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Ha!
March 14, 2007

Matt Demers - 16:40 EST

I BEAT IT! I worked hard for the first 75% of the day so that I could sit down and beat the crap out of Final Fantasy XII's final boss. So there. I did it. The final time on my clock was 121 hours, to the second, at my last save; that happened purely coincidentally.

Now, I'm not sure where XII falls in my Final Fantasy rankings. I like the challenge, and the game overall much better than FFX. I think it's about on par with FFIX, really. It's very similar in that there is a lot of good things about the game, yet quite a few flaws. The flaws? Balancing. I had to level-up for thirty hours to face the final boss! I haven't had to do that... ever. Also, the game tends to get awfully repetitive after awhile. It seems that you end up using the same strategies over and over again with every new area. Also, I never, ever want to hear people complain about games with random battles of irritating frequency ever, ever again. Every area in FFXII was densely packed with monsters; it was sometimes annoyingly slow-going to get from place to place.

HOWEVER, despite those flaws, the game was wonderful. One of my top three PS2 games, the others being Dragon Quest VIII and Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter.

Most importantly, I am now free to move on with my life!! Gotta do Q&A, though, first. Let's do it now.




LETTERS
Kupomogli, quite contrary.


Hey Matt,

I don't think DQ8 is in the same league as DW7(or any game in the series aside from the first and second.) DQ8 just has too many problems with how they altered the gameplay to the extent that it's really not that enjoyable and along with a storyline that doesn't keep you interested either. The only thing about the game that has been done well were the graphics, but what game hasn't had good graphics when done by Level 5?

-andrew- -kupomogli-

Matt

*gasp*

The storyline in Dragon Quest VIII was actually coherent, I found, which is in slight contrast to DQVII, which is a jumble of decent mini-stories that is nearly infinite. I find that the world of DQVIII is way more immersive, and in general, it looks like a lot more care was taken with the game. The translation is top-notch, the voice acting is awesome, and I just can't believe that you really believe what you're telling me! Oh well. To each their own, I suppose!

It's a good thing you sent this to me and not Cast, because he would have ripped you into about a thousand pieces. Actually, wait. He hasn't even played DQVIII! Time to yell at him, everybody!



Ahhhh...


"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."

May I remind you that the RS remake made it to the states in spite of the preceding title in the series, Unlimited Saga? I remain the optimist.

--Gaijin Monogatari

Matt

Good point. Though, a company can only release so many games with limited success before they just give up. Well, maybe that's not true- they're working on what, a fifth Wild Arms game now? *oh burn, burn so bad*

I shouldn't say that. I've only played one Wild Arms game, and it was ubercrappy. Maybe if I had experienced the third or the fourth-o-hexagons, I'd be more glowy and happy with the series.

Anyway, it's good that you're being optimistic, because pessimism is pointless. And that's why I'm still waiting eagerly to play Earthbound 64.



El nonsensico.


Otaku Nick has returned, sorry that i havn't mailed in a couple weeks.. Horrible family emergancies.. 6 less in my extended family in 2 weeks.. its got me pouty about that and i've slacked off on work..

Matt

Oh my. That's terrible to hear. I think I'd be a basketcase myself, so if you're just "pouty," I think you're holding up fantastically well. Things can only get better from here!

If you live where Otaku Nick does his work i'm sorry if games and anime sucked and i said it was ok.. i shouldn't have just said cool about everything like that :begging forgiveness: but anyway am i the only person that looks at God of War and thinks "you know.. this sortof counts as an action rpg..." it sortof does in my book..

Matt

Nah, a few other people have mentioned the same. I haven't really paid attention to the game, so I can't contribute. But, it's my belief that MOST other games are implementing RPG elements these days...

And i was watching X-play lately and they did this thing of shows you'd like to see a game of.. I myself would like to make an alteration.. What shows would you like to see a decent rpg made out of? my picks are not shows beleave it or not.. they're books.. yes i read.. alot.. A WHOLE LOT!!! and theres this author i love by the name of Wen Spencer.. She has 2 good series one has 2 parts the other has 4 sofar.. and a stand along book called a brothers price.. a brothers price i'll toss off the side cause we've already seen an rpg with somewhat the same environment..

Matt

What shows?? Yuck, I don't watch enough TV to know. And I certainly don't watch anything that I'd ever want turned into a game, either. More licensed garbage, fit for that stupid guy that lives on my bus route's game library.

Viera on FF12 and FFT:A. i mean.. where are the men?

Matt

No kidding, eh? I'm pretty sure there are no men among the Viera because the traditional garb would be way, way too uncomfortable for most guys to ever consider. How exactly new members are born, however, leaves a lot to the imagination...

anyway I'd love to see Rpg's made out of Wen's tinker series aswell as the ukiah oregon series.. tinker is about a chunk of the earth that spends most of its time in an alternate dimention where humans from our home dimention and humans that evolved into elves in that relm coexist.. i mean it has the perfect setup.. and Ukiah is about a half alien boy by the same name that finds out what he is and gets dragged into a war..

Well that's all for now.. I'd love to hear if you have any shows or books you'd like to see as good Rpg's.. and i mean FF4 or 6 good

Matt

Ehh... as I say, the book-to-game or show-to-game thing really is not my thing. I've never played a game based on a movie or show before that I've enjoyed. I'd rather game developers use their creativity and imagination to think up new and innovative ideas, personally.

Anyway, I appreciate your letter! Hopefully, the goodness of your life now has a positive second derivative, and you've bottomed out on the worst of your misfortunes. I'm rooting for you, anyway.



Four games to choose, no less, no more. What does JeePee have in store?


Hi Matt,

Wow, i never thought that my - 40 degree celcius allusion was going to touch so many people!

Matt

It was a touching moment- it brought a tear to my eye, anyway. And then it froze immediately and floated into the air. Wouldn't it be fun to cry snowflakes?

And yes, it was with thw wind chill (thanks to you...i just learn a new expression...in french it is "refroidissement ťolien"...way longer to say!).

For my RPG planning for next year. As a full-time worker, i don't have much time for gaming. In average, a game take me 3 months to go thru.

So, i have 4 games to play this year.

Matt

Yikes- that's not many to work with. What are you thinking about?

The first one is, of course, FFXII. Near 60 hours done by now, i'm not sure i'll have it done by March 31st. I dont really care cause i'm really enjoying it and i hope the best is still to come in the story!

Matt

Nah, not really. But the game is great, and you'll feel like you accomplished something in the end, I think. Keep going! You can meet this deadline. I'll be there to crack the whip if you want me to be. *snap*

Next, Valkyrie Profile - Silmeria. In fact, i started this one during chrismas hollyday. I'm playing this one co-op with my younger sister and we played ansd impressive 20 hours in 3 days. Now that she's studying in another city, the game is on hold.
Matt

That is impressive. Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria is two down the list of console RPGs to play. Now that I'm done with FFXII, I'm going to get back into Zelda: Twilight Princess at last. Once I'm finished with that, Valkyrie Profile had better watch out, because it's going to be the next target!

From what I've heard, the game is good. I shall get a chance to judge firsthand over the months to come.

What do you think of COOP play in RPG. Personnally i find it very interesting to share all the experience with another person. I just hope more game would included this option...it can't be that hard to allowed the second controller to take control of 1-2 character duing battle.

Matt

I say "Hell yeah!" Ever since Secret of Mana, I've wanted a co-op RPG that feels right. Final Fantasy VI's co-op option wasn't too bad. My sister and I played many hours of that, back in the days when responsibilities were few and bedtimes were enforced.

Just imagine FFXII played by 3 persons in same time! Let's wait for the remake...lol

Matt

My sentiments exactly. I'd be worried about a cramped interface, though. Imagine everybody trying to get into the battle menu all at once with the current setup; it just wouldn't work! Some re-arrangery would be required.

Third one is probably going to be one of the Shadow Hearts. Which one would be the best?

Matt

Ugh, this is a toughie. The second one is widely regarded to be the best, but I've also heard that you can't enjoy it as much unless you've played the first. So, I'd say start with the first one- that is, if you can find it anywhere.

Finally, i'm looking to go for a TRPG (for PS2). I have only played FFTactics from that type of game. Can you recommend me a good one (the best if possible).

Keep on rocking in the free world and....Doop Deloudoudou....Dou dou
JeePee73

Matt

There is no "best," because everybody has different tastes! If all you've played is Final Fantasy Tactics, then the field is wide open for you. For the PS2, I'd point you towards Disgaea, if you're looking for something lighthearted and totally different. If that doesn't appeal to you as much, you could blend the tactical genre with a little bit of turn-based traditional RPG and go for a personal favourite of mine: Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. Just be prepared for a very challenging game with a rather unique style. Whichever way you choose, I hope that it turns out to be a positive experience for you. If not, feel free to come bop me on the head with un baton.

Thanks, JeePee. I hope to hear from you again soon!



More classic JuMeSyn.


I'm still on an anime theme kick, so have the opening theme for Evangelion: http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/5759/1 I enjoy it and hope you do also, though I still haven't watched the show.

Matt

Yeah, I don't know. This random-japanese music that I don't know at all from a series I've never heard of isn't my sort of thing. Sorry. It's just the way it is. It's fine- catchy enough, but it just sounds like a thousand others I've heard in the past.

Well, I suppose a swift encapsulation of my recent playing history (post-isolation of yourself) is in order. This begins with my at last finishing Tales of Phantasia, which I had started last June and only completed in February. Had I left off in the middle a mostly unfavorable impression would have been left, but the future portion is strong. Plus Dhaos makes for a worthy final boss. While he appears to drop with pathetic ease, his two subsequent forms each have more HP than any other boss in the game and suffice to blister the thumbs a bit in the rush to survive.

Matt

Ah, a good challenge in a final boss is always invigorating. I want to have to SWEAT for those final credits, you know? Way too many final bosses out there are utter cakewalks.

Slightly before I finished Tales of Phantasia I finished LandStalker. Now, when I said 'Zelda with jumping', understand I was using the description of someone from about 13 years ago when top-down Zeldas with jumping did not exist. It's a good game, quite enjoyable, but prepare for aggravation thanks to that damned isometric view.

Matt

The precursor phase to the precursor phase to the full-three-dimensional phase that we're in now. Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the whole isometric thing either... unless it's part of a tactical RPG, of course.

Next was Sigma Star Saga, which I enjoyed a fair amount but cannot forget all the aggravation of random encounters in. See, the space shooter and the RPG meld in an odd way. Should you have somehow not read my review, just know that unless you have an affinity for the space shooter staying away is probably wise. I like a good space shooter, even if I stink at them nowadays, so I'll come back to SSS sometime for another ending.

Matt

Well, I did enjoy Star Fox. Actually, the concept kind of sounds like Lunar Knights, which I've just been inquiring about recently. A highly-acclaimed Nintendo DS action RPG about vampires and outer space. It sounds strange, but it's apparently really great. Who'd have thought?

Then we have Summon Night: Swordcraft Story. The weapon creation is interesting but requires altogether too much time. Removed from that we have a fine Atlus translation for a dull story and a dungeon crawl. The music is also incredibly bland, so bland that I stopped and just booted up iTunes instead of boring myself any more.

Matt

Unfortunate. And yeah, it seems that I don't have the patience either when it comes to most weapon-creation systems. Add those other issues, and I don't blame you even one iota. Besides, you had like three hundred other games to play. Actually, I don't even want to know what your library looks like.

So what did I do? I booted up Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 2! Which so far is more colorful than the first, with better music (though not great) and an equally uninteresting story, though somewhat more challenging. That could be thanks to the revamped weapon creation. Look forward to a review soon.

Matt

Ooh! We will be looking forward to it muchly, sir.

After I got my butt handed to me a couple of times (my own fault) in Swordcraft Story 2, I decided that as long as I was losing I would finish up Sword of Vermilion. I've been chatting with Roku, and he'll get it listed on the site so I can finally review a game that I think sucks ass.

Matt

Given all those fives you've handed out over the past months, you're long due for an awful game. Don't be too harsh! Well, okay, be harsh, if it's that bad. Man, I miss reviewing things. I should review something one day when I have an extra minute or eighty.

But wait, remember my diatribe against the flying bosses way back when? Turns out that, since they always fly to exactly the same place in the same pattern, I could eviscerate them by NOT MOVING and just swinging as fast as I could. HA HA HA! There were three of them, each one stronger but no smarter! HA HA! I laugh at the incompetence of this boss fighting engine! Yep, I haven't played anything Japan-only for a little while. No worries, I'll go back to my usual routine soon since my Saturn is finally returning. But since all of these games could conceivably by played by YOU, I figured the occasion ought to be marked.

Matt

Inconceivable!

Actually, I hate disappointingly bad battle-intelligence, whether fighting normal battles or bosses. The sad thing is, someone actually put work into the game. I'm telling you, if I designed a boss, I'd, you know, want it to be something that you'd remember not for its ineptitude at fighting.

A few other things while I'm here. First, awhile back I wrote an editorial espousing a title in which the player controls Aboriginal Indians against the encroaching whites seeking to take their land. The USA sinned very greatly in its dealings with the original people of this land, but Canada is far from blameless (witness the constant debates over how to treat with the remaining people). What think you of this concept?

Matt

I guess, heh heh, that it would depend on the approach taken. If the game was set from the Europeans' viewpoint, I'd bet that the game wouldn't pass the ESRB very successfully, yes?

Have a musical link! http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/712/27 This is heard for all of two bosses in Phantasy Star IV, and I find it intense. You find it to be what?

Matt

"Intense" is one word for it. It's neat. Very different. A bit heavy on the bass, though, I think, though maybe that's great in the heat of battle.

Tell me: have I ticked Aethelred off at any time? The only time he's ever addressed me seems to be in my editorial regarding random battles, and I tried getting his attention a few other times..

Matt

Aethelred is Aethelred. I am not here to mediate; I am here to answer questions. As far as I know, no, Aethelred has no issue with you at all.

Re: random battles. To me, anything else is more entertaining. Sure I can deal with random battles, but I get no satisfaction from walking around trying to trigger fights. I feel accomplished if I've fought through a series of planned encounters, irritated or indifferent if I just fought through the same encounters randomly.

Matt

Perhaps- but even in games WITH random battles, planned encounters inevitably occur at key points. Many people would be quick to side with you, but I personally think that random encounters have a really unnecessarily bad rap.

Another Sega RPG I didn't like: Beyond Oasis. I dunno, nothing ever gripped me about that game. I'm hard-pressed to think of a better reason to have dismissed it, because the fundamentals are solid. I think I sold it on eBay a few weeks after buying it there years ago, and have no urge to reacquire it.

Matt

What can I say? Not ALL games can "grip" you. Maybe it's one of those games you'll rediscover later in life and find that you love.

Space is doubtless short. So I'll give you this: http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/1780/10. It's a tune from several towns in Shining Force III Scenario 2 and 3 which is quite catchy to me. Hopefully to you also.

JuMeSyn

Matt

Heh heh. What does this remind me of? Actually, it reminds me a little of Wild Arms: ACF, for reasons that are obvious if you've played the game. I don't mean that in a bad way, either- if anything, Wild Arms had some at least okay music. This one possesses a fun character. Thumbs up.

And that's all she said. Or he said. I'm done, anyway, and so are you, until next time.



QUICKIES

In response to Bucket's letter there does to me appear to me 2 new Eevee evolutions. #470 Leafia and #471 Glacia seem to look quite a bit like a Grass and Ice evolution of Eevee. Of course I could bae totally wrong but look for yoursellf

http://pokemon.marriland.com/diamond-pearl.php?page=pokepics

~Toma

Matt
AHHH! Be careful! I'm staying far away from these kinds of sites until I'm through the game! But, I'm happy to know that they grabbed my idea for a grass-variety of Eevee... even if it is stupidly named. Where's the -eon!?

IN CLOSING

OK, everybody. The time has come. Sign-ups for Sock 2 begin NOW! Hopefully there will be an opportunity to win some nice prizes! I'll do my best to get some neat stuff, and at the very least, you'll have a chance to host this column yourself. Click the "Sock 2" link in the sidebar for more information, before you sign up. If you're interested, sign up as quickly as possible, to help me judge the approximate number of participants. The actual contest will begin in about two months.

For tomorrow, I'm interested to hear your take on random battles. Are they really so bad? Games like Dragon Quest VIII make it so that you don't even have to worry about them, given the right spells and items. I don't think they're as awful as everyone else thinks they are, but if you have an opinion you'd like to share, I'm waiting to hear from you! If you want to write in about something else, but can't think of something to write about, turn your attention towards the Hot Topics list on the all-important sidebar! Of course, anything goes here.

Okay, that's all. More tomorrow, provided that you send me some mail. Bye bye!



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Matt foiled the foiled-plans! Ha-ha!


Oh, it's finally time for quality Zelda. I'm so h-a-p-p-y.

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