out there understands.

On a further related note, silent protagonists, I am absolutely adoring DQ8. I haven't played a PS2 rpg for more than 8-10 hours without abandoning it in the last 1.5 years. Damn World of Warcraft and all its supreme goodness. But I find in DQ8 the challenge/ level scaling is awesome! I can't remember the last console RPG I played where 1 lvl can make such a huge difference in battle. And when you get to the point you can 1-hit enemies that used to romp on you, that's a good feeling. And new equipment makes such a noted difference. It just feels like everything is worth doing/exploring. I won't get started on the presentation itself, but it blew me away. When I saw screens before playing the game, I though Yangus looked like a jackass I wouldn't want in my party, but his character/voice talent are awesome! AWESOME!

Matt

This is the balance thing that I've spoken of in the past. Dragon Quest does it like no other series could hope to. It is built to make you feel like you're really achieving something when you get stronger, and that is one of the greatest things about the series that hasn't changed at all since the very first Dragon Warrior game back in the 1980s. It's part of what makes the game so challenging and addictive, looking at it from solely a battle point of view, putting everything else- storyline, graphics, music, whatever... aside. To me, it's the ultimate combat system.

Another related thing is that Dragon Quest ensnares its players by a couple of sneaky means: There are no easy ways to revive fallen allies for most of the game, so you actually end up taking so much better care of them. You're forced to stay focused in battle; it encourages you to learn about your foes and remember how strong they are/what techniques they use so that you aren't splatted in the future; it makes you sweat whenever you get deep into a cave or dungeon, and you KNOW you're near the end, but progressing further would be an ever riskier affair.

You can't find those things in RPGs where you can buy MP-restoring items and 99 Phoenix Downs in the first town to carry around in your infinity-sized item-box at all times. You can't find those things in games where half of the monsters are killable in a single hit. I don't know... perhaps some people are more focused on "just getting through the story", and don't care about these things that I mentioned. These are the people who are better off playing something else.

As it relates to the mechanics, what are your thoughts on: Psyche Up (Use it? Sparingly? Regular part of strategy?) Skill system (Too limited? Too broad?) and lastly the "scale" of the game. I.e. Did you find the challenge to beat a lvl 10 monster when you were lvl 8 to be similar to beating a lvl 50 at 48? Or does the game get even more challenging as your progress....*dr00L......

Peace,

ndhl


Matt

Psyching up isn't actually completely new to Dragon Quest. There have been similar abilities in the past, though they were never "layerable." I find that I only use it in battles where I need to (i.e. against Frogface-family monsters) or against bosses that don't have the ability to cancel the effects of it. I thought it would be lame at first, but it works really well for the game.

The skill system is a nice change of pace... the job systems of DQVI and DWVII were good but cumbersome. I'm much happier with 2 windows of somewhat useful techniques rather than the 12 windows of useless crap that used to exist. The fact that characters have their own individual things to learn is much appreciated since it reminds me of the good old days of DW2, 4, and DQ5.

Also, don't expect the challenge to go down anytime soon. Right up until the end, things stay the way they should be, and then even after that. You'll see!

Phew, that's a lot of Dragon Quest... it's been awhile since I've spouted about it, hmm? I had a lot of pent-up praise, I suppose. ^^;



Iron Curtain


Dear Matt,

Howdy, oh slime of Wonder-chantment. How's it goin' with all your games hmmmm? I'm doing good. I do have a question for you though, and this is one I'd really like to know the answer to. Why do we have reigon coding? I asked this in chat, and no one gave me a specific reason, other than to prevent pirating. Do you know the answer? I mean in my neck of the woods, nobody is gonna want a Japanese, or other foreign language game, copied or otherwise, if they can't understand it, and if you know the language the game you want is in, then why not just import it? I mean getting copied games seems hard enough as it is. Are you just gonna walk up to someone and say, "Hey can you get me this Japanese game?" or "Hey you! Wanna buy this copy of this Japanese game?" Why not just remove reigon coding and sell games to whoever wants them? Is there something I don't get? Thanks, Matt.

~Donovan


Matt

Hello! My games are going very well, though I haven't had as much time to play them as I'd have liked. Now, with school starting, things shall get plenty interesting, I'm sure. Anyway, you'd think that would be true- that surely, thousands of people wouldn't rush out to buy a Japanese version of their favourite game whether or not they could understand it. Or would they? I think that the main reason for region-coding, Donovan, is because the people that would indeed do this would suddenly have the opportunity to distribute screenshots, music, or other things well before a North American release of the same game... something that the game company might not appreciate, depending on the circumstances. Sometimes other aspects in a game are altered slightly before a localization, so releasing screenshots might "wrongfully depict" something in particular. I can't help you more than that.

It might interest you, though, that Sony didn't implement region-coding for the PSP. Does that mean that the PS3 will do away with it as well? Is this part of a new trend, or just an isolated incident? I'm not sure. Stay tuned...



Brrrzzrzztt!


Hey Matty!

Going over the list of RPG's in the gamers choice menu;
One: half of the games have yet to or are not going to be released in Australia,
Two: I've only played Seven of them
Three: Half of them I havn't heard of and
Four: Of the seven I own my copy of Mario Hart DS beats handsdown

Yay at least it is known that Elder Scrolls and Mario and Luigi are coming out this year.

Matt

Well... Mario Kart DS is pretty damn good, that's why. It takes the good parts of MK64 and MK:DD!! and sticks them together in a delightful mash of yumminess.

As for the award voting thinger, vote for what you know, and in what categories you can. I guarantee you that no one has played ALL the games on the list, and I certainly haven't heard of them all, either.

Anyway since Australia (and I guess New Zealand) is one of the last countries to get the XBOX released, what other RPG's other then ES4 is schedualed for the new XBOX. Also with this new Mana game coming out soon on the DS will it play like Secret of Mana and allow three people to be fighting at the same time (And with seperate screens allow more freedom then Secret of Mana)?

Matt

XBox 360... RPGs... right, you're not barking up the right tree. There are very few RPG titles in the works for the XBox 360, it seems. The system was supposed to be launched alongside one, originally: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, but that didn't seem to shake out very nicely in the end. There's apparently a sequel to Magna Carta that's being worked on for it, but I've heard that Magna Carta isn't all that great outside the graphical department, and there's no word on any translation at all yet, anyway. Another game, the grossly-titled "eNCHANT arM", has a foggy future at best, too, as far as localization is concerned. Mistwalker is working on a few, reportedly, as well, but for the moment, the XBox 360 is a cold and sterile place for RPGs. I could have told you this would happen a long time ago, though...

Lastly, is Mario PIT worth getting and why?

Your Dynastic Warrior Bainick

P.S. Another difference between North America and Australia is the electricity power that reaches the homes. In America there is a chance of dying if you are electricuted. In Australia, there is a slight chance of surviving if you are electricuted. Thank you Year 12 Physics!


Matt

I see. I'll remember to avoid sticking my wee little plug-shaped fingers into any sockets I see.

Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time feels like such an "extension" of the original Mario & Luigi, mechanically, and it's right on with the humour, as expected. Most disappointing is the music so far, actually... I don't know what the sound people were thinking when they designed that horribly boring victory theme (the first M&L one was quite better) and the same situational tracks seem to be replayed ad nauseam. I dunno, I'm pretty sure that if you loved the first Mario & Luigi, it's quite probable that you'll enjoy this title too.



A letter about the near-future of PS2 gaming. What a boring title!


Yo Matt,

It's been a good while since I've last been to the site, so what happened to Googl... the previous QnA guy? Oh well, just wanted to ask you why there's such a lack of new Tales of Legendia info. For a game that's supposed to be released on Feb. 1, all that is known about it is the release date a a few character info (from ign's website). Is Namco just being tight-lipped or is it just flying under the radars?

Matt

Hmmm. I'm not so sure about that, sir. Check this link out and feast your eyes on the many past news updates that have been loaded with details to feast your eyes upon.

HERE IST LINK

The most recent news update says that Tales of Legendia shall indeed ship on February 7 in North America, and that news update was very recent indeed. So, do not despair.

I've been around for a little while now, too. Google's gone, for whatever reason he left... I think it had something to do with moving, but I could be wrong. Regardless, you now get to endure my wrath instead, when Andrew isn't exhibiting his.

Next, what's your impression of WildARMs 4? Since you just got Altered Code F, I don't know if you've played 2 or 3, but I've only played the third installment, which I loved, except for the final battle. The "Impressions" by Phillip(?) was short, but got my attention, so now I've got something to look forward to after beating Tales Of Symphonia again.

Matt

It sounds as if the developers have tried to twist the same-old somewhat in #4, so maybe we'll see something a bit fresher. After all, from what I've played so far, WA:ACF has been dreadfully easy, so I hope that the new tactical aspects make things a bit more interesting in battle. I gots sleepy-genes in my blood, but dozing off in the middle of a game is pretty bad. Maybe though, I should just start getting to bed at a reasonable hour...

In any case, I've really got to wait for a concrete review to pass any preliminary judgment. For now, what can I say? There's hope.

And finally, there is a song about the most "underrated" holiday. The Walkmen's "New Year's Eve" from their Bows and Arrows lp. That's the only one that I know of anyways. Thanks for your time and hope the holidays continue to bring you goodness in life AND gaming. Take care.

-V


Matt

Sweet. Unfortunately, that isn't the most underrated holiday... the most underrated holiday is clearly my birthday, which happens to be in eighteen days. Remember me on January 27, and drink something in my name. Oh, presents are also welcome. I turn 23 this year... *shudder*

Take care yourself, and have fun playing Tales of Symphonia.



Matt's weak point!? Nooooooooo...


Hey

I just bought a new computer and I wanted to test it out with some PC Rpg's. I really have no experince with Pc Rpg's in the least so what are the best ones without broadband.

I also just finished DQ8 a couple of weeks ago, and i found the ending to be rather disapointing especcially in the fact that they pratically tell you where the post game stuff is located. This hapened throughout the game with peale telling you exactly where to go and what to do, I thought it took away a big part from the Rpg experince. What are your feelings on this subject?

Mogexpress

Matt

Without broadband, huh?

*twiddles thumbs*

Well, I'm not exactly up on my PC gaming so far, let alone PC RPGaming, and most of my PC RPGaming friends play online delights such as World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI, or Guild Wars.

I actually tried to swallow my pride recently and I went out and bought the PC version of Fable: The Lost Chapters for my sister for Christmas, since for whatever reason, she enjoyed the original on a friend's XBox. Well, I was once again burned for my efforts, since it doesn't run without strange errors and safe-mode-implementation on my sister's PC (one that is less than a year old). I hate PC gaming, and this is exactly why.

Thus, any recommendation I make to you is going to be second-hand. Based on the mail I get and the dialogue I have with all you reader-folk, I'd say that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would be a good bet, whether or not you're a Star Wars fan in the first place. I've heard nothing but good about the games, so you might consider looking into that. Minesweeper is always fun, though, with all the mines... and the uh, numbers.

About DQVIII, I have to disagree with you: There are several different places in the game where it is simply up to you to wander about before finding the next place to go. Besides, I think that there is far more to search for, explore, and discover in DQVIII, both in and out of the main storyline, than in any other RPG I've played in the last few years, so I'm not sure we see eye-to-eye on this subject. Really. As for post-game bonuses, I had to search around, personally... but maybe I missed something. The five-second scene at the end is the only clue that is given, as far as I know, and I don't think it's incredibly obvious. Even so, I'd rather have an idea of where to go than having to mindlessly search every single place in the world again in vain, finally resorting to cheaply looking in a strategy guide or online to figure out the correct location.

Anywho, thanks for the time and the memories. And the letter, for that matter.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

...and I'm fresh out! It's time to start writing in yet again, because without the letters, it's difficult to answer any. I'm not going to do another self-questioning segment, either, like I did that one time when the site had problems. It was an interestingly bad idea, to say the least.


Flashay!


The Spectacular Ongoing Contest of Knowledge is back at long last! Now, if only we could remember the questions from last time...

Yes, the date was December 14, 2005 (a whole YEAR ago!) and we were up to numbers 75 and 76. 75 happened to ask "which of the following Chrono Trigger characters has a name that has an anagram meaning 'to hum or sing softly' ". The answer was a) Crono, because you can rearrange the letters in Crono to make CROON. That was worth 40 points to everyone who guessed it correctly!

The second question involved the Australian Football League. According to Bainick, there are d) 7 umpires on the field at the same time, consisting of three central umpires, two boundary umpires, and two goal umpires. For those of you keen enough to get it right, 30 points have been added to your score!

And of course, for yon unfortunate folk who got neither right but still took the time to send in your guesses, a free SIXTEEN POINTS was still donated. Do better next time!

And now, for the first new questions in nearly a month! Let us begin 2006 with these, including a devious one from our favourite dwarf berserker:

Question #77: Which of the following games did I not receive this past Christmas? (35 points)

a) Golden Nugget Casino DS
b) Final Fantasy IV
c) Mario Kart DS
d) Radiata Stories
e) Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time

Question #78: Ask Xlash!--> Which of the following spells DO NOT restore health points? (40 points)

a) Dialma
b) Dios
c) Madi
d) Dialko
e) Dial


Things to work for (the SOCK item shop!):

200 points: Tilde (infinite number remaining!)
700 points: The Final Fantasy 1 "Official" Crazed-Chipmunk-Hold-your-Ears Zipfile Soundtrack (4 remaining!)
1000 points: The Mattie's Mom Cookie Recipe Compilation (5 remaining!)
2000 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #2 (5 remaining!)


Hmm. Of course, keep sending in your ideas for questions; you'll receive double the points that it's worth, if I decide to publish it!

Otherwise, I don't have too much more to say for today. For tomorrow, though, tell me how things are going with the new games you've purchased or received recently. What do you think about Wild Arms: Alter Code F? Final Fantasy IV? Magna Carta? Any or all of the above will do!

wonderslime@rpgamer.com
***Matt has class in 110 minutes


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About the Host


Matt's Newest Unhealthy Addiction

Another Unhealthy Addiction

Matt's Top 3 Current Games:

1. Dragon Quest VIII

2. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time

3. Mario Kart DS

Matt's Top 3 RPG Desires:

1. Final Fantasy III

2. Disgaea II

3. Children of Mana

SOCK standings:

1. Ourobolus
1,050 pts

2. Flamethrower
744 pts

3. Jbumi
703 pts

4. MagRowan
668 pts

5. Bainick
609 pts

6. DDX
522 pts

7. Xlash
510 pts

8. Arros Raikou
488 pts

9. Jeremy
470 pts

10. ~Sean~~
422 pts

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