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ASK MATT
John Elton and the Chaos Game
April 13, 2007

Matt - 22:42 EST

YOU KNOW, SINCE I began here, I haven't really stopped to question why on earth the first few words of the introduction are traditionally capitalized. Why is this? The majuscule serves no real purpose as far as I can see. What do I know?

The Sock 2 Beta test is happening today! If you have any interest in how the game will work or look in the end, mosey on over to the sidebar and check it out, or click here.

If you don't have any interest, then the questions and answers begin right now. Don't fear, either; I've taken care this time around to make sure that the game doesn't muck up the column's main page, since a couple of people complained about that the first time around. Now everyone can coexist peacefully! (Yay!)




LETTERS
It's a really, really big Wook. What is a Wook?


Hey Matt!

Well, I finally polished off FFXII, after over three months and 100 hours of gametime. A fun game, but but I'm still of the opinion that the plot was stretched thin, especially given the sheer size of the game. If you're going to have a game that size, you need to expand the plot to fit it, not shrink it down. It felt even thinner with all the sidequests I did (and I barely scratched the surface, outside of all the hunts). The first six to eight hours? Excellent. The finish? Reasonably strong, although undermined by the light plot. A bit more character development would have made it more meaningful. I wish there had been an unlockable movie viewer, although when I think about it, a large portion of the movies in the middle 60% of the game are simply setting the scene, not necessarily advancing the plot. I need to submit a review for the game, but that's what I said after I replayed FFVIII and FFIX. Maybe I'll get off my butt and do it.

Matt

You should!

I'm like you, here. I really think that the storyline could have been well-fleshed out in a spectacular way, but we must settle for "pretty good," sadly. This is no Final Fantasy VI or VII, I fear. But, it's nothing to sneeze at... unless you're just allergic to Square Enix games.

Meanwhile, now I've gotten myself distracted by Twilight Princess. I'm too early in the game to have a real opinion of it, but at the moment its as solid as any of the other ones that I've played. The twilight idea is interesting, I'm curious as to how it plays out. There is certainly an abundance of monkeys in the first dungeon, that's for sure.

Matt

Yeah, don't worry about them; they'll be gone faster than you can say "irritating bananas" twice. You'll find out soon enough why people are whining about formulaicity, if that's even a word. It's still a great game nonetheless; a lot of creative talent went into it, and the presentation is absolutely gorgeous, with or without orchestrated music.

Having complained about the story in FFXII, I have to chip in my two cents (or three, as it will turn out). FFVI and Xenogears are two very obvious choices, and I'm sure people will write in with plenty of support. The story I'm here to write in about is Shadow Hearts: Covenant. It's an epic story, intermixed with lots of historical events and figures. It has well developed characters, who fit well into the story. It also has a nice balance of big moments and quieter interludes. Plus, it has lots of little references to the first Shadow Hearts, so there's little bonuses for those who have played the first one. I don't want to go into too much detail, since you've talked about playing it for a while, but it's a great play, as long as you have some flexibility in historical accuracy.

Thanks!

BigWook

Matt

Yeah, but I doubt I will get the chance to at this point. It's getting to be very difficult to find in the stores- I've looked around, without much luck. Some other people have written in lately to tout its story too, so I'd say that your opinion is probably bang-on. Why, then, did they tamper with the awesome formula for the third Shadow Hearts, then? From the sounds of it, the game took on a completely different feel from the ones before it. I do not know.

Anyway, thanks yourself! In an ideal world, we'd all get the opportunity to discover every game ourselves. Alas, though, the world is far from ideal, and such dreams are unrealizable. We do our best.



Life's important decisions...


Hoy there, Matt, I haven't written for some time.

About being bitten by Puzzle Quest, it indeed is a surprisingly good game! Me, my brother and cousin are dangerously addicted to it, last time we got together for some multiplayer we went for hours long... And I ended up not sleeping as much as I should (taking in consideration I had college and work on the net day).

On that subject, what are the games which games made you go all the way into the night not caring for being rested enough for the tribulations of the next day? The ones that were most critical to me on that point were Zelda OoT, FFVII and Chrono Trigger, with more recent examples being FFX, Phoenix Wright and the Kingdom Hearts series. Hehe, it's a bad thing when I get addicted like that when I'm NOT on vacation...

Matt

Yes, I know exactly what you mean. Most recently, that happened shortly after receiving Mario Kart DS and becoming purely addicted to bettering my Time Trial records. My hands would hurt; I spent so much time trying to do better and better. The thing is, I would make it a sort of challenge for myself. "If I can get my time under 1 minute and 5 seconds, THEN I can go to bed." A few nights, that strategy kept me up until well past SIX in the morning. Yes, six. Six, I tell you!

What you think about It's a wonderful World? It's what I'm most anticipating right now for the DS, the artwork rocks, the gameplay looks like much fun, the vibe of the game fits my style... I love everything they've released about it so far and I'm hoping for a new PV on the Squeenix Party. Along with wanting it bad there's Heroes of Mana, FFXII:RW, DQIX, FFCC: Ring of Fates... Oh, DS. <3

Matt

I've owned my DS for not quite two years, and my library is already rivalling my PS2 library. No joke. I'm up to like... 16 or 17 games, at last count. 'Tis many. And on top of the ones you've listed, POKEMON is coming out very shortly. And did I mention Tetris Attack DS? ZED OMG!

I want your opinion on something.

Me and my aforementioned brother have in video gaming one of our favorite hobbies (along with reading), and now that we're both working and making some cash we've been talking about getting all of the "next gen" systems. Buying all of them simultaneously would be overkill, of course, since neither of us have the needed time (or money) to invest in so many games and consoles at once. But recently I've been taking in consideration that our house is big and always full of people sleeping over on weekends (at least 2 or 3) and multiplayer is always a blast for us. I also have many fond memories of the N64. Many consider it a failure of sorts, but the great matches we had with Goldeneye, Starfox, Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart... Oh, those were the times, countless hours of laughing and screaming with our friends. Ok, I don't want to sound like an old man, I'm only 22!

I can't complain about the PS2. We played much Guilty Gear XX, Champions of Norrath and X-Men Legends, but aside from those nothing can compare to what the N64 was for us with its many 4 player games. Still on the PS2, I'm having a lot of fun playing Tales of the Abyss with an other RPG loving friend, more RPGs should have multiplayer support like that. But I digress, the point is that it looks like the Wii could bring back those times with its emphasis on bringing non gamers to the gaming scene, along with fun pick up and play games like Wii Sports (even if I'm more interested in Wario Ware, I love Wario's games). But what worries me on the long run is the library of games. The wii would work great at my house as a party console, but I don't want to buy it only for this reason. There's great single player stuff like Zelda TP and Super Paper Mario, and as I skipped the GameCube there will be many great Nintendo games to play from that system too, but what about third party games? I'm interested in No More Heroes from Suda51 and Dragon Quest Swords, but those are games that don't even have a specific release date yet. From released stuff, Elebits looks great. Trauma Center too, but I already played the DS version. I wish I could see already on the Wii the same kind of support (pure love, actually) Square-Enix is giving the DS. And more games with a solid single player experience, bundled with great multiplayer (versus or co-op), like Goldeneye was (and Dragon Quest IX and FFCC: Ring of Fates will hopefully be).

(I didn't mention FFCC: The Crystal Bearers, but only because it still doesn't have too much info released. I want to play it too, but Ring of Fates won my heart already.)

So, my question is: Having a Wii, do you think I should buy one right now or should I wait a bit more?

Matt

I think that the third party support will trickle in more solidly as time goes by, especially if the strength of the console keeps up at the current pace. The Wii is strongly outselling every other non-handheld console right now, and developers can't possibly just look at that without seeing opportunity. Remember that the DS didn't have much support in the beginning either; it took the influx of newcomers for companies like Square Enix to jump on the bandwagon and start developing games in full force. Now, the system is a powerhouse. Truly, I can see that the same thing might happen for the Wii.

On top of that, you have to weigh in the price. If you're feeling the itch for a new-generation console, the Wii is the one that holds the least risk for you, I feel. You're not spending a truly significant amount of money for it in comparison to the PS3 or the 360, and the system is killer for multiplayer games; with Wii Sports (yeah, it might get old for some people) but Smash Brothers and Warioware, Mario Party and more on the way, you'll at least get some entertainment out of the thing- though as soon as you buy four controllers, the price goes significantly. Plus, the roster of upcoming games does look promising. Now, if only Nintendo wouldn't delay the crap out of everything...

Anyway, that's how I see things right now. The PS3 and 360 do indeed show some promise for RPGamers, but as an all-around video gamer, I feel that the Wii is the best buy right now, and will be for the forseeable future.

I swear I tried not to write such a long letter.

See you next!

-Franklin (Way to the Dawn on the forums)

Matt

Nay; thank you sir! Let me know if you decide upon anything!



Fire3! 985 damage. Ugh.


The only RPG I can think of that had an "old" character with a long white beard was Chrono Cross. Old man Radius fought with his walking stick and was actually pretty tough. I wish more games were willing to give us characters that were over 30 and actually capable of aging.

-Whitney

Matt

Oh yeah, I remember that dude! Let's not forget about Tellah, either. What a useless old fart.



Overuse! OVERUSE!!!


Hi Matt!

About the overuse of the title Final Fantasy, I will admit, it is getting a little ridiculous, however I also think that this could be working against S-E. For instance, I am almost entirely convinced that the reason for my disappointment with FFXII is precisely because it is a Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy has basically been put on a pedestal and the recent games of the numerical series (I don't count spin-offs) have been a bit of a letdown. Now say for instance FFXII had been called something else, would people be so impressed by the battle system and other rather innovative features, to the point they wouldn't be so nitpicky about it? It's just a theory but I believe that the rest of the game was good enough it could stand on it's own.. Although if it hadn't had the name Final Fantasy I doubt that as many people would have played it by now. So really it's a double-edged sword for Square-Enix.

Matt

Exactly... and who is to say before a game's release what will be perceived as "epic and wonderful" to the gaming populace? I mean, everybody has a different idea of what comprises a great Final Fantasy game, and indeed, many people I've spoken with truly believe that Final Fantasy XII represents a return to form. Others wouldn't be happy unless they were presented with a bunch of sprite-based characters and a true jump back to the SNES-era's style. Final Fantasy XII, one way or another, is what it is. It's a Final Fantasy game, regardless of how great it is; we have to stop judging the series based on what we think it should be, and start judging the games based on their own merits. Every series has strong games and weak games, and the great FF series is no exception, even if it is the most popular of the most popular!

To answer one of your hot topics, I am currently playing Suikoden III and I am really enjoying the character of Chris Lightfellow, she is smart, strong, and confident in her abilities, with just enough self-doubt to be believable for her age. She also has an increasingly interesting backstory. (Why am I writing this? I need to get back to the game!)THIS is how a good female protagonist should be, I believe it was you who said that the characteristics of a good female character are the same as those of a male one and it's true. Plus, the male characters seem to think she's hot so it's all good.

-Whitney

Matt

Hahaha, so a little of column A and a little of column B. Really and truthfully, I don't know of many RPG heroes that aren't generally attractive, be they male or female. No one wants to be an ugly hero, especially since the aim is to role-play the character. I'd rather be buff and hot than zitty-faced, flabby, and zombie-breathed. (I need to escape my reality from time to time...)

And yeah, I think that while female heroes aren't very common, that yeah, they should share many or most of the same attributes as their male counterparts. Why shouldn't they?

Thanks, Whitney! It's great to hear from thee again!



How famous?


Final Fantasy VI was and always will be my favorite RPG. I remember skipping 5th grade to play it. It's been over 12 years and I still play it.

I always wondered about the opinions FFVI fans have had about the future. If Sqaure were to continue the FFVI series, would you prefer they do a complete 3D overhaul? Would you like it if it talked about the 1-year gap about Sabin or Locke when Celes was unconscious? Or would you like to play as Odin and other Espers in the War of the Magi?

-The Famous Mike

Matt

Man, they could do make just about anything to that game and I'd probably love it. There's so much more left untold in that story that could be detailed compared to Final Fantasy VII and X... the potential is certainly there for some awesome sidestories or sequels, anyway.

Do I WANT it, though? That's a tougher question. As a general rule, I'm not a big fan of direct sequels to many games, because I like to be able to fill in the missing links and little gaps using my own imagination, you know?

If they were to do something new, it would be unreal to see a full three-dimensional version of the game. A game about the War of the Magi is something that I have entertained the notion of for a very long time, too... there's an entire story there left untold!

Ah, Final Fantasy VI... how much do we love thee? Thine qualities are seemingly limitless...



Ju, ju, ju, ju.


Viscount Matt,

No, I haven't played any Full Metal Alchemist games. Talk to Roku about them. I don't wanna spoil my memories of how good the show is. I HAVE played a few Dragon Ball games, though. Here's the ending from the Trunks special: http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/6011/14 It should seem hopeful, because the special is about the only thing in the DB world that doesn't have immediate resolution.

Matt

Sure, I'd say that "hopeful" is one way to describe it. And how do you know your memories will be spoiled? Maybe they'd be accentuated and enhanced, and you would be brought back to those golden old days...

Well, I'm demonstrating the enormous breadth of Tengai Makyou IV's music to you with all these tracks. So here are some more! Like this: http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/6603/73 for mid-boss fights. It's definitely unsettling, though I think it could have been better.

Matt

That's a boss theme!? It sounds so "cool" and subdued. Musical themes don't always need strong tunes to get their point across. Depending on the atmosphere of the game, something like this could fit in really neatly, like a perfect jigsaw piece, I think. I don't think it's too bad.

I could have you visualize a number of fights alongside this piece (Low Dog, Manto, Scar Wolf) - but I think the single greatest battle to the mid-boss music has to be the President of the United States. Who looks like Nixon and JFK melded together, and is trying to blow five cities to bits. Yes, it was a robot duplicate - but I want your thoughts on fighting the President in an RPG. C'mon!

Matt

Have you played Final Fantasy VII? I can't recall...

I don't mind. If Mr. President is teh embodiment of all evil, then bring him on. Associated guys with dark sunglasses can come too, as long as I have a party-targeting spell or two handy.

And here's some more TMIV music. The overworld before the Ankoku Kyodan member is taken out http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/6603/46 and after http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/6603/80. I kinda prefer the second one, but they're both quite catchy.

Matt

I think I agree. Actually, the last one is pretty damn cool. You're choosing music that's more fun than usual this time, I have to admit... and I kinda want to play Tetris to a theme like this. ^^;

FEDA is good stuff. The chess-like battle system seems unique to me - you move, computer moves, until everybody has gotten an action. It gets a little repetitive towards the end thanks to the enemies not changing often enough, but still fun. I have the FEDA Remake on Saturn - look forward to an appraisal of differences.

Matt

Interesting enough. I've never heard of it. What does FEDA stand for again?

Here's a Sakura Wars memorandum that might explain part of why Sega didn't bring the first game over. At the end of the first game, all the members of the Teikokukagekidan except the one who thinks best of Ohgami die one by one. They are really and truly dead. Then Ohgami and the girl whose ending you'll get fight Aoi Satan. Upon beating him, his name ceases to be in Kanji and is written in Katakana (to demonstrate that Satan is no longer a Japanese word). He is also referred to as Lucifer and gets horns, to remove any doubt. Archangel Michael comes down and revives the fallen members, and everyone does battle with Satan while having the blessing of Heaven. Now - does that sound a little controversial?

Matt

Sure, but so does Grand Theft Auto and a host of other games that did get released in North America. Controversial or no, I'm sure there must have been more to the story.

On the subject (sorta) of Sakura Wars: the heroine of Sakura Wars V is named Gemini Sunrise. With that in mind, I think Sagittarius Noon and Taurus Twilight should be character names. I'd come up with more, but I think you deserve the chance.

Matt

Ha ha ha, very funny. I'm not that creative, am I? Okay, okay... how about Leo Dusk, and, um, Pisces Mid-Afternoon?

Since you want vaguely familiar music, try this: http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/1189/51 It's from Tales of Phantasia but reminds me of the Empire's theme in FFVI.

Matt

Oh my God... where have I heard this before? I've definitely never played Tales of Phantasia before, but I know this tune. Maybe I heard it once while browsing MIDIs somewhere. How coincidental! Yeah, it's nice and stereotypically eeeevil sounding.

So Matt - do you want Tingle's DS title to come out in English?

Matt

There's no doubt about it. Magical Rupee Land, or whatever it's called, looks absolutely crazy and weird, which is right up my alley. I dunno if it's a reality, though. Nintendo has been kind of quiet about this game lately. Maybe they're trying to wrap up Phantom Hourglass first; I'm not sure.

How about that Xenosaga title on DS? I suppose I could import it....

Matt

You'd better, because I doubt we'll ever see it over here. It'd be awesome if it did, though, because it looks too awesome, especially for someone who was a fan of the original games... like, gosh, me!

I'm gonna talk a bit about Shining the Holy Ark now, because it has random battles but does them far better than most games. They aren't completely random because features of the environment determine what's going to pop out. Two dungeons are notorious for the nasty crabs that come around corners, puddles have nasty Sirens that pop out, etc. Plus the screen does not jump away to a battle display, everything happens right at the point where the encounter occurred onscreen. You'd like the game - I'm certain. Save points are ONLY available outside of dungeons, and the battles require attention to be paid because enemies are not weak. And the fighting itself is first-person.

Matt

Sounds delightfully old school. Aethelred has said great things too. Maybe we'll get lucky and it'll appear on Nintendo's Virtual Console someday.

I have to cut and run. Have a Shining Force III music piece: http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/1780/67 I find it a very good representation of sorrow. You?

JuMeSyn

Matt

In a distinctly "Sakarubic" way, yes it does. Very nice.

Thanks JuMeSyn, and have a goooood weekend!



QUICKIES

Hey Matt

If you had to fight one boss again, which would you not want to face?

Bainick's quicker then the average bear!

P.S> Do you need people for your Beta test? I put my name up if so!

Matt
Ugh. The spider boss from Lufia 2 (you know what I'm talking about if you've played the game), or Hellcloud from Dragon Warrior VII. Yuck...I've never hated babies so profoundly before. And the beta test is today, so mosey on over to the Sock section if you're interested.

I like quickies. They play to the strengths of members of the minute men militia.

kezzy

Matt
...but double the pleasure, double the fun, right? The problem is around here... it's either "Quickie" or "Super-Extended Session." Eh, something for everyone. Have a popsicle~

I thought Guitar Hero II had taken over my life and then my DS discovered Puzzle Quest. I am lost. I am nearly broken. HELP ME.

*fizzywig

Matt
Inner Strength! Will Power! Something! The DS's batteries don't last forever anyway, sheesh. You'll be fine.

IN CLOSING

So that was a spookedy-dookedy Friday the 13th, wasn't it? I'm done for this week! I'll return next Tuesday, however, with more, as always. I wish you a safe and happy weekend, though, as always! Write some letters to make Casto a happy dude, and you'll indirectly make me happy too. Of course, I always accept letters of my own too.

New topics: Are you looking forward to any of the PS2's upcoming 2007 RPG titles? There are a good number of them, and really, there's no real reason to believe that the old console won't emerge once again as the strongest RPG system yet again, even in the midst of its newfound competition.

Anyway, that's all! Bye, everybody.



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 16 - superb, with the "b"



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