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ASK MATT
Forty Below
March 9, 2007

Matt Demers - 14:47 EST

THIS IS THE WORST time of year. I have talked to three different people in the last twenty-four hours that are feeling completely burnt out, and I feel largely the same way, too. School gets busy again around this time, exams loom in the near future, and winter just keeps hanging on. The sum of all those things is a little bit depressing.

BUT, we have to look on the bright side! Eventually school will be done, spring will be here, and all will be well. Now if I could only get a few extra minutes to do some real gaming...




LETTERS
Messages to live by...


Hi,

I'm really sorry if you're not the person to ask, but you're the only email I found on rpgamer, and I couldn't find a FAQ list. I love the quotes that appear on the title of rpgamer (currently it's about earth fire and water) but they're never credited or archived. I would love to see if there's a list of quotes that have been featured on the homepage, or if you could tell me where the current quote is from.

Thanks for your time,
Connie

Matt

Don't apologize for asking me a question. Jeez! I'm here to answer anything and everything, though I might have trouble with some of those big picture questions: i.e. "What's the meaning of life?"

Anyway, Roku used to do the quotes, but now he's not Head of Interaction anymore, and CactuarJoe is. It's one of those guys' responsibilities, anyway, though occasionally, other staffers have been known to contribute. Long live the great RPGamer quotes!

Thanks, Connie! Write in again sometime!



Dragon Quest... outside of VIII.


Hi Matt!

I recently beat DQVIII, it was the first Dragon Quest game I played and was wondering if it was worth looking for a copy of DQVII. Or should I just get DQ: Rocket Slime or both?lol Speaking of things that Squenix needs to remake next. How about DQ 1-6? I'm pretty sure we didn't get all of those released on this side of the pond. After remaking over half the FF series I think they should show Dragon Quest the same attention. I know I would be interested in it.

Whitney

Matt

I think so too!

I have to warn you that Dragon Warrior VII represents quite a step down from VIII, though some people (including myself) really enjoyed it. The gameplay is generally all intact, and the battle system is strong as ever, but the story is more than a bit long and drawn out, and the pacing is generally very slow. If you're concerned about graphics, too, the game will definitely remind you that the PS1 was nothing to write home about. Still, you might be able to find it without having to pay an arm and a leg for it.

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is just a pile of fun. It's completely different from anything you've ever played, and it's really easy, but it's just good fun. Get it. If you're aching for some more Dragon Quest gameplay though, hunt down Dragon Warrior III for the Game Boy Color. It'll be tough to find at this point, but it'll be well worth it- the GBC remake was one of the most fantastic games released for the system.

Good luck! Let me know how the search goes.



The Winner Is...


Matt:

How are you? *drinks to the triumphant return of Matt*

Matt

I am well. I am glad to be back, too. I'm also peeling. The sunburn I got over Reading Week two weeks ago has turned my legs into a mass of dry skin; it's pretty disgusting, really.

Well, first, to answer your closing question: no, I don't think the 360 will be our happy happy RPG home for this generation. I know you had big important things to read during your unfortunate hiatus (yeah right, like what could be more important than a gaming website?), but I wrote an editorial about the winner of the next-gen system war (http://www.rpgamer.com/editor/2007/q1/022607jc.html ), and I think you'll agree with me on this one. If you're too busy to read it, I'll tell you my conclusion: the Nintendo DS is teh win.

Matt

For now, I can't very well disagree with you! That's not it, either: Pokémon is coming out very shortly for the DS, as is Etrian Odyssey, which, to a crazy Dragon Quester like myself, looks like heaven on earth. Of course, Dragon Quest IX is way, way more exciting still, though Heroes of Mana and FFXII: Revenant Wings both show promise. Then, there's Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, and Chocobo Tales, and more. How could anyone argue against you? When you compare these lists to the meagre RPG release lists for the big consoles, well, there is no comparison.

Not that the 360 won't have its share of goodness. I've got my copy of Blue Dragon reserved, I'm buying Lost Odyssey when it comes out, Eternal Sonata is, based on screenshots, one of the most beautiful games I've ever seen, etc., etc.

Matt

Mmhmm. I'm tentatively hopeful that some of these games turn out to be terrible in the end, so I'm not tempted to blow all sorts of money on systems that I "need." (I'm just kidding. Mostly.)

Anyway, to your questions:

1. I have started playing Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime. Unfortunately, it got de-railed (like so many of my other games). Final Fantasy VI dominated my DS play-time for awhile, until this Tuesday when I found (get a load of this) Fire Emblem and Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones for cheap cheap cheap. I'm hooked. But I will get back to Rocket, I promise.

Matt

Oh, SWEET! I'd be hooked too! My brother stole my Fire Emblems from me, and now he's not playing them anyway. Nice kid, eh?

2. Microsoft's "Evolution of the RPG" panel was the only thing I was interested in, and it proved surprisingly uninformative. I guess what I was hoping for was more revolution and less evolution. I did note with some anger that, apparently, I won't be seeing Blue Dragon until August. I thought the release date was June 5, and then I see sites talking about how Blue Dragon "may be coming sooner than you think." WTF? June 5, people. I want to get my Mistwalker on.

Matt

Meh. In my old age, I've become resigned to the fact that video game companies are inherently unreliable. I can't believe I'm going to have to wait until UNDETERMINED to play Metroid Prime 3, despite claims, once upon a time, that it was supposed to be available at launch. August? T'aint so bad.

3. Meh, still haven't made it through FFVI, FFXII, or DQVIII. I'm not worried.

Matt

I need to get on those too. But it's still fun to wonder what the big S-E might have up their sleeves next. I swear, if they come out and announce another Final Fantasy I + II remake, though, I'm going to go crazy.

4. ...I'm ashamed to say that I have no idea what you're talking about.

Matt

GRAAAAWK!? I dunno. Random question of the week, first posed by Xlash, the Dwarf Berserker. Don't worry about it.

5. I'm getting Pearl, I already ordered it a month ago (same time I ordered Blue Dragon, actually...), and the days can't pass quickly enough. All Nintendo has to do to make this the best Pokemon ever is: a) announce WiFi battles, and b) eliminate the ridiculous Friend Code system. Of course, because I apparently live in the only place in the world where RPGs are less popular than Cabela's Deer Hunting games (there aren't any other places in the world like that, I hope... is there?), I'll never get the full functionality of the game unless there are some pretty serious online options.

Matt

Hmm. Everybody always carries on about the Friend Code system, but I don't see that there's a problem, especially here. Why is it an issue? I'm actually interested, because I really feel like the "wahhhhness" about Friend Codes is overexaggerated, and that I'm pretty much the only person who feels that way. I'd much rather play against somebody I know than some random person out there. I can't WAIT to have battles online, though... I'm pretty sure that they had announced a Wi-Fi aspect already, but I could be wrong. Wikipedia agrees with me, for two bonus points.

And now, sir, a question for you. Lunar Knights: have you played it, or is it on your "to play" list, or are you going "Lunar what"?

-Jeffrey

Matt

I want to! And I've been told to. It's received rave reviews, yet I get the feeling that few people have bought into it. Why not?

I need games for the summer, so Lunar Knights might be just the thing. If I do get it, I'll be sure to tell you all whether it's garbage or gold! Have you played it? If you have, let me know! My ears (or eyes) are burning, and it's not because they're on fire.



I need a paper bag to breathe into over this game, I think. Yes, I do.


Hey Matt, congratulations on finishing your thesis. Believe me, youve got a helluva better work ethic than I do.

Matt

Nahhh. I just do what I'm told. And besides, the thesis isn't actually "done" yet... it's still work in progress. It haunts me day and night. It owns my soul, pretty much, and I want it back (my soul).

Anyhoo! Number 1 on our menu is the fact that right now Im playing FFIII on my DS, right after I managed to finish Phoenix Wright: Justice for All. So no Rocket Slime for me right now, sorry. By the way, Id still like to mogmail you when I get the chance.

Matt

Surely! I'll still check my Mogmail from time to time, so feel free to send me a message anytime. Incidentally, I still haven't played a Phoenix Wright game at all, yet, either, which sucks. Grruuuu~

And Id like a heaping helping of Number 5 with extra Eevee. Hes one of the cutest Pokemon, and really versatile. I was really happy with my copy of Pokemon Silver since I could breed my Eevee with a Ditto and raise my own little Eevee clan. I think I just got an Espeon and Umbreon before I quit playing, but I was planning on having a Flareon, Jolteon and Vaporeon. Have there been any other Eevee-lutions since? (Hey, Im out of the loop! Its been 7 years!) I want to hear a lot more about Diamond and Pearl before I commit, but the sheer presence of Wi-Fi has won me over.

Bask in your academic prowess!

Bucket

Matt

Isn't it exciting!?? I can't wait to link my copy of Ruby to the new Pokémon I get, too. It's been a long time since I got lost in one of these games, and I'm ready to lose myself again. It'll be so fun to battle you all, I can barely contain myself! *explodes*

Anyway, to answer your question, no. Eevee hasn't seen any new evolutions, if I remember correctly. In a game that I made up for my brother once, a long time ago, though, I made up a bunch of new Pokémon and included a leafy version that I named "Floreon." Cute, no? I have no idea if there are new versions being introduced in the new game, though, because I'm trying to steer clear of any details/spoilers at all. Those games just aren't the same without surprises and surprise discoveries.

Perhaps I'll battle you soon, Bucket! This time, it won't be mediated by a Ryan Seaclayton.



Mmmm... my legs are strangely itchy.


Konnichiwa, Matt-san

Wow, a second letter in as many days. I'm practically on a roll here.

Matt

Gaijin, you're like a Chomp Rock. Now, what's cooking?

The odds of a Romancing SaGa II remake coming over to the States would seem pretty decent to me (assuming they ever make it at all). I mean, they brought over the Romancing SaGa remake! And it would be a shame not to allow more hardcore RPGamers in other countries enjoy the hair-pulling difficulty levels of some of the finer SaGa and Shin Megami Tensei games.

Matt

Maybe so, and granted, SaGa isn't exactly a series that I follow too closely. I just don't think that the first one got huge sales or great reviews, which in my mind would reduce that probability considerably.

If they decide to do a Lennus/Paladin's Quest remake for the PS3, though, that would make me worried... o_O The only thing I really liked about that game was that you could make your characters attack with pretty much anything you had equipped to one of your appendages. It even calculated damage from headbutting according to the armor rating of your helmet, I think. That could be something fun to play with in other games.

Matt

Now that's different. I wonder if attacking with a potion in hand healed your opponents? This little paragraph just reminded me so vividly of Makai Kingdom all of a sudden. What a crappy but lovable little game! The monsters would pick up random objects and toss them off the map for fun. It was so cute, but so infuriating at the same time, especially if you were looking for one of those items in particular. Anyway, back to adventure.

So, what are your thoughts on radical genre switches within a series? You seem to be liking the Dragon Quest switch to cutesy action gaming in DQH (and I would definitely recommend the original GBA game too -- it's fun even w/o Japanese!), so how about the switch to a tactical format for the Seiken Densetsu games? I'm still not so sure about Heroes of Mana, myself, but it looks interesting. Will definitely get Dawn of Mana first, though, when I have the cash.

Matt

Given that the traditional action-RPG format of the series seems to be losing its lustre with every new release, it might be nice to see new life breathed into it, given the Heroes treatment. Sword of Mana was "just all right" and it seems that Children of Mana was, in the end, downright boring. Too bad, considering that at one point, that was one of my most-anticipated games. I'm looking forward to Heroes much. As for radical genre shifts in general? Eh, bring 'em on. I'm open-minded, I think.

Hm, what else is on my mind... Oh yeah, Mega Man Star Force, or whatever they're calling it. I've noticed that the secondhand price for that title is dropping dramatically in some stores over here. Usually the difference between new and secondhand prices is pretty minor, especially for a recent release like that one, but I'm seeing a thousand-yen ($8 or $9) difference in the big stores, and as much as a 50% difference in the local shops, whose prices are more often determined by fan demand. That's a huge drop for a three-month old release, especially when games released back in May of '06 are still commanding higher prices, secondhand. So either Capcom sold so many copies that the resell value has plummeted, or the actual demand for the game has petered out. Not sure what to think about this, but at least this means I know where to get the game for $15 now.

Matt

Hapan is like frickin' "future land." You're so lucky. I wish I knew how to understand the language. :(

Speaking of Mega Man, I need to get ZX. Speaking of getting games, I need money.

That's all for now. May your inbox become flush and bulky with letters of import, and not indigestible spam-like substances!

Gaijin Monogatari

Matt

Why thank you. My inbox appreciates your wishes much, as do I! One day the stock tips, free diplomas, and offers for male enlargement will disappear. Maybe.



Ah, back to my crystal ball I go...


To He That Be Named Slimey,

I sent this to Cast, but I guess his guess spot is done?

Matt

You guess incorrectly! Cast will return this weekend, maybe, as far as I know. I think that he's planning on continuing the columnage, replacing Ouro for at least the short-term.

I am an ardent nintendo fanboy, and have been such since I was a wee lad. Hell, I still defend the GC to my friends to this day, simply by saying the words "super smash bros."

Matt

It's true... the Gamecube did have some great games. Smash Bros, Metroid Prime, Tales of Symphonia, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, and Mario Kart: Double Dash!! There were some real gems in there, and the console's "lack of success" is, I feel, up for debate.

This question has to do with the Wii's staying power after Zelda: TP, I have to say that it's obvious that, in the wake of what happened to the GC after launch, gamers have every right to wonder aloud about the future of the Wii. Will it continue to plug along? Or will its progress up and die, like so much tomfoolery?

I point to a statistic first, courtest of thelastboss.com:

January '07
Nintendo Wii: 436,000 console sales
Xbox 360: 294,000 console sales
PlayStation 3: 244,000 console sales

The Wii beat out the PS3 by almost 200 THOUSAND units in the month of January.

And this is still with just a few games and Zelda: TP. If this is any indication of what will happen after the Wii gets a few more solid titles out, the PS3tanic is all but done, and it's gonna take a crazy good showing of their big 3: Metal Gear Solid 4, Devil May Cry 4, and the new FFXIII's just to stay afloat.

Matt

Funny you ask. It seems like Nintendo is pulling out all the stops to ensure that this race will be a tight one, by delaying the crap out of everything, leaving us with just a couple of gems and some truly awful looking third-party titles. I'm sorry, Nintendo, but Tamagotchi Party and Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean will not be system-sellers.

Now, after my roundabout ramblings, I ask you, good Andrew, do you think that the Wii will keep up the solid numbers? And will the PS3 make it long enough to see it's big 3 save it?

-Frammy

Matt

In a word, no. I don't! I think that the Wii's numbers will slump over the next few months to become closer to par with the PlayStation 3's sales figures, in fact, because there is so little on the horizon in terms of solid releases. Just past the horizon, though, I feel a bit like the next holiday season will belong to Nintendo. If they're going to shove Mario, Metroid, Smash Brothers, and more to the fall and winter, the Wii could really catch fire again by the end of the year. This is where Sony's big failure is; they could have taken advantage of the summer, looking slow for Nintendo, to regain some momentum by releasing some big things. But, they aren't. At least, not in my eyes. The 360 is a wildcard. A surge in 360 popularity could mean only badness for the PS3, but I'm not sure that that will happen. It's more likely than the vice-versa situation, I feel.

I guess that in the end, I'm wondering if the Wii is going to pull a "DS." The DS, if you recall, came out way, way back in 2004, but most people didn't even know what it was until a few good games came out for it a whole year later. Nintendo fans can only hope that this will be the case.

P.S. - Did you pee a little with delight when you saw that Solid Snake was going to be in the new Super Smash Bros.?

|= |=

Matt

YES. And what does that mean for the possibility of other characters? Could we end up seeing Sonic? Mega Man? A moogle!? The possibility is suddenly there, and it makes me gleeful.



QUICKIES

Whoops. I said there were no quickies yesterday, and then posted one anyway. I swear, I don't have multiple personality disorder.

I just wanted to point out that -40 C IS -40 F. I've always thought that was cool. Keep up the good work. It's good to know that others are working on the thesis as well.
-spintronic-

Matt
Both you AND BigWook pointed the degrees thing out. Bunch of geeks. (Actually, I almost went on about it yesterday before I decided that I'd done enough of a weather report.) Actually, I'm the biggest geek: Back in elementary school, I used to do the weather forecast over the daily announcements... ^^;;;

Just a quickie. Even though I am waiting to get my Wii as a graduation gift in Summer of 2008, I wanted to chime in with what I think is interesting on the Wii release list.

04/09 Super Paper Mario
05/29 Mario Party 8
06/01 Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
06/25 Pokemon Battle Revolution

There is my two cents.

Draconn

Matt
Hey Draconn! I think you need to check again. Based on the confirmed release list Nintendo gave at the GDC, Metroid Prime 3 is nowhere to be seen. Disappointing, eh? Mario Party 8 and Battle Revolution are mildly interesting, but they aren't "big" titles, in my mind.

IN CLOSING

That's all for now, folks. For more Q&A action, check back this weekend! Failing that, I'll be back next Tuesday, so be sure to keep the mail flowing.

There's lots to write about: Now that GDC is over, what releases are you looking forward to most? Super Paper Mario really does look incredible, doesn't it? Why not give Lunar Knights a go? What IS the meaning of life, anyway?

OK, now I'm really done. Bye, everybody!



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slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt is feeling more optimistic than he has in awhile!


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What I Want to Play:

1. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl

2. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

3. Metroid Prime 3

4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

5. Super Paper Mario



What I'm Playing:

1. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime

2. Final Fantasy VI

3. Final Fantasy XII



Hot Topics:

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2. GDC 2007: What's your take?

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4. GRAAAAWK or GRUUUUUU?

5. Are you interested in Lunar Knights?



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