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Hidden Treasures
January 11, 2007

Matt Demers - 13:20 EST

EH, I don't have too much to say today. Life is mundane but good without any classes to worry about, but at least I got the chance to pump in some gaming-time last night. My goal for this weekend: Finish Final Fantasy III, so that I can move on with life. Lofty? Probably. I'm hoping for the best.

Let us begin!




LETTERS
The GBA in 2007: STILL going strong?


Hey Matt!

A warm welcome back to you! And to me too, I guess, since the last time I wrote in was at the end of SOCK! Well, since school is just around the corner and I'm one-and-a-half pages into actually writing my dissertation...that means it's procrastination time again, so I have the perfect excuse so say hello and ask a question or two.

Matt

I'm only too honoured to be a distinguished part of your procrastination plan! I can't believe it's already been two entire months since the end of that darn contest.

Lately I've been extremely tempted to get a DS. But the problem (other than that it would have to go on my credit card that already has a hefty balance) is that I detest playing games on portables for various reasons. I remember being frustrated when I bought my GBA and wasn't that impressed with it (hand and neck cramps, lack of backlighting) and then later on found out that Nintendo was releasing the GameBoy Player for $50 with the purchase of a GameCube. Of course, I got it so I could more enjoyably play my GBA games and because I didn't have a GameCube at the time anyway and had been wanting to get one.

So I know Nintendo made many improvements with the DS and all, but I'm wondering...and maybe this is completely off-base...but do you think there's any chance that Nintendo would release a DS attachment (ala Super GameBoy, GameBoy Player) for the Wii? Would the mechanics/design of the Wii even allow for it? I haven't had the chance to get a good look at the Wii, so I'm not sure...but...maybe? I would hope so though because I really want to play FFIII on a big screen. Who knows though...by the time I get all my other games out of the way they may be remaking FFIII for the PS5 or something. Heh.

Matt

I've already heard many things; I believe that Nintendo has stated that there will be DS-Wii connectivity at some point or another. I wouldn't be surprised if one day, you'll be able to have a "DS Channel" on which you can play DS games, simply by having the Wii wirelessly detect a DS with the power on or in sleep mode. I guess, though, that that would require a DS anyway. Hmm. I don't think that a "DS Player" is out of the question, but with the portable selling like hotcakes, don't expect one anytime soon.

All that said, your sour feelings toward the system might be unfounded. The screen, for instance, is super-bright, yet the battery life is long enough that you can play in four or five hour spurts if you want to. The touch screen is more sensitive and responsive than you'd think it would be, too, which is a good thing. Also, the DS Lite is quite a bit more comfortable to hold for long periods of time than the original design. Still, of course, it's all up to you.

Also, I must say that I agree with you about FFV Advance. The one on the PSX was so horrendous that I never finished it and was hesitant to pick up the GBA version. But I decided to try it out, and honestly, I'm playing it more than FFXII. So I encourage anyone out there who was scared away by the Anthology version to give this one a shot.

Matt

Seconded! It's a really drastic improvement. The translation is actually very good, and quite entertaining at times. I'm working on the bonus dungeon right now, and admittedly having quite a few difficulties...

And can you believe that FFVI Advance is less than a month away? I've been wanting to run through it again SO BAD but I told myself to wait for the GBA one to be released. I thought it was gonna be another year away, so imagine my excitement when we found out that it's coming in February! S-E must have decided to hurry up and get this one out the way so they could move on to other things.

Well then...I think that's all for now.

Have a great day!

Laurie

Matt

No kidding. It's 2007, and you'd think that with all sorts of new consoles just out the door, they would want to concentrate their efforts (and funds!) on developing for them. I never would have guessed that games as great as Final Fantasy VI would still be coming out for the Game Boy Advance, here in 2007! That little machine really has a lot of staying power, though it doesn't look like there's much in store for it after FFVI's release. Obviously, I'm really, really looking forward to VI Advance too!

Have a great day yourself, Laurie! I bid you farewell.



Kidneys? Overpriced, these days...


Hey Matt,

I've been looking around on ebay at psx era RPGs and was taken aback by the prices some people were selling them for. Particularly Valkyrie Profile, which I've seen anywhere from $80-125, and Suikoden II which I've seen for around $80-300! Do you have any tips for finding games like these without having to sell a kidney?

Thanks,
Dave

Matt

Yup. Are you willing to give up a piece of your liver instead?

Just joking. Finding Suikoden II for a reasonable price just won't be an easy task. You'd have to get really lucky on eBay, I think, at this point. Or, find a friend with it so you can get in on some hot borrowing action.

Valkyrie Profile will be equally difficult to find on the PS1, but if you have a PSP, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is reportedly a very good remake of the original, and was just released over the summer, so it shouldn't be that hard to find.

Best of luck in your hunting!



Final Fantasy III gushings!


Slimey,

FF3DS is so much fun! I grew attached to a couple of classes early on: the geomancer (Ingus) and the archer (Refia). I was also curious about what happens when you max a class out, so I've stuck with those classes for a truly ridiculous amount of time and am really close to finally maxing them out. Arc somehow got himself stuck as a Dragoon and Luneth bounces between Evoker/Summoner and White Mage. I linked those characters and classes based purely on costumes. Ingus is darling as a geomancer and Luneth and his purple turtle neck is the cutest li'l Evoker. ^___^ (Random note: isn't Luneth's dirty look in the opening movie the funniest thing ever?)

Matt

Oh, I'm stuck with Arc being a White Mage, because I'm wondering, like you, what happens when you master a job, too. He reached Job Level 80 last night, so I can't be too far away... I'm excited to find out! He's been a white mage for 90% of my playtime, and has acquired ridiculous magic power because of it: His Cure spells heal as much as Ingus-the-Onion Knight's Curaga (though, that's not really saying that much). I haven't even seen three-quarters of the costumes, though. There are so many combinations, I'm just going to have to play through it again once I'm finished! I haven't even been a Black Mage once during the entire game so far. Isn't that awful?

It's a rather effective party. Ingus blasts everything with his geomagic and Arc and Refia clean everything else out while Luneth sits there like a log so I can hoarde his summoning magics. This combination has rocked everything I've fought so far, except for Leviathan. That was one of those battles where you've given up hope of winning and decide to get your inevitable doom over with so you can bring a black mage with Thundaga along next time only to have your archer defeat it on your last, desparate attack.

Matt

No kidding. Some of those boss battles are absolutely brutal, especially since they can curiously attack twice per turn. They're especially discouraging if you've come a long, long way through a particularly cavernous cave and pumped an hour or more into getting to the bottom, only to be faced with a Game Over screen. Ugh... so old-school, I can't help but love and hate it simultaneously.

Now, since Bahamut was the lv 8 summon I kind of figured he was supposed to be tougher than Levaithan, but he died after a turn and a half (I think a grand total of four attacks from my characters.) I was somewhere around level 40 at the time. Based on this experience, my impression of tactics in FF3ds is that playing to the weakness of the boss (or area) is the most sound strategy.

Matt

It's true. I've found that bosses are a lot easier if you switch to your highest-damage-dealing classes, too, which I bullheadedly don't do almost all of the time. I'm probably my own worst enemy that way...

As for Dragon Quest IX being an action RPG, I say this: the less RPGs with random battles, the better.

Carabbit

Matt

*gasp*

But... but... but...

I like them! Sometimes. I'd miss them, if they were to disappear from all RPGs, and Dragon Quest was definitely not the series I thought they'd disappear from next. I am looking forward to DQIX DS, though, because holy jeez, that trailer looks amazing!

Write again sometime soon, Carabbit!



Final Fantasy III bashings!


Hi Matt

I am glad to have you back again and pray that the family crisis was not too serious. I am glad to hear that you had a good Christmas but sad to hear that the Wii was used mostly for family gaming! I have spent the last few weeks obsessed with Oblivion, also a Christmas present. Matt, if you value your soul, do not venture into the world of Oblivion. I am finding it just as much of a form of electric crack as ever I found Warcraft. Yeesh.

Matt

Whoa! Good for you. It's nice to see some nice words towards Oblivion, since it's one of those games that always received top honours at other gaming websites but was never really talked about much here at all. It's not really my kind of RPG, having played a little bit of it already, but I'm glad you're enjoying it.

The Wii is now getting a bit more "quality" use; I played a couple more hours of Zelda last night, though Tom made me turn it down during the Presidential Address. Phooey.

I must beg to differ with you. I have found it next to impossible to get into FFIII. I realize that it is well put together but I really have gotten used to having a solid main quest to get me going. Since I don’t remember FFV anymore I would ask you if the story has the same sort of driving quest that is in FFIV or more resembles FFIII. I would be interested in purchasing FFV if it resembles IV in having a driven main quest. What do you think?

Thanks

A

Matt

That's too bad! I think that, like Final Fantasy I, III leaves a lot of the questing up to you. A big part of the first few hours is listening to what townspeople say, travelling to new places, helping them out, and so on. It might not appeal to everyone, but hey, that's life.

Final Fantasy V isn't quite as "driven" as IV, I'd say, but it's pretty close. There are a few points in the game where you're left to explore for yourself in order to further the storyline, but that's okay for me- it makes the plot seem less mechanical, I think. The game is more nonlinear towards the end, when it takes on a sort of Final Fantasy VI-ish feel (i.e. "we can go to the end anytime now"). My thoughts are that you'll be safe buying the game. It's quite a bit peppier than FFIII is, and I think a lot of people would agree with me on that. You'll see what I mean.

Best of luck, either way!



Why are there no Blue Magic 12-step programs?


First of all, I've got a "blue magic" jones right now. If I can't get it from SOCK anytime soon, I'll need to figure out a way to satisfy it! Might this be the time to get a GBA cheap? What are they going for these days?

Matt

Hmmm, I think that the GBA is selling for $99 here in Canada, so it's probably $89 or so in the States. The DS isn't really that much more expensive, and considering its powers, I'd say you should strongly consider that instead, especially with so many RPGs on the way. Of course, the choice is yours, especially if money is tight.

And yes, there's no better place to find a Blue Mage than in FFV. Their sprites look absolutely awesome!

Anyway, a question on the Wii and RPGs: do you think the Wii controller will necessarily mean fewer RPGs for the console? Action RPGs are probably fine, of course, but I can't really see any non-action RPGs really working with that control style. If the Wii stays as popular as it is right now (which I'm not certain will happen), will that mean a hit to our beloved genre?

Matt

The future really is unclear, isn't it? Things look bright now for Nintendo, but there's a long, long road ahead, and anything could happen by this time next year. I really don't see why RPGs couldn't be developed for the Wii, though. The controller is well-suited to handling a traditional RPG, in my opinion. The motion sensing element could be as simple as pointing and choosing which monsters to attack or which menu options to pick. Or, the remote could just be turned on its side and used "classically" with no motion to speak of! There are already more RPGs in development for the Wii than there are for the Playstation 3, so I think that the genre's future is just as bright, or perhaps even brighter, if the Wii does well.

My reaction to DQ9: *weep* I guess being "old school" in DQ8 wasn't enough for some people...

Matt

I know. A part of me is heartbroken as well, but we'll have to wait and see. Maybe Dragon Quest in realtime is the way that the series was meant to be played! The game just might just turn out to be spectacular, but it's way too early in the game to know yet. Stay optimistic!



Dragon Quest IX feeling-flip-flops.


Hey Matt!

Looks like you had a good Christmas this year.

When I heard that they were making Dragon Quest IX on the DS, I was shocked. Concidering how amazing DQ 8 looked and played on the PS2, I thought that this was a serious step back. To even further the shock they said it would be an action RPG instead of a traditional one. It made me wonder what the guys at Square Enix are thinking. Then it occured to me what they did to Final Fantasy XII. They went in a different direction and the game was amazing. Maybe this is what is needed to keep DQ alive and well as a series. Now if only I could afford a DS....

Witecat

"I'm a janitor? I have no idea how to even janitate!"

Matt

Indeed. I did a bit of a double-take, too, and while my initial reaction was a bit off the deep end, I'm now really looking forward to seeing what the game will be like. Change isn't necessarily a bad thing. And while Dragon Quest VIII looked fantastic on the PS2, the DQIX trailer still looks absolutely gorgeous on the DS, doesn't it? I was taken aback by the quality of the trailer, and I can't wait to hear more about the game.

What can I say? Start saving up, Witecat.



QUICKIES

I really want an rpg where there's a hero with a bow and arrows! It's a really common weapon but they never seem to make it in rpg's but they're so cool!!

burninator

Matt
I know what you mean! Final Fantasy XII made me very happy for bringing back the bow and arrow, and I agree... it is an underused weapon in RPGs. Have you ever played Kid Icarus, though? I've heard rumblings that a Wii sequel might be in the works...


MOGNET MAIL

No new mail today, kupo. If you'd like to send me some Mogmail, and you have Final Fantasy III DS, my code is 515 480 192 117. Send me your number, and I'll add you to my list! Then you can send all the mail you like!



IN CLOSING

That's all for today. Tomorrow will round out the week in Ask Matt; your task is to write me! The hot topics lately have certainly centered around portable gaming, but if that's not your thing, don't be afraid to bring up another subject. I'm open to anything, as you should know.

In any case, I shall see you in the morrow.



Send a Letter!

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slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt wrote the first page of his thesis yesterday! (rah, rah)


I've never seen so much interest in my intimate apparel before in my life. Note to self: Never bring the topic up again.

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