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ASK MATT
Early to Bed, Late to Rise
June 15, 2007

Matt Demers - 16:58 EST

SO, IT WAS BOB'S LAST DAY on The Price is Right today, hmm? How sad. I remember watching him alongside my mémère when I was young; the show is a little bit nostalgic to me, kind of like playing the original Dragon Quest.

What does a game show have to do with RPGs? Absolutely nothing. So have your pets spayed or neutered, and let's jump into the day's column.




LETTERS
I've got class. Do you?


Hey Matt,

Just chiming in to say my favorite class is the cleric-type, like a defender/white wizard hybrid. Someone who can hold his own while helping others, but not so much like a Paladin, which is more a fighter/white wizard hybrid. If I were in a real video game, I'd be happy with a high physical defense and Cure and Revive spells. I am a pacifist that way, I guess.

Are there many games with this kind of character, really? I can't think of many off the top of my head, but I'll admit I'm not thinking very hard. I guess Etrian Odyssey's Protector class nearly fits the bill, though my Protector has yet to learn Cure, oops.

'Til next time!

Joshua

Matt

Yeah, that isn't really that common, now that I think about it. Most games that I can think of... if a healer has high defensive abilities, then they almost always have good offensive abilities as well. Perhaps Rand from Breath of Fire II is an okay example. He's a good healer with high defensive abilities, and even though his attack is the second-highest in the game, the hero is the only REAL attacker in the entire game. (He's annoyingly about three-hundred million times as powerful as everyone else put together, it seems.)

I can't waiiit to play Etrian Odyssey, as a sidenote. There it sits in its packaging, waiting for me to get to it. I'll get there! Eventually!



A different taste.


Class? The Kunoichi(Disgaea 2) of course! They rely on physical damage, fast and deadly! Not to mention that female ninjas tend to be hot. I suppose you could include the male ninjas as well, if you absolutely had to... And how can I forget the indisputable fact that ninjas > pirates!

Slashlen

Matt

Ninjas are pretty cool, but I'd have to take the male ninjas over the female ninjas in Disgaea 2 for a variety of reasons. I guess that a ninja girl swinging an axe stealthily about would be a tantalizing thing for some of us. The only thing I'd be worried about concerning a boyfriend/girlfriend ninja would be their method of entry. (Slipping through the window silently and awaiting in the dark to pouncetackle you as you get ready for bed, etc... might creep me out a bit.)



Lots of non-RPG talk, and a bit of RPG talk.


Heya Matt. I know you have a letter backlog or something, and this is totally unrelated to the topics and hand, but I just picked up Planet Puzzle League, and it rules. I know you've talked about Tetris Attack before, so I was wondering if you've grabbed it yet? If not... what is WRONG with you? My friend code is 279274 706556, and I'd enjoy playing a game or two with you, despite the fact you'd probably totally destroy me (haven't gotten much above 3x chains -- never really practiced a whole lot, even on the older renditions of the game).

Matt

Nope, I don't have it yet, but it's only because I haven't had the chance to swing by the mall lately. I'm pretty sure I'll have it within the next little while, though. The nice part about a puzzle game is that it doesn't add to the backlog, really, because it's the sort of thing that you just pick up and play now and then.

I'm slightly scared that it's going to change to all-stylus control, which would be bad, since I am an -expert- with the control pad. In the N64 Pokémon Puzzle League, my record in Vs. Time Trials is just shy of 40,000 points in 2 minutes (and my record chain is something like a 16x chain...) indicating that yes, I have played this game for many, many hours indeed.

Incidentally, you can also grab the Gamecube version in the Nintendo Puzzle Collection for some 4 player local destruction; it just takes a bit of importing (it's really cheap on Play-Asia.com right now), with the freeloader disc to play it (no modding required for GC imports). Four player Panel De Pon is some serious craziness... and highly recommended (although you can do the same thing in Planet Puzzle League if you have enough local people with a DS).

Matt

Funkytown. As I don't have a Gamecube, this isn't really a great option for me, but it's good to know. I'm excited about the DS version, because it has some crazy items or something like that in versus play.

Also, I'd highly recommend Meteos as a somewhat-similar puzzle game for the DS... I'm at a loss as to which I prefer; I totally enjoy both of them. You can get the original release, or the newer Disney-themed version (which turns the playfield vertical and lets you move blocks in all directions). Unfortunately neither allows internet play, but local multiplayer is seriously awesome.

Matt

I did play Meteos once upon a time, and it didn't really turn my crank as much for some reason. I think it's because I wasn't used to the control style, and the vertical flips, but I got fed up and didn't play it much. Perhaps I was just in a bad mood at the time, but I hope this one will treat me better.

Anything RPG related? Uh, replaying FF6 on GBA, working my way through SMT: Digital Devil Saga and Etrian Odyssey is kicking my ass. That's about it. Slowly making headway on... level 2. Yes, level 2. The enemies can almost instant-kill my characters if I'm not careful, and I'm pretty sure I'm not underleveled either. Trouble is, money's pretty scarce for me once I pay for the 1-2 resurrections and stay at the Inn.

Matt

Wow, sounds scarily difficult! Etrian Odyssey sounds like one long, ongoing, super-challenging Dragon Quest dungeon. In other words, a tasty game.

My brother would cheer you on in your SMT quest. He loves those games, and one of these days, I hope to love them too. I still haven't had the chance to give them a try, sadly.

I was expecting something on the scale of the Shin Megami Tensei games, but this is quite a bit more. Don't worry, I'll definately enjoying the game, I'll just need to get my party in gear ;).

Ryan

Matt

Best of luck! Write back sometime soon to tell me about your progress!



Frustradiata stories!


YES Radiata Stories had the most bizarre control scheme. Sometimes the triangle button is "cancel"; other times, it's "close the menu entirely and reset all your settings". Sometimes the circle button is "confirm'; other times it is "cancel". The X button is the "kick" button until it randomly becomes the "confirm" button. After a while I was like "GAAAHHHHH JUST PICK A FUNCTION!!!!"

If it wasn't for the pretty backgrounds and that silly upside-down man-shaped blob that goes running across the screen in a panic whenever you save or load a game, I wouldn't have finished the game.

Carabbit

Matt

Seriously. Do you want to know how many times I'd piss NPCs off by accidentally kicking them in the shins while innocently just trying to speak to them? MANY TIMES. No matter how much I played the game, my brain just couldn't get itself around the control choices, and you know, I seem to remember the menu-navigation as being absolutely excruciating as well. You'd think that they'd spend some time sorting this stuff out before its release, but evidently, they were too busy making the final dungeon as idiotic as possible.



More on control, you control freaks.


I don't remember Radiata Stories being all that unusual or difficult. But then again, the most difficulty I seem to have is from game to game, especially with basic stuff (is X attack or cancel?). Even then, unless it's action oriented, I've got the luxury of getting used to it. Unless it's something REALLY out there, it doesn't factor in much.

Matt

Usually, I agree with you. There's a half-hour-or-so period of adjustment, and then you've got the control scheme down. Most of the time. In that game, it was just too contrary to everything else I was playing at the time, I think, and so the controls never became natural.

Speaking of which, isn't it annoying when you're playing two games (especially when they're from the same series) with slightly different controls? I'm being driven crazy by playing Pokémon Leaf Green and Pokémon Diamond, because one of them uses the DS's X button to open the menu, and the other uses the Start button. Ack! Another great example, if I remember correctly, is Final Fantasy VII versus Final Fantasy VIII, because I think that VIII messed with the control scheme in the strangest of ways for some curious reason.

Oh, and BTW, I noted that you seemed to predict my favorite class. I have no idea how you did that. You must be psychic...

Matt

Yup, that's me. Psychic Matt. Thanks Leaper! May your Blue Magery be used for good and niceness. Now there's an interesting potentially untapped class idea: Psychic. Hmmm.



Wow, a DWVII fan! These are rare...


Hiya Matt!

OK those this is my first letter to your excellent segment so don't make fun of me too much.

Matt

Eh, no worries. I don't tease as much as Mr. Weekend Host, Cast does, so you don't need to tread with much caution, unless you write to me with something like this:

"where do u find the key in the ruby tower cuz i cant find it lol"

Really, I've had letters that were THAT bad before.

Before I get into the actual meat of this first letter I have a shocking confession, I've never finished a Dragon Quest game. Yes I know, I'm terrible, but I main played the games way back in the day when I was younger and such things were too hard for me back then (Damn Final Fantasy IV easy in the U.S. codling me!). I've only rediscovered the series recently with VIII, and you'll be happy to know I now have a version of all of the games which were released in the U.S. (except 4, I've got 1-3 on gameboy). So they will be finished soon, especially VII, I think that's my favorite of what I've played so far.

Matt

Really, your confession isn't that shocking at all. Dragon Quest is slowly gaining popularity in North America, but I still think that it's an "underplayed" series, given how important it is to the industry, in a way. Japan loves Dragon Quest, on the other hand. I suspect that with DQIX for the DS and DQ: Swords for the Wii on the way, the potential is there for the series to nudge its way further into the lives of video gamers across the board. I can't wait!

It's too bad you don't have IV, though... it's my favourite of the whole series, I do believe. And VII is your favourite? That's just... amazing. I don't run into DWVII fans very often, though I have to admit that despite its shortcomings, I have a soft spot for the game.

Anyway, a few days (or so) ago someone asked you the question as to if there were any RPGs which were easy to pick up after not playing for long stretches of time. Though in terms of enjoyment not the best example, but Shining Force Neo and Legend of Mana are both examples of RPGs that are like that. Even Dragon Quest VII a little bit (from what I've played). Neo gives you a nice little journal when you load your game to help you remember where you were, and so long as you talk to the little cactus in your house in Legend of Mana, a nice little journal will be saved as well. Pokeomon Diamond does this as well, but hey it's not exactly hard to remember where you need to go in that game. Anyway, I think expanding upon this journal feature in future RPGs would be a great thing to do, even perhaps throwing in parts of cut scenes to re-watch when you read the journal to remind you what's going on. Granted RPGs are never really going to be easy to come back to after long stretches, but such a feature could certainly help.

Matt

It's true. Not only that, though, but the RPGs that are easy to come back to are most likely the ones without much story driving it (and thus wouldn't be appealing to many gamers out there). It's not like a dumb ol' sports game... starting an RPG is kind of like making a commitment to stick with it and come back regularly. Perhaps that's why so many people feel "guilty" when they fall behind/gain a backlog/stop playing.

I'm another big DS fan (I've got one of the "large" original ones) and think it's just great. However the PSP is very interesting to me since Square-Enix announced a Final Fantasy Tactics remake (I'm a long time FF fan, I even bought FFXI and don't play it just so I could complete my collection). Are there some other good RPGs on the PSP worth picking it up for?

Matt

I have a big DS too... I'm proud to say that I hopped on the bandwagon before it took off. It's funny, because some of the first Q&A letters I ever responded to were from people who didn't think that the DS was going anywhere but into a tailspin. Now, it's poised to become one of the most popular platforms in the history of gaming. Scary, what difference a year and a half can make.

As for the PSP? Yeah, it's gaining its own set of great games too. If you haven't played them already (which is... well, highly unlikely), new remakes of Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy II will be released within the next couple of months. A new Disgaea game (a reworking of the original) is coming out sooner or later, along with a remake of Riviera. So, really, a lot of these games are remakes, as the PSP loves them so. However, Crisis Core: FFVII should be coming out sooner or later, though it seems like it's been in development forever... if we get it sometime before the year 9243, I'd be happy.

There are some other original titles, but the majority have been poorly reviewed. I can't give you any personal advice, since I don't have a PSP of my own, but perhaps it would be a good choice for you if you're looking to play Final Fantasy Tactics again after all these years.

Anyway, I'll my first letter at that. I'll give you my FF3 friend code in my next one since you shared yours. Do I get bonus points if I send a letter through FF3?

-Sincerely

Mike A.

Matt

5000. They're all yours! Send me your code, and I'll add you to my ever-growing roster, though I'm not publishing Q&A letters from Mogmail anymore. (I did back in February for a month!) I'm more than happy to help you get your root-vegetable-class.



QUICKIES

I'm never getting off level 1 defender am I mister Matt?

Bainick, the guy who can't earn a single exp.

Matt
You just have terrible luck with those Experience-granting questions! Here's to better luck in the future. It's still early in the contest, so don't despair!

Hey Matt,

Ever accidently jump into lava wearing Zora Armor in Twilight Princess? It's not pretty and has a lot in common with internet sites you click on, but you get a 404 message instead...nerr. Currently on the sand dungeon.

Joel

Matt
You mean to tell me that it's a fatal error?? It's so fun that they made that suit have drawbacks... it gives you real a reason to switch back and forth, other than "hmm, I feel like wearing green today..." I made the mistake of fighting something that breathed fire with that suit on, and I haven't made it since.

IN CLOSING

It's been a fun week, but as they say, all good things, just like any good RPG, must come to an end. I'll catch up to you next week, when we launch back into the swing of things here with another bunch of Ask Matt columns for you. For those of you who are Sock 2 players, Sundoulos' Wait Mode is set to wear off on Tuesday, so get out your thinking caps and warm your brains up over the weekend; the competition will resume in force very soon!

Finally, I apologize to those whose letters I haven't had the chance to reply to. Some people wrote in early this week who I still haven't responded to, but don't despair... I'm working on it. If you're feeling the urge, you're more than welcome to write me (or Andrew) a letter of your own. What's a new hot topic for you? Well, have there been any NON-remake PSP RPGs that have tickled your fancy since the release of Sony's portable? If so, write in and tell me! Help me out, since I don't know as much when it comes to the world of the PSP.

One way or the other, have a great weekend, and I'll return again soon.



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 18 - very good



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On my Wishlist:

1. Dragon Quest IX

2. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

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2. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria

3. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance



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5. Would adopting a real-life class be worth running around in skimpy clothes?



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