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ASK BAINICK & MATT
A Really Great Day
March 16, 2007

Bainick - 17:29 EST

HEY, ALL, TO what is my eighth I believe guest host position, yes eight. That's more than some hosts I think!

Anyway this year is a year of change. A year where I strive to do well at Uni (Primary School Teaching for those not in the know). A year where I strive to pass some RPG's. A year where I will break off my self's shackels and shout "I am Bainick hear me ROAR", or something more quiet in the depths of my bedroom.

Anyway the change of scenery, even if its only for half a week, is new to me and I'm doing my best to adapt to it, though it helps that my house mates are quite nice to hang around. I've also been told that the first semester is the hardest for Primary Teaching, so if I can get past the poster making, book reading and kids games I can do anything. (It's like being back in Primary School again, what could be more fun?).

So enjoy todays Q&A brought to you by Bainicko's and don't forget to join SOCK version 2!




LETTERS
Shopping 'til we're dropping.


Dear Matt or Bainick,

Don't you just love to hate rumors? Seriously, you hear one little bit of information that might not even be true and the next thing you know you just can't stop thinking about it. It's like you just have to be in the know. Oh well, maybe some exciting news will come along soon and make us all happy. Well, at least most of us.

Bainick

I usually don't put much faith in rumours, epecially from some websites, but in other cases it's nice just to dream of the possibilities. Like fighting Sonic as Mario in SSBB, like I do in my fanboy dreams, sigh.

Right now, I'm replaying Final Fantasy IX. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this game, but it is harder at the beginning than I recall. The characterization is so nice though. At times, I like being forced to use certain characters in a party like Zidane, Vivi, Freya, and Quina a few hours in. I have no healer and it feels like the old school FFs I just finished playing through. Changing directions, Final Fantasy I-VI + XII finished within the last year. Wow. Now if I could just finish up Zelda: TP that I've been playing since December and putting off for the past month. I blame my wife for always tossing in Wii Sports or Wii Play. Oh well.

Bainick

I finished TP in January, making it my very first console Zelda to ever be passed by me, though alternatively I've passed every handheld Zelda so far so it balance's itself out. On Final Fantasy, I guess its harder to make sections where you don't have a Garnet as healer section if everybody can be a healer. In FF12, Pretty much from the start of gaining each character I made sure to put Cure on them, as FF12 has been made in a way where to not do so would put you in a very dire position. At the moment Wii Sports and SSBM are the only games being used in my Wii, but nobody wants to play Wii Sports with me because of my L33T skills.

What's on each of your shopping list's for the rest of the year?

Macstorm

Bainick

I've ordered in Europa Universalis 3, and I will be getting Mario Galaxy, SSBB. Other then that I don't really have much else that I want to get, except maybe FF9. Every game store that I go to seems to have it, and its sweet song calls to me.

Matt

Heh heh- after my rather manic afternoon, I went out and splurged on pretty much the world at EB Games. I bought Mega Man ZX and Lunar Knights for the DS, which I can't wait to try. I also preordered Pokémon Diamond for the DS, Mario Party 8, and Super Paper Mario for the Wii. Rather Nintendoey, no? Almost all of my other must-haves-- okay, all of my other must-haves-- are Nintendo games through the end of this year, assuming that FFXIII is a 2008 release. Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Metroid Prime 3, Super Mario Galaxy, Zelda: Phantom Hourglass... who am I kidding? I don't have the time for all this, do I??



Matt is slow. Old people are slow. Thus, Matt is old. (That doesn't actually make any logical sense.)


Hey Matt,

I finished FF12 a couple of months ago, and did I read that right? You leveled up for 30 hours before the final boss? wow.

...

I just went to check my save file, and just like I thought I beat the game in under 60 hours. I didn't do many of the sidequests and my highest level character was only 50. As far as I remember I didn't do much of any extensive leveling up. I was planing on doing some of the side quests, finding some of the better equipment and so on. I only went to the last dungeon to look around and next thing I knew I was at the last boss, thinking I was going to get my rear handed to me. But after a long, hard battle I came out victorious. I've been planing on going back to get the hidden summons, best equipment and finish all of the hunts. I havn't been able to find the time though..too many other games that need to be beat..

Matt

Wow! I guess I just totally suck. I first got to the final battle in Level 52-54, but really did have my ass handed to me. The thirty-hour level up is a bit misleading, because much of that time I spent running around and trying to figure out sidequests. It's hardly as if I was sitting there grinding hardcore or anything. Plus, I'm just slow at playing games, if you haven't noticed. 120 hours is... well, a lot of hours.

Right now I've been playing Rouge Galaxy. It's a pretty good game so far, but I think it'll get put on hold along with Ar tonelico, .Hack//GU, twilight princess, disgaea 2, Grandia III (the list goes on) as soon as I pick up God of War II later this week.

I have a real bad habit of buying a game, playing it halfway through, then losing interest when a new game comes out on the market.

Matt

Yeah, that's been my problem lately too, though I guarantee that I would have the time to play if someone would just emerge from the woodwork and agree to take over all of my real-life responsibilities and such. I've been waiting for what- like a year and a half now? And nobody. *sigh*

Back to the topic at hand, Random battles.

Random battles can make or break a game. If you get in a fight every 3 or 4 steps it can really detract from the game experience. Especially if the battle system is boring. Games like Atelier Iris and Ar Tonelico make the random battle system better by limiting the number of battles in an area. So after the number of battles has been met you don't get into any more fights leaving you free to explore until you leave the area.

I really don't mind random battles though, they keep you on your toes.

Super Kyle

Matt

Yeah. The Moogle Charms or Repel spells or whatever those newts were from the Lufia series really help out in that regard. If done well, I'd go as far as to say that I prefer the random battle system, though I know I'm in the minority when I say that. It's probably a little combination of reminiscence and insanity, since we pretty much know by this point that I'm a linear combination of the two.

Thanks Kyle!



Seventh? SEVENTH?


Greetings, Matt (yeah, yeah, and Bainick, too):

Well, sir, you should be proud of yourself. I have put Fire Emblem and FFVI on hold just so I can play Rocket Slime. And boy am I glad I did! What a fun little game it is. I just finished my first tank battle today, and the thought of duking it out in multiplayer makes me go "squee!" Of course, the fact that no one around here has any culture and *pauses to check the game case* the lack of WiFi support means my squee remains hypothetical.

Bainick

Well since the game has yet to be released in PAL territories, and probably won't, i'll leave this one for Matt here...

Matt

This is about the one and only reason why Australia would be a bad place to live. Every other aspect, aside from the potentially enormous spiders, makes the deal sound niiiice.

It's really unfortunate that they left Wi-Fi out of Rocket Slime, because it's highly unlikely that you'll find m/any other DQH owners within range in this part of the world. It's a crying shame, because a tank battle against another person would be just the funnest thing of all time.

It's not like the game is the best game ever or anything; I just think it's different, cute, and funny, which is right up my alley.

Since this is Questions AND Answers, I'll answer your question about the Friend Codes. Anything that creates an additional barrier between the gamer and the game is bad. Just because I've never met anyone who owns Final Fantasy III doesn't mean I should be doomed to a life without Onion Knights. The fact that the only other person I know who plays Animal Crossing is my 12-year old cousin shouldn't preclude me from visiting the town of someone who knows what they're doing. Now, since I joined the RPGamer clan (still waiting on that member's jacket, guys), finding Pokemon opponents will be easier. But Nintendo could make it ten times easier for me, and a hundred times better for others outside of the RPGamer-verse, if they would set up some sort of auto-match system (a la Mario Kart DS) for ALL of their WiFi games. Instead, they create the additional barrier of a Friend Code (see above for my "barriers are bad" segment). Thatís my feeling, take it as you will. Don't you think it would be nice, though, if Nintendo set up some servers that would pair people in battles based on their skill level?

Matt

Thinking about it too, isn't the friend code thing all about "safe online play"? It seems to me that in the public eye, Nintendo is getting slammed for providing a window to evil regardless of these friend-code efforts. Have you heard about those concerned parents who want the Wii banned because of the fact that its internet browser can allow kids to access PORNOGRAPHY? *gasp* That darn Nintendo Internet... how dare it! So really, Nintendo should just cut its losses. If it's going to be viewed as an unsafe machine no matter what it does, it might as well do things the way they should be done, if that makes any sense.

Bainick

Yes it would be nice, though I have little experience with WiFi all the likes, though soon... Anywho it would be great if Nintendo did set their servers like this, as I'd hate to have to face opponent after opponent of level 100 battles with a party of level 20's. You know the complaints about users disconnecting would just skyrocket if this ended up being the case.

And now a question for you, Mr. Bainick. Final Fantasy XII is now in your PAL hands, is it not? What's your take? Is it the "oh noes! Final Fantasy is dead" of the series, or a new direction for a long- lived franchise? And just how far are you into its surprisingly... *searches for a word non-offensive to all the ravenous fanboys and girls* different story?

Bainick

I'm about 21 hours into the game having just reached a village south of the Giza Plains. I'd have to evaulate FF12 as meh, it'll sell but it hasn't done anything for the FF namebrand. The story just doesn't seem all that believable, in FF terms, and the gambit system is one of the worse ideas i've ever seen. You actually have to buy/find certain gambits that you'd expect SHOULD be available to you from the start. It's not all bad though, just disapointing.

Ah, the end of the GBA era is a sad one, but it has its perks. I nearly bought a PSP game the other day (Monster Hunter), then spotted those Fire Emblem games (as well as Advance Wars 2) sitting in that fugly used GBA case and promptly spent the cash on them instead. Three games instead of one? Sounds good to me.

Bainick

I bought my GBA after I had a DS. It has helped me in obtaining some hard to get pokemon in Emerald by "borrowing" them from the GC games. It was quite cheap too!

Matt

...and based on the latest shocking NPD numbers, so are other people, too. Can you believe that the PS3 was the seventh-best selling console in February? Yes, seventh. And sixth? Yeah, it was the Game Boy Advance. How's that for staying power?

One last question, and then Iím gone: how do you guys swing on the DS? Iím still playing the original, but Iím thinking of getting a Lite eventually (unless they announce the DS 2.0 within the next year), especially if I can get one as a bundle with, say, Revenant Wings or DQIX. Have you played both systems, and how do you feel about them, respectively?

Okay, byes.

Jeffrey

Bainick

I don't see any real need to get a lite over the original, if you already have an original, unless your really want to. I havn't played a Lite but except for the obvious I doubt the difference is that great.

Matt

I've played with both. The difference in the brightness of the screen of the Lite will absolutely shock you. I also tend to get about... oh... an extra half hour to hour of battery time out of each charge with the Lite. I find it to be more comfortable, though the sound is possibly a little lower quality, if you don't play with headphones. It might be worth it, if you have money to burn.

Thanks, Jeffrey!



The bosses of all bosses.


Hello,

Some of the best bosses and enemies for that matter were in Earthbound. I mean, in what other games do you get to fight hippies, old people and cult leaders. Not to mention that the last boss was so bad...spoiler...that your characters had to be transported into the future in robot bodies and only with prayers to their friends and you the player could they defeat Giygas & Pocky. The worst bosses are those, no matter how easy or hard, who show up in the last moments of the game. It is ridiculous that you spend most of the game fighting the big bad evil, to have it be revealed that he or she was being played by some random dude.

Matt

Yes, unless the random dude really makes a lot of sense. I don't mind villains like Zemus in Final Fantasy IV, because there's actually some backstory and some explanation; there are little hints early in the game that the villains extended beyond Golbez and Baron. It all fits well. Compare Final Fantasy IX, where Necron really does come out of -nowhere- and you're left totally scratching your head at the randomest final battle of all time. It's fun in a weird way, but mostly stupid and kinda clichťd.

One last boss that stands out is Lavos from Chrono Trigger. If for no greater reason than that Lavos continue to be the villain of the game for out the entire thing. Also holding a special place is Luca Blight from Suikoden 2. Insanity is always a plus in villains.

Arkadysmile

Matt

I personally like villains who strongly believe in their own cause; as if they could be the heroes of their own game, if you will. This makes them more believable, I feel, knocking some reasoning behind their madness. Of course, I can't imagine life with some of the psychotic ones, too. Thank you Kefka... I love you.

And thank you Mr/Mrs/Miss Arkadysmile. It's been a pleasure.



Waterfiend and the great "What ifs?"


Hey Mr. Matt,

Bainick

He's not here at the moment, please leave you details and in the meanwhile listen to the cohosts drival I mean witty banter.

On random battles versus action RPG battles: do you remember some of the earlier announcements about FF XII? Early announcements about the game said the battle system would be similar to FF X-2... But as we now know, the finished game was entirely different, essentially similar to an MMORPG.

Bainick

Nope I never heard of it. Never ever. EVER!

Matt

I have! And actually, it's really fun to go back and look at some of the very first screenshots that we were provided with back in 2001 or so. Many of the battles really DO look like they're in a different, party-lined-up-in-a-row environment. It just goes to show you that game development is a long and rocky road, full of bendy twists. It'd be fun to see what the game would have been like "if," you know?

My question: what would have happened if FF XII had been like those early news reports said it would be - a traditional turn-based RPG, complete with random encounters, where allies and enemies line up and fight on the field that they were just running around on? Breath of Fire 3 did it, after all. More important, would you have liked it at all?

Bainick

I would have jumped for joy and being able to enjoy a much better executed battle system, yes it has all been done before but it doesn't mean you could't have seen the enermies. I believe a similar system to BOF5 would have greatly improved the game. You could see the enermies on the map, and contact would put you in battle, even if it was a simila in-battle system to FF12.

Matt

I'm not sure what to say here. I feel like Final Fantasy XII has a quality system, so it would be a shame, in a sense, to give it up. But, it would just be really cool to see what the alternative might have been. As always, I'm the indecisive one; you don't want to know how long it takes me to order something at a restaurant.

Also, if you're looking for a fresh breath of air in turn-based battle systems, Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria fits the bill. Take the movement/action gauge of Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter (only the enemies move when you do), switch to a sideways perspective when attacking... and more or less you have Silmeria. Added bonuses: visually breathtaking scenery, and it's not so engaging you couldn't drop it for a day or so and pick it up later without any regrets. Sound like your kind of game?

Bainick

Maybe, I'll never know, stupid PAL region and pathetic PAL PS3 backwards compatablity, mixed in with $1000 cost for the PS3.

Matt

Sure! At least I'll find out soon enough. That game is nearing the top of my to-do list, after all, which means that soon, I should be able to go "ta-DA!" and share with you all of my VP2 stories. Stay tuned.

Looking forward SO MUCH to Super Paper Mario.

Bainick

You, me, and most definitely Matt.

As for games that have cool bosses: does Shadow of the Colossus count? I'm sure a lot of people will mention it but it really is a great game - every boss battle being epic = awesome game, and really the game is based around bosses. For my second choice, it would probably either be Earthbound, with its cool hippy/mole/slime/artsy bosses (and nifty last battle) or Zelda: Twilight Princess with its fun battles (especially in the place where you get the Dominion Rod) - those were pretty cleverly done.

Bainick

Yep liked all of them, I'd also put in boss's that had great music like Neclord or the final boss in Kirby: TCS for 64.

Gosh Earthbound was a great game...

Waterfiend

Bainick

It was, even for the inconvenience of borrowing my friends NTSC SNES, it was. Pity about Mother 3 though.

Matt

O sigh- let's not talk about the game that should have been. In any case, thanks for contributing, my monstrous and moist friend!



QUICKIES

you know what would make me happy? a multi-platform final fantasy xiii! there's no way I'm paying $600 to play a single game!

Matt
You and me both. It does make me sick to think of missing a Final Fantasy game, even if I've done it once before. XI... why were you online, again?

IN CLOSING

I'm out of steam for the week! I apologize if your letter hasn't been answered, but I'll keep working on the backlog when I come back on Tuesday. If all goes well, this weekend will be perfect for gaming. I have absolutely nothing to worry about doing! For the first time in so, so long. I can feel tears welling up in my eyes... I... I... had better stop.

Thanks, Bainick, for helping me co-host! If Boojum is anywhere around, he should be next in the captain's chair, perhaps a week and a half or so from now.

I may be leaving until Tuesday, but I'll bet that Andrew would more than appreciate a letter or two from you nonetheless. Be nice to Uncle Casto over the weekend, and give him something to chew on, other than his cud.

Unless you want to check out the newest Sock 2 tidbit (today's is a rather big one), that's all for now! I bid you bye-bye.



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Unanswered Letter Backlog: 22 - fantasterrific



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Matt is a sleepy, but happy zombie.


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On my Wishlist:

1. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl

2. Super Paper Mario 3. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

4. Metroid Prime 3

5. Super Smash Bros. Brawl



On my Portable Playlist:

1. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime

2. Final Fantasy VI

3. Lunar Knights



On my Console Roster:

1. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

2. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria

3. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance



Hot Topics:

1. What "makes" a good boss fight?

2. GDC 2007: What's your take?

3. Random battles: They aren't so bad, are they? Oh, they are not!

4. What are your gaming plans for 2007, now that all three major consoles are going to be sucky?

5. Are you interested in Lunar Knights? Why not!?



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